Thursday, August 12, 2010

It's official

It has been a while since I've posted something, as everybody knows, life is busy and nothing really happened
post Giro/Italy visit, Tour de France, sure, it was a good show put on by some really fast and talented kids, not so by a getting old Texan, lets wait until he shows up in Kona to do Ironman in 2011.







By the way, talking about 2011, that crazy grouchy German guy came up with this stupid idea to leave our rock and fly to another one just to ride our bikes, sleep well in comfy beds, fill up our bellies with the fantastic local cuisine and taste the good vine of the region.
This time it will be Mallorca. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mallorca Also known as the "Riders Paradise" on the European continent.

Mallorca is truly one great place to ride a bike, choosing a place on the east coast for our headquarters,
Sa Coma, gives us the option to ride in several different directions every day. 
I can't wait to ride up "Puig San Salvador", an about 1500' climb, lots of switchbacks, to the oldest monastery of Mallorca. Incredible views from the top in each direction . 

Our hotel with a funny name: Hotel Blau Mediterraneo

Hotel and beach

We'll be there from May 7th to May 18th, for all inquiries please contact me at OIBHawaii@aol.com.
If we can get more than 10 riders we'll qualify for a group discount.
The hotel offers half board, that means that we have a breakfast and a dinner buffet daily.
Destination airport is Palma de Mallorca (PMI), it takes two days to get to Palma, so please make sure when you make flight arrangements that your journey starts on the 5th.


Monday, June 21, 2010

For a good cause

A dear friend of mine, Michele Bono, past away battling cancer for several years.
Michele was a cyclist at heart, she was a National Champion and the only athlete from Hawaii that ever won a medal on the Track.
The last couple of month before she past away, we could find her in Houston, trying to recover from Chemotherapy at the Aishel House. I often talked to her and she bragged about that this was the best place to recover.
In honor of Michele I am planning of having an annual event, the Grand Fondo Michele Bono, proceeds for this event will go directly to the Aishel House.
Please join me and my riding partner Franz for a couple of miles on our two day, 450 mile journey,scouting trip, riding complete around the island.
Start will be on Saturday June 26th at 5.30am at the Old Airport Playground riding north over the Kohala Mountains into Hilo. The second part will be on Sunday leaving Hilo riding south back into Kona.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Mechanical Doping?

Is that really possible?
According to the video , see link below, it is.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Back in the Groove

It's been 7 days since we left Italy, still sad, it's been a dream, looking back, even the hail, thunderstorms, down pours seem not to bother me anymore, I want to go back tomorrow and do it all over again. Like they said: The End is only the Beginning. Welcome Spain in 2011.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Back in Hawaii

Wow, 15 1/2 hrs on a plane is just not fun.
At 6.30pm we touched down @ the Kona Intl. airport.
There is no other smell in the world that can describe when the door opens and you step off the plane in Hawaii, it smells like home.
Take a deep breath next time you come back from a trip and you'll find out, your whole body just starts blooming, sucking up the moisture like a sponge.

Today, back to work at the Kona Bike Shop. Not fun either, but somehow we have to save some more money for our next adventure.

The Legend continues

Julia and I haven't been to Germany when the weather was as beautiful as it was this time. Blue skies and temperatures around 65 to 70 F made this short trip very enjoyful.

Of course our first stop would be the wine market to get some Italian wine to enjoy
on my pops porch above the city. It's a little oasis right downtown with palm trees
and other tropical trees and plants.



So what goes the best with red wine?
Spaghetti and a shot of Sambuca.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

This is it..

We are leaving Italy. We'll be back for sure.
Still digesting all the images in my head, it'll take a while to realize what we did.
Most of us became wine snobs, with the exception of Gene, Coca Cola only and Tammy, she is more of a beer person, although both of them tried the favorite beverage of the gods.

Since I missed two days of riding I asked Tom if we could do one more ride in the morning.
To my surprise he offered to ride from Cortona to Florence, about 70 miles, while all the other would take the van.

From the get go he pushed hard, he wanted to beat the van,
we didn't beat them, but we arrived at the same time, 3 1/2 hrs for 70 miles with a thunder storm
and some serious hills, I was happy.
It was sad to see the guides leave, we were more like a family after a week of spending all day together.

A typical italian lunch and some Giro TV coverage closed the day and a chapter that will leave long lasting memories.
Thanks for following.

