Success of Trip – 0 Luck – 10

Sorry for no posting since we started but here’s why! I was side swiped by a car before even reaching the lunch stop on Day 1 or any of the big climbs of the trip – hence the first part of the title (Success of Trip – 0).

Now the reason for the second part of the title (Luck – 10). I am now back home in England but feeling very lucky!!

Here is how it all happened, at least what I remember of it. We left the side of Lake Como after the customary group photo and started to ride along the lake on the twisty roads that follow it’s side. You may, or may not, have experience of Italian drivers, but let’s just say that speed limits, narrowness of roads, blind bends or summits seem to be something that they take very little notice of, in my opinion! There were 50 riders and we soon split up into more reasonable groups of maybe 10 as the largest. Being overtaken by drivers in the most amazing places & very often being left with only a small space between us & them as they came back onto the correct side of the road.

After about 40K, 4 of us missed a turning away from the lake and did a few extra K before we were certain we had gone wrong. There was Terry, the only one who had ridden the previous 5 weeks from Sicily, myself & 2 others had joined in at Como for this 12 day trip to Nice. We re-traced until we reached where we should have turned off and took the climb away from the lakeside. I am not the fastest on a climb, especially at the start, so I just changed down to a better gear & kept to my own pace. I knew that I would catch them up at lunch which was not too far away now we were on the right road. On a descent that inevitably followed the summit, I passed Tinh, a young lady from Australia, who had stopped by the roadside. She said she was okay as I passed & I carried on. Shortly after my trip ended!!

I suddenly remember being aware that my left side was rubbing along the side of a car! Realising this was not correct I tried to correct the problem but had no time to before the car ended and I was obviously left leaning against fresh air – but only for a moment. I remember nothing after that until I was on a stretcher and in the background I heard Tinh calling out that she had my bike etc. Loaded into an Ambulance I came around more and realised that I was now being rushed to a hospital somewhere, my neck in a brace, ECG wires being put on to my body and some fluid being dripped into my hand from a bag above me, oh great I thought!!

I arrived at a hospital & eventually a doctor who spoke some broken English came to see me and explained I was going off for X-rays. I could feel my left collar bone felt quite swollen and that there were road abrasions along my left side, but my neck felt fine so I just wanted this neck brace off as soon as possible. After numerous X-rays my friendly doctor returned & told me I had broken my collar bone & maybe my shoulder blade but he needed another X-ray. It turned out that my shoulder blade was fine as was my neck, so the neck brace was removed, phew!

I tried to explain that being a cyclist I had collected a few injuries to my shoulder over the years & that my left collar bone had been previously broken & that it was also dislocated from my shoulder, so it did not resemble a normal shoulder anymore! I think some of this was lost in translation.

Obviously, away from here, Tinh had contacted her husband who was also on the ride & told him she was at the roadside with my bike etc., at which time Wilbert, of Bike Dreams, came back in one of the vans & picked up my bike, allowing her to carry on to lunch. He then came to find me in hospital. I was pleased to see him & he then swung into action to help contact my wife, Avril, who was not far away on a short holiday by the side of Lake Garda, & tell her the details. Avril’s holiday with her sister was now ended as she had to drive back to get me from hospital & bring me home early.

Wilbert went off to get my luggage from the luggage truck & returned later to the hospital. By the time he returned I had been told by the doctor I was free to go, so Wilbert unloaded my luggage & bike for me, leaving me now to wait for Avril. About 10pm Avril arrived and we all set off back to Como & another night in the hotel I had left only 14 hours earlier.

We took a couple of days to get back up to home, with some painful hours spent in the car & in hotel beds. On arrival back home I went straight to the local A & E to get checked out. I was, by this time, suspicious that I had not in fact broken my collar bone, but I was a bit concerned about a pain in my ribs. After a chest X- ray I was relieved to hear the doctor confirm that I had not re-broken my collar bone & that there was no obvious breaks in my ribs, also that there was no damage to my lungs. Very bad bruising along with some quite bad road rash was all, I had been very lucky & it should be well on the way to being better in a week or so – relief!!

I must just add that without a helmet I would have had a much more serious injury to my head!! I can feel a slight bump on my head but it could have been the worst injury of all, so that was another disaster avoided.

So, despite the trip ending very early, and a few injuries, I am pleased that it did not turn out to be a lot worse. So that is why the title reads like a football score!

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Madonna del Ghisallo Museum

There is a very famous church & museum in Ghisallo near to Como which is a Mecca that cyclists have to visit if they are in the area. However, there is one problem – it is at the top of a hill which has up to 14% gradients on the 12K that it takes from the edge of Lake Como!! Why do these famous places have to be at the top of hills or mountains?
As I was in the area I just had to make the visit to see details of some of my heroes from days gone by, some Italian & others from various countries in the world.
I have put some pictures of me outside the museum, the church, a statue to victory & failure and some interesting things inside the museum. Tomorrow the trip proper starts!

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Three priceless bikes, one of Eddy Merckx’s race bikes, Gino Bartali’s race bike from 1938 Tour de France, and an ultra modern one off recently built by Colnago for Ferrari. Bartali’s bike is a good indication of what the riders from days gone by had to ride, and remember most of the mountain climbs were not covered in Tarmac – Tour riders have always been hard but in 1938 they were a different breed!!

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Ready in Como!

Arrived in Como today, Friday 17th, and met all the riders from the Italia trip as they finished. Some of them are continuing on The Dix Alpes which starts on Monday, so now feel as if the trip is real after waiting so long for it to arrive. Hope to go out in the morning and get a few K’s in the legs. Will keep things up to date from now on!

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Re-built bike ready!

Re-built Best Bike!

I now have my “new” best bike ready for the trip! Carbon fibre frame, bars, stem & seat post! I need this to give me a chance to drag my 90 Kilos over the climbs on the trip. Looking forward to June 20th!

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