“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” Lou Holtz

"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand." Confucius

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

No more mountains!

Trento to Treviso is just a short  trip so we arrived early enough at our 2 bedroomed apartment to settle in and  go shopping before TdF started on the TV.  The apartment was one we used last year and given the humid weather  we experienced  both last year and again this year, made full use of the AC they had in all rooms.

On Tuesday we did a quick return trip to Feltre to pick up some Zipp 202  wheels Alex had ordered online.  He’d seen them at a really good price, thought about it for a day and then when he returned to the page found them reduced even further!

As we knew the area from last year the next days we were out and about putting in flat kms.  For me play time was over and I now had to address speed and cadence issues in my training…ugh, sob!  The rides were about 50, then 70  then 100km long.

treviso trot
Treviso Trot
Montello Meander
Follina Folly
This area during WW1 was the site of many many battles between the armies Italy and the Austro- Hungarian empire and consequently many of the places names are associated with those days and there are many memorials. The River Piave was  critical during that period.

boats like these were strung together to make a floating bridge after the permanent ones had been destroyed 

I wasn't sure if this was a memorial or just a cross

On Friday we picked up my sister from Treviso airport and on Saturday we decamped to Feltre.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Charly Gaul Granfondo…NEVER again

At only 57km long and with  about 2000m climb, this GF sorta looked tempting and since I hadn’t done the RR when I was here for the World Masters Championships it was a sort of “must do” race.

One thing is clear…a  good climber I am not.  Perhaps if I lost 10kg of fat I might have a chance but long draggy climbs are definitely  not my forte. Short one yes, long ones…ugh!

The organisation was ok although starting pens sorted by when you entered rather than age groups was a bit weird and the graphic of which pens were where was wrong anyway.  The goody bag was ace..stuffed with…goodies!  and there were 5 or 6 refreshment stands on my route, more on the long one.  Each was excellently staffed by volunteers, providing opened bottles of water, coke or mineral water and food.

Well…..I finished and this is one GF I wont be returning to.  If nothing else I have learned that a 21km climb is well beyond my comfort zone.  I can manage it doing the Stelvio due to the stupendous views that mitigate the pain and, truth be told, the boredom but without  that distraction 10-14 km is my limit.  What’s worse is that in a GF there is always someone who is actually much stronger but for 1 reason or another is behind you and who when passing you makes it look so damn easy!  I suspect people pushing wheelchairs would have passed me at one point!  However I was determined NOT to stop at any point and didn’t.

charly gaul

How’s this for a great indicator of the climb courtesy of Veloviewer.com

Alex did the long course but stopped 10km from the top..he then ate his way through all the goodies at a refreshment stop and turned for home…he was happy with his effort.

The next day was transit to Treviso day…staying where we did last year and best yet… Treviso is slap bang in the middle of the flattest bit of terrain ever. 

Friday, 15 July 2016

Cycling museum, Massi erratici,Passo Mendola and piramidati

Leaving on Monday means less traffic on the road, but first we have to go to the cycling museum and also the  massi erratici ..just got try at least!
Many many pink jerseys There was so much to see..it was quite overwhelming
I did a bit of swift talking to get us into the museum at the reduced price one paid if arriving on a bke…cashing in on my ability to speak some Italian and being an exotic Australian  ..”you are Australian..che bello .…my aunt/cousin/friend nephew  twice removed has visited Australia…do you know her/him?”
Then off to see the stones…debris left from the melting glacier…appparently they are all over the place, but we only got to see 2 more public ones:
pietra luna

pietra sole
they were located in the rather nice garden of a hotel/function place, along with  a huge Beech tree and an equally large and very old Sequoia.

Then off to Trento to our newest apartment….small  with very very good internet connection and some TV channels in English..if you like CSI and Law and Order!!!!

Our next ride was with Maria Zander with her husband Wolfgang in the backup van.  It was s’posed to be a 50km ride, but the weather meant it ended up as a 13km climb up the Mendola pass:


Obligatory passo pix
It was wet…very very wet, but we continued up to the top and had a very warm van for changing …thanks to WolfgangIMG_20160712_104912


just hanging around!
 As soon as we had lunch …Apfel strudel for 3 and pommes frites for Alex, the sun came out…figures, eh!

Having eaten out 3 days on a row, it was time to get back to our usual pasta and tuna mix….. and the following day planned a ride to some lakes:

50 km adventure

Photo opportunity near the first lake

we were on major roads for most of the time but when we needed to move from one valley to another we were on a very  very minor road…this is the beginning of the minor road which is also where there are some “pyramids”…a tourist  spot apparently.

The narrow road went on for 5km, getting  narrower and steeper and with a worse surface.  Finally it came to an end and we were back in civilisation…and not too soon as there was a thunder storm right over us. We had to find shelter which we did, under the awning of a closed hotel and there we stayed watching horizontal rain for about 10 minutes...quite dramatic.  Finally we could re-start but carefully as the rain had gouged holes out of the newly mended  road!

