Chateauneuf-sur-Loire to Amboise

8 am breakfast with our hosts was a very yummy and lots lovely food prepared including home made yoghurt and jams, fresh bread, pastries, fruit and coffee.

Our bikes were packed and ready to roll, so some quick farewells.

Bidding our host au revoir. La Viegne Vierge in Chataneuf-sur-Loire is a fantastic place for cyclists (or non cyclists 😊) to stay. There is also a pool!
The front view of La Viegne Verge. Our room was the top right. There was a cyclist in the middle room (window open)

Back on our route, these signs were common today. Wonderful to see the encouragement of cycle tourism here. Certainly we saw hundreds of cyclists out and about today.

Endless villages on the river banks.

Endless wonderful river views continued. Looking for beavers! No beavers were site but we did spot two pigs racing along the river flats, and a few small snakes.

The big city to navigate today was Orleans. As we approached the outskirts, there are parks and water sports facilities galore. On this section, cyclists and walkers are separated by a nasty fence. You would not want to fall. This fence is maybe 500 metres in length?

Outer view of Orleans

Orleans was a bit crazy and we just concentrated on moving as safely as we could through. It was Sunday and everyone was out and about and there were running events on along our route.

Orleans was the original capital of the Kingdom of France during the Merovingian period. Joan of Arc celebrated annually for her brave role during the Hundred Years War.

One church we did snap
A bridge we crossed a bit further down the river to cross to the opposite side of the Loire

More signs encouraging cyclists. Big spider warning too.

Daily we figure out where we will stop for coffee and a treat. Today Meung-sur-Loire looked promising from a distance. However as we approached, we could see cars lining the river bank.

Still we ventured across into town and had to get off and push our bikes as there were so many people. There were markets in the main, narrow streets, and queues 10-15 deep outside boulangeries. We are not that desperate, so had a quick squizz and decided to get away from the humanity mass.

This is the local church on the edge of the village, with a history back to the 1100’s. Joan of Arc also led a battle here. In fiction, it is the village where D’Artgnan decided to join the Kings Musketeers (The Three Musketeers)

Back on our bikes, we noted that Beaugency was only 8 km or so away. We visited there in 2015 when we rode from Calais in the far north of France, to Narbonne in the south. We decided we would stop there if life was a bit quieter when we arrived.

We followed this little canal up the street, and at the end found our accomodation from 2015.

We then found a lovely brasserie that had a few unreserved tables so had a lovely lunch. We spent over an hour here, so quite a long stop but our check in was not until 5 pm.

Pretty roses on this house adjacent to the Loire.

Today we spent over half of our 137 km on gravel. Our bikes are white with dust but thankful it has not rained yet, as they would be caked in gunk. It is always nice to get back on a lovely sealed surface such as below.

Lovely vista at Cour-sir-Loire.

More sites along our trail.

Today was a scorcher, a really hot day to be riding. The temperature peaked at 34C so we had been riding to conserve energy as much as possible and when we saw this observatory along the river bank, we stopped.

We were on the outskirts of Blois where we were going to find more liquid, but this place had sorbet and Perrier water and the kind lady filled out bidons with cold water.

Ahead is Blois, a city created in 832. During the Renaissance, Blois was the official residence of the King of France.

We followed this gravel track

Back onto sealed paths looking up at the tallest church in town, there were a few.

We then crossed this bridge, as did the horse and cart.

Two view of Blois after we had crossed the river, providing a longer lateral vista.

More bikes

At Chaumont-sur-Loire we looked for more fluid. A fancy chateau overlooked the river, and a small boat tour business below. they pointed us to the local tap!

Our destination tonight was Amboise, boasting the impressive Chateau d’Amboise overlooking the river. Amongst famous residents was Mary Queen of Scots, when as a toddler she was betrothed to the dauphin. She lived here for many years until her husbands early death and her return to Scotland. Leonardo di Vinci is buried on the grounds.

We arrived at our accomodation at 5 pm. The place was an impregnable fortress. The buzzer did not work nor did the lounging cat behind the gate offer any assistance.

After 137 km ride, in very hot conditions, we were keen to shower. We were a bit frustrated.

Eventually, I noted a lady entering a building a few doors away and chatted to her. She rang the owners, who sent their son and he arrived at 5.50 pm. 😫

Showered we headed into centre ville. This clock is from the 1500’s. Front and back views.

