Okay, so I’m pretty much done with this race. I think the riders are too: today on the last climb they were late. It was Sunday in the peloton today. They were just cruising—at an average 45kph an hour or whatever, something unreasonable for you or me, but cruising all the same. They were enjoying the sunshine and the decidedly flat stage.
We drove to the staging area near the start to interview Peter Stetina but we were late (sorry Peter!) so we just kinda skipped it and got on the course. We drove the course for 30km, mostly between the Vacansoleil-DCM Team Car (feed zoners probably) and a Giro V.I.P. car. At some point we passed the white Maserati, still in first gear. Then we went to the airport in Verona to rent a Fiat Panda—long story. Then we went to the only “hump” on the course (Crosara: 187,3km & 414 meters) and waited on another Ardennes-looking climb (+ sun – rain) with thousands of Italians, all of whom were doing anything and everything. Anything and everything, in this case, included but was not limited to:
- Waiting for the 2013 Giro d’Italia to pass.
- Purchasing an original Gadget from the
- Laying in the grass.
- Sleeping in the grass.
- Passing out in the grass.
- Sitting in the shade of an olive tree.
- Hiking the bottoms of their bib shorts up into a funky, uncomfortable looking, bunch-roll and standing around shirtless in the sun. Tanning, I presume.
- Sitting on a curb, road shoes and socks in the shade between their outstretched legs, wiggling their toes, leaning back on their hands, staring up at the sun.
- Wearing cotton tee-shirts made into hats and turbans and the linke on their heads.
- Owning and riding and standing next to a ridiculously expensive carbon road bike.
- Singing Choral Music and Gregorian Chants.
- Waving Flags.
- Committing blasphemy.
After the race, Ian left for Fonsazo in the Panda while Raoul and I drove to Vicenza (the finish) to pick-up Klaus Bellon, owner/operator of Cycling Inquisition, MFS contributor and Colombian Cycling Expert. From Vicenza we drove back to Verona and checked into the Verona Congress Holiday Inn where Team Colombia and Team Vini Fanitini are also staying. Because Holiday Inn’s internationally renowned Pizzeria and Ristorante was closed due to a number of Giro d’Italia Team Dinners, we walked through the strip-mall parking proximal to the hotel and adjacent to a freeway, past Sexy Shop to Bambu, a Japanese and Italian Fusion Buffet for 17.90 euros per person. That was decidedly today’s LOW POINT – all of that but mostly the buffet part.
Today’s HIGH POINT came in the form of an invitation to barbecue. While walking off the climb, Raoul and I were stopped by two Americans (from Florida but currently living in Italy, just down the road in fact). They heard Raoul and I speaking English and were curious about our involvement in the race and our presence in Italy. At some point while walking and talking our way down the hill, they invited us to a barbecue. The thought of barbecuing (both the act and the food) in the face of so much fluorescent-lit durum and pomodoro made (and continues to make) me experience a wide range of emotions and feelings. We didn’t have time to visit and eat because Klaus was waiting for us at the finish – Sad Face.