Thursday, September 11, 2014

In search of the Holy Grail....

Riders and Stunning Associates of The Institute!

I’m off to Italy on Thursday with the Tommasini neatly packed away in a HARD case and eagerly anticipating another return to its spiritual home. There was a momentary glitch to the kit preparation as the seat post was frozen in the tube from three years of grime and surface rust, thereby preventing insertion in to the travelling case. Three days at the bike shop, plus a 'few tricks', had it freed. Traps for young players!

 This is the second time I have headed off on a pilgrimage to seek The Holy Grail of Cycling.
My last trip saw it within my grasp at the top of the Passo Pordoi in The Dolomites, but it slipped away as I was momentarily dazzled by clear sky alpine sunshine. I then thought I’d caught another glimpse of it through sleet on the Col du Petit St Bernard a week later – but I was mistaken. It turned out to be a whip thin Swiss rouleur with a beard and an Audax jersey, and panniers!
On arrival, after broadsiding on to the plaza at St Peter’s in Rome in the Alfa Giulietta hire car to pay my respects to The Pontiff and receive his blessing I will continue my quest on my steel horse around Pistoia near Florence, Lago d’Iseo with Paul McKinn and Carmel and on the Passo Gavia at Ponte de Legno (which I am told means wooden bridge!).
Should The Grail prove elusive in these places I have it on good authority from previous ‘cycling crusaders’ that it may be sought at La Villa just under the Swiss border wherein lies luxury accommodation and a bike shop. I have been provided with detailed cryptic maps (Garmin printouts) from my dear friends which may just indicate where The Grail currently resides. Daily sojourns will be punctuated by fine Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and tangy local formaggio.
I am quietly confident that with just the right kit and bike combination my three week campaign will prove fruitful, according to the patron saint of riding, St Garmin. Of course, should I find The Grail I will not be able to return home with it in triumph. It will be left in a spectacular location for those who will follow as the years unfold.
I have also been instructed by the palace that I should not return unless I have visited at least one Sephora and Louis Vuitton European outlet and made appropriate purchases! Oh, and shoes. Shoes.
Many thanks to Chris Browne for organizing the little send off last week at The Quiet Man, with music and song (provided by me!) and Guinness. And thanks to those who came. 
Cheers, Mick

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