Thursday, May 17, 2007

L' Incidente

Things have gone way off course...
I write this from Rome, having left Sicily and abandoned this years Motogiro competition. Lo and I are OK, but the last couple days have been rather hard!
Here is the story.
We spent a couple days in Siracusa, enjoying the city and getting used to the time zone. And then we left in our car to go exploring. We drove to Noto, a simple but beautiful town. It is the town with the same name as that of close friends and so it was especially interesting for us. Then we headed to Ragusa and went to the old town for a late lunch, a great meal in a small piazza. We left Ragusa and we were unsure whether to go to Caltagirone or directly to our at a small farm in the countryside...
There was an intersection of two highways, and we went the wrong direction at first so we turned around to correct our turn. Lorraine was driving. The intersection of these two small highways required us to turn left, across the oncoming lane onto an on ramp for the other highway. Lo turned... and we were hit hard from behind! Apparently the driver behind us attempted to pass us on the left in the intersection. She hit us very hard (she was probably traveling at 60 mph or so) and we then bounced into the guardrail of the on ramp. The shock of the impact was giant, setting off the curtain airbags on both sides of the car. It was amazing how loud these airbags were. I was momentarily deafened. Our car was essentially destroyed and as we could not exit either side, we ended up climbing out the passenger side window. Los neck hurt and she could not hear from her left ear. My left temple hurt; I assume I hit the center mirror with my head. The driver of the other car was hurt. Witnesses came to our aid and the ambulances arrived to take us all away.
I wont detail all of the rest of the story, but in short we escaped the rather inadequate Sicilian medical system, spent a day recovering in Ragusa and then fled to Rome for modern and expert medical help. Between Los hearing loss, whiplash and my banged up head we decided "discretion is the better part of valor" and we should withdraw from this years Motogiro. We spent several days recovering, talking to doctors and drinking and eating here in Rome. Today, an ear specialist has told us Los hearing will return in her left ear after 10 to 20 days and she should be fine. A good regular doctor says her whiplash should recover but that she should continue to wear a neck brace. My temple injury should be OK, but I should not risk another impact for a while. We will return to California early, but we think we are healthy enough to spend a couple days more in Rome salvaging a bit of vacation from this trip.
I'm extremely disappointed that Ill be missing this years Motogiro. Its the 50th anniversary of the final 1957 race and sure to be special for the original racers who still come back for this revival. But taking enough care so Lo and I can healthily return next year is the priority.
I must thank all of you for your great support and the donations to the Lance Armstrong Foundation! Obviously I'd hoped to honor those donations with a great effort in this years race, but regardless, it is a great cause. Thank you all very much!

Friday, May 11, 2007

In Sicilia ... but where's our luggage?!

We made it to Sicilia! But on the way our flight from Frankfurt to Milano was delayed... and we just made the connection for our flight from Milano to Catania. And we arrived after our 18 hour trip... but NONE of our luggage made it! We hoped the next flight would bring our luggage, but Alitalia could tell us nothing. So we picked up our rental car and drove to Catania, about 1.5 hours from the airport, when you don't know where you are going. I was planning on returning to the airport for the 11PM arrival of the next flight to hopefully claim our luggage. I was afraid someone would walk off if the bags if they arrived. But it was too late and we were far too tired. We had a nice dinner and went to bed instead!
This morning we called the airport and they claimed our luggage would be there at 11:15AM. So we left for the airport. After a brief tour of the back of the airport to get past security, we found they only had 2 of our 3 bags! They had our regular luggage, but all my motogiro gear was gone. They had no track of it at all. We decided to stay to see the next flight from Milan, at noon. We waited at the carousel and again watched everyone else claim their bags but the motogiro bag did not arrive. We went again to the desk, and the attendants there were not hopeful. Sigh... I decided to wait a day and then to try and buy new leathers and gear in here. As we walked toward the airport exit, Lorraine noticed a couple bags standing to the side of the carousel... and there was my bag! We rejoiced!
So we are here, complete with all our gear and we are quickly recovering from the jet lag.
Our touring begins now, we have about 1 week before the motogiro begins...

Tuesday, May 8, 2007


I must thank everyone for their pledges so far! I'm really happy to see the support for the LAF. It is a great organization!
I'm packing seriously now, as we leave for Sicilia at 11:45AM tomorrow! I think I have bought everything I need to replenish my supplies and tools. I also had one of my chronometers repaired and purchased a few new timing devices.
Importantly, I have heard back from my excellent mechanic in Spoleto! He has very thoroughly gone over the bike. He has replaced the rear rim that I bent last year (and hammered out to complete the event then!). And he has completely gone throughout the charging system and carburetor and done a myriad of other small repairs I requested. I'll only see the bike the night before the event starts, which is always makes me a bit nervous, but I'm hopeful all will be well with it. It will be like meeting an old friend!
I checked through the latest materials and I did find the actual mileages for each leg:

First Leg Sciacca - Sciacca 276/171
Second Leg Sciacca - Brocoli 334/208
Third Leg Brucoli - Brucoli 296/184
Fourth Leg Brucoli - Brucoli 220/137
Fifth Leg Brucoli - Sciacca 268/167
Total: 1,394/866

So soon Lo and I are off! I will definitely try to get some more posts in before the giro starts, and if there is good internet access during the giro I will post updates from there as well!

In Bocca al Luppo! (Into the wolf's mouth!)

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Carl's Motogiro and the LAF

Last year I started a little tradition of making my ride on the Motogiro d'Italia a little fund raiser for the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF).
I've always liked the LAF and their LIVESTRONG symbol. The LAF is about helping people bravely survive their battles with cancer and I appreciate this given that both of my parents died of cancer in the 1980's. The LAF is about LIVING YOUR LIFE TO THE FULLEST. That's a good thing for us all to remember.

Last year my efforts to raise money for the LAF were modest, but but this year I'm hoping to ask a few more friends to join me with a pledge.

I'd ask that you consider making a donation/pledge "per kilometer" for the distance of the Motogiro, estimated to be 1250km. Here' a simple chart to help with the math:

1 penny per km = $12.50
1 nickel per km = $62.50
1 dime per km = $125.00
1 quarter per km = $312.50
2 quarters per km = $625.00
1 dollar per km = $1250.00

You can donate easily and quickly using the link on the top of my blog!

Thank you for your support!