The long weekend that was – Garda, Italy

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.

Well... this is special!

Better, but there\'s a reason I\'m alone.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.

Published by: wunnspeed

What does one say here. Hmmm. First, I'm a "trailing spouse". Kera, my wife, works hard and keeps us afloat. I work... not nearly as hard and contribute enough to let us have fun. Oh, I also make bags for bikepacking under the name of SpoK Werks I'm an English Teacher (English as a Second Language) here in Germany. It's an amazingly rewarding thing to do. I'd never have believed it until I'd tried it. I also make bikepacking bags under the name SpoK Bags. Just search for us in Flickr. We're adventure nuts (i.e. cycling, travel, life, friends, etc.). We attempt to live each day as fully as we can manage.

Categories life, mountain bike, MTB, racingTags, , , , , , 15 Comments

15 thoughts on “The long weekend that was – Garda, Italy”

  1. No coffee before the race? How did you even finish? I’ve made that mistake before and its amazing what a difference it makes.

  2. Excuses, excuses- It is a race and not some exotic bike show. 29 in wheels and single speeds are stupid for marathon in the alps. And the Euro racers with their beer cans and granny gears don´t go to single speed events and comment about the freaks with their single gear and titanium bikes. Racing in the alps is not about tattoos, 29 inch wheels, single speeds and titanium bikes. stop making excuses and being so elitist.

  3. Nope… no pics of Ed that I’ve seen. I should look around. I’m sure on the photo site we could nab a couple though.

    I have an idea of what my next blog post will be about.

  4. Well, George… it would SEEM that is MORE than a race. Check the name, bub.

    Sympatex Bike Festival See…? FESTIVAL is in the title. That means, beer, tattos, bikes, (both singlespeed AND geared as well as many that Im sure such a weight-weenie as yourself would look down upon that have 6+ inches of travel. They even have a ‘Freeride Day’ listed.

    Look at some of the exhibitors. Yeah, buddy. IT IS a bike show. Maybe a bit exotic, maybe not so much so to other people. But there it is for all to see.

    You really need to relax a bit. Yeah Wunnspeed is a weight-weenie, racer-boy, single-speeding idiot. So what? I also told him he was nutso for riding a single in the Alps, but they’re his knees, right? Sometime the herd needs to cull itself. Maybe he will learn, maybe not, but thats his trip. You don’t have to go along and you sure as hell don’t need to come back and post. Ever.


  5. George H. said:
    “And the Euro racers with their beer cans and granny gears don´t go to single speed events and comment about the freaks with their single gear and titanium bikes.”

    Maybe he should come to SiS ( ), definitely an SS event that attracts a goodly share of euro racers on fs über-squish bikes.

  6. I guess I must have beat George. Oh well, some days the geary gets you some days you get the geary. Sad to see that a fellow rider (maybe) feels the need to bash someone because of the type of bike they ride. Relax George, take my word for it, Mike may be a bit of a coffee snob but otherwise a super nice guy with far more class than you.

  7. I really should check in with you and Matt more often. But why? So I can see how much I’m not riding because all of 2008 has sucked major balls? It’s *&^$ing raining here again.

    Anyway, hope all is good with you and the K Lady. I wish I had my own friend named George.

  8. Whoa nelly, that there my friend is a stalker… I had me one of those, told me I was taking all of the fun out of single speeding with my skinsuit and winning ways. It should be noted I clobbered him by 15 min at the 2006 Colorado State Single Speed Championships, I’d be pissed too.

  9. I would hug him and kiss him and I would name him George…..

    Mikey, I bet you’re riding more than I am, with this freaking rain. I’m getting out a little, but not much. Ol’ Georgy sounds bitter. Also sounds like a pussy.

Leave a Reply to Wunnspeed Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s