Monthly Archives: May 2013

Week 2- Going Out With a Bang

Well, week two is over. This week started fairly slowly, and I wasn’t riding particularly far, but Friday that changed. Friday’s stage was around 250km, but I had ridden some of it on Thursday night. After the stage though I needed to do the transition to the next stage, and then I started riding that stage as well while I looked for somewhere to sleep. That bought the day to 275km, making it 1119km for the week, bringing the total for the trip to 2231km.

It was a great ride on Friday though. Not as spectacular as other stages, being across a lot of flat plains used for crops, but good for my ego.

Bicycles are wonderfully efficient really. When you are going along on the flat the only reasons you won’t roll forever are rolling resistance and wind resistance. As your speed goes up wind resistance plays a much bigger role. This is why a bunch of cyclists can move so fast, as they give each other protection from wind.

With the bags on my bike I get about twice as much wind drag. This is terrible 95% of the time. For that other 5% though the wind is blowing the way I am going, and it becomes great. It only takes a few minutes of cruising around 40km/h to suddenly feel good about riding.

Last night was a slow night. As I write this I know I need to go pack my stuff from where it has all been hung out to dry that little bit more and then get on my bike.

A lot of it is still damp, but my sleeping bag and thermals are all dry now. I will need that, because it will be cold over the weekend!

Right, time to go, here is the livetracking link.

Cheers,
Rowan

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The rain falls…

For stage 12, it rained. They did various things like modifying the course for the race, which I really didn’t think they needed to do. This wasn’t hail, or lightning, it was just rain. I have to admit though, there was rather a lot of it.

I wanted to start early so I could finish early and then catch a train for the transition to stage 13. I got up early and as I stepped out of the door the first drops began to fall. Just light, gentle drops. All the same, to be safe, I put the rain covers on my panniers. I also put on my rain jacket, since the start was downhill anyway.

The rain slowly increased. Slowly but steadily. And didn’t stop. I am fairly sure I rode through some spectacular places, but I didn’t see them. And I certainly didn’t stop to photograph them, sorry!

The guys from grandtoursproject.com pulled up for a chat at one point, and asked if I could see anything at all. At the time I replied “not much”, but visibility did get worse from there. So much so that I missed a direction arrow at one point. I don’t know if it was missing, or hidden by a truck as I went past, or if it was just raining too hard, but somehow I didn’t see it, which meant lost time figuring out where I was and how to get back on course. If I ever stay in a place with an internet terminal I will create courses for the remaining stages that I can put on the garmin, but I can’t do it from my phone.

Anyway, after a bit of backtracking I was back on course and headed for the finish. It was a very short stage, so I made it to the train station early and got to the next stage.

I started riding it straight away, looking for a hotel as I went. I found one, which was good, because it turns out the rain covers for the panniers aren’t working so well. Actually, they may as well not be there.

Everything I have with me was soaked through. The clothes I was wearing were actually dryer than what had been in the panniers. My sleeping bag was soaked.

Every time I shopped yesterday I took the bags they offered, so for stage 13 things will be in bags within the panniers. Hope it helps, because there will be more rain!

Stage 13 is a very long one, so I best get cracking. Here is the livetrack link.

Cheers,
Rowan

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A quick link for livetracking

Hi everyone,

Big day today, so here is just a quick link to live tracking. Will be in Austria for a while today, not sure how it will work with tracking but we will soon see.

The full post will come later. And Jan, it will include details of what was almost the worst day of the Giro, I promise!

Cheers,
Rowan

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My post disappeared!

And now I don’t have time to fix it! But yesterday was a great day and terrible night. I will fill you in later. Here is today’s ride though.

Cheers,
Rowan

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Great Day for a Ride

The post I had lost came back to me! Great! It is below. Today (the real today, as opposed to when I wrote the post) has started well after disaster last night. Spent half an hour riding with Gianni Motta, and it is wonderful weather. Here is a link for live tracking (since the one I posted earlier failed, sorry).

Today was a great day to be riding a bike through Tuscany. And lucky me, I was doing just that!

Today was a rest day for the race, which meant I had some time to play with. I still planned to get an early start if possible, but also needed a good night’s sleep and take care of a few things happening in the rest of the world.

I was also pretty keen to at least try for the video upload. It didn’t work as smoothly as I had hoped, sorry, but I think a little practice and it will be all good. And with a bit more practice, and some technological assistance, it might just be great. Certainly after the ride and with a bit of editing there will be some great video!

Anyway, I still got on the bike in reasonable time, ready to ride the end of stage 9.

I had stopped yesterday because of the weather. I had noticed the pattern that there seemed to be beautiful mornings, followed by reasonably short but intense storms in the afternoon.

If you have been watching the race you might have noticed this, with a few wet finishes… So when a storm seemed imminent in the evening I just found a good place to stop (a pensione, I don’t mind camping in the rain but with hail and lightening it is just no fun) and stayed the night. I expected today to follow the same weather pattern. In the morning it certainly did, coming clear very early with glorious sunshine, but still cool enough for pleasant climbing. That was a bonus, because I had quite a few hills on the menu today.

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Beautiful green countryside.

The difference today though was the afternoon. Still beautiful and clear, a glorious day in Tuscany, with some beautiful, lush, green countryside. So really fantastic riding all around.

Unfortunately though it was pretty clear I didn’t have time to ride the transition, so as I write I am sitting on a train.

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Italians love the Giro, and decorate the streets accordingly!

Tomorrow things change a bit. The race reaches some proper mountains, and hangs around them for quite a while. This is where the Giro earns its reputation as being a tougher race than the Tour de France. My legs were feeling ok today as I span up a cat.1 climb, but I am expecting a lot more pain soon. I have already used every gear on the bike enough to justify the work I did rebuilding it, but here is where it will really pay dividends. I am looking forward to it, even though I still may end up walking a few stretches!

Meanwhile, the donations are still slowly coming in, don’t forget to check out the great charities I am supporting, and remember, every donation helps, no matter how big or small!

An update: Once again, my early start didn’t happen. This time it is because something has broken, and I need the shops to open so I can fix it. Frustrating.

On the other hand, I am privileged enough to have some wonderful friends, one of whom put in a huge amount of work to figure out how to get some maps for my GPS to me here in Italy. I am extremely lucky, having friends like that!

Will start riding soon, and the link to follow the ride is here!

Cheers,
Rowan

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Let’s Go Video!

Second Edit: thanks for letting me know that the YouTube links didn’t work properly, hopefully they are better now! If not, please let me know again… And apologies in advance for the poor sound, that is something I am working on!

So the wonderful people at GoPro gave me an awesome camera. Then some lowlife stole my cables, so I haven’t really used it much yet!

Obviously time to start though, so tonight a bit of a different blog post. Let me know if it doesn’t work!

There is this one: … No there isn’t. Ah, the learning curves of technology. My phone can’t read the video, and can’t upload it to the blog. Hopefully though it is uploading it to YouTube even as I type…

And it was. Here is the link.

And some pics:

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Adam Hansen had a great win on Friday. Real Hard-Man stuff.

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And just for good measure, link.

Cheers,
Rowan

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