This past weekend, Kera and I headed down to Riva del Garda, Italy for the annual “ride Michael in to the ground fest”
I found this great video on on the Prairie Peddler blog.
I have no hope of ever riding like this but it’s great fun to watch
A few Garda pics here.
We drove down on Thursday which was somewhat uneventful other than the snow falling in Austria. By the time we got to Italy it was shorts and T-shirt weather. We kind of farted around, picked up my registration packet and had lunch at one of our favorite places in the area.
Friday we got up and went for a pretty good almost 50 km mountain bike ride which was supposed to be a “stretch the legs” sort of thing and a chance for Kera to ride non-technical singletrack. Well, the second part of that was correct. She got some good time on some fun singletrack and rocky double-track. Unfortunately, I think we went a little hard which I felt the next day.
Saturday dawned fairly early as I had a 8:00 a.m. start time. Ed Husted (my team mate) also came over to do the race. Ed is a star! The man did the long course (88 km or something with 3000 meters of vertical) on a rigid singlespeed. He way outdid any feat that I could have been credited with.
Anyway, I raced/rode the short course which amounted to just over 55 km and something like 1300 vertical meters (almost all of which was on the first 2 hour climb). I think that I finished 111th in my class. The photos of the race have, finally, been released and they want an arm & a leg for them. They want more per photo then Sportograf wanted for all of them. What’s up with that? I get $5 or 5 Euros but I don’t get 19.90 Euros for each photo. Given that each photographer probably took 500 or more, they’d make 10’s of thousands if people were dumb enough to buy them at that price. If they’d lower the price to something reasonable, I’d imagine that you’d sell a lot more.
The course wasn’t so much of an issue for me. Of course, the past two years it was hell for one reason or another. In 2006 it was the 3 hour climb at the start of the race that I attempted to do on little training and on a rigid singlespeed with thousands of unsympathetic Euro racers aboard their beer-can fully’s, cranking up the mountain in their Granny Gears wondering why I wanted to get around them. Oh, don’t forget the 5 km downhill where I cracked my crank too. That was pretty special as well.
Last year they ran pretty much the same course as this year other than part of it was run inside out. In that part, we had 45 minutes of bike traffic jam. Yes folks… a bicycle traffic jam. Apparently, a lead motorcycle had fallen over in front of the pack at the start of some singletrack and they couldn’t get it righted quickly enough to avoid major problems
This year… 2008. A few problems came together on one day to play with my feeble mind and body. First, a messed up bottom bracket which squeaked so very loudy. I’d even changed out a cracked BB cup but it actually got worse (could have been the lack of grease). Second, riding harder than I should the day before the race as I’d mentioned before (that I blame myself for). Third, I didn’t eat a good breakfast or have any coffee (I’m a freakin’ coffee addict after all). Needless to say, I had absolutely no energy for the epic 2 hour 1050+ vertical meter climb that started the race.
All in all we had a good time, ate some good food, hung out with Ed and got to enjoy some nice riding and fantastic weather. I really can’t complain beyond my race performance.