This morning we met our Backroads (BR) group at the train station. It’s a big group, made up entirely of friendly Americans. The leader that came to meet us was Pablo, a wonderfully funny and energetic Spaniard. On the 1.5 hour bus ride, he kept us entertained even though it was the material that hubs and I were already familiar with and accustomed to going through on each BR trip.
When we arrived at our destination in Matera, co-leader Gérald, and van leader Juliette were there to greet us.
We were at an agriturismo, where Gérald had set out a big picnic lunch on the beautiful and lush grounds, where all of the fruits and vegetables were grown on the premises. Those strawberries…super amazing!
Although the ride today was not long, it was a lot of climbing. Given that I have only done one long ride so far this season, my legs were not quite warmed up. The climbs were tough, but I made it. We almost came in dead last. What made today extremely difficult was the weather. It was hot. The sun was beating down, so it felt much hotter than 26C. Temperature combined with the hills made my sugar levels drop quite unexpectedly, and it was difficult to find any open shops on a Sunday. Strangely, we were not given snacks prior to the ride, but likely because we had just finished lunch. Luckily I spotted a gas station just before I completely hit the wall, which also happened to be 5 minutes from the top of the hill. Ridiculous, but it was necessary for me to get that sugar into my blood stream. I purchased a pastry and a juice. Just as I finished snacking, Gérald shows up on his bike and we ride together into town. Good thing he found us, because the town was a maze, and crowded with people. Even with the GPS and paper instructions, I think hubs and I would have made a few wrong turns without Gérald.
We arrived just in time to catch the last of the poppies in bloom that line the sides of the roads and can be seen in some of the fields. It’s a beautiful sight!
The views from our room were incredible!
Tonight was our welcome reception and dinner where we formally met our riding mates. I think this will be a fun group to ride with. For dinner, more orrechiette! With truffle!