Italy – The day that was...Tuesday 15th May 2012

16 May 2012

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It's Wednesday now, around 7:00am.

I have been up since around 5:45am, I think I went to bed around 9pm last night, totally stuffed.

Yesterday was a great day...let me tell you about it.

 

After getting some work done in the morning here in our apartment, we rode down to the town of Pietra Ligure, spent some money at Vodafone store, had a morning coffee and when we got back some more of the Australian contingent had arrived.

So we waited for Jason English to get his bike sorted and we all went up the hill to the race course which was a 10km ride from Finale Ligure.

Along the way, the road seriously switchbacked up the hillside, with small houses scattered along the way, vineyards, vegetable gardens, terraced on the property to make the most of the sloping landscape.

In a place like Lorne in Victoria, this land would be worth millions, but here in Finale they grow their vegetables, probably for their own use and sell a bit locally but not much more.

The views of the Mediteranean are amazing, the blue is what you would call azure blue, so striking in todays sunshine.

We meet the rest of the crew, Rachel, Shannon, Matt & Megan up there. And so Megan shows us the rest of the course which we have not yet ridden.

There is a lot of loose rock, where your back wheel feels like its not been secured right with the skewer but you have to just let it rip or too much braking causes unnecessary skidding “slittamento”.

You have to love the Italian way of saying such words too. Makes me want to skid!

 

Anyways, the views are never ending on the top part of the course, lots of rocks as I said, loose, limestone and there is one section that loops up and around at the very top that is sketchy as, no views here, well there is but you dont want to glance right for them.

The track then pops you back into transition via these cool berms. On first ride of them, one thinks, “oh fun times!” but upon reflection imagining what they will feel like on lap 10, well they will be tough. They open up quickly down the exit of each of them, start fat and high and exit low and tight. Braking is in fact required.

The second part of the course is more wooded, like typical Euro style forest.
Winding in and out of trees, up and down root knolls with time and enough vision to flick your back wheel about a bit – lift the bike and change direction into the next corner.
Well I certainly will have fun doing that on at least my first lap!
Might get tired not too soon after and stick to both wheels on the ground. The surface here is loose soil and there is a bit more grip than the rocks so you can slam on the rear to pop you round a corner and trust it.
However some of the course has been a bit last minute down this end, leaving some of the ground with a surface like over processed straw and dirt mixed up and laid down to ride on. Its soft, loose and like sawdust. A bit of a sprinkle of rain would do it good. Some major steep climbs too, only about 100mts at most for one of them, but with the surface as described its TOUGH! It will be walker once everyone has been it over it a couple of times.

I can honestly say this 24hr course is fun, but its going to be tough.

Who can flow, who can find the flow, who can use the least amount of energy in the single track so they can climb solidly all throughout the race. Who can avoid carnage, who can stay smooth, relaxed, loose and off the brakes as much as possible, but not out of control fast. No need to pedal if you can freewheel will be my mantra pretty soon into the race.

Very happy I have done lots of core work, I am going to need every bit of it.

Today Norm and I are going RACE shopping, food, bits and pieces, bike stuff etc...

In the arvo going to go back to race course, do another reccy and do the fun downhill again back into Finale.

 

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So after seeing the course, riding the course and imagining myself racing it, how do I feel about this whole 24hr thing now?

Its a tough one to answer but I must delve into my brain now and work it out so I am cool about it all on race day.

I am excited, butterflies are living in my stomach now.

I am not nervous, I feel so confident in my ability to do this, to ride for 24hrs to race for 24hrs to have fun for 24hrs and to work along side Normie boy for 24hrs as a team for the love of the sport.

Should this mean I come out a winner, then I have followed my process and been the better athlete and planner on the day. Thats what it is going to take.

I am patient and will ride my race – its going to be fun.

 

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On that note, we will have some answers later today as to how you can follow this race, what links, what #key on twitter, etc..etc...Norm is eager to have the Aussies knowing what we are all up to. 

Thanks for keeping up with my travels, be in touch again later today with how you can follow results and more pics.