Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Another busy day, but time for a 3 hour ride. Happy New Year!

We have a busy New Years Eve today, but the busyness does not start until 3 or so, so, I had plenty of time for a nice ride.  I am having a hard time getting started early, but was out today around 10:15.  I decided on a 3 hour ride as I need to be ready to leave by 3.  I had many options in mind when I started, but am very happy with my decisions.  I started by taking one of the back ways from Le Cure to San Domenico, then up to the cut off to descend through Maiano, then down to the start of the Vincigliata climb.  I enjoyed the climb, which is always a challenge as there is a portion of around 1000 vertical feet that averages over 10%.  At the top, I rode over to the Fiesole / Olmo road, then enjoyed the very gradual climb to the turn off for Sieci, which ends in a little steep climb to the top.

A very fast descent is next, and the roads were dry, so I could go pretty fast.  I cut off to do the up and down contour road through Santa Brigida, Fornello, and Doccia, ending at the windmill.  This is a very pretty road and lots of fun, and I don't ride it that often any more.  I descended almost to Rufina, but turned off on the "Pope's road" and head back to Pontesieve.  What a pretty road and a fun ride this is.  Tiny road, very little traffic, and a pretty good surface.  From Pontesieve, it is the power push home to Firenze.  What a fun ride.  38.5 miles in 2:54 for an average speed of 13.3 mph with 3435 vertical feet climbed at an average temperature of 51.  This ends a great year of riding for me and the Strava site gives you totals for the year.  I rode 16,390 kilometers (10,184 miles) with 226,572 vertical meters climbed (743,346 vertical feet) in 246 rides.  It will be interesting to see what next years totals are.  Happy New Year to all out there in Blog land.  Thanks for reading my ramblings.

San Domenico, Vincigliata, Olmo, Doccia, Pontesieve, Firenze by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Here are a few pictures between Santa Brigida and Doccia.

I loved the sky in this one.

What a pleasure to have the opportunity to ride these amazing little roads.

Monday, December 30, 2013

A quick ride on a busy day. Trying to chase off the blues.

We are off to the movies this afternoon and evening, with a dinner in between, so I got out for a couple of hours before all the action.  I have been feeling low on energy lately, and with a little thought today, I figured it out.  My mother died a year ago, and my dad died 14 years ago, both right around this time of year.  My mom passed away a year ago tonight, and my dad on the 23rd.  Anyway, it is reasonable to feel a little down and I guess that takes some energy away.  That's my excuse, but I am still getting out, which helps me in all ways.

I did a ride I often do today when I have this much time.  I rode up Via Bolognese to Pratolino, then turned off and took the little connector road to the Monte Morello road, of course stopping for water at one of the best fountains in the area.  Once on the Monte Morello road, I just continued climbing and enjoyed the views and the lack of wind when I was sheltered.  After the top, I was directly into the wind for a while, and it pretty much nullifies the downhill grade.  I still enjoyed, and when I got to the steep part of the descent, the wind was gone, as I was in the woods and had changed direction.  I finished the descent, then powered home on the city roads for the final 8 kilometers.  27.3 miles in 1:42 rolling time for an average speed of 13.1 mph with 2113 vertical feet climbed at an average temperature of 53.  Quite nice.

Pratolino, Monte Morello, Sesto, Firenze by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Between Pratolino and the Monte Morello road, you come 
through this little village.  I don't even know the name.

Looking to the east climbing Monte Morello.

Looking to the southeast on the Monte Morello climb.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Cloudy solo ride

I planned on riding with the team this morning, and got up to make it happen.  While doing my morning yoga, it started raining, and continued until 9 or so, the meeting time.  It was still raining pretty good around 8:30, my self imposed decision time.  I waited, and by 11 I felt it was pretty much over, although it was still quite cloudy.  It was pretty warm, but very humid.  It had not rained since 9 or so, but there was little to no drying on the roads.  I wanted to get out, so I was off.  I decided to ride over around the massive that defines the area around Bagno a Ripoli to Rignano to Rosano.  I climbed up to Osteria Nuova on Via Carota, my now normal route.  It is simply a beautiful little road with almost no traffic, so why not go a little out of the way to ride it.

