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!

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.

Osmo Nutrition and Velo Veneto Partner for Unique Women’s Cycling Camp in Italy’s Dolomite Mountains

Passo Pordoi Panorama

(May 21, 2015: Fairfax, CA) Osmo Nutrition announced today that it has become the hydration partner for the Velo Veneto Women’s Dolomites Cycling Camp. This unique cycling camp has been designed from the ground up by women and will be staffed exclusively by women. “As inventors of the revolutionary line of hydration and recovery products specially formulated to meet women’s performance needs, we couldn’t think of a more natural partner than Osmo,” said Coreen Mazzochi of Velo Veneto. “The camp is designed to improve every aspect of our guests’ cycling; hydration and recovery will be essential to top performance here in the Dolomites.”

“Women are not small men,” said Dr. Stacy Sims, Osmo founder. “The estrogen and progesterone in our bodies impacts our performance as athletes. Osmo for Women products are based on findings that other scientists and I have published in peer-reviewed journals to address these effects. Female athletes often blame their fitness for poor performance but it is really their physiology.”

Osmo will provide guests at the Women’s Dolomites Cycling Camp with Women’s Preload Hydration, Hydration, and Protein recovery.

ABOUT Osmo Nutrition
Osmo Nutrition produces the best sports hydration & recovery products based on sound, peer-reviewed science, fieldwork with athletes, and the pioneering work of our Co-Founder Dr. Stacy Sims. Our philosophy is to use science and physiology to create unique products for men, women, and children. Hydration in the bottle, food in the pocket.
Osmo Nutrition – Lisa Hunt
[email protected]

ABOUT Velo Veneto
Velo Veneto is a cycling vacation provider based in the Veneto region of northern Italy. Founded in 1986, the company focuses on challenging cycling trips for avid cyclists, racers, and gran fondo riders. In addition to scheduled camps, Velo Veneto also provides custom events for clubs, teams, and businesses.
Velo Veneto – Jason Cardillo
[email protected]


The Case for Women-Only Camps

Jamie Bookwalter's Women's Cycling Group

The five-year-old son of one of my friends has the uncanny ability to find the fastest route to any mud puddle or pile of dirt within 10 meters. Within 30 seconds of opening the car door, this kid, guaranteed, will have dirt on his face. It seems that boys will be boys, no matter what nationality they are.

The other day I went mountain biking with a group of middle-aged men. In the middle of the ride, one of the guys just disappeared. I inquired about his whereabouts, and the other guys told me that the fellow was upset that one of the other guys in the group was stronger than him. Apparently, the disappearing dude is usually the fastest, and couldn’t handle the possibility he might have been de-throned. On a Thursday. On a fun group ride. If the adage “boys will be boys” applies worldwide,
“men will be men” might apply as well.

Women's Cycling Camp ToscanaMy point is, as a woman, sometimes you just don’t need MAMILs (middle-aged men in lycra) around. We can be just as competitive and just as muddy, but there is something affirming and positive about exercising with a group of only women. Statistics show women are more likely to pick up cycling later in life than men, and it’s often difficult to learn new skills when more experienced (and often louder)
“experts” are around, giving advice and regaling all those around with play-by-play analyses of a Masters race that happened around the time leisure suits were still hot.

I think it’s important to note that the historical relationship between women and bikes actually goes back to the very first bicycles; one book I’ve come across is Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way) by Sue Macy. This book discusses the way bicycles helped subvert the traditional notion of femininity by emancipating women from huge dresses and corsets; women couldn’t wear 20lb bustles and ride bikes. Less-constricting clothing was necessary for women to ride these new mechanical inventions, and fashion followed.

We’re past bustles, but I’m a huge fan of women-only camps…

Velo Veneto is embracing the Women-only concept whole-heartedly. This August, experience a unique week at our Women’s Dolomites Cycling Camp. Not only is it for women, but it’s been designed by women and run by women.

Monte Zoncolan: Tailgating at 5,700 Feet

Steve Morabito Fans on Monte Zoncolan

Stage 20 of the 2014 Giro must go down as one of my favorite days of race watching. The race finished in the Friuli region, on Monte Zoncolan. I arranged to go to the finish of the stage with the extremely nice family of Brent’s swiss-french teammate, Steve Morabito. They picked me up from the train station in Padova, and when I climbed into their car for 2.5 hour drive to Zoncolan, I immediately began to sweat. It was a hot day and their air-conditioning was barely on; the French are famous for their distaste of air conditioning. I texted Brent, who was rooming with Steve, and he replied that he was a hotel room with Steve, sweating his ass off as well because the air conditioning was not on in their room either.

Steve’s wife had arranged to meet with a local Italian fan to get us press passes. I’m still not sure what happened, but after a lot of hand waving and rapid Italian, we were ushered into the press hotel, our pictures were taken, and the new credentials complete with our photos were hung around our necks. Then we proceeded to tailgate “Italian style” in the parking lot for the lift to Zoncolan, joining the hundreds of drunk joyous and boisterous Italians drinking homemade Prosecco and eating almond cake. No one seemed that concerned that the race would be finishing soon and we were still at the bottom of the lift and the race finished at the top, 3 miles and a 1000 feet of altitude away. When the time seemed right (i.e. the Prosecco ran out) we loaded onto the press-only ski lift and trundled to the top, loaded with Morabito flags. (Steve Morabito’s fan club runs like a well-oiled swiss machine- there are Morabito flags, hats, jackets, etc., and yearly dinners raise money for all the fans to travel to cheer him on at international events).

Monte Zoncolan in 2014 Giro d'ItaliaOnce at the top of the mountain, we marched toward the finish with thousands of other fans, most of whom in various stages of inebriation and disorder. It’s hard to describe the Friuli mountains—superlatives fail me when I think of this region. The rock formations and the epic cragginess of these mountains are stunning; you feel like you are on top of the world. Combine this with campers and tents and people grilling food and yelling and singing and blowing trumpets. It’s overwhelming. It was like an American football game, but at 5,700 ft. The last 3km of road to the finish line was absolute chaos. People of all different nationalities jostled for the best place to cheer, and there was a great sense of anticipation waiting for the cyclists to arrive. Even the police and Alpini (the Italian mountain army) that lined up and linked arms to stop the fans from running into the road with the cyclists had cameras and huge smiles, exactly the opposite of the police in the Tour de France.

When the police motos that herald the head of the race began appearing, the zeal and enthusiasm and eagerness of the crowd almost knocked me off my feet (literally), and the roar of the fans reached a fever pitch when the first hollow-eyed cyclists came zipping up the mountain. Brent ended up in a breakaway that day and got 5th! What an experience. The mountains (and people) in this part of Italy must not be missed.

Friuli with Craig LewisWant to experience this region, and in fact this very mountain, for yourself? Join our Friuli with Craig Lewis Camp, from August 30 to September 5. This year’s itinerary includes a ride with a summit finish on the Monte Zoncolan!