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04.07.17 – Race Day 2 – Pisa to Principina Terra ~ 235km/145miles.
An early rise at 6:15 to get ready in time for today’s start. The hotel and parking buzzed with early activity.
Jan-Willem was again the first to leave at 8:20, throwing himself into the busy Pisa traffic. John had to make a last minute repair to his footrest: Having both footrests for the ride is not a luxury but a must!
The two vans planned to leave early, but were parked next to the starting line, so it took a while to find a little gap to slot into to leave. It was really nice to travel in between the bikes for a change, and we did our best to make passing us as easy as possible.
First stop today was the Piaggio Museum in Pontedera which was fantastic to see. Pontedera is a very busy town, making it hard to look out for both traffic and tiny red arrows, but at crucial points we were pointed in the right direction by the quick travelling staff.
Looking for a parking space, I just missed Jan-willem as the number following him passed me while parking the van. Clive decided to continue along the route as he could not find a parking space for the bigger van. Bjorn, Jack and John were still at the museum and it was nice to meet up again and have a cold drink and walk around the museum.
Today’s route went through the beautiful Tuscan hills with breathtaking views. So much so that Jan-Willem suddenly found himself riding alone and had to turn his attention back from the landscape to the route and fellow riders, who had not missed the turn.
John was stranded due to a flat rear tyre and could enjoy the Tuscan landscape in more detail!
I was flagged down, and with tools, a spare tyre and footpump at hand, it did not take John long to get on the road again. Not a minute too soon as there was no getting away from the burning sun around midday. The bike went well for half a minute after which it stopped again; quickly solved by a downhill bump start.
I met up with Clive, in the other van, at the next stop – the most fantastic butchers I have ever seen: hams and numerous varieties of sausages/salamis made by an obviously very proud, and dedicated, owner.
We had the pleasure to drive behind a Mas sidecar through the hills and seeing both passenger and rider leaning out over corner after corner was truly fascinating.
At the Montemassi stop – with a superb view, shade from the trees, a cool breeze and great tasting snacks – the phone rang: John was out of fuel. We were directed to the nearest petrol station on the route and went out on the rescue mission again with much needed spare fuel. It was relatively easy this time: top-up, downhill start and go.
On both occasions we were very thankful for all the offers of help from passing bikes and staff which whilst they were not needed, it was good to know they were there.
We were now nearing the coast in the direction of Principina Terra, our final stop for today. Going through the pine forest I actually dipped the clutch as I thought I heard a noise, as if something was wrong with the van, but it turned out to be the ear-deafening concert of crickets!
The hotel was at the end of a long and twisty road and easy to recognise by all the vans and motorbikes.
We again had a wonderful dinner with great company.
Cyrille Labeij.