On the main road below Osteria Nuova, then the climb to San Donato, which felt good.  I descended to Cellai, with the speed under control, but not too slow, as the roads were wet but it was not that cold.  I turned off in Cellai, then did the back cut off over to connect with the road to Bombone.  Another fun road with basically no traffic and quite beautiful.  I connect with the main road in Bombone, then ride through Torri to Rosano where the descent is over.  I crossed the river to Pontesieve, then rode down to Sieci then the cut off to Monteloro.

I enjoyed the climb, and Strava says that part of it was a personal record, but it felt slow and difficult to me today.  This is unusual, as I really like this climb and it is never too steep.  Some days you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't.  Whatever.  I continued climbing above Monteloro to the main road from Fiesole, and continued up to the turn for Olmo, then enjoyed the descent through Caldine and Pian de Mugnone to Le Cure then home.  41.2 miles in 3:07 rolling time for an average speed of 13.2 mph with 3678 vertical feet climbed at an average temperature of 54.

Via Carota, San Donato, Cellai, Bombone, Rosano, Monteloro, Olmo, Caldine, by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

The road toward Osteria Nuova from Ponte a Ema.  Che bella!

I actually like the light on days like today.  I saw the low hanging
clouds in the distance and took this shot through a small olive grove.

Here are a couple of pictures of the low hanging clouds from 
just above Monteloro on the easy part of the climb.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Nice Saturday morning ride with the team.

Yesterday, I had a lunch that ended up going from 12:30 to after 4, so it was too dark for my planned ride.  It was a very nice lunch, however, with a couple of Emily's expat friends and a newlywed couple who were one friends son and wife.  Although I am generally a happier person when I ride, the lunch was fun, and breaking routine is good for me.  This morning I was up relatively early, and off for a ride with the team.  There were 5 of us, which is a pretty good turnout for this time of year.  It was around 38 when I left the apartment, so a little cold starting.

We rode out our normal way to Lastra, and were enveloped in a pretty cold fog quickly.  I did not know what the plan for our tour was, and was surprised when we turned to Signa, then toward Carmignano.  I asked Alessandro if Pinone was the objective and he said yes, OK?  I responded it was a favorite of mine, and I was quite happy it was selected today.  We climbed out of the fog as we approached Comeana, then climbed in nice temperatures and sun to Pinone.  I had to stop and take my shell off and change to lighter gloves - yes, it really warmed up.

We regrouped in Pinone, and Terenzio and I ended up being around 10 minutes ahead of the other 3.  We enjoyed the descent to Vitolini, and all took it easy on the slightly wet, cold roads.  I think the recent crash of Moreno is on everyone's mind in those conditions.  As the roads dried up, we turned it loose, and enjoyed the remainder of the descent to the flats around Empoli.  From there, we kind of kept our heads down and cranked it back to town.  We had to slow a few times to regroup, but really stayed together pretty well.  Really nice ride on a super day.  51.1 miles in 3:14 rolling time for an average speed of 15.8 mph with 2070 vertical feet climbed at an average temperature (sun included) of 48.

Signa, Carmignano, Pinone, Vitolini, Montelupo, Firenze by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

A couple of views of the road to Pinone with two of the
team members from today ahead.  

I loved this view of the hills to the East on the climb to Pinone.  The fog and haze emphasize all the ridge lines behind us at this point.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Whats a little rain when you need to work off a Christmas dinner.

