I’m now only 7 days away from my 2nd shot at the Strade Bianche Gran Fondo (‘the most southerly northern Classic’), which I wanted to do again in good weather. I give you the latest forecast for Siena for next Sunday:
Last year it rained nearly the entire 5 hours I was riding and the high was 9 degrees. I guess I can’t complain about what’s coming (but I will).
Training is going well, I think. I’m feeling stronger every week, and even though I still haven’t seen my weight dip under 70 kg, I’m looking leaner. In the end, that’s what counts, I believe.
Since I started my no-program training program in December I’ve logged 91 hours on the bike. I was surprised to see that this is 10 more than this time last year, meaning I should do 10% better in the race, obviously.
The 2018 version of Strade Bianche will be done with friends, most of whom you know already. They include Karsten-with-a-K; the guy who keeps me honest in 44|5 Cycling Tours – John; Sarah, a fellow Canadian who I believe will be doing her very first sportive; and Stephen, a friend from New York who’s coming over just for the race (and the food and the wine and the good weather).
What we can expect next Sunday is a fabulous route that starts in the old fortress of Siena, followed by 140 km of wonderful Tuscan roads, punctuated by 8 sectors of gravel / mud roads that total 31 km. Our route is the same one the pro women will ride the day before us.
Finally, of course this gran fondo finishes with a brutal (but mercifully short) climb up to the very heart of Siena…
…with the finish line being in the Piazza del Campo, where no matter how wrecked and wretched you are, it’s only a few awkward steps in your cleats to an espresso, a slice of pizza, or a bottle of Chianti.