Sunday, April 6, 2014

February & March Part I: Italy

It's been a crazy 2014 for me so far.  In January I did a fat bike race up around 3000 m in Como, CO.  It was rad, and fat bikes are also rad, if you live in an area that get sufficient snowfall.  I do, so I could totally justify buying one.  It's definitely on the bottom of my list of future bike purchases, though.  I suppose I'm lucky enough to have friends with fat bikes.
Como, CO.  Fat bike racing at 3000 m.

The venue.

My borrowed Borealis Yampa. A carbon fat bike that rode just like a regular MTB.
I participated in the 4 person relay with teammates Jonathan, Les, and Brian.  We won that category, mainly thanks to a blistering lead-out lap by Brian.  Since that race was the Colorado Fat Bike Championship, I suppose that we are the 4 person relay fat bike champions of Colorado.  Special jerseys are in route...

No that long after that I found myself lining up for a month of traveling for work.  First up was a week long maintenance trip to a mine in Safford, AZ.  I had a semi-chance meeting with Tom McD in Phoenix, and, since he had a spare bike with him, I managed to sneak in my last ride of the month on the McDowell Mountain trail system.  It was pretty fun.  Smooth and ripping fast desert singletrack.  Two days after getting back from that trip, I was on another plane...

DIA with snow.
... to Italy.  I never thought I'd really get a chance to go across the pond, let alone basically for free because I was visiting the head office of the company I work for.  It was a pretty cool.  I spent 2 weeks in Pisa (where the office is), and traveled everywhere I could.  When I say "I," I really mean "we" as I went with two of my coworkers.  We traveled overnight through through Philly and Munich.  When we arrived in Pisa, we immediately walked into the center of town to try and find some towers.  We found them (it) after a few hours of walking.

The River Arne.

It definitely leans...
Just a Tower peaking around a corner.

My favorite picture of the day.
We spend the week at work learning about our equipment, and how the company in general works.  The next weekend we found our way to a train station, and ended up in Florence.  That was probably my favorite part of the trip.  We walked around for a long time, ate the best steaks of our lives, drank in a bunch of bars and clubs, then walked around some more the next day.

Of course when I saw a bike shop, I had to visit.

Duomo group selfie.


Fantastic stonework.

Inside the dome.

I climbed this tower.

Top of the Tower.

Best steak ever.  4 cm thick and as raw as is healthy to eat.  Sold by the kilogram.

After somehow making it back to Pisa, we worked for another week, then headed home via a 300 km/hr train to Rome.  I liked the fast train, and really wish the US had more of these.  They totally make sense given how huge the country is.  If you take a train from Chicago to Denver, a distance of 1600 km, it takes you 18 hrs on the California Zephyr.  The train we took to Rome would do it in 5.5 hrs.  When will this country every come into the 21st Century?


Entrance to the Forum 

One Centurion wearing Timberlands, one in period sandals.  The one in sandals was playing with an iPad.

The Wedding Cake.

Vatican City

Forum ruins.

My favorite picture/spot from the whole trip.  Trevi Fountains at night.  Taken on my cell phone.
The next morning, we were on a plane to Philly.  Our plane was delayed at the gate due to mechanical issues (something with a temperature sensor).  We sat there for three or four hours and watch two planes arrive and leave from the gate next to us.  By the time we got to Philly and through customs we had about five minutes to make it completely across the airport to our Denver flight.  Needless to say we didn't make it.  The airline put us up in a hotel and gave us some food vouchers.  My parents ended up driving down into the city for a surprise dinner at our hotel.  It was cool to see them.  The next morning we were up super early for our flight back home.  It was a good thing that we had all taken the next day off work to sleep because we ended up not getting back home until about 2 PM the next day.  Much sleeping was done.

Tune in soon for some bike racing reports...


Fatmarc Vanderbacon said...

italy pictures are outstanding...
great stuff

brett said...

great post! pics are fantastic!