The Jewish News is following the progress of Ben Miller, who is taking part in the Langdon International Cycle…
The Dawn Rises
It turns out that 4am is as unpleasant a departure time as it sounds. Gatwick is further from North London than is sensible (nearer Brighton than London if you check). The back seat of a Ford Galaxy is not designed for full-size people. Easyjet bag drop is the most tedious part of the journey, except if you arrive late, they rush you to the front of the queue. (No, I didn’t benefit – my comrades-on-bikes did, after I spent 30 minutes waiting.) But security was slick and quick, and Starbucks had no queue. Easyjet make you throw your coffee away in the lounge, ostensibly for safety, but I suspect it’s more to make you buy resentments on board. So I snuck my lukewarm latte through and so far no-one has been injured. Except one of our riders who I just discovered broke both wrists, several ribs and punctured a lung skiing recently, and is nonetheless with us for some serious cycling.
Lago di Garda
After the typical, yet inordinate faffing, we got cycling from Mori. Starting with some gentle cycle paths, just the odd 10% climb thrown in. First stop is here – shores of Lake Garda.
Heat and hills
The head is even tougher on the hills. We’ve had our first decent climb, 2-3km at 7%. It seems a lot more in 30°C.
The first day:
The first day’s riding is over. We are now gathered at a very nice hotel, with two pools we’ve checked out, and we’re about to head into dinner.
The ride was reasonably tough, although pretty short – under 50km (http://www.metric-conversions.org/length/kilometers-to-miles.htm). It was seriously hot, with some decent climbs. But most special was the scenery. Towering hills, steep gorges, ice blue lakes, and beautiful villages. I apologise for the lack of photos, but look up Terme di Comano and look at the images to get the idea.
These first hills allow everyone to get the measure of their own fitness and strength. Some were very happy, some less so, but everyone worked hard.