Sunday, September 1, 2013

Wonderful day riding to the sea with the Team.

What a wonderful day yesterday.  I awoke very early to get the yoga / stretching in before meeting the team at 7 to start the ride to the sea.  I was surprised to see a pretty large group of 13, but vacation time and the heat are over, so we will be getting bigger groups now.  8 turned at Castelfiorentino to return to Firenze, but 5 of us continued to the sea.  It was actually quite chilly starting, but it felt good for a change.  We rode out through Signa a Lastra, then did the little climb / pass over to Ginestra, hooking up with the road to Montespertoli.  We all enjoyed the climb to Montespertoli, but Pietro, a new member, had a flat on the way, so they were a little behind us all.  A few of us had a cafe in Montespertoli, then waited, not knowing a flat had occurred.  Lorenzo and Pietro rode up and we learned what had happened.

We then did the mostly downhill ride on the ridge over into Castelfiorentino, where we split up for the remainder of our separate rides, 8 returning to Firenze via Empoli and Pinone, a good ride, with 5 of us continuing to the sea.  From Castelfiorentino, you climb to Gambassi, a pretty mellow climb, but definitely steep in places.  Somewhere after Gambassi, we stopped for more cafe and a water refill.  It was not really a town, just a couple of buildings on the road.  There is a simply super downhill after this, long, not very steep, and three of us stayed together for the descent.  We stopped at the crossroads there, as there are two different routes to Volterra from this spot.  Alessandro and Pietro arrived and had already made the decision to go the route to the right.  I was happy with the decision, as we went the other way in early May when we all last rode this ride.  This is a nice, pretty mellow, but long climb to the beautiful hill town of Volterra.  It seems to have become something of a tourist attraction lately, or maybe it is just that time of year, but when we arrived in Volterra, there was quite a bit of traffic both cars and people.

We descended from Volterra to Saline where we stopped for water.  After Saline, it is a very gradual descent following the Cecina river to the town of Cecina and the sea.  We worked pretty well together and made pretty good time on the final stretch.  We arrived at the sea, and I was surprised to find I was the only one to take a little swim.  In May, only one swam, but it was early May and probably 15 degrees cooler.  Anyway, I enjoyed the swim, we took some pictures, and went to Alessandro's camp / vacation home where we accessed a communal shower building, then Alessandro's wife cooked us a big pasta feast rounded off by yet another cafe at the end.  3 of us were returning by train, so we left and easily made the train back.  It is one of the trains that stops everywhere, so it was a little slow returning.  What a great day!  Ride summary:  77.4 miles in 4:55 rolling time for an average speed of 15.8 mph with 4505 vertical feet climbed at an average temperature of 76.

Cecina via Volterra con squadra by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

From Friday night, a beautiful sunset from the apartment.

The team ahead on the way to Montespertoli.

The views on the climb to Volterra are stunning.

4 of the 5 who finished the ride to the sea.

I had to enjoy a quick swim in the sea after a relatively long ride.

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