After some bicycle maintenance, we headed out of Genoa by 10:15 am. Before we left, Rob bought genuine Genoa salami.
We spent much of the day on long steady climbs, with the occasional rapid descent to the sea – constant vistas of houses built into the sides of mountains.
Rob still struggled with mountains, but persevered. We walked not at all today. I have distinct advantages over Rob: I’ve got a lighter bicycle and lighter gear, and a wider gear range (which I improved further after cycling through Bosnia-Herzegovina). I also don’t have to be in perfect shape – just in slightly better shape than Rob.
We spent a lot of time discussing managing energy levels, which I equate to a battery. Your body charges your legs. Your legs burn power cycling. If you’re pushing harder than you “recharge”, you wear out. Pushing too hard means using energy faster than the recharge, and once you’re out of charge, it takes a long time to recharge. Just slow down, and climb. You can sprint up a 10 meter hill, but that doesn’t work for 500 meters!
We stopped at a campground on the side of a mountain, with campsites in tiers like the vineyards. Number of times Rob’s been camping? Two (counting this one). I have a hard time grasping how far out of Rob’s wheelhouse we are. When I first cycled Europe I’d grown up camping with family and scouts. I’d contemplated hiking the AT, prompting my certification in first aid and CPR Instructor (in addition to my earlier water safety instructor certification). I’d completed a 3-week program styled after Outward Bound (Project WILD) at Duke as an incoming freshman and further taken the training to be a WILD trip leader. Rob doesn’t have any of that. Then again, he has … me!
A couple of days ago he said he didn’t know what he’d do without me along. That’s something I could do something about. I’ve had him routing and navigating, and discussing his routing choices. I’m more forgiving than my Project WILD instructors, as I don’t want to cycle back up a mountain for a wrong turn!
Tonight I asked him if he’d looked at the route for tomorrow, and he said, “Again?” Same thing we do every night, Pinky.
Tomorrow would likely be our last day of mountains. From the campground we would have a 500 meter climb, followed by the unknown. I’d like to cycle above Cinque Terre, but that adds a fair amount of climbing (both elevation and gradient) and Rob’s not certain he’s up for it. I told him he’d regret not going there a year from now, with a retort of, “Not if I die first!”
Genoa salami gets rave reviews, for both taste and caloric quantity.