January 4

Best day of the trip so far.  Had a decent night’s sleep, woke up a couple times but it was quite cold.  Left earliest so far, camp was all packed away by 8 and we had were on the road by 8.30am.  Roads were absolutely deserted and there was a hard frost all around.  Cycling along, I was thinking to myself most people would think me mad, bundled up against the cold on a Sunday morning at 8.30, and to be fair, in another time I would have thought the same.  But it was glorious.  The roads opened up to us, and we breezed through a few towns before we were stopped by some cops who told us we were on a motorway.  Oops.  They gave us directions for a road that ran parallel to the motorway most of the way to Ancona, so we headed off.  Forty five minutes later, after tracking around a lot of tiny back roads, we were able to find it. 

It wasn’t much of a road, and most of it was quite pedestrianised, so it was a little slow going, but in no time at all we were in Rimini.  We met a nice older couple who were planning to cycle from Canterbury to Rome in July of this year and chatted to them for a while, before setting off again from Rimini.  I was determined to break 100k. From Rimini, we headed along a beach road all the way to Cattolica, and from there, as the man had told us, there was a small mountain.  It took us five minutes to climb to the top and we laughed at him for being old and weak.  Sitting at the top, eating lunch, I had a sneaking suspicion we were not at the top.  Tiny mountain turned out to be about right – we had a lot of climbing in store for us.  It was an absolutely stunning ride, but quite tough, especially as we’d grown accustomed to flats.  The views were easily the best we’d seen so far, and once we were at the top, at a little walled village, we could see for miles.  Absolutely amazing.  Riding down from the top to Pesaro took about half an hour and we were making such good speed we pushed on quickly to Fano.  Although the hill past Cattolica was tough, the hill from Pesaro to Fano was so much worse, just very steep, and we both found it very tough.  Fano itself looked beautiful, walls and churches abounded, and I would love to have been able to spend more time there, but our legs were in full steam, so after a quick orange break we were back on our bikes to head to Senigallia.  We didn’t make it, stopping just outside of town after picking up some dinner and fruit for breakfast, and tomorrow we should make it a fair way past Ancona.  Very good day, with some beautiful climbs and views and we finally broke 100k which I am very chuffed about. 

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