Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Campagnolo, Olive Oil, And The Awful Truth

As written by "Gregory Taylor" on

God, I love working on Campy Ergo shifters. You know the ones I'm talking about: those fancy ten speed brake/shifter combos that pop up on really fancy bikes. Complicated carbon fiber and aluminum confections, holy objects of veneration in the Church of Campagnolo, worshipped by the faithful, desired by the masses. Cradling its black rubber hood and smooth carbon brake blade in your hands while clicking through the gears provides a sensuous tactile feedback, a beautifully machined music-box of sprockets and cogs that must rival the latest Ferrari or a Swiss watch in terms of quality and complication. Lean, stylish, and above-all Italian, Campagnolo ten speed Ergo shifters (especially the coveted Record ones) are nothing less than the playthings of the Gods.

Which is great, but what happens when it breaks? The Shimano approach to high-end shifters dictates that when one of their offerings goes belly up, you shouldn't have the option of fixing it. No, shamed by its failure, company policy requires that a broken Shimano shifter must commit hari-kiri. Honorable, yes; but expensive, especially you are looking for some 8 or 9-speed love on what is now a 10-speed planet. Campagnolites, on the other hand, proudly point to the fact that their shifters go all the way up to 10 speeds and are rebuildable, thus making them immortal, like the Gods of Cycling that created them.

Of course you can't help thinking, "Yes, they are rebuildable, but heaven help you if you actually need to rebuild it." The thought of tearing into something as mechanically sophisticated (and expensive) as a Chorus or Record shifter is enough to give most owners and bike shops the vapors. Because just as Prometheus was punished by Zeus for stealing fire from Mount Olympus and giving it to mere mortals for their use, it is a verity among the cycling cognoscenti that attempting to rebuild a highly-sophisticated Campy Ergo shifter is the eternal retribution inflicted by the Gods upon us mortals for having presumed to grasp at cycling perfection.

And the cognoscenti would be wrong.My friend Karl appeared on my doorstep the other day seeking help to revive the newly-defunct Campy Chorus shifters that are attached to his Motobecane. Having spent several years toiling without complaint buried in Karl's meaty grip, the right shifter decided to take a holiday. Karl had of course taken the usual steps of attempting to appease the angry Shifting Gods - most notably smearing himself with dung and making a sacrifice of an old Regina freewheel on a pyre of blazing of TriFlow chain lube - but to no avail. Looking utterly bereft at his loss, I took Karl and his bike back to my shop. Putting his bike up on the workstand, I poked and prodded and muttered darkly about "G-Springs" and "Ratchet Pawls." I was doing this mostly for Karl's benefit, because I knew that he was still smarting a bit about the added cost of having ordered his bike with Campagnolo components. The fact that his hard-earned money had purchased a drool-worthy marvel of mechanical intrigue worthy of a Machiavelli had eased the pain somewhat. This was clearly not a good time for him to learn the Awful Truth about Ergo shifters. So having completed the requisite obscure rituals, I sent Karl away and got down to the task of rebuilding his shifter.

Step one: close the shop door, making sure that no Shimano owners are about. Step two: peel back the rubber hood. Step three: undo one screw and two cables. The shifter is now off the bike and sitting in your hand. Step four: flip the shifter over and remove the little trap door at the back to reveal the Awful Truth. The Awful Truth about Campagnolo shifters is this: there are no cascades of finely-machined gears or high tech carbon fiber gubbins residing in the back of a stupifyingly expensive Record or Chorus shifter. That carefully-crafted image of cutting-edge sophistication is pure bunk: what you see beneath that sleek, sexy carbon fiber body is what you'd expect to find if you opened a wind-up alarm clock with a hammer; springs and ratchets seemingly thrown together at random. For the uninitiated, it's like that moment in the Wizard of Oz where the curtain is pulled back to reveal that the Mighty Oz is nothing but a middle aged hack with a paunch, thinning hair, and a bum knee. One look through the little trap door in the back and gone are all of the mental images of jewel-like precision or white-suited technicians using robots to assemble Record Shifters to aerospace standards in a sterile environment. No, the Awful Truth about Ergo shifters is that the aura and mystique that feeds the cult-like devotion of the Campy faithful is founded on something that is more Rube Goldberg than Rolex.

