Sunday, October 6, 2013

Giro di Lombardia

Visit #822, Sunday 6 October 13, 7:10-9:30AM, 5.3 miles
Temps in the low 60's, steady rain.

The Giro di Lombardia is the final one-day monumental race on the European bicycle racing calendar.  At 150 miles, it is also known as "the race of the fallen leaves" because it is always held this time of year in Italy when the weather turns habitually wet.

Today's edition was no different, and winner Joaquim Rodriguez, above, used his bike handling skills in a steady rain to drop his competition on slick roads, where taking risks could result in some pavement surfing, like Domenico Pozzovivo did as he crossed the finish line.

Little did I know, I'd be holding my own Giro di Lombardia in Hubbard Park today.

I wanted an early start today so I could get home to watch the final hour of the race on the internet. I didn't bother to check the weather because I vaguely remember the forecast from a couple days ago which said it would merely be cloudy. That's what it looked like when I left the house. What could possibly go wrong?

Arriving at the park was another story. The rain waited until I locked my car's doors then commenced to torment me for the next 2 1/2 hours. I failed to bring rain gear and it was at times too hot to wear my fleece, but too wet to take it off. I doffed and donned the sweater several times as if I had some sort of nervous tic.

Despite the rain, the fall colors made for an attractive day out.

I hiked to the south end of Merimere Reservoir, then directly up to the Castle via the Yellow Trail. Earlier in the week I received a phone call from a Hubbard Park "regular" who told me he'd collected some trash and, without a bag to carry it out, left it in a pile near the Castle for me to take. Thus the reason for my trip up there today. Alas, when I arrived I couldn't find the stash. I cleaned up around the perimeter of the parking lot and left a bag of trash for the Parks Department to pick up.

My return leg to the park was via a trail that parallels the road up to the Castle. When I reached the north end of Merimere Reservoir, the rain hadn't let up.

I walked the road back to the park, which reminded me of "the race of the fallen leaves".

I dropped my bag in the trash can and delivered my soggy self home to watch Joaquim Rodriguez slay all comers in a similarly wet Giro di Lombardia.

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