blue squirrel

after a self-imposed 20 year absence from cycling, the sport i love, i am back and dedicated to holding my own in the superfast 40+ catagory. this blog will tell the journey, the highs and the lows, the team [team becher+] and it's cast of characters, our sponsors, supporters, and other local riders that make it happen... [anonymous comments are lame, cowboy up and put a name or start a blog]

Saturday, December 01, 2007

NEVER GETS OLD

[the following story from pez about andy never gets old]



As part of our series on the Giro climbs, we asked Andy Hampsten to recount his epic day on the Passo Gavia in 1988. A day of unquestioned cycling history, Andy started the 17th stage of that Giro in second place, and despite the Italians pleading with him to ride “piano piano” over the last climb, he went on an epic attack that earned him the maglia rosa, and the only American win of Italy’s grand tour. Pull on your woolies – it’s gonna be a cold one…

Andy began the day in the blue “overall points” leaders jersey, a combined “best score” in all disciplines of the race, which was cool, because as Andy tells us “it was wool. All the leaders’ jerseys were wool in those days.” As Andy recounts the story, you can hear in his voice that he’s back in 1988, only this time feeling pride and joy – but also remembering the fear that gripped the peloton as they climbed into the unknown that gray, sleeting morning… June 5, 1988.

Andy begins the story…
We were about 400-500 meters above sea level, in this big valley in Lombardy… and it was snowing. Most of us on the 7-Eleven team were from Colorado, and were pretty good at math, and if it’s snowing and you go up… and it’s SNOWING… it’s slushy, it’s coming down and then melting, it’s belting in…

There’s no hint of anything changing, looking at the weather forecast. So the Giro organizers held an emergency meeting with all the team managers, telling them “hey, we’re doing the race, the roads open, snowplows are keeping it clear. It’s not icy on the Gavia, but it is snowing.”

When we left it was just raining… kind of sleet-rain, but bucketing down. We went over the Aprica pass, a category 2 with a pretty short descent, but even on that descent I was wearing ALL the warm clothes I could possibly put on. I was shaking uncontrollably on that silly little descent. Then we were up at about 800 meters (altitude) climbing on a long false flat. A break went away and my team was chasing it but we weren’t going too hard, there wasn’t anyone really dangerous up there.

[read the rest here]

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