A Cyclist’s Journey – Fabulous Outdoors @fabulousport

People often ask why we ride ..what is it about cycling that at a first look, it seems just a painful long term agony on a bicycle to get nowhere..or something like that. The fact is, it’s hard to explain. At first, it can feel quite daunting, but with patience, it becomes easier and you feel satisfied and proud of what you’ve achieved so far. After your ride, a refreshing shower, a cool drink and a bite to eat and you suddenly feel invigorated and alive, as long as you haven’t done too much of course.

Little by little, your body will do all the adjustments needed to make you perform better, stay out for longer rides and be willing to do more of it. In this short clip, I wanted to pass on some of the feelings, the sounds and the landscapes of a cyclist’s journey. It’s a short clip, part of a bigger documentary project, coming out in future episodes.

Also visible on Flick

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The amazing experience of cycling mountains and watching the Tour de France #TdF2017

It's one of those dreams that cyclists have, particularly after watching the mountain stages of the Tour de France, the Giro d'Italia or Vuelta de España.. "One day I'll climb those mountains too!"

That's actually one of the things you can do with cycling, compared to other professional sports we watch.
If you're into cricket, you'll probably never get to play at Lord's. If you like football, you may never get to play at Wembley, but if you're into cycling then the historic roads are there and free for you to have a go and see what it feels like.

The sense of achievement you'll get when you reach the top of an historical mountain pass, is far greater than the effort you have to put in to climb it.
Most of these alpine roads have now detailed sign-posts to give cyclists an idea of what lies ahead..

..such as, distance to the top, altitude and next km average climbing gradient.
Sometimes this can give encouragement, or at other times, mental despair. What I recommend doing is to look down the valley after every switchback, to see how much you've already achieved, rather than how much further you have to go.

Taking in all the stunning scenery as you climb, will help to distract you from the effort, the mind receives positive images, whilst the legs are working hard below.

Knowing that you are starting a climb of around 20km long, try to set a riding pace that you're comfortable with, regardless of what everyone else is doing around you.

In this particular occasion, we road the French Alps to watch two Tour de France 2017 stages, from the beautiful town of Briançon.

..riding north through Serre Chevalier to get up to the Col du Lautaret and Col du Galibier to watch Stage 17.

It's fantastic watching the pro cyclists coming down these winding mountain roads at crazy speeds.

The following day, for Stage 18, we rode our bikes again from Briançon, riding south-east up to the legendary Col d'Izoard, theatre of many cycling battles.

On the way up the Izoard, through the village of Cervières, we noticed that the Team Buses were parked here rather than at the finish area.
The road to the top from this side is very beautiful. It passes through two villages, then enters a Pine forest where it becomes steeper and more winding. That was a great moment to take a breather whilst watching the Caravane du Tour passing by.

Once finally reaching the top, the view is amazing, and the Polka Dot Cap offered by Carrefour was very handy to protect from the strong rays of the sun.

The set up at the top was fantastic, live TV coverage on a big screen on one side, the podium presentation right in front, and the pro cyclists coming up from the climb on the other side.

With French rider, Warren Barguil, winning the stage, the atmosphere was electric, and with the French President Macron being there for the presentation, it was just great for the sport and for the organisation of the Grande Boucle.

Chris Froome arriving soon after, maintained his Yellow Jersey leadership, while below, Fabio Aru didn't have a good day, losing precious time for the overall classification. Anyway, it's been a good tour for the Astana young rider, he's acquired lots of experience, won a stage, wore the Yellow Jersey for a couple of days being the only rider to take it from the shoulders of the very strong Team Sky of Froome.

And it's right to say: "The winner takes it all.." Whether you like it or not (only saying this as we've heard much discord and unpleasant booing along the road or at the presentation), Chris Froome won his 4th Tour de France and so chapeau to him and to the hard work of his team mates. Landa and Nieve have played a very big role in leading and protecting their captain all along this 2017 Tour de France. Great Team Effort, Bravo!

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Fabrizio Malisan

More IMAGES on here: Cycling Images on Flickr

Fabio Aru wins in Ivrea – Italian Road Cycling Championships 2017

Very pleased to see the Italian Road Cycling Championships 2017 arriving in my hometown of Ivrea in the province of Turin, Italy. The race started in Asti, went across the Piedmont, through the Canavese area and finished with a 4 laps around Ivrea and up the Serra Morenica hill.

The leading group attacking the Serra hill, Proteam Astana with Dario Cataldo ahead of Fabio Aru
The leading group attacking the Serra hill, Proteam Astana with Dario Cataldo ahead of Fabio Aru to set him off to his final and winning attack, with the beautiful Lake Sirio in the background with the Hotel Sirio overlooking it. ©Fabrizio-Malisan-Photography

It’s great (for me) to see that this land is becoming more and more considered by the pro riders and the professional cycling event organisers. It offers a variety of terrain perfect for cycling, touring and training, going from undulating landscapes to steeper hills and mountains.

Cycling up the Serra Morenica hill above Ivrea in Piedmont Italy. Many beautiful villages to visit and discover, very characteristic historical and rural architecture, delicious food and lovely welcoming people to meet. This in in image is Nomaglio on the way up to Andrate which dominates the Serra Morenic hill.
Cycling up the Serra Morenica hill above Ivrea in Piedmont Italy. Many beautiful villages to visit and discover, very characteristic historical and rural architecture, delicious food and welcoming people to meet. In this image is Nomaglio on the way up to Andrate which dominates the Serra Morenic hill.

There has been a beautiful stage of the Giro d’Italia finishing by the Sanctuary of Oropa, just above the town of Biella, on the Biellese side of the Serra Morenic Hill. The cherry on the cake has been the presence of most Italian top cyclists, and the victory of Fabio Aru, as most of us spectators were hoping.  Vincenzo Nibali was there too, and many other professional cyclists that we usually see on TV when competing in bigger events.

Vincenzo Nibali of Cycling Team Bahrain Merida signing autographs to fans in Ivrea
Vincenzo Nibali of Cycling Team Bahrain Merida signing autographs to fans in Ivrea

The National Championships is actually a great opportunity to get close to these pro cyclists, to get an autograph or a selfie, and maybe even a few words as they are much more relaxed than in a Giro d’Italia or Tour de France stage.

Fabio Aru Italian Road Cycling Champion 2017 ©Fabrizio-Malisan-Photography
Fabio Aru Italian Road Cycling Champion 2017 ©Fabrizio-Malisan-Photography

It was great to see the smile of joy on Aru’s face, an emotional  moment when, on the podium, he dedicated his victory to Michele Scarponi. It’s very touching to see that the Astana Proteam keep images of Scarponi on the Team Bus and that they keep mentioning him, sharing anecdotes & jokes and the good times spent with the late Michele. He was such a great companion and a big loss for the cycling and non-cycling world.

Coming back to Fabio Aru’s victory, on the last lap Dario Cataldo kept a fast pace at the start of the Serra hill climb, to get Fabio in the best position for his winning attack, and it worked to perfection, as the road got steeper ( gradient over 15% above the town of Chiaverano) Fabio went full gas leaving everyone behind. At the top of the climb there is still a fair bit to cycle back down to Borgofranco and then to Ivrea for the finish, but he managed to get a fantastic solo win….well done Fabio Aru!! It’s going to be a promising and very exciting Tour de France 2017 to watch.

MORE OF MY IMAGES OF THE EVENT ARE or WILL BE UPLOADED on these links to my other photography sites: INSTAGRAM @fabulousport    FLICKR   500px

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