Early October Team 48×17 Cycles made our annual trip to Italy. Italy is a great destination for a track bike trip, especially if you have good friends waiting for you. This year we gladly accepted the offer of Francesco Martucci to participate in the Aerodrome Criterium Invitational and there we were off to Bergamo for a 10 day tour. The target? 2 criteriums (red hook, aerodrome), 1 alleycat (alleycash milano) in a 3 city tour (Milano, Bergamo, Modena). After landing and surviving the 2 hour train trip to Carpi, a beautiful medieval small town outside of Modena, we met up with Francesco, Marco and Brown from the local fixed gear crew Velodogma. Velodogma is a small group of friends organising alleycats, the Carpi CMR, bike polo and basically just having fun. They were so kind to give all of us bed, feed us great Italian food and generally show us around. Hope we could return the hospitality some day.
Walking up the next day of the Aerodrome Criterium, we packed our race gear and rode to Carpi Airport where the race was to take place. The crit was divided in two sub-races one smaller 16klm where Agi put his name down for and the ELITE track crit of 33klm where Yotis, Sotos and Themis were registered. Most of the best and fastest track riders of Italy were there in full squad: Supernova, Dodici, Iride Modena, Team Cinelli/Chrome, Back 2 Back, Dafne Fixed etc. The course was a classic 1,3 klm with a steep hairpin turn (u-turn), a couple straight lines for acceleration and some technical turns, really great course. First up was the small crit where Agi, after a sloppy start, managed to place himself in the first group after overtaking 7 riders on the hairpin turn (smart is better than faster) and stayed there till the end finishing in 5th place.
The ELITE criterium race started really fast straight away. The pack was led by a Cinelli/Chrome rider followed closely by Back2Back and others as the peloton opened into a thin line just before the hairpin and separated shortly in smaller groups. Themis pushed and battled with a bunch of local guys that seemed to close up on him intentionally all the time at the hairpin turn, but he managed the turn perfectly on the inside line too many times to be bothered by the hustling. As the race continued he stayed nicely at the 3rd pack and managed to keep breath for an incredible break 2 rounds before finish. We are really happy with his performance, leveling up his game solidly on an international track race.
Sotos and Yotis stayed together throughout the whole race and managed nicely the increasing pace. In a criterium if you dont play your cards smart at the begining placing your self at the top groups, then the game becomes increasingly difficult gradually and the hairpin turn played its role leaving the boys out of the race after 25 laps. Great stuff and a solid experience for Sotos and Yotis since this was the first criterium race for both of them.
Next stop after Carpi was Bergamo, one of the most beautiful towns of northern Italy were we stayed 2 days visiting some friends including Pelizzoli where Samuel showed us some ideas of new models for track and road and discussed new ways to deepen our collaboration. First thing you notice in Bergamo is the quality of the asphalt. With roads like these track bikes on the street is a great feeling and no place can come close to Bergamo’s old town. Build as a castle higher than the rest of the city, it is full of nice turns, with great not so steep angles. This is one of the best spots for track bikes we have ever visited. We stayed there solid 2 nights just climbing up and then bombing it down, no cars – perfect weather with great views. Amazing!
Next up was Milano for Red Hook Criterium. What can you say about RHC that have not been said before? The race is getting stronger and stronger each year and if you are not training hard all through the year for it, there is no chance you will get a good time here. In any case it is a great event to see/participate and this year more than 5000 people were watching the Bovisa course from early afternoon qualifications to the late night finals. Themis and Sotos were at the 4th qualification group and never managed to do a fast enough lap, an accident in front of them shorten the time of the group by 7 minutes and there was not enough time for them. Disapoinment was on their face but cycling is like that: you make a strong effort and everything right and someone falls in front of you and it is all gone to waste. However the experience is what counts but the message is clear: if you dont come prepared and trained better not come at all.
In the short stay we did in Modena we had the pleasure to meet the guys from Track Bike Total War, a super tough bike crew that organised the “alleycash express” race the night before the RHC. Some of the visiting riders from US were there, and Sotos and Themis managed to get behind Austin Horse’s wheel, ripping up junctions and opening up the traffic at 40klm hour while most of the race was on cobblestone streets. Really great race, totally on a different street level. Bravisimo to the raggazi for organising it.
This is the recap of a trip that we hope we can do again. But most of all things we hope we get the chance to ride with the ragazzi we met and hopefully we see them sometime in Athens. As the scene in Athens is progressing people riding bikes can be assured that with a cheap short trip to North Italy a few days of full track bike action is totally guaranteed.
Ride hard cause we own the mountains.
Oxi alles flories.
Photographs by Sylvia Galliani, Francesco Rachello, Andrea Bassoli, Emanuelle Mameri, Mattia Calzonari, Marco Cremascoli, Southfresh and Agi Kolyvas.
Many ouzos are due to the pro photographers that let us use their photos. Much appreciated.
Many thanks finaly to Francesco for inviting, Marco for hosting us, Lorenzo for the parmezan cheese, Brown for the mansion, to all Velodogma ragazzi, TBTW for the adrenaline, especially Federico for the stoke and to the girls for giving us bed in Milan.