More Cat hunting the Mouse than playing Cat and Mouse

We had nice breakfast in one of the nicest and most friendly places so far. The cyclist was wrapped up in the duvet saying it was the most comfortable bed. i try to let him sleep when I get up and today I wanted to sleep longer too. i did get up though as I knew the cyclist had said we had another 3.5hr transfer at the end of his cycling today. I also knew I was going to have to get the tyre sorted as no way did I want yo do 80mph on a motorway as the would be a blowout waiting to happen. I had one of those odd experiences that you don’t know where you are when you wake. For some reason I expected the tiny wooden roof room we had been in the night before. I have no idea why. It was a little disorientating. I checked his kit to see if was all dry and it was. Good.

The cyclist had ordered us scrambled eggs and fresh tomatoes so it was not the cake we have been offered in other places. That was good for the cyclist to start on something solid. He had already had a bowl of muesli before we went down. I am not sure why the traditional Italian breakfast is cake? I didn’t tell you but in the castle in Gabicce one of the cakes on offer was Sachertorte. The cyclist didn’t know what it was so I said it was the sort of thing you have for afternoon tea that breakfast. The young guy who had checked us in and served breakfast spoke good English. We asked him about the tyre and he looked on the Internet to help us and then wrote a note for me to give them explaining the problem and what we needed. He was so nice and helpful.

The cyclist wanted a starting photo outside the tyre shop and then off he rode leaving me to wait while the tyre was fixed. Again my presence was causing interest among the blokes that were there getting tyres fixed. I don’t particularly like being stared at. They gave the the offending screw as as MM_Scimitar suggested it wasn’t very long. The head had taken a bashing though. Maybe it would have been ok to leave it in but we still have lost of miles to go and we are less likely to have somewhere on our doorstep in the high mountains.

All the cyclist keeps mentioning the very bad snow that the Giro cyclists are experiencing. They had to around one of the mountains as the snow was to thick for the ploughs to clear and up the Gallibier they couldn’t get to the top as it was too snowy and there was a high Avalanche risk. It was snowing at the finish. We are now 3 days away from these mountains. So far we have dogged the rain and even though it may have been chilly at times, we have been lucky so far.

Today it was sunny and it wasn’t long into my drive, to hunt my mouse, that I had to take my jacket and scarf off. I wouldn’t have normally worn these scarves that you have seen me in, but my Angel No2 (The Boo), bought me a couple to wear for last years Tour de France and as she always looks immaculate I took note and this year I have a few with me.

I was so keen to set off on the hunt, that I didn’t look at what time I set off on the chase. I programmed Co-Pilot too just in case and headed for the first mountain. I took a couple of photos on the way. One was of the sign saying the name of the village. It was Arsie. I thought it was amusing. In fact in the car on the way to tonight’s hotel I showed the cyclist the picture and he said that one of his Biking friends has sent him a text a few days ago asking for a photo of the sign. How odd. I had no idea, but got the photo anyway.

Going up the first climb I saw small posters. Sellotaped to the road barriers that were for the Giro coming through. I decided that I would try and be a magpie along our routes now. I already have a little pink plastic flag I retrieved from a lamp post a few days ago. After taking it, when I got to the cyclist I waved it out the window and cheered. It made him chuckle. There are lots of bits and pieces along our routes that have been left to rot after the Giro passed through 7 days before. This wasn’t the case last year, nor will it be the case for Le Tour or La Vuelta when we do those in the next few weeks/months. We will be before the tours those times.

The route went past a couple of mountain lakes today, the first of which was very pretty. The second had two huge bridges where motorways merged built at the one end. I took a picture as it was like spaghetti junction lake style. I wonder if the locals caused a stink when they decided to ruin their lovely views with these cement monstrosities?

I wasn’t hanging about on my hunt but when I had reached the half way point and there was still no sign of the cyclist, I began to get a bit twitchy. I kept stopping to check the official itinerary which has the Km counting both up as you travel and down to the end point. I decided that I would go about 2/3 of the total distance before stopping and waiting in case I had missed him along the way. At one point I thought I had caught him but it turned out to be a large guy in a white kit cycling on the pavement. What a let down. At 10.30 I spotted what looked like the cyclist in the distance. I approached my prey with both speed and anticipation. It was him. Oh thank goodness. The relief was immense. I really didn’t want a reply of last years Besaçon episode and today did have the makings of it. After saying our hellos through the window at the next set of lights when he leaned on the car as we stopped I leaned through the window to give him a hug. I was so pleased to have caught him.

