Affairs of the heart

Two weeks ago we adopted an ex racing greyhound from Ireland. We’ve called her Phoebe in English and Fibi in Italian as they are pronounced exactly the same. It’s fair to say she has captured both our hearts.

When Phoebe runs around the garden Jan says she has the “zoomies”.

The zoomies is exactly what we had from the start of the Randonnée del Cuore (Audax of the Heart) 200km. The first 100km loop around lake Iseo was pretty flat. I found myself in a large group riding faster than the maximum speed limit for an audax of 30km/h elapsed. Chatting to Alberto and Salvatore I said there is no way I can keep this up until the first control, let alone 200km. But we did. We arrived at the first control at 55km distance 1hr 37mins after the start, an average of 34km/h elapsed. I have never ridden so fast in an audax.

Maybe we had the zoomies because a few of us were wearing our Italian National Team uniforms for the first time having been inducted the previous day. I was certainly proud to wear mine.

After the first control the field broke up into smaller groups and the pace slowed, but not by much. Our grupetto featured Pino Leone, the National Team Captain and Gennaro Laudando, the newly crowned National Champion for 2021. We stopped for coffee and cake but still managed to complete the first loop at 106km in 3 hours 40 minutes, an elapsed average of 29km/h, only 1 km/h under the speed limit.

The second loop slowed us down again as it contained the only real climb of the day up to Clusone at 600m asl. It was a really enjoyable climb. 5km at between 2% and 4% meant we could maintain a good pace rather than slog it up the hill. Once over the top it was back down to lake Iseo to complete the second loop, stopping off for a group photo on the shore.

We finished the 197km in 7 hours 46 minutes, an elapsed average of 25.5 km/h. Moving average was 28.8km/h. Finishing over six hours before the cut off is why my heart rate monitor reported I spent 55% of the ride at “Tempo”. It felt like Tempo the whole time.

It was called the Randonnée del Cuore as it was in support of the hospital in Bergamo where the Covid outbreak hit first and hardest in 2020. They used the same image for the ride as on the wall of the hospital.

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