Just finished what must be one of the most difficult rides of the whole Bath to Rome journey. A tough 21km trip with an elevation of 256m! My body is shattered. Okay, obviously this was a very easy ride (the shortest in fact) compared to all the other rides Phil has completed thus far. This week alone, he has cycled 326km, climbed 3,121m, and cycled for 17hrs and 51mins. It has been the biggest week of the trip, so he was looking forward to today’s extremely easy journey to our next campsite, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to cycle with him.
We spent a relaxing evening in the quaint town of Sutri. It was a lovely little village nestled into the hills. We went out for dinner in a cozy, family run restaurant, polished off a bottle of wine to celebrate Phil’s 2,000 mile mark achievement, and then chilled out for the rest of the night.
This morning we had a less than healthy breakfast of croissants and pound cake. Phil usually eats porridge before tough rides, so I took this as another sign of just how easy today would be. Off we went, moseying along the bumpy pavement of Italy, doing our best to avoid all the pot holes and cars whizzing by. Then all of a sudden there was a very (not so very) steep hill. The struggle began. Phil paced on ahead of me making it look annoyingly easy, while I put all my effort into every pedal. My legs were burning. Wasn’t expecting this. We stopped on the side of the road for a rest and Phil pointed out that I was in the wrong gear (still don’t understand how these gear things work). So Phil fixed that for me and on we went. It was easier than before, but I was still so exhausted and felt like the hill would never end! Phil rode behind me and tried to be super encouraging saying things like, “You’re doing good Brands,” and “You’ll definitely fit into that dress you bought after this!” I no longer cared about fitting into any dress. I just wanted this whole ordeal to be over. “Should’ve had Keith pick me up in the van like he offered,” I thought to myself.
We took another break on the side of the road. I couldn’t stop panting and kept thinking, “I don’t know how Phil does this.” I also kept saying, “My legs feel like jello,” which Phil found hilarious for some reason. I wasn’t feeling very humorous at that point. We powered through, well I powered through while Phil took my backpack off me and followed me at my snail’s pace. Finally, that never-ending hill came to an end and we were treated to a long downhill. I felt that I was flying along at top speeds! But then so many other cyclists zoomed right by us, and Phil later pointed out that I was going so slow down that hill. Explains why my hands were so sore from pressing those brakes for dear life. We eventually arrived at our destination at Lake Briacciano. I pretty much collapsed on the ground while Tim and Phil laughed at me. Some of us just aren’t in very good shape…oops!
Yep. I have a new appreciation for just what an accomplishment this is for Phil. It really is amazing to think about how far he has come since starting in Bath 3.5 months ago. And to think he did it all while having to stand while pedaling! He really is an inspiration, and I couldn’t prouder of him.