Monday, July 16, 2007


cinque-terre?.....uh huh....that did not happen.

We all woke up barely able to start coffee much less take on a sight-seeing trip that would involve walking.

We got as far as the 10 steps to the pool.

The Giro is supposed to be to women's cycling what the Tour de France is to men's cycling. Guess that's about right the way we are feeling. I wasn't this smashed from Hewlett Packard (14 days) nor from Tour de Toona. I'm thinking the most physical activity for me today will be packing up my bikes for travel tomorrow.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Giro finito!

Well, it's all over....all 9 days of fun fast paced pain! Yesterday's last stage was a little crazy at the start, which became clearer as to why after the race was over....because everyone knew that this would be the last time photos with favorite teams or racers could be taken, team samples or goodies given out and good-byes's and thank yous could be expressed. Of course we didn't realize that, we were just trying to do the regular things one does before a race know, where can we find the bathrooms,

load our race bottles and gels, get radioed, team pre-race briefing, get shammied up, team sign in, etc.

But there was all this commotion for yesterday's was difficult to get those things done as all teams were being approached contstantly up until race time.

There was a sad trumpet song played at the start in memory of the German rider that died on her way to the Giro from the Fenix team. So that was kind of sobering, and one of the Fenix riders, Svetlana Bubnenkova won the stage which was fitting.

The stage: ok, lets talk about it .............veddy hilly, veddy, veddy fast leading up to the climbs. I was suffering. My legs were having none of it. I was finally cooked and could give no more. I was just going to finish this thing and be done. So I finished at the back of the bus
with others who decided to take that bus trip also, while my teammates fared better in groups ahead of me. Sarah and Tina were in the group ahead of me and Andrea the one ahead of them. Ali was in the 3rd group on the road behind the 2 breakaway groups.

After the race, the teams were all just packing their busses and team cars up and departing to various different thats why there was all the commotion and excitement before the stage. We headed back to Lucca, and did a quick grocery shop run and crashed.

Today, we woke up leisurely and it was heaven to not be on a schedule and have to rush
coffee or breakfast or general wake up. Its hard not to feel lazy, but we are just broken. A few of us headed into Lucca city because every 3rd Sunday there is a market. So off we

went, feeling like we should try to check it out. It was very cool and the most remarkable thing was that nobody was pushing anything on us....amazing! I've never been anywhere that sold stuff where the salespeople or vendors weren't trying to reel you in or do the salespitch thing. They just would answer your questions when you needed them to and go back to the book they were reading or conversation they were having.

We would all go through high's and lows or waves of fatigue. Cafe's come in handy for that, you get to sit and eat or drink something and people watch. Andrea told me that Lucca gets missed on the tourist map which is wonderful. Between Pisa and Florence, it gets sort of overlooked which is great as we have gotten the real deal experience, not some tourist version.

Lucca has some not bad acts coming to play.....Ricky Martin is on tonight I believe, but there is Elton John, Joss Stone, Nora Jones, Dionne Warwick (thought she was dead), some others.....

Tomorrow we are trying to be tourists though. We only have one day before heading back to various places in the US so we are going to bed now (like 8pm...I know, exciting party-goers we are) and taking a train ride to cinque-terre which is a sea-side town with fantastic views. We may be tired but we are trying not to be the racers that go to race in fantatstic places, actually have a day or 2 afterwards and don't make an effort to see something great of the area.

Friday, July 13, 2007

my goober roomie

I was on the phone talking to Clay and Tina was eating then gets up to fetch something and I almost died laughing.............

light at the end of the tunnel

Stage square near to start today. You know the Italian music you hear in the background in old films? That was playing over loudspeakers hooked up all over the square....we felt like we were on a movie set or something.

Tina and I before the race......don't we look fresh? check us out after, pretty!

Apparently I came to Italy for consecutive days of motor was another blazer, about 75 miles of interesting twists and turns and cobbles and upgrades. Today we were attacking and getting into moves right from the beginning of the race. Every team was after the same thing. This was the last flattish stage and certainly the last circuit stage. Each loop was 18km long and every time there was a break the combination wouldn't work out, either because some team had missed out, or because a rider too high up on GC would get in it and force the other GC rider's teams to bring it back. Tina, myself and Alison were in such moves, to no avail, but it really felt much better for the spirit to be racing our bikes even if the end result netted us the same placings. Its a weird thing to say, and probably only riders can understand it, but ultimately when you look back on any race you want to be able to say you gave it all you had at the time.

After my few turns at the front I was pretty cooked and grovelled in the pack the last half of the race. Tina came back after her turns up there and said the same to me only thing is she still had to try for the sprint. Alison was also pretty tired after getting into a break at the
mid-way point. Also, everytime there was a break reeled in another would form, some that we weren't in so it was full gas the whole time right up to the end.

Can't tell you how many times today I wanted to radio: "Iona done, Giro finito"....somehow every time I was on the verge of snapping the pace would just stop for a few seconds enough for me to be in again. It felt like pure luck because truly, today I felt that the legs were shot
after those efforts earlier on. Every one is tired, riders at breakfast have their faces down in their plates trying to shovel the food in, you get SO tired of eating.....staff members are fighting in the hallways (good entertainment), or sometimes you will see moments of absolute punchiness where we are so tired we are giddy and laugh at the silliest things.

We tried to take this picture of the dog (yes, thats a dog at the back)
can you see his ears? It was so sad and funny at the same time, he was practically slammed up against the back window looking like he was dying of thirst in the inch of space the car owners have him in. Picture him with his paws up agaisnt the glass as well as his nose looking out" help!" or maybe "hilfe!" as he was in car with German license plates.

