Sunday, December 30, 2007

New Year's Resolutions

Managed to get the last ride of the season in today. It was cold and sunny so I returned to the spot I found on my last ride overlooking Bardolino and Lake Garda, this time with my camera. After some MTBers passed me giving me some strange looks for being o the gravel road it was picture taking time. The lighting was perfect, for a few moments the sunlight reflected on the small harbor at Bardolino like a searchlight.

I am guestimating, based on Daniela's mileage, that this year ended with between 8,500 and 9,000 miles. Increasing my mileage is not going to be one of my resolutions. The big picture goal for next year is to continue to improve. That gets more difficult each year. Some thoughts about next year include:

-better quality training, difficult for me as I'm not the analytical type when it comes to training regimens

-enter more granfondos, mainly as a means of seeing other regions of Italy

-dedicate Tuesdays as a climbing day, with training on the Granfondo Avesani course as much as possible (because it's really hard)

-ride more often on Eros' Saturday morning ride, no cruising and espresso breaks

-use my heart rate monitor all the time, start recording data

-ride more in the areas east and north of Verona, the Soave zone

-do some research about Mario Confente who was from Verona, try to add something to the existing knowledge about his life

-go on the Eros Poli France trip to tackle more of the big and famous climbs of the Tour de France, and if I'm lucky go see another stage

-go on the Gruppo 1 annual tour, this year to Umbria

-persuade Gruppo 1 to put another big Italian climb on the calendar, this year we did the Stelvio

-help find sponsors for Gruppo 1, the club always needs extra income

-help my friend Dr. Francesco of hook up on some rides in the Princeton area when he visits NJ in July

Hope everyone has a nice New Year's Eve, and a great New Year!

Saturday, December 29, 2007


Today was the coldest day we've had since we've been here, 2 years +. But, it was wonderfully sunny so I went for a solo rode at 9 a.m., mainly because no one else was at the starting point. Start time temperature was -6C. I rode along the Adige, to Parona, Pescantina, a short climb up to a plateau before the descent into Bardolino. Wednesday, Eros had told me that at this time of the year the focus should be on "agilita" (agility). So I was concentrating on spinning.

On the plateau a strong young guy blew by me and thoughts of spinning gave way to jumping on his wheel. Into the 52 I went and we were off. God, he was fast. I managed to stay on his wheel all the way to Bardolino. My HR was up there, confirmed when I arrived home. Eros had also made a point that when it's cold it's not a good idea to go into a bar and get too warm and then re-start. So, my espresso stop resembled more of a Formula 1 pit stop today. Departing the Tam Tam Coffee Bar (the current owners don't know where the name comes from) I saw a pro team followed by their team car whizzing by but I was too far to see who it was.

After that there was another short climb and I detoured onto a very narrow road which took me along a ridge which offered fantastic views of Lake Garda. I need to go back with my camera. I couldn't continue on this road is it became dirt and gravel. Thoughts turned to a cyclocross or mountain bike. A corner of our apartment already looks like a bike shop so I turned any ideas about that OFF. Monte Baldo, which runs along Lake Garda, has an extensive system of ride trails that would be nice to explore.

After that I maintained a steady pace all the way back to Verona. Nice day, nice ride. There are times I enjoy riding alone.

Total 3hr 17m
HR avg 128
HR max 203


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Favorite Gruppo 1 Photos of 2007

I was so lucky to have found such a great bunch of people.
Photos: Spring (in Verona when our club sponsored a raduno), Summer (2 photos in Puglia), Fall (in an old village in Emilia Romagna).

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Festa di San Stefano Ride or You Can't Be Young Again

Or, another title might be, You Can't Be Stopping For Espresso.

Today, the day after Christmas, is another holiday here in Italy, La Festa di Santo Stefano. After stuffing myself royally yesterday I received an SMS : Ride tomorrow, 1000.

