Thursday, March 6, 2008

1st Raduno of 2008

Sunday, 3 March, was the first raduno of 2008. Sponsored by the "Les Amis" cycling club there was a sea of riders as the cool morning was going to turn to a record breaking 27C (81F) later in the afternoon.

To re-visit an explanation of a raduno (rally): each club in the Province of Verona sponsors a "raduno", always held on Sunday mornings. This is unlike any event in the USA. Approximately 500-600 cyclists come to each one and goes off as a group led by a pace car, police cars and motorcycles to close off the roads as the peleton passes. The route is normally about 30 miles in length with the first half being ridden at a leisurely pace and the 2nd half at about 15=18mph (depending on the hosting club which always rides at the front). Afterwards there is food and wine, and prizes are handed out. The prizes are awarded based on the number of participants from each club, plus there are points awarded based on the distance a club has to travel to the event. What's nice is that every club receives a prize. Prizes include trophies, formaggio, salumi, wine, etc. For me it's a low key, fun, activity but at the club level it tends to be more serious as at the end of the season there is a totaling of all the points accumulated by each club and there is an awards dinner and the 1st place, 2nd, etc., are announced as Verona Province champions.

Roberto, 2nd from left, is our club Treasurer and he is typically at every raduno collecting the entry fee of 3 Euro (it was 2.50 last year) from each of our club members. He's also responsible for signing off on the document that verifies the names of our club's participants.

The lead car for this event was this old Fiat, note the roof mounted speakers. One of the things I enjoy about this event is passing through small towns and hearing the announcer in the car calling out "Corridore in arrivo!!!"

There was at least one other rider that also believes this is a low key event.

The prize table.

Daniela accepts the 6th place prize for Gruppo 1 which had 30 riders present.

Mr. Pavan, in the yellow & black jersey, accepts the prize for oldest rider. He's a legend in Verona. Now 86, he rode 20,000 Km last year.

Next Sunday I will be at the other end of the spectrum, racing in my first granfondo of the season. Nothing low key about it. Stay tuned.

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