Sunday, March 11, 2007

First Raduno, Almost My First Ticket!

Today was the first "raduno" of the cycling season. With my UDACE license in hand I was all set to participate. Arriving at the Gruppo 1 sede (headquarters) I was fully intending to jump in the van and catch a ride to the small town of Sustinenza at the southern edge of Verona province. The weather was a cool 6C compared to yesterday's 18C.

When I arrived a small group (Beppe, Daniela, Juliana, Massimo, and Roberto) were just getting ready to depart by bike. So, I decided to join what would have to be a fast ride in order to get to Sustinenza on time.

Southern Verona province is very flat and mainly agricultural. We had a nice ride arriving 15 minutes before the raduno start, enough time for an espresso.

The raduno was a relaxed affair, as they usually are, passing through fields and very quiet, lost in time, small towns. At the finish there was spaghetti, mortadella sandwiches, wine, and cake available. Prizes were awarded to the clubs based upon the number of participants.

I returned to Verona with Roberto and Massimo, both that have about 20+ years on me. Roberto is one of those guys that can, and did, ride at the front at 40 kmh (25 mph) for hours and not tire. So, for me it was pretty tiring after riding yesterday as well.

As we came into Verona, Roberto and Massimo turned off to go to their homes and I continued on to the centro. Coming to a red light I stopped, looked for traffic and seeing none proceeded. Next thing I know there is a police car alongside of me telling me to pull over. Oops. I'm asked for my document (carta di identita) which I do have but only a copy that is pretty mangled (my original would look pretty bad if it lived in my jersey back pockets). The police officer was not happy. I explained that I DID STOP at least! Which is a lot more than even cars do sometimes but I thought better of saying this. In the end they let me go, saying that next time the fine could be 148 Euro.

So 80 km (50 miles) yesterday and 112 km (70 miles) today made for a 120 mile weekend. Not bad for early March.

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