The bike I'll be taking to Italy is a real piece of work. It is the bike I typically keep built up for hillclimbs in one form or another. The bike is based on a Trek 5900 OCLV 110 frame. Very light, very stiff.
Starting with the wheels, they don't match. I have a Rolf Prima Vigor on back, a Velomax Ascent II up front. The tires don't match, and the tubes in the tires don't match (one is green, one is black).
The 9spd shifters are Dura Ace. At least they match each other. The rear derailleur is 9spd mountain bike XTR. Gone are the days where you could mix and match Shimano road and off-road stuff. That is why this bike still sports 9spd hardware. The rear derailleur services a 32t XTR cassette. I probably don't need anything this big for the climbs in Italy, but it's on there and I'm not messing with it.
My standard hillclimb crank is a first generation FSA carbon compact crank. It is old, and many of those early carbon cranks had reliability problems. So I just replaced it with a 10spd Ultegra compact crank. Seems to work fine with the 9spd chain. I did have to fuss a bit with the front derailleur since the chainline offset was a bit different. I hate the outboard bearings, as that pushes the center of the crankarms out and now I bang my ankles on them. I've caught the two screws in my left ankle pretty hard on the crankarm already. I'll probably have lacerations with screwheads poking out when I return from Italy.
The frankenbike setup is not very lightweight by today's standards, tipping the fish scale at 16.7 lbs. Still my lightest road bike setup though, and I'd rather not take my more expensive and still nice Ridley on a plane.
I leave Thursday evening. I surely will not sleep on that plane. I hope to see historic Venice on Friday. Maybe I'll sleep Friday night before Thomson Bike Tours picks me up early Saturday in Venice. I'll be travelling solo. This trip was planned last year with Brett. I got hurt, Brett went solo, now it's my turn to go solo. I'm grateful Peter Thomson extended a substantial credit for me to go this year. Last year was paid in full and past the refund date when I got hurt. Turns out many participants of these organized tours come solo.
I had hoped to get in one day of off-road riding during the trip, but this year's itinerary doesn't support it. The tour is one day shorter. I'd forfeit some of the best climbs of the trip to ride off-road, such as Motirolo and Gavia. I'll save off-road riding for a subsequent trip dedicated to off-road. Here's a profile showing the climbs we're riding. It represents about 51,000ft of climbing:
Stelvio is the climb I most want to do in all of Europe. Brett didn't get to ride up and over it last year due to snow and rock slides. Webcams show it is open now but still lots of snow up there. Not sure if our first hotel has WiFi. Blog and FB updates could be spotty from the Dolomites. I'll bring the running shoes along and maybe run a lap around the Lago Alleghe since we'll spend three nights in Alleghe. I'm psyched to get out of Dodge for a while.