Sunday, June 1, 2014

Giro d'Italia 2014 - Zoncolan Part 1 - How NOT to prepare

We loaded up our tiny FIAT Panda and headed east on Friday, with a planned visit to our friends at Nalini (more on that in a future post) before arriving at a tiny village near the famous Monte Zoncolan climb. The plan was to settle in Friday afternoon, enjoy a relaxing dinner in the hotel's charming osteria, sleep in and then get a reasonable start the next morning for the big climb, only 10 kilometers or so from our lodging.

That WAS the plan anyway - until the four guys pictured above showed up. (l-r we have Geno, instantly named Geminiani by Larry, Paolo, Renzo and Sergio) Larry had seen them drive up and noticed a large flag from Sardegna in their car, so when they sat down to dinner at the next table, he asked "are you guys real Sardi or just fans of Fabio Aru?" The next thing we knew the flag was being displayed and they were telling us all about Sardegna and their city Sassari, a place we knew a bit about. The lively discussions ranged from the other places we'd visited in Sardegna, which surprised them to no end. "You Americans know more about places on our island in some ways than we do!" was their reaction...

...and on to cycling, both professional as fans and personal as cyclists. Before long we were sitting at their table enjoying desserts and the first of a few rounds of grappa. They actually knew Fabio Aru and had his autograph on their flag. We finally said goodnight to our new friends with a promise to see them on the climb and retired after midnight, very fortunate that all we had to do was stagger up a couple flights of stairs and collapse into bed!

Their plan was to walk up the slopes Saturday morning to find a good viewing spot, while ours was to RIDE our bicycles up to the top, then scope out viewing opportunties - if we could make it up there?

Mamma mia, what had we done?

Mille grazie ragazzi! (We think)

Next post - the actual climb, etc.

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