Back to Lombardy though, better times. We arrived on the Thursday evening and managed to fit in three rides before the Fondo on the Sunday and I doubled my weekly mileage, if you have the opportunity to ride you’ve got to ride.
The first ride of 80km was on the Friday around Lake Iseo, it is smaller than Lake Como but the roads are quieter, we kept it flat and steady and put in one twenty minute climb to ‘open the pipes’ as they say. On the Saturday morning we did an out-and-back from Como where the Pro race finishes. We met for coffee in the centre of town for a coffee that was hectic. There were plenty of cyclists queuing for their caffeine, we were in Passoni’s back yard they were there taking some of their customers out for a ride too we mingled and slpit in to two groups and headed out along the coast of the Lake. It was quite an intense ride on crappy roads and crazy drivers.
The pace was upped on the way back by our guide the modest and talented Mr John Lee-Augustyn (ex Barloworld and Sky rider whose career was ended by a hip injury) I like it when it is 'upped' but popped on the last ramp, John was still chatting on the front, looking smooth, just tapping along… I never learn, I left my Gran Fondo legs on the shores of Lake Como.
Watching John's pedalling on the road and in this video you can see that a simple intervention when he needed it most as he came back after his hip replacement may (would) have made his pedalling a lot more efficient. His damaged leg was painful when the effort went up which is understandable but the foot was unstable and he was unable to control it. Cycling specific orthoses with forefoot support would have helped so much, a stable foundation builds a stable athlete. His knees adduct in to the frame trying to drive his first met in to the shoe, his heels drop on the climb as his feet vainly look for contact with the shoe, leaking power and destabilising the pelvis.. Yet, he rode for two very high quality Pro Teams who missed the bleeding obvious and let him down. If only we could go back in time, if only. Not surprising though, we fitted one Italian rider who had been prescribed magnets in his foor to 'keep him straight'! And I still see riders in the Pro Peloton with one or both feet flapping on the pedals, losing power, falling off the saddle, losing races. Our telephone number is...
Back to Lombardy though, we got changed, got our VIP passes and headed over to the Lombardia Hospitality on the finish line, we loaded up on pasta, little cakes and Prosecco and then watched Bauke Mollema take the win. I was so very pleased for him, he is a lovely man and such a hard worker, a well deserved win for him.
An early transfer Sunday morning for the 7:30am start, we pulled up in a car park in the dark with a few hundred other Fondoista's and debated on what to wear it was chilly but getting warmer later. Arm warmers, no gilet. Nothing of note other than the gimp who came over to us rubbing his thighs like Vic Reeves and asking to borrow some embrocation!
The start, waiting, shivering, wishing I had put my clear lenses in, trying to change the screen on my Wahoo without my Varifocals on; a bit of a shuffle, shit music and then we were off, every man and woman etc for themselves, Ian belted off up the road, recently retired and full of beans. I stuck in the wheels trying to summon up some energy most of which I had used up on the previous two days. Under prepared as always.
After 10km the knee started hurting, I thought it was going to be OK, nothing could be done I had to ride it off so I kept on truckin'.