Saturday, March 20, 2010

"La Classicissima" Milano-San Remo (part 1)

Another perfect day in Italy! We woke up to dry roads and warm temperatures on Saturday morning. After a relaxed breakfast we pulled the bikes out of the car and headed off on a bike trail created from an abandoned railway line along the coast. We checked out the finish line (which we could not find last evening in the dark) then rolled along the coast with a plan to intersect the race route where it turns up the Cipressa. One eye on the road and the other on the clouds was the rule, but not a drop fell from the sky though the roads were plenty wet for the racers as we saw soon enough. But for us, it was the Poggio next and a plan to find a ristorante near the summit with a TV and settle in for pranzo, hoping to linger long enough to see the racers approach the summit of the Poggio before dashing out to see the race pass by. As Heather crested the climb, a woman almost pulled her off the bike and said, "you really shouldn't be riding a bike now, you should be eating lunch." which led Heather to ask for a suggestion. One was instantly forthcoming and off we went into the tiny village of Poggio di Sanremo to find "Il Rustichello" tucked away in a tiny cluster of buildings. Sure enough, they had a TV and seemed to have more than a few empty tables. The proprietor happily invited us to sit down while we explained our plan to dine and watch the race. No problem for him he explained, we were welcome for as long as we wanted. We started with antipasti - stuffed vegetables, proscuitto cotto, salame and prosciutto crudo with a red wine "Dolceacqua" made just 10 kms away. Next was first plates, the highlight was the hand-made gnocchi with pesto you can see in the photo. Rabbit with olives and goat with beans were our second plates along with mixed salad -- these arrived about the time the race came on RAI3. Somehow they decided we must try the tiny skewers (rostelli) of mutton as well and they came out soon enough. Everything was wonderful and it was not just because we were hungry! We settled in to watch the race unfold while the family sat down to their own midday meal. We were treated to espresso and grappa while they dined and watched the race along with us. By the time we'd paid the bill the racers were climbing the Poggio and we bid our friendly hosts arrivederci and dashed out to the road just in time to see the race leaders make the turn for the tricky descent. Even before the broom wagon had passed by we were on the descent ourselves though we stopped just down the hill to see who won on a TV a local guy had set up with a car battery and makeshift aerial. We were happy to see Oscar Freire win again while both Boonen and Petacchi looked strong. After descending to Sam Remo we rolled around the crowded finish area as the teams packed up their bikes and equipment and headed away, then headed back down the bike path ourselves to our cozy hotel with a view of the sea. More photos and details in the next post.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Guys! sounds like a wonderful day!

    Larry, I found the link to this post from the Inner Ring blog in your comments on watching Milano-San Remo, and I was lucky to see it in person this year!

    My wife LeAnn and I have a blog of our life in Italy and the latest installment is about my own trip to La Classicissima!

    Bill Rupy
    on Twitter "BillRupy"