Hooray, the weather has really cleared, and it appears the long range forecast is for mostly clear with a few rainy days here and there. Lately it has been the opposite, mostly rainy, with some occasional clearing. Being a Colorado boy really tempers your expectations for sunny skies. I really "need" them and miss them when it cloudy for a week or so. Anyway, met the squadra at Illiopesca, only 4 of us there, but enough for a good group ride. One of the riders, Andrea, was a fair amount slower than I, which helped keep the pace a little slower than normal, which was really nice. A couple of times on the road out to Montelupo a group of 4 to 12 would pass us, and we would up the pace to hang with them until Andrea could no longer hang, and we would let the group drop us.
We rode the typical back way to Lastra a Signa, then along the river road to Montelupo. From Montelupo, we took the road over through Sammonata, Villanuova, and turned on the main road at Pozzole toward Castelfiorentino. Both of these roads are beautiful, classic Tuscan roads, one contouring with almost no up hills, and the road toward Castelfiorentino in a valley with a very gradual climb. The climb kicks up to get to Ortimo, where we take the climb to Montespertoli. This is a great ridge / climb with good views in both directions off the ridge. The wind did pick up here - just a minor annoyance. From Montespertoli, we descend to Bacciano, then climb to Montagnana, descend to Cerbia, then climb to Chiesa Nuova. From Chiesa Nuova, we take the main route to a turn to Scandicci, then in town roads back to the house.
How nice it was to be riding in the sun again. The link is below, but the summary is: 50.3 miles in 3:27 rolling time, for an average speed of 14.6 mph, 2250 vertical feet climbed, an average temperature of 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Sweet to be back riding with the team. Ciao.
With the pace modified for Andrea, I was able to take a couple of photos on the climb to Montagana. What a beautiful day, awesome roads, beautiful countryside. Che Bella.