“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

Saturday, 5 September 2015


jump  forward quite a few days and we are now in Denmark..or rather my sister and Iare...Alex is in UK visiting his cousins.

The competition standard has escalated and after a highly successful yellow jersey week in Hartberg and a hard fought for 2nd place in the TT in Sankt Johann in what was my2nd best time ever, I scored a much desired win here in Denmark in the TT World Championships.

Only the RR to go-before we fly home, although I am full of cold and am not sure if I will start.
1st off and 1st back

The course was good..a challenge...lumpy,technical and with a vicious cross wind.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Yellow jersey gained and retained

As already mentioned, Monday's race was always going to be a cracker as it had everthing..slogging hills, joyous swooping descents, a flat bit and a truly awful grovel of a hill at the end of each lap.

I started the race 6 seconds off the lead and ended up 2 mins 38s ahead.  Sweet!

Tuesday was a rest day for me, while Alex got to race and was 5th on a hill top finish.

Wednesday's 44 km race was 1 peppered with blue language from me as there was something wrong with my front derailleur  which meant I was stuck in big chain ring for most of the race!

I eventually got it to shift although not before I'd been shelled out the back of the group.  I arrived 33 seconds ahead of Vida, giving me a handy better than 3 minute buffer, which I hope to extend in the next race, the Hill Climb, before ceding some to her in the final race, the Time Trial,

Alex got 8th in his race with the same time as 3rd!

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Feltre, Treviso and Hartberg

Back in Feltre

Palio time is just a fantastic time to be in Feltre and this year we stayed in an apartment in the old city and so were able to just look out of the window in order to see the parades going by.  Granted it was only a bit of a view, but at least we were able to know when things were or weren’t happening.

Medieval festivals have to have the drunken friars!

The competing quartiers have drum and flags this pix is  of the Duomo quartier

skill level ..very high

and there is jousting

a yoghurteria is a new one on me!
Training wise it was time to get down to the faster stuff and so I did a few sessions along known fairly flat roads..the benefit of staying  in an area where you are really familiar with the roads.  Sadly we were only able to stay for 7 days as the apartment was already booked out the next week and so in Saturday we moved to an apartment near Treviso..once again ..known roads and as flat as…
Alex had hoped the Pinarello shop would have a replacement for the t shirt he bought there 3 years ago, but sadly they were emphasizing the colour yellow for some reason or  other (!) and so we came away empty handed.
On to the start of the pointy end of the holiday…racing in Austria


Once again we stayed at Gasthaus Lechner in Kleinlungitz, a hamlet 10 km out of Hartberg, where we joined Ray Jarrett, Stephen Fairless and Pete O’Callaghan for 10 days of peace and quiet and having to watch our weight!  Over this period I end up eating more cream and more desserts than I do for the rest of the year.

The week of racing here goes like this, in order, Prologue, road race, crit, road race x 2, hill climb, time trial.   The prologue for me is always a question of trying to limit loss rather than expecting to do anything really good.  3rd..10 seconds off Tracy, who got the   yellow jersey and 5 secs off Vida.
Road race no 1..I got away from my rivals on a hill  but dropped my chain and so was caught and rolled in 1 second behind Vida and well in front  of Tracy.  Vida in yellow.
Crit…a tight 1km circuit and we rolled over the line together.

Road race no 2.. this was a 2 lap 20.9km circuit  a really good circuit with long downhills, a flat section (actually a part of the TT course) a long drag uphill and then finally, when you least wanted it a really really nasty 400m  grovel at 11-13%.  Since we were a group of racers from aged 50 up, it goes without saying that the young guns and the less young guns attack from the get go.  I blew a gasket on the first slogging hill and so was once again caught by Tracy and Vida and we work together to try and close the gap.  It eventually happened at the base of the grovel and then blew apart.  Vida and I had already dropped Tracy and that was the last I saw of Vida, although I wasn’t super sure of that until the finish.  The second lap was a solo ride and oddly enough wasn’t that much slower than the first…driven by my uncertainty as to exactly where Vida was.  In the end it turned out I was waaaay ahead, beating her by 2 mins 44 seconds, thereby earning the yellow jersey.

