Saturday, October 5, 2013

Firenze to Milan via Rome...

Hey everyone, time flies when you're having fun! Ok, so I promised an update about Worlds, but I'm a little late on that. The quick and dirty of it is that I don't think I have ever raced or even trained in so much rain. It was raining so hard that there were sections of the road with standing water up to at least the bottom bracket. Somehow it didn't deter us from racing though! My job for the day was to look after Chris. Unfortunately that all went out the window after he crashed. I had a tough decision to make whether to wait for him to help chase back on or just carry on myself. Judging by the way he fell and looked, I decided that I should soldier on myself. It was the correct decision regarding his resulting injuries, but I'm not convinced I shouldn't have stopped with him. I spent the few laps of the circuit that I completed trying to find my legs and place in the bunch. I would go from feeling ok on the climb to being spit out the back on the descent an chasing for the rest of the lap. There was more than one time that I thought I wasn't going to regain contact. It seemed that every pedal stroke I made was putting less power into the pedals. I felt basically useless, especially on the flat sections. I would regain contact on the climb though and begin to feel a little better and more motivated. After seeing multiple crashes due to the wet conditions and being tied up in a few myself, I was very close to stopping because I didn't feel like being a victim myself. It seemed logical to me because I also didn't have the good feeling in my legs. For whatever reason, I kept riding though and just when I started to feel that I might have been feeling better and finding a decent rhythm I hit my brakes at the wrong moment on the white paint and down I went. I'm fairly certain that I went faster once I hit the wet pavement than I was on the bike. I did a perfect superman on my chest for a minimum of 50 meters. By the time I came to a stop I had burned a hole through my rain vest and jersey down to my heart rate strap. The crash was enough to convince me that it was not my day. The race left a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth to say the least.

Post race I was able to unwind with Lisa. We found an amazing restaurant and had potentially the best meal experience we've ever had. The restaurant was recommended to us by the owner of the apartment we rented in town. We didn't know the drill for getting in, but our timing was impeccable. We went for a walk and came upon the restaurant where there was a decent line. It moved very quickly and through a combination of events that I don't really understand we somehow got a seat. There were people in line saying they had reservations, while others were saying they didn't, and we just kind of got taken in! There was a guy we had met earlier on the street who worked at the restaurant, Andrea (say it in Italian!) who talked to us a bit, found out I was a cyclist, and then we got to talking about random stuff. He did see us there, so perhaps that got us in? Anyway, we were treated to an amazing meal. We actually never even saw a menu! They just kind of brought stuff to us and we simply enjoyed. By the end of the night we were very full and very happy! The next day we spent touring Firenze (Florence) and just enjoying each other's company. Then on Tuesday it was off to Milan for me... or was it Rome?

And so my good story begins. What was supposed to be an easy day of travel with a relatively short 3 hour train ride from Firenze to Milan turned out to be a bit of an adventure. I arrived at the station to find my train delayed 40 minutes. It was a bummer, but it just meant I would have to have spend a little more time having one more cappuccino with Lisa. No complaints there! After enjoying that little date, I returned to the train station to board the train and be on my way. The train was at platform 10, which conveniently shares a walkway with platform 11. The left side was platform 10, the right side platform 11. It was a few minutes before my train was set to make it's delayed departure, so Lisa and I walked down the platform to the train car I needed, said our "see you laters" and I hopped on. I settled into my seat, sat back and relaxed... for about 30 seconds. Pretty much as soon as the train began to pull away, I somehow realized that I had boarded the wrong train. I had boarded on platform 11, not 10. There was not a train at 10 when I was there, so it just seemed normal to get on the train that was there! It ended up that the next stop for this train was Rome. Ugh. So after a mad scramble, I figured out that my only option was go to Rome and then get on the opposite train to head back to Firenze, then Milan. All in all it wasn't a catastrophe, but it did extend my trip by a good amount from 3 hours to 7 hours. Needless to say, I was very happy to arrive at my hotel that night.

Now I'd love to tell you about the race I had the following day, but it is getting late here and I have to sleep before Lombardia tomorrow. I promise there will be an update about the race on Wednesday, along with the update from Lombardia within a few days. Thanks for reading!

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