There is a wide variety of food options in the main eating strip, particularly crepes, crepes or crepes. We chose….crepes. We had a delicious galette each.

Arriving as late as we did the chateau was closed, bit we went for a wander anyhow.

Lovely old buildings
This is one of the bricks in the lower fortifications. It is really old, but so like honeycomb.

We walked to Clos Luc, the 15th century home of Leonardo di Vinci, where he died in the arms of the French King. There is a museum and extensive gardens. I think this would be a worthwhile visit….next time, as it closed at 6pm.

Walking back into centre ville I was amazed at some of the homes embedded in the cliff.

We had seen numerous caves that had been gated and historically used for storage of wines, and many now operate wine sale business from.

Interesting house. I do wonder how far back into the cliff this house goes.

The blog today is late. Once we got back from our walk, our room in this otherwise unoccupied house was like a sauna. No fan options.

So we headed to bed and I planned to get up early…which I did at 5.30 am to write whilst Tony slept. The two cats in the house have mewed most of the night too, as they must have been hot!

It will be a later breakfast, although a tad earlier as a result of delicate negotiations…8.15 am. We will be dressed, bikes packed. The son asked us what we would eat. I said, whatever you have, we will eat. But first, we need coffee please.

Our route followed is below. 137 km. I have altered the map so you can see relatively where we are versus Paris, London, Switzerland, Italy and Spain.

Finally, two borrowed photos showing Amboise from the opposite side of the river and bridge.

Thanks for reading, Ooroo, smile on 😊

It’s about time!

Dear reader,

It’s been far too long between blog posts and I hope I am not jinxing myself writing now.

After lots of map plotting and planning and we have a big, hairy, audacious goal.

This time in three weeks we will be in the air (hopefully) on our second leg of three flights – on that dreaded Melbourne to Dubai leg. After three flights and some 32 hours we will arrive in Zurich, catch a few trains and arrive in Stein, a village in Switzerland on the Rhine River.

My son Ben and his wife Sharon live there and we have not seen each other for nearly three years. Long overdue catch up.

Ben and Sharon….he hates having his photo taken. August 2019.
Wedding day photo.

After a few nights we start what is currently planned as a 3000 km, 25,000m ascent ride, starting and finishing in Stein.

The big, hairy, audacious plan

We will cross over the Rhine and head into Germany to avoid the busy Basel traffic, then crossing into France, where we will follow the Doubs River for a few days, before reaching the Loire River and following the river until it spills into the Bay of Biscay on the French west coast.

This first section is technically easier as it is not as hilly as later in the trip. But we have solid days. In fact our trip average is 114 km per day and around 900 m ascent.

Chateaux, castles, and history abound. Our route weaves around following the meandering Loire valley. We will reach Beaugency a town we stayed at in 2015 when we rode from Calais to Narbonne.

At the mouth of the Loire, Saint Nazaire we turn south for two days until we reach La Rochelle and ride to Il de Ra and island joined to mainland France by a long bridge.

Heading east we pass through many old and historic villages including Montlucon. It’s getting pretty lumpy now.

At Annecy we circumnavigate the lake before resting in town. Next day it’s off to Morzine, where Tony spent a few weeks in 2018.

Down to Lake Geneva, around past Chillon castle. I rode around this area in 2018 with broken ribs.

The Freddie Mercury statue and the IOC headquarters are a little further around the lake, and then we climb out of Lausanne and up to Lake Neufchâtel.

Lake Geneva

Getting hillier, we head towards Interlaken where we stay at Wilderswil near the famous Jungrau. If weather permits we will do the Kleine Scheidegg loop.

A brilliant loop under the face of the Eiger that is predominantly closed to traffic with the exception of the local postal service and school bus. We will only attempt this ride if the weather is good as it is some 1900 m climbing at altitude.

Luzern is next for two nights, providing another opportunity for riding around lakes and maybe a return ferry trip to Luzern.

Beautiful Lake Luzern

Then back to Ben and Sharon for three nights where I hope to be for a significant birthday with a zero on it. Ben and I share the same date and it was planned to be together in 2019.

Of course Covid could stuff up our plans but I guess that’s why we have the very expensive travel insurance.

