Friday, July 23, 2010

Race Report: TransALPs Stage 6 – Ponte di Legno to Male

After the wicked long day yesterday and the not very relaxing stay at Hotel Garni Pegra, we were all anxious to get Stage 6 started. The hotel was not exactly prepared to serve breakfast to a large number of hungry bikers; the food and coffee were good, but the service was poor once again. Since we were only 400 m from the start line, they guys simply rode to the start chute and were off on their own, which gave Tracey and me time to breath and catch up on email and blogging. I was also determined to stay up until check out time, since the crabby manager seemed to want us out before the posted 9:30 AM check out.

We loaded up the truck once again and off we went up and over another pass. The area’s bread and butter must be skiing, but there were loads of people up at the first pass riding the cable cars,

hiking, or perhaps shopping at a bazaar at the village at the pass. We made it around to Commezzadura, a town very near the finish line at Male, Italy, in good time and checked into our apartments. Apartments in Europe are similar to what we would call a vacation condo in the U.S. In addition to a bedroom and bath, it had a small kitchen, a walk out patio, and laundry facilities. This particular apartment, Residenza Turistico Alberghiera La Morentina, or RTA La Morentina, was brand new, very nice, and absolutely what we needed. We are staying in these apartments for two nights, which makes us all so happy not to be packing up and moving on tomorrow morning.

Our plan was to go grocery shopping for supplies for a couple of dinners and snacks for two days before the guys were due in, but Italy has other plans for potential shoppers from 12:30 to 3 in the afternoon. The only thing we could find open was a gelato and coffee shop, so we sat for a minute in the shade for a scoop of ice cream of some unknown flavor and excellent coffee.

Since the shops didn’t open until 3 PM, there was really nothing else to do but wait at the finish line again.

We collected the guys again after almost 6 hours on the bike today. Here is a 12 second video that you really must watch to see them cross the finish line and hear the German announcer announce Andrew Jordan and David Dowdall team Supersonic Tortoises.

They were tired, dirty, and overheated, but in good spirits.

The organizers made good use of the town fountain to keep the drinks and fruit cool at the food station at the finish line.

Male was a nice enough town with a church

And shops on narrow streets.

Taking in some substantial food after that kind of effort is really important so we stopped at a pizzeria

where they actually had wine on tap!

After we dropped the guys at the apartments, Tracey and I were able to go grocery shopping at a small supermarket. The variety and supply of pasta, both dried and fresh, was almost overwhelming. In the end, we picked up some penne and sauces to be able to cook simple dinners for the next two nights

and eat in for a change.

Time for laundry

and conversing with the manager in Italian (no, none of us know Italian) on the lawn before sundown and lights out for us while the rest of the locals come to life on the streets.

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