23 Days in Italy
It was a travel day for Team USA at the World Championships in Italy. We swept all five of our first round matches, including a thrilling win over the two-time defending World champions, Russia. They had a 17-match World win streak going.
Tonight I’m in Modena, which is south of Milan and Verona, so I thought I’d write a quick note.
I did get to see all the cool things in the Verona city center. The 2,000-year-old arena, old church, old museum, etc., It’s not a big city, so it’s easy to walk around. I’m taking more ‘team’ photos then personal one on this trip. It was a fun hour. When you are at a big tournament, you basically see the hotel and the venue and not much more.
I met up with Camillo Cametti and his wife for dinner. I’ve known Camillo for a long time friend from swimming. He took me to the countryside to his favorite restaurant. The drive took us through a valley of the wine making district, with vineyards on either side of the road — the growing of grapes — wish I had some photos or video. The restaurant was located up the side of a hill overlooking the acres of grapes with the city of Verona in the background. We were greeted at our table by the owner. Everything, bread, pasta, everything is made on site. The cheese is from the region and we had a bottle of red wine from Verona too. Delicious.
The next day was Saturday … Tour de Cure day. Me and the team doctor rented bikes at the place we are staying. Fortunately, for me, he enjoys reading maps and figuring out routes. We tooled along the very narrow, two-lane road with no shoulder for only a little while before we found access to a riverside trail. We encountered a number of fishermen and we stopped and took a picture.
We went south on the trail for a little while, going by all kinds of cool, old farm buildings, wineries, kiwi farms and more. At some point we got off the trail and biked into a small town, where we found a mid-17th century Baroque church. We stopped and went inside. What a monument for such a small town. Beautiful.
We kept going north until we came to Pescheria del Garda, another beautiful old town and home to Lake Garda. We biked around there and stopped for a gelato. We biked for two hours. I can’t tell you how happy I was to get this done. It was so awesome. My first bike ride in a foreign land.
Meanwhile, Rose and Sam went to the Champions Dinner in my place and then Sam rode in his first Tour de Cure, after serving as a ride-day volunteer the last few years. He played both sides of the ball at his football game, then went and rode his bike, wearing a sign that said, “I ride for my Dad.” He trained for his 10-mile ride by pedaling six blocks to his friend’s house every once in a while. Very proud of him.