Morgan's Giro Sardinia ~ Prologue
15/05/2008

I flew out to Sardinia very early morning on Saturday, 19 April, weighed down with case and bike box. I packed as much as possible into the box (I could hardly drag it) so that my Ryanair baggage allowance wasn't in jeopardy with the case.

At baggage reclaim in Alghero, it was obvious by the luggage and lean faces who else was there for the Giro, and a few minutes later, as we assembled for our transfer, arranged by Peter and Ann Herold (http://www.peteranne.it/), I got chatting to Colin and Andy, who had ridden the Giro last year and were telling me I was about to have an amazing week. These guys were great, and gave me lots of advice as the week went by and included me in their socialising, which was a top bonus.

A 2-hour coach transfer, filled with stories about last year's Giro by those who were returning for another year. The scenery was spectacular as we wound our way along the coast to Santa Teresa Gallura and the brand new holiday complex - La Marmorata - which was hosting the 500+ riders and their partners and families, for those that had brought them along. Here's a view from my apartment:

And here's the pool:

So, Saturday afternoon consisted of putting the bike together and getting a 1-hour spin on the local roads to loosen up the legs. It was a great feeling to feel the warmth of the sun on my back, and I could barely contain the anticipation and nervous excitement building inside me as I thought about the coming days. I just wanted to get started. There were loads of riders out for a spin, including teams in their issue kit on their team-issue bikes - some of the semi-pro teams I think.

At dinner I sat with some more guys from the UK: Peter, Tristram and their wives, Tom Sturgess - top talent, only 22, and strong already - and my room mate, Robert. These guys (and gals) were so friendly as well, full of advice and great company. Dinner was a pleasure with them every evening. I say that, it was a pleasure when we were sitting down eating and chatting, but the permanent scrum at mealtimes was quite stressful: 700 people helping themselves to the buffet in multiple trips. I'm not complaining - the food was great, and feeding 500 or so hungry cyclists and their loved ones was some feat, but it was like driving through Rome in the rush hour getting to the pasta. Pasta wasn't the only thing on the menu: fish, different meats, a variety of spectacular salads, cheese, ham, and some weird puddings that looked sophisticated and enticing but which were basically children's trifle.

Aaaanyway, time for bed and take a few notes down in my journal so I can fill in in my blog when I return.

"I'm almost too excited to sleep. I want to get started so I am in it, not anticipating it any longer. It's been announced that tomorrow's stage has been shortened for the Gran Giro riders due to a landslide, so we're doing the same as the Medio Giro - 114k (71 miles). Because tomorrow is also a Granfondo day, there could be as many as 800 riders. Should be no problem finding a peloton to ride in then. My plan is to do my best to stay in the front third of the field until we hit the first proper climb at 40k, then I'll take that at the pace that suits me and see what materialises once over the top. Hopefully enough riders around to form a decent-size group, which I hope to sit in, using as little energy as possible to the end. I have no idea what it's going to be like to race for 7 days, so I will take every opportunity to go easy and hopefully creep up the GC as the week goes on."

Morgan Lewis 2008