“Come on” he said, “no stopping today, we need to make headway”. He must have been flying as it was because when we did actually stop for a photo shoot under a Giro banner, he only had 35Km to go and it wasn’t quite midday. On the way down the hill I was trying to get action shots of him hanging off the bike to make himself aerodynamic.

All day today I had seen lots of older men cyclists out. It made me wonder if was Friday as they were all out last Friday. The cyclist just flies past them, but most are pleasant and wave at a fellow cyclist. Probably because he looks like a serious cyclist. In fact at the end of the Gabicce time trial a woman approached him and asked if he was an English cyclist in very broken English. He replied yes and she asked her husband to take photos of her with the English cyclist. Afterwards the cyclist got in the car asking what that was all about? He wouldn’t have said no to her but he had no idea what was going on. I sat in the car chuckling as I know how camera shy he is, not that you would think so when he is on his cycle peddling along.

We were headed for Tarvisio, having come from Trevisio yesterday. Tarvisio is just along from Venice and is a huge place on the coast. When he stopped he sorted the bike out while I got his food sorted and had to change from my jeans into a skirt as the sun was very warm. Very in fact, but who is complaining.

Off to the motorway and our long journey. The cyclist was eating fruit and boiled rice with walnuts as he drove as tomorrow is the longest stage, in terms of Km, of the entire Giro. It is classed as a flat stage, however it is long and tiring. Our hotel for tonight is not far north of Parma. Ham anyone?

We struggled to find our B+B tonight as although the dress had the town in it was a bit like saying Bewdley but the place being on a very tiny country lane a couple of miles out of Bewdley. None of the address’s have been straightforward here. The place is obviously being done up and is an office workplace in the main building and a B&B in he other. It has the making of a nice place however there were a couple of things that let it down severely in my book. One was I was shown tables and drinks machines and to,d that breakfast was self serve and could be taken as early as we liked. Great I thought. Off the girl went and I looked about. There were two tables for 8 people but at 6 of the seats were used and dirty cups, plates, glasses, empty juice cartons and wrappers. I looked in he sink and there was two mornings washing up plates cups etc in there. I looked in the tins for the sachets that go in the fancy drink maker. They were all empty bar sugar sachets. On the table were bits of those picketed French toast. I scoured the units to find tea bags and one packet of the French Toast dry bread stuff but nothing else. In the fridge there was open long life milk. I took a sniff and it smelt worse than mine and that had been in a coolbox without the cool!

I moved the stuff out the sink as my evening chores were upon me. First I gave the kist a wash in the hottest water the tap would provide. I poured in quite a bit of liquid washing stuff as I wanted to give the kit a good scrub. After hanging it to dry, next on my list was to wash up the drinks bottles, refill unused ones with fresh cold water and sterilise the others and the protein shake bottle. I had emptied the cool box into the fridge and put the ice packs in the freezer bit at the top so everything could stay cool tomorrow. As always I ramped the fridges setting to full, but I always turn it down again in the morning.

I had put the cyclists rice on to boil then plugged my ipad in to charge when the cyclist asked what I had done as the Internet had gone. Further investigation showed that the electric had failed. Oh god, I thought, the fridge stuff. At this point I a little agitated especially after the main building saying they were off too, then everyone cleared off home. The cyclist said to shower now before it gets dark as it may not come on again. He said it was my dodgy charging cable that I had bought from amazon that did it. Luckily Mrs Chimneys hob is gas and I was able to finish the cyclists dinner but the poor dear was so tired he was falling to sleep. After about an hour or so and me walking aroun the outside of the house in my PJs looking for someone, anyone, the lights suddenly came on and normal service was resumed. Now I knew the fridge would get cold I could rest easy as then I had the things I need to keep the cyclist going. Eg milk and yoghurts for his breakfast as tiny French toast slices aren’t going to fuel him much. Thank heavens for travel kettles and the large amount of Yorkshire Tea bags I bought along. And relax…….

Sound bites from today’s soundtrack: Gwyneth Paltrow and other various from the Country Strong soundtrack (I do love Country and Western music). James- various tracks. Andrew Gould – Never let her slip away. David Soul – Silver Lady (always reminds me of my sister as he was her first big crush).

2 Responses

  1. Well cycling news as reported that 7days ahead of us the Giro route over the Stelvio and Gavi passes are to be re routed. There is too much snow, temperatures of minus 14C with wind chill of minus 20c and it is un feasible. I would suggest that the same will apply to us. I’ve no winter gear just a fleece and light shower proof.

  2. Just seen the weather forecast for south of France and northern Italy and it is snow and cold coming your way from us. Snow has closed roads in Scotland today.