Cycling in Milan between Rapha pop up and Vigorelli velodrome

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Has been a full on week end the past one where I've been in Milano as a cyclist for the very first time.
I actually went for a cyclocross singlespeed race few years ago at the Lambro park but this time I had the chance to live Milano as urban cyclist.

I come from a small city called Vicenza an the traffic can be congestes in the rush time, but most of the roads that I normally ride are pretty free from cars. Milan is caothic at every hour of the day: trafic lights, trams, roundabouts, railways, pavè...

So a new experiece for me... And happy to had finally the oportunity to be there for few days.
The city it's easier if you go around with a bike so there's no much problems for parking, but for sure we need to take care at the bike every time we stop some where.

The Rapha pop up situated in Corso Garibaldi 117 has a bike rack inside the shop so the bicycle it's safe.

As ambassador Rapha I took part a the Women's night at the pop up where the Katusha team mechanic explaned us few easy things about "how to fix a bike problem while we are riding". Few girls took part at the nigth and at the conversation making the events nice.

I love to get involve in this kind of events anad make other women to take part.

But my experience in Milan had its best on saturday and sunday when the rides were on.

On saturday thanks to Iride Modena and the photographer Emanuele Barbaro I had the chance to ride at the Vigorelli velodrome for my very first time.
Some loops to warm up and get confidence with the bike and the start to push getting the speed to ride higher on the track. It was amazing, be at the storical velodrom of Milan at the special opening.

But my saturday was pretty full of things happening one after the other. From the Vigorelli velodrome I went with Emanuele at the Marco Aurelio Fontana event called Fuffenaffen about one hour from Milan. Time to change clothes, bike, have a smal plate of pasta and we were riding a mountain bike. The party was full of Fontana's fans coming from all over the north Italy, the weather was perfect and the place great.

I met Marina Romoli for my first time and Ia have a really nice conversation with her. She's a hero and a powerful girl full of life even if she will not ride a bike anymore. She's awesome. After her accident which paralyzed her legs she's now on a chair wheels. She used to me a great track and road cyclist. After six year living a new life she founded the Marina Romoli association as foundraiser for spinal injury research.

Well, my Saturday didn't finish here because in the evening we went back to the Vigorelli where the Milano Fashion Fixed Criterium was on.  The great show of fixies is so fascinating but it was also nice for to meet some friends of the cyclocross singlespeed.

It was a long, super nice and tiring day, but i want to go to sleep pretty early to be ready for the Rapha women's ride of the day after.

The women's ride are always a big surprise, can have a big partecipation or can have just few girls join the group. But helped by the weather and the type of ride we advertised (social ride) many girls showed up the ride.

Thanks to Mariateresa Montaruli of to have planned the tour into teh Parco del Ticino, in the countryside of Milan. We cycled for 70 km and we stopped on the way back at Casina Caremma for some home made cakes and coffees.

Happy to have seen so many girls on the bike at the ride. It was a super experience for everyone!
The Rapha women's ride stopped at Casina Caremma for some coffee.

My first Gravel Road Challenge... My first victory!

My first Gravel Road Challenge and my first victory in one of my favorite place to ride any kind of bicycle like Punta Ala in Tuscany

Last week end I had the chance to go back to one of those locations where any kind of cycling is possible: the Maremma Toscana.

The chance to take part to one gravel road race was in my plans and the Gravel Road Challenge of Punt Ala has been the best occasion to do it.
I'm actually riding a pure gravel road bike, a Santa Cruz Stigmata that I only have been riding it on asphalt, so I changed my tires from completely slick to some more tessellated ones, perfect for dirt, muddy and a bit rocky roads.

I knew already that was going to be a great event. The spirit is about "have fun and taste the local specialities" more that race, race, race.
So we met at 9 to get number and everything set to start the race. We are Italian so we need to take time for a coffee and a bit of chat before the event begins.

