Life hasn't been too bad this past week. I didn't really know what to expect from the team camp, but it's yielded lots of pasta, chatting and riding. The camp consists of the pro mountain bikers, key Cannondale employees, members of the (cycling world) press, and me. We stayed in a hotel right on the beach across from a restaurant that we took over for the week.
The restaurant was literally on the beach.
As was the demo truck.
Whenever we all gathered together getting to ride, people walking by (mostly older retired Italians) would watch and wonder what the heck was going on. I was (not so?) secretly very pleased and think it's entirely possible that I fooled one or two clueless oldsters into thinking I was a big deal.
The pro riders were interviewed and photographed to within an inch of death. This man, Marco Aurelio Fontana, and I are in love. He and his wife just aren't aware of it yet. Seriously though, such a great guy, and wonderful to talk to.
So during my first day there, we woke up with a leisurely breakfast, then got kitted up for a ride. We rode as a group out of town and up a mountain, to where there was a short 3km loop waiting for us.
Once up there, we did one loop and had lunch. Delicious!
After lunch I snuck out for a second loop before the 'race' started and snagged some photos.
The set-up of the race was that the pros did one loop by themselves, then did a sort of relay with members of the press, for a total of 6 laps or so. Happily, I wound up on top of the climb with some other people, cheering the riders on.
Of course there was beer. My definition of 'pro' expanded to include 'someone who can chug an entire beer after riding quickly up a hill, then continue as if they don't want to throw it up'.
It was during this commotion that I wondered if there were many things better than standing on a hilltop in Italy littered with Cannondale mountain bikes and surrounded by strangers from the bike industry while goofball riders who are having a great time stream past. I'm at a loss of what to say, other than 'I would hate me, too' and I'd like to assure you that I'm aware that I am undeserving scum who has gotten inexplicably lucky! Honestly, this is all quite ridiculous.