The first weekend of mild temperatures, days that get longer when Time (DST) starts and finally we can stay outside without freezing at every stop. Spring is one of the moments when we feel reborn, we want to start over, plan, go further and further. This year we can’t start thinking about trips, not immediately at least. We need to look beyond, imagine travelling as freely as before, even if this epidemic isn’t over yet.
Thus, my last weekend began, the desire to pedal, to go far. The bike is ready, fresh fruit for lunch with a couple of energy bars. The spare shirt, the gloves (both short finger and winter gloves) and a rain jacket (you never know!). The Garmin loaded and the tracks ready to go and explore an area that I still know little about.
The program for Saturday had a focus, arriving in Imola and going uphill where the World Cycling Championships took place last September and then descending and reaching Castel del Rio, a small mountain village, located along the green Santerno Valley.
The climb from Imola tilted quickly taking me to a very scenic side, the hills and gullies open on the sides of the road from right to left. Open spaces, green hills, gold-coloured rocks and many cyclists on the road. It was not expected, but a strong north wind started blowing in the opposite direction, pedalling became tiring, sometimes difficult. The road continued among the faded writings on the asphalt of the fans who had probably intervened to support their cycling’s idols.
I arrived in Castel del Rio after 72 km, right on the road the well-preserved Castle which nowadays hosts the War Museum and the Gothic Line. Through a quick descent, in a bit I was standing in front of the Alidosi Bridge is a unique example of a humpback bridge that has stood over the Santerno River since 1499. Next to that a picnic and camping area which soon made me think about a possible spot to camp for a night.
After the stop for my packed lunch, it was time to leave, and there was still a long way to go home. Lucky, the return with the wind in favour was easy, many kilometres, pedalled with a good average speed.
I was home in 143 Km and 1300 m of elevation.
The program for Sunday had a new goal, arriving towards Sassoleone, passing from the highest point above the Idice valley.
A beautiful day, the warm sun, the fresh air in the shade of the clouds. The road without traffic, the vegetation that changes above 700 meters A passage on the crest of the mountain at 960 meters after 50km. The climbs are easy, I have the opportunity to take pictures without stopping, while the bike goes by. The small villages with their stone houses follow one another up to Sassoleone, then the street descends into the Sillaro valley. A small river runs along the road, another place to stop for a fleeting lunch, imagining camping and lighting a fire among the rocks to cook the dinner.
After a short stop at the river at the 70th km, I went back on the road. I wanted to return to Bologna through a different road from the one I cycled the day before. After Castel San Pietro Terme, I stopped for the first ice cream of the season at Osteria Grande. 103km have passed since the morning. I looked up on Komoot for a detour to return to the Idice valley crossing again an area of badlands. Shortly after I got back on my bike and started the climb towards Settefonti. The slopes were demanding, I was afraid of being tired and not able to make it, but the meters passed and so in a short time I was on the summit, happy and smiling. I was afraid, but it was just fear. I am on the summit and I went down, through the cycle path towards San Lazzaro at a good speed whilst the sun was going down.
I was home in 133 Km and 1630 m of elevation.
A weekend to remember, while in Milan it was running Milanese Randonee for 120km on the average route, which I would have thought it was too much for myself. I learned once again how having a comfortable bike (like mine!), saving little energies on the way and looking beyond the horizon may be worth more than the strength you think you have or the training you have achieved.