But while Ergo shifters may not be marvels of technology, the good news in all of this is that they work well and turn out to be relatively simple devices that can be fixed by idiots like me with nothing more than some twigs, spit, and a rusty nail. No exotic tools or special training is needed; just a good look at the parts diagram and a nice Italian espresso should see you through. And, indeed, after a few minutes of fiddling I had Karl's shifter back in operating order. Job complete, I quietly opened the door to the shop, checking to make sure that no one who was not already privy to the Awful Truth saw me working on Karl's bike.There is one final step in fixing a Campy Ergo shifter: giving it back to its owner. Here, the clever mechanic can use the power of the Campagnolo mystique to impose random demands, limited only by your own capriciousness, all in the name of proper "maintenance."

"So, what was wrong with my shif..."

"You're not listening to Italian opera, are you?"


"I said, you're not listening to any Italian opera at home, are you?"

"Opera? Dude, I play the tuba in the Navy band. I listen to Sousa marches and stuff like that."

"Well DAMN, no wonder the shifter crapped out. You did read the manual, didn't you?"


"You need to play two hours of Italian opera every night or the shifters get homesick. The carbon fiber models require something light, like Verdi. Preferably an early Parlophone or Edison recording with Caruso. I also noticed that the shifter pawls were a little dry. You are soaking your riding gloves in olive oil before every ride, right?"

"Soak my gloves in olive oil...?"

"Boy you really didn't read the manual, did you? Soaking your riding gloves in extra virgin olive oil lubes the shifters as you ride. It cuts internal wear on the ratchet pawls in half. It has to be extra virgin oil, though. Otherwise it just gunks things up and you are right back at square one."

"Uhhhh....okay. Do you have to do this with Shimano shifters?"

"No, but that's why you just throw them away when they break. Campy shifters never die -- they are rebuildable. Isn't that great?"

Yes, isn't that great.As I said, I like working on Campy Ergo shifters. I like knowing the Awful Truth. And I really, really like the fact that, thanks to me, Karl now spends quiet evenings at home making a nice, light pasta sauce from his old cycling gloves while serenading his bike with the Barber of Seville...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Yes, Cleared To Race For Another Year!

Monday was my appointment for my annual stress test so I can race in the "agonistica" (competitive) class in granfondos. Since we live without a car it means cycling to my sports doctor, Francesco, in nearby Parona. He's also the sports doctor for the Chievo Verona soccer team (which was in Serie A in the Italian soccer league but is currently in B).

I did an easy spin to Parona on my Malagnini, changed into sneakers for the stress test, and climbed on the stationary bike. Considering that I rode Friday, Saturday and Sunday I felt relaxed, and strong. I was happy to hear that my resting heart rate before the test was 52.

The test, my 3rd now, felt the easiest yet. After Dr. Francesco examined the EKG machine results he said that I had improved my results yet again.

My goal every year is to improve my fitness, even if ever so slightly. It beats going in the other direction but as you get older (a lot older) this gets harder to accomplish. One of the things that I didn't anticipate about living in Italy is this gift of fitness and well being. The confluence of never ending cycling opportunities, belonging to a great club, eating so well, being able to ride year round (it does get to 0C, 32F on the coldest days in the winter), the 2x/day walks with Ms. E, and walking to do just about anything have made for an enormous change. Comparatively speaking I was a real slug back in the US.

I've received my letter clearing me for racing so next up is the Granfondo Avesani on September 16th. It's going to be a challenging 149.5 km (93 miles) with two really hard climbs and a few others less so thrown in.

