Dear friends, I made it to Italy safe and sound. The Australian Institute of Sport European Training Centre (AIS ETC) is all you would expect from a first class training facility. The location at Gavirate is perfect for cycling, the riding is spectacular, lovely and green, tree lined roads, some bordered by crystal blue lakes others by towering Alps. It’s a cyclists paradise and several Australian Pro cyclist including Cadel Evans and Matt Lloyd have residences in the area. On the many roads around Gavirate you will see people cycling, some fast some not so fast, old and young. The roads are some of the best surfaces i have riden on, as smooth as glass. They are also narrow, which you may think is a hinderance for cycling, quite the opposite. The drivers here are considerate, paitent and respectful of the cyclist.
The first week was all about getting into a routine and sorting out the body and mind after such a long flight and a short time to race. Everything we need is at the AIS ETC. The morning starts with breakfast, then a training ride, lunch, the afternoon is massage (every two-three days) then ice bath for recovery, stretching, dinner. Sleep. Around this you fit in bike maintenance, shopping, washing.
Saturday was the first race, a 35km Road Race around a 2.3km course, through the often narrow streets of Castel San Giovanni. The course had four right hand turns of varying angle, some tight, several cobbled sections, lots of man hole covers a couple fast sections and a couple of faster sections. It was a furious pace from the word go. The H4 and H3 started together, with the combined classes it made for an interesting start, bikes going in every direction. Eventually the field settled down and formed several groups. After a few laps I fell off the back of the lead group and rode the race out solo, finishing 4th.
The next day the TIme Trial, unlike the first day, this was an open stretch of road at Sarmato. One right hand corner then 5km turn around point at a round a bout and one left hand corner. It was short, 11km slightly wind effected, harder on the way out. In this I placed 5th. As this was an aggregate event, my overall position was 4th.
More info on the race can be found here http://www.piacenzaparacycling.it
It hasn’t all been work, Monday was a rest and recovery day, a couple us took a drive around the countryside then the 20min ferryride from Laveno-Mombello across Lake Maggiore to Intra. Today was back into to it, training ride in the morning, recovery in the afternoon.
Thursday morning we drive 280km to Oensingen in Switzerland for a 10km Time Trial on Friday then a 70km Road Race on Saturday.
Until next time, Cheers Stu.