Only 10 people showed up. I guess I wasn't only the only one that stuffed himself. I noted that the average of the group was about 30 years younger than me. That didn't bode well. Eros cheerily announced, "No Bardolino today, we'll do the '3 Climbs' ride. It's a beautiful sunny day and the route will be in the sun." Ohh noooo, not climbing! My body has been accustomed over the last 2 months to the somewhat flatish ride to Bardolino and vicinity, lingering long over an espresso, and a leisurely pedal to lunch. I just knew we were not even going to be stopping for an espresso on this ride. I was right.

As we were never far from Verona the climbs are not like climbing in the Dolomites but they do feature switchbacks. The pace was high which meant no resting for me. We passed through Corrubbio, a short climb. The next climb was tougher, called the "Pendola". The last, and longest climb was the climb from Negrar to Montecchio. After that it was a very long descent to Verona.

I was glad I wore my HRM, something I'm going to try to do more often.
December 26
Total ride time: 2 hr 23 min
HR Avg 152
HR Max 186

Hope you had a nice ride where ever you are.

Photo: me and Eros (in Credite Agricole team kit) last month

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Auguri!, Best Wishes!, Ride

Several of us from Gruppo 1 that had been on Eros' France trips joined his Saturday 9:00 a.m. ride to Bardolino on a beautiful, brisk, morning. The ride starts at the diga (dam) by the Adige River so I was bundled up in a 90s Motorola Team winter jacket. Eros arrived riding in an elf cap which brought smiles. It was an easy going ride, with 50+ riders, that gave everyone an opportunity to exchange holiday greetings.

At Bardolino, Paolo Rosola and his partner Paola Pezzo(in life and business, they own the Paolo Pezzo Olympic Bike Center in Bardolino) had set-up a nice stand near the shore of Lago di Garda where everyone enjoyed some vin brulee and pandora. We posed for some photographs, chatted about this year's adventures and plans for next year.

Our evening finished with a performance at the Teatro Filarmonico di Verona of Beethoven's Symphony n. 9 in D minor op. 125 with solos and chorus. The conductor was Boris Brott who was superb.

Photos: 4th & after fotos: Eros with Paolo Rosola (Paolo was a 12 time stage winner in the Giro d'Italia); me, Paolo Rosola, Eros Poli, Franco (D.S. of Gruppo 1), Paolo Pezzo (expecting), Beppe and Daniela (President of Gruppo 1 and his wife), and Paolo; group photo; this young boy was very proud of his Colnago-Ferrari (!!!) CX30 bike; the boxes at the Teatro Filarmonico

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Velodromo Vigorelli, via Arona 19, Milano

The famous Vigorelli track, also known as the home of Masi, may be finding a new life.

Here is a short translation of the key points of the article that appeared in Gazzetta dello Sport (full article in Italian follows):

A new, covered, Vigorelli has been proposed which will cost 50 million Euro and 3 years to build. It will re-launch track racing but will also have the capability of hosting other sports such as basketball, tennis, boxing, hockey, and concerts. The proposal for a sports palace was presented to the mayor of Milano in July and has been shrouded in silence and mystery since then.

The first objective is not to change the exterior. The second is to install a bubble roof. A new track will be installed of 250 meters in length in order to comply with World Championship regulations; when the Vigorelli was built in 1935 it was 397.57 meters in length with 45 degrees banks in the corners (84 records were established on this track).

For track venues the capacity will be 10,000 spectators.

Photos: old Vigorelli photos (the crowds!); Vigorelli poster; concerts wouldn't be anything new

