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.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


What a weekend ! Saturday five of us raced in Visnadello. Allison got to go against the newly crowned Italian UDACE champion. I'm sure she'll post something on her blog in the next few days about that. She and Mike are enroute to the USA as I type. They'll be missed here, they were great.

Domenic did his first race of his summer stay here. He just started riding early in 2006 and got a taste of Italian cycling on his trip to Velo Veneto last year. So he's back for a real long stay this summer. MUCH fitter, leaner, new bike, power meter, the works. And it shows. He rode wonderfully well, in only his second UDACE race ever and he's done less than 10 events total in his short career. I'm sure we'll see wonderful continued improvement from him this summer.

Lupo and I took turns getting in to breaks, but again missed the one that stuck.....argghhhh....but the form is starting to come. That attacks feel stronger and the recovery it's just a matter of time.

Everyone was so impressed with riding the Passo Rolle earlier in the week, that instead of racing on Sunday, they all chose to head into the heart of the Dolomiti to ride some big passes.

We had planned to do the Sella loop starting from Arabba, but were stopped by the Caribinieri because the Maratona Dolomiti was in progress. Woops, I'd completely forgotten about it....9,000 riders strong with closed roads!

So we went to plan B....climb the Passo Fedaia (Marmolada) and Passo Pordoi instead. The Marmolada is a bitch! It felt way harder than what that link shows. Maybe it was tired legs from the race the day before....or not low enough gears (Dom and I had 39x25), but Dom had to walk for a short while because his low back seized up. Lupo was ok with his 34x25, Mike & Ali had 39x29 and survived fine and Maria toughed it out on her 39x27....(I'm going to go with a 39x29 low gear for the Giro delle Dolomiti at the end of the month)

My altimeter showed consistent grades of 10-13% for the last 6k (12k total climb lengh from whre we started) with only a few 6-7% hairpins in the last 2k for respite. Strudel was well earned at the top!

The Pordoi is much easier, starting in Canazei after the decent off the Marmolada. Also a 12k climb but mostly 7-8%...and the views are spectacular. Photos and videos don't come close to what it really looks like. Also, at 2257m, the air is getting a little thin up there.

Again, time to eat at the top of the Pordoi. Mike said his power meter showed that he had burned almost 2500 calories and we'd only been riding for 2 1/2 hrs !!! By the time we had gotten back to the van, we'd done about 68km (42 miles), but that took nearly 3 1/2 hours!

Ok, so aren't Monday's supposed to be rest days? Not for Mike and Ali (they were leaving the next day in their defense). Time for one last leg breaker. One should always been careful heading out with Lupo to explore a new climb. He's liable to try and find something that will crack the hardiest of souls...and he did. The Monte Tomba, 5k from Castelcucco, one of the rarely used routes up the Monte Grappa. The first mile isn't too bad, but then it's about 3 miles at 10-15% and after that another 2+ miles at 8-10%. OK, that was enough...the Ali Cat FINALLY CRACKED! I'm sure she'll come clean in her own blog after she's recovered. Of course a spin over to Bassano del Grappa to purchase some Grappa to take home took the pain out of the legs.


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