We spent the day yesterday with Kate, Nicco, and the kids, and had a huge, huge meal there.  Nicco's parents and a friend of Kate's joined us for the traditional pranzo as well.  2 primis, 2 secondos, and 2 dolce, and of course, I had to eat some of everything.  Maybe this is why I ride so much.  I love to eat!  Weather forecast for today was 100% rain, dropping to 60% by 5.  It rained pretty hard in the night, and when I was making my decision, it had not rained since 7:30, and looked OK.  I decided on a ride in the Chianti hills, and suited up and took off.  It started out pretty warm as well.  I rode out through Ponte a Ema to the cut off for the climb through Vacciano to San Gersole, then over to the main road to finish the climb to Impruneta.  The weather was still pretty nice and actually looked like I might get the 4 hour ride in I was hoping for.  I descended from Impruneta toward Falciani, then started the climb through Luiano.  The skies totally changed during the climb, and by the time I finished the climb a steady rain had started.

There is a gas station right past where you get on the main road, and I pulled in there to hopefully wait out the rain.  Even when the skies changed, I thought it was just moving through.  I waited a little over 1/2 hour there, and did miss the hardest of the rain.  It was raining steady but not hard, and I decided to just go.  Well, it continued the remaining hour back to Florence.  Not bad though, as I had pretty good clothes with me (who knows why I did not have my best rain gear) and knowing you are back in one hour to dry off and take a warm shower makes an hour in the rain fine.  I really just kept my head down and cranked it, not going fast at all on the slippery descents.  I rode back through San Casciano, Chiesa Nuova, down to Scandicci, and into Firenze on the main roads.  31.8 miles in 2:15 rolling time for an average speed of 14.1 mph with 1955 vertical feet climbed at an average temperature of 53.  Ciao.

Ponte a Ema, San Gersole, Impruneta, Luiano, San Casciano, Chiesa Nuova, Fi by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

I guess there really was this much blue sky, although
I think this was it for the ride.  On the way to San Gersole.

Another picture on the way from Vacciano to San Gersole.

My 1/2 hour shelter from the storm until I decided it was not 
going to quit.  But I did wait out the worst of the rain here.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Wonderful Christmas Eve ride.

The day started out gray and foggy, but it burned off by the time my haircut was done.  I was lucky that my barber could fit me in today, as I went by when he opened and he said if I returned in 1/2 hour it would work.  A few Christmas errands, then some computer stuff, along with a cafe and pastry and I was not out riding until after 12.  We are expected at Nicco's parents for dinner with the whole family tonight, which is a pretty formal affair, so I needed to be home at a reasonable time.  The weather forecast for the next two days is 100% rain both days, so I went for a fairly long ride.  I checked my previous times for this ride and knew I would need to push to be home when I wanted to.  I had a great workout and I enjoy really pushing for over 3 hours occasionally.  My idea of fun.  Whatever.

Out through the Cascine then the back way to Signa, then out the river road to Montelupo.  I got more water in Montelupo then headed over through Samontanna and Villanuova to the turn for Ortimino.  Both roads are quite nice, and at this point I was averaging around 28 kph which is pretty fast for me solo.  I climbed through Ortimino to Montespertoli, then descended to Bacciano.  Sweet, fast descent.  The last few times I descended here, there was traffic slowing the process, and today it was clear and the roads were dry.  Up to Montagnana, then down to Cerbia.  Up to Chiesa Nuova, then down the ridge to the turn then the fast descent to Scandicci.  All good today.  The usual power ride back to the apartment, and time to catch up with this, my social media postings, a shower, and a little time to relax before the party.  Merry Christmas to all you blog readers.  Thank you for paying attention.  I know from the statistics that the blog gets around 450 hits per month, so someone must be reading out there.  51 miles in 3:07 rolling time for an average speed of 16.3 mph with 2175 vertical feet of climbing at an average sun effected temperature of 55.

Cascine, Montelupo, Samontanna, Montespertoli, Chiesa Nuova, Firenze by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

The almost perfect road just after Samontanna.

Beautiful blue skies on the way to Montespertoli.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Quick late afternoon ride.