(21 dicembre, 2007) Gazzetta dello Sport
VIGORELLI Ecco il progetto per rilanciarlo
L' impianto intitolato a Maspes verrebbe coperto per diventare un vero palazzetto dello sport. Costo 50 milioni di euro, tre anni di lavori
Un nuovo Vigorelli, sempre intitolato ad Antonio Maspes, ma interamente coperto, per rilanciare il ciclismo su pista e anche altri sport: basket, pallavolo, tennis, boxe, hockey su ghiaccio. E' questo l' ambizioso e dettagliato progetto presentato al Comune di Milano da «Milano Sport», la società che gestisce 34 impianti sportivi in città. Realizzato nei minimi particolari, a cura dello studio dell' architetto Lucio Zanfi, il progetto è arrivato a fine luglio al sindaco Letizia Moratti, e in settembre alla direzione generale del Comune, all' assessore allo Sport Giovanni Terzi, all' assessore ai lavori pubblici Bruno Simini, e all' assessore allo sviluppo del territorio, Carlo Masseroli. TRASFORMAZIONE Dopo mesi di silenzi e misteri, siamo in grado di rivelare alcuni particolari che possono aiutare a capire come potrebbe essere rilanciato il vecchio Vigorelli, e di conseguenza il ciclismo su pista e molte altre discipline sportive a Milano. Il primo obiettivo è quello di non modificare esternamente la facciata di un impianto sportivo che appartiene alla storia della città e di tutto lo sport italiano. In una zona sempre più centrale, il nuovo Vigorelli si trasformerebbe in un vero e proprio Palazzetto dello Sport in grado di ospitare manifestazioni sportive tutto l' anno. La copertura dell' impianto avverrebbe attraverso una «bolla» traslucida e la chiusura con una vetrata nel rispetto della struttura esterna. All' interno, invece, verrebbe costruita una nuova pista di ciclismo lunga 250 metri che occuperebbe il piano dell' attuale parterre, abbassato di circa 5 metri. In questo modo è possibile trasformare in una tribuna lo spazio ora occupato dalla pista, inserire gli «sky box» e sopra al loro tetto realizzare una seconda tribuna più alta. CONCERTI La capienza del Palazzetto è variabile in base al tipo di impiego. Gli spettatori per il ciclismo sarebbero 10.000, mentre gli sky box sarebbero 24+24 da 22 metri quadri ciascuno. Ma la vera novità è la multifunzionalità dell' impianto con la pista del ciclismo che si abbassa, per favorire la salita al suo posto del campo per gli altri sport. E su questa pedana si potrebbero tenere riunioni e concerti, per sfruttare al massimo l' impianto nel quale sono previsti anche bar e ristoranti. COSTI In base a una prima stima del progetto, suddiviso in varie categorie di opere, il costo finale della riqualificazione del Vigorelli potrebbe arrivare a 50 milioni di euro, con 3 anni di lavoro. E chiaramente dovrebbe essere un gruppo di privati ad accollarsi le spese, con l' aiuto degli sponsor che continuerebbero poi a garantire la vita e la manutenzione del nuovo Palazzetto. A questo punto, quindi, è legittimo chiedersi perché questo progetto, apparentemente perfetto, sia rimasto così a lungo nei vari uffici del Comune, visto che la sua realizzazione non danneggerebbe nessuno. Anzi, se andasse in porto, potrebbe finalmente rivivere il vecchio Vigorelli, permettendo ai milanesi, e non solo a loro, di assistere più comodamente a un numero sempre maggiore di eventi sportivi. * * * 250 I metri dell' anello La nuova pista in legno sarà lunga 250 metri, misura regolamentare per ospitare i Mondiali. L' anello attuale del Vigorelli, inaugurato il 24 marzo 1935, è di 397,57 metri; 45 l' inclinazione massima delle curve. Vi sono stati realizzati 84 record
Cerruti Alberto

Additional comments published 22 December 2007 in the Gazzetta dello Sport:

