WARNING: Blogpost by Sasha Bruml We awoke from an uninterrupted sleep in our old-fashioned hotel room with the air conditioning unit blowing cool air into the room. Reluctantly, we rolled out of bed and drowsely made our way down for breakfast. We were met by a lucky dip of croissants, each with a different surprise filling. After having our fill of chocolate, apricot and custard we clambered back upstairs to prepare for the day. Feeling refreshed and ready for another sunny day in the saddle we made our way down to check out. There we were met with some unwelcome news.. Overnight the temperature had never fallen below 28 degrees! The Sicilian receptionist seemed desperate to get the message through to us that we would be mad to cycle in the heat. However, she eventually wished us farewell, but not before she had insisted we contact her at the end of the day, just to be sure we were alive!
We sped off at race speed to cover as much distance as possible before the temperature rose to unbearable. It wasn’t long before we were riding on open road over the pancake flat landscape. By the time the sun sat above our heads and our bellies began to rumble the temperature had crept into the high 30’s. Having seen no sign of shade nor supermarket we put our faith in garmy once more. After mere minutes we rolled into a small seemingly empty town where we were spoilt for choice. The enormous supermarket was spookily empty but we stocked up nonetheless. After scoffing down the usual chicken and cheese baguette I noticed a pair of discarded plastic gloves used for handling the food in the supermarket. An idea sprang to mind that would for sure make this day one to remember. For those of you unfamiliar with the game of odds, let me explain. Odds is a game of probability, stupidity and a certain lack of dignity leaving both players at risk of carrying out the set dare. This time the dare was to complete the rest of the days cycling, another 30 miles, wearing the plastic gloves. Now this may not sound too bad, however in the 40 degrees heat the plastic gloves become miniature microwaves. I am proud to say that I was victorious and left Toby to suffer the torture of cooked hands. Toby kept to his word and stupidly kept the gloves on for the mere amusement of change.
After lunch the heat hit us hard and our pace slowed to a crawl. We slumped over our handlebars watching our wheels roll over the cracks in tarmac. Silently, we listened to the monotonous tick of our pedals and prayed for shade. After several agonising hours the horizon changed from shimmering road to the outskirts of an industrial looking city. We had made it to Piacenza! We were relieved to have made it to our grotty hostel. After hydrating and snapping out of our daze we realised that we were 30 minutes from the city centre in a room without air-conditioning or a light. We made the most of it however and managed to find cheap pizza and a delicious gelataria! After being brutally destroyed by Toby over two rounds of table tennis we climbed into our beds.