Since the Pinorolo ride it has been a fairly relaxed few days of training. It has also been difficult to train due to some circumstances restricting me to train.
Sunday I paid Mont Blanc a visit. Very beautiful and stunning mountains. It was unreal how high they went and the sheer cliffs that loomed over the valley road. You get a sore neck just from looking up all the time to soak in the beauty. But my visit was short lived and we had to drive back to collect people from the train station and sit in the humid town of Mazze’.
I am still staying with Liz Randall who is competing in the World Masters events for road cycling. (She is doing very well, winning her age group in the Crit and the TT) She needs the car to get into the events to race, understandably. So that means all of my rides have to be from where we are staying. Meaning a lot of road riding. Flat road riding. Boring road riding. I brought my MTB over to ride trails, but I have done one ride in two weeks on dirt and it was just a fire road climb. A very nice ride and I enjoyed it immensely. I just feel like I am not getting the most out of my mountain bike.
The days are hot and the weather forecast has been for rain and thunder storms. Which has only been increasing the humidity and making the sky very hazy. It has only been storming a little bit at nights. Nothing that local to us.
Getting to sleep has been extremely difficult. The town has a loud bell which is right next to us and bongs every hour and half hour. When its 12.30am you can hear constant bell ringing after it has stopped. The house has loud wooden floors that makes it sound like an elephant is walking through the upstairs living room. I am lucky to get to sleep before 11pm.
On Wednesday Alex and I put in a solid ride because it was forecasted that there was definitely going to be rain the following day. So we went out and did a solid 80km ride out to Biella and back. My legs felt fairly tired after some solid riding into the wind and then another solid return effort.
Each day I find out something that I enjoy about Europe, and that day I found some more things I like about Europe. The amount of lovely little villages you pass through whilst out on a ride. The villages break up the some of the boring country view and also provide you with shops and water springs if you need food or water. Back in Australia you need to almost have a small bike trailer if you want to do any serious long rides or know where all the “secret” water spots are hope you ride past a petrol station.
On Saturday we head up to Feltre which will be nice. Surrounded by mountains and hopefully surrounded by MTB trails.
Sunday was an actual MTB ride.
We headed into Pinerolo to meet up with some friends of Liz’. Liz is who I am staying with in Mazze’ in Italy. We had to drive up and over Sestriere and down into a valley where we pulled up to a huge mountain glaring down upon us.
The people who we were riding with said it was about a 3hr ride. Roughly 2hrs up and 1hr down the other side. So we set off cruising with the group for about, 30 seconds when Alex and I rode off at our own pace which was about… four times their pace.
This was a solid climb with sections reaching 18% with a 8% minimum on the whole climb. We hit the top at 54min and waited… and waited. Not realising I was getting toasted by the sun because it was really really cool up onto of this ridge.
Whilst Alex and I were waiting we were sitting down, looking down into the valley where we rode from when this huge March fly landed on my leg and bit me. Semi-shocked, I whirled my hand down onto of it. Missing it. But what I had forgotten was my point and shoot camera was attached to my wrist and it followed my hand and swung straight into a rock, Now the lens won’t retract and I can’t take pictures. Now I have to venture into Turin to see if it is fixable. Bugger.
When everyone arrived we hung around at the top with the other riders taking pictures. I tucked my camera back into it’s case and they showed us the track heading down the hill that we were taking. It was steep narrow and looked like a hell of a lot of fun.
I jumped onto my bike and stormed down. Flicking my back wheel around corners and expecting the unexpected. About a third of the way down I couldn’t pedal so I stopped. My chain had over lapped it self. So I unkinked it. But it had already damaged it self with bent links. I have only done about 100km on this chain. Brand spanking new chain pretty much and now it is trashed. Luckily I have a spare chain but it is a bit a bummer having to use it so early in the trip. Things are going up and down at a serious speed on this trip.
Oh well, could be worse. I am still feeling 100% besides a little bit of sunburn and a little back pain. Nothing like a bit of sunscreen and stretching can’t fix.
I would be uploading more photos to the blog but I am using a friend pocket wifi internet and I don’t want to use it all up. So only text posts for now. But here is a link to one of the guys facebook group that we rode with. https://www.facebook.com/bicibikers/photos
On Sunday the 6th a friend of mine texted me mid morning asking if I wanted to head down to the coast and ride up Springbrook. Springbrook is a roughly 20km climb averaging 5-6% all the way up with some small 12%+ pinches near the very top. From where we started it ended up being a 30km out and back. Here’s some pictures at the top of the climb.
My mate getting ready with my bike leaning up against the car. Ready to rock and roll.
At the top facing back down from where we came.
The magnificent view from on top of Springbrook.
My friend and I road down a walking track to get to the look out.