Sunday, September 30, 2012

Chianti sensa squadra

I was set to ride with the club / team this morning, but I took a slightly different route out of town which I thought would be faster, but was around 10 minutes slower, so I was around 6 to 7 minutes late at the meeting location, and no one was there.  It had rained last night and rain was predicted for today, so I was not too surprised to be on my own.  The weather started out cloudy and relatively dark with misty clouds on the hill of Chianti, with very comfortable temperatures in the middle to upper 60's.  The sun gradually came out and it warmed up to the mid 70's by my return 4 plus hours later.

I rode out to Tavernuzze, realized I had missed the team, and started my own tour.  I rode out the main route (Via Cassia) to Ferrone, then took the very civilized climb up to Strada in Chianti.  This is a rare hill that I can ride 2/3 of in my big chain ring.  From Strada, I took the back way through La Panca to the junction with the Passo de Sugame road, where I completed the climb.  It is another beautiful climb, and although I do not do it in the big ring, it stays mostly around 5% ramping up to 7 or 8% occasionally.  A very nice, beautiful climb.  I descended down into Greve and took a short break and refilled my water.  From Greve, I rode back through Passo de Peccori, then climbed up past Castello Gabbiano to Quattro Strade, where I turned left and rode through Mercatale to San Casciano.  From San Casciano, I rode over on the beautiful ridge with great views both directions through Speddaletto and Chiesa Nuova to the descent into Galluzzo.  It is a great descent with many switchbacks.  The roads had dried up by then, so I let it go a little on the switchbacks.  From Galluzzo, I climbed up Poggio Imperiale, and went over / down to the Viale then down the big viale descent returning home.  Around 57 miles in around 4 hours with 3700 vertical.  Click the link for the maps and stats for the ride.

Chianti sensa squadra by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Misty clouds on the Chianti hills on the way from Tavernuzze to Ferrone.

The sky was clearing by the time I was headed up the hill past Castello Gabbiano.

With a little haze remaining, this tree stood out to me among the vineyards.

Clear sunshine and fall colors in the vineyards.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Galluzzo, San Casciano, San Pancrazio, Ginestra, Marliano, Roveta, Firenze

Today, Alice continued on her journey to Scotland.  Emily accompanied her to the airport and saw her off. I said goodbye at the apartment, and put my gear together for a reasonable ride.  As always, I connected many different favorite stretches, putting together a fun 4 hours.  I left town via the Viales through Piazza Michaelangelo and Poggio Imperiale.  I stayed on the correct direction one ways above Poggio Imperiale, which puts in a nice climb.  From there, I descended to Galluzzo, then climbed the switchbacks up to the ridge road through Chiesa Nuova, Spedellato, then turning off for a descent in San Casciano.  At the valley floor, I took the very fun climb to San Pancrazio, picking up another rider along the way.  He was quite happy to stay right behind me, and as I stopped for water in San Pancrazio, he turned off the other direction with a Ciao.  From San Pancrazio, I rode the ridge (one of my favorites) through San Quirico into Montagnana, the took a new favorite down to the valley floor catching the main road, then into Ginestra Fiorentina.  Another climb, up to the turn to Marliano, then over to Vigliano, then up through Roveta to Santa Maria a Marciaola, then finally descending into Scandicci, then the busy viales home.  Fun 4 plus hours with around 3500 vertical.

Galluzzo, San Casciano, San Pancrazio, Ginestra, Marliano, Roveta, Firenze by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Vineyards heavy with grapes - leaves changing colors and awaiting harvest.
I saw around 8 vineyards being harvested while I was riding today.  The season is here.

Toscano!  Olive orchard in the foreground with vineyards sporting fall colors in the background.

Vineyards with leaves changing and a view across the valley above Ginestra Fiorentina.

Maiano, Vincigliata, San Bartolo

I had a full day yesterday.  Alice is visiting from CB, and I spent the morning with Emily and Alice first going to the Bargello, a very famous museum known mostly for sculpture, in particular, that of Michaelangelo and Donatello.  After the museum, we met Kate and Vittorio for lunch, then I took off to get a ride in before we met up later to see a piano concert at the Pitti Palace.  I just snuck a ride in between other things, and did one of my favorite short rides. Riding up the back way to San Domenico, toward Fiesole, turning off to Maiano, the down to San Martino.  From there, the second and longer climb begins.  I rode this last week with Brenda, a client from Gunnison, and today it was fun alone.  I love the climb, and the weather was cloudy and relatively cool, which I really enjoy when riding in the woods.  It's kind of spooky and fun.  After the climb, I descended through Fiesole, taking the turn down to San Bartolo, enjoying the descent before turning on Via Faentina for the gradual descent back home.  No pictures today, as I was hurrying to get everything in.

