Memorial on the top of the Ghisallo pass, next to the church of the Madonna del Ghisallo
Our next race starts Friday - the Giro de Trentino, a 3 day tour in Italy. To say that it is a hill-climber's delight is understating the case. Would you believe stage 1 has a 50km climb in it? Or that stage 3 has a 25km climb? I can't even picture what a 50km climb looks like. Crazy town. We are driving down Friday morning in time for race start at 2pm. I'm excited and nervous. The Aussie team comprises:
- Tiffany 'Most Elegant' Cromwell
- Carlee 'Girl from Ipanema' Taylor
- Shara 'I spent a week on the ergo, and it wasn't even broken' Gillow
- Megan 'This bike has gears?' Dunn
- Vicki 'We'll give her back, Lotto, we promise' Whitelaw
- and myself.
One of the highlights of our car trip this arvo (apart from the imitations of French D.Ss on race radio and the near miss with the lorry) was our visit to the Madonna del Ghisallo, a church dedicated to cyclists on the very top of the Ghisallo pass (which is the second of the 2 mountain passes on stage 7).
The church of the Madonna del Ghisallo
The church is one of the most famous cycling landmarks in Italy and, going inside, you could see why. The walls are covered with Italian world champion jerseys, bikes, medals, photos and memorabilia from throughout the 20th century.
The wall above the entrance
Bikes lined the walls (we now know where to find a spare race bike if we find ourselves short during the Giro)
Pilgrims from Australia
Visiting the church reminded me again of how cool it is to be racing in a country where cycling is such a big part of the national identity. I guess this is how swimmers in Australia feel.
I'm looking forward to the Giro del Trentino. I had a pretty crap tour in Spain and it will be good to put that behind me. It is a massive learning curve being here and racing at this level, and learning can be hard sometimes! I am also suffering a bit from coffee deprivation...part of an ambitious (if poorly thought-out) plan to de-caf before race day. I haven't had a coffee in 3 days and I have almost cracked. In fact, I may yet crack, as I still need to get through tomorrow. I have also just learned that the race hotel is nextdoor to an Illy cafe. Well, when in Rome...
Here's hoping for some sunny and rain-free days! We sure could use some... the last couple of training rides here in Varese have been WET.