Let’s go back in time – not that long ago – to May 2018. I was in Europe having spent a week in the Czech Republic with my good friend Mirek and his family – then transferred to Bern in Switzerland for the wedding of my son Ben to Sharon.
In between I managed to break a couple of ribs and tried to keep that relatively quiet despite the ‘discomfort’. I was often asked why – well, I did not want the travel insurance company telling me I could not keep riding! I am a bit stubborn at times!
After Ben’s wedding, I caught a train to Zurich to meet up with Aussie riding buddy Geoff. We then rode to Asolo in the Venetian region of northern Italy, to hook up with Italy Bike Tours “last 12 days” of the Giro d’Italia.
It was an incredible 12 days spent in a variety of regions of northern Italy – watching incredible racing – riding some beautiful areas.
Much to my astonishment, I was contacted by Clive Marshall, Italy Bike Tours owner a fortnight ago asking me if I would consider being a support leader and ambassador for the 2020 Giro – I was like “say what?”……I re-read the email, thinking I must have misunderstood – then I exhaled and said “Oh my goodness” to Tony!
One issue was that we were already committed (airfares paid) to fly to London in May – but it did not take much discussion to change airfares despite an additional $850 in charges to do so! That is another story re airline price gouging!
So we are off to the Giro d’Italia 2020!! Exciting – you bet!!
This time I will be in a different role…not as a guest, but a support rider-leader for the other guests. First time role for me, but I am confident that I can do this and delighted that Clive has that confidence in me, as I will be a week or two short of my 58th birthday by then. So guess I will be the old granny learning new tricks.
Fantastic that age is not seen as a barrier in this company, as I have had experiences more recently where age is perceived as a barrier to being an ambassador. I think it is an advantage in supporting a certain genre of riders.
The Giro is one big party of fist pumping, adrenaline surged fun, enjoyed by all ages!
So what happened in 2018 that makes me want to return? The easier and cheaper option would have been to undertake the self supported cycle tour planned.
Is it the fantastic support team?
Is it the food?
Is it the decorated villages and towns that the Giro passes through?
Is it the people you bump into on Monte Zoncolon?
Is it the mountains?
Is it the people you meet?
Is it the people you watch?
Is it the rides we did including some personal challenges and achievements?
Is it chillaxing?
Or is it that race?
Well, it is a combination of all of the above! The Italians are so passionate about the Giro d’Italia – they love cycling – and as the riders come into the towns, the hairs on your arm lift!
The undoubted highlight for me was successfully climbing to the top of Colla della Finestre which included 8 km of sludgy ‘gravel’ – and then watching Christopher Froome smash himself up there the next day, having made a solo break with 80 km to go – then we dashed out to secure prime viewing positions at the top of Bardonnechia waiting for him to arrive – and what an arrival it was!
Giro d’Italia 2020 promises to be a beauty – there are the lakes including Como and Garda. Climbs including Passo Gavia and Passo Stelvio. Towns including Milano. The historical country of San Marino.
You want more? Dolomites, Alps, Piemonte – prosecco, Pantani museum and me!
Memories are truly forever – well unless you get Alzheimer’s!