It's a rainy day today, and I received a notice about the 2007 Granfondo Italia registration, so I thought I would write about the Granfondo Italia of 2006.
Held in Carpi on October 16, 2006, it's tradionally the last big granfondo of the season. This granfondo is limited to 2,500 riders all of which must have the "sportiva agonistica" license; the license is obtained after passing a stress test monitored by a sports doctor.
Beppe, Daniela, Salvatore, Gianni (the spaghetti cook in Corsica), and I registered for 100km (62.1) miles mediofondo. The full distance granfondo was 148km. I wanted to do the longer distance but my buddies, who are smarter than I am, didn't want to overly punish themselves.
The race begins and ends in Carpi and passes through Modena and Maranello (of Ferrari fame). The GF Italia is a big deal with live TV coverage on RAI provided by helicopters and motorcycles.
As I've written in the past, granfondos are very competitive affairs although you can ride at a more tranquil pace if you like (there are time limits however). There are seriously good riders racing in the big granfondos so these tend to be pretty intense.
The start in Carpi was in the beautiful centro. The course profile was mostly a very gradual uphill for about half the distance, one biting but short (short for Italy) climb in the middle, and downhills and flat after that.
I averaged 20.5 mph average which is very good for me. We all came in with a few minutes of each other, all under 3 hours. I was doing very well until the climb that ended with a very steep pitch...I cramped and had to stretch a few seconds. After that the cramps would come and go, and I suffered a bit. I was not used to pushing that big chaingring ALL THE TIME! There were many accidents as there were many grupettos flying which I suspect had many riders out-riding their bike handling capabilities.
I really enjoyed this granfondo. It was well organized, the weather was great, it was intense and everyone (except those that crashed) had a good time.
Photos: the start; gruppo compatto; the leaders; the winner.
Images by Lodi are copyrighted by Enrico Lodi