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.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Thinking of the Veneto

I did a nice relaxing ride at home here in the Wine Country recently. It's harvest season and the weather is perfect with cool nights and warm days. The vineyards are turning fall colors and the sky is a clear blue. I wonder how the weather is for my friends in Castelcucco right now? I think of Italy often, in fact the other day I was looking at some maps of the area and realize how many roads I still haven't rode on even though we've been going there since 1999. Heck just on the Monte Grappa, which I went up or down on four different roads this trip, there are another handfull of new roads to try, most devoid of cars and often only as wide as a bike path with beautiful smooth pavement. It's not a dream it's reality!!!

When I look back on the 2005 season at Velo Veneto, so many wonderful memories (and one really bad one) come to mind. One of the fun things we did is have a nickname for most everyone. Mine was Pappa Grappa because I love to try all the roads up and down the Monte Grappa. Cindy is "The Biscuit" as in Seabiscuit. Paul was Lupo which means Wolf (his last name) in Italian. Garrett was Fabio, later changed to Luigi for reasons that will stay within the team! And then there is The Hummer. I don't know about anybody else, but I'm not a big fan of giant SUV's. As a taller rider (6'1"), I can usually see over or around most riders in the peloton. But riding behind John (Vancouver, Canada) is like driving behind a Hummer. You can't see anything (he's 6'3" with wide shoulders) and while the draft is great, when he cranks it up to 50k/hr plus, it's hard to hold his wheel!

One of the things we do at Velo Veneto is keep team age group records for the epic climbs in our region. Congrats to "Lupo" for setting two records on the Monte Grappa and Passo Rolle. Cindy got her record on Monte Grappa and Chris (Mesa, Arizona) broke a 15 yr old record for the Passo Rolle, set by camp founder Ron Palazzo. Complimenti tutti!!!

Another record was established for the most time sitting drinking coffee at the Hotel Montegrappa. The first Sunday of September we rode the
GranFondo MonteGrappa and at 167k with over 10,000 ft. of climbing we were a bit cooked the next morning. Monday's are usually a rest day, but this day will be remembered for quite some time. Lupo arrived at the hotel for breakfast at 7 am. I trailed in at eight with Fred. By 1 pm we decided that it was time to walk from the veranda out front to the dining room for lunch (with April of Biciveneto). There we sat until 5 pm, and plenty of wine later. So Lupo now holds the record for Chair Sitting on a rest day, 10 hrs!!!

The last week of August, the team made the trek north to St. Johan, Austria for the UCI Masters World Championships. For a Masters age racer, this event is a must, at least once in your racing career. The fields are huge and VERY strong, as it should be in a World Championship. Lupo had a go and was in a small breakaway that got caught only 3k from the line. Cindy, after 2nd and 3rd places in three previous trys, finally won!!! It was the most thrilling moment of our cycling careers to date. Now I understand why the Euros cry with joy when they win a big event like a stage of the Tour de France, etc. And then it all came crashing down as we arrived for the elaborate awards ceremonies. She was disqualified for having raced in the Sea Otter Classic and the Liberty Classic in Philadelphia, both on the UCI calendar. There is much to the story with politics, etc., but suffice it to say that we all were totally devastated. It was among the worst lows you could imagine after being so high only a few hours before. Do you think she'll be motivated in 2006?

One of our guests was Brian, an American TV executive who has lived in Torino, Italy for the fast few years. He is the Exucutive Producer for the 2006 Winter Olympics TV we will be watching his work closely as he has now educated us on the finer points of TV work. So great to have you Brian! In boca a lupo.

Oh, one last story. One night we're talking about movies and Garrett, age 20, was saying that some new movie that he'd just seen was the BEST MOVIE EVER !!! Now keep in mind, how many movies has a 20yr old seen? So we convinced him that maybe it was the best movie he might have seen, but he can't judge ALL the movies every made. Fair enough, so out of this comes a new Velo Veneto camp saying..."Top 10". This means that an experience is probably one of, if not THE best ever you've had, but we'll just call it top 10. Like finishing a training ride in the Dolomites. If you're from Arizona, that's probably the BEST mountain ride you've ever done, but definitely "Top 10"...LOL.

And so we look forward to 2006. We plan to be in Castelcucco from early June until early September. We guarantee that your training rides will be "Top 10" and the UDACE racing too.
Until then...Auguri e Ci vediamo !