Sunday, June 1, 2014

Team Grizzle on Tour: Week One, Part One

Total Italian Immersion

After months of preparation and anticipation Team Lizzie on Tour officially kicked off last Monday! Following 24 hours of flights, (+1 extra hour for my bag...just to build the anticipation a bit more), I met an equally exhausted but elated Greta in Milan, and Team Lizzie morphed into Team Grizzle. Following a seamless train journey we quickly arrived in our base camp for the week: Rovereto. We decided that the best way to prepare ourselves for WOC 2014 was to make ourselves at home in our surroundings…total Italian immersion! So it's been a week packed with gelato, pasta, coffee, pizza, mountains, touristing, resting, more gelato, and the odd training! Such a tough life!


Arrival in Italy was celebrated by a quick stretch out of the legs around Rovereto, which we quickly agreed would make an amazing sprint map with its countless small alleys and numerous underpasses. Our festivities continued late into the early evening, with a dinner of gelato followed by pizza. Yes. That order. However, the highlight of the evening has to have been the deep jetlagged sleep.
Oh hello!


Breakfast was followed by further exploration of town, accompanied by wide grins as we congratulated each other on our decision to come to Italy early this year. This was followed by further amazement and disappointment that there's no sprint map of Rovereto, as we managed to explore more hidden alleys as we attempted to refind our hostel. On the appearance of a bit of rain, our afternoon training was flagged in favour of a 2nd jetlag recovery day. We instead opted for an evening jog up to the war memorial, which resulted in the discovery of a giant picturesque fence blocking our way. So we continued up to the Peace Bell (the largest ringing bell in the world as it happens)...which we discovered closes at 6 and has a large fence around it. Highlight of the run however was surviving our first instance of crazy Italian drivers...narrowly avoiding being run over by a blindly reversing driver in a large empty gravel car park. Phew! We celebrated our survival with pizza and gelato. In that order, so obviously a bit less jetlagged!
Just the best photo. Not sure what Greta's growing out of her head.
And well, atleast my arm made it into the frame! War memorial looks nice though.


In the spirit of true Italian immersion, Team Grizzle transport for the week was the Trentino public transport system. Fortunately Wednesday’s strike only affected trains, and so we happily hopped on our Team bus to wind our way up the narrow mountain side road to Folgaria and our first proper training. Taking the front right hand seats afforded us the best views of the road side precipices, an experience heightened only by our driver’s skill at texting while driving J But all was forgiven when I realized her ringtone was the super-mario tune.
Our team bus is bigger than your team bus. ;)

After all that excitement, the training was quite fun too. Although a bit steep for a jetlagged body! The highlight was discovering there were controls out on our course, real luxury! Although the fact that I discovered this at #2 probably means I wasn’t where I thought I was at #1… MAP.
Training day 1. Classic kiwi tactic, training with a map printed off someone's DOMA 


My long-lost high school German skills remained long-lost, resulting in us temporarily waiting for a bus that only runs at weekends. Oops. Luckily Greta figured out our mistake, relegating me to never being in charge of bus time tables ever again. Not to be offput, we used the morning to visit Rovereto’s war museum, a sobering reminder of the history of the area we’ll be training and racing through over the next month.
Second time lucky, in the afternoon we caught the Grizzle team bus up to Lavarone Rochette for a middle length training. Again the legs and lungs felt a bit like lead for much of the training, but were fast enough to get us back to our bags before the heavens opened! We drank coffee, dried off and waited for the next in our fleet of team buses in the hotel-du-lac whilst the hotel owner told us legends of the Swiss and Swedish teams training in the area. Map.
Training Day 2. Just broke 10min/kms. Woohoo!


To celebrate the imminent arrival of our first batch of training buddies, along with the luxury of a car, we took a rest morning and a final team Grizzle bus trip out to Riva del Garde. The climb up to the castle to get a primo view was a bit sharp for a rest day, so we decided against the bonus 2km walk with 500m climb required to get the premium view from the church ;) We then set a speed eating record at lunch in order to get back to Rovereto in time to meet our Aussie contingent...and wait 3hrs for Alex to arrive in our team car! One lesson learnt this week: it turns out that foreign credit cards just kill Italian computer systems, be it rental car companies, supermarkets, or hostels!
Not bad.

 Just where will that stress ball go next?!

Finally a full complement, and even able to fit ourselves and all our stuff in the rental car(!), we were all set for Part Two of our Italian training week adventures...The 3 days of Trenches races. Stay tuned!


  1. Thanks to Greta for letting me win a bet arrival of the third stage.
    Me at the microphone: "Greta Knarston arrival!"
    Public around: "You are just guessing!"
    Me: "Beer for all if she is Greta?"
    Audience: "OK!"

    Thanks Greta, it was you! :-)

  2. Haha, that's awesome Stefano! Hope you enjoyed your beer!