Saturday, October 20, 2007

2007 Granfondo Italia Report, Part I

20 October 2007

The Granfondo Italia is the last major granfondo of the cycling season. It's also limited to those that have competition licenses. With everyone having lots of Kms in their legs and the course being also relatively flat the result is an extremely fast, and at times, dangerous race. Today also featured very strong headwinds which created a lot of movement by riders as they sought protection from the wind.

This is the second time I've entered and along the way I wondered once again if the risk is worth it. Until you reach the climb the pace is in the 40-45 Km range (25-28 mph). At the 18 km the roadway looked like a battlefield with about 10 riders down along both sides. At the 25 km mark there was a very serious, horrible, accident. These accidents are typically caused by touching wheels. With 2,500 riders that are unknown to you, and how well they can ride, it makes for a heart thumping experience. At 32 km the road went up and that stretched out riders pretty well, especially the pitch of 18%. This year I didn't cramp on the climb which I was grateful for.

Normally, you would look forward to the descent starting at 52 km. However, the road is terrible. Rough, holes, narrow, and deep depressions. Imagine that with riders flying to your left and right. I was willing to sacrifice some places in order to arrive at the finish safely. Unlike the rider that I saw face plant on this stretch. That was bad.

From 56 km to 95.5 it's a gradual downhill grade (1%?) and that might be normally enjoyable flying along in a large group but the wind today was so strong it felt like you were pedaling uphill all the way.

I was happy to arrive at the finish and then go to the pasta party. I had a much better result than last year:

Distance: 95.5 km
35th out of 110 in the 58-67 Male age group ( I was the only non-Italian in this age group)
Time: 02:54:5

By another measure I did really well. Looking at the age groups of other riders finishing also in 2 hours 54 minutes:
38-47M, 02:54:04
48-57M, 02:54:06
38-47M, 02:54:07
38-47M, 02:54:10
48-57M, 02:54:14
38-47M, 02:54:14
48-57M, 02:54:15
48-57M, 02:54:16
28-37M, 02:54:17
18-27M, 02:54:17
48-57M, 02:54:18
38-47M, 02:54:19
38-47M, 02:54:19
48-57M, 02:54:21
28-37M, 02:54:24
28-37M, 02:54:31
28-37M, 02:54:31
28-37M, 02:54:34
48-57M, 02:54:35
48-57M, 02:54:36
58-67M, 02:54:51 ME

All I can say is that I need a rest now. I am more mentally then physically tired. I have approximately 10,500 km/6,500 miles of riding in this year and there are still 2 months to go. From here on out I'll be relaxing a bit. It was also my last race on my Pinarello as I'll be retiring it as I move over the components to the Chesini "Innovation".

Photos (by Enrico Lodi): the start in Carpi, passing Ferrari, the start of a climb, rough road on the descent, everyone receives a nice medal upon crossing the finish line.

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