STAGE 07
MARINA DI SAN SALVO / PESCARA
177km

Team: Daniel Wakefield Pasley and Ian Gabriel Marshall

Weather: Mostly pleasant, mid-70s and sunny in the morning, then overcast in the afternoon but still pleasant, then rain and super unpleasant for cycling in particular.

Course Overview (according to the Giro d’Italia FIGHT FOR PINK Race Book): “Stage through the Appennine Mountains. The final section of the race route sees more than 2.600 meters of vertical altitude gain over a succession of short climbs and ramps. The first part is rolling, with only one long climb: Paglieta. After the fixed feed zone at Guardiagrele, there are a number of sharp ramps: Bucchianico (Max 15%), Villamagna (GPM), Chieti-Pietragrossa (Max 16% -GPM), Chieti-Tricalle (Max 19%-TV), Santa Maria de Criptis (Max 16%-GPM), San Silvestro (Max 14%-GPM). The final climb is just over 7km from the finish line.”

MFS Objectives:

  1. Photograph the start – Check.
  2. Interview Peter Stetina, Garmin-Sharp – Check.
  3. Photograph the Colombians on their bus – Soft Check.
  4. Interview David Evangelista, Team Colombia’s Press Officer - Check.
  5. Photograph Montedorisio (311 meters) at 11,9k – No Check, but we did photograph Paglieta (235 meters) at 44,2k.
  6. Photograph Chieti-Tricalle (301 meters, Max 19%-TV) at 123,2k – Check.

Peter Stetina: Tight like a Tiger

I have a core workout that I do in the morning at the hotel. And I have this good stretch that I do for my glutes but I use the bike frame to do it, so it’s just easier to do that at the start, once I’m on it and waiting. It’s part of my process, it’s easy to do and it calms me. Some guys get philosophical about it, I just kinda have morning routines and rituals. I don’t really focus on anything in particular. Everyone has their thing, their nuances, some guys study the book, other guys get wrapped-up in pining numbers, I just zone out. I’m tight like a tiger.

David Evangelista: Watch, Listen, Talk

I take the Team Bus to the finish where I wait in the Press Room. I watch, I listen, I talk. Tactics on a day like this are very delicate. You can’t have just one guy and one plan. You need options. You need several guys and several plans. ((Manual #13: KEEP YOUR OPTIONS OPEN)) So far the race has been good, but for 7 out of the 9 guys this is their first Grand Tour, so it’s hard to know what to expect. We are known for climbs and our attacking style, but we can sprint too. 

MFS Overview

Today we woke up on the 5th floor of a coastal hotel called Hotel Maja. We had breakfast in the dining area which breakfast was mostly fragola (strawberry) yogurt and a selection of coffee drinks (including some mixes) from a small but noisy Automatic Espresso Drink Machine. While this particular Automatic Espresso Drink Machine was new to me it was very similar to the type of machine found in gas stations and lobbies all over Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany. While these machines can be relied upon to produce a number of standard drinks they are often equipped to make one or two wild card-type selections, related, I’m assuming, to regional nuance and predilections, and/or whatever it is the owner of the machine prefers. 

Standard Options:

  1. Café Latte
  2. Chocolate Milk
  3. Espresso
  4. Double Espresso
  5. Hot Water
  6. Cappuccino

Typical Wild Card Options:

  1. Choco Deluxe
  2. Macchiato
  3. Latte Macchiato 

After breakfast we left Pescara and drove to the start in MDSS. After the start we drove the course until Paglieta where we stopped to drink cappuccinos and photograph the town (it’s inhabitants and spectators) as well as the race itself. After Paglieta, we drove the freeway to Pescara (the finish), back-tracked onto the course, drove it (backwards) until Chieti-Tricalle where we were forced off the road by several pink tri-cycles (the kind with engines), a number of police cars and the pink, camouflaged La Gazetta dello Sport 18-wheeler cab (extended!) all of which were speeding and sliding through town in our direction. After parking we walked through town to “the” switchback and waited. While we waited I introduced myself to another photographer (also waiting) who I recognized from the last six stages. He gave me his business card but all the information on it is written in Japanese. I think his name is Kei Tsuji. This is is his sixth Giro d'Italia. He works for cyclowired.jp, a helmet manufacturer, and an Italian newspaper. After talking for five minutes he was invited onto a balcony above with excellent vantage of both the Switch and the Back. I think I was invited as well; certainly the crowd around me thought so as they encouraged me to follow Kei, though maybe they just wanted me out of their way (understandable) and saw my confusion as obvious opportunity. At any rate I stayed in the apex of the corner until the end.

I think today is hard. I think it’s one of the hardest Stages of the tour, so many climbs and they are all steep, they just keep coming the whole race. – Kei

After the race passed we (Ian and I) illegally/accidentally joined the Caravan between the Broom Wagon and the Ambulance on the way off our climb and back to the freeway - we had no chance of making it to the finish as we were now well behind the peloton. We followed the end of the race on twitter in an AutoGrill on the Autostrade over cappuccinos and panini. Then we drove to Pesaro, along the way we discussed the likelihood of finishing the race before losing our credentials/stickers/privileges by accident or through wanton recklessness, the result of boredom or sleep deprivation. Two hours later we skidded (locked and smoking) from 140k to 60k in less than thirty feet. 

Observations / Notes

Today we woke up in Pescara, and tonight we go to be bed in Pesaro.

Our rental car has Giro d’italia STAMPA (press) stickers across the front and on the back, as such we look somewhat official and/or at the very least we look associated with the race. Which might explain why at every gas station and in most parking lots we get asked for hats and tee-shirts. ANY hats and tee-shirts, not just pink hats and tee-shirts.

We have been in the office and under the manager’s desk in a total of five different hotels across the south of Italy, unplugging and resetting various modems and routers. Italy is the Wild West of online access, there are no standards, no common protocols, and every situation is invariably different and more convoluted than the last. Side note: I have yet to find an establishment of any kind or variety which offers both coffee and the internet. I CANNOT find coffee and the internet in the same place. Second Side note: Often we are given stickers or tickets created by special machines and/or PC computer All-In-Ones with elaborate username and passwords printed on them allowing you, in theory, to access the interent for as long as 24hours and for a short as 1hour.

Just behind the back of the race there are two cars among the various police and ambulances and official/functionary vehicles, each with a driver and a “puller,” whose purpose it is is two collect the hundreds of Pink Course Arrows taped or stuck or stapled to hundreds of walls and poles along the way. They do this real time. They manage to stay more or less on the back of the caravan. They collect maybe 2-3 signs per km for 200km+/- per day.

Italian Law Enforcement or Military or Para Military agencies witnessed on the course today: Polizia di Stato, Arma dei Carabinieri, Guardia di Finanza, Polizia Penitenziaria, Poliza Provinciale, Polizia Municipale and Protezione Civile.

We spend a lot of time (and money) keeping the little blue dot happy. The blue dot is often lazy, confused or drunk.

Chieti Tricalle, where we last saw the race.
Pesaro, where we will wake up tomorrow morning.