Wednesday 11th October – Ground-breaking stuff happened today!
Emboldened by the fact that nobody protested (too animatedly at least ) at the sneaky 10 second special stage before the time control yesterday, we thought we’d chance our luck a tad further. We decided to introduce (for the first time ever) a special stage that had a decimal point in it! So Wednesday’s treat for jobbers (emerging from their slumbers after the disco dancing of the night before) required them to cross the first line, process along a short distance, circle a roundabout and cross a second line no sooner or later than 17.6 seconds ahead of their time control time. For each 100ths of a second early or late, penalty points are given and in this game ‘points most certainly don’t make prizes’. I noticed Kevin Birch (co-drover of team 52 – pic below) used a lot of red ink on a piece of green paper trying to draft a formula for the navigation of the special stage. Suffice to say I’m meeting him this morning so ‘we’ (he) can synchronise watches ….not that he’s blaming his tools of course.
I left early following the route with new red hat Josh who you may recall I told you lives just up the road in Padova. We wanted to ensure we didn’t have any more surprises (road closures particularly) in our road book. Today we were journeying the ‘Strada dei vini e sapori dei colli di Forli e Cesena’ (The route of wines and flavours from the hills of Forli and Cesena) which has our old friend, collaborator and all round great guy Lorenzo Angelini at its helm (or big Loz as I refer to him).
We successfully arrived at a winery called the Poderi dal Nespoli 1929 in very good time (despite heavy’ish traffic leaving Imola) to set up our time control check point and special stage. All set up, I kicked Josh’s heels for five minutes before the second MINI UK Car turned up driven by Kenjay and containing Giulia and Skipper Ritchie. Then Robin (Roger) his Julie and Paola rocked up and the red hat team was complete.
Next to arrive were the Canadian teams, (only they’re not Canadian! (we just discovered this yesterday). Stephen and Lusan Li Team 22 are from Canada but their four friends in Team 23 are from Los Angeles and Texas…. Not that that matters. The point is they were so early that even the bird that usually gets the worm wasn’t awake yet! I suspected Sat Nav shenanigans so we allowed them to cross the time control point super early so that there was less potential for discord amongst teams who wanted to cross their time control on their time. I swear I saw a tear form in the eye of Bryan Hell Yeah when I told him that happenstance had happened and he would not be delayed, obstructed or hindered at the time control point.
We were presented a yellow vest / hi viz tabard each – (on loan, not an actual gift) by the winery to ensure we could be easily spotted if we ventured off piste during the ensuing tour. It is a fascinating place which has clearly been on the receiving end of some high value investments. Their wines are very nice and it was good to see Jobbers buying products from the shop to take home to the UK.
After the tour we ate again at the Agriturismo on site. We enjoyed fried parmesan lollypops ( I kid you not) that were crunchily delicious and of course lots of other food that ensured our daily calorific intake was maintained.
Many teams headed back to the Molino Rosso base camp via Rimini for a splash and a paddle in the Adriatic. Huw and Amanda went up market to Cervia for an ice cream and look at the pretty Marina. Mark Grubb clearly coerced a number of teams into sending me a pic of everyone waving which was very nice but I think they need a lesson in what constitutes a wave.
We head to Siena on Thursday and to get there we will ascend the ‘Passo della Futa’ where we will lunch. At 903 metres above sea level we might actually need our hoodies on today.