The Baz

thebaz

The Baz

A peripatetic pedalphile with a penchant for polysyllabic pontification. Always happy to hear if anyone actually reads what I write.



North America » Canada » Ontario » Ottawa September 23rd 2017

(finally completing this September 26 in Brighton, ON) Wary of getting up late and missing my train I slept fitfully, if at all - waking several times during the night. At about 2:30 I turned on the TV to get a time check (it's faster and easier than booting up my chromebook or wandering through the camera settings) and ended up watching the replay of Bologna-Napoli soccer match. It was infinitely better than the Serie 3 game Bob and I had watched part of earlier in the week, but despite its allure (these guys were really good!) I watched only until the end of the first half, figuring I really ought to get some sleep prior to my 23-hour nonstop travel day. (For anyone interested, the game was a scoreless draw when I left it; I ... read more
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Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Riotorto September 22nd 2017

Bob left at 8AM today to spend a day in Florence before flying home to Boston; tonight I will be taking advantage of his absence to enjoy a dessert I would otherwise have had to pay for (since our package included all meals we're just going to pretend he ordered it as one of his two menu selections). In that regard it might be worth mentioning now how wonderful the staff here has been (even putting up patiently with my feeble attempts to converse in Italian). Both Bob and I have been very pleased with the way things worked out, and enjoyed being out in the country with clean air, big sky, and peace and quiet; quite a contrast to the tourist town of Riccione and the group rides we had there. Today I checked off ... read more
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Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Riotorto September 21st 2017

Having stayed up late and gotten up early I was so tired I actually had a cappuccino at breakfast this morning! In spite of that we had a late start, and not just because I wasn't feeling frisky - Bob is leaving tomorrow and needed to arrange a lift to the train station (we will indeed be leaving from Vignale-Riotorto station, a mere 6 minutes away according to Google maps) and to determine which train to get his ticket for, so we waited until we found Chiara (who speaks excellent English) to discuss the matter; I rode shotgun on the conversation because I will need the same service on Saturday (although my ticket is already purchased). Despite being told that the train station was closed we decided to go see if there was a ticket vending ... read more
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Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Riotorto September 20th 2017

It was decidedly cool this morning so I delayed my start until the sun had warmed things up a bit. In poking around while I waited, I figured out why we had two remotes for the TV and discovered a whole new set of channels available to us, including several news channels in English. It was thus that an American and a Canadian in Italy watching French television news in English discovered that there would be an interesting Spanish soccer league (La Liga) match tonight, which Bob and I both were interested in watching. I resolved that one way or another beer would be involved. My plan for the day had been to visit Piombino before heading north along the coast, but inasmuch as my map didn't extend that far west, and trying to piece together ... read more
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Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Riotorto September 19th 2017

Finally a day of 'real' cycling, wherein I finally burn more calories than I consume (at least until I get back to the ranch), see what's on 'the other side of the mountain', and experience a bit of everything in terms of road and weather. Bob and I were of opposite minds today - he wanted to explore the (flat) coast and I wanted to climb the hills, so we set off independently (in fact we didn't even leave at the same time). Rain seemed to have fallen earlier, and the roads were not always completely dry, but the morning clouds had been replaced by sunshine so my only concern was not to ride into the weather that I could see lingering over the hills. After retracing yesterday's route to Cafaggio, I turned right this time ... read more
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Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Riotorto September 18th 2017

Tuscany is working its charm and we are getting more relaxed with each passing day; today we ambled out the door a little later than yesterday, and set off into more glorious sunshine (although the forecast called for late day rain that would continue overnight). Bob was so affected he forgot to take his water bottles, while I was accepting of the fact that I had no idea where my cleat covers could have gone. The plan was to ride up to the old town of Campiglia Marittima then descend to the coastal town of San Vincenzo - where I hoped to pick up another 'real' map from the tourist office that would show the coast all the way to Piombina, and possibly even include the isle of Elba - then ride along the coast for ... read more
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Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Riotorto September 17th 2017

No longer having to adhere to a fixed schedule, and with breakfast starting only at 8:00, we took a more casual "let's see if we can figure out how things work" approach to the day. The first item on order was to see what the 'cyclist lunch bag' contained: a banana; an"energy bar" that provided only 126 calories from 22.8 grams of carbohydrates, 2.3 grams of protein, and 2.5 grams of fat; a ham and cheese sandwich on what seemed to be the Italian equivalent of Wonder Bread; and a bottle of water. I'm not sure why the latter was included inasmuch as when we checked in we were given cycling water bottles that could have been filled instead. We then sought further clarification from Chiara (who speaks excellent English) about our meal plan here, since ... read more
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Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Riotorto September 16th 2017

I'm writing this as a very tired traveller, having gotten up before dawn prior to spending over 6 hours on trains going up one side of Italy and down the other. Concerned about the possibility of sleeping in and missing the train, I was up before the alarm (and sun) at 5:45 (actually I was up several times during the night before that) and at the hotel desk at 6:00 to collect our breakfast bag before setting off along rain-soaked streets for the 15 minute walk to the station and the first of our 4 trains today. Leaving Riccione there was not much to see out the windows as a grey dawn emerged to reveal fog-shrouded fields, but I figured if it must rain (yet again!) let it do it while we're travelling rather than on ... read more
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Europe » Italy » Emilia-Romagna » Riccione September 15th 2017

It wasn't apparent to me at the start that we would be heading there, but today we finally got to see San Marino. Following the usual morning travel through city streets then up and down several (or just one? Who remembers?) hillocks, we motored along into the wind and along a false flat until we got to the moderately steep 3km climb that led to our first course (and view) for the day before descending slightly and taking a hard left to start the climb to the city itself, where those of us who had pressed on ahead paused briefly for course #2 and another quick view before the others joined us to continue up and even further (and steeper) through the cobbles amid the wandering tourists until we finally reached the high point and the ... read more
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Europe » Italy » Emilia-Romagna » Riccione September 14th 2017

The sore throat/cold continues to work itself through our group (I may have been mistaken about contracting it in Ottawa: apparently Bobby from Connecticut arrived with it), and it hit my friend Mark from Vermont today badly enough that he chose not to ride. I awoke to find my throat improved but my chest somewhat affected; in fact I felt bad enough after breakfast that I made a late-game decision not to ride with Joe and the fast group, but instead to ride again with a group led by Micol. There wasn't supposed to be much difference between the two in terms of distance or difficulty, but I was wary of the pace at which the former would proceed on the flats. Riding with Micol also meant I would take in the wine-tasting that was to ... read more
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Tot: 3.137s; Tpl: 0.043s; cc: 7; qc: 89; dbt: 0.0605s; 2; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 3; ; mem: 1.5mb