Culture clash

I’m a planner. It’s just in my nature. I was famous for it in my career and I’ve carried on being one in retirement. So why did I chose to live in Italy every summer? A good question.

Being a planner is almost a waste of time over here. Even though most arrangements are made at the last minute they remain fluid. My Italian friends say “Relax Colin, be more Italian”. I live in their country so I should, but I find it difficult. In fact, one of my Italian friends has invented the concept of the “Fishometer” to measure my frustration with the culture clash. The Fishometer goes up to 11.

My sporting 2019 will be dominated by Paris-Brest-Paris. I started road cycling in 2015 and PBP represents the biggest challenge so far. My hotel is booked, I’ve an alarm in my diary to prompt me to book the Eurostar as soon as tickets are available. I’ve completed a 600km audax this season so I can pre-register on the 28th January.

All I need to do now is plan my qualifying rides. I’ll be in the UK soon until a week before Brexit (taking no chances with the borders), so I’ll have to do my 200k in the UK and the 300k,  400k and 600k in Italy. That’s where my planning comes undone.

Here are Audax UK’s January events:

Screen Shot 2018-10-25 at 21.44.04.pngand February:

Screen Shot 2018-10-25 at 21.44.35.pngand so on.

Here’s the entire list of all Audaxes for the whole of 2019 currently posted on the Audax Randonneur Italia website:

Screen Shot 2018-10-22 at 23.05.21.png

That’s it, just two events posted for the entire year. The Fishometer just can’t grasp why, with only a couple of months left before a PBP year starts, I can’t plan where and when I need to be to qualify. I’m assured they will appear. Sometime.

Fortunately I know a couple of organisers who have told me the dates of their 300k and 600k qualifiers. Assuming they are approved by ARI then I just need to find a 400k. I have no idea where or when that might be.

To balance things out, there is a strong cycling culture here, I have made many new cycling friends, every small village has a bar with great coffee and my Italian cycling club is fantastic.

Italy delights and frustrates in equal measures.


Year to date

13, / 116 rides / 113 km average per ride

133,123m elevation gain (15 Everests)



  • Planners, eh?
    I remember a (British) comedian talking to his kids about life before mobile phones. How did you meet up with your friends, they marvelled agog?
    We’ll he said, we d agree to meet at a certain time and place the next time we planned to meet up. And be there!

    PS, what 600 are planning to do? Gotta link?


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