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.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

GF Pinarello

The Gran Fondo Pinarello was Sunday, July 15. The worst part of these fondos is that they start early in the moring...this one at 7:30 a.m. The UDACE races usuall start between 2-4 you have a leisurely morning, then by the time you're home from the race it's time for dinner and you don't have to get up early the next day...perfect Italian lifestyle.

The Pinarello starts in the main piazza in Treviso, right in front of the Pinarello store where they have Miguel Indurain's World Hour Record bike and Jan Ulrich's Tour de France winning TT bike in the window.

Like all fondos, the first 500 riders at the front of the pack are "seeded"....then everybody lines up behind them. Not wanting to get up at 3:30 am in order to get to Treviso and line up at 6:00 a.m., we started at the back of nearly 2000 riders in the short, or "medio" fondo course, which covered 125k.
It takes about five min. once they start for us to get past the official "starting line" where the timing chip you wear on your ankle records your start.

The first 25k of the course is pancake flat, so the peloton is moving pretty good and if you want to move up the field you've got to hit the gas and do a team TT up the side of the pack. Dom and I were the first Velo Veneto riders to hit the first climb at which time you're like a fish swimming upstream trying to work your way through slower riders. At one point he managed to swim a bit farther ahead and find some open road and that was the last I saw of him.

The course has only five main climbs. About 10k's before the last climb over the highest point of the Montello (sight of the 1985 World Championships), Juan caught up to my group and in his typical "non-hampster" style (meaning he pounds a big gear!) who started setting tempo I was happy to let the young guys do all the pulling.

One thing you learn in the Pinarello is that since the climbs aren't that long or steep, really busting a gut up the climbs doesn't mean you'll drop the 50 rider pack you were just in as down the decent and back on the flats they will invariably chase you down!

Anyway, Dom had a final time of 3:24, Juan and I came in at 3:29, followed by Lupo, Alex, Larry, Gene, Maria and Tom (Jinny rode the "Gourmet" ride....and had the biggest smile on her face at the finish...LOL)

The results can be viewed here.

Actually, the day before the Pinarello, five of our riders did an UDACE race in Travettore di Rosa'. Lupo finished 2nd in the Gentlemen's category riding with Alex, Gene and Larry. Domenic raced in the Cadetti.

Monday was a rest day and the guys rode to the pool (called "Conca Verde") near Crespano for some swimming and "people" watching...LOL

Yesterday, the group went up to assault the Passo Rolle again. For Alex, Gene and Tom, it was their first time up this climb in the Dolomites. Gene's comment was "that climb alone" was worth the trip to Velo Veneto.

Today, everybody but Tom and I (he's more of a flatlander from Indiana) did the MonteGrappa via the Campo Croce route. If you're counting, that's an UDACE race, a Gran Fondo, and two big climbing days in the last five days. Why so much? Well partly, most guys don't want to travel all the way to Italy to have a bunch of rest days, but also we're preparing for the Giro della Dolomiti next a big block is better to do now than right before the Giro starts July 28.

The next couple of days will be much mellower. Probably another trip to the pool and rides of 2-2.5 hrs instead of 3+ with big climbs.

Right before we left the post ride pasta feed at the Pinarello, this guy came to our table to eat....definitely old school ! They actually have an event, I think in Tuscany where all the riders are on old bikes, with vintage clothing, etc. Just like the 1930's and before. You gotta love this country!

Ciao for now.


Blogger alicat said...

Today I did a lovely ride through the hills of Berkeley. I was nearly hit by a cell-phone wielding driver no less than 5 times. Did I mention it was lovely? Did I mention that I'm jealous of every last one of you!

On Sunday, Mike and I are doing our first race since returning from Castelcucco. We're gonna slam the brakes in the corners just to look Euro...

July 20, 2007 at 8:13 PM  

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