After a very full day, time with the kids, a trip into the Centro, and other things to prepare for the Holidays, I decided that even a short ride would be good for my attitude.  I decided on a very quick one hour ride, and I am so lucky to be in a place where I could choose 4 or 5 different rides.  I enjoyed the climb from Pian de Mugnone to Fiesole the last time I rode it, so that was my choice today.  Up Via Faentina, then climb to Fiesole, then up to the turn off to continue the climb a to the Vincigliata turn off.  For a nice change, lots of fun descending through Vincigliata then over hard to Le Cure, then quickly home.  Fun and fast workout.  Dark day, but still nice scenery.  13.2 miles in 1:00 for an average speed of 13.2 mph with 1198 vertical feet climbed at a very warm average temperature of 56.  Love it!

Pian de Mugnone, Fiesole, Vincigliata, Firenze by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Fiesole in the distance on the climb from Pian de Mugnone.  I took the picture and blew it up 
this size to show the bell tower at the castle in Fiesole.

The beautiful road from Pian de Mugnone to Fiesole.
The world championships came down here, hence the new pavement.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

In and out of the fog in the Chianti hills.

I had a nice relaxed morning with my big American breakfast, then got out for a ride, hoping the weather would be as nice as yesterday.  It certainly looked it in Florence.  I started out in sunshine, but as I climbed from Osteria Nuova to San Donato in Collina, I climbed into a light mist and fog.  I think this happened the last time I rode up here, and was wondering if this was typical.  I dropped out of the fog, but not the clouds as I rode through Troghi, Cellai, Palazzuolo, and Incisa on the way to Figline.  There seemed to be the possibility of sunshine at this point, but it did not happen.  As I climbed up Passo de Sugame, I re-entered the fog zone, thus disproving by theory about San Donato in Collina.

It was a great climb, and it was foggy in La Panca, and the roads were wet, so I took it slow on the way down.  At one point, two riders passed me, but soon I saw one of them have a back wheel fishtail, and I then caught back up with them and followed them down.  Around 1/2 the way down the roads dried out, then it was game on.  What a fun descent this is.  From the bottom of the descent you climb to Strada in Chianti, then over on a ridge which is a pretty fast power ride, then you descend into Grassina.  From there it is in town roads to Cinque Vie, then the back way to the Viales.  From there, it is a 4 kilometer push to the apartment.  All in all, a very nice ride on a cool, cloudy, foggy day.  The clouds had enveloped Florence while I was gone.  46.1 miles in 3:14 rolling time for an average speed of 14.2 mph with 3465 vertical feet climbed at an average temperature of 51.

Via Carota, San Donato, Figline, La Panca, Grassina, Cinque Vie, Firenze by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

A beautiful road and I have dropped out of the fog for now.

I like the light in the fog.  This is on the way from Cellai to Incisa.

The fog awaits on the way to La Panca.

Almost back into the fog on the way to La Panca.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Climbing out of the fog to enjoy the Strada Sette Pont

I was up relatively early and out to meet the team for a ride this morning.  I did not really expect many to show, and was not surprised when a few minutes past the meeting time it was only me.  I waited until 5 minutes past the time, and Terenzio showed up to ride, which made two of us.  It is Christmas and I know that many of the regulars this time of year were either off to their parent's houses on home with a fever.  Terenzio was fine with the tour I wanted to do, although he said he might be slow as he was tired and had not ridden much lately.

We took off on the main road to Pontesieve and traded the lead reasonably, making ok time.  We continued over through Carbonile, San Ellero, Lecchio, and turned off toward Matassino, the up to Castelfranco.  I am not sure if Terenzio had done this tour before, and he was a lttle behind me on the climb to Castelfranco.  We enjoyed the sette ponte road over to Reggello, which is a real classic ride.  A little up, a little down, and a very curvy, sinuous road with a nice smooth surface.  We also climbed out of fog in Castelfranco, and suddenly the weather turned from reasonable to very, very nice for riding anytime, but particularly for late December.  We stopped for a cafe and some food in Reggello, then Terenzio was fine with deciding to continue up to Donnini, then the climb to Tosi.

