Following the coast south

Day 9: Sapri to Amantea, 86 miles Something of a shock to the system today. After arriving in darkness last night, it felt very surreal to be pulling up at our hotel around 1630! But it's been so nice to have an extra couple of hours... we could do our washing, which we failed to do last night. It's quite a routine you get into: arrive, shower/hand wash clothes/food bed. Last night it was arrive/food/shower bed! 

We left Sapri around 0900 after an entertaining breakfast with our host Barack...

Giocondo certainly made sure we left with full bellies.

The first 26 miles or so out of Sapri were beautiful and hilly. 

Parts reminded me of western Mallorca; quiet roads and impressive coastal scenery.

We even saw Italy's version of Rio!

Then the SS18 turned into a busy main road which was actually fairly dull. Again we hugged the hard shoulder and made sure we had our lights on going through the many tunnels. The Italians like their tunnels almost as much as their mopeds. They are pretty scary on a bike. But they all have names. As do the bridges. 

By lunch we had only covered around 30miles but the road flattened out and the afternoon really felt like a couple of time trials, split up by....an ice cream stop. We had to make tactical decisions about coming off the main road, because for large stretches we were essentially stuck, with just a hard shoulder for company. It meant we made swift progress because when traffic is whizzing past, it makes you want to go quickly too.  

It's funny what goes through your mind. I thought I'd spend two weeks with loads of thinking time about life, work etc... but actually all I can think about is keeping going and mentally trying to break up each day, thinking:

"Am I hungry?"

"Why does this feel so damn hard?"

"I feel great" (for a few minutes.) "God my shoulder hurts."

 "Arghhh I need to stretch out."

"Balls, my Garmin has run out of battery." 

"Keep you eye on Rich's wheel. Don't let the elastic snap." 

"Pants, he's getting away.  Don't let him go too far ahead." 

"Are we eating enough?" 

"This whole thing has been utterly mad but incredible." 

You get the idea! 

For large parts we are lost in our own little worlds, which is why the extra time chilling on the beach this evening and catching up and reflecting on things so far was pretty special.

Some Stats: 

5hr 43 riding

Avg speed: 14.95mph

Ascent: 1,355m

Descent: 1,358m

Today's food:

Breakfast: Two cappuccino, one mini croissant, two mini biscotti (they love sweet treats for breakfast), one piece toast with homemade jam, cherries, melon, fresh OJ. Mid-morning: slice of leftover cake Mrs Giocondo had used to try to revive us last night. Lunch: cheese ham, tomato, lettuce folded sandwich.

Espresso and my first chocolate bar!!!!! Needs must and I had to buy a snickers. It set me up nicely for the pm. Mid-afternoon: gelato. Ten minutes before arriving at hotel: I decided I needed fruit, saw a Lidl and wolfed down a banana and a peach. 

The watch/glove hilarity continues: 

Tomorrow we will reach the top of the boot!!!!