On road to Brunico
View from the bus on way to Brunico
We had an easy ride into Cesenatico on Saturday where a bike exhibition was being held and wandered through the area to checkout all the latest bikes and bling on display. You could spend a fortune and still not get all you desire. Back to the hotel after lunch and watched the final 50K of the Giro stage. Early night as we need to get up at 04.00, breakfast at 04.45 and on the bus by 05.00 to the start of the Nove Colli (nine climbs) at 06.00. We have quite a few doing the 130K and 9 of us are doing the 200K.
The Nove Colli is now in its 40th year and is one of the Gran Fondo held throughout Italy. It consists of 2 distances of 80 or 130 mile (130 or 205K) and is very popular amongst cyclists from around the world. Up to 14,000 people attempt the rides all hoping to achieve personal best times or just complete the distance. It’s all about prestige as no prize money is paid but some of the top riders get appearance money. We all got jerseys, mitts, bidon and a cap along with energy bars and sports drinks as
Snow on Dolomites
Hope to be able to ride through this to the top of the passes.
well as heaps of advertising junk, which hit the bin. Tried to get knicks to go with the top but they were all gone by the time we got back.
Cool morning on the Sunday and after finding our start point due to the colour grouping, the first group with all the fast riders and ex-pros got away at 06.00. It took 20 minutes before we got moving and then another 15 minutes before we passed under the start banner. Cyclists everywhere trying to grab wheels and get a tow along in a group until we got to the first climb at Bertinoro where the fun began. Pick a gear and get in a rhythm and avoid people who were not as capable to get up hills. This continued for the first 4 climbs until we got to the turn off for the 200K riders where the groups diminished considerably. Climbs are hard as you would expect in Italy, but the descents are fantastic and make the effort to get to the top all the more enjoyable. Had trouble changing from small to big chain ring and even after a mechanic adjusted it, still caused trouble to the finish. (Will
On bike path
Our ride from Brunico on and out and back route included the bike path.
ensure this gets fixed for the rest of the trip as got a bit of climbing to do yet.) After 8.15 hours of riding 205K and approx. 3800m of climbing we got back the finish line in Cesenatico. The organization at the start, feed and drink stations, mechanics, supporters, spectators and at the finish was fantastic and extremely well run. We climbed four of the mountains with sections of 17 - 18% spread throughout and most of them had an average of 7%. Don’t find mountains like this at home. Bus back to the hotel, shower, food and water while we watched the pros race up the Zoncalon. Early dinner as most are very tired and we have a 460K bus ride to our next stay for 2 nights at Brunico. More climbing to follow!
Brunico is a lovely village in the Dolomites and has a mixed culture of Austrian and Italian, even though it is within Italian borders. The people speak Italian and German as well as having good English skills. Got to our hotel, which is normally used as a ski lodge and is in the Austrian style with lots of exposed wood and flower boxes. Scored
Drink to Dolomites
Drink at small pub on bike track on ride from Brunico
with the booking as we have two rooms with a double bed in each so plenty of room. Only here for 2 nights but a bit to do and see with the time trial up the Plan de Corones. Food excellent as well so all the spots have been hit on this trip so far. Went for a 60K ride through the valley from Brunico towards the Austrian border after arriving at the hotel and getting set up in our rooms. Stopped for a beer at a small pub on the return ride and to admire the scenery and the fact the sun is shining, we are in Europe and we are on a bike having fun. Couldn’t be better! Since arriving in Italy, the temperature has been rising every day and has been brilliant, so hopefully it will last for the rest of the week and the wet weather gear can stay in the case.
We are close to the start of the time trial, San Viglio and will ride there to see the cyclists warm up before their ‘moment of truth’ and then return to the hotel to watch the finish. Some of us are going to attempt to climb the course up until the dirt section but we have been told that it is extremely steep, about 1.5 cars width wide and not in the best condition for a bitumen road anyway. The road up the mountain for the time trial ends with 5K of dirt track and that has been closed to vehicles of any sort, bikes included since the Monday morning. Seems that the organisers want the dirt section to remain in reasonable condition for the cyclists.
Bikestyle have out done themselves this time as we were welcomed by the hotel manager with drinks and nibbles in the hotel garden with a splendid view towards the gondola overlooking the hotel. The gondola takes people to the top of the Plan de Corones where the time trial finishes. The manager called the mountain the ‘gold-mine’ and explained that during the winter, the mountain is full of people for winter sports and the money all gets spent in the town of Brunico. Excellent breakfast supplied to all and then off on a group ride from our hotel to attempt to get to the top of the time trial course. This proved to be impossible without walking as ALL vehicles were forbidden, so we returned to our hotel and got a ride with James and Julz, previous serial offenders with Bikestyle, to the start of the time trial. Bought some gear and got a couple of souvenirs, but can’t carry too much gear due to weight on plane. Arrived back at hotel after seeing Cadel arrive as he doesn’t leave until 4.15 and then it would have been too be hard to get back to the hotel to watch the final sessions of the race.
Tot: 0.796s; Tpl: 0.017s; cc: 12; qc: 48; dbt: 0.0139s; 1; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.5mb