Today started with another wonderful breakfast at Hotel Allegra. We gathered at 10:00am in the lobby dressed to ride and took our luggage to a nearby bus that took us to Valbruno, IT. The ride was about an hour an a half from Ljubjana. The terrain started out flat but within a few minutes we could see the Alps ahead of us. Quickly we were surrounded by mountains and driving in various valleys to get to our destination. We had an excellent lunch and then started getting our bikes ready. We met our two tour guides from VBT, Damjan and Jelena. Damjan met us at the hotel and rode in the bus with us to the start. He gave us lots of history of the area on the way and got some info from us and laid out what to expect from todays ride and events. Jelena had been working at the start getting everything ready for us helmets, pedals, bikes, and all the other things needed for the ride. We have 3 types of bikes, road, hybrid, and electric. The setup and instructions for each was different. The bikes are all of excellent quality and well maintained.
We had a choice on the warmup ride of either 12 or 6 miles. If we turned left from the start we would go uphill for 3 miles and then come back down by the start. Most of us chose to do that, but some did U-turns when they felt like it. Then we headed for Tarvisio but on the way was a gondola ride up to one of the ski runs in the area. It was as long as any I have ridden in Colorado.
After that we headed again for Tarvisio. Some of us managed to extend the ride beyond its designed distance – but that is another story. We were surprised that there were no odometers on most of the bikes. VBT expects us to use a smart phone app called Ride with GPS and they sent us detailed maps for the app. Not all of us completely got the app running correctly and we will have a lesson tomorrow in how to use it.
We all eventually arrived at the Hotel Edelhof, checked in, showered, and met for cocktails for an introduction for all of us riders and leaders. (more on that tomorrow) and then we got a demonstration of “how to make pasta the Italian way” from the hotel chef/owner (it was excellent by the way – but I won’t reveal any of his secrets). and then we all went to a wonderful dinner with lots of choices and good wine.
Tomorrow we ride from Tarvisio to Venzone with some shuttling involved and then we shuttle back to Tarvisio.
The weather was wonderful today – bright and sunny and warm. Couldn’t have asked for a nicer day.