Poof! And just like that 2017 is done and dusted. Like a foggy hangover courtesy of an all night bender, the holiday's, and last year as a whole, are all but a cloudy memory. But as my mind sobers up and I begin to take stock, I'm reminded 2017 was an incredible year and that I have much to be thankful for. From loving family and friends to incredible cycling adventures, I have been fortunate. Here is a look-back at one such cycling highlight from 2017...
Siena. Maybe you've heard of it, maybe you haven't. It's one of those beautiful hamlets in Tuscany that is well worth the visit but often overlooked by its bigger brethren, Florence. It's here, early last Spring that I lined up for the Gran Fondo Strade Bianche. Built to emulate the actual race, the fondo offers the chance for us mere mortals to play the game of "me too" and race on the same roads as the pro's. So naturally, like the guinea pig that I am, I willing signed up, demanded they take my money for the entrance fee, then lined up for the leg smashing that was about to be served.
Huddled amongst 1,000 other participants at the start line, the drizzle began to turn into heavy droplets. I hunched over and folded my hands into my arm pits in a vein attempt to retain any bits of warmth that might otherwise escape my shivering body. "This is not what I had in mind" I thought as I stood, teeth chattering, waiting for what seemed an eternity for the start gun to sound off.
Bang! Finally we could roll and "surely it would only be a matter of moments now where my legs would be pumping like pistons and my body would start to thaw" I told myself. But as luck (or lack thereof) would have it, we started off on a descent out of town and immediately water began to fling up from the rolling tires of cyclists’ in front of me; the splatters erasing any last traces of dryness and turning my shivering into convulsive shaking.