 There has been 1 downside of the trip and that is …….during the crit, 1 of  our group, Ray fell and broke his wrist..actually a #/dislocation and so has to have it pinned and plated, but when and where.  Currently we are hoping for an op on Thursday to allow minimal disruption to our travelling plans.This pix below is of the hospital canteen...check out the beer and wine for sale!

and finally:

Monday, 10 August 2015

Cortina, and Bormio

Time flies when you're having fun!

I hadn't realised it was sooo long since my last but what with the rides, the heat, the dentist and wresting this computer away from Alex, time passed me by.

Passi Falzarego and Valparola
 after years of mispronouncing it, finally we learned that the stress in the word Falzarego is on the second letter "a"!

My next ride and 1thatbroke me completely was as above then around and riding the Giau from the far side...I hit the wall big time, stopped many times, walked a bit and ended up being pushed the final Km by Alex who had come to find where on earth I had got to!

Valley ride
this was my rest day ride and 10 days later there were landslides along this valley killing at least 3 people.  I return part of the way on the old railway line, now a popular walking and cycle track. Ex station building  have become play areas, museums etc

Our stay here was good and we love our apartment, but we all feel we have ridden all we want here and probably wont return for a while.

 Last year our apartment was 10 km out on the road to Livigno...we weren't going to make that mistake again.!  This year we were about 2km out of the town on the road to the Gavia.

our original aim was to  do loops..eg the gavia both sides and also the Stelvio ditto, but in the end we were just too tired to contemplate that.  We drove over on the Saturday along with every other person in the entire world and at that point decided that we would leave Bormio a day early to avoid the lemmings.  The amount of cars and cyclists on the Stelvio ensured we would not be doing that ride on Sunday!

Herewith  a random selection of pix from our Bormio stay, during which I rode the Gavia a whole heap better than last year, but never got to ride the Stelvio  or Mortirolo due to dental issues...see below

the view from our apartment

dining/lounge area of  our apartment

and finally the reason I didn't achieve my Bormio goals.....during Monday's breakfast I realised that my muesli was NOT s'posed to be crunchy...I had lost a bit of tooth.  The remaining bit was mostly gold filling and was very sharp on the edge.  By afternoon I realised a dentist's appointment was a must as I already had damage to my tongue from that sharp edge.  4 appointments later..each of 90 minutes or worse, I had a root canal bizzo and a new tooth.  Before I got the bill, I shuddered to think how much I was going to have to fork out.  After I got it, I was more relaxed...500 euros..wow!

My rides that week  were the Gavia, Passo Foscagno, Bormio 2000 and a valley ride up towards the base of the Mortirolo

We drove over to Livigno  one afternoon, buying fuel at .88 euro cents a litre ...1.31.to 1.58 elsewhere.

As planned we left a day early, leaving at about 7am and given the early start opting to drive over the Gavia rather than around the base.  It was a good choice at that time of day..any later it would not, given the narrowness of the road on the far side.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Cortina Day 1

Trip 1 was to the bike shop to see if a repair to Lorraine's rear brake/front derailleur SRAM combo was fixable and the answer was  no......replaceable?..probably also no as SRAM is not a widely used make in this neck of the woods.  Given the combo ie front not rear derailleur at least a change over to Shimano is possible although irritating.  In the mean time she is riding a loaner road bike which is not too bad although the brakes are a bit low grade which makes for a nervy downhill part of the ride..

Today's ride, once we got going, was to the Passo Tre Croci and given  Lorraine's jet lag, we opted to go round the easier way this year...it is a very peasant ride and a good starter for the week...

What the tourist info people want you to look at:

What I saw:

2 things of note during the ride...I managed to soak my right hand ,bar and levers in gel...I know have  lemon/lime flavoured handlebars!

and on the way down a guy was struggling coming up ..I thought he was going to fall..but actually he was having trouble putting a bottle back and failed..it fell rolling down the slope towards me...OMG  I thought not another downhill drama!...god only knows how I managed to avoid it, but I did..phew!

final day at Canazei and over to Cortina

Friday's ride for me was up to the top of the Fedaia and then out to Moena while Alex rode the Karenpass,seen on the left of the map.

