by Roberto Ludovico » Tue Nov 29, 2011 4:13 pm
For the past four months I have been planning on posting a video report of a ride I did on July 22, 2011 while I was in the Salento region of Italy. A sort of “NCC on the road” report, if you will. The ride along the most southern 35-mile long stretch of Adriatic sea coast – both ways – was absolutely stunning. After spending a week there I decided to shoot video clips of the full ride in order to post them on the NCC discussion board and share my ride with fellow riders back home here in the Valley. My lack of technical skills is evident in the rudimental concoction of text, images and youtube links. It took me forever and the results are primitive, but still worth, I believe, to be posted.
I left the small coastal village of Torre San Gregorio, just North-West of Capo di Leuca at dawn on a beautiful summer day (see map here: http://www.mappedometer.com/?maproute=57312). I went around the Cape which marks Land’s End (or Finis Terrae as locals put it) of South-Eastern Italy and rode up along the Adriatic coast to the town of Otranto [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGiDNCm2aoI ]. This is a classic ride of beautiful landscapes and rocky cliffs that attract hundreds of riders from all over the world every year. I grew up about two hours north of this area but I had never ridden this particular road before.
Pretty soon in the ride I hooked up with three local riders. We rode together from the town of Tricase Porto to Castro. Here, a walled town on top of a hill, we parted ways after climbing to the top of the hill to admire the morning views over the seascape and making a pit stop for espresso [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhWR3EusBWE ]. They turned around toward Leuca, I went on toward Otranto. I was stunned when they told me that they recognized the NCC jersey that I was wearing (I assume because of RAAM reports on Italian cycling magazines).
The videos will document the beauty of the ride, the sounds and the colors of the sea-water better than I could describe [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLF5W6TTNbY ].
After reaching Otranto I rode all the way up to the medieval center of town and the famous Romanic Cathedral to enjoy once more the splendid floor mosaic of the Tree of Life by Prete Pantaleone, created between 1163 and 1165 [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEsxnP5y0M0 ]. On the way back I made a pit stop in the seaside village Porto Badisco. With fresh water in my bottles I headed back South toward Leuca and San Gregorio. Shortly after the battery on my IPhone died, hence: no more videos nor pictures [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7iqCXY6S5U ].
I just wish I had a bit of battery life to shoot the spectacular view of the lighthouse of Capo di Leuca raising above the horizon while topping the last climb. In clear days – they say – you can see the coast of Africa from there.