Thursday, December 20, 2012

Yesterday, I awoke to a relatively cold but beautiful morning, and decided on a relatively long ride.  I started off on a route I had learned from Leif, and then had ridden myself, leaving town via the Cascine park, then taking various back roads to Lastra.  From there, I hooked up with the road that winds by the Arno river to Montelupo.  I have ridden this road a number of times this year, but always with the team, and it is different with time to look around and not have to pay such close attention as drafting with a group demands.  I actually had some fog in Lastra, and it stayed with me about 1/2 the way to Montelupo.  Back in the sun, I followed a route through Montelupo that I had done with the team, but not lead.  It came back to me fine, but I checked the map and took a break in the sun for some food and water.  I also stripped down to only 2 layers and a vest which was nice.  I rode through Sammontana, and Villanuova to Pozzole, where I turned left toward Castelfiorentino.  Around 2 k out on this road, a group hooked up with me, then passed.  They were almost the same speed as I, so it was easy to stay with them and let them do most of the work.  They appeared to be part of a professional team, as they had totally matching kits, right down to the shoes, and matching bikes.  They were talking away in Italian, and I did not ask about their team.

They all broke off before the climb started to Montespertoli.  The climb was super beautiful, as after a small relatively difficult stretch, you basically climb on a ridge for 6k with excellent views off both directions.  From Montespertoli, I descended into Bacciano, then climbed to Montagnana, where I received a call from Emily.  Vittorio and Kate were off to the hospital, with Vittorio in pain with something in his gut.  Emily assured me that all was fine, but she was checking everything to be sure.  I returned through Cerbia, Chiesa Nuova, then down to Scandicci, and back into Firenze, then on the Viales to the apartment.  

A birthday party had been planned for Viola with just a few friends and Moms coming.  Emily had baked Christmas cookies and set up for a group activity of decorating the cookies.  Kate called the Moms and cancelled, and I went over after showering and getting some food.  One of Viola's friends came by and they played.  Soon, Kate and Vittorio were home and Vittorio was either fine or in some pain, but the pain eventually passed.  He is fine this morning.  Emily and I left after 7, and enjoyed a pizza on the way home at one of our favorite spots.  

Check the link for all the specific information, but the summary of the ride is:  52 miles in 3:47 rolling time for an average speed of 13.7 mph, with 2425 feet of climbing at an average temperature of around 48.  The average temperature includes the effect of the sun.  Ciao!

A road and Church off the Sammontana road.

The road and countryside around Villanuova.

What a beautiful day!

The view to the Northwest from the ridge road to Montespertoli.

The view to the South from the ridge road.

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