Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Settignano wall and Monteloro on a beautiful afternoon.

We had a very nice and fun night yesterday attending what is, for us, the "fanciest" event of the year, the holiday dinner for Friends of Florence. It is our biggest splurge of the year, and most of the cost goes to fund a restoration project for the organization.  Anyway, private tours of the Bargello, then an amazing aperitivo, dinner, and after dinner relaxing at Palazzo Biondi, a beautiful and recently restored palazzo in the Centro.  It is truly amazing, and it turns the event into something of a fantasy for me, as I can picture myself residing in such an beautiful place with perhaps some of the best views in town, particularly for the architecturally significant buildings.  A little late getting home and perhaps a little too much wine for me, so I was tired and a little hung over this morning waking up at 6:30 to do my normal routine before Italian classes.  The Italian class went pretty well, and for the first time in a while, I am actually encouraged about my abilities with the language.  Lately, I have been feeling like I have been trying but not getting anywhere.  For whatever reason, it felt much better today.

After class, the temperatures outside were still pretty cool, mid 40's, so I was in no hurry to get going.  I did some computer stuff, starting to answer a couple of inquiries about a couple full weeks of tours in April.  Yesterday, Leif, a friend and fellow guide here, posted on facebook his ride climbing through Monteloro.  I decided that was what I would focus on today, but tried to do some alternate routes to get to the climb.  That ended up meaning after San Domenico, then up toward Fiesole, I descended through Maiano, then instead of doing my normal, the Vincigliata climb, I climbed to Settignano, then the very steep portion above Settignano to Montebeni.  I switched the Garmin screen to % grade, and there are three major portions of the climb that all top out above 20%.  You know it is steep when it feels like it is letting up and you check the grade and it is 12 to 14%.  I survived the climb, then descended from Montebeni to Compiobbi.

A short distance on the main road, then the little cut off to do the Monteloro climb.  At the little cut off, I went past 4 kids playing, and the oldest, a boy around 8, said, "bella bici", which I enjoyed, but it also emphasizes what a part of the local culture cycling is here.  I cannot imagine that many places in the US where that would happen.  I enjoyed the Monteloro climb, although I certainly felt pretty slow on it.  I think the "wall" above Settignano wore me out a little bit.  After Monteloro, I hooked up with the Fiesole road and climbed up and over toward Bivigliano, then descending through Pratolino back home to Firenze.  26.9 miles in 2:19 rolling time for an average speed of 11.6 mph with 3563 vertical feet climbed at an average (sun effected) temperature of 54.  Still loving it!

Maiano, Settignano, Montebeni, Compiobbi, Monteloro, Pratolino, Firenze by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

I just love the roads and the riding here - so fun!

My best picture in a while, just above the Monastery on 
the way to Monteloro.  

Beautiful day and beautiful road above Monteloro.

Lately people have been posting on the team facebook page 
pictures, with a question of where it is.  This is my contribution
today - the Sanctuario Madonna del Sasso.  We shall see how long
it takes someone to guess.

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