Day 24 (part 2)

The terrain is steep and mostly loose rocks. I'm pushing the bike uphill for a bit, until it gets flatter. Then: a puddle. Quite a few puddles actually.

Before I can even think of turning around, my heavy bike has sunk 30 cm deep into the mud and the wheels hardly spin anymore because the space between fenders, wheels and brakes is completely covered by mud. To make matters worse, it is really, really sticky.

So I take a cup out and begin the tedious endeavour of pouring dirty mud water over my dirty mud bike, to get at least the worst parts of dirt off my bike, but there is no doubt: as neat as it looks, I need to get that shit cleaned before it forms an everlasting bondage with my vehicle!

Lucky as can be, I've reached the top for now and after rolling for a few minutes carefully testing my brakes for any malfunctions, I reach the Berceto camp site, where the owners come to the rescue with a garden hose and lots of fresh water.

My Italian cyclist friends arrive shortly after. As per my suggestion they had stayed on the main road.

In the late afternoon, another cyclist arrives. Due to his accent I mistake him for a Brit at first, but I realize my mistake when he tells me he comes from Berne and we quickly switch to German: Simon is also heading southbound. And he's by far the youngest solo-traveler I've met so far: at only 16 years of age, he is going to spend a few weeks of his summer vacation to cycle towards Rome, also like me mainly camping or using hostels for shelter. He's only been on the road for about 4 days for now, and I'm quite intrigued how far he has come.

That night, our small group of cyclomaniacs shares a few beers and a bottle of red wine, but shortly after 10pm it's bed time. Tomorrow is gonna be another demanding day, the "Passo della Cisa"