Cycling Italy in the Shadow of the ‘Giro’

The Giro d’Italia is a cycling road race in Italy equivalent to the Tour de France. Top professional cyclists from around the world gather to compete in one of the most grueling road races, covering every region of Italy. The three-week competition began May 4th, which sent the competitors on a designated route of 2,116 miles.  Diverse terrain through valleys and mountains in cold and wet weather conditions made this year’s event one of the more brutal in recent memory. This 96th edition of the race began in Naples and finished in Brescia.

Adnan on the Passo Campolongo

Adnan on the Passo Campolongo~ all photos credit of Adnan Kadir

Adnan Kadir, an avid cyclist and friend from my own hometown of Portland, Oregon, just returned from Italy. Accompanied by his fellow cycling athletes and his French-made Cyfac bicycle, he had planned this trip to overlap with the Giro d’Italia. As anticipated, they observed two days of the race while also cycling through Italy along some of the same designated routes, passing through the rolling hills and vineyards of Tuscany and up into the mountains of northern Italy. The first two weeks of his trip were handled by what he describes as a ‘stellar’ outfitter called InGamba.

Adnan's Cycling Gang

Adnan’s Cycling Friends

Giro d'Italia racing through town

Giro d’Italia whips through a village-the 4th guy back is the race leader, and eventually winner, Vincenzo Nibali, wearing the Maglia Rosa (pink winning jersey)

Adnan described the Giro d’Italia as one big cultural event. The cyclists in the Giro rode in a rolling enclosure between official vehicles while police kept cars off the road. He saw people pack themselves along the roadside as the racers came through. Several actually broke rank and ran beside the riders. This year’s route took the competitors up the steep ascent through the mountains of northern Italy to Tre Cime di Lavaredo, the highest point at an altitude of 7,550 feet. On the final stages of the climb, the road was surrounded by huge banks of snow. Last year’s racing route took the cyclists to the top of Mt. Vesuvius and on to Sicily for a couple of days.

Adnan and the Sella

Adnan with the Sella behind him

One of Adnan’s favorite rides while in Italy was around the Sella Ronda. This ride is about 90 km and takes in the Passo Gardena, Passo Campolongo, Passo Pordio, Passo Sella, and finishes on the pass where his hotel was located, the Passo Pinei. They started in sunshine but encountered snow while climbing the Sella.

Snow Zone

Snow Zone-Adnan with friend Christoph from Munich

Is competing in the Giro d’Italia a goal of Adnans? Not at this point in his life, he assured me. “After spending a year racing in Europe, I liked racing but I didn’t love it. I wanted to use my brain, so I came back home and went to grad school.” Good choice! Adnan has raced in Guam, competed in a 7-day mountain bike race in the TransRockies in Canada as well as a 7-day road race, the TransAlp, in Europe (2008). Today he races 2-3 times a week around home.

Spiazzi

Cyclist resting in Spiazzi

Caprese

Caprese, an easy favorite

Adnan is his own boss. Not only does he live adventurously, but he is an entrepreneur as well. He organizes training camps and cycling trips and works as a cycling/triathlon coach through his company Aeolus Endurance Sport. But not all of his fellow athletes are in the same country. With the help of a power meter, specifically the QuarQ power meter, he can utilize remote coaching. Adnan is also a partner in LifeCycle Adventures cycling tours, which operates in California, Oregon and Hawaii. Here is a great short promo video where Adnan explains what he does- https://vimeo.com/66683243

Piazza Pastrengo

Piazza Pastrengo

There are loads of hotels around Italy that cater to riders. One that Adnan stayed in and recommends was the Enjoy Hotel Garda, but there is a whole network of them all around Italy (bikehotels.it).

Adnan and pals on ridge

Adnan and pals on ridge

“The ride to Asciano was on a magnificent ridgetop. The fog cleared and the sun came out, revealing amazing views in every direction. After Asciano, I rode through the sunny valley back to Lecchi, stopping for coffee in the sunshine in Castelnuovo Berardenga.”

Group heads out together
Alpt de Suisi

Adnan’s good friend Christoph from Munich at  Alpe de Suisi

Gate at Asciano

Heading for the Gate at Asciano, photo taken by fellow athlete Jenn Reither

*Promo from Giro d’Italia

Streets of San Gimignano

Streets of San Gimignano

Adnan left me with this one final off-bike experience that he had during his visit to Castello di Ama winery. Originally a walled fortress, wine is now produced and artists hosted who are required to produce one installation while they stay there. Adnan was impressed by how they integrated artwork into the winery spaces. After viewing the art, a gourmet dinner made by the resident chef awaited him and his friends. The food, he emphatically states, like his cycling trip, was unforgettable.

Morning in Chianti

Morning in Chianti



Categories: History

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9 replies

  1. I always thought this would be such a good way to experience a country – unfortunately, I’m in no shape to do this, but I still think it’s so cool. We are actually planning on renting some electric bikes in Provence – hopefully the experience will be sort of the same 😉

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  2. We used to catch the Giro in Milan (they would pass right under our apartment!)….anyway…beautiful post and yummy snacks too!

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    • Thank you Diana. How exciting to be able to look out your window and watch the cyclists swish by, or even have a tall vantage point to be able to see them. I hear that, like the Mille Miglia, onlookers pack in pretty close to the action.

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      • Yes! It was super exciting…..and you are correct! Best seat in the house – – – especially for someone like me….a shorty…trying to see that stuff from the street? Basically impossible! 🙂

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      • Fantastic! This way, you didn’t need to climb up on someone’s shoulders….just kidding:) Sounds like an amazing experience, Diana

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  3. lovely work shared. Thank you!

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  4. I tend not to drop a lot of responses, however i
    did some searching and wound up here Cycling Italy in the Shadow of the Giro | Italy:
    From St. Peter to Caravaggio. And I do have 2 questions for you
    if you usually do not mind. Could it be simply me or does it look like some of the comments
    look like written by brain dead folks? 😛 And, if you are posting on additional sites, I would like to follow everything fresh you have to post.
    Could you list of every one of your public
    pages like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

    Like

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