The concert at the Pitti Palace was really great.  A solo pianist doing a couple of Debussy pieces, followed by a Shubert piece, and finishing with a piece by List.  He did a couple of encores, and the last one was Bohemian Rhapsody, by 10 cc, which I used to listen to in college in the early 70's.  It was a fun finish to a very nice, free, concert.  It is also very enjoyable to be able to attend this type of event in such a beautiful room.

As always, the following link will give you a map and all the details anyone would ever want to know about my ride.

Maiano, Vincigliata, San Bartolo by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

9-26 ride - Alberaccio, back way toward Borgo San Lorenzo, Dicomano, Rufino, Pope's road, Sieci, Monteloro

After another night of indulgence, I took off around 11:30 for a longish ride.  The weather was predicted to rain, and it was particularly cloudy in the direction I was planning on riding, so I did some errands early.  I actually changed my plan as I came over the pass at Alberaccio, deciding I wanted to do the back way toward Borgo San Lorenzo, and take the small, beautiful road to Dicomano.  I found some needed water in Dicomano, then headed down the main road to Rufino, where I turned off to Montebonello, and got on what we call the Pope's road.  It is a super small road that parallels the river to Pontesieve.  At Pontesieve, I joined the main road, but turned off at the totally reasonable climb to Monteloro.  It is a great climb, although I had around 80 k in by then, so I enjoyed the climb but was a little tired.  I then took the main downhill, contouring road to Fiesole, then took the main route back to Piazza della Cure, then was basically home.  Around 60 miles in 4 plus hours with around 4000 vertical of climbing.  As always, check the following link for maps and more information about the ride.

Untitled by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

The back road toward Borgo San Lorenzo.  A beautiful valley.

An old church almost at the junction with the main road outside of Borgo San Lorenzo.

One of my favorite roads is this contouring, slightly downhill road from Vicchio to Dicomano.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Quick ride to Pratolino, Alberaccio, return via Caldine

With a visitor and Shannon having just gotten married, Emily and I are on babysitting duty again today.  Emily took the first shift and I took Alice to the tourism office where she could buy a "Florence Card" which gives her unlimited access to museums and busses for 72 hours.  After taking care of the purchase, I left Alice to tour San Marco, and told Emily she could meet Alice at 1:15, which left me an hour and one half for a ride.  I thought I would ride to Monte Morello, but then on the way up, I realized it was more of a two hour ride, and my timing needed to allow for a shower, etc.  So, I kept on past the turn for Monte Morello on Via Bolognese, and turned at Pratolino to go toward Bivigliano, then turned toward Alberaccio, then descended down Via Faentina basically back to the apartment.  I used the ride for some interval training, as I needed to be quick with the ride anyway.  Maybe I am ready to do some training again, as I had fun doing this.  Many years ago, I did a fair amount of interval training and basically swore off it thinking I would be doing activities for fun only.  Perhaps I can have fun and train a little harder in the future.  Anyway, no pictures today, but details of the ride can be accessed at the following link.

Untitled by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Santa Brigida, Rufina, Diacetto, Tosi, Firenze 9-23-12

After a wonderful, but exhausting day yesterday at a beautiful wedding and very fun party for Shannon and Ado, I thought I would do a relatively big ride to blow out the cobwebs from the indulgence of the party.  I certainly stopped my drinking, etc., a couple of hours before the end of the party, as I was driving us home - a curvy 1 hour drive - but with age, the cobwebs were still there in the morning.  After a half hour or so of riding I was feeling energetic and great.  It is wonderful what exercise can do for you.  I climbed up my back way to San Domenico, then continued the climb through Fiesole to the very melo climb to Alberaccio.  At the Alberaccio junction, I took off East down the super fast descent to the turn off to Santa Brigida.  The route from Santa Brigida to the Molino de Vento is basically a contour, but you both gain and loose around 750 vertical on the route, sometimes in a quite steep way.  It is a great road, although a little rough in places, but is one of my favorites, as I lived up there for 3-1/2 months last winter.

