Last Saturday was our 25th wedding anniversary, but both of us were feeling the effects of a whirlwind tour of Sicily and didn't much feel like celebrating. So we put things off until this Saturday, feeling good enough for an assault on Monte Mario!
There are not many big climbs here in Rome but this one features some steep switchbacks as well as a cobbled surface as you can see in the photos. While likely never more than an 8% gradient, bouncing over the stones make this more challenging and a place you want some fat tires...
...making the fatties we have on our ancient MTB's just about perfect. Fast-rolling on the pavement but adequate for unpaved surfaces while being soft and grippy for climbs like these. This climb is long enough to get in some sort of rhythm and feel like you're doing something, especially with the surface, though if you're clever you can ride on the edge where smoother blocks serve as borders. No matter what you do you'll be forced to ride over the big stones in the switchback turns as you see above.
Eventually you get to the top and enjoy this view. Some challenging single-track can be found after this, making a good loop, perfect for working up a lunch appetite. After lunch we settled in front of the TV to watch the pros bounce over some similar stones at the Het Niewsblad. We get both Eurosport and SKY's Bike Channel here at the academy as well as RAI Sport so we shouldn't miss a race.
In the evening it was time to CELEBRATE! Above you see us with our old friend from Viterbo, Luigi Picca, now delighting diners at his place here in Rome, still called Enoteca La Torre. We celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary with Luigi in Viterbo so why not live it up again now that he's in Rome?
It was a spectacular evening of great food and wine in a special setting made extra special with friends who take such good care of us.
Now we're making plans for next week's Strade Bianche race in Tuscany.