Never before in LVIS history has so much pink been worn so stylishly by so few men…
The idea to race the Castelli 24 had been brewing since a rather wet and unpleasant Bikefest dampened everyone’s spirits in 2014. Little did we realise that 12 months later we would be running for cover in an effort to shelter from a hugely impressive thunder storm that apparently this area of Italy is famous for.
Although we gave ourselves a good year to prep for the race we still didn’t really know what to expect and no amount of youtube videos about the race could bridge the gap between the organisers’ pigeon English and our virtual complete lack of Italian. So in the age old Vegas tradition we rocked up to the base of the Dolomites with just enough time to build some bikes, concoct some sort of strategy and consume as many carbs as possible. “How bad could it be?”
Having been schooled in the art of 24 and 12 hour bike races we wanted to get the most from the race so turned up with a team of 9 in what should have been a 12 man relay race, truly bringing a knife to a gunfight. Despite this, jetlag from Chinese flights and having already been up for 21 hours by the time the gun went it seemed that fate was smiling on us as it turns out the continentals don’t like riding in the wet so delayed the start by an hour and a half until our esteemed colleagues had worked up the courage to clip in and race. Once the gun went and the safety car pulled off it was “game on” and we spent the next 30 minutes in at the sharp end of the pack. What followed was frenetic and chaotic as the race sorted itself out into a random pecking order. Meanwhile we chose to eat more cake.
Maybe it was the Giro pink or maybe our rather laissez faire attitude which endeared us to the locals, either way a friendly little Café, handily placed outside the transition area adopted us, plied us with free bread, cheese and meat, filled our bottles and supplied chairs for those that needed them. In retrospect that might have been to keep us outside of their fine eating establishment. It turns out we had rather a good spot to sort handovers and adapt strategy in order to cope with exploding wheels and tubs with more hole than a sieve.
Cobbled corners, slick turns scattered with man hole covers as well as crazy racing lines made for unpredictable racing but despite the usual race fare and dogs running across the course mid-pack we had few incidents to contend with, only a wet pedestrian crossing proved our undoing.
LVIS would have been proud, we were averaging about 24 mph over the course of the race, 3 minute laps, 20-30 minute stints…. Things were hectic but we hadn’t accounted for the well-oiled machine that were the Italian Crit teams who rattling riders out on course with precision even Mussolini’s trains couldn’t match. It wasn’t all work, work, work- riders were heckled, beer was handed up; Steak, wine and more beer was blagged yet we still finished on the first page of the results, an honourable 36th, with some clear ideas about how to gain more places next year.
This event provided the perfect platform to raise some cash for a cause rather too close to home – I have been fundraising for Breast Cancer Care since Christmas as my wife has unfortunately been diagnosed with the illness, up until the race we had raised approximately £1500 but our shenanigans raised the total by a further £260 over the next hours. Helen and I have been truly touched by the wonderful support we have had not least by the Vegas Massif.
Should you be feeling rather awkward by now and want to donate having not already done so a link to the page is here: https://www.justgiving.com/Nathan-Bliss2/
A link to Helen’s blog is here: http://helenblissblog.blogspot.co.uk
And there are copious amounts of pics here: http://www.facebook.com/24hrcancerkicking