Florence to Amsterdam – 1,900km 21 days – Leonardo (GCR Europe Ride Manager) – follow his story – Stage 9a, 9b, 9c.

August 31, 2015

Stage 9a: In Frankfurt with Scott and Volker
https://www.strava.com/activities/343129173
Friday 10 July 2015
(please see more pictures on Strava activity)
Pic 9a

Hi GCR blog readers, today wil be another great day: I am traveling by train from Munich to Frankfurt (I’m going to save 5 days of bike trip but I will spent more days in town).
From town to town there are more than 500km, this means 5 nights out before reaching the city, I prefer to save money.

I broke my mini pump and I fix it while I am in the train; my iphone is having one of its turns and the connection doesn’t work properly…goes on and off continuously.
I don’t care about it…I’ll use the wifi in the hotel, if any.
It’s 3pm, I have an appointment with Scott and Volker for a 60km ride; the first guy that meets me in front of the hotel is a big man with a Specialized bike, we start talking and I have the feeling that he can’t hold for so long the “formality” for these first minutes meeting, I find out he’s pretty ironic.
After 5 minutes another guy reaches us: he’s Volker, blue eyes and Argon 18 bike and he’s ironic too, good guys; we are cyclist ready to go one is German, one is American living in Germany, the last is an Italian, never met each other before and we start riding in the city, in a sunny day of July, in a perfect temperature, and the landscape is so beautiful! I remember Frankfurt because I crossed the town two years ago riding down the Rhine then the Main, but when you ride with local guides…well, everything changes: you have your time to look around, and believe this is a good thing.
The traffic here is less chaotic than Rome, although we shall pay attention at the same level; we are going too fast and whooops….the big man falls down trying to climb on a step at 27km/h. Luckily he’s though and immediately stands up ready to go again; from Volker and me, after a fast check of the scratches on his skin, this is a very nice moment and we start laughing, well this the moment where the “ice” is broken and the team is pretty built.
Hey….today is my first ride without bags! I removed fenders too and everything that may add weight, and this elegant classic race bike made of steel (and so eternal), shows its nature of real race bike. It’s a sin I have flat pedals and can’t push properly but..

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Stage 9b: In Frankfurt with Scott and Volker
https://www.strava.com/activities/343573278
Saturday 11 July 2015
(please see pictures on Strava activity)
Pic 9b

Today we’re gonna test a flat and fast ride ideally designed for triathletes.
So, Scott is more or less 85Kg, Volker is over 75Kg, I am barely 57Kg, and I can say that this ride is perfect for me. Yes, so perfect that I can’t keep up with them neither drafting, no way and they are doing their best, I know, to allow me to stay with them. Oh guys, I’d like to see how you go on a 5km 10% avg gradient…
I will have my revenge.

All of this scene just to say that the ride we have done today goes thru the outer forest, climbs very easily in the surroundings to join again the downtown after 90km, more or less. Nice landscapes, clean roads, educated car drivers, bike paths with signs, that’s Germany my friends. We also had a good breakfast in a patisserie along the road to fill up the tank before riding the remaining 50km. After the 90km ride, why don’t we ride 20-25km more to look for a good bike shop for an agreement?

Riding a bit more we find some signs on the street, they refer to the RTF Radteam of New Isenburg, a sort of race open to all people they do every year and we decide to participate! It is tomorrow!

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Stage 9c: In Frankfurt with Scott and Volker
https://www.strava.com/activities/344351571
Sunday 12 July 2015
(please see pictures on Strava activity)
Pic 9c

Today is the phenomenal day of a kind of a race (more like a long time trial, but you can draft); we meet in New Isenburg stadium where there are more than 150 cyclist already, it’s quite early and we will be around 900 people at the end of the day (if I remember well).
The start is not in any particular order, they take the time when you cross the line and then you go, I mean we go, with Volker and Scott that are already experienced on this race. There are 3 rides: 25, 50, 150km and we choose the 150km because what can you choose instead?
The price is very popular, 7€ and I get a number and the right to eat at 3 or 4 stops.
Can’t remember well all the race…it was up and down at the beginning for the first 50km, then long flat roads around Frankfurt; every stop and eat/drink has been blessed by all participants…watermelons, bananas, fruits, sweets, water, tea, whatever.
We close the race in the first half (my fault, I am not very fast but I like to say that I have endurance) and I am satisfied like this.
Back to the hotel, relax, shower, then dinner with the guys in an Italian restaurant where I finally can have a decent pasta.
Scott and Volker have bee taking care of me and I thank them very much, without them I wouldn’t know anything about the race and the shop variety in Germany, which is a though country on this side: the bike rental is not foreseen, it will be an hard work.