Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Trial run for the gran fondo - one mistake adds some distance and vert.

I got an early start - relatively - and was at Piazza Liberta around 9:30 as I posted on the team page that I was riding the long course for Saturday if anyone wanted to join in.  I had a couple of messages from people who could not go, so I did not expect anyone.  I took off by myself at 9:40.  I rode out on the Viales past Piazzale Michaelangelo, then dropped down the direct route to Galluzzo.  From Galluzzo through Tavernuzze, then the climb to San Casciano.  Descending from San Casciano to the valley was great.  I had not descended this route before, and it was a screamer but no need to apply brakes - perfect.  Once in the valley, you stay at the valley floor and gradually climb to Sambuca, then climb to San Donato in Poggio.  Here, you stay on the ridge and continue climbing for quite a while, which includes a fair amount of vertical, to Casellina in Chianti, which has a little descent on the way into town.  You then descend / climb / descend / climb over to Radda in Chianti, where I was looking for a road I had ridden years ago that returns down to the valley below Panzano, then climbs to Panzano.

I did not have my map - bad me - but remembered the general direction.  I took off that way, descending down a steep piece (with warning signs for the steepness), then started climbing steeply up a hill.  This did not seem right, but I thought I was going the right direction and did not want to climb back to Radda.  I continued climbing, at times again, quite steeply (with more steepness warning signs) until it appeared that I was not going the right direction.  I turned around and inquired at a winery, where they were super helpful and gave me a map.  I was right about the general direction I wanted to go, but to get to the road you go the opposite direction in Radda, then do a roundabout, then go back under the road I was on.  Oh well.  The person at the winery and the map showed that I could continue on the road I was on (more climbing) and then descend to Lucolena, joining the road to Passo de Sugame just below Dudda, which I did.  I had often thought about riding this road and had seen it many times on the climb from Figline to the Passo.

It was an interesting and fun detour, and I decided to climb from Dudda to the turn off for La Panca, then over the back road to Strada in Chianti, where I would re-join the regular route.  I stopped in Dudda at a small bar and had a Caffe Machiato and a pastry, which felt great.  I may have already developed the taste for coffee, as it tasted good and really gave me some energy.  For me, definitely a performance enhancing drug.  It was cold going into Dudda, and the break really changed my perspective.  I enjoyed the climb to La Panca, and definitely the descent from there to where it joins the main road just before Strada.  From Strada, I took the main road down the ridge, and descended into Grassina, where I detoured to Cinque Vie, then over the back way to Piazza Ferruci, then home.  Fun, but tiring day.  The garmin link is below, but the summary is:  70.2 miles in 5:27 rolling time for an average speed of 12.9 mph with 6350 vertical feet climbed at an average temperature of 43.  

I loved this old stone barn on the way to Casellina.

A couple of pictures around the top of the climb to Casellina from San Donato.
The snow on the sides of the road and the pine trees reminded me of Colorado.

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