13 July 2006

Giro De Italia #2

Once again, I hit the road for a little bit of a drive. But first a small race in the north of Holland to contest first, then I can get on the road. The race was one of those that you just got to go to. It was a memorial race for a famous Dutch rider, who sadly passed away well before his time. His daughter races in the other good Dutch team, and one of our main sponsors organised the race, so we had to show our team colours and support for a worthy cause.

Nothing much happened, we were playing it safe, as most of the girls were heading south for the Giro the next day. Last thing we needed was to loose one of them in a stupid crash or waste themselves a day or so before a 10 day stage race. We raced, stayed safe, saved our legs and the bikes, so was a good day. I packed all the bikes and the bags for most of the team heading south, and hit the road. Our team bus had left the day earlier as it is very slow compared to the rest of the vehicles. We called him during the race and he was 150km north of Munich, only about 650km travelled, I would catch him easy.

The remains of the storm, just over the Austrian border.

I hit the road about 6pm, intending to drive as far as I could, then sleep on the road somewhere. The team car was leaving in the morning, and the girls were flying down in the afternoon. The plan was, the bus picks up the girls, the team car meets me at the hotel, about the same time the girls arrive. It seemed easy on paper, but we had to get to Rome, which unfortunately is half way down Italy. Italy is like a lottery with the road closures, traffic jams and general mayhem on the road. Lets see who wins. The truck gets along well when it’s not too full, but I was loaded, 16 bikes, many wheels, 6 trainers and a whole load of the teams bags (girl size). We are away for 12 days so we needed a lot of axillary equipment as well.

Mountain top city, somewhere in the Dolomities.

Leaving Holland is always easy, as it is so close to all the borders of it’s surrounding neighbours. The GPS was reading 1864km, damn it, it was going to be a long night. The roads are always pretty quiet after 10pm, so I could get a good head start. The plan was to travel though Germany, to Austria, and wake up somewhere with a wicked view. The Gottenburg tunnel through the middle of Switzerland was closed, so that added another 150km to the trip. Drive the rest of Italy the next day, arriving at the hotel about 7pm ready for the girls with bikes and bags etc. Late at night through Germany is amazing, as there are no cars on the road, but a continuous line of huge trucks. It must be so boring on the Autobahn watching the cars fang it past you doing 200km/hr, knowing you are struggling with 100km/hr for some of the bigger trucks. I always feel like the little kid in my mini truck, scooting past them at a blinding 130km/hr.

Best way to travel the highways of Italy, nice and relaxing.

I knocked 1000km off and hit a huge storm through Austria, so it was time for a bit of a sleep. Thunder, lightening, and torrential rain put me to sleep in a matter of minutes. I woke thinking that I had only slept for a couple of hours, but I was right, two hours later I was on the road. I took it easy though the mountain passes of the Dolomites, many tunnels, small highways and Italian drivers, certainly keep you awake on the road. I arrived at the first hotel first, meeting the bus in the top of Italy , just over the border. I picked one of the other staff members, Nicole, so we could get the rooms ready for the girls when they arrived. The bus meet the girls at the airport and we were organised in a matter of minutes once they arrived. The car park of the hotel was full of other teams, so the usual to and fro to find power and water for everyone. We were here for two days and then we were shifting everyday for the rest of the week, until the final four days. Tomorrow the race starts with the TT prologue.

Nicole's 164th atempt at getting the perfect sunflower photo.

1 comment:

Redwoods said...

What do you "do" to prepare the girls rooms? Could you do a whole post with pics on this most interesting subject?