Sunday, May 15, 2016

Umbertide and bicycles

When you live in a small town in Italy, the pulse of the town becomes your pulse. You can feel when the town is happy or sad, by the weddings or the funerals that take place across the piazza. Your movements will become guided by market days, festival days and days of the saints. We try to support all of the local events in town, and by and large we enjoy them very much.

The latest even that has come our way is the Giro d'Italia 2016. It is the first time the Stoic One and I have ever seen a bike race of this caliber. We stood along the road outside of town, and they sped by, in a single file row, flying. There were no cars on the road, only cars ahead of them and behind them, so that all you heard were the sound of the bikes wheels, whirring on the pavement as they went by. What was remarkable to me is how closely they ride one to the next. There is no margin of error. I also finally understood what it takes to do a break away. These races require not only skill and performance endurance but strategic thinking. Fascinating.

In order to get the crowd "in the mood", as if you have to in Italy, the Giro Caravana comes first. It is a parade of marketing cars, cheerleaders, music, stuffed animals. Truly and Italian thing. Here are some photos from the Stoic One of the Giro Caravana.

Waiting for the bikes!

Of course this wouldn't be Italy if there were not at least one sexy car in the parade. The driver's not bad either.

Luckily the Stoic One has a great camera to try to catch them as they zoom by. Umbertide was the easy part of their journey relatively flat and a decent road. 

If you look closely in this picture, you will see the winner.  He is an Italian, Gianluca Brambilla, who is in the blue jersey, right hand side third rider down. The guy in the front, Matteo Montaguti, came in second overall in this part of the race.

None of us are true bike afficianados, so when this group came by, we all tended to ignore them. they were so far ahead of the peleton, (4 minutes) that we thought they were part of an exhibit ride or something. It was only later, when I read about the stage that I realized they were the break away group and contained the winners!

Here is the rest of the group. You can't tell, but they are flying...

Ciao, til next time.

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