So I harbour great hopes that I can get to see my son. Three and a years is a long time not to see someone you love.

My fingers are crossed xxx

Wild, wild (south) west

Holy moly, what a day. Today is one of those days that will never fade into oblivion, but forever be etched in our memories.

Three main reasons – firstly it required lots of body engine power with over 2300 metres climbing into south westerlies of up to 60 kmh gusts. Secondly – we bonked ( me more so) and thirdly, extraordinary views.

At the start of our day we received a call from a cycling/swimming friend Paul L who was riding while he talked. He wanted to tell us that he saw us crossing the Bridgewater Bridge the previous day, and wish us luck for the rest of the trip. As a surveyor he has been through many of our areas travelled and it brought back memories.

The first 30 odd km were ok, leaving New Norfolk early with a lighter breakfast, and plans to eat at either National Park or Maydena. For about 25 km we roughly followed the Derwent River.

The first small township we rode through was Bushy Park, with lots of hops growing in fields.

Grapes also featured. Very pleasant with the sun out and no wind at this stage.

Mt Field National Park was quiet and the cafe closed. It was 8.50 am so probably a tad early. The pub we are staying at tomorrow night looks positively deserted! The Tyenna River looked very nice.

Downhill section on route Maydena

Maydena was another 12 km further on and there were signs out for a cafe at a MTB business so we plodded on. Sadly when we got to Maydena the town was quiet and snoozy. We were excited to see the Open sign for the MTB cafe but turns out they leave it there 24/7. I find that annoying and false advertising.

We peered through windows as we could hear dogs, and a lady came out (coffee in hand!) saying they were not open. I made a suggestion that perhaps they should bring their signs in when closed.

We stopped for a breather here.

We rode through areas savaged by more recent bushfires.

From hereon in our day became difficult. We climbed and descended, climbed and descended with our elevation climbing until we were at 651m above sea level. This is also where the omnipresent wind decided it would stay with us for the rest of todays ride.

The elevation graph shows the nasty pinches.

The views were amazing with an array of mountains.

At the 80 km point I was bonked….meaning I was not keeping up enough nutrition for the physical efforts required, fluid was also low. I was dizzy and felt generally shite. We stopped and had one of our emergency bars and studied the maps for rivers. We had crossed and passed so many earlier, but when you need one, none to be found.

Fortunately some 10-15 km further on, Tony thought he heard a waterfall off the road in the dense rainforest and filled up our bidons. We figured being so remote, no chance of agricultural wash off, and we would take the risk, as we were both so very thirsty.

It did the trick and we both picked up heaps, which was good as those hills did not relent and we had head wind and gusts most climbs.

Shortly thereafter was this weird sign.

We had no idea what to expect. This surprised us as it does seem somewhat out of place given the remoteness.

Onwards we plodded with both Lake Gordon and Lake Pedder looming on our Garmin computer, but not in the vistas which were extraordinary by now.

Finally the first part of Lake Pedder, the McPartlan Pass canal. Interesting information including the fact that the scheme is three times the size of the Snowy Mountains Lake Eucumbene.

Lake Pedder

Lake Pedder, or the edge of it. I never saw the original Lake Pedder before it was flooded, but it was a truly magnificent from all reports. I dug out an old photo. Sally C (work contact from the Federal Government) is staying here with her husband who used to fly tourists in. He is unsure where this old beach is now given the extent of the damming.

We were very relieved to finally make it to our accomodation at Pedder Wilderness Lodge, formerly the Hydro village that the workers lived in during the construction of the dam walls. This is the view off the main dining area.

Our room is one of the cheaper ones, being former workers accomodation, complete with ear plugs. Guess the walls are thin?

Dinner, we had two options….5.30 pm or 7.30 pm…we laughed. We were starving and 5.30 pm suited us fine. First time this trip we had three courses and planning on leaving later tomorrow for their buffet breakfast. Main course I had a steak and Tony parmigiana.

A helicopter landed a while ago, and it was used to transport Parks and Wildlife staff who are staying here tonight too.

Thanks for reading….we’re knackered and enjoying sitting on the lounges overlooking Lake Pedder. As a certain famous Australian used to say ‘do yourself a favour’ and come and check out Lake Pedder.

