The Italian part of the job, for the Isle of Wight SQ2SQ Charity Cycle Team Challenge saw them complete 103 miles across the northern plains of Italy (in temperatures in the low to mid 30′s in the shade) through to Ostellato.
Italy seems to agree with the Team as they were met on the way by the Ferrero Fire Service Cycling Team in the town of Poggio Renatico and accompanied, through to Ferraro town centre and then onwards to Ostellato.
In Ostellato the Team were met by the Mayor of Ostellato and Ernesto Bruni (ex stage winner of the Tour de France and winner of Olympic medals), along with supporters and the Assistant Chief Fire Officer of the Isle of Wight Fire & Rescue Service, Steve Apter.
A civic reception was held for the Team, where the Assistant Chief Fire Officer Steve Apter, made a speech in Italian to those present. This was reciprocated by the Ferraro Fire Service Chief Fire Officer.
Other speeches were made by the Mayor of Ostellato, along with Rosie Barnard (part of the SQ2SQ 2008 UK support who organised the reception with the Ostellato Mayor’s office).
The Isle of Wight Flag, given to the SQ2SQ 2008 Team by Cllr David Pugh and Cllr Lady Pigot (Leader and Deputy Leader of the Isle of Wight Council) on their day of departure from the Isle of Wight (30 August 2008) was passed to the Mayor.
The Team were then given much appreciated accommodation and hospitality courtesy of the Mayor.
Day 11 saw the Team head south towards Rome and start their first day of three in the Appenines mountain region, in temperatures f 38C (100F) in the shade.
Day 12 completed and another 75 miles cycled as the Team climbed up through the Appenines from 1,800 feet to 4,200 feet. The high point of the day was Paso De Caffa and a 10 mile decent was a reward for the 9 mile climb that started the day.
During the day the average temperatures rose to 45C (approx 120F) as the team started to cross the plains leading to Rome.
The Team stayed overnight in Castiglione de Lago, and are now in the Umbria region after crossing the Appenines and riding into Tuscany. They have 140 km/96 miles (Day 13) before their final stay just outside of Rome.
Day 14 will see the Team cycle 32km/20 miles from their campsite into Rome accompanied by cyclists from the Italian Fire Service (some of whom recently competed in the International Firefighter Games in Liverpool) and onto St Peter’s Square, Vatican City.
Update: The penultimate day of SQ2SQ 2008 completed 111 miles cycled by the Team in hot, muggy conditions and again over hilly terrain of the Appenines. The Team rolled out of Casteloigne Del Lago and headed towards Bracceaina.
Though the heat of the previous day wasn’t present, the riding was very rolling with regular short, challenging climbs and decsent’s which proved to be draining on the team in 23+ degrees of heat. By lunch time the team had covered 66 miles and in the afternoon the temprature soared to a 37 degrees in the shade.
The final day of the challenge will see the Team cycle from their campsite in Bracceaina and onto St Peter’s Square, Vatican City, escorted by the Italian Fire Service cycling team.
Around 40 people (family, friends and individuals from various organisations, including Chief Fire Officer Paul Street, Isle of Wight Fire & Rescue Service) will be meeting the team in St Peter’s Square, Vatican City on the Team’s arrival at approximately 12.30 Italian time (11.30 GMT).
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