Last day in sunshine








Cortona, if you ever have the chance, please visit this amazing hill top town in Tuscany.
You'll find yourself set back in time to the Mid Evil, absolutely amazing.
We woke up early, the sunshine falling in our window, this seems promising for the day.
The first day of real sunshine, no rain, yeah!
Super nice ride with two passes to climb, another outstanding lunch by Duvine.

Check out the videos.
video video video

With out words..





I am running out of words how to describe the beauty of this part of Italy.
So I am cutting it short and let the pictures tell you the story.
Todays ride, transfer from San Luca to Cortona. 50 miles, ran into thunder again.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

On the bike again






A short ride from our hotel in Montefellonico brought us right to the start in Chianchiano.
We checked out the scenery and rode further south to Chuisi to see the peleton go by.
It took 15 sec for 189 riders to go by.
Todays mileage 35 due to rain again, but we got a superb lunch out of it.





Rest Day






No ride today due to a continious down poor. Instead we drove to downtown Siena and walked around with our umbrella's playing tourist.

Than transfer to todays finish of Stage 6, Montalciona @ 1600 ft.

We got dropped of at the 8oo meter marker and walked all the way to the finish line. A Big Screen was showing the race live, people gathering every where, waiting for the arrival of the peleton,
that was still riding on the dirt roads of the famous L'eroica . When you hear the helicopter
you know they are close, mud covered Evans , followed by Vino were coming racing through he small streets of Montalcino right in front of us, fighting for todays victory,



Friday, May 14, 2010

Part of the Giro




Another beautiful morning to wake up to. Crisp clean air hits your face opening the wood framed
windows in our room. Fog hugs the lower parts of the valley of Volterra.
On todays schedule: parts of the Giro.
By the time we left the hotel the skies didn't look good as promised.
6 k out of town going south east the weather came in and we got hit with a nice stiff breeze and rain. Not fun when the ride starts with a nice downhill, frozen toes, numb hands and a red nose like Rudolph the reindeer.

Most of our today's ride included lots of climbing and long downhills.
Half way through the ride Giovanni served a first class lunch that filled us up and gave us enough energy to conceur parts of tomorrows Stage 6.

"Pantani" graffiti and faded mile markers on the road on the way to Siena. Miles today 63.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

On our bikes





Beautiful ride around Volterra today. I was skeptical after all the storms.
The weather cleared and we started on a crisp morning to go on our first ride.
Starting with a screaming downhill on wet roads we had to challenge some hilly terrain
riding toward San Gimignano an old town with a 1000 year history.
After a short stop we continued our ride looping back to Volterra with some nice climbs.




Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Not a good start

It's Wednesday and we are suppose to go our on first ride around Volterra.
Tom and Giovanni picked us up @ the hotel at 11am.
The transfer was quick, adventurous and of course beautyful, the Tuscan countryside is just gorgeous, accept if you get hit by a cold front that carried hale, thunder, lightning and tons of rain.


So somewhat disappointed we were waiting over a small lunch, (salad, spaghetti, bread and wine) that the front would clear and we could go on our most anticipated first ride.
At 3pm we decided that there was no reason to ride in the rain with thunder in the background, so we checked out our bikes and made some adjustment that were needed.



Tammy and Mike's luggage is still lost somewhere between Amsterdam and Florence.
video

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Another day in Florence


A small amount of jetlag still in our bodys let us wake up early.
Julia and I went for a walk to get a newspaper and a cup of coffee.
Overcast skies and a little drizzle of rain greeted us at the door leaving our hotel.
But even with a gray sky Florence is a beauty.
We found a newspaper stand a block away and purchased our own first
"Gazzetta della sport" a pink, sports only newspaper, 8 pages of cycling, unbelievable.
Vino just slipped into pink and Cadel was 46 sec behind, that promised excitement for the
upcoming stages.

Walking around made us hungry, so we went back to our hotel and had a great breakfast.
Wheat bread, eggs, fruit, lunch meat and of course cheese with a hot and strong Cappuchino
would give a good base for the day.
All of us were anxious to visit the local bike shops, maybe picking up some cool stuff we won't get in the US.


The first store had an enormous inventory, I mean we have a lot of stuff, but those guys had probably twice as much.
Colnago's, Bianchi's, Wilier's and some really cool brand from Italy called Olympus of course all carbon with Campy stuff on it. Two hours later and several hundreds of dollars poorer we were finally ready to leave and fill our by now hungry belly's with some good Italian pizza.


