Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I Got A Phone Call Today...

My past keeps coming back to me... in a good way. Today my phone rang. I didn't know the number and the Italian guy on the other end spoke in that Venetian dialect that I heard so much just a few days ago when I stayed in San Donà di Piave, as I so often do while visiting Team Liquigas. I didn't get the name at first (ok, so my Venetian isn't THAT good), but I quickly put 2 and 2 together and got quattro... that's my first cycling hero ever... calling me!

Growing up in Iowa in the 80's didn't provide many glimpses into the world of professional cycling. I remember waiting for Mom to come home from Ames (a few hours away which back then could just as well been Switzerland) for the off chance that she'd bring home an issue of Bicycling magazine, my only look into what was possible on a bike. I saved my money and bought a Raleigh. But it was my next bike that really did it for me... a Bianchi. I loved the celeste color, the exotic sounding name, the history, the racing heritage. What was it about Bianchi that struck a 13 year old kid in Iowa? I think it had a lot to do with seeing some of the exploits of that guy on the other end of the phone line... Moreno Argentin.


Not sure why it's now taking me a couple weeks to get these updated, oh well. Travel does that to you. I may not see home more than a day at a time until the end of the Tour! So, before I head back to the US tomorrow(!) how about a look back at Philly!

Stefano left me in charge of planning the trip and all registration and activities around the race. We visited a couple area shops and ate well at the local Italian bistros. We had a nice 3.5 hour ride on Saturday. One of our guests hit pavement but got up with minor damage. This happened literally a half hour after mentioning to Struve how amazed I was that in ten years of riding on the bike trail with the teams, nobody has clipped a bar or one of those barriers at the intersections. Italian pros unfortunately don't yield the right of way to coming cyclists or joggers. They are, however, incredible bike handlers; however, they don't realize that everyone else isn't! Fortunately, they're only on the tight Philly bike path one day out of the year... sorry Philly!

Tip of the hat to James, my trusted mechanic who leaves us after this race and is head guy in charge of the US national mechanics and material... nice gig! James kept the bikes clean and even changed a wheel... on the second start loop!

That's Struve in the pirate costume!

Joey took this window shot in the waning hours of sobriety Saturday night I think.

James and that wheel change!

Race-wise, we could've done better. There was a crash in the final roundabout which slowed the green guys down. I won't say who may have caused it, but got wind from some of the US directors that it's a bit too common.

Post-race, it was back to CT for some time in the office. Oh yeah, and my real reason for going... Wednesday night world championships! We had sprints for points every three laps after 18 to go. I got two seconds and a third for 5 points and 7th overall. Twas nice to get the legs moving in anger again.

Now, it's off to Park City for some better weather for training (hopefully).

Oh yeah... keep an eye out for a future series on this space. I am getting my Italian bike restoration fix in this year. I just bought a Ciöcc from the 70's from the man himself. I'll try to document the restoration as much as possible and update as it goes.