Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Day 4 with Roger - Passo della Futa

I planned a big day for Roger's last day riding with me.  I picked him up at his hotel at 10, and we were off.  We returned through the city and rode right by the apartment up Via Bolognese to Pratolino.  We stayed together until it got pretty steep after Pian de San Bartolo.  We got back together at Pratolino, and turned off to climb to the turn off for Casellina and Villiano.  With Roger being quite a bit stronger than I, where it is reasonable, I have described the route and turned him loose.  We have done this particularly on long hills.  From the beautiful road through Casellina and Villiano, we skirted Bivigliano and descended to Vaglia.  This is a particularly incredible descent with multiple switchbacks, a good road surface, and quite steep in places.  Roger's comment at the bottom was, "you are so incredibly lucky to have this in your backyard".  I couldn't agree more.

From Vaglia, I planned on the climb to Passo della Futa on Via Bolognese.  We started and I told Roger I was going to dial it down a little, as we had a long day ahead of us.  He came around and led, and I sucked his wheel for a while.  In the last couple of days, I have seen that he is quite good at setting a steady pace that works for me when he wants to.  At the roundabout, I called a stop for a quick discussion.  I offered the option of going through Scarperia and Marcoiano, informing Roger of the more back road nature of that route and the difficulty of the climb to Marcoiano.  He jumped on the alternate, and we were off to Scarperia.  There is a new by pass of the town that brings you right to another roundabout where you can turn off for San Agata.  We took this road, and took an espresso break in San Agata.  The last few times I have been through here, I have gone into the Centro and had cafe at this bar.  They are super friendly and probably never see any tourists.

After the break, in a couple of kilometers, we hit the turn off for Marcoiano.  I rode this last fall, and have the route in my mind better now.  The climbing is difficult, but not too bad for the first 2/3 of the climb.  It is really beautiful country and there are even some downhill stretches.  Just before the tiny town of Marcoiano, the road ramps up to around 15 to 20%, and after the town, it hit 32%, according to my Garmin.  It takes me right to the edge of what I can do, but I made it through.  Roger had gone ahead once we were on the road to Marcoiano, and we met back up close to the top.  He actually had been to the top and turned around and then rode the last part with me, giving me encouragement.

At the top of this climb, we turned right to Panna, then climbed to Santa Lucia and hooked back up to Via Bolognese.  We then climbed another 2 to 300 vertical meters to the top of the Passo della Futa where we took a break.  I took Roger into the cafe / bar there, and showed him the pictures on the walls of former champions and we had a second espresso.  As we looked at the pictures, we noticed that the older man behind the counter was one of the 50's / 60's racers with pictures on the wall.  We had a nice discussion with him.  His family has owned, operated, and lived at this place since 1890.  We then descended back through Santa Lucia, and turned to go through Panna, then descended down to the turn off for Frati ai Bosco.  A great little road, then we were back in San Piero a Sieve where we turned off to go toward Borgo San Lorenzo.

We turned off before Borgo San Lorenze and hit the climb up through Faltona, Polcanto, etc., to the last pass of the day, the Croce alla Vetta.  Down Via Faentina from there, through Piazza della Cure, and home.  Dropped the bike, had a cheeseburger at the neighborhood bar, and took the bus back to Roger's hotel.  Fun 4 days with Roger.  Thanks for "Riding with Cosimo"  The summary is:  69.7 miles in 5:15 rolling time for an average speed of 13.3 with 6390 vertical feet of climbing at an average temperature of 79.  Nice day, nice week.  Ciao.

Day 4 with Roger - great day, lots of climbing by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Wisteria in bloom on the way to San Agata.

Roger at the bar where we stopped for espresso number 1
in San Agata.  Great spot.

Three good action shots of Roger climbing on the gentle
part of the climb through Marcoiano.

Roger with Vittorio - the owner of the bar at the top of
the Passo della Futa, and a retired professional cyclists from 
the 60's.  There are pictures on the wall of him and other more 
famous Italian cyclists.  

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