Hot! Easy Like Monday Morning

I now live in one of the most beautiful outdoor communities in the world. In Finale you can climb, bike and hike in the valleys or sail, swim and fish in the sea. I’ve even seen a handful of fellow runners.

Every day since I arrived, I’ve seen cyclists – road and mountain – ride up the hill past my apartment in the morning. And every afternoon I’ve seen them sometimes muddy and always smiling as they rush past downhill. After 48 hours of rain, wind and dark skies, I was ready to be outdoors. This morning, I jumped out of bed, laced up my running shoes, and went to see where this hill went.

As I followed the curves of the road, there were even better views of the sea and villages. I could hear the surf below. The grade of the hill wasn’t difficult, but unrelenting. I climbed and climbed. Eventually, the road flattened just long enough to present a choice: More road, or farmland.

As it turns out I live on one of the most popular and well-known cycling climbs in the region. Around the bend, my street turns into Via Manie. Riders follow it for about a 13km loop and 290m elevation gain, then drop back down into the seaside towns of Noti and Varigotti. I’m guessing these downhill parts are pretty good too because every day a shuttle van from one of the cycling shops runs riders to the top.

I made a mental note to investigate more at the Borgo bike store. But for now, I pick the path leading back towards Finale. But it too presented a choice: An enticing private lane, or a rocky footpath.

I had to respect the signs for privacy and made my way down the footpath. There was no running now. The rain had made everything slick. Other paths split off from this one, but I made my way down hill and back toward FinalPia, curious to see where it let out. I met the road only feet from my apartment. Ha!

The whole loop had taken less than 20 minutes, but just like the cyclists I see everyday, I had a smile on my face. So I turned downhill to start my second week in Italy with a proper run along the sea.

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