A ‘stay sane’ packing guide for the Giro Rosa

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It’s that time of year again. Pink fever!

The new national champions have been crowned around Europe and the Americas, which can only mean one thing -the Giro Rosa is fast approaching.

It feels like the Aviva’s Women’s Tour ended only a couple days ago, but it’s possible I feel this way because I have yet to unpack my suitcase. Truth be told, I haven’t’ really unpacked since the epic American trip, pre-Women’s Tour. Yes, I do wash all the smelly dirty things, but then they somehow manage to migrate back to the suitcase.

In my eyes, the Giro Rosa in the equivalent to the Tour de France. When I was getting in to the sport in 2010, the Giro Donne (the old name of the tour) was the one big race I actually knew of in Europe other than the World Championships. I remember thinking: “Someday, I really want to line up on that start line.” Five years later, here I am, round two of the Giro Rosa for me.

Now because the Giro Rosa is no typical bike race, packing for the Italian Grand Tour is far from typical. Known for long transfers and spotty wi-fi, this 10-day tour requires more “extras” than most races. Beyond the usual, I need to pack the items that will keep me sane and entertained during the most gruelling race on the calendar.

As I’ve watched my roommate Carlee Taylor (of Lotto Soudal) pack and contemplated the contents of my own suitcase, I realised that those “sane and entertained” items vary widely from person to person. My teammate Alena Amialiusik always has a bag of her favourite Italian chocolates, Tiff Cromwell usually carries every type of nail polish you could imagine, and  Tayler Wiles is never without her yoga mat.

As for Carlee and me, here’s what we’ve made room for in our Slovenian-bound suitcases:

Carlee’s essentials

  • Large quantity of dates and raisins
    And when I say large quantity, think Carlee could get done in for importation with the sheer amount of suitcase space she devoted to dates and raisins. I honestly don’t know anyone who consumes more dried fruit than her
  • Nescafe Decaf/Regular cappuccino sachets
    The closest thing to good coffee we have at home in Spain is our Nespresso machine. However, Carlee seems to opt for the sachets. I could go all Melbourne coffee snob on her, but really she’s winning in this situation. Transporting my Nespresso machine to every race is not ideal.
  • New crop top and new socks
    Before every big-targeted race, Carlee purchases new crop tops and socks for the occasion. I’m going to venture a guess that she’s chosen hot pink for this particular occasion.

And if Carlee forgot anything, it looks like her teammate Elena Cecchini has her covered:

Loren’s essentials

  • Mini portal fan compliment of Carlee.
    I’m known by friends, family and my cycling peers as a heavy sweater. When I feel the need to crack a joke, my three most tackled topics are: a) my height b) how much I sweat and c) Carlee.
    Being a sweater and racing a Grand Tour in the middle of summer is far from ideal, which means my mini portal fan is my new number one essential. Carlee may have bought it for me as a joke, but I have serious plans to put this bad boy to use post- race -and maybe even pre-race on the start line.
  • Kindle
    I like to have more than one book on the go at a time. I like to have options based on my mood. I’m guessing that during 10 days of hard racing, there might be a few moods happening. I’m not going to cart multiple books around Italy, so the Kindle comes in handy
  • Vegemite and Tim Tams
    There comes a point in any stage race where meals began to feel laborious. Eating takes too much energy and nothing tastes good. Enter Vegemite and Tim Tams. Which are always delicious. Always. But especially in Italy with eight days of racing in the legs.
  • Sleep essentials
    Sleep is key during a long tour. I’ve definitely learnt the hard way, and I honestly believe this is possibly one of the most important things to try and keep on top of. My sleep supplies include melatonin, ear plugs and an eye mask to maximize my chance of a good night’s rest.

Here’s what my teammates will be bringing to the Giro Rosa:

Barbara Guarischi: Corona (yep, the beer). Good recovery drink post race.
Tiffany Cromwell: High heels. You never know who might meet along the way.
Elise Delzenne: Fancy, new white kicks. The Italians are known to dress head-to-toe in white, and Elise is down with that.
Mieke Kroeger: Flip-flops. One of two possible brands –Birkenstocks or Adidas
(She’ll also be packing her new German national time trial kit. We can’t wait to see it!)
Tayler Wiles: Yoga mat
Karol Ann Canuel: Podcast — yoga.download.com
(Karo, too, will be in a new national time trial kit. This one includes a maple leaf design.)
Alena Amialiusik: Bag of her favourite Italian chocolates

The Giro Rosa begins on Friday, July 2, in Ljubljana, Slovenia, with a two-kilometre evening prologue and ends 10 days later on Sunday, July 14, with a mountaintop finish to the San Domenico di Varzo ski resort.

Expect in-depth, varied coverage of each and every Giro Rosa stage on Ella CyclingTips. We will have daily race reports within an hour of each stage finish, full results, daily diaries from Australians Tiffany Cromwell (Velocio-SRAM) and Lizzie Williams (Orica-AIS) and (Aussie) morning round-up of our favourite links, videos, photos and social media posts from each day’s race.

For further pre-race riding, check out our Giro Rosa guide here and a Q&A with two-time Giro Rosa winner Mara Abbott here.

Loren Rowney is a professional rider for Velocio-SRAM. With the team since its inception (as Specialized-lululemon), the South-African born Australian lives in Girona, Spain, during the European cycling season. Loren sports a tattoo on her wrist that says “I Believe” in Greek and is Loren’s personal motto.

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