Issue 15 - Back To Italian Life
by Russell Hampton (Olympic Academy Programme/2009)
Well i'm back out in Italy again for those who don't know where i'm based, i'm roughly half way between Florence and Pisa in a town called Quarrata lovely place it is. (Link: Google Maps: Quarrata)
Well i was hoping for some good weather as this winter hasn't been the best for bike riding. So i was bit disappointed to open my shutter and find it was raining on the 1st day but it wasn't to cold so you could call that a bonus.
So the 1st day was just 3hrs really steady to just getting back into the swing of things and getting up a few climbs but nothing to big as the weather wasn't to great. We had Steve Cummings for company who has just brought himself a flat 1k from our house so probably be one of many rides with him.
The 2nd day was pretty much the same the weather wasn't to great so we went out to the small hills towards Empoli and Siena but was pretty much up and down all day. The pace was pretty high as the new guys wanted to test themselves on what seems to them massive hills but there soon get used to the climbs out here and be flying in no time at all.
Last few days has pretty manic sorting things out so haven't been able to get down to our local cafe 'Bar Grazie' in the piaza (town square) so today was a perfect opotunity to chill out in the afternoon and got myself a good old cappuccino you don't realise how much you miss one till your back out here and also was good to see all the familiar guys behind the bar who always miss us during the winter.
Well finally we have some sun and its a great day you can see for miles. So as its a good day Max Scandri decided it would be a good chance to get a good solid day in and a few climbs in so we headed off to a climb that is very famous in italy the climb of Serra.
This is famous because all the pros use it as a hill climb and time themselves up it the likes of Jan Ullrich, Marco Pantani and even Max Scandri have done this climb many times.
I believe the record is 17 minutes held by Marco himself. On the way up we saw Michael Bartoli coming down and as him and Max were very close from their racing days they stopped to have a bit of a catch up and next week Bartoli is coming out with us for a few rides so that's going to be pretty amazing as it looks like he is coming back to the pro peloton!
Well that's basically the jist of what's happened so far I'm out here until the 13th of Feb were I head back for a few days to do the National Madison Champs and also celebrate my 21st birthday before my 1st race on the 1st March.
So until then arrivederci.
Thanks Russell! If you fancy some extra information on BC's Olympic Academy (Under-23) Programme then you can take a look at Cycling Weekly's article or one here from British Cycling.
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