Invite-only #Giro100 Camp

Giro d'Italia on the Passo Sella

We love the Giro. We love anniversary parties. We love the Dolomites. We love our Monte Grappa. Since the 100th anniversary of the Giro includes all these things, we figured it’s going to be a perfect week. The final stages of the Giro are going to be an exciting climax to what promises to be one of the best routes in years. We know all the roads, climbs, and perfect places to watch as the winner is decided.

Our camp won’t appear on our 2017 schedule, instead this will be an invite-only camp. If you’d like to join us, please send an email to [email protected] and ask to join the list. We’ll send out invitations with complete information by 15 November. While we’re still finalizing all the details, expect a few days in the Dolomites followed by a few days at our HQ. Stage 20 covers our home ground, and there’s nothing like seeing a major sporting event on your own turf!

We’re excited about the 100th Giro, and hope you are too. Come join us!

Ride With Us and Put #MoreKidsOnBikes with NICA

NICA League Team Photo

NICA founder Matt FritzingerIn 2000, NorCal High School MTB founder Matt Fritzinger spent the summer at Velo Veneto’s Race Camp. “Racing in Italy was a lifetime experience for all the reasons you might assume: the roads, vineyards, mountains, food, culture, and passionate embrace of cycling—but I also discovered what it meant to have a coach and left inspired to turn the humble Berkeley High School MTB team into something more,” says Fritzinger.

That something more has become more than 500 teams and clubs in 14 leagues operating in 13 states serving more than 7,000 student-athletes. They are supported by more than 3,000 coaches and dozens of partners and sponsors.

We always want to support the growth of the great sport of cycling we love so much, and we feel a special connection to NICA and its leagues, which had their genesis in an inspiring summer with us. Over the years, we have made annual donations to our local NorCal High School Cycling League and seen the impact as more kids and families get excited about cycling. Recognizing we represent an area much broader than the local league near our headquarters, we’ve worked with NICA to broaden our reach around the country and make it easier for you to get involved.

During the 2016 season, $100 of your camp fee will be donated to NICA. Their goal is to develop interscholastic mountain biking coast-to-coast by 2020. You’ll also learn more about the organization and the local leagues through co-produced content, and be invited to special opportunities to get involved in existing leagues or to become a founding partner of a new league.

We’re excited about the growth of this great movement, and we hope you get excited about #morekidsonbikes!

Pros Endorse NICA from NICA Channel on Vimeo.

Why We’re Supporting the Cylance Pro Cycling Team

It’s not every day you see a cycling tour company step up to support a top-level professional cycling team. So why is Velo Veneto so excited to be working with the Cylance Pro Cycling Team? Three simple reasons.

1. Growth – We expect the additional exposure of supporting the team to introduce us to a whole new audience, many of whom we hope will travel with us. But this isn’t growth for the sake of growth. Having a bigger and broader audience will allow us to develop more of our unique brand of cycling camps in more of the sport’s iconic locations. We’ll also be able to offer camps more often throughout the year, meaning you can come ride with us at a time that fits YOUR schedule.

2. Quality – Giving you an amazing experience is always the primary factor in all of our decisions. Now we’ll be able to ride with Cylance Pro Cycling Team members at Velo Veneto camps throughout the year. They will contribute to our blog and newsletters, offering insight into what it takes to get to, and stay at, this level and the amazing places around the world pro cycling takes them. We’ll be working with the team’s other partners and sponsors to make each and every camp better—whether that be exclusive access, product demos, or unique meet-and-greet opportunities—for all of our guests.

3. Women’s Cycling – We see the growth of top-level women’s events like the Amgen Women’s Tour of California, La Course, and the Madrid Challenge as long-awaited recognition of the fantastic spectacle that is women’s professional cycling. We are excited to help make top level women’s teams at top level events the rule, rather than the exception. We love seeing the growth of women’s sport and look forward to welcoming more and more women at our camps.

Look forward to more information as the season goes along about specific training camps, opportunities to meet the team, and much, much more. Join us!

Official Press Release

How NOT to do Venice

Venice Canal 2010

When I was visiting with Velo Veneto in Castelcucco in June, I decided I was going to climb Monte Grappa AND go to Venice on the same day. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

The climb up to Monte Grappa from Bassano del Grappa is an amazing climb; last year the Giro had a time trial on this road, so we climbed up the Grappa from another village and rode across the top to see the racers suffer in the rain up the front of the massif. It’s a 22km, HC climb&emdash;not easy no matter which way you go. That’s one of the awesome parts about staying with Velo Veneto in Castelcucco; you can ride up the Grappa on one road, descend down a different road, and still have time to go to Venice via public transportation…if you are in good running shape. (Ed. note – Velo Veneto provides a private shuttle service to make this easy. Why Jamie didn’t take advantage, nobody knows…)

I rushed back from the Grappa loop and caught a bus to Castelfranco. When I got off the bus in Castelfranco, logic would have you assume that the train station would be near the bus station. This is not true. Luckily I met a young kid, just off a work shift, that took the time to walk me the 1.5km to the train station. Unlike my last experience at the Castelfranco train station three days before, I caught the correct train, and 45 minutes later I was strolling around the canals of Venice.

