“I did it. Really, I can’t believe it. I didn’t get any help. Raul was there, but didn’t push once. It really is unbelievable. I should definitely now get the cover of the inGamba magazine – from zero to Mont Ventoux!”
She arrived in Portugal in April in a pair of tennis shoes, having never really ridden a proper road bike. By July, she was atop one of cycling’s most iconic mountains toasting Eros “Monsieur Ventoux” Poli, with a bottle of something special from her own winery.
It was an unbelievable scene, one moment in a year of unbelievable cycling moments for Lorenza Sebasti, who owns Castello di Ama, one of Tuscany’s great vineyards, which happens to be just up the road from inGamba’s birthplace.
Lorenza has been a firm friend of our founder João Correia well before inGamba was even a thing. She once shared her firewood with him, when no one else wood. (see what I did there).
But it was this Spring, when she joined us in the Alentejo of Portugal for a trip, where she learned to love cycling as much as we love her wine and her spirit.
“It really is unbelievable.”
On the very first day of the trip in the lovely town of Setúbal, Lorenza walked out in full inGamba kit … sporting a pair of oversized athletic shoes. She decided in the first 10 minutes that if she was going to be a real cyclist, she needed real bicycle shoes. So the next morning she showed up in full kit and a pair of Fiziks. She clipped in, and never looked back.
On the fourth day of the trip, I was lucky enough to be her riding partner and it is a day I will not soon forget. She was part 8-year-old school kid, part Italian philosopher, and all bicycle rider. We talked about the freedom of being on the bike, the ability to see things one would never see from a car or on a walk, and the fragility of life, how one must grab on and not let go. We talked olive oil, wine and her love of simplicity. We talked about art and her love of travel. We talked about Rome and Florence. We talked about what a revelation the bicycle was for her.
Her eyes were the size of tea saucers as she pointed out the beautiful scenery and her heart was as big as all outdoors when she expressed her appreciation for the Portuguese countryside and the Portuguese crew which was helping her to become a bicycle rider.
By the time we reached our base in the gorgeous little hamlet of Monsaraz, Lorenza was completely indoctrinated into the bicycling culture. The only word that seems to work for her by this point was hooked, and by July that hook had pulled her all the way to the top of Ventoux. And on that famous mountain’s peak, as she sipped a glass of her Castello di Ama San Lorenzo, smiling the smile of victory and surveying the countryside of Provence that stretched out beneath her, you could see excitement in her eyes. Like a real rider, she was day-dreaming about where the bicycle will take her next.