Kokopelli, is all about active ventures, simple pleasures. But, with some quirky self-catering options and rather special added extras, we're much, much more than just camping. You'll find us tucked away in the foothills of the Majella of south-central Italy - a raw wilderness and the perfect playground for hiking, biking, climbing & chillin. Beach bums will be spoilt for choice too, as the beautiful Adriatic Coastline is only a short drive down the valley.
Inspired by the Giro, we've developed this new thing on the bikes and, boy, does it hurt. The beauty of it for a training programme is it's easy to do, it's great for mismatched people training together, and you can't help but to give it your all, no matter how much you're hurting.
The mismatch for us falls in two very different power to weight ratios, and brain versus no brain. Translated as the up hills being mine (strong legs, light body weight), and the down hills being KP's (greater body weight, no fear).
So what has KP decided to do? Getting fed up with getting left behind on the hills, he's come out fighting. Rather than being a gentleman and holding back on the descents and waiting for me at the bottom, he's now going for it in a totally brainless way. He's even overtaking cars. He then belts it up the other side until gravity takes it's toll and starts dragging on his 6'3"/15 stone frame. Problem is, he has a 10 minute lead and I have to catch him. Double problem is, I can't help myself.
I could just take it easy, not worry about the fact that he's ahead of me and just enjoy the ride. I'm not racing anymore, I don't need to do it. I don't need this pain. So why do it? Because he's up there. Somewhere. And he's beating me.
I can catch him, he won't beat me. Gaining, I can see him now, he's in my sights. Keep turning those legs, keep reeling him in. Stand up now, power those legs. Sit down, spin, rest. Stand up again. Power on, nearly there. Must get him before the top.
You see, I just can't help myself. He can't either, hears me coming, keeps working, defying gravity, pushing on.
Road to Pretoro, mountain stage of 2009 Giro
So this is how we spent our morning. 1 hour and 15 minutes of pain. 24 km. I have to confess to a little cheat. Just two switchbacks before Pretoro, about three quarters of the way into the long long climb, there's a short cut that cuts out the last two switchbacks. But it's no mean feat. The road is broken up and it's so steep in places I lose traction. It hurts, it's pain and only sheer will-power and bloody mindedness (and the fact that some workmen are watching) get me to the top. Ahead of KP. Tee hee.
But I almost threw up. Took a good few minutes of sitting, spinning, recovering before my stomach settled back into its rightful place and my burning lungs calmed and cooled. But I was back in front.
KP did catch me easily on the fast descent into Roccamonte and bombed past at the speed of light, knees practically on the ground on the sweeping turns. Luckily for me there is a short, but very sharp climb back to Garifoli and home. Easy for me, not so for KP. So I caught him and we rolled in together. Absolutely brilliant training session.
That out of the way, it was time to crack on with the serious stuff. KP continued panelling the kitchen whilst I did the dreaded supermarket run. On my own. That was a first, and all rather boring really. First time out driving and finding my way around on my own, I thought this would be a momentous occasion, but it was quite boring really.
Hmmm... Think I'll start with the head
The exciting thing was though, whilst I was out our bunnies arrived! All hairless and ready for me to prepare. Coniglio. Easy peasy, can't be any different from cutting up a chicken, can it? Problem is, chickens come trussed up and neatly packaged in cellophane, these bunnies were in my sink and were looking at me.
First job, get rid of the head. Chop, done, bin, gone. That's better. No more eyes.
Freezer ready bunny
Luckily my bunny benefactor had removed the entrails, just leaving me the heart, lungs and kidneys. Easily removed I then moved on to sectioning the legs, ribs, saddle and back. Hey! This is looking good! What a big bunny too. Eventually I had three packs for the freezer, two for the stock pot and one for the pan for tonight. Easy, simple and totally delicious recipe I found too, courtesy of my Tuscan cookbook.
The usual swifty in the bar and we were back home with rabbit and freshly podded broad beans for supper, in our kitchen with one wall of completed wood panelling, totally pooped.