From Tosi, the road was mostly dry to Pelago, so I could let the speed go a little.  Nice ride over to Pelago, and the push into the town is the last real climb of the day.  From there, a great descent over to the main road, then down to Pontesieve.  From Pontesieve, simply a power crank on home.  All in all, a very nice day and a great ride.  65 miles in 4:08 rolling time for an average speed of 15.7 (not bad for an old man leading 90% of the time) with 3648 vertical feet climbed at an average temperature of 52.  What a great ride on a great day.

Pontesieve, Castelfranco, Reggello, Pelago, Firenze by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Looking toward Rignano, the fog in the flats makes for nice light.

On the way to Mattissino, still in the fog.  

The gate / tower at Castelfranco as we came out of the fog.

Terenzio finishing the climb to Castelfranco coming out of the fog.

Blue skies above while on the strada sette ponte.

And even a little more blue a couple kilometers farther.

A line of cypress trees on the climb to Tosi, the last real climb of the day.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Really nice ride on a very cloudy, grey day.

My first day without Italian classes and I enjoyed a slow start, sleeping what passes as late for me.  I had a slow breakfast, and outside I don't think it rained, but the air was foggy and thick enough that the roads were wet.  Well, I have learned that wet roads in the high 40's spells a slippery surface, so I was not anxious to get going.  I thought about a long walk, as I took the day off yesterday, as I had ridden 10 days in a row.  At some point the sun even came out, so I decided to go ride.  I had been out for a couple of errands, and I knew from that, that it was warmer than it appeared.  By the time I was ready to leave, the fog had come back in and it was grey and dark.  I got started anyway, and the weather was really quite pleasant.  It was quite a bit warmer than it has been in a while, which was really nice.

I started by going toward Bagno a Ripoli, turning off to Ponte a Ema, then taking Via Carota up toward Osteria Nuova.  I finished the climb to Osteria Nuova on the main road and turned off to descend to Antella.  In Antella, I found the road over to Capanuccia.  It is steep in places while climbing, but not too much vertical, around 500 feet.  It is a beautiful little road with little to no traffic.  On the other side you connect with the main road from Grassina to Capanuccia and San Polo.  I rode through Capanuccia, then did the climb to the little pass before descending to San Polo.  More water in San Polo, then the really fun, very gentle descent toward Strada before the last kilometer or two of climbing.  I rode though Strada, then turned off to cut over to Impruneta.  A little climbing here, then mostly a descent toward Galluzzo, and I turned off before the town to cut around through Cinque Vie.

On the climb to Osteria Nuova, I estimated the total vertical for the day, then adjusted my estimate just after Capanuccia.  I was within 3 meters, which I like.  Fun ride and really a great day to be out.  The average temperature of 55 was real as there was no sun to push the average up.  35.1 miles in 2:35 rolling time for an average speed of 13.6 mph with 2795 vertical feet climbed at an average temperature of 55.  Loved it.

Osteria Nuova, Antella, Capanuccia, San Polo, Strada, Impruneta, Cinque Vie by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Yes, it was a pretty gray day.

A couple of shots of the beautiful road between Antella and Capanuccia.

This view is on the final push on the climb before the descent into San Polo.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Short ride on a hazy, cool day. Still good to be out.

It was quite cold this morning, around 28 for a low, so I did some errands after the "final" exam at Italian classes.  I returned and found out that Kate needed some help, so I called.  She wanted me to come by to see if I could repair Torrio's crib / bed, and I needed to be there by 3:30.  I checked some old rides, one of the great things about the garmin information is you can look at past rides for timing, etc.  I choose a two hour ride, then killed some time so it would work about right.  I rode out through the Cascine, then out the back way to Signa.  Over to Signa a Lastra, then turning off this busy road to climb the little pass to Malmantine.

