May 28: Abano Terme (rest day)
I had a lovely massage first thing in the morning. The massage area is in the back of the spa area. You have to go past room after room of people entombed in mud to get to the area where they do massage. I had a 30-minute full-body massage, which was nice. Hopefully it will help with my back.
At breakfast, a German couple entreated us to join them at their table. It turned out they're here for the mud. This is their third week. The man had had 10 days of mud treatment, prescribed by his doctor. They were going to head to Venice soon for a different type of relaxation.
I really wanted to do some miles today, since Kurt and I were scheduled to drive the van tomorrow. I could not get anyone to go with me to Rovigo to see the end of a stage of the Giro, so I decided to go to Padova with Nancy, Walt, Faye, and Patti. Bryan and Mary decided to hang out at the hotel and relax. (Bryan didn't get a lot of sleep because of the lack of air conditioning so he was pretty pooped.) Kurt still feels lousy, so he decided to stay at the hotel.
We set off for Padova in the wrong direction, back towards the hills we had come through. As we got to a critical intersection, Patty and I decided to split off and go ride in the hills.
We set off up into the hills on a different route than we had come in on.
We got to a critical juncture where a sign pointed us down a rather steep road of dubious quality. I was in favor of descending, because it was the only road in sight that the sign could possibly refer to. We jolted down the road with its rough pavement and its 20% grade, hoping we would not have to ride up it again. Unfortunately, the road turned into a dirt road after a little while. So we turned our bikes around and rode back up. Fortunately it wasn't as bad a climb as we thought it would be!
We reached the top of Teolo Pass, and rewarded ourselves with a stop at a cafe and an espresso. A German cyclist, was decked out in a nice jersey from Bassan, a bike shop in Abano Terme. We pressed him for details of where the shop was so we could go visit it later in the day. (You may think that all we did on this trip was look for bike shops, but that's not really the case!)
After the nice respite, we headed down the backside of the hills, again, a different way than we came yesterday. Patty and some others had seen a shop on the way to Abano, and she wanted to stop there. So we did, but it was closed. We continued on to another little town where we had a nice lunch in an outdoor cafe.
We continued on, climbing back up the hill, on yet another new route that was recommended by one of the waiters who was also a cyclist. Unfortunately, the route had no shade. By this time, it was quite hot! We had to stop several times on the way up just to get out of the heat.
We stopped on the way down to Abano Terme to refill our bottles and have some gelato.
Even though we were both quite hot, I really wanted to go to the bike shop in Abano. So we headed over to the bike shop, having to ask directions about 5 times. The shop was on an out-of-the-way street, but we finally found it!
The shop is run by Paolo and his wife. Paolo is a garralous ex-bike racer in his 50's who runs a great shop. Although he makes some of his own bikes, he seems to love American aluminum and titanium bikes. He has ridden RAGBRAI, and I believe (if I understood him correctly) has ridden the Giro 7 times. One of the racers he sponsors was the Italian national champion. (Again, assuming my understanding was correct... we only spoke in Italian.
I wound up buying an entire outfit from him. He threw in the socks and the water bottle. I told him about my web site, and he told me about his. We brought up his web site on his computer, but he was unable to bring up mine. Hopefully it's just a temporary problem!
Visiting the bike shop was a delightful end to our delightful ride! Our rest day turned out to be over 70km, much of which was hilly. Not much of a rest!
We returned to the hotel, and hooked up with the others for dinner. Tonight was some sort of festive occasion at the spa, and for this, they prepared a special dinner. More flash than substance though...
Tomorrow is supposed to be the day we are to drive. But, Sid, who has had a touch of a stomach virus, felt he would be better off driving than riding, so we are going to ride into Venezia after all!
Time to pack up and get ready for our ride to Venezia tomorrow!