Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Consuma, Stia, Croci ai Mori - two big passes.

The weather prediction was for mostly clear skies today with little chance of rain, so after a morning of errands with Emily, I took off on my last big training ride for this weekends event.  The weather was predicted to be rainy the next three days, so despite a relatively long day yesterday, I wanted to get this in.  I rode out the Viales to the main river road, then up through Pontesieve to the start of the Passo della Consuma ride.  I have descended most of this a number of times, but have never climbed it before.  It is a pretty steady climb of around 1100 meter elevation gain.  A good work out for me.  You pass through a number of towns, and as you go the traffic thins out, which is nice.  At the top, I took a short break for some water / food, and put my rain shell on for warmth.

You descend a couple of hundred vertical meters, then have a few kilometers of up and down riding with no significant elevation change.  The climbs are a little bit of a surprise, as you are thinking at the top of a pass you are done climbing for a while.  I had ridden this descent with the team a year or so ago and had some memory of this so I was kind of prepared.  Soon after you start the real descent, I turned off to the left to take the road to Stia.  A wonderful descent, although there are patches of road that could use some work.  Beautiful views, curvy road, and the feeling you are definitely away from Firenze.

At Stia, I found the water with a little help from an old man who was enamored with my bike.  It always feels great to have someone say repeatedly, "bella bici".  We had found the same water location a year ago with the team, so I was on the right track when I asked.  After getting some water and a little break for some food, I started up to Croci ai Mori.  The start of the climb is quite gentle, and you can ride pretty quickly up this.  The last few kilometers of the climb are steeper, and I was definitely feeling my legs at this point with two hard rides in a row.  My time was definitely not fast, but I got to the top feeling pretty good.  I am thinking I will need to take the climbs easy on Sunday, as the Firenze / Modena course has an additional 1400 meters of climbing versus this ride.

From the top of this pass, there is a really wonderful, long, not steep, descent into Londa.  Beautiful road, nice surface almost all the way, and just a pleasure to ride.  In Londa, I stopped for a cafe, which gave me energy for the 35 kilometers or so of slightly descending slog back home.  The weather cooperated, and today, as I write this, it is gray and has rained lightly 3 times as of 11:15.  So, good decision.  A couple of days off, then a few easy rides before Sunday.  Ride summary:  71.3 miles in 5:00 for an average speed of 14.2 mph with 5700 feet of vertical gain at an average sun affected temperature of 71.

Last training ride - Consuma, Stia, Croce ai Mori by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

A beautiful view from the top of the Passo della Consuma.

The Arno as a small stream in Stia.

The sign at the top of the Croci ai Mori.

A view from the top of the Croci ai Mori to the Southwest.

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