Velo Veneto - Ciclismo Italiano !

Stories from the Velo Veneto bike racing camp in Castelcucco, Italy

Location: San Francisco, California, United States

I'm a 50 year old kid who loves to race bikes. I operate a bike racing camp in Northern Italy. When not in Italy I have the good fortune of living in one of the best places to ride, the Northern California Wine Country.

Friday, December 31, 2004

Me & Fast Freddie

Levi Leipheimer joined us too!

3 Time US Pro Champ!

Fast Freddie

We had the pleasure of doing a ride with Fred Rodriguez, aka "Fast Freddie" last Tuesday. He was in town to spend time with Team Swift, our local team of juniors that Cindy does some coaching with. Freddie was awsome, he spent time working on sprint leadouts with the kids and telling them stories about his stage win at the 2004 Giro over Petacchi and his second place in the 2002 Milan-San Remo to Cipollini. Afterwards he posed for pictures and signed autographs. He also served his "Fast Freddie" coffee which was very strong and very good.

So our first race is only five weeks away on February 6, yowza!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Feels Like Waiting

Do you ever feel like you're waiting alot this time of year? I do. I feel like I'm waiting for the days to start getting longer. I feel like I'm waiting for the holidays to get over with. I feel like I'm waiting for Spring (and it was 68 and sunny here today!) I feel like I'm waiting for racing season to get going (which it will in NorCal on Feb. 6, 2005...not that far away.) Oh well, be patient my son...all in good time.

Had a couple of real good rides last weekend. Four hours on the road bike in sunny weather on Saturday, then a great 3 hr. MTB ride in Annadel Park (12 minutes from the house) on for the week, 21 hours. We've been doing more on the dirt this Fall/Winter, more for the mental side than physical. Since our 2005 season will be so long and involved with our Camp in Italy we figure that more days off the bike now and more variety with doing some off-road training will be good for the mental freshness come August next year!

Speaking of last Sunday...Cindy hosted a Holiday Party for about 30 of our friends. It also doubled as her birthday party. There's a good reason that I'm not a big party guy...I can't handle my liquor. Like an idiot, I mixed drinks having some wine, beer, scotch and a gin&tonic. About 3 hrs in to the festivities I knew I was in trouble and spent the better part of the next couple of hours paying homage to the porcelin goddess. Ouch!!! Fortunately the purging worked and a big glass of Gatorade set me up for a good night's sleep and no hangover the next day. But there were enough after-effects that I wimped out and didn't get out on the bike on Monday. Live and learn...again, and again. You think at 45 yrs old I'd be a bit smarter. Oh, well I hope the guests didn't miss me too much and had a good time.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 17, 2004

"The Window Has Closed"

For the last few mid December's, Glen and I have this running joke about how long it will take him once he starts training drop me! Well, today, with only four rides and less than 10 hours under his belt, he gave it a try. We were out on a beautiful, but crisp day in Nor Cal for a 3 hour ride. Glen and Cindy spent most of the time on the front discussing ways that she could train to improve her climbing on the really steep hills. I was trying to stay out of Glen's way as with this head cold, the last thing you want to do is ride right behind me as I clear my blow-hole. About 2 hrs into the ride we start a fairly gentle 5k climb up the Bohemian Highway from Monte Rio to Occidental then turn left up Graton Rd. to the top. Glen seems to be pretty motivated this year. He has come back from New Zealand with only a few extra lbs. So the closer we get to the top, the more he increases the pace. Now mind you this isn't a steep climb, maybe 5-7%...I'm in the 53x21 most of the time. Then for the last K up Graton Rd., Glen clicks it up a gear or two and stands up, boom there goes Cindy ("I wasn't going to push myself with this cold"). I had to make a quick decision as to whether I should let him go or...NOT! How can live with myself if he drops me on less than a week of riding? Heck, I'm no slouch...(Cat. 2 with lots of Euro experience!) So quickly I click up a couple and stand up to close the small gap, then hang on for about 500 meters over the top and....made it. This is a good Glen Mitchell we're dealing with this year I think. He's motivated and relaxed. Look out US Pro peloton. Of course this wasn't always the case. I first met Glen in November, 2000. We didn't talk too much until I crashed and got run over by a pickup truck on Dec. 16, 2000. Glen (and his now wife Tonia) were one of the first visitors I had in the hospital. At home recovering on New Year's Day 2001, they stopped by to say hi, and I asked Glen how the training was going. He said something like "what training"? I got pissed at him and told him to get his butt out there and put in the miles. Are you a "pro" or not? Of course he wasn't really at that time as the Noble House farce of a pro team never came to be. So it looks like the window of opportunity to drop Glen may be closed until Dec. 2005 ... and that's a good thing.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Male in testa

Male in testa, that's Italian for "head cold", which is what I'm suffering from right now. Both Cindy and I seem to have picked one up at the same time. I figure one of Gary and Barbara's kids might have had the sniffles and they have kindly shared with us. Of course it didn't help that we did a 140k's yesterday, the famous Geyser's ride here in Sonoma County. For the most part the ride is flat although we definitely had a head wind out to Cloverdale. Then you have a 35k stretch where there is about 1300 meters of climbing with some sections up to 16%. For those challenged in the metric system, that's 4000 feet of up and down climbing in 21+ miles. Somehow the weather god's also seemed to bless us with a bit of a headwind on the way home too! Can't complain though, it was 60 degrees and bright sunshine. Oh, one other thing, it was Cindy's B-day...seems like we somehow do long rides on certain special days. Last New Year's Eve day, we did the 7 hr Skaggs loop, didn't make it to midnight to welcome in the New Year...wonder why.

Today is the 4th anniversary of my near fatal accident of Dec. 16, 2000. Strangely enough, I've ridden down the Oakville Grade Road where I crashed twice in the last month. That's one way to exorcise the demons! Time for a day off, think we'll walk downtown to the movie theater and see Ocean's 12.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Glen at Redlands 2004

Glen returns

Still a bit sore from golf on Saturday. When you don't play often, you'd be surprised how sore your legs can get walking 4-5 miles over hill and dale hauling around a golf bag. Those who play occationally understand, those who don't play can't seem to understand how you can get so tired from such a "non-athletic" sport, or so they think. I think while cyclists are great aerobic athletes, but in general we don't tend to be the most talented overall. Even Lance Armstrong has said he wasn't much of an athlete in "ball" sports.

Speaking of athletes, my friend Glen Mitchell is back from New Zealand. Glen has ridden as a pro in the US since 1999, most recently with Sierra Nevada. He's been on two New Zealand Olympic teams. This is always a fun time of year for me as Glen comes back here having not ridden his bike for at least 4-5 weeks, so I get about a week to 10 days to put the hurt to him. Today was our first ride and I noticed that he'd taken care not to gain too much weight and he seemed much more comfortable on the bike after a couple of hours. He's motivated to have a good season in 2005 and is looking forward to his "new" team. When I say new, I shouldn't reveal too much as the team hasn't announced their roster and sponsors yet publically. Suffice it to say that two teams are merging and a former pro who's well known in the anti-doping crusade will be making a comback with the team. Stay tuned for the details later!

Sunday, December 12, 2004

At home in Castelcucco, Italy, August 2004 Posted by Hello