Well its been a week now since we returned home from the Hotel Riz in Cesenatico and about time I put pen to paper.
The great news is that we are going back next year, I was offered basically the same week as this year, so after speaking to Gary who organises a group from Kings Lynn CC and TVV we decided to make it a firm booking, so make a note 15th – 22nd April 2017 The Italian Job.
If you would like to hear how it all pans out then read on……..
It all started with an early Saturday morning flight from Stansted to Ancona where we met up with our Norfolk compatriots and onto the bus to Cesenatico, arriving just in time for lunch.
After checking in it was down to locating your hire bike in the games room of the hotel, put your own pedals on and get ready for the first ride.
We decided to take a gentle ride out to where the bikes are hired from, just 6 miles along the coast. After some cycling based retail therapy the idea of a coffee stop on the way back soon melted in the 29C temperatures, an ice cream parlour seemed so much more appropriate.
Back to the Riz for our evening meal.
All meals are taken buffet style and with a huge variety, starting with soup, salad bar, pasta, main course, desserts, fruit and the inevitable ice cream followed by cheese board and coffee, accompanied by red and white wine on tap, just help yourself!!
David G took on the role as Club Sommelier, ensuring that our table of 14 was suitably stocked with wine and water awaiting our seating at 7pm.
Our combined group of 30 was allocated 3 ride guides. Groups 1 & 2 setting off at 09.30 and Group 3 at 09.45
So onto Sunday morning with much apprehension for many, ‘am i in the right group’ ‘will it be too fast’ ‘too slow’ ‘what if….’, but it all seems to work out fine in the end.
The first few miles will always be dead pan flat as you make your way to the rolling hills inland and obviously the last few miles are also flat so giving you a gentle warm up and cool down to finish.
Usually everyone is back to base by 14.30 for a pasta lunch before settling down to some serious relaxing by the pool discussing the mornings activities, how hard it was, how steep, how fast the descent was and how good the coffee stop was.
The hotel will launder cycling kit for free on a daily basket, I guess they don’t want every room filled with a weeks worth of smelly kit!!
The in house masseur was kept busy massaging those tired legs, the sauna and spa were also well used.
The non cyclists amongst the group were also catered for, one morning was spent in the Parent Hotel kitchen being taught how to make pasta the Italian way, there was also a 15k trek in the surrounding hills. The Riz also has a fleet of ‘Boris’ bikes for guests to use, handy for popping down to the harbour area/shops for those souvenirs etc or just to visit the Marco Pantani Museum or Mausoleum or generally taking in the town.
Wednesday saw a new venture offered by the hotel, a BBQ at lunchtime up at their newly acquired farmhouse which is just 7k out of town, a really old house with loads of character. As each group finished their ride they called in at the farm for a full on BBQ with wine again flowing freely.
On Thursday groups 1 &2 amalgamated for a combined ride to San Marino, taking in a climb to soften us up on the way we then had an 8k climb up to the principality, including sections of 20%, once there we met up with some from group 3 and the ‘non cyclists’ who had taken a mini bus there for a shopping and sight seeing tour. A light lunch, then a couple more climbs on the way home and those from group 2 were soon forming ‘the autobus’ until those up front called a truce of hostilities and we all rode back into town together.
On offer on Friday was a cheese and wine tasting session again up at the farm during early evening, then back to the Riz for the evening meal.
You may get the impression that we were either riding our bikes or eating or relaxing and you wouldn’t be far wrong, thats exactly how it is.
So you’re probably wondering what is the standard of the groups, well, what was this year may be different next, but here goes……..
Group 1 is the speed merchants, incorporating some who win local TTs around here, their biggest ride was of 95 miles with 10000 ft of climbing, but generally around 70miles.
Group 2 averaged just over 60 miles with 3500 – 5000 ft of climbing each day.
Group 3 were amazing, covering 40-50 miles a day with a couple of climbs totalling around 3000ft each day, not bad for a group which included a couple of fairly novice riders, hats off to them.
Well I can’t tell you much more about next year’s trip except there’ll no doubt be a few changes in their quest for ever improving the facilities on offer.
Price wise it will probably be similar to this year which was:-
Basic room rate of 400€
Bike hire –carbon 154€
“ Aluminium 84€
Flights ranged from £85 to around £150 depending when you book and how much baggage you take.
Following on from us saw the arrival of Hemel Hempsted CC, this week sees Boxford Bike Club at the Riz, then next week West Suffolk Wheelers are taking a group of 46!!
How the booking works.
As the Hotel doesn’t ask for any deposit, I ask people to book their own flights, show me their confirmation then I’ll book their room, I need to see some commitment otherwise the Riz will be holding rooms for people who are not going to show, I think that’s only fair.
Once I have filled my allocation of rooms then I’ll need to check availability before you book your flights.
Once the Riz is full, they will still take bookings but you will be sleeping in an adjacent hotel, but everything else, meals etc are still taken at the Riz along with everyone else.
I’m going to leave it there and hope you’ve enjoyed the read, I will send out an email to our membership and those who have been with us before later in the year.
Enjoy your 2016 season.