Powered by Parmesan

Day 5: Poggibonsi-Viterbo, 113 miles Franca packed us off with a sandwich bag full of Parmesan cheese this morning. She clearly knew we were in for another hilly day! 

I've never had cheese to fuel me on a ride but wowzers, it was superb. Salty yumminess which didn't go all soggy like a cheddar would, even after 8 hours in 30 odd degrees. Thank you Franca!

We rode through some more magical (and hilly!) Tuscan countryside and passed a few other cyclists. Every corner we went around led to more hills and unforgettable views.

After Siena we were on the SR2 road which goes all of the way to Rome. Thankfully it's a lot quieter in most parts than the motorway. We took a very short detour to fill up our water bottles and climb up to the incredible little village of Bagno Vignoni with its baths in the main square. 

In hindsight we probably should have stopped for lunch at this point, but it seemed a bit early, so we carried on....and on. Then had an emergency cereal bar when the garage was shut and we realised we had another 8km to go to the next village. What we didn't realise is that it was 8km up. 

 By the time we arrived it was 2.15, we had done 62miles since 0830 and I was somewhat broken and went straight for the bread as soon as they put the basket on the table.

A plate of pasta did the trick and we continued south, knowing we had another 50 to go, at least another 3hours of riding.  

One of the main targets for the afternoon was to get to Lago di Bolsena. When it appeared in the distance it was a real relief.  We chose to go around the west side... we probably gave ourselves a bonus 30km. Doh!

The views were awesome.  We were even treated to a gravel stretch of road...

And a 20% hill which is always welcome with 20 miles to go.

Once again we clearly didn't take any notice of elevation. It turned out to be 4 hours of riding after lunch and we finally arrived into the cobbled maze of Viterbo at 7pm. We seem to finish every time with a bitch of a hill. Perhaps that will change, but not tomorrow!

Today's food: cereal & pistachio yogurt (do they exist in the UK?? They really should), a peach, an apricot and a piece of toast with jam. Parmesan, chocolate croissant mid-morning, parmesan, tribe bar which nearly ended up being lunch around 1.15pm, parmesan, plate of pasta (with parmesan) at 2.30, more parmesan. Crap no more parmesan but I'm going to cry soon...I needed soreen mini lunch box loaf around 5.30.

Some figures: 2: the number of Italians who told us we are crazy today. 5: raindrops I felt.

32mph- the fastest speed I saw on my speedo. 

4.8mph- the slowest I was crawling uphill at one point.

3:45 the time we left Tuscany behind and entered Lazio.

Day 5 glove/watch mark: