Up early this morning to do my normal yoga routine, have a quick breakfast, then meet close by at the Piazza della Liberta for a ride with the team / club. I wasn't sure if anyone would show up, as it is August, and it appears that most Florentines are on vacation. Anyway, 3 others showed up and Davide and Moreno were the tour directors (TD for Kay). After a quick discussion, I heard something about San Piero, then we were off. We went out of the city on the viales, hooked up with the road to Pontesieve, and rode pretty hard out there. From Pontesieve, we branched off on the road to Rufina, Dicomano, Vicchio, Borgo San Lorenzo, the over to San Piero a Sieve. With the exception of a stop for a train, we pretty much booked out there. We passed a few other club / teams on the way out, and by the Rufina area, we were leading two other clubs and around 25 cyclists. Weekend mornings the clubs are out in full force, and as I have mentioned previously, in part of the culture here, cycling is a big thing. It is a part of life for many and a passion for a few. From San Piero, we took a route to Barberino de Mugello, which was mostly new for me. We rode on many bridges over the big lake or lago de Bilanciano. Beautiful and fun. From Barberino, we hooked up to a road I had ridden once previously, and climbed to Croci a Calenzano, a pass at around 1600 vertical.
The route before the real climb basically followed rivers, first the Arno, then the Sieve. So, we had been climbing very gradually all day, then ramped it up for the climb to Croci. On the way up the final climb, Moreno had a problem with his bike. The rear wheel was true, but when stressed, it did not hold in the center position to the frame. We looked at it for a while, and he decided he could make it home, but would simply need to go slow. He wanted us to go ahead, so we did. We descended to Calenzano, right next to Prato, then took roads in the flats back into the centro of Firenze. We rode quite quickly for me, ending up with 110 kilometers in 3 hours and 41 minutes, averaging around 30 kph, with around 2000 vertical climbed. I will do a short ride tomorrow, then I am off to the States to see my Mother and spend time with friends in CB for a couple of weeks. I have ordered a Garmin bike computer which will record vertical and routes, so I will no longer be guessing the amounts climbed.
Sorry, when riding with the squadra, I don't really take time to take pictures, as usually I am one of the slowest in the group anyway, which was the case today. Ciao, ciao.