Our son, Ben arrives tomorrow. Actually he was supposed to arrive tonight around 6, but a couple of late flights, and now he arrive tomorrow morning. Today was my chance to ride with the team, and although the weather looked pretty marginal, I took off to join them. We ended up having a really nice ride. The rain chased us pretty much the whole time we were riding but never really hit us. Only a few sprinkles here and there. We rode a good part of the short route (80k) for the gran fondo coming up in early March. The people who are in the racing division are doing the short course, which was most of the people who were on the ride today.
We started with 9, a really good number for early February with marginal weather, but these guys are dedicated cyclists. At the start of the first real climb we were down to 7, and after the first climb we were down to 6. Stayed at 6 for a while, but finished with 5, of whom I was definitely the slowest. At least I hung in there. The people who dropped just wanted to do a shorter tour or were worried about the weather. I went out through Porta Romana, and rode the main road to Tavernuzze, where we met. One person from the team, Paolo, whom I had not met before, joined me after Porta Romana and cycled out to Tavernuzze on my tail. We all went from Tavernuzze toward San Casciano, the first real climb being the climb to San Casciano. I have ridden all around this area, but had never ridden this main road climb to San Casciano. It is a really nice road, and is on the Gran Fondo course. From San Casciano, we rode up / over to Mercatale, Quattro Strade, then descended down to the Greve river valley. We headed out to Passo dei Peccorai, then climbed up to Strada in Chianti. From Strada, we really booked on a ridge road with a little climbing, then descended into Grassina. From Grassina, we did a different route back into town than I had done before, which was nice. I will have to check the map to get it in my head.
The Gran Fondo will do a lap to Fiesole, and one of us, Leif, decided to do this. The most interesting part of the course is a short stretch after Fiesole, after you descend to Pian de Mugnone, where you turn off on Via Salviati to climb to Via Bolognese for the descent back into town. It is interesting, as you are basically done and they throw in a short detour with around 200 vertical feet at 20%. I think it may be cramp city, but we shall see. I see the organizers doing a "Mr. Burns" excellent and rubbing their hands together when they thought this up as part of the course.
Well, no pictures today, but the garmin link is below. The summary is 41.8 miles in 2:56 rolling time for an average of 14.2 mph with 2520 vertical feet climbed at an average temperature of 55 F. Sweet.
Saturday ride con squadra - San Casciano, Mercatale, Strada by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details