Lorenzo & his humble friends

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool

Tag: cycling

Arezzo

Yesterday was a grey, chilly and cloudy day over Florence. In spite of these supremely sub-optimal conditions, Daniel, Jonas, Bjorn, Benedikt and I went to Arezzo by bike – about 90k in 3 hours and a half. It was frigid, painful, and amusing: we shall go again.

Ah – when we arrived in Arezzo we had lunch in this place, where we were the only customers. The owners were very nice to us, gave us excellent and elegantly prepared food. They did not pay me for advertising the place, but I will do it nonetheless.


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(I could have thought of a more original title for this one).

Eroico?

Decision taken: if the organizers will accept my application I will compete in the 2016 Strade Bianche Gran Fondo, also known as the Heroic race of the gravel roads which starts and finishes in Siena and is a hell of an event. This is what I am talking about.


So the pro race will be held on March 5th and the Gran Fondo where I will compete will be held on March 6th. This leaves me a good month and a half to train. This is far less than it would normally be necessary, but time is a tyrant. Anyways: since I brought my road bike to Florence I kept track of my -slow- progress on a paper. Very old school indeed.

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This isn’t much. But when the going gets tough, the tough get going. I downloaded Strava and will start using it to monitor my progress from now on. As Marco told me in Montreal, half of the joy of participating to such an event comes from your capacity to keep up with the training schedule you set for yourself. And never before had it been more important to link again this memorable video to keep me going during these freezing days of Winter. Ideally, I should aim of doing 1.500K before March 5. Time will tell whether I am heroic enough.

And the whereabouts of Florence

In September I brought my road bike to Florence. (I wrote something about it already). Somehow unexpectedly, I then managed to use it very consistently until a month ago, when my muscles decided it was about time to stop working properly: after exploring the whereabouts of Florence and getting ready to travel further away, my riding adventure had to come to an abrupt halt. But I can’t complain: Tuscan fall has been kind to me, my bike and my occasional riding partner Giallu. These are some pictures I took while on the road.

For those of you who are wondering. Most of my acquantances have this bizarre idea that I do a doctorate, therefore I do not work. To the surprise of many, I still have regular working hours and this is the reason why I generally ride my bike early in the morning just before sunrise or late in the afternoon just before sunset. This is also the reason why, apart for some occasional fog and thunderstorms, I often got a stunning light to which, unfortunately, my mediocre does not fully pay justice.

A Fiesole

Two years ago a bunch of desperate pilgrims climbed up the hill of Fiesole to watch the world cycling championship under pouring rain. The group was led by Giallu and myself; it included Anna and Jonas – Dani was also there, but he wisely decided to leave after half an hour because he was soaked down to the bones. It was a memorable ride, for good or for worse. I still remember a picture I took that day. Let me tell you something about the misery of it. The man looking aguishly at me is a friend of Giallu, the great cycling lover and excellent writer Il Poeta. The man behind Poeta, peacefully eating his sandwich and drinking grappa in a yellow submariner’s coat is Giallu himself. No matter how bad the thunderstorm was, he sat there, enjoyed, and eventually got drunk together with grumpy Jonas.

Many things have changed since that cold and rainy day of September 2013. The world cycling championship is now Richmond, Virginia. Jonas and Anna have left Florence. And the weather around here seems to have gotten much better. So today Giallu and I commemorated the glorious past (a more complete photo gallery from that unforgettable period of my life is here) by going for a ride up and around Fiesole.

It was the first Tuscan ride for my new flamboyant road bicycle. It was also the first time since I moved to Florence I managed to wake up on a Sunday morning at 7AM.

Update: this hugely talented and incredibly funny guy won this year’s world championship. I am happy for all my friends back in Kamenica.

Good news, captain

Dear reader.

Back to work. I am still in Montreal: this city has treated me very well over the last three weeks. In fact I have a treasure throve of experiences to share with you. Some Most of these stories will probably be insignificant to you; others will be obvious; and a few, I hope, will turn out to be enjoyable. But! For once on the blog, this post is not going to be about me. And this is because I am still very much in the flow; so I will wait and write about the last few weeks when I will reach a certain degree of stillness. Aside the whole egotistic part about my experiences, there are also a few very serious topics I would like to write about and they deserve to be treated with some attention. I will do that in due time.

In the meanwhile, my reader, I wanted to urge you to make good use of your precious spare time. There are plenty of sports events that deserve to be followed. Yesterday’s stage of the Vuelta a España was thrilling. On Wednesday there will be a time trial and the following days the decisive stages on the mountains. This year’s Vuelta is starting to look like it could be one of the closest finishes in recent history with three riders – Catalan Purito Rodriguez, Sardinian Fabio Aru, and Dutchman Tom Dumoulin – very close to each other. No big surprise, I am supporting Fabio Aru. He is humble, he is funny, and he is stubborn – on Monday’s last climb he looked like he was going to crack down every moment and yet he held on, and on, and on, and when Purito Rodriguez attacked him on the final meters he gasped, and sprinted, and almost managed to reach back.

