Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Greve, Passo de Sugame, Strada

Yesterday, I did a short but really good ride, which is one of my new standards for a short ride.  From home, I ride up Via Bolognese to Montorsoli, basically right before the road hits it's 10% piece for a couple of k, turn off on a very small road up and down, contouring around to Cercina, then down to Firenze, where it comes in around the Carreggi hospital complex.  Yesterday, I followed some signs back to Via Bolognese, and it is a great alternative once you return to the city.  It does climb, but the roads are quite small, mostly walled, and therefore for me, more fun.

Emily did the Viola pick up, and a little babysitting, then we did a quick trip to the COOP for a small amount of groceries, and hung out at the apartment trying to stay as cool as possible.  We have decided not to do anything about air conditioning, and it is really getting hot these days.  I think it hit 98 yesterday and 98 is predicted for today.  So far, the apartment is staying cool enough, and by the end of the summer we will see what we think for next summer.  Emily has been doing some research on a place to escape to in the mountains - either the Italian Alps or the Dolomites.  We have some good options and will make a decision later today.

Paolo was on call this morning and could not ride, so I went off by myself, which is my normal routine.  I had two pieces of road in mind, then planned the route around them.  I was riding by 9:30, and should probably try to get started earlier when a 4 hour ride is on the books.  Anyway, I left town by the Viale, then up Viale Michaelangelo to Poggio Imperiale, then over to Galluzzo.  From Galluzzo, I climbed the switchbacks to the road to Chiesa Nuova where I recharged my water.  Almost all the hill towns have untreated spring water available somewhere near or on the town square.  The water is usually cold and quite tasty.  

Here is the start of the climb on the switchback out of Galluzzo.
From Chiesa Nuova, I rode the slight uphill, actually it goes up and down, but basically gains elevation over around 20k, through Spedalletto, San Casciano, Mercatale, and Quattro Strade.  From there, I did the beautiful descent down past Castello Gabbiano, to Passo dei Peccorai, then up to Greve where I took a short break and again re-charged my water bottle.  At Greve, I was 45k into the ride and around 2 hours out, and it was appearing that I would return in the heat of the day, but I really had something in mind that I wanted to ride, and the two roads started in Greve.  So, after my short break, I rode up to Passo de Sugame, around a 1500 vertical climb from Greve, but very well engineered and no steeper than 6%, which allows a pretty good pace up the hill.  From Passo de Sugame, you descend on some perfect roads with multiple switchbacks for a couple of kilometers before turning off on a very small side road that requires a small climb of around 2 k, then a gradual descent of around 10k to Strada.  I re-charged my water again in Strada, then rode along the ridgeline to the descent into Grassina, which is basically a "suburb" of Florence.  I have found a great way to miss most of the big roads from there and ride through Cinque Vie to Piazza Ferruci, where I pick up the Viale and return home.  Around 85 k in around 3 hours 45 minutes, which is a good pace for me.  

A villa in the distance from the road to San Casciano

The view back toward Greve around 2/3 the way up the pass.  You can see the road if you look hard.

A shot of the road descending toward Strada.

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