The Kelly's should be arriving soon, there flight was scheduled to arrive @ 12.25 local time.

A new experience: Mozzarella with fresh tomatoes, a large pizza and 2 bottles of red wine @ lunch will definetely slow you down for the rest of the day.

With the plan to go to a local bar next door at night, Ken saw a Canabis beer he needed to try, we said good by to our fellow cycling gang to take a well deserved nap.

Researching the Kelly's flight schedule we found out that they had to spend all day @ the airport in Amsterdam.
Poor guys.

The bar was not a hit at all, so we went for a nice walk through downtown Florence end enjoyed the local atmosphere of an old Italian city.

We waited until a quarter to 12pm to welcome Tammy and Mike, luggage still in Amsterdam.
Both were in good spirits.




Monday, May 10, 2010

Downtown Florence



Coming from the airport, Florence apperance' reminds me of any bigger city in Germany, streets are plugged with traffic, county workers working on potholes in the middle of the day, small streets lined with trees, car parking on both sides, public parks with old skulpures, honking impatient drivers.

One major aspect differs thou, scooters and bikes galore, it seems that the amount of both out number the use of cars and to top it off they have an awesome bus system.
The word "speed limit" is unheard of and it is scary to cross the street, even if you are waiting on a traffic light. So just close your eyes and take all the courage you can muster and cross the street.



Downtown Florence is just a walk away from our hotel,
it it an explosion of images, it is beautiful, astounding,
one after another, the buildings, the arcitecture, the businesses that offer mouth watering foods, cobble stones, the river that flows right trough town with its apartment building lining both edges. I had the feeling this was a part of Disneyland, almost to pretty to be true.

Let the fun begin...



We are leaving.
It's Saturday' May 8th.

It will be a long way to Italy, spending most of our time cattled into a XL tin can, going almost 650 miles an hour, it is actually like prison, no room, uncomfortable living quarters, bad food and annoying inmates, I am sorry I meant fellow travelers.

Our first leg (4 1/2 hrs) brought us to LAX with a short layover of 2hrs.
Coffee and checking the latest results of the Giro made the wait feel short.

Next to Chicago, (3 1/2 hrs only), a little bit of dozing around, reading, more dozing.

Me I am talking about or Ken or Gene who sat in their seats unable to sleep on a plane, Julia on the other hand, just rolls up like a ball and falls to sleep instantly.

Next stop Frankfurt, Germany.
With a small detour, the ash cloud of the Island volcano was hovering over some parts of Europe again, we arrived after 8 1/2 hrs of flying time in Frankfurt, Germany.

Here, we would anticipate our first real workout, mentally and physically, before we started or cycling tour.

While checking in with a Lufthansa ticketing machine it turns our that Ken and Gene had no ticket to fly to Florence, a simple computer flaw, frustrated I decided to cut in line of about a 100 waiting passengers, using my smooth mother language to speed up the process @ the check-in counter. By now we thought we are running a little behind schedule to get to the gate.
20 minutes later we found ourself with tickets standing in a line of
gazillion other frustrated passengers going through security.
There was no way we could make it on time to our last leg to Florence.

Sometimes there is a light at the end of the tunnel, so they say, at this time we would call it "the speed of light", out of the middle of nowhere a airport personal showed up to inform us to follow him, guiding us to a different security check point reducing the wait period, with the speed of light he almost disappeared right in front of us.

Did you ever run with 4 pieces of luggage @ 10 mi/mile pace? It's not fun, not only that there was another line at the new check point, but we had to run down 4 flights of stairs crossing a tunnel and back up 4 flights, coming to the gate right at boarding time finding out that there were more stairs to go down to, catching the bus to the plane that was waiting on the tarmac, by then everybody was soaking wet from running like a mad dog.

But we finally made it, 90 minutes later we arrived at the Florence airport.

Monday, May 3, 2010

An Italian dinner


May 2nd, 5:30pm
Dinner with Gene, Ken, Mike, Tammy, Julia and myself @ Fabrizio's in downtown Kailua.
An evening full of laughter, good food and wine.
6 days of work left, everybody is really looking forward to the trip.

Just call me a freak...


Pre-Tour preparations

- Pedicure

The girls of Hot Nails in town went wild....

Monday, April 26, 2010

Custom Giro Jersey...Design by Nathan Blades


A nice combo, good job Nathan

Day 7


Loop around Cortona

Day 6


San Luca - Cortona, leaving Umbria back to Tuscany