Words and images by Michele Minessi
The Tuscany trail is an event that welcomes all kinds of cyclists. It’s hard to say what the proper preparation is and maybe I’m not even the right person to do it. If you happen to participate in the TT, you will notice every kind of cyclist, bike and set up: there will be those who will start and will not set foot until reaching Capalbio and, on the other hand, those visibly out of shape wandering if they reach the finish line but decided to enjoy the journey, cuisine, detours, visits and overnight stays in hostels.
Between the two extremes, there are light bikes, heavy bikes, touring bikes, bike packing or just backpacking, more or less sculpted physiques, young and old people, veterans or newcomers, those with only a cash card or those with bags, stove, dishes, tent and sleeping bag.
The text of an article that many would like to read would be, I imagine, “How do I train for the Tuscany Trail?” followed by a long presentation of numbers, data, kilometers, tables, how to find motivation and things like that.
I would change it to “How I don’t train for the Tuscany Trail”. Let’s be clear, I’m not going to arrive in May with a preparation made of beer and sandwiches leaving the bike in the basement all this time.
My formula is simply the desire to get on a bike and cycle every morning to go to work with already in mind what I will do in the evening or at the weekend. I love to move, whether it’s running in the mountains, pedaling on roads or trails; it’s not a duty for me; I pedal because I like it and I spend most of the year doing it… this inclination has led me to test myself in races and events always with some ease. I love the approach to an event, I love the daily routine of keeping my body in a state of well-being that only those who have experienced it can understand. I have no labels, the evening after work I leave the day at the office behind, I go straight to the city mountains and, one evening I attack it to get my best time as the worst of the competitors, the other evening I climb it at a steady pace listening to my thoughts, another evening I climb the trails and throw myself down the downhill slopes; for me, it is a way to positively set the day aside, expel my tensions, find myself in the darkness of the mountain, with my breath, fatigue, season after season.
Other times, the desire is given by the search for new things, exploring corners further and further away from home, spending hours planning new routes.
Another fundamental part of my “training” is having both the need to go out with friends and the need to go out solo; the bike allows both things, the limit is in the person.
Sometimes I say that I could do more, I could have more results by training with the methods that we all know, I could do more miles because often the only regret when I take part in some competition is to finish the race thinking “damn, if I really trained, what would I be able to do?” … I could force myself, but I do not get along well with this word.
Despite the passion for the bike as an object and as a means to get excited and make wonderful experiences, I have many other things to give space to but, because of this passion (and perhaps this gives the answer to the first question), I cover without frustration the miles that many people would find difficult to cover even by car; that’s why I arrive at an event as the Tuscany Trail without any particular thoughts or plans to deal with it.
So, my advice is: come to the Tuscany Trail following the type of cyclist you identify with and enjoy it; it will be a memorable experience, I can assure you, as I will be back for the second time! See you on the trail!