BiciSport in Italy 2019 at Strade Bianche, Lake Como & Milan San Remo

Muro Di Sormano @ 24 March  - Mike Lawson at the top of the Muro di Sormano (Wall of Sormano). This one lane cycle path (no cars permitted) is used in the Tour of Lombardy one day pro Classic in October each year. The average gradient is 17%, with the maximum topping out at a leg snapping 25%.

Muro Di Sormano @ 24 March - Mike Lawson at the top of the Muro di Sormano (Wall of Sormano). This one lane cycle path (no cars permitted) is used in the Tour of Lombardy one day pro Classic in October each year. The average gradient is 17%, with the maximum topping out at a leg snapping 25%.

Muro De Sormano @ 24 March  - every 10 metres of this gruesome Muro journey is kindly labelled with the distance travelled from the bottom, and if you think that picture looks steep then that would be right !. The building at the top of the picture is a local cafe doing a brisk Sunday trade.

Muro De Sormano @ 24 March - every 10 metres of this gruesome Muro journey is kindly labelled with the distance travelled from the bottom, and if you think that picture looks steep then that would be right !. The building at the top of the picture is a local cafe doing a brisk Sunday trade.

Milan San Remo Ride @ 23 March -  6.00am start from IL Perlo (L to R) - Mike Lawson, Mike O’Reilly, Marty Wright   MSR Ride Report @ 23 March   An early 6.00am departure out of Bellagio and a 3 hour drive towards Genoa and the Ligurian Coast. Conditions were perfect with 24 degrees forecast and a storming tailwind towards San Remo.  The ride started just outside Genoa at the small village of Voltri. The early part of the ride is easy undulating to pan flat on very good roads, with the last 50k (of the 145k total) being the hilly, difficult section. A succession of headlands puts up a few easy climbs to be greeted by stunning views around the next corner. It was of no consequence for Mike O’R who didn’t get past the 30k mark and pulled the pin courtesy of asthma/sinus (2020 it will need to be). Abject disappointment doesn’t quite describe that DNF.  Alberto Elli led Mike Lawson & Marty Wright through endless seaside villages towards Savona (more a seaport city than a coastal village), then onto the major climbs (called  capo ) of the day - Capo Berta, Capo Cervo, Capo Mele and the Cipressa climb. The Cipressa itself had pinches of 8% so it is a bona fide effort to the summit. A sharp drop off the Cipressa back down to the coastline and all roads lead towards the Poggio.  Maurizio (our IL Perlo mechanic/driver) was not allowed to park the Perlo team car on the Poggio climb itself, so we parked up at the bottom of the Poggio (a cafe nearby provided food & coffee AND the priceless television pumping out the race live). The BiciSport group simply pedalled up the Poggio to watch the Classic pass by being the last challenge of MSR 19.  Many thanks to IL Perlo at Bellagio for providing a majestic backdrop to all things MSR19. Thank you to Carlo at IL Perlo, Alberto Elli (what a legend & total gentlemen), Como Bikes for providing the two wheel logistics. Can’t wait to do this all again in 2020.

Milan San Remo Ride @ 23 March - 6.00am start from IL Perlo (L to R) - Mike Lawson, Mike O’Reilly, Marty Wright

MSR Ride Report @ 23 March

An early 6.00am departure out of Bellagio and a 3 hour drive towards Genoa and the Ligurian Coast. Conditions were perfect with 24 degrees forecast and a storming tailwind towards San Remo.

The ride started just outside Genoa at the small village of Voltri. The early part of the ride is easy undulating to pan flat on very good roads, with the last 50k (of the 145k total) being the hilly, difficult section. A succession of headlands puts up a few easy climbs to be greeted by stunning views around the next corner. It was of no consequence for Mike O’R who didn’t get past the 30k mark and pulled the pin courtesy of asthma/sinus (2020 it will need to be). Abject disappointment doesn’t quite describe that DNF.