 

The Vuelta is going to be an exciting race to watch, probably as exciting as the US Open Tennis in New York. Thus far I enjoyed siding for Feliciano Lopez – although there is a reasonably great chance he will be kicked out of the tournament tonight. Here again, no matters who wins it is going to be fun.

 

 

And basketball! I am not a fan of this sport at all, but the European Basketball Championship is a somehow different event and Italy, for once, has a chance of doing reasonably well. So we shall see. On another discipline, you can rest assured the Italian representative will perform disastrously at the Rugby World Cup that is set to start in about a week; but that is also going to be a tournament to follow. Speaking of Italy, in this year’s Moto GP season Valentino Rossi – who won his last title in in 2009 – has been magic. This guy has an incredibly positive attitude about things and is always fun to listen to.

May your September be as exciting as the Vuelta, as skillful as the US Open, as hopeful as the EuroBasket, as solemn as the Rugby World Cup, and as old-school as the Moto GP.

The place where we were

So I wrote I was going to upload some more pictures concerning this little adventure I had together with my dad, Giallu and Nico. Here they are: they have been taken by the organizers themselves and I highly recommend taking part to at least one of their next events.

Addendum: people complimented me about the new glasses. In fact, they belong to Giallu. The reason why I am wearing them is I lost both contact lenses on the way to the lake – yes, crazy: they flew away, both at the same time, while we were speeding up in the dust. Loyal Giallu was kind enough to borrow me his glasses. We are almost equally blinded, so that worked out pretty well.

El socialismo sólo puede llegar en bicicleta

La consiglierei subito, non la rifarò mai più“.

As I anticipated yesterday, there is yet one more experience in my life that deserves to be documented on this log. I am talking about the event that took place on the night between Saturday and Sunday and was organized by Witoor.

It goes like this. Upon coming down from the mountains we relax for a few hours. Three. And then my father, Giallu, Niccolò and I assemble the bikes we need and drive to Bolzano.

Loren, vai a prendere tre luci, una sella, due pedali e una camera d’aria per queste bici.
E dove le trovo tutte queste cose, babbo?
Fai come si fa nell’esercito, quello italiano. Ruba tutto il necessario dalle altre bici che abbiamo in cantina.

We get to Bolzano at 11PM: it is dark, it is cold, and it is pouring rain. One hour later we are on our bikes (well: my father’s collection of bikes, technically) riding towards the scenic Lake of Resia, naively unaware of the fact that the final 20 km are a very steep, long, extenuating climb.

It takes us three restoration points, 120km, 1,200 meters of ascent, and 7 hours. We reach our final destination at sunrise. We are completely wasted. So in the end our long, long weekend makes me think of this movie I watched and more precisely it makes me think of this: “I don’t think we are going to suffer quite as much on this trip. I don’t think it is going to be that bad. … Naaah, I mean, it’s definitely going to be bad“.

Vi presento Azzurra

La vidi per la prima volta su internet: una sua foto scolorita. Era bella. Presi alcuni contatti, mi adoperai subito. Pensavo che sarebbe stata mia, ne ero sicuro. Arrivai troppo tardi: lei era già compromessa con un altro ragazzo che era stato più veloce di me. 

Mi accontentai delle alternative. Sgangherate, inconcludenti, bruttine pure, ma insomma: vissi in relativa pace fino ad ottobre. Fu allora che le circostanze cambiarono: tutto d’un tratto mi ritrovai solo*. Mi sentivo completamente bloccato, prigioniero. Decisi che dovevo ricominciare a pedalare immediatamente.

Tornai all’angolo dove l’avevo cercata la prima volta e trovai una sua gemella: identica. Fu un colpo di fulmine. Da allora io e Azzurra non ci siamo più lasciati. Non so quanto durerà la nostra storia: immagino che presto o tardi me la porteranno via, la mia Azzurra. Ma per ora ci stiamo godendo ogni singolo istante. E quando la mattina mi trascino verso i campi da tennis con un’espressione sbattuta e confusamente felice lei é con me, in perfetto pendant con i miei vestiti.

 

azzurra.

* Minda, cui si era pericolosamente bucata la ruota posteriore mentre la guidavo, é stata nel frattempo riparata ed é tornata ad essere una fedele compagnia di ogni giorno.

I russi non corrono

Un post sul ciclismo, ma anche sulla drammatica situazione dei proprietari si biciclette a Firenze, giusti o ingiusti che siano, ricchi o poveri, guitti o biscazzieri.

Ciao Lò, questo mi scrive il poeta della bici: alle 7.15 da piazza Edison andiamo a 3-400 metri dalla vetta, ho visto l’angolo perfetto per passare la giornata. tv, pubblico caldo, caffè gratis dalla casa vicina e ampia visuale sul tratto duro della salita. dopol’ultimo passaggio fuga in cima per il maxischermo! tanta gente ci raggiunge nell’arco della mattina, fammi sapere che fai te! (comunque i posti si trovano sempre, ci si pigia e basta)

Lorenzo: Ok. Vengo con Anna Katherina, Jonas, e forse una coppia di cari amici romani/torinesi.

Gianluca: Avevo letto Anna Karenina. Peraltro i russi non corrono,dato che hanno rubato loro tutte e 12 le biciclette.