Sunday, March 23, 2008

Santuary, Rasmussen, Boardman, Pantani

Saturday's cool morning turned quickly into a beautiful Spring day. The club's ride took us on some of the roads of the "Strada del Vino Valpolicella" and included a visit to the Santuario della Madonna de La Salette in Fumane. This was to be followed by a not so difficult climb of the "Pendola". Brent was visiting once again in Verona with his versatile Hampsten Ti S&S coupled bike.

We wound our way from Verona to Fumane on some nice back roads of the Strada.

It's a short climb to the Santuario della Madonna de La Salette which is built into the edge of a hillside.

There is a small, scenic point above the church where I took this photo of Barbara, Brent and Ester.

My granfondo buddy, Paolo, was riding a new acquired steel Fontana "training" bike; his high zoot ultralight carbon bike has been giving him fits of high speed shimmy on descents.

Brent, Paolo and I split off from the club ride as I wanted to take them on a newly discovered climb. This climb begins at the last switchback before you reach the Santuario, the road resembles a private road because it's so narrow. From here the climb is approximately 5 Km in a world of absolute silence.

After reaching the peak we did a very fast descent back into Fumane where we began the Pendola climb. While we were at the top putting on windbreakers for the next descent, Michael Rasmussen and Pietro Caucchioli came motoring by. Right behind them were four locals riders, one of which I knew from granfondos and the France trips with Eros Poli. He said the four of them were going full blast trying to keep up with Rasmussen and Caucchioli while they seemed to be just cruising easily up the climb. The views from the top of the Pendola

Tuesday is the U23 Palio di Recioto race, one of the most important U23 races in Italy. At the last race I had a chance to chat with Rasmussen for about half an hour and, as always happens, I didn't have my camera with me. Rasmussen lives in Lazise on Lake Garda and I see him from time to time on the roads but there is rarely a chance for a chat.

Next, was a top at a bike shop I didn't know existed. Of all the crazy things they had a Chris Boardman LOOK time trial frame with a full Mavic Mektronic system that he had used in a Veneto region time trial event. They also had a small display of Pantani signed jerseys and memorabilia.

Another day in cycling paradise.

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