This year the DOLCENDURO rallye had a real unexpected beginning. After a sunny week with a good forecast the weather started to change swiftly on friday, and finally an heavy snow storm came along on saturday.
Supernatural, the race organizer, planned the venue on five timed stages, one of those keeped secret and reached by a shuttle transfer to reach the top where three stages were covered with few pedal kicks.
This plan failed miserably and we had to make many new decisions in one shot.
The crew reorganized the shuttle scheduled times, the pedalled transfer times and then it was decided to load all the bikes on the trucks along saturday night, properly not a walk in the park.
Finally it was sunday morning, sunny and warm as almost always here, the white of the snow was shining up on the montains around.
In small groups the riders approached the main place where the race paddock was putted in order. Four coaches, six minivan plus bike trailers and four trucks fullfilled of bikes were waiting to move.
Have you ever seen “Convoy”, the movie? Well, this is more or less the image of the square of Dolceacqua at 8.30 on a cold and bright sunday morning, walkie-talkie metallic voices and plastic duck gadget included.
From the place where the convoy stopped it was a short pedalled transfer, just a warm-up right before a “for die-hard only” stage.
“Marcora” stage was long and varied with a solid downhill section in the middle, a nice drop of 600 mt. descent.
At the end Nicolas Vouilloz was on top, followed by the national champion Alex Lupato and then Florian Nicolai. The young french rider unfortunately was not fitted, a bronchitis was doing its job to keep him not going on.
Few meters down there was the second stage start. This one is called “Lo Sparo”, literally “The Gun-Shot”…a short and fast drag straight down to Dolceacqua where a single error could ruin the race…and the rider too!
This stage it was easy in a certain way, the “let it go and drive safe” kind of stage.
Nico and Alex confirmed their positions and on third place Marco Milivinti was showing up.
Florian was definitely sick and He decided to abandon the race.
What a shame! it would have been nice to see a duel between Nico, Flying Flo and Julien Camellini. Sadly also Julien was forced to quit the race after few meters, a bad flat tyre stopped his run to the podium.
Just after two stages Laura Rossin imposed herself among the others girls riders, especially the fast french females.
The first refreshment point gave the energy support to deal with the second transfer, local cakes and fresh fruits were the gasoline to reach the top of the front ridge.
The third stage was hosted on the famous “Alta Via” trail, the longest one in Liguria, from a side to the other of this coastal region, a real mountain bike highway.
This timed stage is what the organizer calls a proper enduro stage. A trail where sections of steep descent alternate with strenuous short climbs, all without a breath!
Nico, Alex and Marco confirmed their positions and clearly approached the podium.
On the “Alta Via” Vouilloz glimpsed that he has some nice fireworks to shot for the season 2015.
Vouilloz doesn’t need any introduction, and here especially is a kind of mith between the local riders due to the fact that lives few kilometers from these trails.
The last stage was a revival. The “Old DH” is something where a young Vouilloz already made himself seen 20 years ago. This time he shows up in second place, since the lowest time belonged to Dimitri Tordo.
The podium was a nice combination of strong and complete riders. Vouilloz on top and around him the Italian champion and the winner of the Super Enduro series, a real good shot for the race organizer that attracted a wide selection of international riders in a pretty brand new enduro spot.
The female podium is 100% Italian with Laura Rossin on top, Valentina Macheda and the Chiara Pastore behind her.
The main place of Dolceacqua was full of colours, an “Enduro Agorà” with hundreds of smiling riders surrounded by an genuine atmosphere. An audio-rack broken and a megaphone keeped the event more friendly and a little naive. The secret stage remained secret this time, not even a tyre passed it over, everything was really “frozen” this time, since next year or maybe before…A year is too long to not organize something on it!