Photo: Dr. Francesco in his office.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Vintage Bike Guru Visits Verona

John (Johnny) T. Pergolizzi (formerly of Brooklyn, NY, and now lost in California) and his wife Sally stopped by for a visit in Verona.

John is a frequent contributor to the vintage bike discussion group at which is THE place for all things about vintage road bikes.

He didn't bring a bike so that left lots of time for sightseeing, eating way too much, sampling wines from Valpolicella, talking about bikes and what living in Italy is like.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

10 Differences in Cycling, Italy vs. USA

1) Club meetings: my club meets every Thursday, starting at 9:30 p.m.

2) Club Jerseys, etc.: on club rides everyone wears the matching club jersey. The reason for this is twofold: a) support the club sponsors, b) club unity.

3) Pro Jerseys, etc.: there is no stigma attached to riding around in the kits of your favorite pro teams

4) Less talking on rides: Forget about "car back", "car up", "Hole!", etc. You are expected to pay attention.

5) More intense, more relaxed: When you are riding it's intense, but stopping for an espresso is ok and lunch usually includes wine.

6) Early adopters: the speed at which Italians embrace the latest cycling technology is amazing.

7) Granfondo: a timed event in which anyone can participate. Very competitive and fun. Sizes can range from a few hundred riders to the Granfondo Novi Colli with 11,000+ spandex crazed riders. By the way, charity rides are virtually non-existent.

8) Race coverage on TV: the three big tours of course, all the one day classics, all the big Italian one races, specials, etc.

9) Raduno: a somewhat casual Sunday morning ride where prizes are awarded to clubs on the basis of participation; almost every Sunday, May through September.

10) Strong, old guys: lions in sheep's clothing, they've been riding all their lives and can kill you.

Friday, August 24, 2007

A Visit to GRANDIS

An American recently wrote to me inquiring if it would be possible for me to obtain more information about a 1970s/1980s Grandis frame he acquired. Many years ago Grandis bikes were exported, in small numbers, to the United States (Branford Bike was an importer). It happens that I am friends with one of the granddaughters of Silvino Grandis, the founder, so it was with pleasure that I rode to their new facility on the outskirts of Verona to see what I could learn.

The Grandis of today is a very impressive operation. In the last few years they have moved from the center of Verona to their larger facility where all aspects of their business are integrated in one location. Everything from design, sales, manufacturing, painting, assembly, and repairs take place here. Most road bikes they make are built to a customer's specification. Not only in fit but also tube and materials selection based on the goals of the rider. I have seen many very interesting bikes with mixes of materials (steel and carbon for example), and mixing of tubesets of the same materials. The two sons that run the business today, Ezio and Mario, are extremely knowledgeable and they are so busy that they haven't been inspired to export. It's a shame as there are some very brilliant bikes being made here in Verona.

In 1930, Silvino Grandis built his first bicycle but it wasn't until 1965 that the first Grandis branded frame appeared. In the years preceeding 1965 he gained a wealth of experience. In 1957 as the official mechanic of the "Venice A" team, he saw the triumph of "his" athlete Mino Bariviera at Milan-San Pellegrino (ex Italia Tour amateurs). Teofilo Sanson, who was well aware of Silvino's professionalism, also engaged him as the official mechanic of Gianni Motta of Sanson.

By 1986, the original shop space on Via Col. Fincato in Verona was no longer sufficient to handle the numerous customers so a new location was opened nearby in Viale Venezia 79. In 2004 they moved to their "Grandis Centre" at Via Strada della Giara n°11 (which is actually in Poiano).

When I arrived Mario Grandis was very gracious in looking through the photographs I had received about the vintage Grandis. He disappeared into his office and came out 10 minutes later with this information:

-color is called "fuscia pastello"
-circa 1980, Grandis Speciale
-frame Columbus SL; the fork is also Columbus
-it was made to measure for a customer at the time
-all the lugs are microfusion type made by Grandis
-the brake and chainstay bridges are reinforced; the brake bridge is curved so its lower on the chainstays to give more strength between them (the lower the better he explained)
-there are reinforcements in the seattube and downtube in the area of the bottom bracket in order to make the frame stiffer in that area.