The good, the bad, the ugly

Farewell to Sienna (the good granddaughter) and her mum and dad from Granny and Poppy Tony took time, as she stood and waved for many long minutes. We waited for her to pass us in the car for our final goodbyes.

My kids live wide and far (Hobart, Melbourne, Adelaide-Gold Coast and Basel, Switzerland) so I am fortunate that at least I live in the same state as Sienna despite still being over 300 km away.

After our final wave, we entered the max peak hour traffic heading out from Acton Park to the major highway that heads into the city. We hopped onto a gravel footpath to minimise impact, being tooted by my daughter in laws Mum as she headed off to work.

We headed via the Coal Valley to Richmond with one final view of the water.

The Coal Valley has some quirky named places, such as Peter Rabbit Garden, Puddleduck Vineyard, just down the road from Duckhole Rivulet.

Richmond is one of Tasmania’s oldest villages, initially established as a pioneering district within the Van Diemen’s Land penal colony.

It boasts Australia’s oldest existing stone arched bridge. Construction commenced in 1823 using convict labour from the nearby Richmond Gaol. The convicts were forced to mine the sandstone and then transport it to the site.

Earlier today a friend from my school days, Kim K told me that her husband has done extensive restoration work on the bridge throughout his career as a stonemason, having also repointed the entire bridge. What a great legacy to be part of.

My eldest son Joshua and his wife Kimberley had their wedding photos taken in the grounds of the bridge too.

The church spire belongs to St John’s Catholic Church and is considered to be the oldest Roman Catholic Church in Australia, constructed in 1836.

At the rear of Richmond Bakery is the Richmond Wine Wall with an array of barrels from local vineyards, promoting what is where.

A great courtyard to have some breakfast.

St Luke’s Church was built in 1834-1836 and is the oldest Anglican. church in Australia. The clock mounted in the church tower chimes each hour and is manually wound by a group of volunteers.

I like this church wall. Not sure of the story or history, but renovation work was taking place.

Leaving Richmond we headed out on a relatively quiet road to Tea Tree, a lovely rural area.

Lovely rural went out the window once we arrived in Brighton. It is busy and nothing attractive about it at all (the ugly). It is a busy necessity we must pass through, as happens touring. Weaving around we joined a three km bike route which was an excellent idea, but in need of some maintenance.

The Bridgewater Bridge and causeway are amongst my earliest childhood travelling memories, and I always wanted to see the bridge rise and watch a boat move through. I have seen it once, and I was in my early 40’s, so I had to wait many years.

Last view of Mt Wellington

Crossing the bridge, views to the south and north.

Head down we concentrated as we did the final leg to New Norfolk. The road was busy with varying verge. We arrived by 12.30 pm and were able to gain early access to our room, overlooking the Derwent River.

Fantastic accomodation, beautifully positioned we showered and washed our clothes, with the idea of walking back into town for a look. However, the best laid plans do not always work.

The washing machine cycle took an agonisingly long 90 minutes (that was a shorter cycle). Then the door would not open and the handle snapped off, leaving our clothes trapped inside (the bad).

That was a bugger kind of moment. In there were arm warmers, gilets, gloves of which we only have one pair each, plus jersey and bibs (we do have a spare pair). We tried and tried, watched You Tube videos and nothing worked. We advised the lady owner who was immediately scathing and grumpy.

Whilst Tony waited for her further advice, I walked the 2 km back into town to sort out dinner and destress! I also put a post onto FB seeking my friends wisdom. We tried a variety of their ideas, but the big winner was my Zwift friend James N who asked to see a photo of the lock, then suggested a flat knife….it worked!! Sounds like we will be charged for the service fee, travel and new lock…but we have our clothes!

Final view tonight as I look out our window. Incredibly peaceful. Big day tomorrow! Thanks for reading. Ooroo.

Cesky Krumlov

What a great name for a town. We are in the Southern Bohemian region of the Czech Republic and spending a full day in this historic town, centred around its castle, which is a UNESCO World heritage site.

The town’s name Cesky means Bohemian, and differentiates it from Moravsky Krumlov (South Moravia).

The castle commenced construction around 1240 by a local noble family.

Most of the town’s structures are Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque.

The photo below shows the extensive length of the castle complex, from the tower to the very left of the picture….and that is only part of it.

