Monday, April 14, 2008

Soooooo Much Riding....

Photos above are from April 12th.

Saturday, 12 April, I felt really good on the bike, as if I had reached another plateau of fitness. It didn't come by auto-magically, this cycle of KMs started innocently enough on Saturday, 29 March.

On that Saturday in March I thought it would be nice to join Eros Poli's Saturday morning ride. Eros led out at a nice pace and took us to Cavion where were did a very nice, new, climb before descending into Bardolino. Eros was planning to wind his way back to Verona so at this point I suggested to Brent that we head north to Torre del Benaco. On the way we latched onto some wheels and arrived at Torre quickly. It was such a nice day we decided to continue further north for a visit to Malcesine.

It was a beautiful early late morning in Malcesine so we wandered around the small streets and found a small piazza to have some pizza. It was such a nice day we decided to continue onto Torbole, at the north end of Lake Garda. Arriving there we decided to continue on....the climb to Nago, to Mori, finally turning south towards Peri and finally Verona. The trip south was hard with a really strong headwind. Fortunately (!), I had a front wheel flat that gave us a few minutes of rest. We stopped in Peri for a panino to re-charge our batteries before continuing on to Verona. What started innocently enough had turned into a 170+ Km ride (105+ mile ride). That's the earliest in a year that I've done what we Americans call a "Century" ride.

The next day, Sunday was a spinning, recovery ride, to Bardolino with some cruising on the back roads. Tuesday was busy with a trip to Dario Pegoretti but Wednesday it was back on the bike for the Gruppo 1 club ride (Damiano Cunego blew by us so fast going in the other direction that we didn't have a chance to yell, "Stoppppppp!!!"). Thursday was the ride to climb from Peri to Fosse (see earlier blog entry), the earliest I've ever tackled that climb.

The following week I managed to get in a few good rides. On Wednesday I was at the front of club ride when 3 guys motored by and it took me one second to recognize one of them as Rasmussen. So I closed the gap (let's be clear, they weren't going that fast) and rode alongside Rasmussen for about 10 minutes, chatting away with him while a Liquigas and another guy were doing the pulling . That was fun. The riding around here is amazing.

Which brings me to 12 April. The Gruppo 1 club ride had scheduled a 160 km ride with a start time of 0800 from the club headquarters. Looking out my windows it didn't look promising, and the forecast for where the ride was headed looked nasty. I decided to ride to our headquarters, perhaps there would be a change in the ride. As I crossed Ponte Nuovo in Verona it was sunny but you could see the dark clouds to the north.

I rode through San Massimo with its beautiful church to arrive at HQ.

Only 4 other brave souls had decided to get out of bed early. The long distance ride was cancelled so I volunteered to lead what turned out to be a 90 km ride under sunny skies. As long as we stayed south of the storm line we enjoyed what was a fantastic day, sunny and cool.

My partners in crime were "I Hate to Climb" Renzo, "The Energizer and Tireless" Daniela, "I'd Rather be Riding My Motorcycle" Massimo, and "I'll Go Anywhere" Franco.

I feeling was great on this day so I decided to climb Torre del Benaco to Albisano out of the saddle, all the way. It's at least a 5km climb but I did it rather easily but not so fast (I can't do both!). Three years ago I thought I was going to die going up when I first climbed it. By the way, this is a great road for some nice views of Lake Garda.

From Albisano we passed through Maciaga (Renzo was mumbling bad words under his breath at this point), and then it was some back roads into Verona. Great day.

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