«Sì, il Vigorelli può rinascere»
Fiorenzo Magni: "Un bellissimo progetto, sono pronto a fare una petizione al sindaco e alla Regione per spingerlo". Gaiardoni: "Non ci credevo piu' . Quando ci
«È proprio una bella notizia di Natale. Per me il Vigorelli è stata una casa, e ora questo progetto per rilanciarlo mi fa così felice, sono così entusiasta... Se serve per ridargli un futuro, sono pronto a fare una petizione al sindaco Moratti e al presidente della Regione, Formigoni». Parole del grande Fiorenzo Magni, dopo l' anteprima della Gazzetta dello Sport sul nuovo piano per riportare in vita lo storico impianto milanese, intitolato ad Antonio Maspes. PISTA DA 250 Il progetto, presentato al Comune da «Milano Sport», la società che gestisce 34 impianti sportivi in città, è stato realizzato dallo studio dell' architetto Lucio Zanfi ed è da luglio all' esame del sindaco. Il «Vigo» diventerebbe una struttura per ciclismo, basket, sport del ghiaccio, pallavolo, boxe, ma anche per meeting e congressi. La pista attuale di 397 metri verrebbe sostituita con una regolamentare da 250, per poter ospitare i Mondiali. Sante Gaiardoni, due volte olimpionico a Roma 1960 e storico rivale di Antonio Maspes, aggiunge: «E' da 6 anni che lotto per il Vigorelli. L' anno scorso mi sono anche candidato sindaco per far ricredere la gente su questo impianto, lo volevano addirittura buttare giù per fare parcheggi. Ci passo davanti tutti i giorni. Lunedì ero al Bar Vigo e, come sempre, mi è scesa una lacrima a vederlo così in disarmo. Sapere che c' è questo nuovo progetto mi dà forza. Non ci credevo più. Sono pronto a mettermi a disposizione per insegnare il ciclismo ai bambini: è importante che, oltre alla pista, ci sia un anello per i giovani. Dipende tutto dal sindaco: se darà l' okay, poi gli sponsor arriveranno da soli, una struttura multifunzione è molto interessante da gestire. Speriamo davvero di farcela, anche Maspes ne sarebbe contento». FAVOREVOLI E CRITICI «Coprire il Vigorelli? Magari, si risolverebbe una cosa pazzesca, e cioè che l' Italia non ha un velodromo - afferma Gianni Bugno -. Così com' è, non ha più senso di esistere, anche se poi, quando si fa un impianto polifunzionale, gli altri sport avrebbero più spazio del ciclismo». Beppe Saronni, che con la Scuola Fausto Coppi è cresciuto nel Vigorelli, dice: «Spero che questo sia un progetto reale e realizzabile. La pista lunga non è più attuale. Quella del "Vigo" non è la collocazione ideale per un velodromo per i problemi di viabilità, comunque ben venga tutto quello che porta ad avere una pista coperta». Solo Francesco Moser, che al Vigorelli il 3 ottobre 1986 con 49,802 stabilì il record dell' ora a livello del mare, è drastico: «Monumento storico di cosa? E' cemento vecchio. Se lo buttano giù, fanno prima. Potrebbero fare una struttura migliore, con parcheggi sotterranei e magari con un tetto più resistente di quello del vecchio Palasport». * * * COME SARA' Impianto polivalente Ci sarà la copertura Appare così il Vigorelli nel progetto dell' architetto Zanfi. L' impianto milanese di via Arona sarà coperto con un tetto trasparente. All' interno, la pista attuale di 397 metri sarà sostituita da ulteriori tribune, mentre verrà costruito un anello regolamentare di 250 metri. La modularità dell' impianto consentirà di alternare diversi «campi»: dal ciclismo al basket, dalla pallavolo agli sport del ghiaccio, fino ai concerti. Il costo dei lavori (3 anni) oscilla sui 50 milioni di euro
Ghisalberti Claudio, Gialanella Luca

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Blog Reader's Special: Chesini Custom Track or Fixed Gear

UPDATE 22 December: Paolo's inbox has been sizzling with mail. With Christmas in 3 days he is very busy with Christmas shoppers. He will be replying to all emails later next week. If you are interested in more information do write so he can begin to understand how much interest there is. All of these frames will be made one by one.

UPDATE 28 December: I took some better photos, less cluttered, of Paolo's bike today. Please look at the end of this blog entry.

A little Chesini history first:

Chesini is located in the historic center of Verona (at Via San Paolo 8/10) near Ponte Navi. In January, 2006 I met and interviewed Paolo, one of the partners. Since I was doing the interview for the focus of the interview was on the pre-1983 period to conform with the interests of classicrendezvous.

