A Week at Hotel Dory - by Allan Mendelsohn

North Road training week
April 14th -21st 2007
By Allan Mendelsohn

My wife Ros and I joined John McDowall, Richard Somerset, Neil Lewis and Neil’s girlfriend Rhiannon at the Hotel Dory, Riccione on Italy’s North East Adriatic coast. Neil and Rhiannon had been there since the Tuesday, John and Richard the Thursday and we arrived with another couple from the Cycle Club Islington on the Saturday.

Hotel Dory at this time of year is solely oriented towards cyclists so checking-in was followed by a cycle briefing in three or more languages. For some it was a valuable couple of hours for honing their language skills, to others the message was protracted.

There were three groups to ride with based on average speed. The fastest was called the Limoncino (named after a sticky lemon based post dinner liqueur) and there were two other slower groups; the Cappuccino and the Borgi y Castelli (villages and castles).

Richard, Neil and John were riding in the Limoncino group, so come Sunday morning there was nowhere else for me to go but out with the boys!

The bikes were Scott Carbons with Ultegra groupset. After one minor adjustment of the saddle height it was ready to go.

The daily rides were very good, a flat warm-up for 10 – 15km, then up and down and up and down for 70 – 100km then flat back. The climbing is a mixture of alpine switch backs (usually between 3km and 8km in length) and Hertfordshire type short climbs with the occasional 18 - 20% gradient. Our group was led by Riccardo, an ex Swiss cyclo-cross champion. He would ride on the front dictating the pace but we were allowed to ‘attack’ on the longer climbs and wait at the top. The longest ride was 140km and used some of the roads ridden by the professionals in last year’s Giro D’Italia.

The North Road boys decided that the only way to succeed in this European field was by a display of dominating pack riding which we successfully implemented from the rear of the group. At no point did anyone challenge our position as the Lantern Rouge. A few characters shone through amongst our Continental brothers and sisters. The group favourite was a Swiss lady who did not like her position at the back of the group on every climb, although we thought that it gave her time to plan the next attack to weave erratically through the group on the flat, or if she really wanted some “fun” weaving through the group on the fast descents.

With all this hard riding several well earned perks were required, namely a daily visit to the ice cream parlour prior straight after the ride, a massage (for some) and the odd beer and glass of wine with the four-course evening meal.

The hotel is very well appointed for cyclists from post ride lunch to daily laundry service for cycle kit and we North Roaders and our companions had a terrific time.

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