Well that was a big day!
An extraordinary thing happened. I finished a race and ate an apple* and 2 pieces of parmesan on a stick. What sort of country gives you parmesan to eat after a race?! Oh, that's right. Italy.
The UCI World Championships for Masters and Amateurs started in Trento's main square. There were perhaps 1,000 all up and each age group and gender started separately but only 2 minutes apart. Within half an hour we were all on the road.
Women over 45 got to ride the Medio Fondo - medium race of 60km. No choice about that. I would have preferred the Gran Fondo myself but ...
I rode in a double age group of W45-54 but we had different coloured numbers to distinguish us. Mine was yellow.
We had to be in our starting pen at 7:45am for an 8:20am start. Right! No warming up then. For once I was off the hook and everyone was in the same boat. Which meant a relatively slow start and we cruised the first 8km at about 25 or 26 along the flat, everyone together. Nice!
Then the first climb sorted us out though and the fast women took off. I couldn't stay on after about the first half a km and did the 7km climb mostly by myself except I overtook an American woman who then sat on my wheel on a flat bit before passing me. Only to be overtaken again on the climb. Right, I thought, I can beat you on the big climb. I won't worry about you now.
Of course she passed me on the descent. I was descending like a nervous bag of potatoes - this style of descending not helped by the sight of 2 ambulances dealing with what looked like a war zone of injured men. Don't know what happened there but it didn't look pretty.
Then it was a long flat or slightly downhill bit of road for maybe 20km back towards Trento. I did this solo but I saw the American woman up ahead. She'd picked up an old bloke - shameless hussy - and was sitting on his wheel. Couldn't catch them - until ...
... the long 20km climb up Mount Bondone started. I'd been up in the bus the other day and it looked incredibly steep and windy from the bus. That version aided and abetted by the grinding gears every time the driver changed down. But the climb itself wasn't too bad. There were occasional bits of 14% but nothing worse than the Pyrenees. The mountains themselves are steeper, but the roads are more windy in order to compensate for the steepness. After all, those cars full of skiers need to be able to get up the mountain.
It was so nice riding up a closed road. And even better, I passed about 10 people on the climb including 2 women from my age group. And no-one passed me. I could see them up ahead and then slowly, steadily wound them in.
But as I started to get closer to the summit, the sounds of helicopters circling became more intense. Hmmm - maybe the lead bunch of the young guys is coming up the mountain. Better get my skates on in case it's a big bunch and they knock me off the road or something. As it was, I beat them by a few minutes (they were doing the longer course so had done two climbs before this last one.) As it turned out, there was a breakaway so only one or two of them.
Whoever said mountain finishes were a good idea? Got over the line, stopped and had a massive coughing fit. I snuffled and coughed my way through the entire ride - still got a cold. But I did work a bit harder on the last 2 kms.
There were 23 women in my age group - I came 20th in a time of 3:15 and average 18.4kph. The winner did it in 2:29 and 24kph. Looking at the results, I don't see a couple of Australian women that I know I passed so not sure what happened to them.
Gaye Lynn got her second World Champion in the Road Race along with the ITT on Friday. Great riding from her. She's 11 years older than me and was 20 minutes faster.
Australian women did really well - of the 8 medals that won by Australians, 6 of them were won by women. No men medalled in the road race, but the women got one gold and one bronze.
Most people rode down Mount Bondone back to Trento after the race ended and the roads re-opened. I was still impersonating potatoes and ended up riding down by myself and didn't know how to avoid the big tunnel. So I went through it. There's two - one abut 500m and the other at least 2 kms long. Looking at Strava and I can see I did that 2nd tunnel at about 65-70kph! There was a slight downhill but you also get dragged along by the cars. Exhilarating and a bit scary by yourself.
Experimented with dinner ordering tonight and ended up with this. Two of my least favourite vegetables on one plate. That green stuff in the middle is spinach. At least there's no okra I guess.
Off to London in the morning to check out the weather. Expecting Melbournish.
*Yes folks. I ate an apple. Yesterday I also ate an apple. This is unprecedented and should stop immediately. Locally grown, very nice and super fresh.