We are a group of friends who enjoy cycling together - every three years we find a new way to torture ourselves on bikes and then decide to get sponsored so that people can watch us suffer.

So after LEJOG (Lands End to John O’Groats) in 2004 and LeKnees (The Atlantic to The Mediterranean along and over the Pyrenees) in 2007, we are now asking you to support our L’Express ride: Paris to Venice in 2010.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Day 14: Campolongo Sul Brenta to Venice

We woke up to unexpected dark as the shutters in the apartment had been very effective, so we were a little later than usual in getting going. Breakfast was again an excellent, all you can eat of cereals, last night's dessert remnants (including tiramisu!), breads, jams, honey etc. Coffee was bad though (in case you think it's all roses!).We consumed quickly as we needed to get going, finished packing, paid the bill (75 Euros for all of us), and set off.
We awake to mist and murk at Campolongo
 Campolongo. Our little apartment for the night is in the building on the left. This is looking back the way we came the previous evening.
 Campolongo. The view from our apartment window.

The morning was very misty and murky with the surrounding mountains only appearing in brief glimpses. It was actually raining as we started, but warm and humid. We reached Bassano quickly, only able to detect the exit from the valley by a slight brightening of the light. The rain was slight at this point as we swept out of the town. Down the wrong road as it turned out! But this was not a problem, as it was probably a quieter route than it would have otherwise been and only added a couple of kilometres.

We picked up the road to Castelfranco easily after a short stop to buy brioche and almond pie at a delightful patisserie in Rosa (sadly we couldn't afford to buy the whole shop). This road was busy with lorries commonly passing too close for comfort. We made good progress though and passed through the margins of Castelfranco after about 40 minutes of cycling. The next section was on main roads, so for about 5 km was unpleasant, and we needed to pull aside on a couple of occasions to let traffic pass. The next road was fortunately wider, much less busy and almost pleasant.

We continued to make good progress until midday when we stopped for lunch at Scarze. Here we were entertained by parking escapades and trying to fend off some small biting insects that left John C's legs rather battle-scarred.

Continuing, we were amused to find that our end point kept getting closer by more than the distance we were cycling, so from initially expecting to have to do 90+ km, we now only had to do 79. The outskirts of Mestre were reached at 1.15pm, in dry but overcast and sticky weather. We managed to get through the town fairly quickly to the point where we reached the final road - an umbilical chord of road and rail that becomes a long bridge (causeway) linking us to Venice. We could find no cycle route so braved the dual carriageway. Traffic fortunately was fairly light. When we briefly did pick up a cycle route, this disappeared as if by magic, and we found ourselves making up a route that made its way around the University. A short burst of more dual brought us to the causeway, where there was a cycle route of sorts, comprising the gap between the crash-barrier and the  parapet. This was find to begin with, but then narrowed and became corrugated - a mild form of torture for tired and saddle-sore cyclists.

 Only the final causeway to negotiate ...

We are there!!

Finally we were there, passing the Venezia sign (brief photo stop) and into Venice itself. We rolled up to the bus station at 2.25pm to a delighted welcome from Blogging Support and the Little Supporters who were just starting to wonder where we'd got to. We had FINISHED.

Our day was polished off nicely when we sat this evening in a Venetian restaurant watching the boats go by in the rain, wearing our new L'Express t-shirts. Several people commented and were amazed at our achievement, including the owner, and keen cyclist and fan of Giro d'Italia and Tour de France himself, though he confessed that he was very pleased with himself if he managed to cycle from one end of the Venice Lido to the other and back in a day (22km)! As we left, a lady dashed up and pressed a £20 note into Roy's hand as a donation. True to form, we emerged into a complete downpour which is still going on as I sit typing this back at the hotel. Tomorrow we return by sleeper to Paris and then by Eurostar to London - we're not cycling home, despite what one of our questioners at the restaurant suggested!

Vital Statistics
 91km, 57miles, 4 hours 9 minutes in the saddle, 162m climbed, 3916 calories used, average speed 21.9kph (with wandering on foot at end included in this).

Total distances so far: 1464km (Jeremy), 903 miles (John C.)

1 comment:

  1. YAAAYYYY!!!!! Well done you all! (happy dance!)

    i was wondering how you were getting home - didn't think even the racing snake JR would fit in Tracey's luggage allowance....

    verification word:
    dexaa - noise made when slipping on a wet wooden patio....