We debated plans for Day 7, slated to be a short easy ride to the Adriatic—a recovery day prior to Fondo Leopardiana.
First, we considered transferring by van back to Old Baldy and riding 75 miles to the Adriatic by a new route. On the plus side, that would indisputably connect the final dots in our Sea-to-Sea journey, allow us to take in the “most unbelievable scenery” of the trip and get us to the Adriatic a half-hour north of where we had intended (i.e. closer to Recanati, site of the condo). The drawback would be that it required an early start—something we were not good at–, 2 hours of van-loading and transfer, and jeopardize our arrival at Recanati by 5 PM to register for Sunday’s Fondo Leopardiana.
In the end, we decided to just get on our bikes in Ascola Piceno and ride to the Adriatic. Who wants to spend two hours driving to ride? We came up with a new route to the Adriatic though, a longer, more scenic route that included a major climb.
It continued to rain during the night, punctuated by a fierce storm around 5:30 AM. The weather report called for 50% chance of rain until noon, then diminishing probability, and the rain had largely stopped by the time we mounted our bikes at 10 AM.
We began climbing as we left the city limits, 22 km (13.5 miles) and 700 m. vertical (2,300 ft.). Clouds hovered on adjacent mountains, while microscopic raindrops danced around us, dampening us but never quite amounting to rain. Views back to the valley were magnificent, but the gang was focused on getting to the top of the mountain and away from the threat of rain. When I stopped to take a picture, the others kept riding and I fell far behind. ‘No more rain–just get to the seashore!’ seemed to be the sentiment.
We regrouped briefly at the top, then promptly rode into a rain shower as we started to descend. We began to cross frequent mud and gravel washes from the night’s heavy rains and we had to roll cautiously. Mud turned out to be the defining theme of the day, and before long we looked like ditchdiggers. Intermittent showers would clean our shoes, helmets and bikes up a bit, then we’d hit more mud across the road and revert to the ditchdigger look.
Amid all this, the surroundings melded from high alpine to long hill vistas to rolling Marchi farmland, all dotted with small towns, all very lovely and scenic. This was turning into a varied and spectacular ride.
Around 1 PM we arrived at Carassai, a small town 400 m. above sea level, and got our first glimpse of the Adriatic about 8 km. to the west.
The sun was breaking through the clouds and the temperature was up to 70 degrees. Life was beautiful again.
We glided the winding road down to the Adriatic, admiring the frequent vistas to the blue sea. At 1:30 PM, we began arriving by ones, twos and threes in Pedaso where we met the Adriatic and our important photo op. Sea-to-Sea, with only a short break in between!
We washed our bikes in the Pedoso town fountain while waiting for the others to arrive. Then we loaded up the vans and drove to Recanati to register for the Fondo Leopardiana.
Distance: 47 mi.
Vert: 4,062 (Charles on-bike Garmin)