2019 FinKraft Giro d’Italia Cycling Camp, Day 1

Setting foot on Italian soil is always special to me for many reasons . This year it is the 10th anniversary for our FinKraft Giro / Italy Cycling Camp, so extra special. A lot of preparation and logistics go into pulling this camp off each year , but by now it’s pretty much a routine to me . The year goes by so fast and with so much always happening with life , racing , traveling etc. its something I always really look forward to every year.

We all have to put our regular life and  work on hold for 11 days and that is always hectic . Trying to catch up on work , train a little so we are able to do about 600 miles in 8-9 days , pack, travel and etc. The  last few days are chaos of course , but once on the plane everything seems to fall in place. Same thing for everyone attending the camp , but it’s all excitement at the same time. We are going to live a “pro cycling life”  for 9 days .

This year we have 7 different nationalities which will be very interesting. 3 riders from Poland , an Australian, a Chinese , an Italian , Irish and myself from Finland living in the US now of course. 4 Americans and then over the years we have also met so many native Italians who always tag along , so quite the crew this year .

My dream or intention with this camp was always to give the opportunity to cyclist from all walks of life to experience Italy , the cycling culture , the foods , the Giro , the back roads less traveled , the mountains , the legendary roads raced on for decades and just see Italy from your bike. Still get some good challenging  miles in and test your limits – physically and mentally like the racers in the Giro does,,, all for a reasonable cost.

Getting everyone rounded up from the airport this year was slightly more challenging with groups coming in from all directions and a few different days and times  , but Stefano and Clemens handled this like pros and by 2 o’clock  we all were at Cascina Belvedi eating lunch Italian style . Clemens, Fabio and Stefano all know the routine by now and things goes smooth like butter. Time to pick up the bikes from SalviBikestore. We have 6 rentals this year the other half of the camp brought their own bikes which is always an option too.

Giulliano , Lorenzo and Franco are super efficient and we are in and out of there in an hour pedals on and positions adjusted . Spezialized Tarmacs and Venges this year . Di2 with Disc brakes and carbon wheels. An excellent way of trying something new and different for the extent of the camp.

SalviBikestore is a super bike store and has given us an unbelievable service to us over the years. You get the point now why we use SalviBikestore and Cascina Belvedi every yearas our base  ,because  there is nothing better. Sempre Top !

Ride get cut a bit short due to heavy rain as soon as we put our legs over the bikes , 6 miles back to the hotel will do for today , we will make it up later no worries .

We are all ready to go , settled in and about to have our first real Italian dinner . This is kind of the symbol of the official start of the campevery year. Everyone sits down to this long nice table and start to get to know each other . Some are new faces , some are old friend , but the bike is bringing us all together and a great equalizer no matter where you come from.

3 hours later … anti pasto – cassoncelli , wine , laughs , desserts – we are ready for bed , no doubt . We will sleep good , big day tomorrow !