Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Today was a wicked stage of climbing. It hasn’t got as bad as some of the French races we’ve done to date… yet… but it was pretty vertical. There were three climbs; one steep one in the beginning, then after an excruciating valley of winds another long climb and then another one up to the finish. Timmy got in the break but something happened, it’s kind of ambiguous what exactly happened, but he was pretty mad. On the way up the second to last climb I got dropped one km from the top. Then we descended to the last climb and I ended up losing two minutes and finishing ~30th. I was pretty disappointed, but I think it’ll get better as the race progresses.
The weather however is set to apparently regress. Today the mountains had a fresh snow line near the peak, and in the late morning clouds were drifting into the valley. By the end of the race it was raining. Evidently you can’t hope too much for good weather here. The clouds are kind of stuck… but we’ll see.
Girona, ESP to Milano, ITA
Monday, August 28, 2006
We woke up at 4:30 to catch the plane from Girona into an airport just outside of Milano. The flight was super short- ~1 hour. Coming into Italy we flew over the Tuscany Mountains, and then we crossed this vast flat region and came into Milano where I first beheld the Alps. They are immense! Knowing that we’ll be riding into these things in the next week is a bit revolting. Before we first mingled about in Italy, I’ve gotta mention that on the plane they spoke only English. Not to say that this is necessarily good because the attendant had such an accent that I doubt any one could understand his Spanish/Italian English. He’d have been better off speaking Hindi. Nonetheless, progress is made when English is the language of choice. Okay… Then we exited the plane, we flew Ryanair. The airport was great, probably because the lack of security. Italians are an interesting bunch and I noticed that there are a lot of similarities between the Italians and the Spanish. Both have dark features, but even more so is the apparent derivation of the Italian language from French and Spanish… or some greater beginning, like from Latin or something. I’m not a linguist though… Anyway, we didn’t hang around; we headed straight for the mountains. The houses ‘n stuff look a lot like the Swiss ones, or Bovarian or something. We went under a Gondola on the way up too.
The place were staying is perched on the side of a mountain just above a little castle that was evidently built fairly early on in the life of Italy. The roads go up the sides of the mountains, and since there aren’t too many flat roads around here I reckon we’ll be riding up a lot of mountains in the next week. I guess one of our races goes through France, Italy and Switzerland all in one stage. We stay in Switzerland that night.