The story of a short but intense adventure!
Andrea Pirazzoli (@fagia118) is a Bice Bicycles ambassador, a 360-degree cyclist, and all-around hilarious and wonderful person. This year he participated in the 2018 edition of the Tuscany Trail, an unsupported bikepacking adventure. This is his story.
The start is at 8:00 am, at 8:15 I completely lose one of my pedals and while I’m trying to screw it back on I ride straight into a pole! I continue on for about 30 km tightening the pedal by hand every 3 km then, starting to reason a little while I pedal (not an easy task), I realise that the day before I had removed the crank arms to change the bearings and must have mounted them back on the wrong sides, which is why my pedals keep unscrewing themselves!
Fortunately, I find a mechanic in Lucca, borrow his 10 mm Allen key and switch them back. From here to Florence it’s full gas, where I run into the lead group stopped at a bar. But I don’t stop because I’m not hungry. I continue on to face the most hardcore segment of the route from Florence to Sambuca, about 50km of challenging climbs and wild descents. It’s just too bad that I do all the climbs on foot thanks to an excruciating pain in the tendons behind my knees (of which I didn’t even know the existence). But I push hard on the descents because the trails are really cool and right on the last single track I get a flat! I stop to fix it and drink a Cola and I see the lead group including Nico pass by. Just a few minutes pass before I start again and after a couple of hours the sun starts to set and I’m in the middle of nowhere and I’m hungry.
I very calmly reach San Gimignano (the last 2km on foot) and I don’t feel in great shape. I sleep for 5 minutes while my pizza is being prepared, I eat it and get ready for the night: lights, vest, arm warmers and I’m off. After peddling for a while I realise I’ve been reborn. It may be the fresh air (that leaned out the carburetor), or maybe the full moon; either way I feel like I’m flying, my legs are really going and that night I ride 150km arriving in Radicofani in time for the sunrise.
So I always thought that once I got to Radicofani I’d basically arrived even if in reality it was still 180km to the finish line! And it is here, while eating a biscuit, that I glance at my phone and see that the lead group isn’t that far away, about 15 km, and all these ideas pop into my head.
In 5 hours I reach the sea and stop to eat a sandwich in Albinia before attacking the last great climb: the Argentario. The very moment I decide to take a nice nap, out of the corner of my eye, I see the lead group pass by (they had stopped shortly before but I hadn’t noticed them as I rode past).
So no nap. I fill my water bottles and head off to chase down the group under the scorching sun. I reach them at the top of the Argentario! After 300km I have them again and I can’t believe it! And without even talking about it we think that getting there together it the right conclusion to something that a is just a bit epic!
There are still 40km left and we’re slowing approaching the finish but we don’t have any water left and the last climbs we do on foot. 10km from the finish we decide to stop for a drink and I take advantage of the stop to take a nap, 3 minutes and no more! We start again and after a short ride we arrive. 550km, 9000m in 32 hours! What an adventure!
Arriving with a legend like Nico Valsesia was a real honor!!!
That being said, with a team chock-full of engineers (Engr. Ridotto, Engr. Colombo) who could fail!
P.S. It’s been 14 years (my last school essay) since I’ve written more than a complete sentence but this time it was worth it.
Written By: Andrea Pirazzoli
Translated By: Jessica Rosciglione
Photos By: Alessandro Simon
Transmission by: Ingrid Components