Up at a relatively normal time this morning after a great symphony concert last night in the newly renovated Teatro Communale. Met the team at 9 at a location around 5 k from the apartment. We took off toward Montelupo with 8, a pretty good turnout for a relatively cold morning. The weather was beautiful, but at 9 it was only around 44, which is a little cold on the bike. From Montelupo, we turned right and took the road toward Empoli, then climbed to Vinci. There was a pretty big gruppo riding that direction, I would guess 50 to 70, but we had one person who could not keep that pace, so we let them go by. When the gruppo hit the traffic area, we quickly re-caught them.
From Vinci, we climbed to San Baronto, which is a really nice climb. Not very steep anywhere, I would guess a maximum of around 7% but an average of 5%. Super curvy, fun, pretty road with great views as you climb. We broke apart for the climb, and I climbed alone for most of it. Around 1/2 way up, a group passed me going quite fast - I tried to accelerate to stay with them, but there was no hope. They all had the exact same kit, matching bikes, and with the speed they were going I am assuming that it was a pro team. Not long after the group, two support vehicles drove by, which reinforced my thoughts. This is a popular climb and route for the many area teams on a Sunday morning. It is really quite a scene, and fun to witness and be a part of. We took a break in San Baronto, a few guys having an expresso, then took off for the descent down the other side toward Pistoia. It is a nice descent, long but not too steep, and it drops you into the valley which leads back to Firenze.
From there you have an hour or so of just bearing down and staying with the group on relative flats. One of the group was a fair amount slower than I, so the pace was moderated, which was very nice for me. A really fun Sunday morning with the crew - good, hard paced riding, great weather, and a great time. The summary is: 60.2 miles in 4:00 rolling time for and average speed of 15 mph, with 2260 vertical feet climbed at an average temperature of around 50. Check the link below for more information. Ciao.
The scene in San Baronto
Here are a few shots that try to capture the scene in San Baronto.
Probably 3 to 5 teams there at any one time, with riders coming
through both ways.