He Cycles, She Runs

Italian title: Lui Cycles, Lei Corre
(I’m burning up Google Translate here.)

– Vattaro, Trentino Aldige, Italy

People are usually surprised when they travel with Matt and me and realize we don’t spend many of our days together. He’s an early riser and likes to get a cup of coffee, then grab a bike and explore. I, on the other hand, like a slow roll out. I want to drink tea while piddling around, reading, listening to music, soaking up the scenery from our balcony or room window. Fully awake an hour or so later, then I’m ready to explore.

The man and his new bike, in front of La Fricca, ready to ride.

The man and his new bike, in front of La Fricca, ready to ride.

Depending on the bike’s quality, landscape, and cycle-friendly (or not) roads, he’ll usually ride anywhere from 20-70 miles. For this trip, he brought his own (new Pinarello) bike – the cycling is just too good to rely on a rental (at least that what he says.) Here in the Vigolana mountain range in Italy, he’s been logging in about 40-50 miles/day with massive climbs. This area really is a cyclist’s dream. In fact, we are counting the days until Stage 15 of the Giro d’Italia comes through our little town of Vattaro this Sunday, 24 May. The first climb will be up La Fricca. “Our mountain.” (More to come on the Giro as well as Matt’s recommended cycling routes in the area.)

The breathtaking scenery is prompting me to increase mileage as well. From our front door in Vattaro there are a couple of out-of-this-world 5 mile routes to the holiday hotspot of Lago di Caldonazza (yeppers, 10 miles round trip.) The most challenging offers a mix of scenic landscape, charming villages, and a historic church and cemetery.

A scenic path to Santa Caterina.

A scenic path to Santa Caterina.

From Vattaro, run through the quaint neighborhood of Mandola to the historic town of Bosentino, follow signs for Santa Caterina. The route to this small village and it’s namesake church takes you up (and up) through farmlands and forests revealing a slice of traditional bucolic living between villages; from the church, you enjoy a switchback-filled decent to the northern end of the lake. The second route is slightly gentler on the going, but the return begins with a hamstring killer (again, up and up.) From the center of Vattaro, run towards the Pine trail toward the hamlet of Campregheri. The shaded dirt track can be a godsend in the midday heat, plus it overs stunning views of the surrounding valley. Once you reach Campregheri, there are a few routes, all with good signage, to Caldonazza.(Do your best not to get distracted by the great little bar and fantastic restaurant in Campregheri.)

Following our individual athletic pursuits and explorations, we always have a plan for an afternoon meet up for more sightseeing or just for apéritifs. I’m convinced these separate interests and excursions are a key to our happy marriage while traveling (as well as at home.)

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View of the forest from “downtown” Vattaro.

 

We spend hours telling each other about everything each saw that day, sharing photos and stories about encounters with locals, and plotting routes and meet ups for the next day. It’s not for everyone, but this system works great for us. Independence meets togetherness. We’re stronger because of it, and to sustain this kind of travel, you need (correction: have) to be.

 

 

 

Here are a few more pics from last week’s rides and runs:

 

He Cycles:

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Passo Vezzena – beautiful alpine pasture on the route to Asiago.

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Ski resort on the classic ride to Mount Bondone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A cafe energy boast at Compet on the way to Panarotta (featured on last year’s Giro d’Italia.)

 

 

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Happy cows, right outside our apartment. Great place to ride from every day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On the top of Passo Sommo. Poster for Giboreto Simoni’s (two time winner of the Giro d’Italia) mountain bike race.

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Ski slope on Passo Coe, near Villaggio Fiorentini.

 

 

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In route to top of Passo Coe, one of the tallest slopes in this area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She Runs:

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Long ribbons of road in every direction. This is a rare flat stretch.

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My pace always quickens when I get that first glimpse of the lake.

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I love running through small Italian villages and checking out the road signs. This is in Campregheri.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The road to Lago Caldonazza via Santa Catarina.

 

 

 

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Did a double take on the U.S. Mail stamp.

 

 

 

 

 

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Beautiful and solemn Santa Caterina.

 

Final resting place with a view.

Final resting place with a view.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good resting spot along the way.

Not a bad spot for a stretch on the Pine trail to Campregheri.

 

The best resting and stretching spot for one tired runner!

Destination reached, goal achieved. Now a nap.