We walked up to the top of the tower, to the viewing platform. Great view of town and the third and fourth pictures show more of the castle.

One aspect I found really sad is the bear enclosure. The castle has had a history of bear keeping for 3 plus centuries, but this bear was pacing up and down. There are two parts to the enclosure, and the second part has water and vegetation. Sad way to live. I read that her partner, Hubert, died many years ago. Hubert had been born in captivity there in the 1990’s.

We visited a very weird art exhibition in the rooms underneath the castle. All of this ‘stuff’ was for sale. A lot of it verged on the macabre and you would think David Walsh would love it at MONA.

I also found a dungeon!

More views from various parts of the castle, as well as the extensive castle gardens.

Heading back to the tourism throng, you cannot help but to notice the proliferation of selfie sticks and posing going on. Cracks me up, and I do cackle. They can spend a significant amount of time taking these photos, checking, re checking, re taking until satisfied.

Tony found a shop and museum that intrigued him.

I found this sign inside another shop. Australian and Czech product all in one!

I do not believe I granted my IP rights for this replica?!?

I liked this door.

I love the way they create these ‘bricks’. Very effective.

We found the old Monastery and gardens.

We wandered around the river area. Rafting is a popular activity.

Then we found this….look who has reserved parking directly outside!

A few final pictures of this great little town.

We’re itching to get pedalling. Whilst it is good for your body to not pedal each and every day, particularly whilst we both have colds, we do not do this tourist role very well.

We have scheduled three days more riding, weather permitting. Stay tuned for our final few days.

Thanks for reading



Early morning start to head off to Aosta for our final Giro ride…a shorter ride that was to include a long climb of around 28 km to arrive in Cervinia, very close to the Swiss border, and not that far from the French border either. 6C3B6993-0DB3-43B8-8588-49A5D5784CA3

Two of Italy Bike Tours great team getting ready…Stephano and Roberto.


Riders getting ready….


I can’t forget Marco, another Team Italy Bike Tour member. He does not ride, but organises!


After a 10 km warm up we peel off to climb up Cervinia. Not as steep as Finestre (thank goodness) but a lot longer. 28 km of climbing is a long climb.

As is my preference with long climbs, I do it on my own…trying to maintain a consistent pace, cadence and wattage.


Looking at the climbing graph you can see it is a solid climb, starting at just under 500 metres above sea level, heading to just under 2000 metres, with 4 slight reprieves on the upward journey….small, but welcomed.

The temperature was in the high twenties and I sweated, necessitating a quick water bottle fill at a small Italian village..walking into a bar asking for some tap water.

Again, there were thousands of cyclists on the roads, some in small groups including one team wearing blue that had a strong cyclist with their hands across the shoulders of the second cyclist helping push them up the hill.

Electric bikes…there were a few of those. One lady went last me a few times motor whirring, and then she would stop…

An Italian rider asked me where Clive was??  ( I was wearing Italy Bike Tour kit, and Clive is the IBT owner). I told him ‘somewhere between the bottom and top’….but not riding! He laughed. I saw this guy a few times as he pulled over and was chatting away to people.

The higher you climbed, the temperature dropped, but the spectator excitement rose as you were cheered, had horns blared at you, and one couple rang their cow bells. Yes, gimme more cow bells!

More alcohol was being consumed and I was offered a glass of wine…and a sausage….there is a direct correlation between noise levels and alcohol!

Passing through the 25, 20, 15, 10 km banners they finally went 9,8 and so on until the 2 km mark , where they then drop by 100 metre increments…nice feeling!

I had been suffering painful stomach cramps the last 5 km or so and was keen to get to the bathroom!!

Down the finishing shute I was astounded by the beauty of the area. Cervinia is a valley of mountains, with the Matterhorn looming in front.

I could not get to the finishing line due to it being blocked by security forces some 200 metres out so that was it. Stop the Garmin!  Time to soak up the atmosphere and find a bathroom!

Alas, I needed to pack my bike up first, ready for the flight to Rome….then…..bathroom and then this…



Cervinia is an awesome village, skiing and rock climbing mecca. You could see people skiing high up.

After the race we wander around, finding gelato…and then the Wymper bar, dedicated to Wymper an English man who was the first to climb the Matterhorn.

