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, August 28, 2007

UCI Masters World Championships...St. Johan, Austria

This video is from the "World Cup" race in St. Johan. Bob Addy and Geoff Marshall from Perth, Australia competed. Bob finished this race in 21st. Later in the week, Bob was 12th in the UCI World Championship race and Geoff was 29th in the same time as the winner. Good on ya mates !

Here we see Ian Lovell, another Aussie (in all blue over the top)....this was Ian's 7th time in St. Johan and he earned his highest placing with 17th. Well done mate.

Here's the "Emir"....Jim K from Seattle. Jim, Maria and their kids Ella and Jacob spent two weeks with us. Tons of fun !

Here's Charley D from Seattle.

Here's Domenic V from Toronto. This is his first year of racing. He should be very happy with his progress. This video is from the Pro/Elite race which he didn't finish. But earlier in the week he finished the 116k race for 19-29 yr olds (plus older guys who raced down in age). It was the fastest race I'd ever seen in St. Johan....45.5k/hr average...way to go Dom !

Of course I raced too. Dropped out of both races. It's been a long season. The other shot is our group right before we left Castelcucco for St. Johan.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Prepping for Worlds

Only a few days to go before we head North to St. Johan in Tirol, Austria for the UCI Masters World Championships...or if you're German....Weltmeistershaft.

Since the Giro Dolomiti we've had a week of pretty easy training last week and some racing this week. This is the peak vacation time of year for the Italians (meaning we can't find any massage therapists not on holiday!) there are races every day of the week until we leave. We've chosen to do the Giro del Veneto a four stage points race. Today we raced in Sarego in the Vicenza province. Last weekend we raced in Biban di Carbonera on Saturday and Cusignana on Sunday.

We met a couple of Aussie blokes at the Giro Dolomiti. Turns out they're headed to St. Johan as well, but didn't have any plans for the two weeks between the Dolomiti and Austria. They were looking for of course they jumped at the chance to join Velo Veneto for a couple of weeks when they heard we had plenty of racing to choose from as prep. Both guys are from Perth, Australia (western side of the country....the most remote large city in the world!)

Bob is 66 yrs old and a former pro from Great Britain originally. He rode in the 1968 Tour de France. He's a wonderful guy with lots of fun stories from his days in the pro peloton.

Jeff is 65 and a former "Croc hunter" (think Crocodile Dundee) in his youth in the 1960's. Yeah, there actually were croc hunters before it was outlawed. Jeff said that a good croc skin back then could fetch about $600...alot of money 40 yrs ago!
It's been a great pleasure having them here and they seem to really be enjoying the racing.

Also here and getting ready to head to Austria are Jim ("The Emir") and Charley, both from Seattle. Jim's wife Maria and their two kids are along and a joy to be with. And of course Domenic is still here. He'll race the 19-29 yr old race, then his first open elite race our final day...184k. And of course Lupo is a fixture.

Stay tuned for some stories of succes we hope !

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Giro e' finito

The Giro delle Dolomiti is finished! Wow, it was tough. We are very happy to be back "home" in Castelcucco.

Following the "rest" day, we faced 112k with four passes again (Thurs, 2 Aug.), total of 3100m of climbing. First we had to drive into the mountains for the start in Canazei. It was chilly, about 46 degrees when we arrived. Our men from Panama and Mexico were shivering just thinking about it ! But not to worry boys, first off we immediately climbed the easy side of the Marmolada. That was followed by the Passo Giau. With this event I've seen and climbed most of the major passes in the Dolomiti...but the scenery on the Giau was the best I've seen....incredible...and the climb was tough...10k at a bit over 9%. Again the speed of some of these guys shocks us. Most of us did the climb between 46-53 min. The winner? 35 min!!! Maybe there should be drug testing.....?

Following the Giau was the Falzarego and then the Pordoi with a final decent back into Canazei. I don't know if I mentioned that the riding time for our long day was over 8 hrs. Today was more than five and a half.

Things got a bit off track the next day. The day of stage 5 dawned with cold rain. Our riders who came specifically for the Giro decided to start the shortened stage and two of them finished...Ian and Tom. Hats off to you guys!

The rest of us took the day to catch up on sleep and rest sore legs. And then that night at dinner a crazy thought entered everybody's minds. Hey, what if we skip the final day and go ride the Stelvio? Are we gluttens for punishment? Ian and Tom decided to go ahead and finish the Giro (Ian was 9th on final GC in his age group), while Pat, Domenic, Alex, Juan and Rod drove up to Prato Stelvio to start the 24.3k (1800m of climbing) Passo Stelvio, the highest pass in Italy with it's 48 tornante (switchbacks or hairpins). The guys were thrilled...."what a way to end our trip" was the consensus. Ian (and wife Lyn) and Tom stayed in the area an extra day and will do the Stelvio today.

So, will we do the Giro delle Dolomiti in future years? Hard to say. It's a great event, but not really a "race". We missed an opportunity while doing the Giro to compete in a five day UDACE stage race with some climbing in the Friuli region. Chances are we'd opt to do that next year and then have a 3-4 day climbing "mini camp" headquartered in Canazei or someplace like that. All in all though a great experience. Now time to rest, recover and prepare for the UCI Masters World Championships in two weeks.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Woops, I forgot to put the battery back in my camera after charging. So no pictures yet. But what a day. We had the longest and biggest climbing day. In all 168k (104 miles) and 3400m (11,150 ft) of climbing over four passes....Passo Gardena (2,121m), Pso. Campolongo (1,875m), Pso. Pordoi (2,238m) and Pso. Sella (2,244m). Consider we start in Bolzano at an elevation of 266m and climb to Selva Gardena at 1550m before you really start the first pass!!! It was a long day in the saddle, about 8 hrs of peddling. And a couple of fun decents with no restricted speed (coming off Gardena and Sella). This all happened yesterday (July 31).

Today was a what do you do on a rest day other than sleep in? Of course you drive 200k round-trip in order to see the highest pass in Italy and a mythical climb of the Giro d'Italia....the Passo
Stelvio (2,758m). Here are some pictures.....