What's Cool In Road Cycling

Grappa di PEZ: From Bondone To Snow

It’s the second day of Dolomite destruction as we chase il Giro, and as the weather turned rotten, the mighty PEZ-Crew’s improv skills were put to test as we devised the best plans B, C, and finally D to stay on track and report the last couple of day’s action from Monte Bondone…

• We have arrived! Life can be pretty good on the inside of the barriers.

With internet connections spotty as we move into the high mountains, and our pledge to ride as many of the key climbs as possible, the days are full and like the book says… “Every second counts”. One wrong turn and you’ve lost an hour, and anyone who’s chased a race knows, one hour is HUGE – like the difference between getting a story posted, finding an open restaurant, or getting to sleep before midnight.

• The race organizers do a pretty good job of shaking off their national stereotype by running a well organized event. Parking is reserved for various factions of race vehicles, and inspite of our arrival in the press ‘parcheggio’ early, we no one double parked us…

Yesterday began when I awoke at 430AM, layed there 6, ate breakfast at 7, drove to start at 9, left start at 11, picked up big bottles of water at local superstore by 12, found roadside lunch at 130, moved again and got onto the bikes at 230 for the ride up Monte Bondone.

By 7PM we were off the mountain and on the road to the hotel, arrival around 8, shower and dinner at 930, and pretty much to bed. I’m happy to say my body finally allowed me 8 hours of sleep… coulda gone for a few more.

A long day yes – but check out the evidence of “good times”…

Stage 16 – Rovato To Monte Bondone
Yesterday we took in the stage start in Rovato, then bolted to Trento to ride the final climb up the 1600m Monte Bondone, and watched Basso storm the troops on the final slopes.

• The lower slopes of the Monte Bondone – almost 20km long, with an average grade of 7.9% and max of 13% – with a view north past Trento. It’s a good climb, but lacks the big views and really steep pitches to make it a classic. We climbed in 34×25 and 39×27 with no problems.

• Basso came by so fast that his momentum around the corner carried him right out to the barriers – he was flying, and about a minute ahead of Simoni.

… who was not exactly soft-pedalling either…

• And Diluca looks around for some help.

• Somewhere just inside the time limit, the gruppetto makes it’s way up.

• Ever wonder how we capture all the racing action for your digitized enjoyment? Of course you do! Check me out in ‘action’ – one-handed even!

• This shot is MONEY, baby!

• The SEVEN Aerios takes to the skies… I gotta say this bike is starting to feel like ‘home’. The 16.5 lb titanium rig was solid and comfortable the whole way up.

• The roadside grill was smelling great on the way up, so there was no denying us a tasty grilled sausage and glass of vino, after a day well spent.

STAGE 17 – Plan De Corones SNOW JOB!

As I write this, the snow is falling at the stage finish – but I’m happily ensconced about 45km away at our the Hotel Cesa-Padon in Pieve – perfectly situated for some big climbing tomorrow, but more on that later.

• Driving through Corvara over the Passo Campollungo, things started getting cold… we’re talking 3C degrees. That’s fresh snow up there.

Today did not go as planned, as we were scheduled to ride the final – and very scary – climb to Plan de Corones at 2200 meters. Gray skies in Bolzano turned to steady rain by lunch in Brunico, and when the temp dropped to 7C, it was pretty clear Plan A would need some … modifications. 1200 meters higher at the race finish, the plunging mercury promised “rain turning to snow”. The prospect of getting soaked on an hour+ climb, then standing around in the cold for a ‘while’, would not fit in with the overall plan of staying healthy for the days ahead – and even getting online to post the latest events.

• Brrrr. Your PEZ-Crew hard at it… Actually by this time we were feeling pretty good about our decision to head to the next stop and actually pick-up some time, after being constantly behind schedule for the last 2 days.

No worries though, and after some pretty brutal jetlag, an unplanned rest day was not the worst thing that could happen. But after some serious soul searching, we decided the early bolt to the hotel and bar were the best ways to follow today’s action.

• Why let inclement weather spoil the party? There’s a big screen, a warm bar, and cold beer nearby.

So now we’re about to grab dinner – and it’s only 730PM – early by Giro standards… Tomorrow will be huge as we ride some of the big climbs to come in the day after’s stage to San Pellegrino. More to come!

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