Sunday, May 10, 2009

Gran Fondo San Gimignano

Today I enjoyed my second Gran Fondo, this time in San Gimignano, just a 90 minute drive from Florence. This Gran Fondo is part of the Granducato series, so it attracted the most elite riders in Italy, and it was televised on two TV channels, including RAI. From my team, there were 3 men, Rebecca and me. We did the medio percorcso. It was a heady experience to participate in a race with such a world-class group of cyclists. Rebecca and I finished the race together, and much to the chagrin of the most serious racers, we probably deserved a prize for having enjoyed the scenery more than anyone else. It was a perfectly blooming spring day, with poppies bursting along the perimeter of endless vineyards, and meadows full of sheep grazing below hilltop castellos. Although we kept seriously focused on our momentum, it was difficult to ignore the magnificent environment.

After the race, we each received a "pacco di gara" which this time included a bottle of Vernaccia, a bottle of olive oil, and other local delights. The post-race lunch included pasta, salumi, formaggi, salsicce, pancetta cotte alla brace, fruta, dolci, caffe' e vino.

A prize prosciutto crudo was given to every team who had a minimum of 10 participants, and a "spalla", (prosciutto cotto) to those with more than 7 !!!!