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Filtering by Category: Cycling

How to go completely bonkers... Zinzin de Turini!

Ivan Blanco


Pronunciation IPA(key): /zɛ̃zɛ̃/
Adjective zinzin (plural zinzins)

1 (colloquial) bonkers,  2 (Louisiana) buttocks

The origins are unknown to me, but it may have involved your usual spur of superpower feeling of a group of cyclists after some night out in the streets of Nice… but however it was, it is among us now and here to stay. What am I talking about? Well, the one and only Zinzin de Turini Challenge! Chaperoned by the Cafe du Cycliste, it includes everything crazy that normal people say about us cyclists and… goes even beyond that!

With the Col de Turini at the heart of this adventure, the basic lunacy of this challenge is:

Climb the 1604m massif with your bike, not once, not twice, but three times from each of its sides, picture it, Strava it or stamp it with Cafe du Cycliste’s specifically created route card; provided with any Audax clothing from their collection.

Quick aside, for another “stamping” adventure, head over to my Camino de Santiago cycling adventure by clicking here; a truly life-changing experience.

Go for it like SuperPierre!

So ready to be bonkers? Well, before you say yes yes yes, like my friend Edoardo when you ask him to go to a party, have a look at the elevation map and gain; source Strava:

Write here…

Write here…

How many of those 3 yeses have dropped? If one is still alive, then here’s the picture agenda Cafe du Cycliste had ready for its most daring and most cafe-addicted riders:

07:15 - RDV Café du Cycliste
07:30 - Departure from Café du Cycliste; towards Escarène
08:30 - 1st stamp at L’Escarène and up up up to Luceram, Baisse de la Cabanette, Piëra-Cava and… 1st time Col de Turini 1604m!
11:00 - 2nd stamp at Hotel Les Trois Vallées.
Then quick quick quick down to Sospel; easy mate!
12:00 - 3rd stamp in Sospel (Café next to the fountain)
Up up up to Moulinet, or to rhyme it with French pedaling, “allez mouliner!”
14:00 - FOOD time!!! Or as it ended up being, the best ever RAVITO! Thanks Café du Cycliste!
And 4th stamp at our usual Hotel Les Trois Vallées.
Quick quick quick down to Bollène Vesubie
5th stamp somewhere… angry bartender helped out but it seemed more like a menace, kinda good since it made us get back on our pedals and leave quick quick quick
14:30 – So up up up for a 3rd time in a row!
15:30 - 6th stamp - Even the guys at Hotel Les Trois Vallées kinda had enough ;) Thanks guys!
Quick hurray and hands in the air, but not too much, angry clouds with charged lightning bolts were ready to receive us in the most spectacular way, therefore, down to Escarene for the last treat.
16:30 - FOOD time in Escarène and what a glorious finish! Big big big Kudos to Ali, William and Matt to make this, one hell of a ride and yet another unique cycling experience! Gracias Amigos!

What next? Down to Nice and time for some rest… mmm… well, what would someone really bonkers do with 175km and 3850m already on their counter....? Of course, at least round up that elevation gain!

So it was for the Spanish loco of the group, with my usual Cimiez detour up to the Matisse Museum, the deal should be sealed… but not quite, so had to add a few more kilometers and in the end, as now a truly Cafe du Cycliste Zinzin, why not round up the k’s too?

So said (aka, thought; not talking alone yet ;)) so done!
Aspremont it was and with a last rain escape !

Final count of the day:
204.80km 9h04min & 4491m!
Time to dunk that beer!

So my dear fellow weekend riders, still feeling confident?

Then find out more about the Brevet here and about the fascinating Col de Turini here.

So long amigos, until next time:
helmet, espresso, climb & wave!


For the socialnatics, it’s down here

100 times! Viva il Giro!

Ivan Blanco

Español, por aquí

39,8 km/h… average speed!!!

