Well it had to happen some time and on my 8th attempt at my
favourite event, it was the first time we woke up to the dreaded 'Rain'
- not just a small shower either - a full bodied tempest with lightning
and torrential rain.
Barbara, Gail, Ray, Denise, Zoe, Martha, Jas and I left our Castelcucco abodes at 5.15 am and drove to Treviso dodging the fallen trees and wondering what on earth we were doing even venturing out. En route we got a call from John to say there was no way he was riding in a thunderstorm so he was out.
So we arrived and noted several people seemed to be preparing for the start but we all skulked in the car park listening to the rain getting harder and harder. Having fallen off my bike only 2 weeks previous and knocking out my front teeth, I was not too keen to ride and Gail was not happy either having had a broken hip last year - the rest were simply not keen. High praise is awarded to Barbara here who countered that we wouldn't stop for rain in the UK and look there is a bit of blue sky in the distance.
So we decided to give it a go and when we got to the start, we found 'thankfully' that the organisers had sensibly delayed the start so they could safety check the course, cancelled the long route with the dreaded climb up the Mte Grappe and changed the medio route to remove a dangerous descent off the Montello.
9am arrived and off we went and I have to say everyone riding was very cautious. As the roads were now drying, normal riding paces resumed and each TCCer took off to ride at their own pace. Barbara and I had a very pleasant ride together UNTIL bang ' what on earth was that?'. We stopped and discovered my back wheel spoke was gone and the wheel was buckled so that was that for me. We flagged down a Pinarello car who contacted the broom wagon and I sat down to wait and sent B back on her way to ensure at least one of us finished.
When I finally made it back to Treviso I found everyone in good spirits in the pasta/beer tent. Apparently John had joined in en route and had a fun ride and also Denis had been spotted but had taken a tumble on the first descent and had road rash to prove it - ouch! All in all a fun day despite the dubious start - all that went through my mind was Jon Andrews report of the Sportful fondo 'did I say it rained?!'
Jason - 3:54:11.10
Denis - 3:54:36.00
Ray - 3:58:18.40
Zoe - 3:59:50.30
Gail - 4:27:57.20
Denise - 4:31:36.20
Martha - 4:42:29.10
Barbara - 5:18:07.10
Lisa - DNF = Mechanical
Good one Lisa, to add to your report.
I've got to say that at 4 am in the morning, 2 & 1/2 hours before the start time, the mother of all electrical thunder storms sounded like the equivalent of a sky-filling, angry, gnashing, snarling, mechanical car wash, approaching in filmic suspense-building slow motion.
continental window shutters being smacked against the walls by the storm winds, completed the horror scene script.
All I can say is that I'm glad that I wasn't in a tent, as I was in 2003, the night before the Pau to Bayonne Etape, where the lightning was hitting the nearby construction cranes, rather than the ... er ... lower level trees right next to the tent.
I think lightning storms before an event must provide some additional adrenalin build up. PHd sporting thesis opportunity anyone?
For the statisticians, the modest 'medio' route included 1350 metres of climb and 132km of distance.
The cancelled 205km 'Lungo' version was due to have 3250 m of altitude gain, the infamous Monte Grappa, (which appeared in the Giro this year) a goat-like scramble of 1730 metres by itself.
Of the 2254 people who completed, Zoe was a fabulous 23rd out of the 191 ladies. (The fastest woman at 3.32.03.10.) Well done Zoe, if you complete it a 3rd time you get a 'Tinky Lady' Pinarello Cyclng Team top :)!