Alberto Elli led Mike Lawson & Marty Wright through endless seaside villages towards Savona (more a seaport city than a coastal village), then onto the major climbs (called capo) of the day - Capo Berta, Capo Cervo, Capo Mele and the Cipressa climb. The Cipressa itself had pinches of 8% so it is a bona fide effort to the summit. A sharp drop off the Cipressa back down to the coastline and all roads lead towards the Poggio.

Maurizio (our IL Perlo mechanic/driver) was not allowed to park the Perlo team car on the Poggio climb itself, so we parked up at the bottom of the Poggio (a cafe nearby provided food & coffee AND the priceless television pumping out the race live). The BiciSport group simply pedalled up the Poggio to watch the Classic pass by being the last challenge of MSR 19.

Many thanks to IL Perlo at Bellagio for providing a majestic backdrop to all things MSR19. Thank you to Carlo at IL Perlo, Alberto Elli (what a legend & total gentlemen), Como Bikes for providing the two wheel logistics. Can’t wait to do this all again in 2020.

Milan San Remo Ride @ 23 March -  Mike Lawson & Marty Wright approaching the Poggio Climb near San Remo

Milan San Remo Ride @ 23 March - Mike Lawson & Marty Wright approaching the Poggio Climb near San Remo

Milan San Remo Ride @ 23 March  - Marty Wright approaching the Poggio climb

Milan San Remo Ride @ 23 March - Marty Wright approaching the Poggio climb

Milan San Remo 2019 @ 23 March  - the professional Classic storms towards the Poggio with just 10k to the finish in San Remo (picture MOR)

Milan San Remo 2019 @ 23 March - the professional Classic storms towards the Poggio with just 10k to the finish in San Remo (picture MOR)

Mlan San Remo Ride @ 23 March  - time to depart San Remo after a most memorable day

Mlan San Remo Ride @ 23 March - time to depart San Remo after a most memorable day

Ferrari @ Maranello @ 22 March  - A big boys day trip to the Ducati factory in Bologna followed by the Ferrari Museum at Maranello. Happy to report that both Marty & Mike Lawson drove in the Ferrari race car simulator going around the Monza race circuit … Mike crashed leaving the Monza pits (oops) and Marty crashed twice (oops again). Marty’s right elbow (see above picture) was bloodied by the two crashes such was the realistic movement in the Ferrari race car simulator

Ferrari @ Maranello @ 22 March - A big boys day trip to the Ducati factory in Bologna followed by the Ferrari Museum at Maranello. Happy to report that both Marty & Mike Lawson drove in the Ferrari race car simulator going around the Monza race circuit … Mike crashed leaving the Monza pits (oops) and Marty crashed twice (oops again). Marty’s right elbow (see above picture) was bloodied by the two crashes such was the realistic movement in the Ferrari race car simulator

Lake Como Ride Report @ 21 March   This day was another 70k around Lake Como with two ferry crossings, but this time it was a northern loop, towards St Moritz and Sondrio and then returning on the Varenna side of Lake Como towards Lecco.  The day started with a ferry ride from Bellagio to Cernabbio (picture above with Mike O’Reilly, Mike Lawson, Alberto Elli & Marty Wright), then the northern loop on generally flat roads with moderate levels of traffic (nothing confronting). Several times we diverted to the ‘old old lakeside road’ which had been converted to a dedicated bike path. Delightful would be an understatement with panoramic views directly to the Alps.  Alberto Elli led the group in single file at a steady rate of 28k average as we headed for Sondrio and coffee after some 35k. Just after coffee we saw a sign that stated ‘St Moritz 70k’ (… not going there today … ). The run back to Varenna was on the ‘old lakeside’ road but the real blessing was the motorway further up the lakeside mountain - our ‘old lakeside’ road was virtually deserted and a cycling delight. A stop at Varenna and a brief ferry ride back to Bellagio nearly finished the day. The final effort was the Ghisallo climb back up to IL Perlo which everybody did much better than yesterday.

Lake Como Ride Report @ 21 March

This day was another 70k around Lake Como with two ferry crossings, but this time it was a northern loop, towards St Moritz and Sondrio and then returning on the Varenna side of Lake Como towards Lecco.