The "economic miracle" of Italy post World War II has been based on small, family run businesses. Grandis is a good example of this. It's always a pleasure to visit them.

Photos: Silvino Grandis; Mario Grandis with photo of the 1980 fuscia Grandis that was the purpose of my visit; a Coppi/Bartali poster hangs in the store signed by Bartali with greetings to Silvino Grandis; a modern carbon Grandis (note: integrated seatpost, Zipp cranks, Zero Gravity brakes), the "Grandis Centre".

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Certificato All'Attivita Sportiva Agonistica

I was telephoned today by the Granfondo Avesani organizers pointing out that my medical certificate for competitive activity was going to expire by the date of the event. That means that between now and September 16th I must have a physical examination and obtain a letter from a doctor that I am fit.

In general to enter a granfondo you have to have one of two types of medical certificates: a basic health check or a competitive activity check. I obtain the latter as some granfondos will limit you to only doing the short courses with the basic health check. Some other granfondos, such as the Granfondo Italia, are open only to holders of competitive activity certificates. Therefore, if you want flexibility in being able to choose the course length and events it's necessary to go the competitive activity route.

To obtain the competitive activity certificate you must undergo a full stress test every year if you are over 40. Monday I'll be visiting my sports doctor to undergo the test. The most interesting part of the test is being connected to an EKG machine while pedaling away on a stationary cycle. The doctor increases the level of difficulty periodically while monitoring the results. He makes a preliminary evaluation and then sends the results off to a cardiologist for a second reading and opinion. If all is well you receive a letter that indicates that you are fit for competition.

My sports doctor explained to me that, "I am the one responsible if anything happens to you." It's a radically different approach than the USA where anyone can enter, say a Century, by signing a waiver.

And, at 70 Euro, it's an inexpensive way to know you are not putting yourself at risk.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Review of Colnago Extreme Power

I know I am way to serious in my style of writing. Thank god there are funny people in the world to make up for me. Like the guy that writes his cycling blog at His bike reviews make fun of the over-hyped marketing so common for bikes, the Colnago Extreme Power as an example:

"Alex Colnago says, "our approach for 2008 is [to] upgrade our graphics with most models," and it shows. As usual, Colnago engineers clearly asked themselves the hard questions, like: “How can we make this bike look better?;” “Where is Antonio the Intern with our lunchtime wine?;” and “How far from the thingy that the bars attach to should we put the thingy that the seat attaches to?” Just one look at the Extreme Power shows that they were able to answer all these questions and more.

Now, I didn’t ride the Colnago Extreme Power, but I looked at the Colnago website, which was full of poorly-translated English and a lot of Flash animation. I also rode lots of crappy bikes that were not the Colnago Extreme Power and possessed none of the attributes of the Colnago. Even the name of the bicycle itself told me most of what I needed to know, which is that if you either have or want to produce Extreme Power then this is the bike to ride. So I can say with complete assurance that the carbon fiber construction and layup yielded a frame that was laterally stiff yet vertically compliant. I can also say that this bike climbs like a monkey in a set of crampons, descends like a monkey in a set of crampons being dropped from a helicopter, handles corners like a prostitute, and accelerates like a particle in a particle accelerator that itself is just a tiny particle in a giant particle accelerator. Overall, the effect is like sitting in a caffe in a trendy Milan street while sipping a cappuccino and wearing fabulous clothes yet inexplicably traveling at or close to the speed of light. Pure Italian class.

The Bottom Line:

Buy It If: You do the ordering for the entire table at Italian restaurants and regularly send the wine back.

Don’t Buy It If: You don’t want to win races and you’re a loser."

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I'd Rather Cut My Head Off....

