So I took my beautiful bicycle (steed) out for her first true ride in and around Lucca yesterday. After being motivated by the guys' last week of racing, I figured it was a sport I really wanted to give a shot despite my unfortunate hand/clipping out of the pedals incident in Flers previously. And boy was I right. I have found out where the passion for cycling amongst Phil, his teammates, his coaches, and the entire European community comes from.
Dressed in brand new pro gear from last year's Amore & Vita team, I sped down Via Pesciatina toward the city center of Lucca. Pretending to be a confident cyclist, I leaned side to side through the roundabouts and hunched down real low to gain maximum velocity. I rarely used hand signals. I acted like the real cyclists on the streets here. Basically everything that I thought made me seem like I was an experienced rider, I did. (I had practiced my braking on the villa grass a bit before taking it to the streets to avoid falling per Phil's text message advice.)
Needless to say, I think I both confused and pissed off one in every three vehicles due to my unorthodox and somewhat staccato method of turning, slowing, and pushing off from the curbs. But I'd like to think they were mostly confused because I wore that cool, new pro garb so naturally --- and not because I almost took out their tail lights.
Tonight I am staying at the house of Phil's team director whose wife (Whitney) is from Milwaukee. They have a young child (10 month old Luciano) who is such an adorable, happy little guy. We made salad and had pizza from a nearby pizzeria, then took a walk around their town of Montecatini, located 20km from the villa on the way to Florence. It was great talking to her on many levels since she's a Midwesterner, a twin, about my age, and living here to support her cycling-obsessed husband. Tomorrow we'll get up early to do a long, hard ride while her sister-in-law watches the baby. I can't wait! Must get sleep. My neck and back are still feeling the stress from my hunched riding yesterday (a position that goes so far against all of my yoga and running training of straightening and lengthening the spine). But Phil says my neck will get stronger and more used to the the strange way it leverages to hold up my head.
*The following video is a clip I made on my camera while the guys rode the Tour de Bretagne last week. I hope it works!