Highlights from Day 4alessandro

Still no bear sightings but plenty to look at on the road as we traveled through Banff and Jasper towards Hinton we experienced a million sights and sensations. There isn’t a camera made or a writer talented enough to describe the beauty that surrounded us. I head at least 100 times “mama mia, bellisimo and mucho bravo, to what I can add Canada.

Currently I am sitting in our truck outside a gas station in Grande Prairie, Alberta where we slept and waited for Alessandro and his two handlers. No one can explain the miracles that Daniela is able to create working with Alessandro’s legs and buttocks, she is the leg whisperer. Time after time Alessandro gets off the bike in pain (but smiling) and Daniela rebuilds him. (A talent she apparently reserves for him exclusively for when I asked for assistance she responded with an international symbol made with one finger) On the outskirts of Japer, on the side of Highway 16 she rebuilt him, then 60 kilometers later where we turned north on the scenic route to Alaska she fixed him again; this time as a thunder shower helped clean his body. Then another 80 kilometers down the road where he was up to what I will call “ultra-rider things” like refusing to stop, throwing his water bottle on the road for us to collect, then stopping instantly in a dangerous spot and demanding food, clothes and therapy he finally stopped for his longest rest of the trip so far, a walloping 2.5 hours.

He lunged into our follow car and ripped the food from my fingers which I could care less about but his sweating, grimy shoulder touched mine and if I had a gun the race would have been over. Ha-ha. I got out of the vehicle ‘toot sweet’ and so did most of our gear. We have a tiny follow car called a Chevy Spark, which is fantastic. It is small, can fit in the highway shoulder and is great on fuel but for sleeping not so great. No matter within minutes Alessandro is naked and bent like a pretzel and Daniela  has begun to rebuild him. As she worked the four of us huddled in the car hiding from mosquitos and the cold laughter as Alessandro drifted in and out of dream world. I told them that listening to them argue in Italian gives me a mucho headache and that they sounded like Chinese people ordering soup on a bad day (censored) and they laughed like I was Eddie Murphy at his prime.

Laura, my crewmate and Alessandro’s daughter was still recovering from her wildlife education, not of the animal kind but of the hidden marsh variety. Off on her own to answer to nature she stepped onto what she thought was a grass field, but surprising to her she sank and got a wet smelly foot. In shock she swore in Italian and I still haven’t stop laughing about it.

At about 11 pm Alessandro climbed back on his bike in a temperature that would make an Eskimo put on an extra sweater and he began to turn the pedals again. With the aid of a slight descent he reached 62 kilometers an hour and looked very powerful and rested. If I didn’t witness everything I would not have believed  it.  The next 55 kilometers took us to Grande Cache which Laura was baffled by its name. She asked many times about it, “are they French? Do they speak French? Why is the name French? I said you must be tired. It was a hard leg inside the car as we fought off the sandman. It was me and the two ladies and oh boy  they are not shy when it comes to expressing their opinions even knowing that I had zero understanding of their words other than they really felt what they said. I started to feel like Charlie Brown listening to his teacher, waaa, waaa,waaa…..

As day 5 begins we are waiting to tally Alessandro’s progress but to be real folks he is performing much better than I expected and baring something bad he will complete the route and the Tour of British Columbia will be born. We do know that in less than 4 complete days he has rode over one third of the route which included the most extreme climbing. The Tour of British Columbia is alive with Italian heart and passion and of course some Canadian involvement too.

Update: Alessandro reached Grande Prairie at about 9 am local time putting him well ahead of his projected pace and maybe just maybe I will be able to get back to work on time without begging my super great boss (who reads this blog) for more time, more time!

For Photos of day four please visit: