The Stelvio is the second highest (paved) pass in the Alps. It is a 15 mile climb with
48 hairpin turns, and is a scant 10 meters below the Col de l'Iseran, the highest (paved) Alp pass.
Alpe d'Huez, France, July 31, 2015
I am a terrible rider. I really am. As bad as I am, I am even worse riding uphill. I am soooo sloooowwwwww. I must have a congenital hill defect.
I insist those who extol me for riding in the Alps most every summer
understandthey could do it too. It takes no strength or skill.
All it takes is: The Will, the Time, and a Low Enough Gear.
But what I have done that is distinguished is master the art of lightweight packing. I have truly achieved an irreducible minimum. If I was proud of my packing for long trips
using just that old Kirtland saddle wedge—and I was—
look how much smaller was my bag this year.
You're looking at my only bag. 11" X 4 ½" at its widest. An old Novara.
Less than half the size of the Kirtland. It contains my entire packing:
pants, t-shirt, turtle neck, jacket, off-the-bike socks and shoes, toothbrush, razor, soap (because the Europeans are downright penurious when it comes to soap),
lights, and brake and shifter cables. No underwear. Why would any man take underwear?
(I can't speak for women's hygiene.) I've written only two witty things about cycling.
One is: The only thing dumber than riding uphill with clean underwear is...
riding uphill with dirty underwear. Total weight of bag and contents: 2 lbs, 2 oz.! How can that be? Contact me and I'll tell you.
OK, so I went backwards in 2016. Given the forecast, I expected rain and
cool-to-cold weather atop the Iseran, the highest pass in the Alps.
I remember all too well having to wait out a snow blizzard on it in
August, 1988, so I reverted to my larger bag for a heavier jacket.
On the jersey, replicas of the signatures of the great Fausto Coppi and the great
Gino Bartali. Visit me in my office and I'll show you the originals—both signed
on the back of the same postcard picturing Coppi. How rare is that?
Before designing jerseys, I designed and wrote ads for the high-end of the bike industry.
Every single campaign I created—for Basso, Bell, Campagnolo, Continental, Kreitler, et al.—
— was followed by record sales. Every one.
I don't know why you would want to, but some people have asked to see them.
If you would like to, go here: http://ro-ads.com
This image isn't a link to it—that's on the above line— but here's the home page.
And, yes, that is a real Olympic medal we shot. (The image pre-dates Photoshop.)