Outside the skies were darkening, and then BANG! Thunder rolling around the valley and we all try to hotfoot it back to the sanctuary of our hotel, making it just before the rain bucketed down. Others were not so fortunate.

We stayed in Cervinia until about 10 pm, having a meal at the hotel just metres from the finishing line.

Late night as we arrived into Torino to prepare for a 4 am alarm to transfer to Rome and the Giro finale.


The amazing race

I awoke to this view at nearly 1900 metres in beautiful Jafferau, close to the French border.


Hotel Jafferau is right on the finish line of the days Giro..the race that will cover Colle Della Finestre ( that I climbed the previous day for a new ascent record), and a climb that we will do this morning from the town of Bardonecchia.


Some views as we get our bikes ready to ride.


We ride down the descent into the town, passing many cyclists and walkers heading up for vantage viewpoints for the Giro’s last climb and finish line. Some have camped overnight, and others are busy writing words of support for their favourite riders on the road.


A bunch of us go for a little extra 10 km ride directly towards the French border, passing through Melezet.



Back into Bardonecchia for a quick coffee, I am keen to complete the climb sooner than later given the number of people meandering up the narrow road. On the way to a cafe, there is a cycle museum displaying some old bikes.


Not sure my arms would be long enough…

Check out the drive mechanism

The streets are decorated…


Again I took no photos on the climb…it is a solid shorter climb of over 7 km.


It is a climb where there really is no respite. The temperature is really warm at around 29-30 degrees, and I am sweating.

I plug away, again using my power meter to sit on a wattage and not over extend.

There are people who cheer and encourage, some offering cups of wine, and a sausage!

I ride over fresh paint work with the artists still painting.

I need to call out to many walkers who meander all over the place without any thought of anyone else. It is really hard when you are climbing to meander around them, hoping they won’t suddenly veer.

However my biggest shout is reserved for a bunch of male cyclists descending towards me, hogging the whole road. I call out to them but they don’t fall into line until I shout something far ruder, but universally understood! They moved then!

Back at the top there is now heavy security in place and lots of obstacles..shower, change and a group of us sit and watch the race unfold on tv.

What a race. Froome had made his solo breakaway and we were all really keen to watch him, and the other riders climb Colle Delle Finestre, particularly the dirt section.

Froome handled it better than me 😂 and it certainly seemed to have dried out a lot more in the 24 hours. Other riders slipped and slithered at times, with the Maglia Rosa Simon Yates battling.

Once Froome hit the bottom of the climb we all went to find our positions…mine being up a bank…and this was my view as he heads to the finish line 50 metres away.

What an extraordinary rider Froome is

Quickly Froome is lost in that mass.


Now there are a lot of people up this slippery bank. I have my feet jammed against a tree to hold me, and there is this large Colombian man adjacent. He has come just to watch the Giro. He knows all the Columbian riders by sight, and there seem to be quite a few from his cheers.


Some of the police below me…


Many riders have crossed the line but we wait for the Maglia Rosa, Simon Yates, out of respect as the tour was just 3 days too long for him. He has lost over 30 minutes to Froome. We all felt for him climbing Fenestre knowing he was to lost the prized GC jersey.

Yates at the finishing line

Back to the hotel past the convoy of team cars. It was very subdued outside the Australian team car. Sad day for the Aussie team, but I guess realistically they were not surprised. Froome had to attack today, as he did with Zoncolon. Yates is young and hopefully he will get a major win in the near future with Australia’s only Giro/TDF/Vuelts team.


Many of the riders came past on the walk back and headed to the gondola for their trip back down the ‘hill’. It was a battle for them to get to the gondola.


Two riders at the back tying to make their way to the front



Was this Froome’s mode of transport? Certainly he would not have had to ride back down or nor did he catch the gondola. So either a team car or chopper.


Tomorrow is Cervinia…another decent climb to over 2000 metres over 28km of climbing, but not as steep as the last few climbs.

I cannot sleep and I am writing this at 3.30am! Must try a bit harder!




Pumped as….Colle Delle Finestre!!!! Yeah baby!!!

Big day! As you can see from the headline I was pumped, adrenaline charged….I wrote that headline just after uploading my photographs last night, still riding a surge of strong feelings at having achieved something big for me…it is now the next morning and I have slept, but have decided to keep the over the top title as it represents how I felt at that particular point.

