Especially if you’re riding your bike in conditions that would be characterized by most people as miserably cold and wet in the middle of winter ravaged Tuscany in early December and you see this sign in an otherwise dreary industrial zone. In fact, that scene looked a bit like this:
It’s worth pointing out that it’s not raining on the day I took this very fine photo. I returned to the scene with Timmy two days after my initial aforementioned happy event in order to snap a photo with unfrozen digits. The guard dog, left, was particularly pleased with our return since he was absolutely flipping out. But the collective cheer of the sign, the unlit snowflake light atop the sign, the angry inflatable Santa, plus my handsome Cannondale really counteracted the dog’s unnecessary ire. Sit pup. Okay fine, stand. Stay behind the fence… good dog. HAPPY EVENT!
And so completed our week-long Happy Event(s) in Lucca. Which means it’s time to hop aboard the Sardinia Ferries destined for, umm, clearly Sardinia. This overnight sea faring barge set sail to calm waters around 9pm last night and arrived to port at the tender hour of 7am today. One year ago at this time I was just arriving to the mysterious Mediterranean island of Sardinia for my first time. My arrival today, however, marks my forth time here to Corsica’s southern neighbor. Two camps, one Giro di Sardegna, and now one camp later, here I am. HAPPY EVENT!
The most exciting part of the journey is that as the savvy veteran of these overnight adventures I once again got to play host to Timmy, Dominik, and a few other teammates who had yet to set food aboard this lonely flotila of one. The immediate sad reality that I am sorry to report that the renovations to the boat have eliminated the Chuck E. Cheese’y ballpit. In lieu of playing in a vat of adolescent germs, here are the fellas enjoying a 6:45am cappuccino in the dining room/dance hall/observation deck/recycling and trash room.
Our sports centric Geovillage hotel actually features a variety of changes from last year when we stayed here. The most noteworthy change is that we’re staying in the GeoCity with a much more spacious lobby large enough for an indoor skating rink. Comparatively, last year there was roughly enough room for three standing adults and even that was cozy. The hotel is also festively adorned with Christmas decorations. Behind Vincenzo for example proudly stands an authentic synthetic tree and Mariah Carey melodiously sings her holiday cheer all throughout the hotel.
It’s been a fun return already. Now if we could only stoke up a fire in the lobby for some chestnut roasting, then we’d have an extra HAPPY EVENT.
The boat contained probably a third of the team roster, a whole slew of staff members, one team mechanic truck, two cars, and a van. The entire team will descend upon the island over the course of the day today with flights arriving this afternoon and into the evening. On any team, I’m fairly certain that the universal rule of camp is to ride the same roads day after day. With nearly 30 riders en masse, there’s no room for new roads, new cracks and holes in the roads, new loops, nor any creativity. You’re here to ride so you may as well ride what you know.
As a result, we took advantage of the rare “free” training today and did some exploring. A circuitous route ensued complete with some ferociously steep dirt, one brief industrial parking lot crit, a handful of dead ends, and overall an awesome two hours on the loyal steed. In your face monotonous routine… HAPPY EVENT!
In related news, the ride also included a coffee shop stop with requisite pinky pointing.
Come to think of it, it looked a bit like this.