Between the Marsh and the Dolomites you couldn’t have a wider gap in average gradient! But that didn’t put off a group of Rye & District Wheelers’ from taking on the relentless challenge of riding the Maratona dles Dolomites in early July. The long route of the event itself features 138 km of riding with 4 km of climbing, not a flat bit of road all day and nowhere to hide from the 30+ degree heat. The area features some of the most beautiful yet brutal scenery in Europe with some of the most iconic climbs around.
Oddly some of us chose to make the even more painful 12 hour plus drive to the hotel, but thankfully the journey wasn’t delayed by any of the French strikes or immigrants rushing the tunnel. The rest flew. Which is the least stressful is open to discussion but the few that travelled by car got an extra couple of days out there to get used to the altitude and remind ourselves of the relentless climbing of the mountainous area.
The week itself passed mainly without incident… A speeding ticket for Steve Gooch, a near bag loss and airport security incident for Jamie Lapinierre, and a hotel mix up for Mark Amon being the only hick-ups I’m aware of. And despite the group of us being spread about three hotels we were able to meet for dinner every evening to refuel and rehydrate. Rehydrating of course consisted mainly of water and electrolytes and no alcohol was consumed the entire trip (see Kelvin, Tony & John for more…).
On the day of the event Jamie Lapinierre suffered an early fall but soldiered on to do a sub 7 hour time, a great effort given the circumstances. I suffered at the hands of dehydration and then again at the wheel of Nick Wilson having been ahead for the majority of the day, but both of us still managed sub 6 hour times. Nick unfortunate enough to miss out on retaining the fastest Cycling Weekly time by a minute or so. Everyone else rode well in the heat and Mark Amon even shaved 20 minutes off his time from last year.
With most of us having already reserved our rooms at the favoured hotel for next year and with places filling up very fast anyone considering the event might want to express interest early. A massive thanks to Tony for organising the trip and to Mark for being patient with me while I drove! Roll on next year!