CCC Apennini in five words explained
In 2017 we passed by houses reduced to piles of rubble in villages, still untouched after the devastating earthquakes that had wrecked chaos in the Marche and Abbruzo regions seven months earlier. They were dark reminders of the brutal power of Nature and of the inner strength of the people living here, waiting to re-build their lives. Our own challenge is of course a chosen one, so any pain we inflict upon ourselves we should accept humbly ! And some days will feel painful, of course ! The wild nature of the regions we traverse seem to be reminding us of the basic rules of living in this area : it is a life of hard work and survival. I sometimes feel that our own determination to not be beaten by our exhaustion on the bike is an instinct akin to that struggle for survival we are lucky enough to no longer have to fight each day. This event gives us so much perspective : we are the Lucky Ones who should be humble and pay huge respect to those who acknowledge the Force of Nature and accept to live by it’s rules.
A combination of tough winters and a poor economy means that damage is much more frequent than repair to roads in these regions. We will encounter everything from the silk-smooth perfect tarmac to gravel roads ( Strade Bianche) and broken/rippled semi-tarmac. This will be part of our challenge. 28mm tyres help a lot ! But the payback for the discomfort is the lack of traffic once we leave the few main roads we occasionally need to borrow. Houses are a rare sighting. Our support cars will be a reassuring presence at times !
Some of the landscapes on this event really beg the question « Why do roads actually bring us here ? / Who are they for ? » We’re lucky that they do, for the peace, the beauty and that special feeling of being somewhere few people come to ride. A passing car is a rare occurence on some stages ! I discovered this area three years ago and I can still clearly remember my first impressions of sheer wonder and admiration. This is what I am excited about sharing with you.
There are less steep climbs and fewer vertical kilometres overall on this event, but June is the only month I could imagine holding this event. We need the long daylight hours for some of the stages. We make the most of each day ! I recall one rider commenting on the option I had announced about shortening one of the stages by 20kms, without missing a col : « I was planning on taking this option, but changed my mind. I could see the daylight fading, but I just didn’t want this day, the best I had ever had on a bike, to ever end ! »
The adventure starts when things go wrong » said the Patagonia boss. Some things did go wrong in 2017, but we made it through safely and smiling and had many tales to tell afterwards. The Marche and Abbruzo regions suffer from relatively poor access, a slow economy and occasional earthquake devastation. Together with the frequent occurrence of mud landslides after heavy rain, this makes for a higher-than-usual probability of « adventure moments ». There is no reason for alarm regading actual safety : it is more likely to concern road closures and route detours. Usually these can be anticipated and catered for, be it a little last-minute ! Official information about road condition is notable inaccurate. We’ll cross fingers, and do our best for you !