Day 3 - Saturday 31st Sept, 2017
My first task was bicycle maintenance. A few spokes in the rear wheel were loose - I’d read that at 200km re-tensioning was common.
Before breakfast, I took a test ride to Piazza del Campo, where the crazy horse race has occurred twice yearly since 1633. On our Italy trip in 2008, I’d cycled here from San Gimignano in to meet the family in this square. This time I got equally as lost, on the narrow, step stone streets. The bike repairs appeared to have worked.
After a big breakfast, I cycled 28km back to Siena. It has 3 big climbs (550m) and also some long downhills- a ride I’d do 6 times in my visit.
Gaiole was very busy. I didn’t wait 3 hr at the bicycle mechanic and opted at more self repairs on the loosening bottom bracket.
My one purchase was a cycling cap, which fits nicely under my helmet. Then I browsed the crowded markets again and resisted purchasing some tempting parts.
On the return cycle, I noticed a lot more cyclist out. It was possible to hire a €1500 bicycle for €300 for the event, to be deducted for the price if purchased.
At the top of the long climb to Castelnuovo Berardenga, I decided it was worth a photo stop and chatted in English/Italian/jestures to fellow cyclist on the same route. About half of these castles are renovated and the other boarded await TLC.
Being Saturday night in a tourist rich town, I had trouble finding a table. The restaurant I chose ended up filling up and the sliced beef, salad & sliced Parmesan was an excellent choice. Naturally, with a long ride ahead I opted for pasta main.
It was to be an early start and I went to bed with the excitement and anticipation of a ride that many describe as one of the toughest organized bicycle rides.