This week I take a jaunt around the Dolomites with Igor. This is Igor’s Story.
I was born in 1976 and started road bike racing at the age of 6. In order to
find some motivation I tried every kind of cycling discipline. I switched from
roadbike to BMX, Mountainbike and finally cyclocross that was the real first
LOVE for cycling.
I cyclocrossed from 1991 to 1997 at national level and from 1998 to 2006 in the international field taking part at world cup races and world championchips. I’ve never did in the front group and in my worst races I was able to see the top riders twice ….. at the start and when they overlapped me. I had also the big luck to took part in 2000 at the Baby Giro d’Italia on roadbike.
While still working part time in the family owned hotel, I founded together with some friends the tour operator Holimites that focuses on organizing active holidays in the Dolomites. Holimites started just as a part time hobby but grew so successful that we have right now up to 8 people working for us.
Right now I’m starting to take over the hotel family business Ustaria Posta where I hope to continue to greet as many cyclists as possible from all over the world.
You live and breathe the Dolomites, what can you tell me about how you got started in cycling.
Without any doubt I need to blame my father. I was ‘gently’ forced to follow his passion. At home 2 sports were allowed, skiing in winter and cycling in summer. Of course he didn’t forbid me to do other activities, but neither was he jumping for happiness when I was going out for soccer training.
What are your favorite memories of growing up in the Dolomites?
Honestly, I really don’t have memories, maybe because living in a real heaven, every day is memorable. If I would need to move to another place maybe memories would come up soon I think.
So at the moment I live by the day as Kung Fu Panda teaches:
Yesterday is history, tomorrow is mystery but today is a gift that is why it is call ” Present”
Are you just a roadie, or do you cross over to other disciplines?
I’ve ridden everything on two wheels, and I still own at least one bike of every discipline.
I’m actually switching from roadbike to mountainbike, cyclocross or freeride downhill. During winter I’m also riding on a fatbike, and starting this summer I’ve the occasion to start testing some gravel bikes. In younger years I raced also in BMX. Now let’s hope the switch to an E-Bike takes as a long while.
How many bikes have you owned in your life?
I really can’t remember, counting also all the cyclocross bikes you need during a race season I think that I had at least around 30 bikes.
How many bikes do you own now and what is your main go to bike?
I’m lucky that many times I get some bikes for testing purposes, but sadly I need to give
back after a while. So what I own (what I paid for) are actually 2 roadbikes, 1 mountain bike
and 2 cyclocross bikes. The one I use more is my already 15 years old steel SCAPIN
If money were no object, what would you next bike be?
Without any doubt a tailor made Pegoretti. By the way, I’m only a 2 hours car drive away to
the Pegoretti ‘delivery room’ 😀
How do you store your bikes?
I’ve a little ritual. As soon I get a new bike (even the ones I can test … if I’m the first one that can ride them), they come with me in my bedroom until the first ride. Of course my wife makes sure that the bike remains just one night in the bedroom and is happy if I’m on my ride.
After the first ride all bikes are stored in my family owned hotel bike garage.
Do you do all your own maintenance or do you use a LBS?
When I had more time I was doing pretty much all kind of maintenance on my bikes. At the age of 14 I spend a more than a month in summer learning from a bike mechanic how to build a bike and make wheels. Right now the only maintenance is repairing flats for everything else I take my bikes to my trusted local bike shop.
What cycling specific tools do you have in your “bike shed”?
Because I lost so many tools I just keep anymore the essential stuff. But I also still own some really vintage Campagnolo tools that maybe I can use on my old bikes someday.
What is your favourite piece of cycling kit or accessory?
I’ve always been really into tech stuff, so at the moment the essential accessory
is my Garmin 🙂
What do you love about cycling?
That moment on your ride when your mind some kind away from reality and the
best ideas comes through your mind. The only problem is remembering this ideas
after the ride.
What annoys most about cycling?
Wheelsuckers …. but hey … during my racing years I was known as one of the best
guys sucking wheels 😀
Other than yourself, who is your favourite cyclist?
The guy that took me to all of this, my dad!
If you could have dinner with 3 professional cyclists, who would they be?
Can I pick just one? And not a cyclist, but some kind related into the sport?
Then it is Betsy Andreu!
What are your craziest/fondest cycling memories?
I was in a 185 km international race. It was my first year in the Elite category
and it was my first race where also some pro teams could participate. It was damn
hot and after 2/3 of the race I was also able to get into the break. I can’t remember
how many water bottles I throw over my head and how many I drunk. Suddenly I
just had a strange desire, I didn’t want water anymore, neighter energy drinks, coke
or whatever. I had just in my mouth that strange taste of chamomile tea with honey.
I shout to my friend that was passing me the water bottles to find some chamomile
tea for the next lap. He is still talking about this nowadays. He had to go from a bar
to another to ask if the had tea in the mid of summer. Luckily he found a grocery shop
that was open, bought there the tea bags and honey and went back to the next bar
to get some hot water. At the end I got my chamomile tea and it ended to be one of
my best road races.
What is your favourite post ride coffee/tea spot, and what would you normally buy?
Well my rides starts from my home that is the local hotel/restaurant and coffee stop
where most of the locals start their rides. So this is the place I end at the end of my rides
and I usually end to pick one of my moms Tiramisù.
Apart from the Dolomites, what other regions in Europe have you ridden and have fond memories of?
I took part at World Cup races and World Championchips in Mountainbike and Cyclocross
and I’ve many memories. The many times I had to race with another bike because the
bike wasn’t delivered by the airplane company. The time a friend of mine told me he was
taking care of the airplane tickets for the next MTB World Cup race in Norway and he
told the travel agent a wrong name of the town and we almost ended to land on a Fjord
near the Arctic Circle. Our bikes arrived this time correctly on the wrong place and both
had to race with other bikes.
Or the time at 18, just one week after I got my driving license I drove alone back and
forth from the Dolomites to Budapest (1600 km) to take part to another MTB World Cup
What is your favourite training route?
Starting from home without any doubt the Passo delle Erbe loop:
Thanks Igor, its been a pleasure climbing a few mountains with you, all the best with the Giro this week.
And somewhere in California
Alcoholic Beverage of the Week – Prohibition Liquor Gin
And whilst were on then subject of South Australian made products, some local entrepreneurs have been dabbling in Gin, and appear to have found a popular niche with their Prohibition Liquor Gin.
When prohibition started in 1920, an industry was born… To bring the people what they wanted. Gin was the liquor of choice for clandestine, bootleg spirit makers. In this tradition, almost 100 years later, prohibition liquor co was created. Echoing their small batch craftsmanship, this time by choice… In the search for quality with the finest botanicals from all over the world and detail from artisan hands.
Keep an eye out for it at your local bar, bottlo or Restaurant, and enjoy.
And so we’ve reached the end of another Wednesday Legs. I trust you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed pulling it together. If you have, forward a link to this blog to 2 people you think hasn’t read this before.