20 Mar

Where is Option C? Cycling in the sea of hills.

I have been riding in the Parma-Bologna-Reggio region for the past two weeks and I should know it by now. Once you are in the hills, there is barely a flat spot. But I keep getting too excited on the first climb, only to die on the next. My riding buddy told me 100km roundtrip. It will take us 4 hours. That should have been an indicator already that the climbing will not end after the first climb. So heading out on the flat from Reggio we were climbing up to Baiso again – 7km climb, consistent in its gradient. A climb you can really get into a rhythm. I liked it. Well, it became a time trial effort and I was quite exhausted once on the top. I thought to myself, great, the next….I looked at my Garmin….60km…ahem…we only have ridden 40km by now??? Ouch! My riding buddy gave me some indication what’s ahead and besides a tough 1km climb, it seemed I could take it easy now. He definitely didnt exaggerate about the steepness of the climb to Valestra. But from there on, downhill!

Climbs everywhere. So many options. It was hazy today so the views were not super spectacular.
So, still recovering from the effort up to Baiso, I had the return back home in my head already, sailing all the way downhill. Then my riding buddy said: Monika, we got two options. Either a 8km steep climb or a 10km gentle climb. What do you prefer? Okay, these were not exactly the options I had in mind so I had to refocus my mind. I took option B and we rode up to Toana. You have a pretty good view while climbing up to Toana. A sea of hills everywhere. The view distracted me from my attention-seeking legs.

Once in Toana, we grabbed a coffee, admired the snow-capped mountains which seemed so close. My riding buddy gave me three options this time for the return trip. I took the easiest option as my legs were truly fried by now. We were heading the same way back with a little detour to avoid the Baiso climb. This is a great ride for everyone as you can make it very hard (Just smash it up Baiso!) or take it easy. Coffee in Toana is highly recommended. And check out the views to your left!

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