We start the day with a car accident. The bikes are unloaded and we are on them. It's another scorcher, so we're ready to ride by 7:30 a.m. We're filling the last waterbottle when an 84-year-old Italian man backs out of his garage and into the side of the van.
It's nearly two hours of broken Italian, animated gesticulating, police and rental car accident claim forms, and visits from all residents of the town who want to know why the foreigners and the police are there. Then we're finally on our bikes, and we're climbing, and it's hot.
Today's route has more of the surprisingly challenging rolling ups and downs. Eryn gets a double flat when she hits a grate in the road at the bottom of a fast downhill. Her rims are fine and we fix the flats in record time.
We're back on the road and we finish the first climb into San Marco de Cavoti by 10:30 dripping wet with sweat. We're supposed to pass through this delightful cobbled town, do a big loop and then end the day back here.
We duck out of the sun for five, which turns into an hour stop as the crew searches for more water (no fountain in this town) and we eat lemon gelato in an attempt to cool down. I get the barrista to make me an iced coffee.
Water stores restocked, we rip down one steep hill and up another. Our route is closed by construction. We pick an alternate, but it's not taking us in the direction we need to go. We grind back up into San Marco in our easiest gear and try another route out of town. We end up in a tangle of winding alley-like passageways. The car can't get through. We climb back up the hill to San Marco, and we try a third exit from town.
The downhill is massive. It feels like payback from days of gaining altitude. We soar, we fly. We hit the bottom of the hill and the town of Remo and Eryn flats again.
The rest of the team hides in the shadows of the church while Eryn heads back to town in the car to find a valve stem extender. We're out of tubes to fit her wheels. It takes an hour. When she gets back, it's 102°F. We call it.
It might seem anticlimactic to end this journey without an epic day of riding to cap off the rest of the epic week of riding, but we bring things to a close with a picnic lunch in the park across from the church in Remo.
In a way, it's the perfect ending. We've had an epic adventure, we've pushed ourselves physically, and we've been flexible and adaptable and maintained a good attitude even when we were dog tired and Rob the videographer needed us to drop downhill five switchbacks and ride up again. We've maintained patience, perspective and attitude under physical stress and exhaustion. We rode hard, we had fun, we wore through some tires. It's a wrap.
Today's stats: 22 miles; 3,000 feet elevation gain; 102°F.