Squeezing Lemonade at 2,100 Meters



From where I type this, I’m surrounded by craggy, knife-edged cliffs and simply gigantic grassy hills some 2,100 meters above sea level. I can’t help but think that this does not look like Liege in late June.

We can all agree that nothings says “Tour de France” like bicycle riding around Belgium for three days and then migrating west to France. I’m therefore going to stay true to myself and hold out on my inaugural Tour de France by waiting until we stick exclusively to France – dabbling in other European countries obviously sullies the authentic Tour experience. (For those of you reading along and completely confused, this year’s Grand Bouche begins in Liege, Belgium before entering France for the rest of the three week race.)

That proclamation of holding out is of course is of course drenched in sarcasm. To be honest, I get sick to my stomach thinking that I won’t be there this year. To call the first half of my 2012 season successful is a gnarly understatement. My fitness is there, my motivation is sky high, and in the past not-quite-six-months I’ve been integrally involved with fifteen wins for Liquigas-Cannondale. Geeze, I don’t think I was involved with fifteen wins in all of 2011. I won’t stew on it any longer, however. I can’t thank you enough for the enormous show of support – especially over the past month – to have me lining up for my first Tour. The messages, the tweets, the emails, the calls, the very entertaining #KingfortheTour, and other signs of support mean a lot to me. More than you can imagine. It just makes me that much hungrier for that first Tour whenever that happens.

Moving on.

In order to clear my head, continue exploring the globe, while still staying true to my job and therefore training extensively I recently made my way from my home in Tuscany up to the Dolomites in north eastern Italy.

Surrounded by some of the biggest, awesomest mountains I’ve ever seen, I once again rejoined my BFF Timmy Duggan who is also up in this neck of the woods soaking up the same Dolomite excellence.

I raced the Giro di Italia in both 2009 and 2010. What’s tattooed in my mind more than anything is the Dolomites. My words here won’t do justice to just how spectacular they are, so I won’t even bother. Click on that panoramic photo above and you’ll get a sliver of our surroundings from high atop Timmy’s porch.

Jumping headlong into things, here’s my first ride. I’m only up here for a few days, so rather than lamely wasting time acclimatizing simply for my departure, I went for a bike ride.

My memory is sometimes sieve-like. So speaking of those 2009 and 2010 Giri d’Italia (the plural of Giro is Giri, not Giros),  I apparently wanted to put the painful specifics out of my mind – that is to say, I raced up the very access road to my hotel, but I didn’t recognize it whatsoever until I bothered to check the Giro route map. Oops. Namely, Stage 5 to Alpe di Suisse. Here is that particular Strava segment, on which I conveniently now have the KOM. In your face, whoever actually won that stage!

Anyway, that first ride was long and arduous and stunning and calorific. So Timmy and I took a moment to rest our weary souls atop some random mountain pass, I think that’s Passo Valparola.

Obviously well fueled, that initial big day was then followed by another big day. Given my thorough one day of acclimatization, I felt like a million and a half bucks the next day. Here she is:

Clearly, another good’n’.

That’s all I got for now. Cycling is a sport of ups and downs, both literal and figurative. Sure, I’d like to be racing the Tour de France in two days, but that’s now out of my control. Putting in the time and effort to get up here to the Dolomites, seeing and training with my very good friend Timmy, and putting in the hours on the bike are a phenomenal alternative. I am lucky and I know it.

I said that’s all, but actually here’s one more panoramic picture for your viewing pleasure. Here I am high atop Passo Sella looking east towards, umm, well towards whatever is east of Passo Sella, which in this case appears to be even more mountains. Again, click on the image for an even better view.

“Aaaaaand go!”

 

 



Comments

  1. EJ

    I was bummed when your name did not show up on the Tour list for the team. How is Peter going to win the Green jersey without his Ted helping him?? And Timmy also, I feel bad for both of you guys. You deserve to be on the squad, but as you said it is out of our control. I will watch and cheer on Peter, but my heart will not be in it as much since you and Timmy were left out.
    Oh well, I’m going to make a Fluffernutter to help me feel better.
    Love the pics you shared. EJ

    Reply
  2. JB

    Any chance you’ll race the Vuelta? At least you’d get a grand tour in the legs this season and then with a future TdF you’d have done all three grand tours. Or would you rather do Colorado?

