Welcome to Italy, have some bacon

10 Jul

Good lord, that was a l-o-n-g day of travel. From my house to the hotel = 23.6 actual (not time-zone-adjusted) hours, and fewer than 4 of those hours were devoted to sleep. Oof. Nothing that a little (OK, a lot) of espresso, bacon, and a reunion with Av couldn’t fix though.

Alas, the Internet gods won’t allow me to upload my bacon or bike pics via the gerry-rigged, crappy-assed, faltering, ghetto-level wifi connection offered by our current hotel. But trust me, the bacon and bike pics are drool worthy.

Italian bacon is extra luscious, albeit a bit saltier than I’d like. It was a little odd to have our hotel decide to host an “American style” pooside BBQ for us (complete with burgers, brats, fried chicken, and –happily– the much-less-common, but ever-more-appreciated, at least by me, BBQ treat: Bacon), but I’m sure we’ll get to enjoy plenty of traditional Italian fare in the days to come — Inshala.

As for Av, she looks beautiful. Sending her to Italy a week+ early = a totally genius idea by R2R, as it allowed them plenty o’ time to build her back up and polish her components to a high-gloss shine. I love that girl and I can’t wait to spend some serious quality time with her, covering terrain that we’ve been assured is “incredibly challenging.”

To put that statement into perspective, Bruce (R2R’s ride director, not my POS back-up bike) asked for a show of hands for those who did the Belgium ride last year. About 1/4 of us qualified. He asked us to harken back to day 4, the day with all the quad-buster climbs. Then he assured us that other than our first and 4th days here, all of our Italy/France days will be “at least twice as tough” as our Belgian ass-buster. Awesome.

And then he added that the descents would be even more challenging.

To add color to that warning, he asked Scotty, R2R’s most well-regarded, well-trained, insanely proficient and professional rider, to provide a “show and tell” regarding the scouting ride Scotty completed earlier that day.

Short version of the story: Going around an off-camber hairpin, Scotty narrowly missed being squashed by a car on one side and being ejected off the side of a mountain on the other only because he laid down his bike and allowed friction to do its work on his backside, much of which remains on the road.

So, needless to say, we’ve been ordered to: take it easy on the descents, not pass any riders ahead of us, and not make our staff nurse call for any MD support. Safety is definitely “Rule 1” on this trip. So, rest well, mom!

The “stay safe and sane” edict was echoed in connection with our military men’s habit of kicking back a few too many brews as well. But since there was no “show and tell” presentation regarding the perils of failing to heed that advice, many of our guys have already gotten themselve well-deep into the booze zone. <smh>

I’m always amazed by the ability of so many R2R riders to destroy themselves at the bar and yet show little-to-no ill effects on the next day’s ride. These military dudes are made of something far fiercer than whatever components I’ve got. I’m not sure if that’s inspiring or terrifying, but it’s definitely endlessly fascinating.

That’s it for now. We roll out for our first ride in 35 minutes … nice and easy, 45 miles, 1,500′ of gain, visiting the Army Air base, and then hanging out in Verona.

Today’s drinking game tally: 0. Sorry, it was all about boring logistics. We’ll make up for it today, especially if Uncle Willie gets a chance to tell his WWII/service under General Patton stories. Yes, Uncle Willie is back and he’s even more adorable and awesome than I remembered!

One Response to “Welcome to Italy, have some bacon”

  1. katerinadiaviano July 11, 2013 at 12:14 am #

    Benvenuti in Italian. Hope you get to see the arena in Verona

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