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Monday, July 21, 2014

A bit of philosophy



We get asked a lot why we continue to ride custom-made (by Antonio Mondonico) all steel bicycles. There are many reasons.  Here's Aldo's philosophy on the matter, with which we agree totally.

If you've been around cycling awhile, this photo should bring back memories of the old Brooklyn cycling team. GIOS was their bike supplier back-in-the-day and Aldo and Marco have kept the torches burning ever since, despite a fracture in the relationship with brother Alfredo, who ended up with world-wide rights to put the venerable name on products made elsewhere (Where? You get three guesses and the first two don't count).

With this new project these wonderful bicycles can be sold outside of Italy for the first time in years. If you are interested in a new bicycle, this might be the one for you

We'll  hope to see Aldo and Marco later this year at l'Eroica in Tuscany where our friend Maynard Hershon will be riding a vintage GIOS in the event.

Buon lavoro ragazzi!!!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Legendary Climbs 2014 - Finale


The sun did come back for us by the end of our tour as you can see above as Lyle nears the haunting Pantani memorial on Passo Mortirolo.



The hard-core folks continued on to Passo Gavia while some smart ones (pictured above) opted to tackle only the Gavia on this day. They seem pretty happy with their choice!


Our tour concluded with the traditional ride along the lake and ferry ride to Bellagio. Above "Gianni" sums up his experience while waiting for the ferry in Varenna. Looks like a happy, satisfied client to us!

Thanks to all who joined us. Next year's tour might sell out as fast as this years so make your plans now and be ready to reserve your place(s) early in September so you don't miss out.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Legendary Climbs 2014 Part Two



It hasn't been raining ALL the time! Above the group (l-r: Lyle, John, Andrew, Gena, Sandy, Heather, Russ and Scott) poses in Corvara before our ride over Campolongo, Pordoi and Costalungo.



Here they pose in front of the Fausto Coppi monument atop the Passo Pordoi, all in the CycleItalia kit. BRAVI!


And Larry? Well, he's been avoiding the rain for the most part and spending time (too much) in the van, but he got his fat a__ out there for the legendary Passo Stelvio today. Here you see him taking a Coke (only for medicinal purposes) about 2/3 of the way up. Soon after the skies opened up (again) with rain and sleet..but when you're just a few kilometers from the top of an epic climb, why not tough it out? After all, you're already wet and cold! The sun returned once we all reached the top, but most had changed out of soaking clothes, grabbed the traditional sizzling salsiccia of the Stelvio and put their bikes on the roof...so we skipped the technical descent and arrived in Bormio with plenty of time to watch LeTour on TV. 

Sad that now Il Pistolero has crashed out to join Froome as big challengers to fizzle out - but part of bike racing IS staying on your bike after all. Vai Nibali!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Legendary Climbs 2014 Part One


Greetings from where God takes His vacations! Above: Passo Giau from the summit.



We've been challenged by the same rainy weather you've seen on TV if you've been watching Le Tour de France. But we're still smiling while trying to stay dry and warm.


The group suits up for the big loop over Campolongo, Fedaia, Sella, Gardena and of course "Passo Panorama" which might be the steepest climb on the tour, though it's less than a kilometer in length.


No matter how steep the climb, if you have the right gearing and attitude, it's a great experience.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Grandi Alpi 2014 Part Two


Lights, camera LASAGNE!


Don & Cindy enjoy the climb to Cervinia


Beth and Guido enjoy a romantic moment before the St. Pantaleon climb


Antonio enjoys the final climb of the Grandi Alpi tour for 2014.

Mille Grazie to Guido, Beth, Don, Cindy and Antonio for a great week!

Next post from the Dolomites and Legendary Climbs of the Giro d'Italia

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Grandi Alpi 2014 Part One

After a damp start on Day 1, our day to tackle the Gran San Bernardo could not have been better!


Above you see Guido at the base of the monster climb.


And here is Antonio just a few kilometers from the summit, the border with Switzerland.


Followed by Heather with Don and Cindy (behind Heather) in tow.

This might have been the most beautiful day ever for us on this climb. Often we're rushing into the bar/ristorante next to the tiny lake to get out of the cold and wind, but today we were basking in bright sunshine. The pasta, polenta and gnocchi still tasted great before our descent back down to Aosta in the early afternoon. Tonight we'll walk up the hill to a favorite pizzeria for a lighter cena after yesterday's sumptuous feast at Trattoria degli Artisti.

Monday, June 30, 2014

La Primavera 2014 - Part 2




No visit to Gavi (or anywhere near) is complete without a visit with our friend Gianni at his pizzeria/ristorante/bar Il Forte. If it's open when we ride by we stop for drinks and often come back the next day to enjoy pizza and Gianni's wonderfully engaging hospitality. Above (l-r) you see Peter, Gregg, Stevc, Jim, Cindy, GIANNI, Heather, Larry and Don posing just before saying arrivederci to our friend.


The next morning we're on the road to link up with the historic Milano-Sanremo percorso, but not before enjoying more Monferrato scenery as above.


The famous Passo Turchino is not very hard from this side with even grades and nice pavement, but there is still something special about arriving at the top. Sadly, the iconic tunnel has been replaced with a modern, two-lane, nondescript model of modern engineering, leaving Mario's place just to the right of the tunnel exit, in a bit of isolation. Gregg celebrates here, though the old tunnel remains. We're hoping they'll make a bike path detour from the main road through this tunnel and help keep Mario in business. They cooked up some pasta with pomodoro for us on the sunny afternoon while we posed for the photo below with the sea in the background. A VERY fun descent followed!



We climbed Le Manie, inserted into the race (in 2008?) to break up the field and spent the night in Finale Ligure, enjoying one of the best seafood dinners in memory. Even those who say "Oooh, I don't like (mussels, clams, calamari, etc.) were marveling at how much they enjoyed this meal, complimented with Ligurian white wines. The next morning we were back on the Primavera route, pausing for this photo at the legendary fountain at Imperia.


More cruising along the Riviera Ligure followed, though there was usually more auto traffic than you can see in this photo!


But, just like the racers, we turned up the Cipressa climb. Here you see Jim celebrating passing through the iconic single-lane entrance to the village. We then rode the Poggio before the final run-in along Via Roma and to our hotel with a splendid view of the Ligurian coastline. After catching the finale of the Italian National Championship road race on TV (Bravo Nibali!) we went out for pizza in the lively town.

The following morning we enjoyed 40 kms along the converted railway line along the sea before checking out of the hotel for the drive back to our HQ for bike packing, etc. before our farewell dinner. We think everyone left with a new appreciation of the challenges of the Milano-Sanremo route.. We certainly did!


Next up - Grandi Alpi in Val d'Aosta