#RoadsFromRome Day 2 - Siena to Lucca via The Hills

Not a great first wild camp last night - I made the mistake of camping too close to a house, and the little dog was barking solidly until 3am. Still, waking up to the view of the Tuscany hills is pretty special.

After a quick bag of freeze dried porridge, and a coffee, I hit the road.

It was 40 kilometres from my wild camp to Siena, and they were mostly quiet backroads signposted with the familiar names of 'L'Eroica' and 'Via Francigena'. I recognised a few sectors from riding the Strade Bianchi GrandFondo last year.

The final ramp into the city is notorious, but once you are in the cobbled streets it really is something special.

After a second breakfast of coffee and the best donut I have ever eaten, on a side street off the main piazza, I was set for the day.

Heading north from Siena I went through small villages and towns bustling with Tuscany life. A lengthy climb took me up onto a plateau at one stage; providing amazing views out over the plains.

My mid afternoon it was a stifling 36 degrees, and I was really struggling to eat and drink enough to keep my energy levels up. I stopped in a café for some shade and an espresso.

I knew it was coming, from looking at the elevation graph of my computer, but when the Prato di Calci finally reared ahead of me, my legs began to wane. It is only 801 metres high, but with the heat and the heavy bike it felt like double that. A solid hour and a half of climbing to get to the summit. The road was amazing though, with small single-track switchbacks through the trees, occasionally opening out to reveal amazing views out over the Mediterranean in one direction, and Tuscana countryside the other.

After descending cautiously on the narrow roads, I headed north and skirted round Lucca. The road north of Lucca runs up a beautiful river valley gorge, and it was a stunning finish to the day.

With another 215 kilometres on the clock, I had a shower under one village tap, grabbed some fresh pasta and sauce from a supermarket, and set up camp on the edge of a deserted sports field.

A long but rewarding day.


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