    Reply
  3. Ben

    Ted – the Tour will be less exciting in your absence! Wish it were different. Enjoyed the post, keep the stories coming and continue with the hard work!

    Reply
  4. Justin Balog

    That is a tough one. You were going to be on my fantasy team. If not this year, I’m confident it will be next. Thanks for sharing the view. Say hello to Timmy and we will see you back in the states!

    Reply
  5. Donmar

    TK_

    When are you riding the Fedaia? I spent a week riding in the Dolomites last May. Best experience of my life.

    HDS

    Reply
  6. Steve

    Geez, was really looking forward to seeing you in Le Tour now that Phil Liggett has finally started calling you “Ted” instead of “Edward”. Hope you make it out to the Tour of Utah again this year!

    Reply
  7. Matty

    My velogames team name is, “Ted King got screwed”.

    Reply
  8. Dirk-Jan

    Too bad Ted – I was also very much hoping to see you in the TdF. At least you picked some stunning scenery to keep you motivated to get out on your bike. Good luck for the second half of the season!

    Reply
  9. Steve Fortier

    I work for one of the most important and impactful organizations on the planet and, yet, politics still play a role in who is picked for key positions for success (note: I did not say “leadership positions” because, as you have proven on your team and I have proven in my organization, there are many critical roles to play for team and organizational success, not all of which would meet the typical, limited definition of “leadership”). Based on your performances all season long, but mostly importantly in the “tests” leading up to the Tdf, both you and Timmy should be on the Liquigas-Cannondale roster.

    I like what I read in your blog posts… that you know that you have both the form and the other skills to have helped your team succeed. That is all any of us can do within our organizations… to give our best and hope that our leadership team recognized how we can help them achieve success. Unfortunately, the link between the two is not always there.

    Excelsior!
    Steve

    Reply
  10. Tim

    A tour with the Teddy and Timmy train would have been filthy good. Very disappointed for you, keep smashing it boys.

    Reply
  11. Ray Wright

    Very classy post. You expressed your disappointment in not being selected without crossing the line. Your time will come.

    Ray

    Reply
  12. LeeH

    Hi Ted, I too am disappointed at the exclusion of yourself and Tim. I’ll be wearing my Liquigas cap and cheering for Peter, but it will not be the same.

    Chapeau.

    Reply
  13. dadyo

    a bitter disappointment no doubt for us all. rebound on to an even stronger last half season. make them regret this decision. hope to see you in colorado.

    Reply
  14. spudgun

    Recently came across you and your site from reading one of my faves, Inner Ring, and since that time have been crossing my fingers for you to make the Tour team…really and truly bummed it didn’t work out for you this time.

    I’m with JB — maybe the Vuelta?? I know, it’s not quite the same as the Tour, but still…anyway, will keep rooting for you.

    Stay cool.

    Reply
  15. JoJoMo

    Ahhhhh….disappointed too, was hoping to follow you on the Tour. I was going to do a shot of maple syrup every time Phil L. said Ted King and a double shot every time he called you Edward.

    On a side note, like your blog with its humor and descriptions of everyday life in your Italian town or of your adventures on the road. Very funny.

    Reply
  16. Steve M

    Great post, beautiful shots. Generous of you to share this. The way you handle your success and disappointment makes it easy and fun for us to root for you, no matter what happens. Continued success!

    Steve

    Reply
  17. Irv

    I’ll be wearing my Iamnottedking jersey throughout the Tour in protest of this Italian injustice. You would think that Cannondale would have wanted a NE born American to ride in the biggest cycling race. Next year is yours Ted. Now go out and beat up on everyone in Poland. I’ll be watching the coverage of that race vs. the tour if I can.

    Reply
  18. Adam

    Your time will come, and it will be sweeter for this disappointment.

    Keep riding, keep writing!

    Reply
  19. Steve Jacques

    You rock dude. This is an awesome read.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

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