After that it was a question of gradually packing up and eating as much as we could of the food in the fridge.  Yet again there was a huge thunderstorm late in the day (after the end of the TdF broadcast!) and this time I got well and truly caught in it after doing some shopping.

Saturday is change over day and so there was a prolonged period of cleaning to ensure the apartment was cleaner than when we arrived...and that was no real challenge! followed by retrieval of the 200 euro bond and the drive over to Cortina to our beautiful apartment there.

We were here last year and loved it.  Plenty of space 3 bedrooms, free wifi, food in the cupboards, toiletries such  a luxury.

Later in the day we met Lorraine off the Dolomiti bus from Venice airport and sadly later on she discovered damage to her left levers..SRAM so probably not fixable here..more anon after a visit to the local bike shop for either a fix, a change to Shimano lever and derailleur or a loaner bike.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Bolzano trip and random Canazei pix

Booking on line for the Oetzi/Iceman museum in Bolzano is definitely the way to go...we walzed in while others queued for a long time in the stinking hot humid weather.  It's the 3rd visit for me and each one has been fantastic as there are regular additions and new research data to be shared

Before going there we went to the Sportler shop to get Alex a 510 Garmin as they were on special and with the duty free aspect added when he leaves Europe works out to be a real bargain.

The journey back was a good hour longer than expected as there was an accident near the top of the pass and no-one could get round it.  3 ambulances later and a stretch of the legs to take a pix of the lake where we stopped and eventually we were off.

 The view took the edge off the wait.  When we finally got going there appeared to be only1 car almost right on the hairpin bend.

Canazei is in Ladin country..there are 3 languagess spoken here...Italian because this is now in Italy, German because this used to be a part of Austria prior to WW1 and Ladin as that is what the people of the area speak. Check out  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ladin_language      if you are interested.

Many of the house here have pictures on their external walls...some more than others:

downspout of our apartment building...got a bit of use the other day!

Canazei days 2, 3 and 4

Being totally stuffed  from Sunday's ride I opted to go for an easy rest day ramble
..I set a time of 40 minutes out on the way to Passo Fedaia while Tabatha, keen to get another long ride in before she departs on Wednesday went with Alex on  what we had thought was a doable ride where it would also be possible to see a spectacular waterfall that was in shown   in the vid of one of the stages of the giro a few years ago.

My ride was good...theirs was terrible...much much harder than the articles we'd read and the special road near the waterfall was closed to all but walkers.


Tabatha was cooked and opted not to ride ...played tourist and packed her bike instead.
 Alex and I drove to Predazzo and climbed the Passo Rolle:

I just went up, Alex went over the top and did the final hairpin bends on the far side.  Both of us needed the ride but not too hard!

Gino Bartali monument at the top

We waved Tabatha farewell on the bus to Bolzano from where she went by bus to Munich and so eventually home.

Alex rode to the Passo Sella while I rode from Canazei to the Passo San Pellegrino:

That evening there was THE most heavy downpour of hail...dramatic.  2nd hail storm of the hols and no chance this time to save the car from damage.

Next day..rest day


After picking Alex up from Venice airport and driving back to Feltre to dump his bikebox in the storage place I have  rented for 3 weeks,we started what we thought was going to be a fairly easy trip over here.  However...it appears that Italian drivers are either crazy fast or incredibly slow and on twisting mountain roads it is annoying to be behind the latter.

Sunday was a try and see day for Alex but Tabatha and I did the Sella Ronde.  All was going fairly well for me ...still not with climbing legs and still not feeling 100$ and still suffering in the heat...until we hit the Passo Pordoi as the final climb.  I suffered big time and was lucky not to go backwards downhill...character building is all I can say about that part of the ride and I definitely didn't see anything but the road while chewing on the stem.

At the top I had enough energy  to take this pix
Other pix from the day:

pub chair at Corvara

that was Monday's ride and after it I needed a light day's ride...I was stuffed