Family can take on a few different meanings. They can be people you are related to, or they can be people that you share an experience with. Here in Lucca, we are family.
The US Cycling National Team house in Lucca is located at the SRM Italia headquarters. Not only do my SRMs feel right at home, the whole SRM family is here to spend the summer. The house is located on a hillside on the outskirts of Lucca. The house is actually more of a compound. You enter through a large gate, and there is a main house, then the 6 apartments that we live in that are attached to a huge outdoor patio with a pizza oven, music, lights and a long “Italian” size table that takes 8 people to move. Last night, we had dinner all as one big “familia”. 15 boxes of authentic Italian pizza arrived, and Uli (Mr. SRM himself) said, oh pizza! We bring the vino and the dolci! And the family dinner began. Pizza. Vino. 4 kids. 1 dog. 6 US National team riders. 2 directors. 1 mechanic. 1 SRM mechanic. Uli and his extended familia, 2 guests and1 bambino. Beautiful. Dinner and laughter lasted well into the night. So, this is what Italyis all about. I can handle this. The table was full of multiple languages. German. Italian, French. English. It was a grandiose gathering of an eclectic group of people, who shared a passion for the good life. Bikes. Food. Family. Friends. And of course, powermeters. I felt right at home. We are family here.
The ride today took us over the mountains and down to the Mediterranean. Beautiful, once again. We were led by Pave, a Danish rider, who kept telling us, we had another “10 minute” climb coming up. I began noticing a trend. Italy is full of 10 minute climbs. Especially if you break each climb up into 10 minute increments, your options are endless. After about 3 hours full of 10 minute climbs, we were making our way back into Lucca. AStacher and I decided to prolong our ride up into the hillsides. We were constantly distracted by all the produce I was telling you about. Figs. Plums. Peaches. Apples. Grapes. Tomatoes. Blackberries. Red Currants. Our adventure took us on a sampling tour of the local produce. We weren’t stealing the produce, we were merely sampling the local market selection, right? Is it sampling or stealing? I guess you can’t blame her, she did grow up in Etna with no phone service or internet and did work barefoot on a watermelon farm and “isn’t a genius, but can act like one sometimes…” Great girl, and can actually talk more then I can. Impressive. We continued our sampling tour all the way back to the house.
Fruit and bikes. Family dinners and powermeters and cyclists. Beautiful days filled with sun and training. Once again, living the good life here in Lucca.