It’s Race Time!
So spring has arrived (feeling like summer), and I’m about to begin the first race of the year. In previous years for me it’s been all about the Transcontinental Race, a 4,000 km self supported bike packing race from one side of Europe to the other. I would normally just be thinking about more training, planning, and general preparation for the TCR around this time of year. To mix things up a bit this time around I’ve thrown my hat into some off road riding and the Italy Divide. I’m not setting any expectations for the race other than to enjoy it as much as possible, and finish with time to enjoy a few days in Verona before flying home. The race starts on Wednesday 25th April at 19:30 hrs CEST (18:30 BST)
What is the Italy Divide?
A 935 km off road/gravel/mountain bike race from the Colosseum Rome, to the north shore of Lake Garda. The route for this ride is quite special, taking gravel and single track roads and paths up through the spine of Italy, through Tuscany, across the Po Valley to Verona, up and over the Lessinia national park area and Monte Baldo, finishing on the shores of Lake Garda in Torbole.
Yes! Italy has endless miles of gravel roads, from the hard packed white roads of the Strade Bianche, through to rough, coarse gravel back and farm roads criss crossing the countryside. There will be some sealed road as the route leaves Rome, and will take in some iconic locations moving through towns like Sienna, Florence, Bologna and Verona, but there’ll also be some fairly technical single track trails in the hills and mountains.
I’ve not got a lot of experience with off road, so this will be a bit out of my comfort zone, but have recently spend a bit of time on some local trails, as well as completing a couple of gravel events in the UK, the Sunday Echappee and the Dirty Reiver, both 200km with the later completed the weekend before the race.
At the end of the day, I wanted to try something a bit different in a familiar format and country that was away from the traffic. Basically, a holiday adventure!
The race starts on Wednesday evening, 25th April at 7.30pm CEST (18.30pm BST)
How to Dotwatch the Italy Divide
The Italy Divide will be tracked via Trackleaders: http://trackleaders.com/italydivide18
You can also follow me on social media on twitter & instagram where I’ll be looking to share photos and updates along the way. Feel free to get in touch and wish me luck, but remember, this is a race so no outside assistance, thank you!