....than ride a bike tomorrow, or the next few days.

I am tired! I rode 4 days this week, about 90% of the time in the big chainring trying to build up some more power. I have a tendency to spin too much and when the going gets really fast in the club rides I get tired turning the big chainring.

The Granfondo Avesani, which is the Verona based granfondo on September 16th, is next month. The first 20K are very fast, and mostly flat. Everyone takes off like a rocket and if you can't hang onto some wheels until you reach the climbs it's lonely and harder. Then, on October 20th is my last granfondo event for the season, the Granfondo Italia. This is a really fast granfondo as it only has a very small climb in the middle. My big chainring riding will, hopefully, let me stay in one of the groups for a few hours.

This year I registered in a moment of weakness, or was it wishful thinking?, for the 149.5 Km route in the Avesani. The first climb is from Caprino up Monte Baldo, then a descent into the valley. The next climb is Peri-Fosse which hurts enough when you don't have to do anything before it. Coming back into Verona there is the final climb of Torricelle, same as used in the 2004 Road World Championships. If you look closely at the poster you will see the three course profiles. The middle, green, is the 149.5 Km course. You will notice way over to the right in the profile is a "small" climb, this is the Torrecelli. In the sunset photograph you can see the Torricelli hill looking over Verona. Go back and look at the profile and see the two climbs before the Torricelli. Now you will have a better idea about the Monte Baldo and Peri-Fosse climbs.

Photo: 2007 Granfondo Avesani poster; view of Torricelle from the Adige River in Verona

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

April of

This is a very informative website about cycling in the Veneto and the granfondo type of events that are so immensely popular in Italy. The owner and author is April Pedersen Santinon who lives in both New Jersey and the Veneto.

After some cell phone coordinating we finally met at this year in Corvara in Alta Badia before the Maratona dles Dolomites granfondo. Over espresso we had a wide ranging discussion, from cycling in the USA vs. Italy to some of the interesting cultural differences between the two countries to what our race strategies were going to be for the Maratona.

It was nice to meet and hopefully it will become a tradition...if we get selected in the draw!

Book "Official Treasures of Le Tour de France"

Eros stopped by and gave me this English text, coffee table sized book. If you have a collection of such books this would be a worthwhile addition due to its unique design. The ISBN / Catalogue Number is 9780733321368.

It is a lavishly illustrated story of the Tour de France, including reproductions of documents and memorabilia from its 100 year history. The Official Treasures' combines a written history and a living museum exhibit. The carefully researched historical text on the Tour weaves its way through the pages, while simultaneously showing why it is such a compelling annual event. Uniquely, this book contains superb items of removable facsimile memorabilia slipped into the pages, plus photographs – some never seen before – that not only bring the text to life but show other personal items from long-forgotten tours. You can learn why a rider screamed "Murderers" at the organisers, how fans wait for the publicity caravan almost as eagerly as the riders, the evolution of the coloured jerseys and the stories behind the memorabilia.

The author, Serge Laget, was born in 1947 and after first learning about the Tour de France in 1954 was immediately enchanted by it. He has covered the race as a journalist for L'Equipe since 1987 in addition to his quarter of a century as head of the quality control department for exhibits at the Musee des Sport at the Parc des Princes in Paris. He has written many books on cycling, including Le Cyclisme, Le Saga du Tour de France, and La Belle Epoque du Cyclisme. He won France's highest sporting literary prize for Le Grand Livre du Sport Feminin in collaboration with his wife.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Winter Training Ride in the Canary Islands?

Chatting with some cycling friends last night it seems that thoughts of a winter training ride on the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands are starting to come to life. Wouldn't that be nice?

I'm ready to go on another adventure!

Photos: images around Tenerife (found on the internet)

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Reminiscing About My 1972 Cinelli

Here I am in Italy, without my 1972 Cinelli! I miss it. But, there were only so many bikes that I could bring along. After two years in Italy I have yet to see another vintage Cinelli.

