A riveting short trip to Italy ahead!!

Buongiorno a tutti, I am at the airport awaiting to depart to fly to Italy. The schedule it seems quite full on.

I will be landing in Italy at 1130am, apparently at 2pm I am riding,completely unaware of this.But it is fine that is why we are SaddleDrunkers...

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Bartolo talking to us about Granfondo Selle Italia 2014

No Number for me today!! Cervia, GF Selle Italia: exasperated agonism is not allowed for me today... maybe a bit of "tacchetta" while climbing with my  fellow travellers but at the top of the climb we wait each other to relish the amazing "ristori" (Italian name of food stations which includes cakes made by various "nonna", salami, ham, cheese, pasta and wine).

The Start.

Above all the long time lost friend's company is be the primary reason for me to be here today. He is also a SaddleDrunker, mainly for MTB and not a roadie.

Then, 05:45 wake up call!

Copious breakfast, check backpack to ascertain that everything has been packed (shoes is a must!!), then careful not to wake up the rest of the family, I slide like a snake as quiet as a butterfly to the garage.

Arrival in Cervia at 7.00, where I find all the "chipped riders" already revving up their legs in the line up like horses pawing waiting for the gates to be opened.

This time I am actually taking it easy and I slowly go to the meeting point to wait for my friend's arrival. I call him at 0725 and luckily he is awake but he is running late. Not bad at all!  It means I can indulge myself in a nice "espresso".

Avis Faenza Ciclismo.

I walk inside the bar and...wow..surprise . . : There I find some cyclist friends from 'Avis Faenza Ciclismo", a team from my home town that last winter I joined for occasional rides with my wife.

Yes, they all have race numbers but they seemed relaxed. As they are led by  "Granfondo" expert and veteran Gian Franco Lama, I am sure they will also have a wonderful and enjoyable ride admiring sceneries and the ristori.

Just time for a coffee and a quick chat, then time to join the back of the queue in the grid.

8am we start! I should say at 8am the first ones are departing. We cleat about 10 minutes later: wings of people and loud music follow the riders from the start line along the seafront.

The first 20km are flat and at these kind of events you have to take extra care as the amount of people can easily create crashes.

We rejoin the group of the Avis Faenza Ciclismo, they are really well behaved, all in line like a team and still led by Lama. Sometimes I wish there would be more teams like this one.

Legs are warming up, after a little climb,we approach the first real climb, then again we can start relaxing and chatting...Then another one in S.Teodorano..where we find the first ristoro! Cakes, jam tart, fruit … but the best is the ristoro “d'epoca”. Due to the fact that today there is also the vintage bikes GF, the "ristori" also provide a vintage menu.

The "ristoro d'epoca' provides meat pie, veggie pie, mushrooms, bread with honey, panini with salami, bread with butter and sugar and Sangiovese to avoid the mouth being dry.

We carry on cycling. After various climbs and downhills we reach one of my favourites climbs called "La Ciola".

At the top of "La Ciola".

Then,  at this time my friend starts to experience little pain in his legs. Probably due to the the transition from MTB to Road Bike. Thanks to him having this little pain, we have a chance to take it easy and enjoy the panorama of the surroundings. This is something that most of the time I don't have a chance to do as I push too much on the saddle.

After a little while we approach Montevecchio, “Cima Pantani”, nicknamed in the honour of the Pirata who used to come here and train.

After taking few photos we keep cycling until we reach the last 30km of flat with wind against us. I could see the pain on my friend's face, nothing to be worried it is quite common for cyclists.

We finally cross the finish line with a really good time!

The weather in Cervia is beautiful. The sun is out and the temperature is pleasant making us reluctant to say goodbye to each other.

We had a great morning of cycling, sharing a passion. We discussed the various issues of the morning before heading back to our cars.

SaddleDrunk Kit still looking good after 5 hours of riding.

The wife and the kids are waiting to hear from me. They are looking forward to share my amazing emotions on my return at home.

A quick shower and drive off to a nice cool-down and relaxing with wife and kids.

You can have a look at the profile of the race,click here 


Ciao for now, and let's get SaddleDrunk.


Intense moments for SaddleDrunk

Ciao everyone, you have not heard from me for a long time.The reason is because 2 weeks ago my first and greatest friend,guidance of each step of my life passed away.

RIding in the Italian Apennines in my Father's honour.

My Father, now will follow me forever in all my rides, each centimetre I ride, He will look from above.Rest in peace mio Amico.You will be missed by us all.

After this short reflection in honour of my Father, I give an update of the future plans ahead.

First, we will have the first SaddleDrunk Bike Ride in London soon where everyone is welcome to join.Any levels,bikes,clothing are welcome.Barriers should not be raised by those factors to those who love riding.

Then, I will be going to South Africa in Cape Town to take part in the biggest cycling event, "The Cape Argus" where I will be riding with a local team from the Western Cape.

Also, while there I will be having a pleasure to cooperate with a Japanese top cycling website and a South Korean cycling magazine. Talks will be held about the event and to arrange future plans for cycling in those two countries.

Modern Art in Madrid,Author Gian Nicola B.

The following weekend, I will be racing back in UK on a closed circuit than on a Sunday I will be road racing. It will be different story.

More races and events will be in SaddleDrunk calendar for 2014 , but one not to forget will be the biggest cycling event "Over The Hills" in Italy starting the 25th of April 2014 for 3 days.

You can email SaddleDrunk to get more informations,details and also to register and be part of the SaddleDrunk Team.

I will be riding for the occasion a bike from the Tour De France 1998 winning team. The team of the greatest rider Marco Pantani "Pirata".The bike is one of the Gregarios of Marco.

Gavino's bike,in the garden in Italy.

The photo was taken by Sirotti.The bike is the one at the front right.

Thanks again for following. Do not forget to get SaddleDrunk.