I love Venice. It’s crowded, over-touristed, and a little stinky, but it’s an incredible example of historic preservation, even in the face of ruinous effects of salt water and the pressures of globalization. (Although I did recently learn that many of the older buildings expel their human waste directly into the bay. Maybe that’s some historic preservation that should be re-engineered).

I knew I only had an hour and a half in Venice before I had to be back to catch the train to Castelfranco to catch the last bus to Castelcucco, but I didn’t count on how difficult it is to navigate through Venice. The city grew radially out of a small settlement with no planning grids, and the roads are a spaghetti bowl with countless dead ends. I tried to give myself sufficient time to get back to the train, but as the minutes passed by and I seemed to be navigating myself in circles, I realized I would have to run to catch the train.

So I ran, asking non-tourist looking people directions without slowing my run, and I think I ran about 5km before I finally found the station, sprinted to the train, and hopped on just as the doors were closing. I didn’t get a chance to double check the sign on the train to make sure it was the train to Castelfranco, so I asked a woman on the train. She took one look at my wide eyes and sweat dripping down my face and backed away quickly, saying she didn’t know. Ha.

I then realized that I would also only have 10 minutes between when the train arrived in Castelfranco and when the bus in Castelfranco left for Castelcucco, and since the train station was 1.5km away from the bus station, I was going to have to sprint again. When the train doors opened, I hit the ground running, and sprinted across town, past the surprised men hanging out at the bar, probably the same guys that have watched me either run or drag bike boxes down this particular sidewalk. It seems I can never just walk.

Anyway, the bus was pulling out of the station as I rounded the corner and jumped over a fence. I did an all-out, 50-meter dash and banged on the back of the bus with my fists. The driver stopped, and I got in, and I thought the adventure was over. No. Even though I had bought tickets from an official on the bus on my way to Venice, apparently now things had changed and the bus driver drove the bus to a bar and told me to RUN and buy a bus ticket at the bar.

I did make it back to Castelcucco in time for dinner, much to the surprise of Jason and the hotel staff that had taken bets on my chances of making the last bus. I’m thinking that this itinerary is not something I would suggest for any of my friends.

Stuck in Italy

Due to bad planning and a missing driver’s license (I hope whoever took my wallet in the Girona grocery store is enjoying my almost-full frequent customer card at the local coffee shop in Girona), I spent a week in Castelcucco, Italy. Velo Veneto’s long-running race camps are run out of Castelcucco, and it’s a fabulous place, situated at the base of Montegrappa in the rolling hills of Prosecco country. I was only going to stay one night in Castelcucco, continue on to the Dolomites to hang out with my tired and demoralized husband Brent on the rest day of the Giro, and cheer him on in a few subsequent stages of the last week of the Giro. Unfortunately, even in Italy, one cannot rent a car without a driver’s license. 4 hours, two train rides, a bus ride, and defeated phone call later, I made it to Castelcucco.

I did all this traveling with a bike in a bike bag. It wasn’t pretty.

IMG_8007Without the car, I was stuck in Castelcucco. There would be no watching Brent race. To top it off, when I unpacked my bike I realized the airline (Ryanair) had broken the seatstay of my bike. It was a dark evening. Fortunately, I know people. Specifically, I know Jason, the co-owner of Velo Veneto. Jason arranged a bike rental, drove me to Pinzolo for the rest day, AND organized flawless frame repair by the famous Cavalera bike shop.

The guy works magic.

I ended up having an absolute blast riding around Castelcucco. I’m continually amazed by the riding around this area. The roads are downright fantastic. There are 10 ways up Montegrappa; you would have to spend a month riding all the routes. We also rode up Pianezze and Foza Both rides were adventures. On Pianezze, we ended up riding with some Italian fellows that were pretty stand-offish until they realized they wouldn’t be dropping us on the climb, and then they wanted selfies. We also rode past caves built by Italian soldiers in WWI.

The scenery in the Foza ride was incredible. We rode along in a deep valley, rolling through red tiled roof houses and villages built on the banks of a rushing river until we left the valley behind. We climbed up to a small village perched above the clouds, surrounded by spruce and fir forest and a sheep pasture. We had coffee in a quiet town built around a stunning white cathedral with views all the way down to the river in the valley below.

If you are a cyclist and a lover of the Italian countryside, I highly recommend getting “stuck” in Castelcucco.