After 5 days exploring Rome it was time to start our Italian Pursuit - 12 days of cycling in the north of Italy with the final 3 days chasing the Giro d'Italia.
Part 1 of our Pursuit was 2 days based in Lecco on the beautiful Lake Como. Upon arrival at the excellent Il Griso Hotel on the shore of the lake opposite the main town of Lecco, it was time to put the bikes together and hope that the luggage gorillas at the three airports we transited through hadn't been too rough and one of our bikes was damaged. Unfortunately both bikes suffered some minor damage with the right brake hoods bent inward on both bikes. Craig's bike had also been knocked off its internal frame and the right rear dropout was slightly bent - fortunately it was possible to do a running repair and all should be ok.
After putting the bikes back together it was also time to go for a quick pedal to get a taste of riding on the other side of the road and remembering to look left at roundabouts and intersections!) and also to make sure the bikes worked as they should. Riding around Lecco was a little hectic but good fun all the same taking in the awesome view and atmosphere of very beautiful place indeed.
Unfortunately before dinner it started to rain and when we awoke for our second day in Lecco the rain had definitely settled in. The forecast for the next couple of days was also for more rain. Having come half way around the world we were going to ride regardless of the weather.
Our planned outing for day 2 was to depart Lecco then ride to Bellagio for morning tea and coffee beside the lake before tackling the iconic climb to the Madonna del Chisallo chapel but due to the rain our coffee stop was cancelled.
The ride to Bellagio was ok if wet and cold - a sign along the way said it was 11c but riding along Lake Como was something special and one can easily imagine why the rich and famous have villas here.
After a quick visit into Bellagio to say we've been there, done that it was time to tackle the Ghisallo.
The climb to the chapel is approx 10km & and in two steps with a gradient average of ~5% with the steeper sections to ~10%. The training we had done before the trip had us well prepared for such a climb and having ridden it the average gradient belies the perceived gradient.
At the top of the climb it was a brisk 8c and after a quick visit to the chapel and adjoining museum most adjourned to the warm bus & no more riding for the day.
Craig and a few others wanted to ride the descent down to Asso but it was too cold for Craig about 3/4 of the way down where his shivering made his bike get the "speed wobbles" and he decided to wait for the bus.
Despite it being wet & cold with limited views of Lake Como on the climb it was a great ride and one to surely remember.
To celebrate the end of our stay in around Lake Como we had a very special dinner high above the town of Como over looking the lake at a restaurant patronised by the rich and famous. In fact, where we sat was the same spot as Hugh Jackman had previously and apparently George Clponey & Robert de Niro had dined at nearby tables.
Below are a selection of photos from the two days in Lecco. Next stop is Bormio for 4 days where we will tackle the Stelvio & Gavia climbs to name a few and will be Part 2 of our Italian Pursuit.
Ciao for now.