Well, tomorrow I depart for that ride, which means that after today I won't be posting again until Tuesday, October 7th, at which point I will resume regular updates.
Of course, as a seasoned traveler I know comfort is paramount on long journeys, and so you can be sure I'll be donning my customary flying suit:
Between that and my combination neck pillow/padded toilet seat cover I expect to arrive in Italy as fresh as a bruisewort:
As for the route I'll be riding, there are four on offer, and it is my understanding we'll be doing the "percorso medio," which is Italian for "Medium Woosie:"
And which is described thusly:
It is the "gateway" to the myth of l'eroica, in 4 hours, and 1900 meters of difference in level, in addition to the beauty highlighted in the short route, do not miss.
This distance itself is not daunting, but I'm guessing the combination of 1,900 meters of climbing (yes, meters and not feet, unfortunately), jetlag, and a fakakte (sp?) old bicycle will conspire to thoroughly kick my scranus.
Also, as I understand it, Brooks is making us all go "full retro" by riding in medieval hair shirts:
Fortunately I am naturally hirsute, so I'm pretty sure I can fool them by simply riding topless.
Meanwhile, I've been preparing mentally for the ride by studying the "philosophy" of L'Eroica:
PHILOSOPHYL’EROICA WAS BORN FOR THE LOVE CYCLING, THAT WHICH CAUSED THE WRITING OF SOME AMOUNT HISTORY AND OF A LOT OF ITALIAN LITERATURE WITH THE INTENT TO SEEK THE AUTHENTIC ROOTS OF A BEAUTIFUL SPORT, WITH A GREAT POPULAR SOUL PEOPLE, AND TO DISCOVER BEAUTY
I have no fucking idea what that means.
It's also natural that on the eve of my departure my thoughts travel to the last time I visited Italy, for the so-called "Full Bike Day:"
This was one of the strangest experiences of my life, and highlights included speaking at a school run by a headmaster with an inordinate fondness for purple sweaters:
Making the news:
And of course participating in the "Full Bike Day" ride itself, to throbbing disco accompaniment:
Actually, pretty much everything in that part of Italy is performed to throbbing disco accompaniment.
(And yeah, it's filmed vertically, but keep in mind that my peripheral vision was totally fried by this point anyway.)
All of this, however, took part in the region of Puglia, and this time I am bound for the vastly different region of Tuscany, so I really have no idea what to expect apart from an apparent lack of housing inventory--and I'd be remiss if I didn't append the following video:
All of this raises the alarming question of where I'll be staying, and hopefully Brooks at least loans me a hand-chamfered leather sleeping mat so I can curl up in whatever the Tuscan equivalent of a Dumpster is:
Moving on, as Fred violence becomes increasingly commonplace, it's only a matter of time before they're banned from the roads altogether and forced to compete virtually--which I have a feeling they'll be totally fine with:
With just a stationary trainer and ANT+ speed and cadence sensors, users can race their buddies from across the country. Add an ANT+ enabled power meter, or a smart trainer like the Wahoo Kickr, which allows resistance to be controlled externally, and the platform’s capabilities expand into a highly realistic virtual riding experience.
It's true, the weak link in the Fredly cycling experience has always been the actual riding part, so I expect this to be a hit--though if you ask me they should have included the violence:
Despite the Zwift staff’s gaming and software heritage, and the very video-game-like graphics, Grand Theft Bicycle this is not. There are no guns, no running down of pedestrians or zombies to blow up. There aren’t any cars, either, or flats, or crashes. Zwift Island, the first of many virtual worlds Zwift will be adding to the system, is a cyclist’s utopia, bursting with evening light and flitting fireflies, smooth roads and stiff climbs.
Then again, they're probably saving that for the bike messenger version.
Lastly, a "twitterer" claims to have found the "World's Greatest Surly Long Haul Trucker:"
Quite possibly the World's Greatest Surly LHT. @bikesnobnyc pic.twitter.com/CHDeFC8dB8
— BrokeinMileEnd (@BrokeinMileEnd) October 1, 2014
Here it is again:
It's all right, I guess--though apart from the artisanal aerobars it seems pretty ordinary to me.