The previous owner, "Rudy", is a great friend of mine. He acquired this special bike (as a frame and fork) from the Brugelmann store in Frankfurt in 1972. Through a lot of detective work I discovered its origins. I hope you enjoy the story.

This particular frame, s/n 5946, came to Rudy's attention through a description in a Brugelmann (of Frankfurt, Germany) brochure/catalog of 1971. Although he would have preferred silver (he already owned a 1970 SC in silver), this particular model was only available in yellow/red. Rudy also recalled a reference in the catalog to the use of lightweight Columbus tubes. So, he placed the order with Brugelmann's and waited nearly a year to receive it (he picked it up in person, traveling from theUSA to Germany for the 1972 Olympics). An inquiry to Brugelmann in 2003 brought this reply from Manfred Brugelmann: "In the seventies we were the biggest Cinelli dealership outside of Italy and because of our personal good relationship to the Cinelli family they were kind enough to manufacture those frames exclusively for us in the yellow and red special colour scheme." Mr. Brugelmann did not answer the question about the "lightweight" aspects of the frame. Side note: the Brugelmann shop was the cycling equipment provider to the German national team in 1972.

In 2004, with the assistance of another friend a letter with photographs was sent to Andrea Cinelli (son of Cino). Andrea Cinelli's reply includes this: "You are correct that the frame is lighter as we drilled the lugs and the BB shell for lightening, and my father, based upon the close friendship with the owner of Columbus (Angelo Luigi Colombo), had had special lighter tubes made. In that period, the two avantgarde Italian factories (Cinelli and Columbus), in the application of avantgarde racing bicycle technology (high resistance steel alloys) had to contrast the myth and image of the English Reynolds tubing." Note: the BB is a G. Fischer BB; it's stamped GF.

In 2005/6 another Cinelli of this type came to light. Like mine, it had the drilled out BB in a circular pattern and also did not have the Special Corsa decals. The owner of this second yellow/red Cinelli had some great news, he had a 1976 Brugelmann catalog! In this catalog two Cinelli models are for sale: Model Special Corsa and the Model SC Leggerissimo. I've had the model description for the Leggerrissimo translated (by the original owner of my bike no less ); the description is: "Special edition (manufacture) in extra light construction - in the accustomed Cinelli care - bottom bracket below open - detailed Cinelli lugs- Columbus tubing - Campagnolo dropouts. Color: This model is only available in yellow with red." The catalog price, for frame and fork, is 590 DM for the SC and 665 DM for the SC Leggerrisimo.

Now that I've seen the catalog (from 1976, the Leggerisimo till being offered) I better understand the letter from Manfred Brugelmann of 2003. He was stating that the Leggerissimo model was manufactured exclusively for them based on their (the Brugelmann brothers) personal good relationship with Cinelli. A very rare Cinelli indeed.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Lake Garda, Part II

Beside beautiful scenery there is also good food.

Photos: images of Lake Garda (to give you a sense of scale that is Malcesine at the base of Monte Baldo, and a ferry boat in the center of the second photo heading towards the west coast of the lake); a "frutti di mare" lunch from the "Freccani" ristorante

Lake Garda, Part I

Yesterday I rode to Malcesine. The more I ride the shores of Lake Garda the more enchanted I become. Each town is beautiful in its own way and there are always new discoveries.

Photos: images of Lake Garda

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

2008: Italy Is Hosting 4 World Championships

Italy will be in the international cycling spotlight four times in 2008 as it hosts varying World Championships. The first Worlds to be held will be cyclo-cross, January 26 - 27 in Spresiano (Treviso), followed by the Mountain Bike Worlds June 15 to 22 in Commezzadura (Trento), then the Mountain Bike Marathon Worlds July 5 to 6 in Villabassa (Bolzano) and the Road Worlds September 23 to 28 in Varese. Varese previously hosted the Worlds in 1951.

