Every year in July Pinarello hosts a Gran Fondo (which loosely translates to "Grand Ride"). It's a bit like doing an organized century ride in America, except that it's raced (there are Gran Fondo teams competing for series points, and everyone gets a timing chip), and it's 200km long (approximately 124 miles). Cycling in Italy is incredible, and to participate in a 200km race with about 4,000 cyclists is as good as it gets.As a guest of Pinarello, I got one of these beautiful 2009 Princes to ride for the weekend. Here you can see the bikes fresh out of the factory and waiting for their riders.
The day before the Gran Fondo we took a spin around Treviso (home to Pinarello) and the surrounding countryside to get accustomed to our new bicycles. This didn't take long, as the Prince is truly a dream to ride. Here's Above Category triathlete Leanda Cave with Fausto Pinarello and Giorgio Andretta (owner of Gita, who is responsible for bringing Pinarellos--and a few other incredible Italian lines--into the States), recovering after the tune-up ride with a little bubbly.
Preceding dinner that night was a presentation on all the 2009 Pinarellos. Here are Fausto Pinarello and Miguel Indurain discussing the merits of the Valverde-edition Prince.
The 2009 line-up is kept under wraps. This is all we can show you from the presentation, sorry. All right, just kidding. Pinarello has come out with a couple new bikes, but our favorites (the Prince, the Dogma, and the FT-1) are unchanged except for new paint.
Here is a 2009 Dogma with super-record. The flagship bike in the line-up is unchanged from 2008.
This was my favorite new color for Prince, shown here with Chorus 11-speed. The 2009 Prince frame also goes unchanged save for new color options and slightly updated paint work.
Another Prince, outfitted with the Prince Lightweights. These are the Gen-3 deep-dish Lightweights with unique decals. Classic Italian style!
This is the new Black-on-black paint scheme. It's matte black with gloss black accents. Super-record and lightweight wheels round out this very stealth Prince. This is the new FT-3. It's Pinarello's highest-end offering for Triathletes, featuring top-of-the-line 50HM1K Torayca carbon (the same used on the Prince). Seat angle is steeper than the time-trial-specific machines to accommodate the Tri position. Here are an array of Pinarello's new integrated carbon stem-handlebars. Now, for racing, we'll opt for our Deda aluminum for it's trust-worthy crashability. But when you're putting together your Italian dream-bike, nothing compliments the swooping lines and luscious paint like a matching stem/handlebar.And what better way to compliment your bright matching handlebars than with a patent leather saddle? Hot.
After an incredible dinner, we all tucked in to rest up for the Gran Fondo the next day. Here's a montage from the ride:
Stay tuned for Part 2 of the trip!