At the top, you turn left, then the really nice part of the ride kicks in.  It is a beautiful climb, then descent to Marliano, then a climb / descent / climb to Vagliano.  Here you cut off again, and it is another beautiful climb, never hard, a maximum of 7% through Roveta to top out above Santa Maria a Marciaola.  From there, it is a very fast descent to the main road then down to Scandicci.  Now it is time for the typical head down, power crank to finish in the city.  I was able to fix Torrio's crib / bed, which was nice, as you never know until you see it and what tools are available.  While I was working on it Kate had to alternatively catch either child who was either sitting on me, hitting me with a blanket, blindfolding me, or taking the one tool I really needed away.  Always an adventure with a 5 and 3 year old in the mix.  Fun day and fun ride.  32.6 miles in 2:22 rolling time for an average speed of 13.8 mph with 1611 vertical feet climbed at an average temperature of 49.  I think it was cooler, as it recorded the temperature while doing the repair at Kate's.  Also, the garmin went a little crazy at the beginning, no, I was not going 120 mph on the bike at the start.  Ciao.

Cascine, Signa, Marliano, Roveta, Scandicci, Firenze by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

The first two pictures are on the road to Marliano.  A beautiful
road even on a hazy day.  

On the climb toward Roveta, it is a really nice road and ride.
Here is the road passing one of the many small villas.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Beautiful ride on a beautiful day. Colorado blue sky!

I had my last real Italian class this morning.  Tomorrow is the final test, then on Thursday we review the test then go for a cafe.  It has been a good class for me.  Everyone else in the class speaks Italian better than I, so it has been good to try to keep up.  I do think my comprehension of the language is coming, although slowly.  I am going to try something different starting in January.  I will try to find a partner who wants to learn English better, and we will hopefully do a couple of days a week.  One where we just speak Italian and on only English.  I find I can understand the grammar rules and can pass the tests as they are open book and you have plenty of time, but I really just need to have to speak the language to get better from here.  We shall see how it goes.

I had a reasonable amount of time this afternoon, but did not want to start too soon, as it was in the middle to high 30's until noon.  I got out a little after 12:30, and decided to do the Montesenario climb.  I climbed Via Bolognese yesterday, so I climbed Via Faentina today.  I had never connected Via Faentina with the Montesenario climb so it was fun and a little different.  The views at the top were wonderful as always.  A really clear day made them even better, as I hope the pictures show.  I descended into Bivigliano and continued through town to the west to the turn off for the road over to Polcanto.  This is a fun road with little to no traffic, although the surface is a little rough in places.  After Polcanto, the final 1/3 of the Croce alle Vetta climb awaits.  This was fine, although the temperatures really dropped between Bivigliano and Polcanto.  They came back up, I finished the climb, then enjoyed the descent to Fiesole then Firenze in quite mild temperatures.  Super fun ride.  32.6 miles in 2:31 rolling time for an average speed of 12.9 mph with 3586 vertical feet climbed at a sun effected temperature of 56.  Please note the Garmin went a little crazy at the start - I definitely was not climbing at 100 mph.  Ciao.

Via Faentina, Montesenario, Bivigliano, Polcanto, Fiesole, Firenze by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

The view to the east caught my eye climbing to Montesenario.

Look hard, on the top of the hill is the sanctuario de Montesenario.
This is climbing around 2/3 the way up.  

At Montesenario, this view is to the Southwest.  I like
the composition with the cross.  It is a functioning
Monastery after all. 

The view to the West from Montesenario.  I had to enlarge this one as the view is truly awesome.

The view to the North from Montesenario.  Somewhere on that
ridge in the distance in Passo del Giogo which I rode on Sunday with the team.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Quick ride between commitments.

