Written by Anthony “Ferra” Ferronato
The week that was the UCI UWCT World Masters in Trento, Italy! A week of excitement, pain and bike porn. The week consisted of 3 events, Thursday the team time trial, Friday a gruelling 25km individual time trial and on Sunday the main dance, the 120km road race featuring no less than 3 significant climbs, the last being the 18km accent up the famous Mt. Bondone.
Thursday team time trial:
Plan for the day: Register in the morning, head off afterwards for a gentle spin, bite to eat, reconnaissance of the course and a decent warm up.
What actually unfolded: Registration took almost half the day, I forgot I was in Italy. Missed my window to go for a spin, grabbed a bite to eat, was informed by Birdy that the start time was 4pm not 6pm, made a mad dash to the car to change, grabbed my bike and prayed that someone had a pump for my still deflated wheels. Arrived to the start line, of course I was assigned to be the first one out, no warm up and no reconnaissance. To cap off an already perfect day, the course was entirely on cobble stones and we were missing our 4th rider! We managed to find our 4th rider with no more than 3 minutes to spare. Off we went, you would have thought that the race was pretty tightly competed if you excluded the 2 Slovenian teams who shot off the front never to be seen again. In the end the Italians triumphed in front of their home crowd, the Australian team that finished 2nd was eventually relegated out of the medals and our team finished well down the list. Surely it couldn’t get any better than this?
Friday individual time trial:
After regaining some composure from the previous day, I aimed to give myself plenty of time before my time trial to warm up and have everything under control. To ensure this happened I partnered up with Birdy who meticulously calculated our itinerary for the day. Meet at 12, lunch at 12:20, pack the car at 1:03pm, start ignition at 1:10pm, drive etc. As it was, we arrived with plenty of time to warm up and marshal at the start/finish line. Famous last words: ‘the course should be pretty fast, flat, no real climbing, go nuts!’
My two objectives for the race:
- Catch the guy in front
- Don’t get caught by the guy behind.
Approximately 2 minutes into the race, the guy who took off 30sec behind me came flying past. Objective #2…. FAIL. After settling into a nice groove, I managed to achieve Objective #1. At this point I was starting to feel pretty good, finding the course intense but manageable. That all changed in the final 6 km which was all climbing and even involved a 3.2km 6% kicker! Came home spent, with more spit and fluid coming out of me that I thought possible, which no doubt would have made Hugo proud! Another tough day in the office!
Sunday Road Race:
The big one, the final dance, the reason I am here. Assembling in the centre of Trento prior to the race was amazing. There were riders from a host of different countries, everyone looking focused, nervous and giving their machines one last inspection. Race started off relatively organised, the first few kilometers were relatively relaxed and at a nice tempo. It didn’t take too long to find Birdy leading us out in typical Blotto dominance. The first of the three climbs (7km at 10%) splintered the bunch pretty quickly. The lead group containing 15-20-odd riders took off leaving the rest of us to form a 2nd/3rd/4th/5th etc grouppetto. After a fast- and free-flowing descent, a group of us formed what ended up being a large fast moving train along the 40km flat part of the course (North Road Style). Making up ground to the lead bunch we just about reeled them in before the 2nd climb (10km at 7%). However, that would end up being the last time we would see the leaders, as again they shot off up the hill. Managing to get up and over the 2nd climb we made our way down onto the final 10 flat kms before the biggest challenge of the day and perhaps ever in my short racing career. The 3rd and final climb of the day, Mount Bondone, a ruthless 18km ascent with an average gradient of 8%. It was probably at the 4km mark of that climb that I was most grateful I went with the standard crank rather than a compact as I ran out gears! In the end, I came home spent and extremely dehydrated. I tried to put in a little dash to the line for the family that had turned up but it was indeed a tough day. Unfortunately, there was no rainbow jerseys coming my way, but a mid-pack finish was satisfying enough on the world stage.
All in all, it was an amazing experience, I was extremely proud to don the Australian colours and was extremely happy to share the riding experience with a fellow Blotto-ite in Birdy. Until Slovenia next year (pending I convince the wife)! Hopefully Blotto can be represented with a few more battlers!