Monday, July 2, 2018

How was YOUR weekend?

I think we might need another weekend to rest up after this past one!

On Friday Steve and Heather rode the famous Cervinia climb, then on Saturday we went off the watch the Italian National Championship roadrace for pros in Darfo Boario Terme and then Sunday we rode vintage bikes at La Ghisallo. Whew!

This is Damiano Cunego's final season (this may have been his final race) so the team was paying tribute on the back of their bus. One of our rental bikes is named after him. BRAVO CUNEGO!

During the early circuits the organizers were having a private lunch right on the finish straight while not-too-many others had yet arrived to watch.

We decided to grab some quick kebabs and then head up to the steep final climb for close-up action as you can see above.

This was one of those nasty steep (17% in spots) climbs that's mercifully not-too-long but it's gotta hurt just the same as some of those in races like L-B-L. Even in the later circuits we could be really close...close enough to see the slight smile on the lips of Elia Viviani as he almost drafted Domenico Pozzovivo up this for the final time. A sprinter of his caliber had to know the tricolore was his, as the run-in to the finish was downhill or flat and none of the fast-finishers were up there. 

For a guy like Viviani, outsprinting the likes of Pozzovivo and Visconti was like childsplay.

We made it back in time to enjoy dinner at one of our favorite places, Melograno in Terruggia before hitting-the-hay since we had to be up early on Sunday to get to La Ghisallo.

After a very relaxed start around 9 AM they routed us downhill from the shrine and museum though the narrow lanes of a few old villages, then up to the start of the Muro di Sormano for refreshments. Lots of Sunday cyclists were trying their legs on this climb on their modern, carbon-fiber machines, making for a great contrast between those and the steel and polished aluminum bikes of the past.

We'll accept that you must be of a "certain-age" to prefer this look but it's hard to imagine many of today's bikes being saved, polished and ridden 50 years from now, but who knows? The one above, branded Locomotief was said to be made in Holland by the company later renamed Gazelle.

CHIORDA was a brand from Bergamo, hometown of Felice Gimondi who went to greater fame riding a Bianchi. His daughter Norma was here riding one of Felice's old bikes along with a contingent of guys also dressed in Salvarani team kit. We asked Norma to wish her father well as he recovers from a crash last year at Eroica Gaiole.

One of the rest stops provided by the organizers was a gelateria! We were treated to the cone or cup of our choice with two flavors. A great idea on this warm day. Above you can see that Steve agrees.

This was our finish reception. A great way to end the final climb to the shrine and museum. Sadly, they ran out of food by the time we made our way to the pasta party, but the promoters ordered pizze for us! Grazie mille! The non-gelato rest stops had foccaccia, fresh fruit, lots of tasty pastries along with plenty of water and soft drinks. 

France's Cyril Guimard put his name on some bikes back-in-the-day but we'd never seen one other than in photos. We don't know who actually produced these bikes and didn't have time to ask the person offering it for sale.

The event was dedicated to the memory of Luciano Berruti, the face of l'Eroica and vintage cycling in Italy. A mass was said for him in the tiny chapel and one of his bicycles was blessed and presented for display in the museum. We were lucky enough to meet him both at l'Eroica Primavera and l'Eroica California. RIP Berruti.

Mille grazie to La Ghisallo's organizers for their warm hospitality and friendship!!!  

W La Ghisallo!

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