Nove Colli, Cesenatico, Italy, May 22 2011

Off to a Sportive event? 'Racing' a charity event or just going somewhere nice with your bike?

Nove Colli, Cesenatico, Italy, May 22 2011

Postby John Dougan » Mon May 30, 2011 5:46 pm

Adam (Chris Hoy) Smith and I arrived Thursday 19th at Belvedere Bike Hotel Riccione, beside Rimini, via plane, train and automobile (hotel taxi). Straight into afternoon buffet and welcome drink although we were both a bit hungover from Bologna ‘night oot’ so drink not entirely welcome at the time. Superb food and choice. Assembled bikes and checked out bling bike garage at hotel. Went for a bike test and 'head clear' run, 2 hours over the panoramic hilly coast road, coca cola stop in old hilltop village, all looking good.

Next morning tightened saddle clamp and snapped it so hasty replacement and shim but new clamp required. Did 95k run with 6 others and guide via some of the hills to be in the event. About 27 degrees, superb. Most hills 12-18% average and about 6k length. Another coffee stop in medieval village perched on a mountain crammed with cyclists on training rides. Photo shoot and adjustments to ‘moving’ seatpin. Back for buffet, drinks, massage, more food and wine, tough at the top! Slept like a log.

Penultimate day ride to best bike shop I’ve been in (Conti’s), stuffed with new and retro Campag, all sorts of Pinarello’s, Scapins, De Rosa’s etc. Owner handing out free iced tea and snacks to entice us to spend and it worked. Got correct seatclamp (boost) and Castelli top etc. Didn’t sleep too well as firework display on nearby beach at 11pm and we had to get up at 2.45 am for breakfast and to put bikes on trailer at back of coach. 60 of us at Hotel doing event with 10 including me opting for 200k (130k option too). Al fresco urinifacation at start and dawn assembly at start line for 6.00 am ‘launch’. First 100 pros off first, we were numbers 4000+ at about 6.20am as Hotel had luckily secured this block out of near 13000 riders. Fast but manageable bunch pace (45-50kph!) on flat run to first hill at 40k and dash to get to narrow cobbled street through village but I managed to stay near front and avoid a couple of crashes. Settled down a bit and I surfed a few groups over next few cols until my first elected feed at Hotel pitstop at Barbotto summit. I thought I was a ‘no bad’ descender until today, a bit of an eye opener and sphincter clincher. Caution was name of the game though as I past one rider ‘trolleyed’ by a barrier to a steep drop with rider and bike looking fairly dismantled. Started to get very warm so stopped at more feeds for water and food as a change from energy goo, probably stopped too much (including a map check) but I didn’t want to end in a state. After feeling tired and not sure if I was sick of the gloop or thirsty, got a second wind after 170k and I towed about 3 riders to another group of 10 on a slightly down hill stretch after what I thought was last col. I worked to front of group and stuck it in the second top gear, happy to be on the way back. Then oh no, a left turn and sign for the 9th col!! 5k at about 16% average and 29 degrees. I was promptly passed by about 8 riders who must have thought I’d lost the plot. Mentally, that was a hard one. Glad to see the summit and then downhill, picked up by a fast train to the finish and Giro style banners and crowds, awesome. Hotel staged canopy tent at finish with fizzy wine and photos etc.

The event had road closures, TV cameras, helicopter, police bikes, lots of first aid and food/water stops, very well organised as long as you have a toilet on the coach or are constipated. I managed 1153rd in 7hrs 42 mins but winner was 5hrs 58mins with most of the pros 6hrs to 6hrs 30 mins, I don’t know how they do it although I heard rumour that 2000 had withdrawn when drug testing was mentioned!! I would thoroughly recommend the Hotel Belvedere package and I’ll probably go back and stay longer doing more exploring rides and lots more eating and finish off with the 130k as that would be more enjoyable. You can choose on the actual ride which distance to do as there is a fork with the 200k adding an extra loop and about 5 'hills'.
John Dougan
Fisher Price Trike
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2011 6:27 pm

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