Italian title: Lui Cycles, Lei Corre
(I’m burning up Google Translate here.)
– Vattaro, Trentino Aldige, Italy
People are usually surprised when they travel with Matt and me and realize we don’t spend many of our days together. He’s an early riser and likes to get a cup of coffee, then grab a bike and explore. I, on the other hand, like a slow roll out. I want to drink tea while piddling around, reading, listening to music, soaking up the scenery from our balcony or room window. Fully awake an hour or so later, then I’m ready to explore.
Depending on the bike’s quality, landscape, and cycle-friendly (or not) roads, he’ll usually ride anywhere from 20-70 miles. For this trip, he brought his own (new Pinarello) bike – the cycling is just too good to rely on a rental (at least that what he says.) Here in the Vigolana mountain range in Italy, he’s been logging in about 40-50 miles/day with massive climbs. This area really is a cyclist’s dream. In fact, we are counting the days until Stage 15 of the Giro d’Italia comes through our little town of Vattaro this Sunday, 24 May. The first climb will be up La Fricca. “Our mountain.” (More to come on the Giro as well as Matt’s recommended cycling routes in the area.)
The breathtaking scenery is prompting me to increase mileage as well. From our front door in Vattaro there are a couple of out-of-this-world 5 mile routes to the holiday hotspot of Lago di Caldonazza (yeppers, 10 miles round trip.) The most challenging offers a mix of scenic landscape, charming villages, and a historic church and cemetery.
From Vattaro, run through the quaint neighborhood of Mandola to the historic town of Bosentino, follow signs for Santa Caterina. The route to this small village and it’s namesake church takes you up (and up) through farmlands and forests revealing a slice of traditional bucolic living between villages; from the church, you enjoy a switchback-filled decent to the northern end of the lake. The second route is slightly gentler on the going, but the return begins with a hamstring killer (again, up and up.) From the center of Vattaro, run towards the Pine trail toward the hamlet of Campregheri. The shaded dirt track can be a godsend in the midday heat, plus it overs stunning views of the surrounding valley. Once you reach Campregheri, there are a few routes, all with good signage, to Caldonazza.(Do your best not to get distracted by the great little bar and fantastic restaurant in Campregheri.)
Following our individual athletic pursuits and explorations, we always have a plan for an afternoon meet up for more sightseeing or just for apéritifs. I’m convinced these separate interests and excursions are a key to our happy marriage while traveling (as well as at home.)
We spend hours telling each other about everything each saw that day, sharing photos and stories about encounters with locals, and plotting routes and meet ups for the next day. It’s not for everyone, but this system works great for us. Independence meets togetherness. We’re stronger because of it, and to sustain this kind of travel, you need (correction: have) to be.
Here are a few more pics from last week’s rides and runs: