It was May of 2006 and I was doing the Dieci Colli Granfondo in Bologna with the Pinarello team. Somehow I ended up riding with Fausto Pinarello (see picture) and a before I got popped on one of the climbs (getting popped on climbs is a theme in this blog) I was pacing him a bit and he asked me if I had ever raced. I said "yes as a matter of fact I was a pro in a Portuguese team" (I say that a lot but nobody cares). He told me that he could tell that I was an ex-racer and said if I could drop the weight that I would probably be able to get over the hills. Then he dropped me. The Dieci Colli Granfondo is extremely hilly and I remember that when I crossed the line many hours laters I almost started to cry from happiness. Happiness that the darn thing was over.
A few months later I was at the Pinarello Granfondo and during the warm up ride I was riding with Giorgio Andretta and Sandy Nicholls of Gita and Giorgio says to me "Hey you should race again, I am sure if you dropped the weight you could race again." For some reason I went with it and thought "Yeah I can do this again" I mean the heck with the fact that I am a fat pig (being fat is a secondary theme on this blog) and like to put away 5 course meals with one or two bottles of wine a few times per week. But the idea went into my thick head and that's how it started. By end of October I was seeing Max Testa and Nanna Meyer and I've been hungry ever since. Thanks Giorgio, really appreciate this one.