The PuntAla Camping Resort and Punta Ala Trail Center hosted the event right on the Tuscan coast and impossible not to take some shots on the beach to post them straight away on my instagram. Well, that place is really great and well served for any kind of biker.

The Gravel Road Challenge format works exactly the same as an Enduro mountain bike race. We've got our times of the transfers to stick on our bike and the finish time that we have to be back. The race count the time of three special stages where you have to go faster than you can.
So we all head to the first stage at the right time and one after the other, we started to rock'n'roll. An amazing dirt road to climb as first hard piece of race and than a fast and pretty bumpy downhill where I think a some point I tried to got as fast as I could without know where I was going, shaking on my bike. The adrenaline was much stronger than my fear but just after the stage I realized what I did.

I know also that I missed a stunning view on the coast of Castiglione della Pescaia, but I was for sure super happy because I didn't crash!

So one stage done and the first feed zone was there waiting for us. Wine, sweets, pizzette and delicious things were there to satisfy our hunger.
Heading to stage two we had a couple of hours where we had the chance to ride all together in a big group through the countryside where the sinuous gravel roads climb smooth hills of vineyards.
Stage three was actually flat, but against the wind in a rough section of puddles and stones.

After this one, the race wasn't finished yet but the it looked like we had a price. We ended up at Tenuta le Mortelle, one of the Antinori's Vineyard of Tuscany. Wine taste, delicacies and some bio fruits were waiting for use to feed us and give us energy for the next and last stage. 

A pure immersion in a typical Tuscan farm surrounded by the Mediterranean maquis. No water at the buffet, but tasty white, rosè and red wine.

So it was time to head to the coast where the start of the third stage was waiting for the riders. After climbing Tirli's road and surviving at the storm, another pit stop was right in the village center, but I did just a quick stop to don't get cold and don't loose time... We had still few kilometres before the last shot.

The sun came back out and the air was warm again and made our last part of the race perfect. The dirt road to the start was still a long way before to get at the judges spot.

This made my victory at the my first Gravel Road Challenge.

It was for sure a special sunday for my win, for the weather that wasn't to bad, for the people that had fun with me and for the nice locations which we had the chance to ride through.

I was looking at the time scrolling quickly on my Garmin screen and I was worried that I was not going to make in time with the risk to get late at the start line. But I've got there 10 seconds just before my start. I just had the time to open my gilet and go... Go as faster as I could. I knew already that road which takes to Cala Violina, a famous bay near Punta Ala... But I couldn't remember the two climbs after, that took us to the finish line.

During my pedaling up I could see people jumping off the bike and walk... But walking is slower and harder especially with those cycling shoes, so I tried my best and pedaled up to the last meters of the stage. That sandy and soft gravel road wasn't helping me on climbing up. But I made it, we all made it... And I was in perfect time so i didn't get any extra minutes charged on my total time.

The area between Punta Ala, Castiglione della Pescaia, Follonica and Massa Marittima which goes from the sea to the highest hills of the Maremma, is an ideal area for every cyclist. Mountain biking, road biking, cycle tourism, gravel road biking, e-biking, enduro... It's some of you can do here!

// Photo credit Alex Boyce

Gravel Road Challenge Punta Ala, prima edizione

Domenica 18 settembre si sperimenta un nuovo stile di fare ciclismo. Non è la prima volta che pedalo la mia bici da strada su poderali non asfaltate, ma questa domenica avrò modo di partecipare alla mia prima gravel.

Non poteva esserci occasione migliore per debuttare in questa disciplina piuttosto nuova in Italia, visto che l'evento sarà in Toscana. Questa regione, terra di grande ciclisti che hanno fatto la storia delle due ruote mi ha da sempre affascinato e lo ha fatto ancor di più quando sono arrivata a diretto contatto con i paesaggi che ci sono li.

La fortuna di avere trascorso mesi in Maremma nella zona che va tra Follonica, Castiglione della Pescaia e Massa Marittima mi ha fatto vivere un ciclismo a tutto tondo. Questa vasta zona, che si disperde nella macchia mediterranea, si può decisamente dire che si presta molto bene sia per il ciclismo su strada che mountain bike. Infatti molte squadre professionistiche tra cui la nazionale italiana XC vanno a iniziare la stagione ciclistica proprio in quelle zone.

