It was a great end to the day - this year’s race was hard, due to the heat and the steepness of the new course, but I would certainly do it in the future. Sadly, it would seem that the original route via Castellucio is no longer available, due to the terrible traffic congestion in early July in that village, and the challenging logistics of trying to get a cycle race through it. Finally, many thanks to the organisers and all who help make this a superb and always memorable event.
At Cupi (feed station pictued below) the road drops and then makes the final major climb to Santuario di Macereto, where there was a final refreshment point before the last major descent. By now my Garmin was reading 41.5C (obviously exaggerated but actually in the upper 30s) and I needed all my concentration for the sinuous curves. We then joined the main road from Visso (again, superbly marshalled) and began the gradual drop to Muccia. Here we turned into a slight headwind and my legs went to jelly, but Vicenzo soon appeared and invited my to sit on his wheel for the final 20k. The ambulance following us managed to get some fresh and cold water and handed it to us which really helped. The final kilometres are mostly downhill, although there is a small climb about 5k from the end. Having eventually reached the road via which we started, we plodded to the end by 2.45pm where the organisation was just dismantling the finish line timing.
Having returned my timing chip and got my €5 euro deposit, we made our way to the pasta lunch. They offer a first course (lasagne or pasta arrabiata), second (meat) and dessert, all with wine (small carton) and water.