"It was 1951 when the Road Cycling World Championships finally returned to Italian soil, nineteen years after Rome ’32. The city was just beginning to recover from the war. The journalists of the time provided massive coverage of the event whilst Varese introduced itself to the world. The Varese World Championships were a completely “home-grown” affair considering that the team manager of the Italian team was… one Alfredo Binda. Amongst those called up by Binda were two cycling superstars: Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali. Unfortunately Coppi didn’t make it to the start of the race, due to a persistently high temperature which got the better of him in the days leading up to the Championships. It was yet another negative moment in the champion-of-champion’s run of bad luck during that season.
So the spotlight then focussed on the other Italians; Bartali, Fiorenzo Magni and Toni Bevilacqua. On the selective Brinzio circuit, which was packed with people, Bevilacqua already went on the attack in the initial phases together with a small group of riders, comprising Kübler from Switzerland and the young Minardi. The group reaction was slow to come and it was Fiorenzo Magni who launched the counterattack, together with the Swiss Torti, and who caught up with the fugitives in a sensational comeback. Bartali and Koblet, the ex-Tour winner, very nearly made it as well.
There were eight riders vying for the title. Bevilacqua and Minardi had a misunderstanding with Magni in the final dash to the line and Ferdy Kübler won himself a well-deserved world championship title. The remaining two podium places went to Italians: Magni was second and Bevilacqua third.
But on the 2nd of September 1951 it was not only the Fifties’ cyclists that made Varese famous, co-starring on that historic day was also the overwhelmingly large crowd that followed the race and made the Varese Worlds the biggest crowd-pulling Championships ever: one million and a half spectators."

The 2008 Varese calendar looks like this:

Monday, 22nd September '08 OPENING CEREMONY
Tuesday, 23rd September '08 UNDER 23 MEN TIME TRIAL
Wednesday, 24th September '08 ELITE WOMEN TIME TRIAL
Thursday, 25th September '08 ELITE MEN TIME TRIAL
Friday, 26th September '08 UNDER 23 MEN ROAD RACE
Saturday, 27th September '08 ELITE WOMEN ROAD RACE
Sunday, 28th September '08 ELITE MEN ROAD RACE

The Varese 2008 official website is and the quoted material above is from their site. Merchandise can be found at:

Photos: Kubler wins in 1951

Monday, August 6, 2007

Villa Pellegrini Cipolla

On one of the rides with David we stopped by the beautiful Villa Pellegrini Cipolla, located in Castion Veronese near Lake Garda. It was built in 1760 by noted architect Ignazio Pellegrini. Today it is also used for banquets, cultural events, exhibits, fashion shows and meetings.

Napoleone Bonaparte used the villa during the Battle of Rivoli (the battle, 14-15 January, 1797, was a key victory in the first French campaign in Italy against Austria. Bonaparte's 23,000 French defeated an attack of 28,000 Austrians under General Alvinczy. The outcome at Rivoli led to French occupation of northern Italy).
Photo: me at the entrance

Thursday, August 2, 2007

2nd Anniversary in Verona

Our 2nd anniversary in Verona is today. Leaving family and friends behind, changing cultures, languages, and in general starting life from zero is not something for the timid. Not to mention acquiring visas, permessi di soggiorno, and overcoming other bureaucratic hurdles.

Cycling wise it has been a tremendously positive change. Which isn't to say I don't miss my cycling buddies in NJ and their craziness. Having started this blog on January 1st so I've missed writing about 17 months of my cycling life in Italy. Perhaps I'll go back and write about some of the trips from that period.

Photos: a view of Verona, and the Roman built Ponte Pietra, from above the Teatro Romano; the earliest photo I could find with me in it (Nov/Dec 2005) and before I was a member of the Gruppo 1 club; a sunset on the Adige River in Verona as seen from Ponte Nuovo with the Chiesa Santa Anastasia bell tower on the left bank and the Teatro Romano on the right bank.