From the Molino de Vento, I descended on the very fun road to Rufina, then climbed to Diacetto.  I am still enjoying the use of my new Garmin cycling computer, and I guessed the climb to Diacetto at around 400 meters or around 1300 vertical, and I was within a few meters at the top.  I dropped down to Pelago then, and made the decision to keep going to Tosi, which is a very fun climb through Paterno, then it mellows out to Tosi.  From Tosi down to Donnini, it is a great descent that you truly do not need to either pedal or touch the brakes.  Yabba Dabba Doo!  (I often still channel Fred Flinstone)  From Donnini, it is a great continuation of the descent all the way to Sant'Ellero.  There, you join the main road and contour / descend to Pontesieve, then return to Firenze.  Although predictions were for showers, it stayed dry and beautiful, although a little humid.  Another great ride in Tuscany.  As always, click the following link for a map, profile, and other various details of the ride.  Ciao.

Santa Brigida, Rufina, Diacetto, Tosi, Firenze by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

The beautiful road from Santa Brigida to Fornello.

Between Fornello and Diacetto 

Some of the vineyards on the way to Diacetto from Rufina.

Pelago on the hill.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Quick ride to Cercina

We have double duty today - a guest coming into town tonight, and babysitting for Kate all day.  Emily left early this morning, and I did some things at home that needed to be completed before Alice's arrival.  I also read an article in Vanity Fair about Obama that my son Ben had sent me.  Great article - I recommend it to all.  Well, after getting things complete, I had some time so I set off for a quick ride, one of my standards up Via Bolognese to Pian de Bartolo, then over to Cercina, then descending back into Firenze.  Details can be seen at the following link.

Quick ride to Cercina by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Riding into a small town on the way to Cercina.  
Perfect weather!

Riding into Cercina.

Looking back through an olive orchard to Montorsoli.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Brenda - San Donato, Incisa, Greve, Tavernuzze, Firenze

I awoke today to a beautiful day, clear, clean skies after yesterday's rain.  I picked up Brenda at her hotel around 10 and found out Mike was still feeling poorly and would not be riding today.  Brenda was up for a good long-ish ride, so we set out on the ride I had planned for them today.  On the way out of town, we had to go to the garage to pick up the bike she was using, then we did a route that took us by the shop, as tomorrow when they rent a car and move out to Greve, they will most likely have to pick up a bike rack to use for the trip.  After all this maneuvering, we were on the viales, then across the river and on the way to Bagno a Ripoli.

From Bagno a Ripoli, we climbed up past Osteria Nuova, to the top of the hill at San Donato in Collina. We re-grouped and I explained the descent and described the old Medici summer villa we would see on the way down.  We descended down through Troghi, Cellai, and stopped in Pallazzolo for a pastry and a cafe for Brenda.  I had ridden by this particular Bar, and there always seemed to be local people hanging out there or eating.  The pastry I had was quite good.  From Pallazzolo, we continued descending to Incisa, then rode by the river (Arno) to Figline, where we turned off for the climb to the Passo de Sugame.  It is a really wonderful climb, and lately I have been detouring before the top to La Panca, but today we rode to the top, which is just a spectacular road and climb.  We did the long descent in Greve, and had a nice lunch on Brenda.  Thanks, Brenda.

At lunch, I mentioned some of the options for our return, and Brenda picked the most direct route.  We rode quickly as she has good skills at a pace line, and she even led part of the time.  I did have us turn off at Galluzzo to pick up the road to Cascine del Riccio and Cinque Vie, before getting back into town at Piazza Ferruci.  We rode in next to the Arno, crossed and rode past the Ufficci, then returned the bike to the garage.  We walked back to the hotel, and I gave them some quick advice on riding around Greve and Siena, where they are headed to next.  Thanks for the business, it was wonderful riding with you Brenda.  Sorry you were not feeling well, Mike.  It did appear that Mike was better upon our return and was interested in the routes for the next few days.  Ciao.

Brenda - San Donato, Incisa, Greve, Tavernuzze, Firenze by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Brenda on the climb to San Donato in Collina.

Another shot of Brenda climbing to San Donato.

Outside the Bar in Pallazzolo where we had pastries and cafe.

Brenda in front of some vineyards on the climb to Passo de Sugame.

Brenda in front of the gates to what I believe is Sting's place,
on the climb to Passo de Sugame.

