This past weekend Shoko and I made our annual mosey east to watch a bike race, but this year wasn’t Paris-Nice like usual. Instead, we recreated our 2010 trip to Sanremo to see the end of Monument Milan-Sanremo and explore the town a little bit more than time allowed 9 years ago.
It was a perfect weekend of sun and warm temperatures, which always helps your outlook on life, but we both really enjoyed Sanremo and its off-season beach resort-y feel this time around.
The small city also had the most convoluted old town I’ve ever visited, with ‘streets’ (no vehicle could climb these things, but for lack of a better word…) that careened off in all sorts of unexpected directions; all of which was ‘arcaded’, which made for a very gloomy atmosphere. I imagine it’s pretty cool in summer, though.
And of course I got out for a ride – along the long bike path (converted from a railway) and up and over both the Cipressa and Poggio, capos of great fame and sites of much attacking and red-lining every March. I found both of them pretty easy, but I didn’t have quite 300 km in my legs, like the pros did a few hours later.
On the way up the Poggio I was passed by two locals; one of which had snow-white hair. I stepped on the pedals to stave off potential depression and managed to hold his wheel to the famous left-hander that takes you down the many sharp and tricky hairpins to the entrance of Sanremo. Look at the calves on this pensioner!
And then there was the race, of course. Shoko and I stayed in the hotel and simply watched Rai 2 till Alaphilippe and friends were at the bottom of the Poggio descent and then stepped onto the balcony to see the finish – Here is a pissed Sagan freewheeling straight to his bus.
Then we headed out for a bit of atmosphere before finding a place to have an aperitivo and a plate of the best carbonara I’ve had in years. How can Italians make such a simple dish as pasta so much better than anyone else? At least I live nearby…
8 thoughts on “Sanremo in the Sun”
It was a great race wasn’t it? We always enjoy our trips to watch Milano Sanremo with shopping for Italian food and eating it being a big plus point.
We stocked up at the morning market and grocery store, too. Great to cross the border once in a while.
What a great finish to the race. I like seeing Alaphilippe win. He has the legs and wits to achieve great things. Not far behind Sagan in poster boy charm for cycling, and definitely a good boost for French cycling! Great fun to watch. With Van Aert and van der Poel growing into their roles in road cycling, there are potentially really entertaining years ahead in these spring classics!
Agreed! Love to see the new guys come up and take their rightful places, especially if they’re French 😉
Fun all round.
It was nice to get away.
Nice story telling, Gerry—love the pictures. I also rode that bike path (and the tunnel with all the great pictures of the legends) but never the Cipressa or Poggio. I believe I read that the front group rode it up at 35kph? Probably averaging 500W… just unbelievable, no?
It’s a great bike path. I can’t think of anything like it on the Med in France. And yes, the way they climbed those two hills was beyond impressive. Hope are enjoying AZ!