“The daily distance was never going to be the challenge. Averaging 37 miles (60km) a day was fine but there were other factors I did not appreciate before setting off. Keeping your concentration on the roads when there are stunning vistas all around, is tricky. Finding a way to capture a photograph from the best possible angle is another unforeseen problem. Trying to get back on the bike after an incredibly delicious 3 course lunch of fresh local produce is possibly the hardest task. But you forget all these things when you’re riding. I had to pinch myself several times at the rewards of a summit finish.
Some of the climbs were tough but the gearing on our BMC Teammachine CLR03 was perfect. None of the gradients ever got above 9% and were generally steady climbs on quiet roads where it would be easy to stop for a photo or have a rest.
Our cycling started when we rode up the famous Poggio climb; the ascent felt easy as it is not steep and the knee felt good. This continued throughout the week and a great sense of achievement awaited us all as everyone got to the top of the various cols, mountains and hills. Being first to the top of the climb to Saint Aignes gave me a few minutes on my own to enjoy the breath-taking panorama – definitely one of the many highlights of the tour.”