Burning legs in Tuscany: Season opening with the racing bike
What is the best way to start off the summer racing bike season and to get in shape? Renting a house in Italy with your friends and trying to conquer all slopes in the area that are reachable by bike – at least that’s what our expert Stefan Weindl did.
This year we travelled to a paradise for all racing cyclists: The coast of Liguria between San Remo and La Spezia. The mountains and slopes begin to rise right next to the beach, and in the back country there is hardly any traffic. A good sign for having chosen the right area for biking is that there is a tightly woven network of serpentines on the map.
With bikes that were more or less suitable for mountain biking, we explored the small streets around Aulla. To plan nice routes, we used the software on our GPS devices, well-known online portals, and Google Streetview where almost the entire Italian road network is visible. Many slopes can be found on https://www.cyclingcols.com/. Unfortunately, the quality of the roads is the biggest deficit in this region. Often, the asphalt is rough and the roads have a lot of potholes.
Apart from the bad roads, Tuscany has everything to offer a racing cyclist desires. The water supply is uncomplicated as restaurants and bars willingly fill up drinking bottles. This year we saw public water dispenser stations for the first time where you could get one liter of chilled drinking water for 5 cents.
Our both highlight-tours led us to the sea. The first one went over the mountains to Carrara, which is known worldwide for its marble. The other tour was to La Spezia where we took the coastal road to Cinque Terre that offers spectacular views, fast descents, and steep slopes. You also should not miss out on visiting one of the villages! We took on the extra 100 meters of height and went to Vernazza. You can be sure of getting astonished glances from the other tourists when you sit in the harbor drinking your cappuccino in your biking outfit.
Various providers offer organized training camps in Liguria. However, the effort to plan such a week is manageable and the number of beautiful houses in the hilly back country is big. After one week of conquering 11,000 meters of height (and one day of rest) you are perfectly prepared for every alpine pass you intend to do this season.
Source of title picture: Stefan Weindl
A one week training camp in Liguria is ideal to explore the picturesque landscape of Northern Italy and to get in shape for the upcoming racing bike season.