BUSSETO / CHERASCO
Course Overview (according to FIGHT FOR PINK): Longest stage of the Giro at 254km. Mostly flat. From Busseto to Nizza Monferrato the race route BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA.
Race Overview (according to Ian Gabriel Marshall, Daniel Wakefield Pasley and Raoul "@Chasse_Patate" Sturme1): It was really windy. There was likely a great deal of echelon-ing throughout the day. Mark Cavendish won the race (again). Bradley Wiggins quit. Ryder Hesjedal quit. David Millar is racing but I think he’s not racing the same Giro everyone else is. Cadel Evens is seriously present. Nibali’s first name is Vincenzo.
What Really Happened
This morning we woke up to more Biblical-type Rain & Flooding in Fonsanzo. When scientists talk about Global Climate Change (aka. Global Warming) they often use modelling to illustrate and/or demonstrate how climates will change as well as the impacts those change will have on weather. We woke up in one of those models.
Side note: This morning, while contemplating a four-hour transfer after a five-hours sleep, I started to consider whether the Giro was a little too grand, like gratuitously so?
In spite of the weather, Raoul from Venlo, Netherlands wore a colorful and funzie white v-neck, a pink bootleg MFS baseball cap, denim short shorts rolled at the hem and white canvas sneakers. "I’m boycotting the weather, besides"—he said on the way out the door—"It will be summer in the car." And it was. All the way to the base of Alba, where we Honked and Pointed our way onto a small climb in big bike race.
A diesel Ford C-Max carrying three passengers (222lbs + 225lbs + 160lbs), cameras, clothing and other related journalistic sundries will hydroplane at about 120-125 kilometers an hour.
After the race we drove to Torino (Turin) and checked into room 507 of Hotel Pacific Fortino. On the way into the underground garage we passed through an automatic armored gate, as we advanced into the darkness below banks of lights came on automatically, like magic. After parking, we followed signs to the hotel. We walked through many hallways and many doors on the way to the elevator, as we advanced lights came on at the last minute, darkness vanishing just-in-time the whole way, Get Smart-style.
We found Ristorante Toscano in a seedy alley. Observations from Ristorante Toscano:
- Inside it was quiet, Old World Early Bird-style, no music.
- Overhead lighting, fluorescent.
- The floor was real ceramic tiles with a fake mosaic.
- On the walls hanged Van Gogh-inspired fields and flowers and similar.
- The Antipasta Buffet:
- Plate of Mozzarella Slabs in oil and chili flakes.
- Bowl of Kalamata Olives
- Bowl of Mixed Olives
- Plate of Asparagus
- Bowl of Shrimp (full-size) mixed with Fish and Squid
- Plate of Roasted Eggplant (actually grilled, based on charred marks)
- Plate of Roasted Red & Yellow Peppers
- Plate of Roasted Zucchini
- Two different bowls of two different brined mushrooms
- Bowl of Sun Dried Tomatoes and Capers packed in oil
- Bowl of Potato Salad
- Plate of Sardines
- Marinated Pearl Onions
- Roasted Tomatoes
- Side of Pig
- Basket of Bread and Crackers
- Three old ladies eating and talking together. Raspy, shaky, wavery voices, smokers probably. As they got up to leave, two of them and the waitress had to help the third up from the table, the two walked arm-in-arm on other side of their friend.
- A couple sat beside us eating strawberries from a bowl. They never said a word to each other.
- Across from us a business man in a tie ate dinner by himself, he read as he ate, his dog sat at his feat as he ate.
- Outside after we’d finished, somewhere down the street was playing an accordion.
An Interview with Peter Stetina
I was a soccer referee. I played soccer so I refereed games on the weekend for younger age groups, for money. I took the class, got the certification. Bought a bag, some flags and a striped shirt. And it paid pretty well for a 14 year old, so I would ref the U13 games, competitive soccer. For a linesmen they paid 17 bucks a game. Two or three games a day, on a Saturday, was great money then. Otherwise at the time, it was bike racing. I was racing at the same time, then gradually racing started taking the place of reffing as I started to get paid for that.
SCUBA: Not Just Biographical Fluff
I really like it a lot, my fiancé has family in the Cayman Islands, so we go down there if we want a tropical vacation, it just costs us the flight because we got a place to crash—no hotels or anything. It's known for crystal clear water—120 foot visibility—like bathwater. It’s all protected marine park, really colorful. I'd always been like, "If I am going to do a water sport I'll do something cool like surfing, or wakeboarding." I hadn't ever thought that SCUBA Diving was much of anything, but you do it for the first time, and it’s just unreal. It really is challenging; not just as a physical workout, but mentally. The first time you go under, you get vertigo and don’t know which way is up, and then you realize—I know it sounds cliché—it really is another world under there. Totally alien. Going to an aquarium is not even close to the same thing.