We were rally-car driving trying to get up to take the picture, During the rally, Tina was getting the googly-eyes from a very butch looking chick with rotten teeth in the next car, the thing is she thought she was being funny in passing the car and smiling at what she thought was a butch rotten teeth dude, only to find that it made the woman's day. To top it all off, Chris rolled down Tina's window for her as the girl's car came close! Of course Tina freaked out and tried to hide which made it funnier for us...

anyway, back to the dog, when we finally get near the car we could only see the dogs ears. Guess you had to be there but it ws one of those moments that struck us. You know how people are with their dogs in the US, it would be a strange sight to see. Poor thing was so squished up in there.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I don't even want to talk about it

This positioning thing is getting old. We have done a little thinking and the best we can come up with is that as far as over here is concerned, Tina is more like a Pettachi type sprinter and the sprinters that are doing well over here have one characteristic in common: they are more like a McEwen type sprinter...scrappy and can find their way through without necessarily a

leadout. Anyway, summary: there were 2 significant breaks that formed today, both of which got re-absorbed...but the result was that the only lulls were the 2 times the breaks were reeled in, the rest of time it was mock nine........42kph average for the 130km even with the turns etc. Anyway.

Tales of the day..........

Back at the hotel, Tina was looking for her fleece which she misplaces fairly often, and she decides to check my bag and digs it up COMPLETELY and leaves it saying to herself...ah well, Iona won't notice...........

oh won't I?

So, I did a good job of positioning today and was in a few moves, BUT, while I am happy with progress in that department, because I wasn't at the back of the field, where I normally hang out, it meant that I wasn't around to fetch the team some bottles from the car.. I did not drink today except the 2 I started with....and our feeders chose a spot today that didn't work out as we sped through there every time.

Anyway, really poor form not drinking in a race like this.....if you don't die today, that stuff catches up the next day for came up with this plan to fake a fainting spell by the ambulances/medics angling for an IV for immediate re-hydration. In a go, they are buying the act....oh, she's severely dehydrated etc....they give me everything BUT the IV. I mean, stuff I could have gotten from Rachel our soigneur......and , because my blood pressure is so low always, they related that to my "dehydration" and would not let me out of there..............I was wasting my time and I could not get released! argh!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

pretty good day

Today was better for our team. We had 3 major climbs to do, the first 2 being category 2 and the 3rd category 1. Each was roughly 6km and then the 3rd was longer, about 9km. These are just the climbs published, bear in mind those bumps they call them that pop up randomly just when you think there is no more climbing. Our plan was just to be mindful that breaks would form and if one of us could get into one especially before the category 1 climb and get a head start on the climbers that would put that person in a position to possibly make it to the finish line with the front group and see from there.

After the first climb, that is exactly what happened, a Bigla girl attacked over the top and since nobody reacted to her (she was around 7 minutes down) and there was some wicked descending,(oh yeah, couple girls went over the guard rails..yikes), Alison went after her and they got a gap. For the next little while after that, the climbers and GC riders tried to get away repeatedly so although we had Alison away at the front of the race for us, it was not relaxing in the main peloton for us. The speeds were high as no one wanted to let people just ride away. So, even though we got time back on the two escapees up the climb (the second one), it would open out again when the attacks stopped. It wasn't until the 3rd cat 1 climb that the terrain caused the separation. The climbers flew up to catch Alison, she held on with them through the descents...but.....those nasty bumps right? ....she finally succumbed to one that was about 5km from the finish and came off of the climber group. The rest of the peloton was scattered in groups and came in minutes apart of each other.

It was fun to be doing something in the race even though it didn't totally work out as well as it might have. As for the rest of us, Andrea climbed in a group ahead of Tina and I and Sarah told Tina she was "taking care of the other sprinters for her" such as Teutenberg and Schleicher, one group back. We actually got to see some scenery (well only after the 3rd climb, as the first 2 we had to climb the pace of the climbers) which was sweet. Hopefully we have saved some energy for the next 3 stages to come.

No pictures today.....we didn't do anything except race and transfer to our next hotel and city, and not one of us took our cameras out as we were all chatting.

ciao until tomorrow

ps check out this video of Mario Cipollini being punked (the Italian version)
His mechanic is the show's accomplice and basically tells him as he is out on a training ride that his house had been broken into and his bikes stolen...including his World Champ ride. As he and his training partner continue to ride a camper van (the show's actors posing as the thieving gypsies) casually drives by and he spots his bikes.....a chase ensues and the showdown begins as Mario tries to beat down the garagey-type building they eventually escape and lock themselves and his bikes into. The show comes out and lets him know he is being punked before he kills the gypsies.

if you can't cut and paste this, go to youtube and search Mario Cippollini and it will come up.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

teammate photo protest

Ok, my teammates are not impressed with my photos's, specifically the widening qualities of my photos's when it comes to humans. It is therefore incumbent upon me to publish for the public only such photo's as are flattering to said subjects....Tina had protested from way back in the Tower of Pisa days, but i just ignored her.

Here are some more random shots throughout our stages.

Waiting for presentation Prologue day.

This was where we sat for today's pre-race briefing.... I was soooo sleepy this morning.

This is an italian p
ortapotty.....intricate machinery....handlebar pulls an aluminium looking sheet for the next use. There are no portaloos at the races like in the US, we are always asking to use restrooms in Pizzerias and cafes at the starts. This photo was taken in a transfer on the highway in a travel stop....the men laughed at us taking photos of this. Perpetuating the silly tourist image I know...but...

The first place we stayed in for the first 2 stages, all the staff of the inn were bringing their bikes
and kid's bikes to our truck to be worked on. They plied our mechanics with some fruity beverage of the region and cappucinos for the work.