Today I "participated" (or tried to!) in a raduno. A raduno is a cycling event sponsored by a local bike team or shop, and the small fee is donated to a cause. It's very local, and usually follows a standard route. Today's raduno was sponsored by the Sieci Bike Team. I met 5 team members and we pedaled to the start. There were approximately 100 participants. I only counted one other woman.
I am slowly getting used to the fact that cycling is a man's sport in Italy, covering all age groups. I'm always faced with the decision of participating in rides and events, knowing that there's the possibility that I'll end up getting dropped without any other female support. The only other choice is not to participate. So I must be brave and just show up. Long term, the most productive thing will be to help the team to recruit more women as with the Renegades. It will take much more time to accomplish this here, so, in the meantime, I must bite the bullet, train harder and not allow it to get me down.
So, you can assume the outcome of today's ride. I did end up doing 80K and it was a beautiful course, shaded, flat and cool. I really did have fun, but it's a real shame that I didn't make it back to the start to share in the post-ride fun and to receive my free bottle of wine.
The lesson of the day is that I should have been better prepared, since, had I known the route, (they don't give out route slips...you have to know the route beforehand) at least I would have made it back to the start instead of wasting so much time trying to figure out where everyone went. Actually this was my first bad riding experience, but I made the most of it with a positive spirit!