…before you get too excited, I’m referring to my tomatoes. Keep reading for the juicy details. Pretty excellent developments across the board on all fronts, for that matter, so let’s jump straight into it.
For one, a bike race came through town not too long ago. As I hope you can imagine, I usually take in bike races from the vantage point of ON the bicycle while racing through towns, one after another. In an interesting contrast for me, this time I was stationary and waited (admittedly, quite enthusiastically) for the race to come to me.
To their credit, races are definitely an interesting sight to see and I’ll take this short space to explore why. I was in my Euro hometown – the thriving metropolis of Lucca, Italy. Lucca is about as Italian-Euro-cycling-crazed as any city in Europe, so the local town-folk were giddy with excitement in the days leading up to Tirreno and then most certainly out and about in droves on the day of the race. With the race just minutes away, the anticipation was almost palpable. In true Italian form I met with some friends at a paticceria, decorated my upper lip with frothy milk thanks to my post-ride cappuccino, and then we ventured out to the street to marvel at the impending madness. We witnessed police directing traffic with the flair, bravado, and entertaining heir of authority that is reserved exclusively for the Italian; there was ample honking of horns and increasing chaos in the streets as the race drew nearer and rules of the road were swept by the wayside. Meanwhile, other people were lining the streets as well (despite the dearth of fans in the photo below), stepping out of their storefront shops, restaurants, and bars excitedly asking, “How much longer? How soon will they arrive?!” Cyclo-tourists with a rush of adrenaline would sprint through the street as well to the sarcastic applause of us lining the roads.
Finally a rapid flurry of colorfully clad cyclists zoomed through town, where I was able to snap this photo thanks to my lightening quick index finger.
Then just seconds later, it was over, and the streets were once again empty.
From there, it was back to business as usual. Folks milling around, I rode home, my friends peaced-out in their separate directions, and life was back to normal. So now I could once again tend to my thriving garden in peace.
As you can see, we’ve experienced quite the growth spurt in the time since my last update on this fascinating topic. The tomatoes in the center of the pot have experienced a commendable three inches of growth while the basil growing on the periphery of the round pot as well as all of the rectangular pot are clearly creating quite the bush’o'basil themselves. Mind you, this caprese garden is entirely organic, because that’s the only way I roll! Furthermore, I haven’t had the gumption nor wherewithall to buy anything that would a) fend off rodents or b) accelerate growth.
Also of note in this lower photo is the view that I offer my plants. Actually, you can’t really see it in this shot, but they gaze out off our deck towards Monte Serra, which is an impressively looming mountain in the distance, home to many a cyclist and their personal climbing records. My tomatoes aspire to be that tall. They’ve told me so.
Next up – and perhaps why you’re here on this website in the first place, namely that I race bikes – is the fact that I have news on my personal bike racing. As in, I’m headed to Coppi e Bartali in a matter of hours. This will mark my first race since finishing up the Liquigas-Cannondale winning Giro di Sardegna about three weeks ago – which of course is where I had some heinous knee issues that took me off the bike for a week and into two weeks of therapy. A (seemingly) slow recovery ensued, but that was capped off yesterday with a rather stellar ride with Tejay up into yonder mountains north of Lucca. Thanks to STRAVA you can scroll over the image below and scope the ride in more detail.