Friday, September 14, 2007

2007 Granfondo Avesani, Part 1

I must have lost my mind. The registration area opened today, Saturday morning, and I changed my registration from the "medio" to the "lungo" course. I feel great, I'm in good shape, I'm not getting any younger, and it's not going to rain tomorrow (it has rained on the last 8 of 9 editions of the race). So, I'm going for it....183 km (113.7 miles) with 3,488 meters (11,443 feet) of climbing. It's sure to be somewhat of a suffer-fest. I did the short course, 97 km, last year in the rain. That was a nasty day with only 900 out of 1700 registrants rolling up to the start line, and only 600 finishers.

The Granfondo Avesani is Verona's very own granfondo event. It's capped at 2,000 participants and this year, in order to achieve full registration, they have as a prize a Citreon C1. It's not something I have to worry about winning.

The registration and packet pick-up area is at the Arsenale Franz Josef I, across from the Castelvecchio. The Arsenale was built by the Austrians from 1854 to 1861, at a time when they occupied Verona. The main function of the arsenale was the storage and maintenance of artillery and firearms. It occupies a large area, 392 x 176 meters. You can see a 360 degree video view from the center of the internal courtyard:

Fontana, the Verona bike company that is also a sponsor of the race, had an exhibit of their bikes. I chatted a bit with Luigi Fontana, the owner, about his 2008 models all of which were all carbon.

Photos: front of the Arsenale; the interior where registration, packet pick-up, and the Citreon where on display; Luigi Fontana had his 2008 models on display

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