Italy Day 2 – San Marino

Don’t worry I won’t bore you with a minute by minute run down of every day like I did yesterday. I’ll just post the basics where I can.

Breakfast was the same as yesterday but with better coffee.

A Bigger Ride

The ride they had planned for us today was longer, faster and a lot hillier. Only Bruce and Marco had signed up for it along with Chris and I. Our guide for the day was the powerful looking Andrea. Marco is actually called Marcus by the way but as I called Marco yesterday I’ll keep calling him that. He’s a giant German guy with an engine to match.

We were soon rolling our way out of Riccione and off into the hills. We passed through a few villages as we started to climb. We were making good time and setting a good pace but did drop Andrea and Bruce a couple of times so eased up for them.

By the time we got to a place called Mercatino Conca, Bruce decided to take a bit of a short cut. He’s been here loads before so knew where he was going and said he’d meet us at the San Marino border sign. Chris, Marco, Andrea and I continued on to Conca and then started the long climb up to Montegrimano. It was a fairly steady gradient most of the way and not too steep so we settled into a steady pace and spun our way up the climb. We did drop our guide Andrea though who seemed to be struggling at the back. I thought he was just letting us stretch our legs and would soon reel us in.

San Marino

Bruce was no where to be seen at the border into San Marino. It turned out later that we’d managed to miss him somehow but he had met up with another group and had ridden back with them. There are loads of groups out cycling here everywhere we go.

San Marino is one of the worlds smallest countries. Surrounded entirely by Italy it is only 23.6 square miles in area with a population of just over 30,000. Mount Titano, part of the Appennine range, dominates San Marino’s landscape. Three defensive fortresses perch on Titano’s slopes. Yes, we were going to the top!

After a bit of a descent we climbed for a bit before making a detour past a cable car terminal and through some tunnels to look at a railway.

We then started the climb once again to the top. The road snaked it’s way up to the capital of the country (also called San Marino) and then through it’s streets. It took us all the way to the citadel at the top on an ever increasing gradient.

It was a little hazy today but the views were spectacular nonetheless.

We retraced our tracks back down through San Marino and then down a long, fast descent to Fiorentino. The road then undulated for a while as we snaked our way through San Marino’s landscape. We headed back into Italy. At one point there was a really steep descent for a while and we all regrouped at the bottom. We then started the climb up to Verucchio.

We lost Andrea on the climbs again and he was now struggling. We stopped briefly on the cobbled streets of Verruchio before starting to make our way back.

Andrea was now a broken man so we did our best to nurse him home. I think we may have broken the guide today! Rather than take the more undulating road we took a flatter but not so nice road back towards Riccione. It took us back into San Marino briefly. It then included a stretch of busy dual carriageway which was a shame, but by now Andrea was getting dropped on the flat too.

We soon approached Riccione and passed a number of other groups of cyclists. Chris started to struggle a little on the outskirts of Riccione too and needed some fuel. Fortunately we were only a few kilometers from the hotel where a huge buffet lunch awaited. That prospect kept his spirits up as we rolled through town.

A good ride even if the guide didn’t think so. At 105km it was a nice distance with a decent amount of climbing. All in the sunshine through stunning scenery with a good group of people. Perfect.

Abundant snack polished off and we jumped on city bikes for a ride to the swimming pool complex.

The pool complex is an amazing place. Indoor and Outdoor Olympic sized pools. A smaller pool and a diving pool all surrounded by an arena. Unfortunately the outdoor pool was half empty and not open.

We didn’t fancy going indoors on such a nice day so headed back to the beach instead. Here we lazed in the sunshine and then went for a swim. Chris didn’t swim far today but I did a mile once again.

Dinner was delicious and huge and came complete with never-ending wine. We had plenty, had a chat with the owner again and then headed off to bed. They have a big one ready for us tomorrow – 120km and it includes the biggest climb around.

I still can’t get over quite how good the set up here is for cyclist. The Riccione Bike Hotels certainly know how to cater for us in every way imaginable and Hotel Gambrinus has been perfect so far.

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.