Hello from Italy! We are in the Dolomites in Northern Italy for a 10-day cycling trip. Mark likes to tell people we are on this trip as a 20th anniversary celebration, but the trip was actually coordinated by our friend Mike to celebrate his 50th birthday and it was organized by Mike and Emily Kloser from Vail, who are awesome.
Mark had to twist my arm pretty hard to agree to the trip. A European cycling trip has been a long-time dream of his, but it wasn’t really a dream I shared. He refused to take the trip alone, so I finally agreed to go with him, and here we are.
Sonja is currently blogging about our recent cycling adventure in Colorado, which was my main preparation for the trip. Other than three long days in the mountains near Denver, Vail and Aspen, I spent the spring primarily on the trainer or riding the flats. I did a few rides on Lookout too, but I really didn’t do much training specific to this trip. The smart thing I did do to get ready was to swap my rear cassette to a 12-32. This was no easy task and involved a derailer change as well, but it has been well worth it.
So what are the Dolomites like so far? They are steep. Much steeper than the mountains in Colorado. I’m not sure I could have done much training to prepare, since we don’t have 10-15% grades anywhere near us, so I focused on preparing my bike instead, which was definitely the right call.
Right now we are based in a town called Canazei and yesterday and today we did ride of about 45 miles each day with around 6K of climbing per ride. It’s pretty much only up, up, up, or down, down, down. No flats, which is a little sad for me because I excel on flats, relatively speaking. But I am really trying to embrace the challenge and attack my weakness. And maybe, just maybe, after these 10 days are up, I will finally feel like a “real” cyclist.
The past two days have been filled with crushing climbs, unbelievable scenery, new friends, and…a lot of rain. Apologies to the people of Northern Italy for bringing our wet, cool weather with us, but that’s exactly what it feels like happened. The trip is a collection of friends and acquaintances from Denver and Vail, so we all feel right at home in the damp, cool weather, but I am fervently hoping it warms up soon since I didn’t pack the right clothes.
Tomorrow we are off to Merona. The steeper rides are later in the week and I am hoping I get stronger as the week goes on.