About halfway to the race (about 45 minutes away), we decided to do something else. We decided to go exploring and scope out a bike route for future riding. We've ridden to Canzo and back before - about 60km, but never any farther than that. We wanted to see what the roads were like on the rest of the route to Bellagio, on Lago di Como.
It was a beautiful and easy drive through the foothills of the Alps. When you look at it from a cycling point of view, its far different. The ride from our house to Canzo is not really a big deal. There is some climbing, but nothing we can't handle.
We found out that there is some pretty steep and long climbing to be done from Canzo up to Margreglio, where a famous cycling chapel and museum are located.
Brandon at Museo del Ciclismo
View of Lago di Como from the museo
The Museo dil Ciclismo was created "to embrace the heritage of cycling, promoting the collection of objects, their preservation and information relating to a sport that has played a significant social and historical role in Italy..." - Museo Ciclismo Guide.
The museum is dedicated to everything bicycle, from top cyclists to people who use bicycles in their everyday life. We ended up spending a little over an hour inside the museum.
Wood frame bike...very cool!
Old 30's and 40's wool jersey on the left - modern Tour de France jersey on right
Tour de France bike from 1938
Special Edition Colnago Ferrari bike
Champions of Cycling
Memorial to cyclists, located between the museo and the chapel - Fausto Coppi (left), Gino Bartali (right)
We checked out the Madonna del Ghisallo chapel after the museum. The hill that this chapel and the museo sit on are an iconic location for cyclists of all ages and categories, both competitive and non-competitive. The climb up this mountain has been a decisive stage or finale to many great cycling races, including the Giro d'Italia.
Thousands of cyclists visit here each year. Inside the chapel is a 17th century shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary, "known as the Madonna del Ghisallo, declared the patroness of cyclists by official papal letter of Pope Pius XII in 1949."
There are many cycling artifacts inside the chapel
We decided to head on down the mountain and into Bellagio. Wow, what a steep downhill. I can see why this north side has been a decisive factor in many bike races.
We parked the car in Bellagio and wandered around a bit. The town was very busy with tourists...almost crowded. Down by the waterfront we spotted an Italian cooking show being filmed, so we watched for a little bit.
When they took a break from taping, we wandered on through the town. Brandon found a Lampre cycling cap in one of the shops, so he bought it. Lampre is one of his favorite teams. We also stopped at a bakery and bought some delicious cookies to eat on the way home.
Brandon and I had a great afternoon adventure on a very beautiful sunny Italian day. Katrina had some very productive quiet time at home. It was a good day!