'Hello from the blue skies and sunshine of Bari !
So....day one of our Cycle to MIPIM , the Italian job. It is 7am and I write this over a leisurely breakfast! My fellow team Italia riders are already on the road and making their way along the coast to the first coffee stop.
.... and why am I not with them ? ....well Claire Treanor and I missed the wake up call and hence missed the warm up session, missed group breakfast and missed the team photo! .... oops!
Given this mishap I will have to let Timo Haedrich of Haptic Architects describe our departure from Bari.
Stop number one, Cafe dell Artisto on Massimo D’Azeglio Square. Outdoor seating, warm spring sunshine, croissants and a boom box playing classic 80s tunes.
We soak up the rays, remove layers of clothing and apply sunscreen ... and then the off. The temperature rises through the morning reaching a high in the mid twenties and as it does so many newly exposed lily white winter legs start to turn a deep shade of crimson.
Lunch is in a roadside restaurant and consists of gnocchi, squid and aubergines and various combinations thereof.
We have a fairly quick turnaround and then we are off again for stage 3.
The first part of the ride consists of a gritty/ gravelly hard shoulder and a strong headwind. In short, not much fun.
We turn off the main road after about 30km and as we do so we are presented with a view of our first Italian hill town, Motta Montecorvino.
The road and hence our route twists and turns and weaves its way up the hillside.
We pause at the bottom and refuel. The headwind is pretty intense and everyone contemplates the task ahead.
Three of us (me included) decide the task is beyond us and retire to the van .
The remainder of the team relish the challenge and leap onto their bikes and shoot up the hill.
From the van we follow the riders up. They ride together into and through the town and down the other side.
Again I will have to leave it to Timo to describe the journey on the bike.
We stop at a small cafe and more coffee is drunk . Then it is time for the final ride of the day . Lights and high vis required and a bit more clothing as the sun drops and we are off for the final 36km .
We arrive at 19.00, a yoga stretch , showers and then we walk to a local Italian eatery. A simple rustic meal is consumed and tan lines / sunburn lines compared .
We retire at 10 ish and so day one done!
.... and my final comment for the day.....our team shirts sport the Italian flag on the back, which i think was a stroke of genius as it seems to engender love and support from Italian drivers'