Monday, July 7, 2014

When Your Best 'is' Good Enough and a little fear is ok too...

Yesterday we arrived in Tuscany for the third portion of our summer (kids at camp) adventure - Cycling Throughout Tuscany.  5 months ago when we were introduced to Andy Levine of DuVine Adventures while at a sushi bar in Boston we told him of our planned adventure in Italy and he told us of his cycling programs throughout the world.  It was very intriguing to us to try something different and we signed up for his 'Tuscany' program.  Within days we changed our entire approach to our vacation and we were off and running...that brings us to our arrival...

Let the adventure begin...
We were greeted by Davide our guide for the week, and since nobody else signed up for this portion, it was as if we had our own private adventure and could set our own pace and approach as need be.  After getting to the first of four stops over the next 5 days, we unpacked, put on our cycling wear (padded pants and a tee shirt that says DuVine) and got fitted for our bikes. 

Side note....When you drive into these Tuscan towns, the look a bit...hilly and high an FYI, THEY ARE!, but more on that later.

We got on our road bike, which is similar to what many of us rode in the 80's growing up...we used to call them 10 or 12 speeds.  A friend informed us that these are much lighter than the hybrid bikes we tend to ride around the city.  Sadly, with a 200lb frame of my own, I wasn't sure if it made a difference as my body wasn't ready to be hauled.  

Amazing Vino Nobile vineyard in
the bowels of Montepulciano
Getting on the bike was both scary and intimidating the first time. I ride Hubway bikes in Boston all the time, but Tuscany is nothing like Boston.  Boston = Flat Tuscany = Hills. Immediately my stomach got tight, I was terrified and also winded....since the bike was different than anything I had been on before.  Davide told us, lets just ride up 'the hill' to the road and we will get going for our first journey.  He gave us the option to walk up 'the hill', but me being 'the man (or so I thought) I hopped on and rode up like a machine.  

side note #2....When your heart rate goes from 90bpm to 180bpm in 45 seconds...something ain't right. 

It was clear that my pride vs. my abilities were coming into play. The day went on with a 14 mile ride that included many hills and a couple downhill spots.  The good news was it was challenging and exciting.  The bad news came at mile 7 when we were told that we were going to drive back the same way we came.  This means that all those downhill spots that were great for getting my sea-legs would quickly become my nemesis.  

We finished off our day with me questioning everything:
  • why did we do this?
  • how can I keep up?
  • should we have done a different tour?
  • am I so out of shape and weak that I can't ride a silly bike?
  • how will I be able to walk in the morning?  
Day two begins
After taking the 2-3 hour of downtime before dinner questioning myself, and then doing more of it walking to dinner and also sitting in the car on our way to a vineyard....I decided to sleep on it.

This morning I woke up feeling fine, outside of the extreme soreness in my bum from the seat. After a light breakfast we got back on that horse, we started at the top of the road and began our journey for a little over 26 miles.  Yesterday we had climbed 900 feet, but today we had to climb over 2400 feet.  It was hard, it was really hard, but every time that van stopped and asked me if I wanted a ride I thought about if I was trying my best and was 'that' best good enough.  At mile 19.5 we reached the Tuscan town of Pienza, the final climb to the city was frustrating and exhausting.  Every turn up hill seemed to be the end, but it was not.  I eventually got there where we walked around and had a great lunch over looking the vast area. Once done (with the wine and lunch), we were told that we only had '6 miles left' and the day would be complete.  A brief while later we returned to our home base in Montefollonico.  Both Mimi and I were happy to be done, but also full of great positive energy from such a spectacular accomplishment.
26+ miles, 2400+ feet climbed
and over 2000 calories burned

Tomorrow will be another day of fear, butterflies and new experiences and the blend of today and yesterday definitely taught me a great deal about myself.  It is so important not to be too proud, but it is also important to do the best you can and ensure that you are not cheating yourself.  Getting in the van....its ok, but its only ok after you try and try DAMN HARD! school...Onward!

1 comment:

  1. hi Moss' we did a Duvine in Bourdeaux a few years ago and loved it. Yes even Matt did it. Hope you have an amazing rest of your trip. BTW now that I follow your blog you are going to have to follow mine too!