Lost in a watercolor smear between hilltops and sky until every shard was just a tighter spiral of repetition to a grey singularity. Windblow enough to not be able to hear what’s said, but the cadence and tonal shape is enough, the absence of reference points and yet we’re still here.
This southern central part of the country isn’t mountainous, but the hills come bright cymbal crashes to our tired legs again and again.
Today a second in Italy’s yellow argent temps, tracks through apricots or peaches, morning roadies “ciao!”, seems at every town we stop to fill up at the spigot or fountain.
Unmistakably Italy, the hilltops in every distance with a villa, spruce lined approaches, groves.
A day with an end where you recall it and it doesn’t seem as if it could have been just one.
Tiny gravel roads, sometimes one paved lane, single track double track, paths through crushed riverside rock. The plan is a nine day circuit round this half of the country, toes across the Austrian border and then later a thirty hours in Italy before crossing over again.
Visited Slovenia a couple of years ago, fairytale mountain and castle peaks, the green of the near summer Alps. Enough to be persuaded of a return trip.
Familiar enough, meet a friend to talk bikes, great cycling trips, heroic riders. But chatting with David is something else entirely.
J and I only have a couple of days left before we leave, so I’ve proposed something dead easy, maybe relaxing, a little scenic: we’ll resupply, pedal out to Kane Creek Canyon, spend the night, then curl around Behind the Rocks to return to town via Pritchett Canyon.
Can’t say how many times I’ve ridden this trail. But never in this light, the breathless excitement of fatigue and the end of our food, never with the whole desert rock sand cliff dusk warping wrapping around us like a well told fairytale.
We nohurry some more, marvel at the skying walls, then off again.
Set off into a radiance and wind afternoon.