Trasferimento & curses
For stage 13 we got our second dose of Reggio Emilia, after yesterday's finish. The course was, once again, fairly flat - so we set about inventing a challenge for ourselves to help pass the time on this trasferimento (transfer) stage. More on this below.
Meanwhile, clouds amassed over the town square and small rain drops began to fall. Would this be the first wet stage of the 100th Giro? Beardy’s curse has yet to rear its head this year (I even made it through an ITT - my first dry one in Italy), leaving some locals wondering if they had sharpened their pitchforks for nothing.
The streets of Parma were packed with people, the race route taking a straight line through the middle of town. With so many people on the sides of the road, the only option was to get an elevated view from one of the buildings.
I figured it was time to pull out the Beardy charm, and quickly found two women looking out from a window far above the street. I waved, smiling sweetly, and yelled ‘scusi’ until I got their attention. With that part sorted, I was now confronted with the challenge of trying to relay my request to join them on the balcony through broken Italian, a little english and awkward hand gestures. Plus, you know, not coming across as some kind of creep.
Luckily, my mate Kei, the Japanese photographer that conveniently speaks Italian, arrived and helped convey my request. This did the trick and, within a few minutes, Kei, Stuntman Mike and I were on the balcony of the doctor’s surgery, overlooking the street. You can read more about Kei and my previous adventures here.
Parma & chips
After Parma we headed to the next feed zone, for two main reasons. Firstly, to snap a couple of photos of the riders coming through and, secondly, to collect bidons! About this time of the day we transform into professional seagulls, swooping in on any discarded bidons and assorted team paraphernalia.
Beardy’s Bidon Watch has been progressing strongly during the Giro, with most teams now ticked off the list. The tally so far:
AG2R La Mondiale x2
BORA Hansgrohe x1
Cannondale Drapac x1
CCC Sprandi Polkowice x1
Gazprom Rusvelo x2
Lotto NL Jumbo x1
Lotto Soudal x1
Orica Scott x1
Team SKY x1
Team Sunweb x1
Trek Segafredo x1
UAE Team Emirates x1
Wilier Triestina Selle Italia x2
However, we still have a couple of teams to collect and will hopefully score some more doubles to trade with amongst the other photogs at the finish line. Our missing teams are:
Quick Step Floors
Team Dimension Data
Rules of engagement
We have also penciled down some rules for Bidon watch, in case you want to play along.
1. Bidons need to have left the hand of a rider during a race to be admissible. I.e. they must be race refuge.
2. Team soigneurs or other team members cannot donate bidons to the count.
3. Markings such as X, O, or E are worth double points.
4. Rider names are worth triple points.
5. Scratches add character and signify a genuine article (but not extra points).
6. Liquid inside should be poured out and bidons washed for hygiene and safe keeping.
7. A bidon should not be prised from a nonna’s hand (unless no one is watching).
8. A Stuntman Mike safety tip: As important as a bidon scavenge may seem, it is not worth a human life. Please exercise caution and never step in front of a speeding race convey.
Unfortunately, zero bidons were collected today - but we did make it to the finish in time to do some trading, and, coincidentally, see Gaviria claim his 4th win of the Giro. With no flat stages left it looks as if he will take the Maglia Ciclamino to Milano.