I’m embarrassed to admit that the Italy trip only came about because it was one of the few European countries not on the UK quarantine list. A trip to Majorca and Portugal had already been cancelled because of the requirement to quarantine on our return. Italy looked lovely, covid cases were relatively low and Rab couldn’t recommend it enough, that was good enough for us. The only question left was Como or Garda, we went for Como this time!
We booked the trip on Friday morning and went to Tenby in the afternoon, for what should have been Ironman Wales weekend. Swam the Wales loop Friday evening, cycled the bike course Saturday and then drove to Luton on Saturday night, after a quick pit stop at home to pack bikes and cases.
Tip number 1: Don’t fly from Luton!
Nathan was responsible for the car booking. My only requirement was a big car, considering we had 2 bikes and 2 cases. We basically had a Renault Clio! But we did have a Ford Kuga booked in Faro airport that hadn’t been cancelled.
Cycling around Como was incredible. Apart from cycling the perimeter of the lake, everywhere was uphill. Around the lake, there were many other cyclists and a steady flow of traffic. Once you were into the hills, cyclists and cars were scarce. Cycling around the lake there were a few tunnels, some lit and others not. We had lights but they wouldn’t last the whole day, so we were having to turn them on and off. The locals, or wiser cyclists, had automatic lights. Something we will purchase before next time.
One of the more notable climbs we cycled was the Passo San Marco, 7.4% average gradient and 16 miles long. I hadn’t really processed the information before I agreed to take on the climb. We cycled to the base of the climb together and that was long enough, it was going to be a long day. The climb was so peaceful but the top was cold.
Tip number 2: Take a jacket for the way down! I actually turned blue descending 16 miles.
We cycled the perimeter of the lake together on day 4. Nathan’s bike had been creaking the whole trip, it was annoying him and 35 miles into this ride it was annoying me. We stopped at a bike shop in Bellagio to put some grease on it and it stopped, hooray. We stopped for lunch in Como, which was beautiful. After lunch, Nathan turned around to say something to me, hit the curb and came off his bike. I jumped off my bike, checked my Garmin had auto paused and then checked he was ok. There was a lot of blood which scared me initially, but the bike was ok and only his socks had ripped, but quite a lot of skin had been left on the pavement. We started back and I had to offer to go on the front, not too bad 70 miles in. Nathan’s bike now creaking again, only managing 35 miles creak free all trip.
Tip number 3: Get your bike serviced before you go away.
Another unmissable climb was up to the Madonna del Ghisallo monument and museum. The museum was fascinating, with jerseys and bikes from the Giro over the years. Showing the developments in cycling over the decades. The climb to the museum was 5.3 miles and 5.4%.
We actually drove back to the museum at the end of the trip to purchase some kit. The drive over was scenic, however, now secretly pleased with the small car because the roads were narrow.
We did swim a number of times too. The water was quite warm and you probably could have gone in without a wetsuit for a short period of time, but we had taken wetsuits so may as well use them. We found a number of small bays which were quite protected from the otherwise choppy water.
Running…… did I mention it was hilly around lake Como. We ran a couple of times, but it was hard work on already tired legs, I can’t say I would really describe it as enjoyable. This was sold to me as a cycling trip, with a day trip to Milan and plenty of coffee and cake.
10 days at Lake Como, 327 miles and over 23,000ft for me. 540 miles and 56,000 feet for Nathan.
It was nice to get away, I didn’t think it would happen this year so I’m grateful for that. Good cycling, good coffee and good company, at least one week of 2020 was a winner. We hope to return one day soon.