Second home?

Up at 6:30
Breakfast: 7:00
Depart for race: 10:00
Stage start 11:50
Today’s stage finished in Bassano Del Grappa. Years ago trying to be a bike racer, I visited this area with my friend Stace Cooper. We stayed with a group of Americans who were there to train and race their bikes. Some other friends (Bill Anderson and his wife Nerena) had a camp for Americans to come to Italy and train and race their bikes. So Stace and I stayed with them and raced and trained. A bit of luck eluded me one day and I dropped my chain and lost contact in one race. But luck was on my side in my second race and I won my first race in Italy back then. That race was in the small city of Bessica (and went through Loria).
So having the stage finish here in Bassano makes me feel sort of at home. I trained on quite a few roads around here. The area is perfect for riding/training. Head south and it is flat. Head east or west and it is rollers. Head north and you are in some fantastic mountains.
After the end of the stage we went straight to washing bikes/working on bikes as usual. A group of Aussies were using the same hotel as their base and heading out on day trips to watch the giro. Allen chatted up much more than we did with them but they were cool and friendly so I may not been as fast that day as usual.
It was also a nice treat to speak to English speaking group. Even though most Italians speak English, it is not always easy. You have to sometimes concentrate really hard to understand and that seems to take an enormous amount of energy to listen and reply in a way they might understand. You then have to use vocabulary that you would think they would be familiar with. Not difficult to converse but a bit tough.
After dinner the hotel owner, Max, was kind enough to offer to take us on a short trip. We finished work relatively early so I though we had time. Allen and I took up the offer and packed into a van with Max and the Aussies. Max took us up to the top of this castle in the city of Marostica. It was only about 15 minutes away so a nice treat. We looked out from the castle and saw the lights of the cities around us. So cool!
It is kind of funny that both of our last two hotel owners names were Max. Both Max’s were very kind and helpful. Usually so far I’ve been so waxed each night I only want to eat dinner and go to sleep. But this was a bit easier work day so a real treat to be able to enjoy Italy just a little bit.
Because I was here (back in 1990) I sort of feel like this could be my second home. I feel at ease here. I recommend a visit to this area for all of you.
Teams at this hotel: Only us (YES!!!!!!!!)


Owner of and long time professional race mechanic.