Our MAMIL, Rick Jordan, has endured months of training and overcome many challenges, but nothing could prepare him for the Italian mountains and dragging a travel-sick teen through Dubai and Venice airports.
T minus 4 days and here I am in misty Trento, the town for the UCI World Masters Tour Finals. A town shrouded in mountains. Tall mountains. GULP.
The past week has been full of memories already. Like most MAMILs, I’m dragging the family along for the trip, including my Mum, who has never been overseas. So it has been quite the event. The 34-hour trip was an experience in itself, with one of our kids coming down with a combination of travel sickness and slight food poisoning. The result? Dragging a sleepy, non-stop vomiting teenager through Dubai and Venice airports. Bliss.
So we’ve spent the last four days recovering in Venice, seeing the sights and experiencing the culture. Throughout the day there are non-stop cyclists (none of them wearing lycra) riding single speed town bikes with no helmets. All shapes, sizes and ages. As a lifelong MAMIL, the heart was singing, sitting in the Piazza sipping on an Aperol Spritz or two, watching as a lady rides past on a “townie” in Giorgio Armani and high heels.
Having to remind myself I was here to cycle, not turn into an espresso addicted Italian, I did actually manage to get out and do a ride or two.
The first ride was to check the bikes were ok and to get across to Venice to take a few bike happy snaps. Unfortunately, the Garmin didn’t know about the roadworks so I ended up in the industrial area of Venice, unable to get across.
On Saturday, I looked up the interwebs and found what was going to be a great 130km loop. Heading northwest from Mestre, I ended up in the foothills around Montebelluna, Maser and Asolo. In Maser, I jumped on the back of a lean Italian MAMIL (I-MAMIL) cruising down the road on his Pinarello (of course). Turning right, we started the climb up to Asolo. Looking under his shoulder, he realized there was an Aussie on his tail. Jumping out of the saddle, the speed lifted to the mid-20 kph. I dug in, feeling good in a solid gear spinning away.
We came through the medieval village of Asolo, dropping down the twisty cobbled streets into the valley on the other side. I-MAMIL couldn’t speak Inglese, A-MAMIL couldn’t speak Italian, but the language of cycling knows no such barriers and the smiles and nods said it all. After about 6km cruising through the valley, I-MAMIL said “we go up now.”
And it was up. Not long, only 3km, but it was seriously steep with pinches about 12-14% and averaging about 10%; I had to settle into a rhythm, spinning up in the 39×28 at about 320W. I-MAMIL pulled away up a couple of the switchbacks, finishing the climb about 1 minute quicker.
At the top, a quick drink, a smile, a brief “chat”, then the drop down the 3km twisty single road descent where we both went our separate ways with a “Ciao Amici!”
The ride ended up being 147km after a few detours. Italian roads are brilliant, with myself and my thoughts were often the only thing around for miles. My legs started off heavy, but came good and I felt strong on the flat roads coming into Mestre for the last 35km, easily sitting on 35-38kph.
So now the countdown begins. Monday (Italian time), it’s off to check the Time Trial course, getting ready for D-Day on Friday.
Bring. It. On.
Strava: Rick Jordan