Cycling Europe Day 28: Big Dreams

Dream. Dream big dreams. Leave the small dreams for those who are content to have

It was a misty upwards cycle this morning.

It was a misty upwards cycle this morning.

them. Discover what you are good at and then have faith in what you know you can do. Never allow others to make you doubt yourself. Often, their doubts are simply reflections of their own self-doubts. Dream. Dream big. And believe in yourself. Believe in yourself. Believe in yourself.

I have no idea what happened today. Whatever it was, thank you, God.

This is what I posted on Facebook last night before I went to sleep:

1. This campsite is giving me the impression that Italians travel in very large numbers.
2. I have two large mountains to climb tomorrow, it seems.
3. It’s raining.
4. I’m in a tent.
5. The weather report predicts rain tomorrow.
6. I will be on a bike.
7. I predict lots of wetness.
8. I’ve had a headache all day and just took the last Panadol tablets I had.
9. I’m going to have to have a late start tomorrow to make sure I eat a proper breakfast. The restaurant here opens 7 or 8 depending on who you ask.
10. I’m pretty sure there’s an ant or two running around in my underpants. We’re just going to have to get along together.

I was worrying about having a tough day the next day especially because I wasn’t feeling very well yesterday.

I had looked at the route that my GPS suggested I take. It involved cycling up two 500 – 700 meter mountains. The weather reports weren’t good. And it rained all night.

I woke up to a drizzle but I was feeling better than the previous night. I really do sleep well in that tent, I must admit. I had breakfast just after 8am when the camp restaurant finally opened. It wasn’t a big breakfast. In France, I was always served large quantities of food. In Italy, I’ve had to order more plates of food because one or two are rarely enough. Regardless, it was a breakfast. And I had my morning dose of tea, which I didn’t manage to get yesterday. Maybe that was it?

I don’t depend on my GPS any more. I turn it on to know what road I’m on and to see which direction I’m heading in. It also saves my daily cycles for me for future reference: route, distance, elevation, time, etc. But I now depend more on choosing my own route on my digital map and on asking locals for directions on the best way to get somewhere. I’ve found Italy to be really good with their street signs. Ever since I’ve arrived that’s been what I’ve been following. I find out which towns. I need to pass through and just follow the signs to them. This morning I asked the nice lady at the camp reception what the best route was to Alessandria. She immediately explained what I needed to do. She was confident. I’d climb a mountain for about an hour but then it was flat. I followed her directions. Maybe that was it?

I set off on a misty morning, found the turn off that eventually leads to Alessandria, and cycled for 17km up a mountain. Mountains such as this one don’t phase me anymore. I’ve done longer and steeper. I find a comfortable gear and pace and I just keep going. The visibility was very poor for much of the way and the mist was wet. But I’ve done this before. I’m getting accustomed to it. Maybe that was it?

When I hit the top of the mountain, the mist lifted and the downwards slope was gradual and comfortable. It is Sunday today so the road wasn’t busy with cars. It didn’t seem like it would be very busy on a weekday. And then the road went flat. I waited and waited for a second mountain. I was almost sure there would have to be one even though I wasn’t taking the route suggested by the GPS. There wasn’t one. It was just nice, flat road. Maybe that was it?

I went up the mountain slowly. I’ve been generally slow on this whole trip. But today, once I hit the flat part of the road, I had wings on my feet for most of the way. Perhaps the wind was at my bike pushing me along. Maybe that was it?

Whatever it was, I left Arenzano much later than I normally leave my starting point each morning. Although there was a bit of mist and damp at the start, I had cool clouds for the rest of the cycle. And I somehow managed to cycle strong and get to Alessandria much earlier than I expected. Today was a good day. Thank you, God.

I’m still amazed at how cordial Italian drivers are with me as a cyclist. Do they have special respect for cyclists? Is it because I’m a woman? Whatever it is, they have made me feel very welcome and safe on their roads, quite unlike some other drivers *cough – the French – cough*.

And there are so many Italian cyclists on the roads. It is very refreshing. I get so many waves and smiles from them. Nasty Nadia sees the charming smiles from handsome Italian cyclists and replies telepathically, “It’s sex you want? Is that necessary? Yes? Ok. If you must. But make it quick.” Fortunately, respectful Nadia is the dominant personality these days and she just nods and smiles back and tells Nasty Nadia to shut the fuck up.

I had pizza for lunch today for the first time since I arrived in Italy. I’m not much of a pizza person. This one was massive. It was delicious. And I ate every last bite.


  1. Hello, your cycling journey is truly inspiring. I drove in Italy last year. My impression of Italian drivers is that they’re patient. I know, doesn’t fit the stereotype. Yes they’re mad, and they don’t follow rules in a manner I’m used to, but actually they’re really not that bothered if they’re not getting their way for a while.


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