I fit a nice 1 hour plus ride in between commitments today.  Italian class this morning, a quick shopping trip, the ride, Viola's school Christmas Show, then off to the Centro to watch the new Hunger Games movie.  Everything was great.  I loved the movie.  A little scary how it shows what could happen if we don't have a little more income and wealth equality.  Viola's Christmas show was so fun.  30 five year olds singing for parents and grandparents with everyone in the room smiling.  Che bellamissima!

The ride was nice, but a total standard for a quick ride.  It was a beautiful day, with really clear skies for the first time in a while.  It is staying a little cold, but with the sun, it warmed up by the time I returned.  Still, I was one layer less than yesterday and did not even take the heavier gloves, so that is progress.  It is a ride I love and think is fun and beautiful.  I was totally on a schedule to return in time for a shower and to get to the concert, and there were 3 detours for road closures on the return today.  New roads for the detours, and I was still on time for the show, so it is all good.  14.9 miles in 1:10 rolling time for an average speed of 12.7 mph with 1634 vertical feet climbed at an average temperature (sun effected) of 57.

Firenze, Cercina, Firenze by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

What a beautiful day and beautiful road to ride on.

Monte Morello, the far ridge, on the way to Cercina.

A view of Monte Morello in the distance just after climbing 
above Cercina.

Viola (front row center) and her class doing their 
Christmas show.  So fun to watch something like
this and to be here.  

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Passo del Giogo with the team - super fun!

I had a really nice ride with the team this morning.  One sad part is that one of the team members has decided to quit the team, and he is a person who I have become friends with.  I think it is a personality piece with another couple of team members, but I will miss Alessandro Celoan riding with us.  Ciao, Alessandro.  These things happen in groups though, and I certainly will not take any sides and simply continue to enjoy riding with the group.  Lorenzo told me on the ride, but no one else seemed concerned.  We had planned on doing the long course of the upcoming gran fondo Firenze, or so I thought, but in discussion, 3 of 5 were planning on the medium course.  We rode to Scarperia together, and stopped there to discuss the rest of the tour.  I certainly was not wedded to the long course, but made a suggestion that was accepted to continue to the top of Passo del Giogo, then return back down, then perhaps finish the medium course.

We decided this was a great plan, and all headed off up to the pass.  We broke apart pretty soon, and although Leonardo dropped me pretty good, I kept Daniele in sight almost to the top, and Luca kept me in sight almost to the top.  Really good, happy spirits at the top, and when Lorenzo came up last we all started cheering, and he dug in for a sprint to finish his climb.  It is always great to be with a group who is happy and tired after a physical exertion together.  We descended back the way we climbed, and although we took it very easy at the top where the road was wet, around 1/3 the way down the roads dried up and I let it go.  Super fun.  We took a branch off to the right and were on our way to Galliano when a couple of guys decided we should simply go straight back, which was fine.

I think we had done the medium course a couple of weeks ago, so this was great to simply head back through Vaglia.  At Pratolino, we regrouped after the last climb of the day, and people were pretty beat, in particular, Lorenzo.  So, good decision not to do the Galliano / lake part of the return ride.  The climb to Pratolino is always a little tough, as the top is pretty steep, and almost always you are at the end of a ride and getting tired.  A fast cruise back into Firenze and the ride was done.  I really enjoyed the tour today and look forward to our next outing.  I even treated myself to a cheeseburger at the local bar after the ride.  E Buono!  53.3 miles in 3:41 rolling time for an average speed of 14.4 mph with 5253 vertical feet of climbing at a sun effected temperature of 51.

Fiesole, Scarperia, Passo del Giogo, Vaglia, Firenze by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

I dropped back a little for this picture of the guys starting the 
big climb of the day to Passo del Giogo.

Looking back down into the valley of the Sieve, you
can see the pea soup fog we were in down there
and climbed out of on the way to the pass.

Me, Luca, and Daniele at the top.  Lorenzo has not yet 
arrived and Leonardo is taking the photo.

Lorenzo, Luca, Leonardo, and Daniele at the Passo del Giogo.