“We’re doing it. We’re riding De Rosas in Italy.” This was my gleeful exclamation to my friend Sue after we’d climbed our first hill in Chianti on La Corsa’s Giro tour in May. It was late afternoon on our first day. We’d been picked up by Andy in Florence, moved into our flat at the magnificent Villa Borgo Sicelle, had our first lunch at Marco’s charming restaurant right up the hill, been fitted on our De Rosas, and were now riding on quintessential Tuscan roads amid olive groves and vineyards. It was a dream come to life after a winter spent enjoyably obsessing over training and how to pack for our trip.
In my memory now, the days of our tour run together in a stream of leisurely wake-ups, breakfast ride briefings from Chris, downhill swoops to start the day’s ride, coffee stops, long lunches, lazy afternoons, and epic dinners. Within that flow, too many crystal-clear moments to name come to the fore: That first ride. The fig and ricotta gelato. The faint floral scent in the air that Alasdair and I endeavored all week to identify. Our Sunday ride with what seemed like half of Italy out on bicycles with us.
Seeing all of the teams set up before Stage 11 of the 100th Giro. The sight of my dear friend and our tour-mates cycling in a stretched out line before me in the morning light and the beauty all around us. Conquering the climb to the highest point in Tuscany. The conversation and laughter at all our meals together. And every single restaurant and food item! By mid-week, Sue had declared our trip “an indulgent dream,” the perfect description I wish I’d come up with myself. Suffice it to say, we are now scheming to make it a recurring dream.