First things first….

Dinner last night…I was charmed by this gorgeous young lad, the son of our former pro rider ( Vuelta stage winner) Daniele, with a visit to his his papa for the evening.


E83D9DD9-D72C-451F-865B-48461D0368A9In the morning we left Lake Iseo (I will be back there’s too) and headed  to Milan to watch the race start, surrounded by the team buses ( riders inside) heading up the highway and into the streets of Milan.

It was a very warming morning for a change, warm enough for a sleeveless dress! Rain was forecast for later in the day though.

It was pure chaos around the race start with so many spectators lining the area from the team buses to the stage where the riders present themselves to sign their names on the board.


Se tried to watch the riders head up to the stage along the road…



That was not easy either, as you can see.

However I got a much better vantage viewing spot for the race start.  Here they are still under a controlled start, following the Race Directors car out of Milan, allowing chit chat between riders.

In the picture below we have the Maglia Rosa, Simon Yates…and a yet to be identified rider seemingly smiling at my camera?


We then hot footed it over to where the Giro competes the following day, with incredible mountains around us. The nerves start to tingle, as I was very nervous and uptight.

Todays challenge was to climb Colle Delle Finestre, a mountain regarded by many pro riders as the third hardest Giro climb in Italy. It is located in the Piedmont region of Italy, close to the French border.

The climb starts at around 500 metres above sea level, and finishes over 2100 metres, so potentially my largest single ascent in one climb. My record was 1550 metres or so, in a single climb ( versus total climbing for a ride which includes all the ups).

The climb is about 17 km long and averages 10 percent. We were told that there are no flattish areas to recover, and that the last 7 plus km is ‘gravel’). Oh it just keeps getting better! Groan……  However, there is an upside in that the road has been closed already for the Giro ( due to the ‘gravel’ section, as apparently the local council have been working on the road). Sounds promising?

We started off with a warm up ride over reasonably flatish roads, a great idea so our legs and nubs are warmed up. I leave my warmer gear ( for the descent) in the van.

We converge at the bottom of the climb, but the van has not arrived with my backpack. This rattles me, as the descent will be cold. Daniele waits for the van promising to bring my riding backpack up on HIS back. Ok, nicely played Sharron 😊💪🚴

I sit with Roberto and we chit chat our way through 32 hairpins in the early sections….

Some of the hairpins from my ride data

We chat about life in general. I have a power meter on this bike and in the first 4 or so km I was riding above my FTP ( functional threshold power), pushing 210-220 Watts. Roberto suggests I drop it back to 165-185 watts, as it is a tough unforgiving climb. I follow his suggestion and go down one gear and spin more.

With 7 km to go we are at the ‘gravel’ section. I think that word is lost in translation. There is no gravel in sight, but slushy mud and patches of compacted mud is in plentiful supply….and I have to ride in this crap at 10 percent?

It is enough of a challenge on bitumen to climb km after km at that grade let alone unsealed.

It is soft and slippery, and I try to identify drier sections. Thankfully not many riders are descending and there are no cars.

There are sections of compacted gravel, at last!

I take no photos climbing but the wow factor view wise is huge. I did not want to stop for two reasons. Firstly, cooling down and more importantly recleating.

My ears keep blocking and I keep trying to yawn and clear them.

Roberto had a puncture 30m ahead of me…he told me not to stop, but I did for seconds just to see if he needed my help with his tyre …as if! 😂😂 He gives me a push and off I go.

Just over two km to go and a few hundred metres of climbing left and I know that I will do this.

Am I hurting? Oh yeah! My back is badly cramping and my legs are hurting, but I push on trying to follow Roberto’s instructions of not thinking about my back and concentrating on my legs.



I am pumped! I know that I have achieved something that many others can’t and I feel a lot of gratitude and a little emotion!

Daniele arrived before me ( surprise, surprise) and I throw on all my warm gear ( long leggings, arm warmers, jacket, snood, long fingered gloves).

It is really fresh at the top, but I grab a few photos. There is bitumen on the other side, but whilst it was planned for us to descend that way, we can’t due to a landslide further on preventing us turning towards our accomodation. So we need to descend down the unsealed road.



The mud, and looking down part of the climb. The snow is banked up over 2 metres on the side for a number of km.



