17 June 2008

Epic Italy '08 Day 8

Epic Italy ’08 Day 8 – Bolzano – Verona

The bike paths on this trip have given me a big dose of “stupeffatto”.
You don’t’ have to ride mountains if you want to ride in Italy. There is an amazing bike path system through all of the cities we went to and connecting them as well. Today we could have stayed on bike paths for all of the 170km from end to end today.
You also get a different perspective of the area you’re traveling through when riding bike paths. Without the cars to watch out for you can look around a bit more and the paths here are also generally away from buildings so you get some space and get a larger view.
Being a tourist on a bike is still the best way to see the world, unless of course its pissing down then a nice sports car would be my first choice.
The descents we did down to Assagio on Day 2 and down the Psa de Erbbe are best done on a bike. No doubt in my mind about that. Perhaps the fact that we rode up to the top before descending adds a lot to the whole experience but if for some reason (like old age for example!) I couldn’t pedal up these mountains I would still have a hell of a lot of fun being driven to the top so I could ride down.
Descending in the wet does reduce the thrill factor somewhat as you have to go a lot slower, and I would hate to shred my gorgeous new cycling gear with a fall. The winter cycling jerseys we had made for this camp are our best jerseys yet and I’ll recall this trip every time I put it on this winter once I get back home.

We started the day with a 4km spin to the pool just like yesterday. We had the 50m outdoor pool to ourselves again. Today I chose to wear my wetsuit as I froze yesterday.
Newsom did a set of 10 x 200 in his wetsuit on the 2:35 coming in mostly on the 2:25 which was bloody impressive considering how tired he is. I was content to just roll along with my paddles and get 3km done and get out.
Steve swam with no suit in order to get his 20fly done and then continued to swim without his suit and did say it was a little warmer than yesterday but I think he was mostly trying to encourage Jo to have another crack at that 200fly.
There was a “gruppetto” in the pool today over in the far lane! We usually don’t get a gruppetto on the pool but those guys were drafting and wearing their wetsuits and still just managing 2 minutes/100m pace. Very leisurely to say the least.

After swimming our support crew laid on another nice big snack for us – sort of an early lunch really. My bag of popcorn and beer went down a treat. We had quite a long ride ahead of us and I had the feeling it would be very steady. Every camp I try to end with the last ride being a group ride with the stronger guys pulling us along and today it was mostly that way. Gordo did get into full TT mode quite early in the ride into a howling wind so along the bike paths it was really bike race pace and a struggle to stay on. Poor Jo got spat off the back quite early and had a long day of quiet contemplation ahead of her.
We intended to meet up with the support crew again in Rivereto and finally caught up with them a ways past that at the 100km point into the ride. I was ready to call it a day there and probably should have. After changing my front wheel which had a broken spoke we hopped right back onto the G-Train and I smashed into the back of Anthony when not looking properly as I was trying to accelerate back onto his wheel. Thankfully I didn’t take anyone else down or get hit by a car as I went down. Only a gashed elbow with quite a bit of road rash to show for it and we were on our way again with Gordo making sure I was able to stay on as Steve took over the motor-pacing duties for the last 40km into Verona.
Steve was really throttling it the last hour + which was damn impressive after the week he’s put in. I think he’s finally getting fit! HA!
We did get a leisurely 15 minutes before arriving at the hotel which was nice. I felt pretty drained. Our crew had the food out again to greet us at 5pm and I needed quite a lot to get me going again even though I knew dinner was schedule for 6:30.
We quickly packed the bikes. Russell got the awards for fastest packing. He said he’s done it about 10 times already and it showed.
Randy’s titanium bike has those couplings you can unscrew to put the whole bike in a suitcase that’s the size of a bike wheel. I’m seriously looking at getting a bike like that as it fits into a nice-sized luggage bag that you would never guess contained a bike. With bike charges now at ridiculous levels that bike travel set-up is really looking like a great option.
We then showered and went into the hotel restaurant to eat and the red wine flowed.
Jo arrived a little late with a very, very tired smile on her face.