Monday, May 29, 2006
We got all our stuff packed up for this week. We are heading down to Umbria today via train. I packed water bottles, gel packs (race food), tools, camera, bike stuff, race jerseys, and some other food and gear. We usually just live out of our back packs on these kind of trips. So we have to fit in one week of supplies into our backpacks.
Yesterday morning I went to the bike store and Jeanfranco the store owner fixed my wheel and gave robyn a race jersey and shorts as well as two waterbottle holders and waterbottles for FREE!! It was pretty much an answer to a prayer because we were out of money and really needed those things. He is fixing my second wheel this week too.
So this is Robyn now. I just got back from my ride. I woke up this morning pretty early so I could get my ride in before we left. Well it was pretty cool outside with some sprinkles but nothing to worry about…so I thought. I set out on Lady and I should have listened to her…birds tend to know when rain is coming. But, alas, I told her to shut it and we kept flying onward. Ten minutes into the ride it starts pouring rain. I duck under a rooftop and try to wait it out. I think it is letting up so I venture out. Once again…I should have listened to the wise, old bird. So about 30 seconds into my attempt of getting home alive it starts to rain even harder. I get honked at…why, I don’t know. I am minding my own business. Maybe they wanted to let me know it is, indeed, raining, in case I was not aware. So after I get cut off by a car and realize my brakes are not working very well I duck under another rooftop. After I sit there for a few I see this fat man hauling butt on his bike by me. I then got up and Lady and I made our way home. I was drenched and freezing when I got in but Dan was waiting by the door with a towel for me and even wanted to take off his dry clothes for me! So that has been my morning. Thankfully I am home safely because people here freak out when it rains. They are scared to drive in it so they think trying to kill cyclists might calm their nerves in the rain.
Dan back now…
I am really tired and after I post this blog I am off to take another nap before I finish all our packing.
Sunday, May 28, 2006
This week was a little bit more laid back for us. We have just been staying in bologna at the apartment. There wasn’t a race this weekend that we wanted to do. We needed a week of rest and recovery and also it is getting really hot here and we have been dehydrated every day.
So we have been watching the tour de France from last year every night. It took us about six days to get through all 21 stages on DVD. It is cool to watch because they are so good and some of those guys are just unbelievable on their bikes on the mountains. We especially liked watching Alexander Vinokuorov from T-Mobile. He was always attacking and his own team would always ruin him and chase him down. But he kept fighting and breaking away from them and eventually won some exciting stages. We can now understand them and their experiences a lot better now that we have been able to race in some races with similar climbs, and distances as them. We really wanted to go up and ride the entire tour de france route this year before they did, but alas now we see that we would need someone to follow us in a support car and we would need tons of supplies. So instead we will watch some of the stages live and then ride the course afterwards. Hopefully we could see at least two stages… mountain stages since they are the most exciting and difficult. Also the riders are going slower and we would be able to see them up close.
We have been eating salads for dinner every night this week. Usually we will have a big bowl of lettuce with toms, onion, pickles, sundried toms, cheese, cashews, hamburger meat, and vinegar and last night we added a special bonus of nachos and salsa and beans for a delish mexi salad. Robyn gave a high five during the meal cause it tasted so good.
The weather has been plus thirty Celsius all week and its too hot to have a lot of energy. But in the evenings we like to go out on a walk downtown and sit on the big fountain and make fun of people. Usually the Americans that are on their “romantic” holidays get the brunt of our jokes. We have been mistaken for Italians now on a few occasions despite our surf clothes and sandals. We are quick to make them feel dumb and embarrass them. Twice robyn has been asked direction by Americans in Italian.
This week I had to pick a booger out of Robyns nose cause she wouldn’t pick it herself, also she farted in mcdonalds last night while we were getting some cold ice cream cones. She ran out real fast before she got blamed for it.
We have a cherry tree downstairs outside of the door and I got four down today. They were good.
I broke my second wheel yesterday…spoke snapped… suck
The countryside is beautifull and the cotton is no longer blowing in the wind. The cherry trees are everywhere and the wheat is long and turning brown.
Our roommate Max was wearing a baby T shirt yesterday with three inches of bellybutton showing… he claims he isn’t gay, but we sometimes wonder by his apparel. For example spandex manpree’s.
Today we got out the back door of church and got to pet the two cats BJ and Mr Slave. The slave ran up a tree but BJ rubbed all over Robyn.
We are excited to leave here for our next race down in
Well we are now signing off for the week and will go on our evening walk now.
