10 June 2008

Epic Italy '08 Day 1

Epic Italy ’08 Day 1 – Verona – Trento

One of the main goals of the camp is to challenge everyone to s/b/r every day so we’ve set up out camp points competition to reward those that manage to do that.
Accomplishing that simple goal is not as easy as it sounds. Sleeping in gets more and more enticing as the camp progresses.

So here we are in Verona.
Last night Erin (my wife who is joining us for few days) Douglas Scott (Auckland, NZ cardiologist on his 2nd Epic) and I went into town for a glass of wine and a stroll. The city is stunning and very clean. I thought it might be more rundown but its immaculate.
The café’s were packed and we even listened to a full choir backed by a full orchestra outside in one of the piazza’s as we had some gelato. The full Italian experience! I would have loved to stay later but we have an early start in the morning. So lights out at 10:30.

Today ……..
We started at 5:30am with an easy tourist run around Verona checking out the sights, followed soon after with a swim at the 50m outdoor pool across the street, then breakfast, then a 9:15am roll-out to ride to Trento via the road along lake Garda.

The run – nice and leisurely. Since its Sunday here it was pretty quiet! But the sun was up and it was a balmy 22 C so it was very nice. Our support crew was there to meet us outside the hotel with coffee and snacks. Much appreciated! 15 minutes to shower and get to the pool.

The swim – We had a beautiful 50m outdoor pool all to ourselves. Long w/up and then a 2km TT. Since G-Man had swam in the pool the day before and told us how freezing it was most of us put on wetsuits. For those who chose not to wear them we gave them 2 minutes off of their time (6 seconds/100m) so Gordo then strips off his wetsuit! ????? Hmmmmm………
Newsom creamed us (holding 1:15/100m and with me floundering like I forgot how to swim G-Man was 2nd. I think that’s the first time at an Epic that he’s taken me in a swim event (other than a 50m sprint or a kicking race) and my days of easily taking him in swim races may be numbered! He’s swimming pretty good after a solid 6 months of swimming.

The ride – One of the rules we usually enforce on Epic when we are riding point-to-point is to have everyone have their overnight bag packed and brought down to the lobby prior to breakfast so the support crew can pack up the vans early enough to be able to support us on the road. Good rule and its been working well. That also keeps us from having a late departure for our ride.
The route today was intended to gently get everyone going on this Epic. A full day of international travel and getting the bikes together before Day 1 really doesn’t allow people to be fully with it on Day 1 so its nice to have a slightly gentle start. In January (or last January for that matter) in NZ we didn’t do that and most people were absolutely shattered at the end of Day 1.
We rode out of town which was pretty busy. Then we went along Lake Garda to Arco and then on to Trento with a short gradual uphill TT along the way at the end of the ride.
The lake is quite the tourist spot and since its Sunday there were zillions of people out.
Gordo kindly pulled us for hours into a headwind to keep the tempo up.
We only had a couple of near-death close calls and a 60kph descent through a curving 1km tunnel to get the adrenaline up. Other than that it was pretty relaxed! Erin pulled me over at about the 100km mark to show me her crooked handlebars. I put her bike together the night before and hadn’t tightened the stem at all! OOOOOPS!!! Sorry dear……..
Everyone else checking in on their loved ones will be glad to hear they’ve all arrived in one piece. Lucky for them I’m not their bike mechanic.
I’ll let some one else report the TT results. I’ll just say our only intrepid female camper Jo Carritt (spelling correct??) from the UK goes uphill damn good. All 45kgs of her!! This woman is suited to this terrain!

We’re in Trento 2 nights so hopefully I can get online tonight to post this as I couldn’t get online in Verona.