The descent is slow, riding the brakes…don’t want to spin out and over the edge!

I take the opportunity to stop a few times on the descent and take photos.



Finally I hit the bitumen and speed up and really enjoy myself!

Here is my climbing graph…nasty! 1676 m of my days total of 1749 m is one climb only.  This is not something you can do in Tasmania, there are no climbs possible that provide the same ascent. One of the great ‘benefits’ Europe provides cyclists.



We arrive at our accomodation in Jafferau late… nearly 9 pm, so it’s going to be a very late night once we shower and eat.

I don’t get to bed until just before midnight…a four course meal was served!

So I achieved something today I did not think I could! Awesome!




Last minute look at Lake Garda just before departing….



FD818A3E-84ED-43B3-B631-BDD979081A66I love Lake Garda. I’ll be back!

We headed to a vineyard as each of the Giro celebrates Franciacorte as each year the Giro travels through a different wine area.  We learned about their winemaking, with most partaking in samples…not me, as given my rib, no way was I riding with alcohol in my blood stream.


Photographing our photographer Stephano

We then departed on our bikes heading to the race finish at Lake Iseo. Nice ride. When we arrived we decided to do extra and do a previous Giro climb of about 8 km.


Great views on the way up but I was not stopping…I just kept plugging away…turning at the top and then descending I stopped where a number of riders were taking photographs overlooking Lake Iseo.


Warm 26 degrees for the climb, but nice descent.

Back at our base camp we ate again….I really was not hungry…despite the course only being metres away, a group of us walked down to the finish line to check town out.

Found this beautiful old motor bike…


Another house well decked out….


Some guys I recognised…

Roberto and Clive, part of our crew lurking in town.

Found the shores of Lake Iseo…



Found gelato…this is Erin. I am adopting her! She and Hannah would get on great!


I liked this warning sign…


Loved this ladies shoes, ideal for riding a scooter…?


The winners champagne is all ready on the podium…


Then the rain came down ….after such beautiful weather all day…



Rain bucketed down…I got soaked…given the weather I just watched the metres out from the finish…,.woosh……

Our leader Daniele would be happy, his good friend and former teammate Viviani won.  I think it is about the fourth stage win at the Giro for him.

Tomorrow our plans are in disarray due to the earthquake and road landslip…so,the Giro is to be rerouted…us too….final details being nutted out as we speak.




Aussies rule!

Poor wifi again, and so far I have been unable to transfer my ride photos from my phone to iPad. Never goes….

Yesterday at the Giro was time trial day in the streets of Rovereto, some 17 km or so from Torbole, Lake Garda.

Many of us selected to go on a morning leg loosener down a valley, on a cycle path, behind Torbole  which was pleasant.

Upon returning we joined the rest of the riders to head to,the time trial. turn left out of the garage was a nasty 10 percent climb for over one km. I was so glad my legs and lungs were warmed up.


I did this same climb 2 years ago with cold legs..not nice.


Beautiful views from the top of the short climb. My photo for this is still stuck on my phone, but two years ago I took this one part way up ( as I stopped). Yesterday I did the 1km, 10 percent without stopping.


In Rovereto we were in a structure outside a local pub adjacent to the course, where we sat and ate and had a few drinks.


Wandering up to the finish line and back.  This is the view looking up towards the finishing line.


This building was adjacent to our viewing room.


Trying to get photos of fast moving cyclists is hard with my camera, but patiently I tried.  I got a few others from my vantage position.

Wine point had me wondering….

These two guys peeked my curiosity…


Then there was the race…

This guy I gave a good cheer to initially thinking it was Kiwi George Bennett, but got my Bennett’s all muddled up…this is Sam Bennet…the Irishman ( I think…..)



This guy got my loudest voice though….Aussie, Aussie, Aussie….Rohan Dennis who was the ultimate winner, resplendent in his very tight BMC skin suit. I could hear some of my fellow riders singing Waltzing Matilda a little further on.


Down to the top two riders on General Classification…

The chaser, Tom Domoulin.

Big cheers in the crowd for this guy…the maglia rosa’s arrival certainly stirred emotion in the crowds….Simon Yates powered past, very pained face, giving it all.

Simon Yates, current wearer of the maglia rosa

Today we head to Lake Iseo…hopefully better wifi at that hotel!!