Some vineyards with the leaves turning almost at the top of the Passo.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Vincigliata with Brenda

Brenda and Mike, clients from Gunnison and Salt Lake City respectively, arrived yesterday.  We met for a glass of wine at their room in a very nice hotel, then went out for dinner at one of our favorite spots, La Bussola.  It was a crazy night in Florence, and it was one of the world wide Vogue Fashion Nights.  The streets were jammed with people, music was playing, flags (Florentine) were being thrown, and most of the high end fashion stores had events going on.  Wow or yikes, depending on how you look at it.  The food was a little slow, which I will attribute to the event and the place getting totally slammed about 10 minutes after we sat down.  We had a nice dinner, got to know each other, and planned for a 9:30 meeting this morning.

Brenda and Mike were a little late, which I found out had to do with Mike not feeling well.  It appears that something he ate last night did not agree with him.  Sorry.  We picked up the bikes, and we decided to drop a small pack Brenda had at our apartment.  We ended up dropping Mike as well, as whatever was making him feel ill just got worse.  We left Mike at the apartment (with a phone and the number - I am not that callous) and Brenda and I did one of my favorite short rides.  We rode out my back route to San Domenico, then up toward Fiesole, taking the turn off toward Maiano.  We descended through Maiano, then around Settignano, we started the beautiful climb up past Vincigliata to the larger road over to Fiesole.  Brenda is a strong rider and had no problem with the hill.  It is one of my favorite climbs, as there is very little traffic and it is a tiny road with many, many switchbacks.  From the junction with the main road, we rode across / up / down the ridge to connect with another road to Fiesole.  We turned off at Fiesole toward Pian de Mugnone, descending down what will be one of the uphill pieces of the world championship course next year.  We then returned to the apartment.

Mike was no better, and we called a cab to take him back to their hotel.  Brenda and I rode the bikes back and met Mike there.  He seemed a little better then, but the hotel wanted the bikes at a garage, which Brenda and I then had to take them to.  We had been in and out of relatively light rain showers all day, and stayed mostly dry on the ride.  On the way to the garage, it really let loose, then kept it up on the walk back to the hotel.  Well, sometimes things do not go according to plan, but we are set to meet tomorrow at 10:00 at their hotel.  Feel better Mike!

The ride details can be accessed on the link below.  Around 1/2 hour of the ride was recorded as I went to meet them at the bike shop, then the hotel, then back to the bike shop, etc.

Vincigliata with Brenda by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Brenda check out the view of Firenze on the way to Maiano.

Brenda descending toward Settignano after passing through Maiano.

Nice climb up the road to Vincigliata, Brenda.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Impruneta, Luiano, Quattro Strade, Sambuca, Romita, San Pancrazio, Cerbia, Chiesa Nuova, Firenze.

A great, slightly tiring ride today.  We had Torrio this morning for a couple of hours, so I did not get away until around 1:00.  The weather is really beautiful right now.  Highs around 82 to 85, sunny, and cooling off at night for good sleeping.  Just a year ago, I would have thought this was hot, but after this summer it seems we are adjusting to a new climate.  I have the next round of clients coming tomorrow afternoon, so I did a relatively long ride alone today.  Around 52 miles with 4000 plus vertical feet of climbing.  I had a couple of pieces of road in mind planning the ride, and it worked out well.  I wanted to go out through Impruneta, climbing the old road to Pozzolattico, which was great.  I planned on water in Impruneta, which I picked up, and it routed me down a different road toward Ferrone.  It was a new road for me and was really fun and beautiful.  Sometimes it is amazing that no matter how many times you try new roads, they just keep satisfying.

The road dropped me less than a kilometer from the turn to Luiano, which was the second piece of road in my brain.  As always, great climb, and today, no - zero - traffic.  Nice.  This takes you close to Mercatale, where I turned left over to Quattro Strade, then the wonderful up and down, quite steep in both directions at times, over to the turn off to go toward Romita.  New road down, and again, a really fun descent.  At the base I turned left, which set me up for the climb to Tavernelle, which I could have missed with a right, but it was all great.  From Tavernelle, the route over to Romita is relatively quick, and the road from Romita to Montagnana was the last piece of road I had in mind.  Simply one of the best ridge rides around here.  Slightly downhill over around 12 kilometers, great views off both sides of the ridge, just super fun.  Then the super fast descent into Cerbia, the fun climb to Chiesa Nuova, then back into Firenze via Galluzzo and Cinque Vie.  The link has a map and all the information anyone could want to know.

