Evisa - Lavender Fields, Forever - CycleBlaze

June 24, 2003


From Porto, we left the coast for four days for a short excursion into the interior.  Our destination was Corte, which we planned to stay at for two nights and then return to Porto to continue down the coast.

For a day that happened almost 15 years ago and that I have no journal for, there is a lot that Rachael and I recall from our climb to Evisa.  We began the day with petit dejeuner at a bar on the waterfront, sitting at an outdoor table looking at the beautiful bay.  We were there just as it opened and were the only clients, as I recall.  Afterwards we walked down to the beach for a last look around before starting the short but not steep climb to Evisa.  I must have left the camera back in the room, because I don't have any photos from the morning, other than of our hotel as we left town.

Our hotel in Evisa
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The climb to Ota is short, but quite steep.  The first mile from the coast is essentially flat, but after that it climbs a thousand feet in the next three miles.  Steep, and even though it's only midmorning it's already quite hot - as it has been every day since we arrived.   Steep, but not that steep - so it was really surprising that I almost didn't make it.  I was really quite spent when we arrived in Ota, and in need of a break.  When we arrived in the village, a young boy of perhaps 10 raced us up the steep main street into town, and I couldn't keep up.  Looking back now, I feel certain that I was having an SVT (racing heartbeat) episode without recognizing what was going on.  This has been a chronic condition for years now which I treat with medication, but at the time it hadn't been diagnosed yet. 

So that's my story.   Rachael's story is of the immense, awesome sundae she cooled off with while waiting for me to get a grip. 

The Genoese Pianlla Bridge, in Spelunca Gorge
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The Genoese Pianella Bridge
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Spelunca Gorge
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Spelunca Gorge
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The reward after the steep, hot climb to Ota
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The Cannondales in Orta. Note the small flycatcher on the saddle of mine.
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Beyond Ota the road continues to climb all the way to Evisa, but at a more gradual rate - 2,700' in 12 miles.  I didn't  have any trouble with this climb, which is typical of my SVT episodes.  They're pretty debilitating at the time; but once they subside they tend not to recur for some time and don't really have any after effect - when they happen now, which I've learned to recognize almost immediately, I just lie down and wait for it to pass.

I don't have a firm recollection of the climb, other than that it was very beautiful looking back at Ota and looking down at one of the two arched bridges far below the road.   And hot.

We both remember our arrival in Evisa though - it's one of our favorite biking stories, one we've told our friends hundreds of times over the years.  When we biked into town, we were startled to see a small herd of pigs leisurely strolling our way down main street.  We stopped to watch the parade with amusement for a few minutes, and then were shocked when they abruptly took a sharp left turn and strolled through the open front  door of the best hotel in town.  We could hardly believe what we had just witnessed - it seemed like a skit from a comedy show.  A few moments later the pigs came out again, almost running this time, with an indignant woman wielding a broom sweeping them out the door.

One of the two Genoese bridges in Spelunca Gorge
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The Evisa welcoming committee
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Jeremy PerksThe Kangoo! I really wish I could buy a Kangoo or a Berlingo! I'm sure that you could fit a couple of bikes in the back without having to take the front wheels off. After all, you don't need backseat drivers.
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4 years ago
Checking in at the Aitone Hotel
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After this great show was over we biked to the other end of town and checked ourselves into the Scopa Rosa, a more modest hotel; and then lay around in our room for the rest of the afternoon, hiding out from the blazing sun.  After it cooled off a bit we walked out of town a ways for a short hike before dinner, on the Route of the Chestnuts.  The photos we have from this walk remind me of one of the things I loved best about our visit to Corsica - the woods at this elevation are dominated by wild chestnuts, and they were dazzling yellow at the peak of their bloom. 

The Route of the Chestnuts, Evisa
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Total elevation gain: today, 3,450; for the tour, 24,710'

Today's ride: 17 miles (27 km)
Total: 306 miles (492 km)

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