Thursday, July 18, 2013

Super clients, super ride.

I had a long, warm, but good day yesterday guiding some clients from Indiana / Chicago here in Florence.  Two of the three had corresponded with requests for long, relatively hard rides, so I had some routes in mind from the requests.  I had emailed David a strava link for the ride I had in mind, and he suggested it might be a little too much for the ladies, so I had adjusted it to be a little shorter, but still, basically the same route.  Krista met me at the apartment and we set up one of my bikes for her.  We then rode over to the shop and got David and Ramona set up on rental bikes.  I discussed the probable route, and Krista said that we would see, that David and Ramona were the ones asking for the longer / harder route.

We started out getting out of town, then over toward Bagno a Ripoli, where after a short break to make sure everything was working fine, we started our first climb.  It became pretty apparent on the cimb that this route was not going to work for Krista.  She simply was not used to climbing and could not summon the energy to maintain climbing for a long stretch.  She was a great sport about it, but it was apparent it was not going to work.  We stopped at a water fountain, got some water and discussed some options.  I was scrambling, as the options I had in mind included at a minimum the entire first climb, and we were only around 1/3 the way up it.  Some things clicked, and I think I came up with a good option.

We desended from Osteria Nuova toward Grassina, then turned off to Ponte a Ema, where we took a little cafe break and discussed the day.  I was taking them on my normal "flat" route, which meant returning to town.  We accomplished the return going the nice back road from Ponte a Ema to Bagno a Ripoli, then hooked up with Viale Michaelangelo, climbing to Piazzale Michaelangelo.  We took a break there, enjoyed the views, and took some pictures.  Everyone was conscious of hydration, which was great as it was now getting toward noon, and the heat was setting in.  We skirted the city from there and enjoyed the twisty downhill to Porta Romana.  We crossed the bridge and were soon in the Cascine, finding water and taking a break.  We enjoyed the ride through the Cascine, and then out to Signa.  Krista was fine and pretty strong on flats and slight uphills, which worked out well.

From Signa, we went over to Lastra a Signa, then climbed the little pass to get over to Ginestra.  We stopped first in Signa and tried a bar which I had seen was always crowded and had some snacks and more water.  The climb was fine, but challenged Krista.  I got to use my skill, learned from my friend Don, of pushing Krista up some of the climb.  Even with the pushing, she still needed to walk around 1/4 of the climb.  We regrouped at the top, I was up and down a few times herding the group like a working ranch dog - thanks Sophia for the lessons in CB.  We enjoyed the ride across the top, then the descent into Ginestra.  We stopped in Ginestra for water, panani, a beer in my case and a good break.  We then rode over through the valley to Cerbia.  Again, Krista was quite strong in the flats, it is just the hills that got to her.

In Cerbia, we still had water from Ginestra, and started the climb to Chiesa Nuova.  We all rode pretty well to around 1/2 way up, then I started to help Krista with some additional pushing, then she simply needed to walk up the steeper portions.  It took us a while, but we made it up to Chiesa Nuova, some shade, some fresh, cold water, and some well deserved Gelato.  Krista had had about enough, but I assured her the hills were basically over.  We rode pretty strong together over to the turn to Scandicci, then enjoyed that descent.  We did a pace that kept everyone together through town to return to the bike shop.

Everyone was in good spirits and happy with their accomplishment for the day.  To Krista's credit, she never complained, only apologized for being slow on the hills.  No problem, the tour was for her.  So, by the end of the day happy clients and a good day.  It was quite hot, which only added to the difficulties, but we made it.  The summary is:  55.5 miles in 4:40 rolling time for an average speed of 11.5 mph with 2280 vertical feet of climbing at a scorching average temperature of 97.  Wow!

Great client ride with David, Krista, and Ramona. by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Here we all are at the Piazzale Michaelangelo.  Beautiful day
with Florence and the Duomo in the background.

The group at a shade, drink, and nutrition stop in Signa.

David then Ramona and Krista starting the day's final climb.

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