Thursday, June 23, 2011

in the [feed] Zone

My time in Switzerland was amazing.  We watched a stage of the Tour de Suisse, went hiking in the Bernese Alps and listened to hundreds of yodelers (courtesy of the Jodelerfest in Interlaken).

I've never been to a feed zone before, so I was really keen to see what it was like, especially since the Tour de Suisse is smaller and less hectic than the grand tours.  We drove in the direction of Davos and parked where a bunch of the team cars were.

The drive over the mountain passes were incredible.  Cold and windy, but still incredible.

I stayed by the Garmin-Cervelo while Ged ran 50 meters up to grab any of the stuff the riders were throwing away.

The Garmin-Cervelo soigneur was really nice.  She's from Denver, Colorado, and was introduced to the founder of the test team eight years ago and has been with them ever since.

We grabbed so much stuff.  Feed bags with food still in them, water bottles galore, power bars.

Of course, we had to test the food.  Lunch courtesy of the Movistar team.

There were some rolled up sandwiches for easy ingestion and digestion and a strange savory quiche with rice and custard.  Ged really liked that one.

Then it was off to Interlaken for some hiking.

When we got to the city it was pouring down rain.  We set up the tent and I was in charge of dinner.

This is how we (I) cook dinner when it's raining.

The next day it was off to the Alps for some exploring and hiking.

Never been in a cable-car before.  I was a little skeptical.

At the top we enjoyed the view then headed in the direction of the Eiger.

Lunch break for bratwurst.

Then four hours of descending.

I know you're jealous of my socks.

About 70% of our hike smelled like cow poo but you get used to it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

in Bikes we trust.

Just spent a beautiful five days traveling around the Lombardia region of Italy and the Jungfrau region of Switzerland.

First things first:  Arrived in Milan Wednesday about midday to set up camp then go to a Foo Fighters concert.  Must say it was a really good show, especially moshing with a good group of Italians next to me.

Then it was off to Bellagio near Como for some cycling.  Ged wouldn't reveal where we were riding to but that was OK because I like surprises.

After climbing about 9km from our cute campsite to Madonna del Ghisallo, we arrived at the small church where tons of cycling memorabilia covered the walls.

40km in total and a really nice descent, too.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The ride that took a year: i DIDNT crash this time

Hello from the farm.  I've been working outside for the last week and loving it:  the thump of small apples hitting the ground as I prune the trees, the scents of basil, rosemary and thyme surprising me as I walk to the garden and chickens clucking and pecking all around me.  Yes, this is the life for me.

I spent the weekend away from the farm and on the east coast.  We stayed in the small town next to Rimini called Riccione.

The objective:  complete the ride we were supposed to finish last year without crashing.

It was a little spooky being in the exact same campground, wearing the exact same jersey and riding the exact same route.

I remember the climb being a lot harder for me last year.  This time it was actually pleasant in the sense that I got into a rhythm.

Before we knew it, we had reached San Marino.

We walked our bikes up to the very top (not a good choice in cycling shoes--almost fell).

Then dropped down to the place where I had my accident and stopped to take a moment and reflect.

Ged asked if I was feeling emotional.  I wasn't feeling emotional so much as ashamed.  I can't believe I wrecked my bike and my body so stupidly last year.  The turn wasn't even that steep or sharp.  All I could think to myself was "IDIOT."

And even though I felt foolish for having crashed, Ged reminded me of just how far I've come.

I've ridden up Alpe d'Huez...twiceMont VentouxCol du Tourmalet and more.

Also, I didn't have thoughts of sheer anger and doom in my head as I did the climb to San Marino this time around.  I may have been plotting Ged's death last year as my legs struggled to turn the crank.

Where I crashed:

Note the particularly bright colors of the chevrons, the ones I ignored last year.

The final kilometers back to the campsite were all flat, so Ged and I stayed around 30-33km/hr and zoomed back.

Total distance:  80km

The rain came shortly after we ate and showered but the landscape (especially on the drive back) was incredible.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Off to the farm.

I'm leaving for two weeks to work on a farm in exchange for food and board.  Never done this before, so not sure what to expect.  I'm excited nonetheless.

The farm is only an hour north of Florence.  The organization behind my agricultural stint is WWOOF:

As an apology for leaving Ged for such a long period of time, I baked him some bread.

See y'all later.