15 November 2011

I ran

When I cycle to the station to go to work (an activity that, I regret to say, is on hold at present while the weather is as cold as it is) I use an old railway line, courtesy of Dr Beeching who does not really qualify to be referred to as the cyclist's friend. And occasionally I run it, though a five mile run on the way to work is just a bit much - having said which, five years ago I was running four-and-a-half regularly in the morning and the evening, so perhaps I should be more adventurous.
I don't know whether Italy had its own Dr Beeching, but what happened along the Ligurian Riviera was not that they dispensed with the railway, rather that they shifted it a little inland, and for much of its length underground, then turned the old one into a cycle-cum-running track. A sensational one.
Probably no surprise that on a Saturday morning it should be well-used by cycling clubs, along with individual serious-looking cyclists - no surprise at all, because every piece of tarmac in the country seems to have them. They ride responsibly, and (on the roads) cars seem to treat them respectfully, so it's as different from England as you could get. I was a little wary about stepping across the white line when pedestrians came at me two abreast, lest a cyclist come up at speed from behind me, but a prudent glance over my shoulder was all that was needed when I was forced into the cycle lanes.

For some distance I passed and repassed a young English couple on a side-by-side pedal quadricycle, chatting with them as we fell in alongside each other, then they seemed to tire of the game or went to do some sightseeing. It was hard - impossible - to believe it was November: not too hot to run, but quite warm enough (though it was the middle of the day - I certainly wouldn't be out running at that time in the summer).

The route goes through several tunnels and across a number of bridges - how many, of course, depends on how much of the old railway you run along - including the bridge from which I took this photo (those white birds dictating the choice of music clip for this posting), of the Argentina river. I was doing a prescribed distance, having been dropped in San Remo and being expected for a picnic lunch (in November?) on the beach at Riva, but I could have gone on for ever.

Actually, that's a complete lie. Had I been wearing clumpy cushioned shoes I'd probably have gone further: had I bothered to take my compression tights on holiday with me (and space in our single case was definitely at a premium) I might have gone further still, but after five miles in huaraches my calves knew it was time to stop - and it took me a week to be able to walk normally again ...



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