The day started with a ferry ride from Bellagio to Cernabbio (picture above with Mike O’Reilly, Mike Lawson, Alberto Elli & Marty Wright), then the northern loop on generally flat roads with moderate levels of traffic (nothing confronting). Several times we diverted to the ‘old old lakeside road’ which had been converted to a dedicated bike path. Delightful would be an understatement with panoramic views directly to the Alps.

Alberto Elli led the group in single file at a steady rate of 28k average as we headed for Sondrio and coffee after some 35k. Just after coffee we saw a sign that stated ‘St Moritz 70k’ (… not going there today … ). The run back to Varenna was on the ‘old lakeside’ road but the real blessing was the motorway further up the lakeside mountain - our ‘old lakeside’ road was virtually deserted and a cycling delight. A stop at Varenna and a brief ferry ride back to Bellagio nearly finished the day. The final effort was the Ghisallo climb back up to IL Perlo which everybody did much better than yesterday.

IL Perlo Hotel @ Bellagio just after sunrise @ 21 Mar.

IL Perlo Hotel @ Bellagio just after sunrise @ 21 Mar.

Madonna de Ghisallo Church @ 20 Mar  - situated at the top of the Ghisallo climb above Lake Como at the Fausto Coppi monument (L to R) - Mike Lawson, Mike O’Reilly & Marty Wright

Madonna de Ghisallo Church @ 20 Mar - situated at the top of the Ghisallo climb above Lake Como at the Fausto Coppi monument (L to R) - Mike Lawson, Mike O’Reilly & Marty Wright

Italian Cycling Museum @ Ghisallo @ 20 Mar  - a short drive from the IL Perlo Hotel is the Italian Cycling Museum with Marty Wright in front of a Giro jersey history wall

Italian Cycling Museum @ Ghisallo @ 20 Mar - a short drive from the IL Perlo Hotel is the Italian Cycling Museum with Marty Wright in front of a Giro jersey history wall

IL Perlo Hotel @ 20 Mar -  Alberto Elli before the start of the first BiciSport team ride around Lake Como

IL Perlo Hotel @ 20 Mar - Alberto Elli before the start of the first BiciSport team ride around Lake Como

IL Perlo Hotel @ 20 Mar -  before the BiciSport ride start (L to R) - Alberto Elli, Mike Lawson, Mike O’Reilly & Marty Wright

IL Perlo Hotel @ 20 Mar - before the BiciSport ride start (L to R) - Alberto Elli, Mike Lawson, Mike O’Reilly & Marty Wright

IL Perlo Hotel @ 20 Mar  - Mike Lawson heads off up the Ghisallo climb with the IL Perlo Hotel soaked in the afternoon sunshine

IL Perlo Hotel @ 20 Mar - Mike Lawson heads off up the Ghisallo climb with the IL Perlo Hotel soaked in the afternoon sunshine

IL Perlo Bellagio Ride Report @ 20 March   Day one at IL Perlo on Lake Como dawned fresh but ideal with very little wind. Alberto Elli took the BiciSport group down to Bellagio and we jumped the ferry to the other side of Lake Como (at Argegno). From there Alberto led the group along the lakeside road towards Como - all pretty much flat & fast. After passing the George Clooney mansion (as you do) it was coffee in central Como.  Getting home was tougher as we traced the other side of Lake Como, being somewhat hillier and a few tunnels (all safe). The scenery was nothing short of spectacular with very little traffic. Back past the village of Nesso and it was straight into Bellagio (one very nice little lakeside village). The climb out of Bellagio up the famous Madonna de Ghisallo mountain was nothing short of a real grind with pinches of 14% just to get back to the IL Perlo Hotel above the Lake. Marty Wright (pictured) climbed the Ghisallo and noted “ … its maybe not a good idea to have a 14% climb at your front door !! … “

IL Perlo Bellagio Ride Report @ 20 March

Day one at IL Perlo on Lake Como dawned fresh but ideal with very little wind. Alberto Elli took the BiciSport group down to Bellagio and we jumped the ferry to the other side of Lake Como (at Argegno). From there Alberto led the group along the lakeside road towards Como - all pretty much flat & fast. After passing the George Clooney mansion (as you do) it was coffee in central Como.