Impruneta, Luiano, Quattro Strade, Sambuca, Romita, etc. by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Here are a couple of shots of the truly beautiful road / climb
to, then through Luiano.

A small pocket of vineyard on the climb above Luiano.

On the way over toward Montefioralle, the light on the vineyards changed 
and I felt I had to get it on camera.  I thought it might be clouds, but the 
leaves on the vineyards are just starting to turn.  Beautiful.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Short ride to Vincigliata, Alberaccio, Pratolino, Firenze

After a late night last night, we had a very nice dinner at Kate and Nicco's with Shannon and her parents, I had a slow start this morning.  I had my weekly "big American breakfast" and enjoyed the eggs, etc.  My legs were a little tired from my effort yesterday.  I really enjoy the rides with the "team", but it does work me pretty hard, which I truly believe is good for me.  Well, I made it out around the crack of noon, and took the back road up to San Domenico, then climbed the road toward Fiesole, turning off to Maiano.  This is a very fun descent, and I enjoyed.  About 2/3 of the way down, I adjusted the tilt of my handlebars.  A couple of days ago, they came a little loose, and I did not remember the perfect location when I tightened them back up.  After the adjustment, I continued the descent, then got ready for the hardest climb of the day from Settignano up past Vincigliata to join the road toward Fiesole.  I selected this ride because I love the climb and the scenery here.  It did not dissapoint.

I rode back over toward Fiesole, but turned up to ride the gently climbing, mostly contouring road to the Alberaccio area.  From there, I climbed over toward Bivigliano, then turned down for the descent through Pratolino, then back home in Firenze.  I did another adjustment on the bar angle, and it is finally just right.  For me, I always descend in the drops, and have my index fingers on the brake lever, but not applying any pressure on the brakes.  This determines the comfort level in my wrists and sets where I want the bars to be.  Anyway, all adjusted, and another great ride on a perfect weather day here in Firenze.  The link below gives all the ride details.

Short ride to Vincigliata, Alberaccio, Pratolino, Firenze by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

The view across the valley on the climb to Vincigliata on this beautiful day.

The church and bell tower toward the start of the climb.

A shot while riding of the gently climbing road toward the Alberaccio area.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Sabado giro con Squadra - Vinci, San Bartono

I went on the first ride with the team in a while today, and my first time with the "kit".  We met at the Iliopesca, a fish market in the Scandicci area.  We started with 7, but had dropped one person by the time we were in Montelupo.  My experience is that if someone is slower, the group may go ahead, but someone will drop back to see if everyone is OK, and the group will wait at certain places.  Anyway, the first person must have decided early on that the pace was too fast and told Alessandro, who was back with him, that we should go on.  After Montelupo, an Australian guy who's name I have forgotten, decided the planned tour was longer than he wanted, and he split off before the first climb toward Vinci.  I was talking with him, and he seemed quite fit to me, but said that he was just getting back on his bike, and he did not want to do more than 70 k.

That left Riccardo, Alessandro, Moreno, Mathias (a Dutch rider and former pro racer, who is in Florence for 4 years to earn a PHD in history, and has just arrived a couple of weeks ago), and Me, the old man.  We had a beautiful tour.  We took a different route to Vinci from the Empoli area than I had in the past, which was quite a beautiful road and climb, as we dropped down into Vinci from the East.  I had ridden up to San Bartono once before, and today reinforced my thoughts that this is a great climb.  I did not check, but it felt like a 4% or so steady climb, and I know it goes for around 12k at that grade.  Anyway, beautiful morning, great climb, and I stayed with Alessandro and Moreno, as Riccardo and Mathias took off early on the climb.  It always amazes me how fast some people can climb.  The three of us were all in the big ring for the climb, so I would not say we were exactly slacking.

Riccardo had noticed that my seat seemed a little high from the action in my hips as I rode, so I lowered the seat at the top.  We descended a different route than the last time I was here, and it was really beautiful.  We descended to Lamporecchio, the Cerreto Guidi, then to Empoli.  Great, with a little climb in the middle.  We returned on mostly the same route we came out on to Lastra a Signa, then took a different route into town.  People peeled off as they were close to their houses, and I showed Mathias how to get to San Domenico, which is not too far from where we live.  Around 70 miles at an average moving speed around 17, which is pretty fast, at least for me.  Check out the details at the Garmin link - map, profile, temperature, speeds, etc.  Sorry, no pictures today, as we stayed in motion almost all the time.  Ciao!

