Posted by: jcardillo | 19 July, 2009

Straight Outta the Blocks

Straight outta the blocks is how I would describe both my trip as well as today’s Gran Fondo Pinarello. Doing the Gran Fondo itself within 36 hours of arriving is certainly a fast start to the trip. Like most Gran Fondos, the Pinarello starts with the chaos of about 2500 people heading out through the streets of Treviso (in addition to the 1500 that already left on the long course of 210kms). With that many people, most start well back, including me, so they absolutely DRILL IT at the start to get as far up as possible. I hooked onto a group and rode the tail at ~50kph past about 1500 people (leaving about 500 in front of us) for 25kms to the bottom of the first climb out of Susegana.

The first of the climbs was fairly uneventful and a quick descent took us down to Pieve di Soligo, which saw us racing through a narrow, single-lane cobbled street in the town center with 100s of residents out cheering us on, possibly the coolest moment of the day. The views from the tops of the climbs were stupendous, looking out over vineyard-dotted valleys and with vistas of Monte Grappa and Monte Cesen in the background. Once we settled in, the group I was with stayed pretty much the same all day, some dropping off and some catching on, mostly at the rest stops. Each of the rest stops was staffed by 10-20 people with water, Gatorade, tea and various fruits, bars, etc. to fuel you up.

If there was anything (aside the fantastic roads and scenery) to note, the organization was superb. On the way out, oncoming traffic would pull over and stop to wait for us to come by before heading back out, so we had a virtual full-road closure. The rest of the day, each traffic circle and intersection was staffed and traffic was stopped. The course was well-signed and staffed to make sure nobody got lost. On the way home, our group (about 500 riders back from the winners) had a lead moto for the last 10kms and a TV bike. That’s about as pro as I’ll ever get.

Porta San ThomasaAs we flew to the finish through Porta San Thomasa (15c) in the original Treviso city wall, I told myself I needed to come back again to better soak in the beauty that is a gran fondo.

Next up, Passo Rolle!

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