granfondo roma 2013, a set on Flickr.
My last big ride of the season was the Granfondo Roma in Italy. We drove down by car from our base in Bourg d’Oisans and rented a small apartment in the centre of Rome for the weekend. Going from Bourg d’Oisans and driving into any big city is always a bit of a culture shock and Rome was no exception. At least the weather was great and there was a great restaurant just opposite the apartment.
I picked up my entry on the Saturday at the expo area and all went well although I had to pay an additional 15 euros for a racing licence for the day and also 10 euros for a timing chip (7 of which was returned at the end of the race). While there we had a look round the expo area – the highlight being this super nice Campagnola equipped Crisp road bike.
To the event itself…
I have to say I was a little disappointed.
The good parts
The setting was perfect with the start outside the coliseum in the centre of Rome and with 5000 other riders there was a real sense of excitement.
Cobbles – loads of them especially at the start and finish nothing as severe as the Paris Roubaix but still good fun and thankfully it was dry.
Closed roads – the whole event was on closed roads and I only saw a few illegal cars on the course itself. The police did a great job of keeping everything safe despite the best efforts of a fair few irate Italian drivers. The signage for the course was also very good.
Some great climbs – some steeper than expected with some great views over Rome and the surrounding countryside.
Food stations – loads of food and drink at the 30KM and 65KM points.
Great weather it hit 28 degrees and was sunny despite a coldish start.
The bad parts
It was just not challenging enough. This was partly due to the fact that the organisers had to reduce the length of the course at the last minute to just 103KM – down from 160KM. They said this was down to the police not wishing to close the roads. I can kind of get this as its a very big and busy city to close down for the day. However I had travelled a long way to do the event and left feeling short changed.
Signage for the event was all in Italian – perhaps something in English would have been good especially at the end.
The pasta party at the end of the event was not clearly signposted and I ended up (with everyone else) going to the expo area for my Pasta before traipsing back to the finish area to find the pasta party hidden away behind some bushes.
Now this is a generalisation I know but I have to say that Italian cyclist were as bad at cycling as they are at driving. They seemed to swerve across the road at the last moment causing all sorts of catastrophes behind them but as soon as I had to swerve or change line they were quite annoyed and belligerent. Maybe I am just to British !
Lots of the riding was on dual carriageways or major roads and although shut they were not particularly scenic. On top of this all the roads were in serious need of repairs with lots of potholes and cracks. Not the organisers fault I know but still very dangerous in places.
In terms of the event it was good and it is always nice to be riding different roads. I have done better sportive with both our very own La Marmotte and the Paris Roubaix standing out as a more challenging and interesting events. Not sure I will be back to do the Granfondo Roma again.