Monday, June 9, 2014

Trittico del Serra

I have been preparing for yesterday's ride for a week or so, and it was hard, but fun.  It was a super fun Italian cycling scene, and I think I was the only American there.  We had one other person on our team from England, but everyone else was Italian.  There was even a pro rider with Team Sky who rode.  I saw him a couple of times, and thought that does not look like the kit you can buy at a store, then looked at his bike and thought he must have something to do with the team.  At the end someone told me he rode with Team Sky and was in the Giro d'Italia.  I thought that was pretty cool.  350 people participated, and most started around 8.  Maybe 200 meters or gradual slope, then the climbing, which is what the day was started in earnest.

The first climb began with a 12 to 15% section, but then mellowed out to 8% or so.  That is pretty much the way the day was.  I switched to my easiest gear early on to preserve strength for the difficult day, but kept a reasonable spin, and before I knew it, I had dropped most of the team.  Gerrad, the guy from England, caught me, and I let him go ahead, but then caught him again, and we pretty much rode the whole event together.  It is a pretty hard climb of around 800 meters to the first control point, where they stamp a card you are given at registration.  Then a big descent, probably around 850 meters to a town called San Andrea.  Another stop for a stamp, then the hardest climb of the day.

Coming down the hill, knowing I had to climb back up, I was thinking this is going to be tough.  Well, it was, but not too bad.  Around 3 kilometers in the middle third of the climb was a pretty steady 12 to 15%, but you knew it was coming.  Around 2/3 the way up, there was an excellent fountain pouring cold water from the hillside.  A head dousing, water fill, drink, and refill, left me refreshed and ready to continue.  At the same checkpoint at the top, we got the card stamped again, then descended to Buti, another little town.  This is the longest of the descents, which meant the least steep on the return.  Another stamp in Buti, water, and a bite of shot block with caffeine and we were on our way back up.  Somewhere around 1/2 the way up, I dropped Gerrad, and did not realize it until I could not see him again.

Back up to the top, but this time you continue all the way up to the very summit where there are a number of radio towers.  Then you return to the control point, hand in your card and get a little diploma / certificate saying you did it.  Fun.  I ended up being the quickest on our team, in around 3 hours 15 minutes.  Gerrad was only around 5 minutes behind me, and Luca and Davide were another 10 minutes behind him.  We did wait around an hour for Lorenzo, Margerita, and Marco.  We all hung out together at the top a little, then rode down to the cars close to the start, changed clothes and drove around 1/2 the way back up to a restaurant for an amazing feast.

For an extra 20 euros, the event is free, you get this great meal.  Around 70 riders of the 350 were there, and it was a blast.  Lots and lots of excellent food, presented in the Italian way with multiple courses, made it a 2-1/2 hour meal.  A drive home, and a quick shower, then out with Emily and a friend for a small meal.  Super fun day and great to have a group to do something like this with.  Lorenzo organized the drivers, meeting points, etc. and it all was very smooth.  Thanks Lorenzo.  Ciao.

Trittico del Serra - 3 ascents of the same mountain by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

The scene at the check in before the start.  350 people participated.

Here is most of the team, 8, riding together at the start.

The first climb has really just started here with an over the
head, behind me photo.

The scene at the finish waiting for everyone from the team
to finish their day.

6 of 8 waited at the finish and we had a bystander take this photo.
Grande Squadra!

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