Last year when I came to the MS Global, my bike didn't. It took two days for it to arrive, so I used a rental bike for some pretty major climbing, and ended up having back spasms a couple days later that kept me off the bike for a day.
So, the excellent news is that I made it to Venice today -- and so did my bike!!!! My luggage made it, too, as did two HUGE duffel bags full of Clif Bar products that I brought for the Tyler Hamilton Foundation. Ride leaders were supposed to bring them a few days ago, but they got lost in the mail, so I had the honor. In case you're wondering...if you fill a very large duffel bag with Clif Bars, Clif Shots, Clif powdered drink, and those little Clif jelly things (can't remember the name of them at the moment -- my brain's not firing too well), the bag will be VERY hard to carry. A tip that may come in useful.
Anyhooooo...I made it to Venice right on time at 9:35 after a peaceful flight, and was greeted about 30 minutes later by two happy screaming friends from last year's MS Global -- Pat Perry from Houston and Patti Columbus from Southern Cal. The Italians standing around waiting for their loved ones definitely knew some wacky Americans had arrived.
We then made a 3.5 hour drive to Canazei in three different shuttle vans full of participants (all but three of us had flown in a few days ago), and one van full of all of our bike boxes and luggage. We stopped for what we thought would be a short lunch on the way, and were fed the most amazing 3 course lunch with fresh delicious seafood and pasta. I have pics of the plates....beautiful!
The scenery on the way was gorgeous, and Canazei is a fairly small town nestled in the Dolomites. Our hotel is great -- huge rooms by European standards -- and we all built our bikes and then took a quick 15-mile ride to loosen up our legs and make sure our bikes worked. It's cold....it was snowing very lightly when we arrived, but we all brought warm clothing, and it was terrific.
Back at the hotel, we showered, went to a wonderful dinner, reconnected with old Global friends and new rookies. Tyler Hamilton is here -- the racer whose foundation runs the show -- and so is his wife, Haven, and it'll be terrific to have them here all week. One of the rookie riders, Tammy from Fort Collins, got a flat today on the way out on the ride, and Tyler fixed it for her. It was the first time she met him, so, of course, that made quite an impression!
I already have pics to share, but it's really late, I'm beat, and the internet connection is a bit slow, so I'm going to go to bed, and load some pics tomorrow after our 40-mile ride -- with LOTS of climbing...
Just wanted to sign in real quick to let y'all know I made it, and to thank all of you who've so generously donated to THF on behalf of my ride here for Lisa. I can't tell you how much it means to me. At dinner when I introduced myself, I let everyone know I'm riding for her, and that always chokes me up, because it really is special to me. And I'm wearing my "dog tags" around my neck that say "Believe," the motto of THF, and "Pedalin' for Lisa" on the back. It hangs right next to my heart throughout the week and pretty much says it all.