Dopo aver debuttato alla mia prima gara di Enduro mountain bike quest'anno e aver passato i mesi più freddi in un clima mite e piacevole, ora ritorno a Punta Ala per un'altra mia prima volta... al Gravel Road Challenge Punta Ala.
L'evento, organizzato dal Punta Ala Trail Center e il Camping Resort PuntAla, è la sucessione di altre gare di livello internazionale e regionale che già hanno fatto fatto conoscere la zona che si affaccia sul mar mediterraneo.

Giusto qualche settimana fa ho avuto il piacere di contribuire e raccontare l'Enduro in Maremma, attraverso un articolo pubblicato nella prima edizione del magazine Tuscany Cycling Season; una rivista che non solo mi vede presente come autrice di un pezzo ma la cui ho avuto modo di pubblicizzare alla fiera europea della bicicletta Eurobike.

Quindi, non mi resta che cambiare i copertoncini dalla mia Stigmata e preparami per la mia prima Gravel Road challenge.

A presto con tante foto.
Seguitemi su instagram per avere immagini in tempo reale.

Donne in bici: Ride Like a Girl the Movie coming soon...

Hi girls and boys,
How are you? Here in Italy the holiday season is almost done but the riding period doesn't have any time.

So I would like to introduce you Ride Like a Girl Movie, a project started for fun by Davide Renier film maker, but evolving in something more than a simple video.

The Ride Like a Girl Movie will be the begining of a new italian movient which wants to give voice to those girls (like me) who love cycling, sports in general and making this activities part of their normal life.

Nine girls will tell their stories, how they started cycling, what they love of it and how it changed their life. But also they will show how they love to mix passions together as baking cakes or crocheting some beanies, or creating incredible photos.

Ride Like a Girl Movie will be shown for the very first time the 29th September in Teolo (Padova). The area of Colli Euganei which delimits the south part of the city has be an amazing scenary for the film and will be also the place to creat women's specific events.

Hope you can enjoy the Ride Like a Girl Movie with as and suport it!

Have a great riding!

Donne in bici: Rapha Women's 100 ride in Romagna 2016

Buongiorno a tutte le cicliste,
Manca poco meno di una settimana e per la terza volta consecutiva in Italia torna il Rapha Women's 100. Dopo avere pedalato, nel 2014 a Firenze e nel Chianti, nel 2015 nelle magiche colline veronesi della Valpolicella... Quest'anno ho pensato alla Romagna. Vista la numerosa quntità di ciclisti che ogni giorno, nonostante le condizioni climatiche, scendono in strada a percorrono chilometri e chilometri di asfalto, questa mi è sembrata la location ideale per la terza Rapha Women's 100 italiana.

Grazie all'aiuto dei Cristina e a tutto il negozio di Cesena Cycling Center Lab, alla pedalata di domenica 17 Luglio non mancherà nulla: dalle biciclette test messe a disposizione di Liv-Giant, che ha pensato una linea dedicata alle donne, crema solare SP 30 di Vichy, sali minerali da mettere nella borraccia Xenofit e ovviamente i gadget Rapha per le ragazze partecipanti al giro... TUTTO GRATUITO!

Il giro sarà di poco più 1000 km con un dislivello di 1500 mt e si snoderà sulla colline attorno Cesena, sulle strade dell'ormai leggende di quelle zone Marco Pantani. Non mancheraà un ricco ristori per tutti i partecipanti a metà strada che ci permetterà di rinfrescarci e fare una ricarica di energie pronte a ripartire di nuovo.

Vi segnalo il link facebook all'evento: e il link per confermare la vostra partecipazione

Ora di partenza 7.30 dove saranno presenti ragazze provenienti da tutta Italia.

Vi aspettiamo!