Ciclistica Squadra Corse is in the Pyrenees, a potential challenge that we, basque Pipes, just can’t miss. The enemy is around and we can’t wait to welcome them to our homeland. However, I get the same feeling as if I would be about to visit old friends. I’m excited and confused, how can I be that exultant about meeting the enemy? I suppose “friend” and “enemy” are just different faces of a same coin (concept) and that some persons gather these two faces together, somehow as our fellow traveller “man with the hammer” does. Good! I found some sort of explanation for my weird feelings! I was getting worried thinking that I was getting so excited just due to the challenge! After all it looks like I am a person too, not just a racer.
Antton and I will meet them in Luz Saint Sauveur for a first stage with tourmalet as protagonist, then we’ll move west to the basque lands, a chance for revenge and for celebrating anything, no matter what. Antton is already in the Pyrenees, he has been there for a while concentrated in the mountains as a monk. I’m at home trying to kick all this vacation thinking out and work a little bit, nevertheless, although I consider myself “responsible”, I suddenly shut the computer down and leave everything as it is to jump up into the car and get on the road to join the others for dinner at the mountain goat festival in Luz Saint Sauveur. On the way to Luz I even got some cereal biscuits as Mick would have done, I also got some pineapple juice as a proper athlete if I wouldn’t have spilt it over the t-shirt later on. I had to pay attention to the cashier when she suggested me a more natural sugar free juice…
Ciclistica guys are as Jokers for us Batmans (we are Batman and they are Joker although they are dressed on full black and we wear funny colored stuff). This rivalry feeds eachother from the origins, adding good friendship, beer and food we just get to the full. Chicks missing as usual, but that’s something we are almost used to… that’s in few worlds what we got, or didn’t, that evening prior to the big they.
It’s hard to get conclusions from next day’s stage, as it happens on true battles every participant fought with his own rules, so the story changes completely from one participant to the other. Let’s say that tourmalet taught a different thing to each of us, valuable lessons in all cases, tough for some and more pleasant for others. The fight didn’t finish on they way up, the decent and the flat where a perfect scenario to keep fighting. The hardness of a ride isn’t defined by the profile. High speeds and continuous sprints for virtual intermedium finishlines. Milanessi love this game, they go mad when you arrive to the flat and just burn themselves with unfinished sequences of sprints, same as Rocco. I did learn a little bit of this art while I was living in the flat Milano but I would say it is more something you born with… The true conclusion is that we all got the legs in pain, which is always satisfactory, more when you have the chance to get a dip in some ice cold river right that will cool them down. Fortunately the violence finished as we get off the bicycles so nothing serious happened there although some of us put ourselves into a little bit of risk in some strong currents, more suitable for rafting than for swimming.
The peloton was tired, hungry and thirsty, so as we got to the basque country we got into a bar and do some rounds of “cervezas”. Later on, calmed down we started to face secondary issues, we got some food for a dinner that went almost in silence, the only words I heard until the caffe and spirits arrived were –pass me this and (not or) that- my team mates Frank and Bozzo would have been proud of me if they would have tasted that dinner. For some unknown reason, the normality for us is missing a proper meals and sleep. Just ride and hydrate. Guys, we even slept properly that night!
In the next day, the high temperatures continued so after visiting my favorite local roads we kept enjoying the basque gastronomy and beer rounds, called rondas here. We had a lot to celebrate, they were two unforgettable days.
Thanks a lot for the visit. We love you guys