Granfondo Campagnolo Roma: An inside view

Granfondo Campagnolo Roma: An inside view

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Velomotion visited Rome for one of the last big cycling events before the season comes to a close: The Granfondo Campagnolo Roma. One of our editors even had the chance to take part in the race. What’s next is his unadorned report on the 123km through Italy.

The start

It’s 6am as I finally give in to the relentless ringing of the alarm clock next to my hotel bed in the city of Rome. Just over an hour later and after a light breakfast, I’m at the starting line of the 2014 edition of the Granfondo Campagnolo Roma. Behind me, the Colosseum shines in the sweet red of the morning sun. With race number 30, I’m right at the front of the line – behind me, there are just about 3.500 other cycling fans from all over the world, eager to finally start pedaling. A little after 7.30 the time has come, it’s on.

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For the first few kilometres, the still densely packed peloton moves over the cobbled streets of Rome. The inner city of Rome is beautiful, it’s a shame that there is almost no time to enjoy it. Everywhere in town, there are already people cheering and clapping, it’s a really nice feeling. Today, I’m riding on a special bike that Campagnolo got for us. It’s equipped with the new Super Record groupset and the new Bora Ultra wheels – a review will be up shortly on Velomotion. One thing is for sure though: If I won’t make it to the finish, it’s not due to my bike.

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Cobbles and flat tires

For the first few kilometres, the still densely packed peloton moves over the cobbled streets of Rome. The inner city of Rome is beautiful, it’s a shame that there is almost no time to enjoy it. Everywhere in town, there are already people cheering and clapping, it’s a really nice feeling. Today, I’m riding on a special bike that Campagnolo got for us. It’s equipped with the new Super Record groupset and the new Bora Ultra wheels – a review will be up shortly on Velomotion. One thing is for sure though: If I won’t make it to the finish, it’s not due to my bike.

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Just before the 30km mark, the first climb awaits. The road moves along the Lago di Castelgandolfo, up to the small town of Castel Gandolfo, renowned mainly for being the summer residence of the pope. The climb is demanding, especially the final part with over 11% pushes me to my limit. However, the closer I get to the top, the more people wait on the side of the road, cheering, yelling and literally pushing us cyclists up that steep cobbled road. When I finally reach the top, I’m more than glad and the sight of a food stop brings a smile to my face.

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Misfortune strikes … again

With some fresh carbs in my system, the show goes on. Next is the descent back down to the lake. Once more, the view is breathtaking, however, the bumpy road full of potholes demands all my attention and there’s no time to enjoy the sight. The bad road conditions continue almost all the way until the second climb after 50km. Every now and then, there are bottles on the road. Just before the second climb, misfortune strikes again: Another flat tire. Without a spare tube, I’m standing next to the road, pretty clueless what to do. But this time, I am lucky: One of the mobile assistance vehicles comes by and changes my rear wheel. I get a number to pick up my original wheel in the finish and off I go again. Great service.

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With some fresh carbs in my system, the show goes on. Next is the descent back down to the lake. Once more, the view is breathtaking, however, the bumpy road full of potholes demands all my attention and there’s no time to enjoy the sight. The bad road conditions continue almost all the way until the second climb after 50km. Every now and then, there are bottles on the road. Just before the second climb, misfortune strikes again: Another flat tire. Without a spare tube, I’m standing next to the road, pretty clueless what to do. But this time, I am lucky: One of the mobile assistance vehicles comes by and changes my rear wheel. I get a number to pick up my original wheel in the finish and off I go again. Great service.

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Almost there

Even though the final part of the route doesn’t have any real climbs and the roads are perfect, there is another problem: The traffic starts to get really heavy. On the 90km before, there were almost no cars on the streets, but now, I sometimes feel like riding during Rush Hour of a big city. This also leads to the issue that it gets harder to follow the route, as the signs are less visible in traffic. A couple of times, I find myself looking around, looking for other cyclists to make sure, that I am not lost. On the crossroads, Carabinieri really do their best to regulate the traffic. However, if you know Italian traffic, you know that there is only so much you can do. In the end, I make it to Rome and to the finish at the bottom of the Terme di Caracalla. Exhausted but happy I sit down next to my bike and look forward to the pasta party that every single participant got invited to.

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All in all, the Granfondo was a magnificent experience. Despite my lacking training, my bad luck and some traffic, I had tons of fun. The race is definitely worth a trip for every ambitious cyclist all over the world!

About The Author

Michael Faiß

Michael Faiß hat in München Englisch und Geschichte studiert. Nach einem einjährigen Aufenthalt in England arbeitete er als Übersetzer unter anderem für das Magazin Procycling und das Degen Mediahouse. Außerdem ist er seit der Kindheit passionierter Radfahrer und –schrauber und fühlt sich vor allem abseits der asphaltierten Wege zuhause.

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