Saturday, August 21, 2010

Bruton, Bike, or Maybe Just Bust

So tonight was our fourth night in two weeks eating at the Bruton Restaurant and Birreria located on the fringe of our dear little city of Lucca.

Now, let's get something straight here: I'm no fan of becoming a regular at bars or restaurants. Not even department stores if I can help it. What's funny is that the young crew that runs this awesome spot feel much more like professional friends than they do like the lady behind the diner counter who knows how you like your eggs every time or how you take your coffee.

Certainly we all know a place like The Bruton in Italy would not offer eggs, but they do serve a mean caffé post-meal if you do the whole caffeinated digestion thing. Their menu, however, does everything from Italian fare of tortellini and thin, wood fire pizzas, to incredible burgers. To top it off, their beer is made in house - artisan-style - to make even the finest Chianti and Limoncello palettes salivate. (We brought our Italian-to-the-CORE roommate there the other night and he sampled our Momus and Lilith glasses with hesitation - since the only beer they get to know is a malty Moretti - but ultimately, he gulped that thing with great pleasure.

Speaking of which, I just gotta say that my favorite of their brews is the Lilith. Since I'm no beer girl normally, I'll give you my best description without it feeling loaded in random adjectives I've heard. It's a light, crisp amber beer that's got a little fruity zest and is semi-sweet. Without much knowledge in beer flavors (since I typically just tax Phil on his glasses of choice when he's mid-cycling lingo) I'm not qualified enough to compare it to what we've got back in the states, or to other wonderous Belgians, but I can say that it's divine. And that's really all I carea bout.

Okay, okay, you've had enough piddly talk about caloric consumption so I think it's caloric extraction time...

I've been riding a ton lately. Today I got a splitting headache halfway up the 3rd of 4 climbs we were doing in 88F humidity. By the time I reached the top, Alison and Phil were there patiently waiting. You know, you never want to be the one complaining when you reach the crest of a climb as the last one up. It's uncomfortable for everyone if you blab on or shake your head - unless of course you can show that you were maybe side-swiped by a vehicle or chased down by a hungry Brittany Spaniel. If you do opt for the mouthful of begrudged moans and pithy information about your legs, you'll just look that much weaker than you normally would.

Fully aware of my predicament, but barely feeling functional enough to make out sentences - I'm not lying, my jaw was sore and my eyes burned to keep open since my head was pounding so hard! - I just said that "I didn't like that one very much. I think I may be dehydrated...let's keep going, nice and easy." Or something to that effect. So, shortly after grabbing fresh water for our bottles, we went along our way. Neck sore, shoulders tight, head heavy, we just about passed Balbano on our left when Phil whips a turn and says "last climb!" with a big smile. I let out a little murmur... Well, not exactly a murmur. I blurted out some angry words that basically meant I wondered why we were choosing to climb so much on a day that was supposed to be steady. I kept thinking about that the entire ride actually - what is the difference between a hard, climbing day and a steady day that includes 3 big climbs and 1 small one that totals 90km after it's all said and done?!?! I mean seriously. The girlfriend's got a bit of a dehydration thing going on here! Thankfully Alison was there or I probably would have tackled Phil to the ground with my crank set ripped out.

Moving on...tomorrow is Sunday.

Sundays here mean we have the opportunity to do a group ride with the Fast and Furious crew. Yet somehow it is the one absolute, no-excuses-accepted obligation that seems to thunder into every weekend like a bull with up to 140km horns.

Once, I felt sort of tired and ill earlier this summer, and I refused the "option". For the next 20 minutes as I sauntered to the kitchen and made coffee, my phone vibrated on silent with different people calling me to say the entire group would be passing right by the apartment to get me. Pretty soon I found it and succombed to the peer pressure even though I was pretty bitter about my relaxing Sunday morning becoming a beat-up-your-body session on some pretty rugged climbs near Montecatini.

For now, let's just say I'll keep you posted whether or not I forge up the infamous Cipollaio mountain for a 13km climb after a 60 km to and from journey....

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