For questions regarding this site contact webmaster
All images and content appearing on this website intended for viewing only. Commercial or personal use of any of these images,
design or text without written permission is prohibited under United States and International copyright laws.
All rights reserved.
May 23 - Stage 14
Wine vineyards grew everywhere
I woke up early when I heard the farmer's tractor spraying his grape crop which is growing on the slopes beneath our window. I quietly slipped out of the room, leaving Angie to sleep a bit (I've learned it benefits me), and went out to build our tandem bike. We always rent a station wagon or van because we have our tandem bike with us when we travel. The bike will break down to travel, but it's easier, once it's built, to just toss it in the car after we ride for the day. When we first walked up to the car at the airport, both of us just stood there a second waiting for the other to talk. Angie finally said, it's missing a hub cap. I walked around the car and corrected her by saying, No it only has the One hub cap on the non wrecked corner of the car. It looks like something from the movie, Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Hey as long as it runs for a couple of weeks, we're okay. I pulled the bike out and built it, then put it back in the car. We plan on driving close to the finish area then ride in from there, but plans often change, so we just try to have options.
I went back up to the room and gently woke Angie. We got ready and left for the finish of the stage around noon. I know a late start, but we're still in the jetlag mode. We stopped at a cafe and grabbed a sandwich and some kind of dessert. It was bread with chocolate poured on it. How cold hat be bad? We headed on to the finish town, which was a short drive from our hotel. I drive and Angie navigates, which usually works well. We were still making a plan for the day, when we saw a sign that had us only 3K from the finish, so we ditched the ride for today and parked the car only three blocks from the final climb. We took our LiveStrong banner, but left our extra large one. That close to the finish area, the crowds get pretty packed and large signs get hard to handle. We walked up, and I do mean UP to the top. A 3 kilometer climb isn't very far, but this one had a 16% section and the rest of it wasn't much less. We got to the top and were very happy to find a restaurant, so we had an awesome four cheese pizza for our mid afternoon snack. After eating we walked back down the climb 300 meters to a shaded, curved section which was also by the LiveStrong barricades put up by the organizers.
We found our spot!
The crowds continued to pass by to the top, which I'm sure was nice and miserable in the 100 degree sun, packed in like sardines. Good for them to get to see the riders cross the finish line instead of being in the shade watching them suffer like dogs trying to get there. Angie spotted a guy wearing an Alabama tshirt and yelled to him. He had no idea what she said, obviously not from Alabama. The best trick of those passing by was a guy riding on the back wheel of his road bike with no hands. He came into view that way and continued past us the same way.
He's obviously been practicing this trick
Finally the race was on us. The break of the day arrived before the overall GC contenders, but they all looked to be struggling the same. Levi passed by with the leaders group and Lance followed shortly behind him.
Lance's bike does stand out from the rest
A big variety of clinched jaws, tongues hanging out, nothing but pained faces continued to ride by, all except one. When we saw Chechu Rubiera, Lance's long time friend and teammate and yelled to him, he perked up and looked around to see who was calling his name over all the screaming crowd. When he saw Angie shaking her yellow cheerleader pompoms, he gave us a huge smile and a wink.
Chechu always has the biggest smile in the peloton when he hears us cheering for him. Super guy!
It was all over soon and we started the long hike back down the hill. Tomorrow we move to our next hotel, some castle I found that sounded cool.
If you enjoy reading about our efforts in Italy, or even if you don't :-)
Please consider following this link Donate to LIVESTRONG and
make a donation to the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
It is making a difference around the world! Thanks