As a big bloke over 100kg I knew it was going to be tough given my size and my fairly light training schedule in the lead up. To make matters worse, the night before I was to fly out of Australia bound for Milan I had severe gastro and was still vomiting in the car all the way to the airport the next day.
Luckily I started to come good at the airport but two days later I found myself dying in the blazing heat attempting to get up the 20km climb of Simplon Pass in Switzerland. This day would’ve been the hardest day on the bike I can ever remember and there were many moments when I thought about throwing in the towel on just the 2nd day! Lucky for me I found a café about 5km from the summit and had a massive glass of the ol’ black doctor ( coke ) and managed to get over the top. From that day on the climbs never got much easier but is still one of the most memorable trips I have been on.
Nothing beats riding in Europe. Yes it is a long way to go but riding is different over there. There is a culture, and a deep respect for the sport of cycling and cyclists on the road. The food is amazing and cheap, coffee is great in Italy (but ordinary in France – stick to black coffee – cafe noir). Oh and the scenery is pretty amazing.