Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Group ride with a birthday party - happy birthday, Derek

After Sunday's ride with Leif, Mark, and Derek, I suggested a ride and course for today.  Chris is back from some time riding in the Dolomiti and France, and he joined in.  We met in Settignano again, as this is Mark and Derek's spot, and the ride I had in mind went that direction.  We had a cafe in the town square, then got to riding.  We rode up the steep hill to the road over to the Fiesole / Olmo road, then we up the hill on that road.  Again, a pretty fast pace, although not as fast as Sunday.  Mark has raced 30 years or so, starting in his teens, and Derek is a former top level pro, and Chris is posting some pretty impressive results in the Gran Fondos in Europe this summer.  What I was doing hanging on to this group is questionable, but it is good to be pushed, I did not seem to hold them back much, and it was good for me and fun at the same time.

We climbed up to the Alberaccio pass, then descended toward Molin de Piano, but took off left to ride through Santa Brigida, Fornello, and Doccia, to the turn off at the windmill.  We refilled with the good Santa Brigida water, I poured a couple bottles worth over my head, then we were off.  At the windmill, we took the descent to Montebonello, right next to Rufina, then turned up the valley for the Acone climb.  I think this is one of the hardest climbs I do, and it was difficult as always.  Leif climbed with a 34 / 25, so even though he is definitely stronger than I, he brought up the rear.  Everyone reached the top in good spirits, and we took a short break and did the water thing (head dousing and bottle filling), then headed down the super fun descent to Rufina.  Leif lead us to his favorite cafe there, and we ordered cafe and Leif arranged for a beautiful torta with fruit with a candle as it was Derek's birthday.

We enjoyed the pastry and cafe, sat around doing some bike chatting, then took off to climb to Diacetto.  One of my favorite climbs, everyone enjoyed it today.  Derek and Mark needed to get back to their families, so they decided to descend directly from Diacetto, and Leif joined them.  Chris and I descended over to Pelago, the back over to the road down to Pontesieve.  I just think this is a much more pleasant road and descent than the direct way, but I totally understand that family committments come first.  If you don't respect the family committments, the riding gets pinched, and everything deteriorates, so here's to the guys for taking the direct route home.  I did my best to stay on Chris' wheel from Pontesieve in, although he had to drop his speed and wait once.  We stopped in Sieci for more water, some shade, and a head soaking.  Powered in to Firenze from Sieci - a great day for a ride in Toscana.  Summary:  54.8 miles in 3:43 rolling time for an average speed of 14.7 mph with 5066 vertical feet of climbing at an average temperature of 87.  Ciao.

Destination Acone - good group with Leif, Mark, Chris, and Derek by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

I let the group get ahead of me to take a couple of shots
between Fornello and Doccia.  All it took to let them get ahead
was not trying close to my hardest.  Fast group!

An impromptu birthday party at one of Leif's favorite 
spots for cafe and pastry in Rufina.  Happy birthday, Derek.

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