Snooze & swarm
With every long, compounding day we find ourselves pushing our start time back just a little bit later for some much-needed rest.
As it turned out, today was not the day for hitting the snooze button. Stage 7 was departing from the town of Castrovillari in front of a bumper crowd (unlike stage 6). Unfortunately, we arrived late, meaning, by the time we had parked, we had to leave again.
I had a spot picked out on a twisting descent in the early part of the stage so we park and waited. With every passing minute another photo-moto arrived, until the place was swarming with them. Not to worry, Mike and I had the pick of the spots.
Today's course was a tricky one for us, with only one main road for most of the way. If you got caught behind you had to stay behind - for a very, very long time.
Not deterred and with our new mantra now etched into the thick dust accumulated on our trusty Fiat, “everyday we push harder”, we had a second location in mind. However, it would require some crazy, rally-style detours along narrow farm roads.
Enter the Stuntman. Mike clipped the apex, and then drifted the rear, around every corner at breathtaking speed. I held on tight, reading the GPS like it was rally pacenotes and trying to keep the cannoli down.
Alas, our adventure ended all-too-soon with a set of enormous concrete blocks permanently closing the on-ramp to the highway we were targeting for our getaway.
Now stuck behind the race convoy, we were forced to consider what we might actually have needed most anyway - a little R&R (and a perfect opportunity to work on the bidon collection). We even had time to stop at a service station for lunch and espresso.
A rather dramatic finish
The finish for stage 7 was in the town of Alberobello - a UNESCO World Heritage site on account of a series of quaint small buildings with conical roofs, made from local stone. As usual, there wasn't much time to take it all in, as the sprint trains were approaching.
The Giro plays the same dramatic music for the finish of every stage. When you hear it you know that there's only uno chilometri to go. We got ourselves set to shoot. You feel a bit like a sniper, especially with Mike perched high up on a rooftop, cap backwards, peering down.
Looking through my viewfinder I could see Caleb Ewan coming into frame at blistering speed. As he sprinted towards us it was too close to tell if he had won, offering no post-sprint celebration to help us out. I searched for his team - the raucous hugging, high-fiving and general celebrating were a dead giveaway. He’d done it!
Lastly, a very hearty shoutout to Meridio News for the post. Regular readers will remember me doing an interview on-the-fly back during stage 4 - well, that was it. Divertiti!