Thursday, June 26, 2014

Day 19- Vercelli to Pavia- 69km

It was bound to happen sooner or later- RAIN!!! We woke this morning to pretty black clouds and a very dark sky. By the time we had breakfast the skies had opened and it was raining fairly steadily. It didn't look too bad and we had no other option, so we donned the wet weather gear and started out onto the road. Within about 1km a full on storm had hit us and we quickly realised that our waterproof jackets were NOT waterproof! Thanks Castelli! The road was too dangerous with massive puddles filling the edges and nowhere for us to ride, so we turned off onto the dirt trails. The rain got heavier and we knew we couldn't keep going. Huddled under a tree, soaking wet and getting wetter we hit lucky when a car pulled up, an old man got out and ushered us over. He had a big key with him and walked towards what looked like an abondoned property, red and white barricade tape over the entrance and a padlock on the door. He ripped the tape open, unlocked the padlock and opened the door to what was an amazing farm estate with a massive central courtyard and a nice big roof for us to hide under. The rain just got worse and worse and we had to start considering our options... Back to Vercelli? Catch a train to Pavia? Wait a bit longer? The man didn't speak any English but my SpanItalian was enough for us to have a sort of conversation. He seemed to think there would be a break in the weather, but that it was going to storm all day. He was happy to wait and told us not to worry, we could stay as long as we needed. In all we ended up hiding from the rain for a good 40minutes. Until he went and got a giant knife/machette out of his car and started hacking down a tree that was growing in the courtyard! Scenes from horror movies where backpackers get kidnapped and hacked to pieces in abandoned houses started playing out in my head. But no, he was genuinely a lovely man who helped out two drowned Australians.

Happy to be out of the storm....not so happy to be soaking wet and cold
Behind the locked door

The rain had eased and we decided to make a run for it. It certainly hadn't stopped but we knew it was only going to get worse. Much to the protests of our saviour who thought we should wait longer, out we set into the rain. We were already soaked through and cold, but we had made the decision to just power the whole way to Pavia and just get there as quickly as possible. And so it was that our day became a series of time trials. We went back to the road, turned on our rear flashing lights, engaged the big ring and set to action the BenandRishi power train. Our first time trial was a 40km effort. With Mr speedy on the front and Miss super quads at the rear we are a force to be reckoned with on the flats! Holding around 30km/hr we blasted along in the rain, ignoring the leg burn and getting the job done, Ben even yelling out "shut up legs!!!". Towards the end of the 40km effort the rain started to ease, but with the rain leaving, the head wind returned. We decided we had pushed pretty hard and it was definately time for some refuelling. But not before we caught two Italian cyclists, passed them, told them to jump on the back, and they held for a total of 10 seconds. Hehehe ;)

Bye bye Italians!!!
Refuelling Italian style


After a quick coffee and cornetto we were back on the road, trying to beat the black clouds that followed us all the way to Pavia. Poor Ben was working double time to keep the train moving with some serious head winds, and the speed quickly dropped to around 20km/hr. No more stops, we pushed ourselves pretty bloody hard and made it to Pavia with no more rain. We are putting today down as a training ride. Max effort, two time trials in pretty horrific conditions with no sightseeing. Not many photos today sorry!! Even though it was super tough I still enjoyed it. We work bloody well together as a team and I think that's pretty cool. We could have given up and caught the train but we stuck it out and made it under our own leg power. Tomorrow we ride to Piacenza where we will stay two nights to have a well earned rest day :) waiting for the storm to ease now so we can go out and explore the city.


Flat for ever






Had a lunch of epic proprtions. This was the entree.



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