That’s a speed that only the best of the best can achieve and is the equivalent of going at 100, in cycling terms obviously. It is in fact, the average speed the Giro d’Italia riders did for the 100th edition of the first Grand Tour of the year. Just a small detail, but FYI, they did it after more than 3500 kms in 21 days…

100 Giro d'Italia 2017 © Ivan Blanco Vilar

100 editions full of passion, 100 amazing winners, 100 amazing Giros and 100 unique moments that made history since its beginnings in March 13, 1909. This time, in addition of the big tribute to Italian culture and its breathtaking landscapes, it really showed us the Italian beauty from south to north and gave tribute to legendary cyclists like Fausto Coppi and some of the most famous cycling climbs like the Passo dello Stelvio.

100 Giro d'Italia 2017 © Ivan Blanco Vilar

Which such a pedigree, the protagonists themselves were up to the plate and gave an amazing show with 5 of the best riders of the World fighting for the ultimate and winning Maglia Rosa right to the last seconds… thank you Zakarin, Pinot, Nibali, Quintana, Dumoulin and their teams for one of the most exciting Giro’s ever!

100 Giro d'Italia 2017 © Ivan Blanco Vilar

So, with a friend living in Torino, and stage 14 close by, the decision to jump over to the former capital was quite easy and to make it even more cycling intense, we went out for a morning ride of ‘mere’ 120km at 27km/h average and 1500m elevation gain… now you see why 39,8 km/h is massive ;)

Giro giro Moncalieri © Ivan Blanco Vilar

Even if with a strong fatigue mix from work, travel and intense cycling weeks behind me, the little more than 4h ride was yet again a blast and let’s the pictures, and coffee, speak for themselves :)
Click click click for big big big

But wait wait, don’t leave yet, the best is to come, and probably the reason you are here, so without delay, here you have the photos of Stage 14 of the 100th edition of the Giro, started at the birth town of Fausto Coppi and with a win of, almost like a sign of the future winner, Tom Dumoulin!

You like what you see, then head over to my social media accounts for more cycling adventures and inspiration!

Keep riding and always with a helmet!

Champs' birth crib... welcome Monaco's 44th Crit!

Ivan Blanco

Español, por aquí

A castle, yachts, Riviera’s sun and one of the most famous F1 tracks in the world…

What could possibly reunite such exclusive ingredients every last Sunday of March…?

Wherever your guess is going, Monaco is the place, and the F1, Jumping Monte Carlo and Monaco Yacht Show are way off the list.

Well, without the hype and popularity of Red Hook’s Crits, it’s the 44th Monaco Criterium organized yearly by the Union Cycliste de Monaco (UCM).

Keeping the humble pretensions that saw this Monegasque classic being born almost half a century ago, it has however little to envy to the more famous and celebrated Monaco events or even the most prestigious Cycling competitions. Monaco’s Criterium has some key elements that make it unique on its own; a unique track, an all day event, a dream location and gathering people from all ages and origins, elevate this event to one of the biggest celebrations of cycling in the Cote d’Azur.

If this isn't enough cycling glitter for you, the Criterium has a former World Champion and two-times Belgian National winner, Philippe Gilbert, as its honorary guest! In addition to being the UCM's godfather he also comes to encourage his children with their first competitive pedal strokes.

You want some extra glitter? Only one week later, he just won the Tour de Flanders with an epic solo ride at almost 55 km from the finishing line! Bravo!

J’ai gagné mais c’est une victoire d’équipe
— Philippe Gilbert

I have won the race, but it has been a team victory; see his post race comment here (French) 

Every race starts with the mesmerizing castle of Monaco in its background, which quickly blurs out with the very fast pace each race has. Contrary to its motorised F1 counterpart, the riders accelerate to the sharpest corner of the circuit to face a grueling climb which seems easy at first, but makes its toll on every contender’s stamina after a few laps. It also becomes judge to divide the good ones from the great ones in the race. The racing gauge quickly goes up again to face the most iconic part of the F1 track, its starting grid, where speeds of up to 60km/h can be attained on a very narrow side of it. Against normal traffic direction, a fast descent is only a glass half full, since the Rascasse corner is the second most tricky of the crit and bears some dangers that can trap the most optimistic ones in the bunch. With just a soft right bend, the final path brings the adrenaline filled cyclists back to the starting line along Monaco’s Port Hercule and its ever-present yachts.

Find out more about this exciting event here and let yourself submerge into the cycling passion with a few more photos below.

Keep riding and always with a helmet!


Follow me on my social media accounts for more cycling vibes!