Sabado giro con Squadra - Vinci, San Bartono by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Thursday, September 13, 2012

San Donato, Figline, Dudda, Strada 9-13-12

Tomorrow, I am slated to babysit much of the day, as it is a work day for Kate, Shannon is getting married in less than a week, and Emily has an appointment to finally pick up her permesso de sogiorno.  So, that leaves me, which will be fun.  It will be the two guys - Torrio and I - until Emily brings Viola home from school around 4:30.  Anyway, today I took a fairly long-ish ride, around 45 miles in 3 hours 15 minutes or so.  The actuals are available with maps, elevation gain, etc. at the link below.  The weather was quite blustery, but there were not that many really open places, so I was mostly protected by trees and buildings in towns.  The temperatures were fantastic, as the summer weather finally seems to be over.  The temperatures during the ride are also recorded at the Garmin site.

I picked up my repaired rear wheel at the shop, and was back together with the whole new set up, which really felt great.  My shoes are starting to squeak though, but I tried moving the cleats to a different setting, which seemed to solve the problem.  My favorite parts of the ride are the descent from San Donato in Collina down to Incisa, the really beautiful climb from Figline up to Dudda, then up to La Panca, then the descent from La Panca down to Strada is simply special.  It is one of those grades where you are on the edge of needing to use your brakes, but it is not really necessary.  It depends on how you feel going into and through the many, many curves on the descent.  Super fun ride for me.  I may use it for clients coming next week.  Ciao.

San Donato, Figline, Dudda, Strada by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

I am into taking photos while riding now, and I at least, 
think I am getting better at it.  This is on the way up to San Donato.

I liked the line of cypress trees on the short climb to Palazzuolo.

As I was riding up the climb to Dudda, it seemed the lines of the 
vineyards were in sync with the cypress trees on the ridge.

Beautiful gate framed by trees on the way up to Dudda.

The view back across the valley from La Panca.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Quicky to Cercina by ridingwithcosimo

After 4 great days with excellent clients (one day meeting, helping with bikes, getting settled, etc.) I found time today in the middle of the day for one of my favorite quick rides.  You climb up Via Bolognese, and turn off before the climb really gets difficult.  The maximum grade on this part is around 7 to 8% and is not long.  You turn off in Pian de Bartolo and follow a great, small, curvy road down then up, then down to Cercina.  Here you start a final short climb, then descend back to Firenze.  The last couple of times I have ridden this, I have found a road that cuts part of the bottom of the descent off, adds a short but beautiful climb, and drops you in right above the Carriege complex.  Then, back through the city.  Fun ride.  No pictures today - sorry.

Whoops - I forgot that I did take some pictures while riding.  I am working on taking the pictures while on the bike and the results are mixed, but getting better.

Quicky to Cercina by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

It is interesting what makes us happy.  This section of 
new floor on the way to Cercina had me smiling.

Climbing out of Cercina.

The view to the left along the climb - not bad for a photo taken while riding.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Ragazzi Giro - Chiesa Nuova, Cerbia, Ginestra, Roveta, Firenze

After a couple of days with Mindy and one with Nancy, the ladies decided that today would be a day in the  city.  Emily guided them around the city and hopefully everyone had a great time.  I was out with the guys, and needed to design a tour that would return us around 2, as we needed to return bikes, do business, etc.  We took off and went the same route to Galluzzo as Art and Mindy did on Sunday, with a small wrinkle around Poggio Imperiale, which everyone enjoyed.  From Galluzzo, we climbed the switchbacks to above Scandicci, then rode across / up the ridge to Chiesa Nuova, then descending into Cerbia for our first break. At Cerbia, I explained that we had two options and the guys decided to wait until we were at the decision point to determine if we add an additional hour to the day.  We re-filled our water bottles, and enjoyed the action in the Piazza as many children were running around playing, along with their associated Nonnas / Nonnos / Parents.  It was a great scene.  We got ready to leave and Billy had a flat.  We (mostly Billy) repaired the flat, then we were off.