Happy birthday is going out to Patty Frisby, Robyns mother in S
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
We were down in the southern Toscana Region this weekend. We started with a long long train ride from bologna to Florence, then to Prato, then to Pisa, then to Albinia. Albinia is about an hour north of Rome. When we left Pisa we were given a ticket by the train dudes because we went the wrong route from Florence and got on a different train and so our trip was going to be like ten kilometers longer than expected. He charged us the 1.50 and added a fee of 8.00. He did it cause he wanted to show off for this chick that was sitting across from us. I got really pissed off and started to cuss him out in English which he didn’t understand which was cool because he probably would have kicked us off the train which would have caused me to get even more mad and someone would have gotten hurt! To top it off shortly after some idiot at the back of the train started to play with the ringers on his phone. I was still mad from the ticket and I turned around and yelled at him. He was like 35 years old, but he needed to get scolded and nobody had the balls to say anything but me. He stopped. We made it to our destination Albinia, then we got on our bikes and rode to the bed and breakfast about 20km away from the train station.
The B&B was awesome with four cats, two dogs, a horse, a donkey, four goats, lots of chickens and lots of geese. We settled in and had a good time there.
Saturday morning Mario who owned the B&B took us on a tour of the area and showed us Saturnia which was a natural hot springs that the romans used to bath in thousands of years ago. Now its just a cool waterfall with about twenty tourists siting in it. Too bad we never got to take a dip. Then we went to manciano where our race started. We checked in and got our free wine and cheese. We gave our wine to Mario and ate our cheese. We have grown to love the cheese here. We never know what we are getting but we will just grab a chunk of it and some deli meat and dig in. The rest of the day we relaxed and we also went for a short bike ride in the country side.
Sunday Morning we awoke to a sunny day… We knew that we had a tough day in store for us with the heat of the summer, the wind from the ocean and the long hills of over 20 km each. Mario drove us to the start line and we started on our journeys of 130 and 170km’s.
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Today’s race was in a place called san Giminagno. it’s an important historical city here with a huge wall around it and like five or six big towers in the center. People used to build them to show that they were rich. The size and height would show the wealth. Today people still do the same thing with their trucks and houses!!! We started the race downtown in the narrow streets and then headed out to the countryside around Sienna here in the south of Tuscany. Robyn started up with me this week at the front of the group of over 1300 people.
Robyn went 125 km to finish her first long road race almost 30 miles longer than her half ironman that she did last year, and she did it faster too. I went 165km over almost the same course as her but we had to do an extra loop. It was pretty hard and the weather was hot. Both of us raced hard and finished and now were just hanging out in the hotel being sore and tired. Here are some pictures of where we raced today…
Thursday, May 11, 2006
We made it to Lucca around sundown on Saturday evening. First thing we did was try to find a hotel room and get some din din. We looked on the web site for the race and they recomended a hotel called the Gina Hotel. It was about 18km away from town (which is in the first photo).
It was a cool hotel, dinner was ok... the fun started after we started to get into bed.
Robyn was in the bathroom brushing her teeth when she peeped out the window and lo and behold... two ears appeared, then a Meoooow.....
Dan was in the bedroom looking out the room window when all of a sudden he heard a low moan come from the bathroom and out came robyn with the most mischeivious face and look in her eye... she was death gripping a cat...!!!
We named her Gina after the hotel, and although she only stayed with us a short time in the hotel it was nice.
On monday she came back and rubbed on our feet while we waited for our taxi home.
The race went well. it was a sunny day and we had fun. Robyn placed first in her race and won a bottle of pickled onions.
The second photo is of a bridge on the race course. kind of cool bridge.
We went home on Monday afternoon and all in all it was a good trip.
We had to get like four separate trains and after leaving from bologna at 3 in the afternoon we got to rome at 1 in the morning. then we hired some dude in the street to drive us to the hotel. a 15 euro ride cost us like 40!!!
We slept on the floor next to Lynne and Steves bed. Then we headed out at 7 in the morning for the vatican where we walked through all the sites really really slow with many many gerries. We had to follow the yellow flag, which was our tour group. two of the oldies lost their way and we almost had to call the police to find them, steve ran out of the bus and tracked them down with his radar.
Later that day Lynne took us to the collosium and then we headed back to the hotel.
Later that night we ordered some pizza and enjoyed it in the hotel room. The next day was fun
We had quit a time finding a taxi and dan even lost his mind and started to shout, alot. well we finally found a taxi driver and didnt get in any fights or thrown in jail. but man, the italians suck when it comes to customer service.
we caught a train later that day to Lucca, but that is a different story.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Robyn did a 3 hour ride, and myself a 1.5 then she hit up the gym for some more fun.
I am recovering from yesterdays race in bologna. it was tough. I actually quit riding hard at about 90km because i wanted to save my energy for next week.
So on thursday we are going to train it down to rome to see lynne and steve then on saturday were going to lucca up in tuscany to race. itll be busy but fun and we are excited to see rome.
I just hope we can find some good roads to ride one. probably have to ride early in the morning so that nobody is awake yet and clogging up traffic.