Posted by: Jennifer Sage | May 20, 2009

The Giretto Stage 1 The Lido; Team Time Trial

Stage 1 was on The Lido, an island just east of Venice. The time trial route is amazingly short – only 21.5km (13miles). Our plan was to ride from our B&B to the ferry station, take the boat to the Lido, and ride the perfectly flat course. But, when we got to the ferry, they adamantly denied access to all bicycles (this was only for the day of the Giro – normally you can get over there on bikes). Another group of cyclists from Australia were there with us to be disappointed. Ah shucks…

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This photo is the bello ragazzo that turned us away – he was only doing his job! But we had to record it on camera – the idea was to look disappointed in the photo, and Nina and Jim on the right just couldn’t do that…

We rode back to the inn (a grand total of 18 miles RT, so we DID get in our required stage distance, just in case you’re wondering), jumped in the van and drove to the ferry. Upon arrival in Lido, we were attracted to loud music, very loud. It was an outdoor “indoor cycling” class of about 150+ bikes. (I can’t call it Spinning, because they were Schwinn bikes and instructors). It was awesome. There were 4 instructors on stage, we got there in time to watch the last one, a very motivating inspiring instructor. There were drums and other instruments on stage; it would have been awesome to see that part of it!

Indoor cycling class on the Lido

Indoor cycling class on the Lido

They were obviously simulating a time trial. The instruction was excellent (though not everyone in the audience had good form, in fact some were abysmal, BUT, at least it was all proper riding and no contraindications). They stayed in the saddle for most of it, with a few short 5-10 seconds out of the saddle, probably to simulate a “pull” at the front of the paceline or coming out of a corner to regain speed. I don’t speak Italian so I didn’t know what he was saying, but it was obvious it was mostly inspirational. (I have video and photos of it….but I’m having technical problems trying to upload the video to my computer from the camcorder so you’ll have to wait. Trying to contact Canon for help…)

After having lunch and strolling around the island a bit, we found a great spot to watch the riders as they came around a turn. I actually was balancing three cameras: a video which also takes stills, my digital camera, and my iPhone, so I could immediately send them via Twitter! I looked a little silly. Most of these photos are Gene’s however, as I shot mostly video.

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Team time trials are a lot more interesting to watch than individual time trials. The team strategy is quite fascinating and they look so ominous in that tight paceline! Two American teams were 1 and 2 and the 3rd place team was a “pseudo-American” team. First was Colombia Highroad (Cavendish in the pink jersey), second was Garmin-Chipotle (with Christian Vande Velde), and third was Astana (a Kazakh sponsor but with Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer and Chris Horner).

After the race we had to get to the ferry on the north side of the island, as our driver Daniele was going to pick us up there to go to our next hotel in Jesolo. Here is Team Giretto the day before the first BIG DAY of riding! (The race finish and ferry dock is behind Gene’s head in the photo).

Team Giretto on the Lido

Funny, amazing story

We were on the ferry and barely noticed that everyone else on it was credentialed; apparently we had snuck onto a VIP ferry with team vehicles underneath the main deck, and photographers, media, mechanics, etc on top. Gene had us duck under a rope because he didn’t want to walk to the other ferry dock they directed us to. Had we looked around we probably would have seen lots of other VIPs, although we did see Paolo Bettini, retired Italian cyclist. We determined that the ferry that left just before us had the actual teams on it (can you imagine if we had snuck onto that one?!)

I was reading tweets on my iPhone and read the feed from Lance’s photographer, Liz Kreutz, who was there at the Giro riding a moto during the stages and snapping photos. I follow her Twitter feed regularly. As we walked off the ferry, I said to Gene and Nina, “You know who we need to meet? We need to meet Liz Kreutz.” I was pondering who might help us make a connection with Lance and/or Livestrong.

The lady next to me stopped in her tracks, looked at me, and said, “That’s me!” She had a large camera around her neck.

Holy Cow! What are the chances of that? This is about as coincidental and unlikely as one can get. I mean, imagine walking anywhere, and hearing the total stranger next to you say they want to meet you!

I was dumbfounded, but managed to say that I really enjoyed her Tweets and tried to explain what we were doing with the Giretto, and that even though we were raising money for Livestrong (with their blessing) they hadn’t even acknowledged us, hadn’t sent out a single tweet despite Gene’s regular requests. I thought maybe Liz could just mention to Lance who we were and what we were doing. Maybe he would care more than Livestrong.

Liz got a phone call right then and had to run; I said I would send her a tweet and she said she’d be on the lookout for it.

But she still isn’t following me, even after my requests, and never answered back. I know she’s busy in the press rooms, but I thought the truly unique and coincidental means of our meeting would inspire her to respond.

So Lance didn’t know we were there or what we were doing (despite the entire concept of our Giretto ride being completely epic and unusual). And Livestrong still hasn’t responded to or acknowledged us, which is quite disappointing, when we’ve used total grassroots methods to raise over $10K (only 3 people!!) and plan to turn this into a much bigger event next year.

Sigh…

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