Training Part 1
Friday, 19 August 2011
Well Italy is amazing! The team has been here for a few days solidly training hard on local maps in the very hot conditions. The team minus Mel and Lizzie all met up on a map called Selle Valsugana which was at the top of a dead end mountain pass road. A local race was put on for us and it was extremely physical. Steve and Alex had a 23km long course and the junior boys had a 15km course.
Steve cut it short as it was very long and Alex rode solidly despite some misplaced controls and strange course setting. Chris was the best of the juniors but was beaten by one of the Russians who also turned up to ride by a few minutes. All three Tasmanians missed #11, only Marc realised and went back from 12 to punch it. After the race the boys went for a roll in the very scenic area to take some pictures, had some coffee and pasta at the restaurant and then tackled the road descent back to the small town of Olle. This led us down switchbacks and very steep roads hitting 75km/h on the mtb! There was a long drive from Olle in the car to our accommodation for the training week in the hills surrounding Vicenza. It proved rather difficult to find and after a delicious gelati stop and three hours we eventually found it!
Unfortunately there was a three day public holiday meaning very few shops were open and finding food was challenging. Lizzie cooked up a pasta storm with limited ingredients which was annihilated by hungry riders.
Day 1 of training was two minutes ride away from our accommodation. The map was expected to be more like competition terrain as it was one of the official training maps. Kay set us a middle distance course to do pairs route choice on. It was very interesting to see how the tracks were marked and just get a feel for the map. There was some huge hills which in some places were very rocks and in some places relatively smooth, so it was a bit of a gamble as to which track to take. It was certainly different to Australian maps!
Day 2 of training and we loaded up the Van and headed North to the town of Bassano del Grappa for long distance training. The long course was expected to consist of very flat areas populated by corn and open fields interspersed with very steep hills dotted with slow single-track making for hard navigation. Halfway through the course the heavens opened up and thunder roared making everyone rather wet but it was still extremely hot and humid. Some rather dodgy tracks cut a few legs up but overall it was a great session. The finish was in a car park where the local church parish was serving up a feast including amazing gnocchi which was devoured by all. On the drive home we spotted a castle on the hillside so stopped to take a look and grab some photos. It was a very steep climb upwards to the top but well worth the burn as there was amazing views in 360 degrees of the surrounding area. Monte Grappe, one of the famous Giro d’talia climbs loomed on one side and on the other was a flat expense filled with crops and dotted with houses.