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Bellagio and the Ghisallo

The drive to Como was dead easy..a valley drive with surprisingly few cars to contend with given it was a Saturday.  However we never did find the ferry at Varenna and ended up driving around the lake to our next apartment which was just shy of  actually  being in Bellagio itself.  In somewhat typical fashion signs to the Ferry were extremely evident someway out of Varenna but nowhere to be seen when it mattered most.
Our host rolled up 5 minutes after we called and showed us where to park (not in the garage that came with the house for some unspecified reason) and then opened up the palace that was to be our home for 2 days.  2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms a TV in a mezzanine/mansard loft type thing and a huge sitting/dining/kitchen area.  There is of course always a downside..no washing machine and no internet and no aircon which was a shame as the weather was humid+++ and watching the TdF  on the TV in the top storey was a bit sweaty.

The view from our sitting room/kitchen/dining room

The room itself with TV space up aloft

Cutest set of coffee mugs ever
We went for a walk before we ate…as you do in Italy and saw the following:

An old public bath, still in use during the 20th C

Sigh...a sign for erratic boulders..a must see, if they stood still long eough
Since we were only there for 2 nights we went out for a meal both times and I learned that slices of beef are almost always pretty well raw. 

Sunday was ride to the chapel of  the Madonna del Ghisallo  patron saint of cyclists, the planned visit to the cycling  museum was to happen the next day when we could be sure of bicycle security.

Obligatory bike/pass pix!

A very nice 40 km loop
Statue by the chapel

Madonna del Ghisallo chapel

Taking visibility to extremes!

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Fatigue and poor internet connection = delayed blog entry!

where to start?  Probably watching the Giro d’Italia Femminile.
The start of the race on Wednesday was just up the road from us ~~30km away so going to watch it was a no brainer.  I have never been to a pro race and so I was a total newbie on what to expect.  The course went from Grosio to Tirano and back then up the Mortirolo and eventualy back down to Tirano.  We decided to watch the start then climb a short way up the Mortirolo (it was a rest day for us) and once they had passed…call it a day. 

Pro teams' course

We parked at Sondalo and cruised downhill to Grosio and I was somewhat gobsmacked to see how many motorbike escorts there were. …over 30 I thought..never mind the cars.  After the start we rode over to the Mortirolo and went up a couple of tornanti where I propped and Alex continued a bit further up.  I chatted to the mother of one of the BePink athletes and finally the entourage came and much later had all gone.  I saw Donna Rae driving the WiggleHigh 5 car.
The leaders at the start of the climb

Local decorations
The next day  was my big ride Bormio-Mortirolo-Bormio. 
on the way to the bottom of the climb
1987 there was a landslide which killed many and caused the valley to have to be a bit more engineered

Bormio, Mortirolo Bormio

The profile of the Motirolo..not the hardest version
I opted to do the easier of the climbs to the pass as I am here to practise climbing on the bike not walking uphill in cleated shoes!!!...ie I know my limit.

Got there eventually!

I was pretty tired afterwards..not only length and difficulty of the ride, but also the hot weather.  I descended the hard way and that was a baaaad mistake...spent far too much time on the brakes and got a front wheel puncture.

Pantani Monument

The following day I drove to Livigno to get duty free fuel…78c/litre instead of 1euro 30.  I aalso bough a camera as the display on mine had gone belly up.
Next stop Bellagio

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Final ride from Moena then to Bormio

My last ride from Moena on Friday was to the Passo Pordoi.
It turned out to be test day for the Maratona degli Dolomiti which happened on Sunday and so the road was swamped not only with sports cars, cars, motorbikes but also a gazillion cyclists.  Any thought of doing the circuit evaporated very quickly.
Passo Pordoi ride
I heard te Passo Fedaia was closed due to a landslide..luckily Alex had ridden it the day before.

Our final full day in Moena was Saturday and it was to be an off the bike day.  We drove over the Passo Rolle back into Feltre to stow Alex’s bike box in the garage I have rented for just that purpose.  It joins my TT bike and wheels and all the stuff I just dont need with me here in the mountains….a really worthwhile expense.  We also caught up with Deborah my former language teacher and had a nice lunch in a re-vamped caff in the centre of town.
Sunday was lemming day for us, but we were ahead of the crowd for most of the journey, although our GPS played up twice…completely sending us off track at one point and desperately trying to get us to visit every small village instead of using the bypass road at another point.
Moena to Bormio..we chose not to go the northern route..been there, done that got stuck in a queue both times!
Snow was visible fairly soon..although we’ve not yet worked out exactly where it was.  PS I was the passenger!
Gotta find out which range this is
Our apartment in Bormio was easily found..close to the bike shop and opposite the thermal baths.  Our host wasn’t there but his uncle and aunt were and they not only welcomed us but also took me by car to the supermarket…I said I wanted to walk but they insisted…and let me walk back!  The apartment is on the third floor…groan!..there are 2 apartments on the third floor…ours is a 2 bedroomed one that can house 6, although that would be VERY  squeezy. 
Bormio pix


For me today’s ride was the Stelvio..the odd sticking out bits must be where I was going through tunnels and lost satellite reception.
Bormio to Passo Stelvio..big climb, many tornanti
I missed doing it last year as I spent far too much time having root canals sorted following a broken tooth on the first day here.  I was hampered today by back pain, which I hope has been sorted by a very good but somewhat expensive massage this evening.
I got there eventually and there was quite alot of snow as evidenced by the 3 downhill skiers I saw.
On the way up..needed a rest!
The other side
View from the caff that was recommended to me..up the wooden steps..just about managed it!