On Mountainous Origins
Yeah, I started racing on mountain bikes. I still hop in a race a few times a year when I'm at home for a local race and the schedule permits. I had an agreement with the team for a few years where if it wasn’t in the way of training or racing that I could ride for a local team while home (Tokyo Joe’s out of Boulder), but I moved out to California (I'm in Santa Rosa now, just an hour from SF) and they2 are cracking down on all the unsanctioned racing stuff so I don't do that any longer. There has been so much politicizing with that, I've backed off it. But I still ride my mountain bike for training: I think it’s great training. Biking is biking.
But if I can do a local race I will every once and a while. Like last year when I was home during the Tour, I did a short track race in a local park, just for training. I’m not a top MTB rider anymore. I get my gap on the uphill, then they pass me on the downhill, then I pass them. We sort of leapfrog the whole race.
[DWP: But the guy who goes up the fastest usually wins.]
Yeah, more often then not.
The Rain Sucks
This is my third year at the Giro, but this year the weather just sucks. The rain sucks.
It’s been really hard, guys have been going for broke from day one with no regard for the harder days coming up, and then personally I’ve had horrible luck. I had allergies, I've run into sickness, dealt with antibiotics, got taken out in Stage 7 in the rain. I just had to make it to this rest day. No worries on time loss though; I can regroup before Ryder needs me in the real mountains.3 That why they brought me here. For the big hills.
It’s starting to come around though, I’ve got energy again, I’m feeling more lively. I can actually speak.
"Give Me Something to Do"
During the stage you can just get so bored, you think about all kinds of things. There are those times when the race just rolls along for a few hours—after the break is gone and before the tempo finally comes up—when you are just so bored. There is nothing to do, and everyone around you is speaking Russian or French. All you can think is, "Come on man, give me something to do."
Sometimes I go on a search to find someone. The other day I found Phinney after about 40 minutes, but It took a while. We'll talk about anything. Just anything. Weird things.4 The other day I had the new Giro aero helmet on, and he started playing the drums on it, and I didn’t realize Eurosport was right in front of us, and now it’s all over the internet.
I’m sure it’s great Giro press.
And outside of the race, I of course talk with my fiancé, and my agent, emailing my Mom for Mothers Day, all the normal stuff.
Being the Normal Pete in the Mountains
I’m just trying to get good for the big climbs, get my health back, be strong and be the normal Pete in the Mountains. I mean I’ve been hurting on the hills when there are a hundred guys left in the field so far, so yes, I’m just focused on that.
I finished my round of antibiotics yesterday actually. Today is my first day off of them, eating a bunch of yogurt, getting healthy. I like our food, we’ve got our chef here, and food is something I’m really into. It gives me a lot to think about and to talk with him about. I like picking his brain, he’s pretty smart.
I'm interested in food from all the angles, I think it’s all related. Of course the way it tastes is important; that’s why you love food, but the health and the nutrition aspect is important to me as well. You might ask the reason he mixes this with that—because it’s easier to digest. We put down so much food everyday for three weeks, so when you think about it, you not only have to eat what you want just to get it down (you kind of lose your appetite eventually), but you need to think about how it digests, and the order in which you eat, because if you don’t do something right, it rakes extra energy to digest, energy that isn't going to your muscles.5
It’s such an old tradition to get a basket of bread before your meal, but our chef takes that away. Eating all that bread creates a sort of plug and things just settle into your stomach and your body doesn't get to digesting it.
But everyone wants it, because it tastes so good here. Yeah, I think about things like that a lot I guess.
- Raoul from Veno, Netherlands, is a friend. He is joined us yesterday evening. He is here until the end of the Giro to help us navigate, he also speaks Italian, kinda. A chasse patate is when a rider attacks from the peloton in an attempt to catch a breakaway, only to become stranded in no-man's-land and end up back in the peloton, energy wasted. [↩]
- If you're not familiar with the UCI/USAC rule, you can read about it here on VeloNews. [↩]
- Most of you are probably already aware that Ryder pulled out from the race after Stage 12, this interview was conducted on the first rest day. [↩]
- Manual #17: FIGHT MONOTONY [↩]
- Manual #18: THINK BEFORE YOU EAT [↩]