We rode down across the Pesa river, then climbed almost to Montagnana where we decided on the shorter tour.  We turned right at that point, and rode along a ridge then descended back into the Pesa valley, crossing the river again into San Vincenzo a Torri.  We started looking for a lunch break, but continued through to Ginestra Fiorentina, where we found a good cafe and had lunch.  After lunch, we took the right to climb to the turn for Marliano, then climbed over to Marliano, descended toward the highway, crossed, then descended to Vigliano.  We  took the right there and climbed through Roveta, Santa Maria a Marciano, to the main road back to Scandicci.  We did the screaming downhill to Scandicci, then rode through town to Firenze, following the route into the city via Porta San Frediano, back to the residenza.

Art was interested in a beer, and I suggested we walk the bikes to Piazza Signoria and have beers / cocktails at Rivoire, then take the bikes back to the shop.  Success - great beers / cocktails, snacks, and the wonderful scene in the Piazza from one of the best spots in Florence.  We then walked the bikes back to the shop and returned them.  A great three days of riding with various parts of the group.  I admit I am a beginner at the cycling guiding business, but everyone did well, and I think all were happy.  Success for everyone.  What more can you ask for.  Grazie mille to Art, Mindy, Billy, and Nancy for "riding with Cosimo".  Ciao.

Ragazzi Giro - Chiesa Nuova, Cerbia, Ginestra, Roveta, Firenze by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Art on the way to Chiesa Nuova.

Billy on the way to Chiesa Nuova.

Billy and Art in the Piazza at Cerbia.

Hero shot of the climb to Montagnana.

Art's hero shot of the climb to Montagnana.

Billy and Art at a beautiful gate on the way to Marliano.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Gruppo AMBN - Fiesole, Bivigliano, Monteloro 9-10-12

We had a great group ride today with Art, Mindy, Billy, and Nancy, all from the Denver / Boulder area.  Billy and Nancy arrived yesterday after an extra day travelling due to the way travel can be sometimes.  Today, I met the group at the residenza, where everyone is staying, around 10:00 and we were off for a ride.  We went North of town today versus going South yesterday.  We started with a hopefully reasonable journey through the old center of Florence.  It is a sometimes difficult route, with small cobbled streets, at times more tourists than you want to believe, and traffic, motorinos, etc.  You get the picture.  Anyway, we made our way successfully through the gauntlet, and then started up the back road to San Domenico.

Nancy was a little concerned about the hills, etc, but totally hung in there and hopefully enjoyed it.  She and Mindy both walked some sections, but some sections are relatively steep (over 10%) and it is totally reasonable to walk in places.  So, from San Domenico, we rode up to Fiesole and stopped at a cafe on the main piazza for a cafe and pastries.  The pastries were terrific, although from my point of view a little expensive.  After a nice break, we climbed out of Fiesole, and were then on the totally enjoyable road to the Alberaccio area - a very nice, curvy, contouring, gently ascending (around 3%) route to the junction of the four roads by Alberaccio.  I was planning on the possibility of having two have lunch at a restaurant at the junction, but it being Monday, it was closed.  There is a food cart / truck there with tables and umbrellas where it worked for the ladies to stay while the guys added a little 1/2 hour loop.  We rode over toward Bivigliano, then turned down toward Pratolino, then went right through Casseline, then Viliano, finally doing the steep climb to Bivigliano.  With my new computer, I can give everyone the % grade, and the steepest portion of the short final climb by the church said 22%.  Pretty steep.

Anyway, we made it, then did the great ride back to the Alberaccio area.  We joined the ladies at the food truck, had a panini, then discussed the options for our return to Florence.  I laid out the 4 reasonable options, and everyone chose my favorite, going through Monteloro.  It is one of my favorite descents, and I believe everyone enjoyed.  After Monteloro, we continued the descent to the main road, then rode a reasonably slow rate to keep the group together on the busy road back into town.  By the time we returned to the residenza, most of the group looked tired, but hopefully satisfied.  Good job everyone.  Art, Billy, and I will ride again tomorrow, while Emily will take the ladies through town.  Ciao!

Gruppo AMBN - Fiesole, Bivigliano, Monteloro by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

The gruppo at the Cafe in Fiesole.

In front of a gate on the ride from Fiesole to Alberaccio.

Billy and Art on the climb from Viliano toward Bivigliano. 
I am getting better at taking pictures while riding.

Billy and Art at the Piazza on the East end of Bivigliano.

The gruppo at the food truck at the Alberaccio area.

Mindy rolling in toward Monteloro.

Nancy rolling in toward Monteloro.