Wednesday 15 May 2013

Sardinia Part 2 - holidays with random people

You know those stories in magazines and blogs, where people describe their rides in astoundingly remembered detail? You know, the "we rode for 300m up the slightly stony track before taking a left across a field, diverting slightly around a rather large puddle that could have been tricky" kind of thing?

Well, I'm terrible at both remembering rides like that, and reading write-ups like that. So instead, I'll avoid misremembering all of the routes we did - suffice to say they were varied and excellent - and instead concentrate on why I really enjoyed this trip.

It felt like a holiday, with just enough cycling to stop me getting restless.
I'm terrible on holidays. I can laze around and relax for maybe an hour or so but any more than that and I'm itching to do something - go to a bar, an attraction, for a wander, for a shop. I'm not cut out for beaches or spending all day by a pool. However, I don't want to be wearing myself out all the time. This trip had that variety. I could laze for a bit.

Use for Buff No 17.
I could walk for a bit:

Sardinian Jungle
I could even ride for a bit:

No pictures of me riding exist, so here's Sir Shagalot, a very friendly puppy

There was food. Lots of food. And drink too.

About 10% of one night's antipasti
Some beer.

Meeting strangers
I've done quite a few trips like this one, and with the exception of one trip (which had some really odd characters - about 8 years ago) all the groups have been great. Everyone on this trip was a stranger (with the exception of David - and he's pretty strange too) and we embraced that - we all had different backgrounds, experiences and views, yet a shared love of eating. Oh, and bikes. I think most of us had bikes too.

The scenery (shamelessly stolen photos from Jenny!)
We were in Sardinia at a brilliant time - the Spring rains had turned everything green and bright and yet we didn't really get wet and basked in warm sunshine.

There were green forested hills

Pretty flowers

And the odd waterfall too.

And.... well, you get the idea. Everything was stunning.

The guides, the routes, the accommodation
Our guides had come first, second and third in a "Most Sardinian Bike Guide" competition. At least, I assume that's how they were selected. Laid back, helpful and enthusiastic, they could describe a route in minute detail ("It goes up a bit, then down, technical up, some more up, then some technical down, some up, then 4km down, then 3km up. Then we'll have a coffee stop"), spend 10 minutes animatedly discussing some minor detail (Was it 2.3km to the junction or 2.4km?) and give a lesson on stone age settlements whilst spanking our arses on every technical descent.

The routes were well balanced between technical, mile-munching and practicality. We had adventure, we had rivers, we had some scary-but-you'll-probably-not-die challenges. We also had at least two coffee stops and two snack stops. Before lunch.

We stayed mainly on farms, in converted outbuildings or purpose built blocks. There were a couple of luxury hotels thrown in too, just so we could kick back and spend two hours in a bubble bath. Never underestimate the power of bubble bath.

Finally, baby animals
We met baby dogs, pigs, sheep, goats, horses, cows, donkeys, wild boar, lizards (probably) and were even presented with a one-day old kitten.

This is the internet - of course I have to finish with a kitten picture.

At first, we thought it was a rat...

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