Getting home was tougher as we traced the other side of Lake Como, being somewhat hillier and a few tunnels (all safe). The scenery was nothing short of spectacular with very little traffic. Back past the village of Nesso and it was straight into Bellagio (one very nice little lakeside village). The climb out of Bellagio up the famous Madonna de Ghisallo mountain was nothing short of a real grind with pinches of 14% just to get back to the IL Perlo Hotel above the Lake. Marty Wright (pictured) climbed the Ghisallo and noted “ … its maybe not a good idea to have a 14% climb at your front door !! … “

Ghisallino Restaurant @ Madonna de Ghisallo @ 19 Mar -  As usual (for Italy) any good ride report starts with a food report. Having survived the trip to get here, one had to celebrate in style at a delightful Italian restaurant just opposite the Madonna de Ghisallo Church & Cycling Museum.

Ghisallino Restaurant @ Madonna de Ghisallo @ 19 Mar - As usual (for Italy) any good ride report starts with a food report. Having survived the trip to get here, one had to celebrate in style at a delightful Italian restaurant just opposite the Madonna de Ghisallo Church & Cycling Museum.

Eroica Challenge Ride Report @ 10 March    Mike Lawson  (BiciSport Master) started the 85k cyclosportive with 5,000 starters.  The course was tough & testing with 21k of white gravel, not dissimilar to a testing West Head Road but the hills were longer and harder than those on West Head. Some of the descents were wild, both road and gravel … try 60kph on gravel with a 90 degree turn at the bottom !. Felt pretty strong all day, with the only incident being a small crash at the first feed zone. Mike finished 5th in his age category. The picture above is the last 16% climb into Siena   Siena Ride Report @ 11 March    Mike Lawson  reports … just back from a 3 hour 40 min ride on either side of Siena.  Headed off to ride the Colle Pinzuto & Le Toife white road climbs and by far the steepest and most difficult of all the six sectors in the 86k cyclosportive version of the Eroica. Then did the first part of the course again including the first two gravel sectors, the second being the Grotti (the climb where I watched the pro race). Some good riding around here, but its real hard to find anything flat if you want an easy day. Driving up to Camaiore tomorrow to watch the first stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico pro stage race (the team time trial stage).

Eroica Challenge Ride Report @ 10 March

Mike Lawson (BiciSport Master) started the 85k cyclosportive with 5,000 starters.

The course was tough & testing with 21k of white gravel, not dissimilar to a testing West Head Road but the hills were longer and harder than those on West Head. Some of the descents were wild, both road and gravel … try 60kph on gravel with a 90 degree turn at the bottom !. Felt pretty strong all day, with the only incident being a small crash at the first feed zone. Mike finished 5th in his age category. The picture above is the last 16% climb into Siena

Siena Ride Report @ 11 March

Mike Lawson reports … just back from a 3 hour 40 min ride on either side of Siena.

Headed off to ride the Colle Pinzuto & Le Toife white road climbs and by far the steepest and most difficult of all the six sectors in the 86k cyclosportive version of the Eroica. Then did the first part of the course again including the first two gravel sectors, the second being the Grotti (the climb where I watched the pro race). Some good riding around here, but its real hard to find anything flat if you want an easy day. Driving up to Camaiore tomorrow to watch the first stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico pro stage race (the team time trial stage).

Alberto Elli  is the IL Perlo Hotel cycling guide for the BiciSport team to see the Milan San Remo pro classic & Bellagio-Lake Como rides. Alberto was the Yellow Jersey holder for four days at the 2000 Tour de France.

Alberto Elli is the IL Perlo Hotel cycling guide for the BiciSport team to see the Milan San Remo pro classic & Bellagio-Lake Como rides. Alberto was the Yellow Jersey holder for four days at the 2000 Tour de France.