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The Giro d’Italia is over. Five of the original six American racers made it to Torino on Sunday, led by Joe Dombrowski in 34th overall.
Dombrowski raced for just over 88 hours since May 6th. His Strava profile, which includes rest-day rides and the like, tells an even more difficult story: 91 hours, 2,145 miles, 142,428 feet of climbing. It was not an easy month.
If you’ve kept up with the previous installments of Unserious Questions, you know that while the bodies of these five riders slowly deteriorated, their attitudes did not. Perhaps this is the most impressive feat. We know the a pro cyclist is physically trained to the task. But his mind? There’s no guarantee that the mind is prepared. The five Americans maintained their humor and joy, quite admirably so.
Most had a bit of a night out on Sunday. I even received one set of responses via text message at 2am local time. They deserved it, and we thank them for providing a bit of insight — sometimes purposefully, sometimes not — into what it’s like to race the Giro.
VeloNews: What was your first thought when you got up this morning?
Joey Rosskopf (BMC): “Wow, this sore throat is coming on strong.”
Chad Haga (Giant – Alpecin): “I hope the forecast improved overnight.”
Nate Brown (Cannondale): “I can’t believe the Giro ends today. I’m kinda going to miss it all.”
Joe Dombrowski (Cannondale): “160km is a very long parade.”
Ian Boswell (Sky): “This all started in the Netherlands three weeks ago?”
VN: Looking back at this Giro, would you have done anything different?
Rosskopf: “I would have fallen back on the ‘all rice’ diet a week earlier.”
Haga: “There are things I wish I would have done better in hindsight, but I’m happy with how I raced.”
Brown: “My prep into it. I got the call-up last second, but that’s part of cycling and I was ready for the challenge.”
Dombrowski: “Probably not, other than a few tactical errors.”
Boswell: “Won a stage. Easier said than done.”
VN: Describe your mood today in one word.
Haga: “Doubtful (that it’s really over.)”
VN: Who was the first person you called or texted after the race?
Rosskopf: “I think ol’ Michael Trivette was the first person that texted to congratulate me. Every time he texts me it makes me feel guilty and miss home, so it takes me a while to respond.”
Haga: “Kate.” [Haga’s fiancée]
Brown: “My girlfriend, Annie. I also got to see my parents after the finish. They made the trip over. That was super special.”
Dombrowski: “My parents.”
Boswell: “My dad. My girlfriend and my mother are here at the race.”
VN: How do your legs feel on a scale of 1-10?
Rosskopf: “Six.” [Up two.]
Haga: “Six.” [No change.]
Brown: “I’m empty. I would give them a three.” [Down four and a half.]
Dombrowski: “Eight and a half.” [Up one half.]
Boswell: “Six. Lazy mind and legs now that it’s done.” [Down three, the first time Boswell has dropped down from nine.]
VN: What was the most Italian thing that happened to you this month?
Rosskopf: “At a hotel breakfast buffet after opting for the drip coffee in an abnormally large mug: ‘Grande Joe, it’s just like McDonald’s, no?’”
Haga: “The Giro.”
Brown: “Our team started out speaking English, but it slowly turned to almost all Italian. Even the radio chatter went into Italian.”
Dombrowski: “As there were few of us non-Italian speakers in the Giro team this year our conversation over race radio slowly turned to Italian only. Me and Nate Brown left in the dark.”
Boswell: “Riders getting pushed and holding onto cars. Very Italian.”
VN: Does anything hurt?
Rosskopf: “The undercarriage region is ready for a rest.”
Haga: “Banged my knee in a pileup on the circuit, but it’s not bad.”
Brown: “Nothing hurts!”
Boswell: “Pride, from not getting more out of the race, but I did enjoy it.”
VN: Cheeseburger with bacon or ice cream sundae or a plate of tacos?
Rosskopf: “For once I’ll take the cheeseburger.”
Haga: “I want a big, messy cheeseburger.”
Brown: “Cheeseburger, plate of tacos, then ice cream sundae.”
Dombrowski: “Burger, with avo and bacon.”
Boswell: “Ice cream. Had a burger last night!”
VN: Finally, was it fun?
Rosskopf: “Super fun! Beautiful race, country, and people.”
Haga: “It was many things, including fun.”
Brown: “I had a lot of fun. This might have been the best group of guys I’ve raced with.”
Dombrowski: “Yeah. I love the Giro!”
Boswell: “It was. I really did enjoy the journey.”