Chesini was founded in 1925 by Gelmino Chesini who had been a bicycle mechanic before he began building bicycles. The first business location was in Nesente on the outskirts of Verona, later moving to Verona. He developed what became a well known slogan in Verona,"O Chesini o cammini". The son, Gabriele Chesini, continued the business. Chesini built bikes only for their own brand and were not a sub-contractor for another brand at any time. They also performed their own pantographing. Photos of their manufacturing facilities in the 1980s show a very impressive capability.

Large numbers of Chesini's were sold in Europe, particularly in Austria, Germany, and other European countries through representatives. A much smaller number were sold to the USA.

Four world championships have been won on Chesini bikes:

Juniors, 1963,
100KM race 1964,
100KM race, 1965,
Juniors, 1990

Perhaps some of my enthusiasm for steel lugged bikes rubbed off on Paolo because this summer he surprised me with a beautiful custom fixed gear frame he had built for himself. He had contacted one of the best Chesini builders from decades ago and located sets of Columbus tubing and lugs. The builder built a beautiful frame. The frame has ovalized top and down tubes (identified as SPX), track ends, sloping crown fork, and for getting around Verona drilled fork and rear brake bridge. Paolo then built it up with Miche (an Italian company) fixed gear components, Brooks saddle, and other nice touches.

Finally, to the point:

Paolo would like to build and sell these frames/forks (complete bikes are also possible) until the tubes and lugs are exhausted. Each will be custom (top tube and seat tube sizing) and could be ordered, for example, without drilling, without a brake bridge, and combinations as desired.


frame/fork (painted!!): 495 Euro + shipping. I know, the $ conversion hurts and shipping isn't going to be inexpensive but a great deal nevertheless. For persons in the EU zone it's a great offer.

Complete bikes: from 1,100 to 1,400 Euro subject to component selection.

This is the Chesini shop when I visited the other evening to take frame photos:

This is the finished fixed gear bike that Paolo had built for himself and which the offer is based upon (single color; painted lug work, chromed lugs, chromed forks, etc., options will have to be discussed on a case by case basis):

CONTACT INFORMATION (insert name above of the person I interviewed before the dot; trying to avoid the email harvesting robots):

Disclaimer: Transactions are solely between the buyer and Chesini.

Photos taken 28 December:

Can You Get a Cappuccino Like This?

It was cold this morning. But, it's Wednesday! The day we ride no matter what unless we can't see because of fog in the winter, or rain (it very rarely snows in Verona).

Morning temperature was -3C (27F) but it warmed up quickly due to it being a sunny and clear day. My first stop, before meeting up with the group, was to stop for a cappuccino. There are hundreds of coffee "bars" in Verona. One of the best is "TUBINO, l'amore per il caffe" on via Corso Porta Borsari; at its west end is one of the Roman city gates from A.D. first century, Porta Borsari ( probably because the so-called “Bursarii”, that is to say the tax collectors with bags, levied entry and exit tariffs on goods at this gate.)

Riding to the meeting point Eros passed me in his car and stopped to say hello. He gave me another cycling lesson: my winter jacket was too loose, he said it should be tight in order to keep me warm. He told me the same about my summer clothing during the summer so it can transfer the sweat. The message is : tight! Between loosing weight and the USA style of wearing somewhat loose cycling clothes I don't look quite the part here where things are worn very, very close.

Eight of us did the nice ride to Bardolino and finished the day with lunch at Boscomantico. Today I had pasta with a sauce made with crushed pistachio and almonds. Fantastic.

Hopefully, Saturday will be a beautiful day as well. Eros, along with Paolo Rosolo, has planned a get together at the main piazza of Bardolino for a BIG group photo and to celebrate the Christmas season with "vin brulee" (a hot mulled wine) and "pandoro" (a traditional Italian sweet yeast bread that is made here in Verona and is most popular around Christmas and New Year. Pandoro is traditionally shaped like a frustum with a 8 points-star section).

Photos: my cappuccino, Porta Borsari, announcement for the Saturday ride.