Category Archives: The Trip

The actual trip, not just packing or gear etc.

I Made It!

The summary is, I made it. Got to Breschia. There was absolutely no way I could do the seven loops that the pros did, but I managed one and a half before being kicked off (well, before being kicked off by someone who seemed really serious about it)!

There will be a full report tomorrow, so stay tuned. There will also be one more competition for the biggest donation before I reach Frankfurt, as well as a lucky draw for everyone who has donated. By my calculation the last competition was won by a fabulous Frankfurt local, with total donations of 200€. Of course, if you think I miscalculated and you beat this, let me know!

Now, a quick video to answer some important questions, right here!

Cheers,
Rowan

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Of all the days to not have the video running…

Wednesday started well, but ended with a bang!

I had already ridden a fair chunk of the course for the day’s stage on Tuesday, and with it being quite flat I was able to make good progress. A fair proportion was also done riding with other people. This adds to the pleasure, as well as the speed when you share the work in the wind.
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Ahead of the storm…

Yesterday went ok. I awoke suffering from a cold but was still riding ok and managed to finished the day’s stage fairly early. The fact that I had done most of it the day before certainly helped.

Today is also a long day, and I wanted to get a start on today’s stage as well, but during the final climb yesterday the rain started coming down. I decided to catch a train for most of the transition rather than riding it, to give myself a chance to warm up and dry off.

The plan worked well, and I got close to today’s start feeling much warmer. I headed out onto the road but before long the weather started looking ugly yet again.

I quickly wrapped up and decided to ride to the nearest hotel. The only problem bring that there wasn’t one nearby.

I was going to have to ride for a while, but it turned out not to be so bad. It was a storm front coming through, with a lot of wind. But it was coming from right behind me, in a very distinct line. So I swept across the land at 30 or 40 km/h, with rain spots around me but 200m behind me everything was drenched. Very cool.

Of course, then it caught me and I was drenched too, but happily by then there was a shower nearby!

Here is a short video about the day. Today livetracking doesn’t seem to work for me, my apologies!

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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A Tough Day

Well, yesterday was a very tough day. The course had some hilly sections that were very hilly, and some flat sections. The flat sections should have been fast, but they were mainly into a stiff headwind.

I did reach the finish though, in time to see Paolini take a good win, with Evans coming home strongly for second. It was also good to see Peter Weening up with the front guys. And it was set right on the beach. So far so good.

Now I just needed to ride the transition, and make a start on today’s stage. Should be easy. But it wasn’t. I had planned to navigate between (and along, even) stages using my new garmin. As I think I have mentioned though, my garmin GPS has no maps in it. So it can’t actually plan a route for you.

I had been waiting and hoping that I would get the maps made for it, but it just didn’t happen. So I ended up planning routes at the last possible minute on my computer, and downloading them. Doing it at the last minute means I didn’t check them, and last night, as I followed the steepest possible route, I was regretting that. Not as much as 5 minutes later though, when it told me to turn right. There was just a paddock to my right. A very steep and overgrown one. Finally though I spotted a gate, and no visible track. That was clearly not an option. Happily I had my phone charged and Google maps was working, so I got it out and took a look. That is when o realised I was on the steepest possible route, and that from where I was I still had a long way to go (assuming I stuck to the roads of course). So I kept following the road I was on, because extreme off-road is really not an option.

I got to the start of today’s stage, but I was exhausted, and going further was also not an option. I stopped where I was, knowing that now I have a very long way to go today.

I will ride the stage, but I think I will end up taking public transport for the transition tonight, or else I will just fall too far behind.

On that note, time to ride. You can watch it here!

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Wild Weather and Spectacular Coastline

Well, yesterday turned out to be a great day. I had been a little disappointed to miss the TTT but I think I needed to. The trip down from Naples started off as terrible roads in a big city, but gradually opened out. I joined up with a bunch from Germany for a while, but as we got further south the view got better and better, and I lost them when I had to stop to take a photo. Yes, the ferry trip was productive, the camera charging is starting to work. The problem I have now is that everything is flat and I can still only charge one thing at a time. But it will all be good by tomorrow.

At Sorentto I hit today’s course. Again, there are short but steep hills. Lots of them. But the descents, on smooth roads above the Amalfi coast, are just magic.

As I rode along them though I noticed a storm headed my way. Since there is not even enough clear flat land on the Amalfi coast for a tent as big as mine, and I hate getting rained on, I made a beeline for the nearest hotel. Had a great view last night as the storm came over and raged. Very spectacular!

Oh, and the great bit about this hotel? They had a big scale. For those wondering (and I was) the bike with gear is 31kg.

This is short because unfortunately I didn’t get very far, so I need to get riding! Check out the ride here!

Cheers,
Rowan

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Day Two – Quick Spin Around an Island.

It was another good day at the Giro, although I didn’t actually see the race. Today’s stage was a team time trial (TTT) on the island of Ischia. Ischia is about an hour or two by ferry from Napoli, and is beautiful, not to mention fairly rugged.
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