Day 3 of the Italian Lakes cycle tour was the day I had trained for. This day was a biggie: roughly 100 miles, 10,00ft total climb including the Madonna del Ghisallo; being the patroness of cyclists, I had to try.
After 25 miles on the saddle, under the hot, 38 degrees Celsius weather, we for a quick coffee in the glamorous town of Bellagio, looking out over Lake Como – the lake we’d been cycling along ever since we left the town of Como that morning.
Re-energised, we set off. Even the road out of Bellagio was steep with at least 3 hairpins!
The aim was to never stop; keep the legs turning no matter how steep it got. It was hard, but every time I started doubting whether I could finish it – I saw lyrics from famous Madonna songs; the crew had been up first and written some inspirational messages along on their directional arrows along the way.
I found myself praying my bike would magically develop lower gears. Unanswered prayers! Various Madonna songs in my head did, however, provide a distraction from the burning in my thighs. A far greater distraction was the breathtaking views. But there was no stopping to take pictures – momentum was key here.
As we neared the top, we saw our names in chalk on the road – the extra boost we all needed.
By some miracle, I did manage to get to the top. Being met by a round of applause from other cyclists and the crew was fantastic! I felt a huge sense of achievement! I’d do it again!