Wednesday, March 24, 2010

More Adventures Abroad

This last four-day was exciting as usual. With all the hard work we have been doing, Nate and I rewarded ourselves with a little road trip to Italy. It was wicked awesome! Not only did we drive through (and stop in) some beautiful places in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy, we also got to spend quite a bit of time enjoying the Mediterranean air of the Italian Riviera! After a full 10 hours of driving and multiple tanks of gas at outrageous prices, we arrived in the sea-side town of San Remo, Italy. This small vacation town is the terminus of the longest one-day race on the pro-tour calendar, Milan-San Remo. This exhausting race, funnily enough, goes from Milan to San Remo...go figure. Not only did we get to see one of our favorite riders, Oscar Freire of Team Rabobank, win the race, we spent two days riding through the tough terrain of Italy and France.

Our ride the first day was challenging, but fun, as we made our way through some impressive Italian traffic and grime into a much less crowded and much cleaner France. Everything you have heard about Italy is is very dirty, the food is awesome, and the men are just beautiful (no worries, Miller, I still prefer a scrawny, blond, pale guy any day!). Most things about France are not true. They do not hate Americans, they do not smell, and the people are really very freindly , even when you garble thier language while using a French-Canadian accent! When in France we ate some great bread and just enjoyed the gorgeous sea-side. I imagined Napoleon marching his troops on the same route we took, and envisioned the immense sea battles Admiral Nelson fought against Boney on that very coast. The history of the area was just daunting! After our ride, we saw the finish of Milan- San Remo and treated ourselves to REAL Italian pizza, tiramisu, and gelato. The food was really tasty!

With our fat stores built back up, we decided that a very long ride with a combined 33,000 feet of climbing was in store for the next day. We rode for over six hours, but took one rest stop at a great little pastry shop we found. We spoke VERY little Italian, so we pointed and gesticulated until we had bought a sample of nearly everything in the shop.....and two very cold Cokes with fresh lemon. It was certainly the most satisfying ride I have had in a while. After dinner and more gelato, we turned in for the night in order to prepare for our ten-hour drive home. Luckily the cats did not trash the house too much (only a few wild parties), and the plants were fine. I would say the excursion was a great success! I love you all, and wish that everyone could have these great adventures with us (especially those people who know some Italian...wink, wink, nudge, nudge, Alli).