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Giro 08
Giro di PEZ: TTT Corsa Up Close
It’s like the day before Christamas around here as excitement is building to a fevered pitch for the start of tomorrow’s Giro d’Italia. I’m doing my best to keep up with all the action and soak in the true Palermo experience. I took a spin on the TTT corsa, and can tell you it’s gonna be fast – check this out…

The really big news though was the arrival of my luggage on Thursday – only 4 days after I left home…! It’s all worked out as I finally bagged about 10 hours sleep last night (after a couple nights of only 3 hours per night) – and I although my brain fog has not quite lifted, I can see some light ahead.

You better not have any “I need my space” issues living in Palermo.

But the past two days have been put to good use – I finally got my very own Italian cell phone – so no more $600 phone bills from my mobile provider back home… I’m still getting used to the Euro-ringtone though, and have missed a couple calls because I just ignore it…

I took a stroll around 7AM yesterday AM, just in time to see the local fishmongers preparing the day’s catch. The smooth stones on the floor of this square were washed down and slippery, but the ‘scent’ of fish was unavoidable. Aside from a few old men just sitting silently, the local cats were the first hopeful customers.

• Just off the fish square, along a tiny street, other shop owners rolled up the shades for another day of neighborhood commerce. There’s no way this produce sat on a truck for 2 months on its way here.

Onto the corsa – Thursday was a busy one – picking up the creds in the AM, then building the bike and onto the corsa on the afternoon, and the team presentation last nite. Lot’s of pics to edit and then today I rode up Monte Pellegrino with it’s stunning veiws of the city and sea.

Stage 1 will be 33.6 very fast kms – pretty much out and back from Palermo to Mondello … and back.

The stage starts on ends in the town center, at two large piazzas. The start is straight out along the Via della Liberta – a pretty wide boulevard (at least by Palermo standards) on flat roads.

The endless rows of 1950’s style apartments at least offer some big views of the start straight.

The Parco della Favorito – looks like a nice place to visit.

The roads at the north end of the corsa get narrow and bumpy.

The beach in Mondello is an obvious draw for touristicos and Giro journos alike.

The first time check and return legs starts at the beach town of Mondello. It was full holiday atmosphere here, with horse drawn carriages, bands playing, and lots of boats.

The water is crystal clear and taking a dip was darn tempting.

The only real ‘hill’ on the course runs about 500meters along this completely shaded lane. The gradient is slight, so don’t expect anyone getting dropped. In fact it’s so sheltered in here, and the roads so smooth, speeds should remain very high.

A quick look up and to the left reveals just another majestic castello .

The run past Parco della Favorita should be a fast one. I had a tail wind on the way out, and the blast back is sheltered by Monte Pellegrino. The only obstacle should be the unexpected ladies in their heels and short skirts skattered along the return leg.

Somewhere amid the jumble and chaos that is Palermo, we’ll find the start and finish tomorrow.

My ride today up local Monte Pellegrino was worth the effort of a jet-lagged 30 minute climb. The grade was around 5-6%, lots of switchbacks, and outstanding views from the top.

Suddenly the congested and crumbled bits of Palermo take on a whole new look. Much of the waterfront is not really accessible, and the real heart of the city is a few blocks inland. Seems like a waste of a gorgeous harbor if you ask me.

And then again, that looks like a pretty good use of coastal access from up here.

That’s it for this edition of Giro di Pez – my mission to find the perfect negroni continues this evening after a couple days off to really get my Sicilian/ jetlagged feet underneath me… It’s time for a shower and dinner, and hopefully another full night of rest for my final prep before tomorrow’s grande partenza…

Keep it dialed to PEZ and see you domani!



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