Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Day 4 with Roger - Passo della Futa

I planned a big day for Roger's last day riding with me.  I picked him up at his hotel at 10, and we were off.  We returned through the city and rode right by the apartment up Via Bolognese to Pratolino.  We stayed together until it got pretty steep after Pian de San Bartolo.  We got back together at Pratolino, and turned off to climb to the turn off for Casellina and Villiano.  With Roger being quite a bit stronger than I, where it is reasonable, I have described the route and turned him loose.  We have done this particularly on long hills.  From the beautiful road through Casellina and Villiano, we skirted Bivigliano and descended to Vaglia.  This is a particularly incredible descent with multiple switchbacks, a good road surface, and quite steep in places.  Roger's comment at the bottom was, "you are so incredibly lucky to have this in your backyard".  I couldn't agree more.

From Vaglia, I planned on the climb to Passo della Futa on Via Bolognese.  We started and I told Roger I was going to dial it down a little, as we had a long day ahead of us.  He came around and led, and I sucked his wheel for a while.  In the last couple of days, I have seen that he is quite good at setting a steady pace that works for me when he wants to.  At the roundabout, I called a stop for a quick discussion.  I offered the option of going through Scarperia and Marcoiano, informing Roger of the more back road nature of that route and the difficulty of the climb to Marcoiano.  He jumped on the alternate, and we were off to Scarperia.  There is a new by pass of the town that brings you right to another roundabout where you can turn off for San Agata.  We took this road, and took an espresso break in San Agata.  The last few times I have been through here, I have gone into the Centro and had cafe at this bar.  They are super friendly and probably never see any tourists.

After the break, in a couple of kilometers, we hit the turn off for Marcoiano.  I rode this last fall, and have the route in my mind better now.  The climbing is difficult, but not too bad for the first 2/3 of the climb.  It is really beautiful country and there are even some downhill stretches.  Just before the tiny town of Marcoiano, the road ramps up to around 15 to 20%, and after the town, it hit 32%, according to my Garmin.  It takes me right to the edge of what I can do, but I made it through.  Roger had gone ahead once we were on the road to Marcoiano, and we met back up close to the top.  He actually had been to the top and turned around and then rode the last part with me, giving me encouragement.

At the top of this climb, we turned right to Panna, then climbed to Santa Lucia and hooked back up to Via Bolognese.  We then climbed another 2 to 300 vertical meters to the top of the Passo della Futa where we took a break.  I took Roger into the cafe / bar there, and showed him the pictures on the walls of former champions and we had a second espresso.  As we looked at the pictures, we noticed that the older man behind the counter was one of the 50's / 60's racers with pictures on the wall.  We had a nice discussion with him.  His family has owned, operated, and lived at this place since 1890.  We then descended back through Santa Lucia, and turned to go through Panna, then descended down to the turn off for Frati ai Bosco.  A great little road, then we were back in San Piero a Sieve where we turned off to go toward Borgo San Lorenzo.

We turned off before Borgo San Lorenze and hit the climb up through Faltona, Polcanto, etc., to the last pass of the day, the Croce alla Vetta.  Down Via Faentina from there, through Piazza della Cure, and home.  Dropped the bike, had a cheeseburger at the neighborhood bar, and took the bus back to Roger's hotel.  Fun 4 days with Roger.  Thanks for "Riding with Cosimo"  The summary is:  69.7 miles in 5:15 rolling time for an average speed of 13.3 with 6390 vertical feet of climbing at an average temperature of 79.  Nice day, nice week.  Ciao.

Day 4 with Roger - great day, lots of climbing by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Wisteria in bloom on the way to San Agata.

Roger at the bar where we stopped for espresso number 1
in San Agata.  Great spot.

Three good action shots of Roger climbing on the gentle
part of the climb through Marcoiano.

Roger with Vittorio - the owner of the bar at the top of
the Passo della Futa, and a retired professional cyclists from 
the 60's.  There are pictures on the wall of him and other more 
famous Italian cyclists.  

Monday, April 29, 2013

Day three with Roger - San Donato, Sette Ponti, Vallambrosa, Rosano, home.

We started the day with some mechanical difficulties, but switched bikes, and Roger was fine on the DeRosa.  The crank arm on my relatively new FSA crank is cracked.  It is great Roger noticed it and we switched.  It could have been a problem out on the road.  I will look into replacement for the crank arm later this week.  For now, my energies are reserved for doing what I can to keep up with Roger.

We left my apartment with the DeRosa, and headed out to Bagno a Ripoli, then climbed to San Donato in Collina, then descended through Troghi, Valli, and stopped in Pallazuolo for an espresso.  We then continued the descent to the road that goes by the outlet stores, and crossed the Arno.  I gave Roger the option of Setti Ponti or skipping it, and we did the longer route.  We climbed / descended over to Figline, then hooked up with the roads to get out to and climb to Castelfranco, where the Sette Ponti route starts.  As always, this is a magical ride, super curvy, a little up, a little down, but pretty fast and fun.  We cruised into Regello, and stopped for some food and water.  A short rest (I don't think Roger normally takes any rest) and we were off to do the climb to Saltino, where we stopped for a second espresso, water, and again, a short rest.  We pushed on to Vallambrosa, then descended to Tosi, then Paterno, then Pelago, and finally into Pontesieve.  From Regello to Pontesieve, we were doing the reverse of the giro route which will take place in two weeks.

At Pontesieve, we took the route through town, then over the old bridge to Rosano, then headed home on the south side of the Arno.  Although a very long day with lots of climbing, I felt better than yesterday, and seemed to be gaining strength.  Another fun day with Roger - I will either get stronger or end up left on the road, so it is good to be feeling stronger.  The summary is:  74.5 miles in 5:22 rolling time for an average speed of 13.9 mph with 5180 vertical feet climbed at an average temperature of 72. Nice.

Day 3 with Roger - San Donato, Sette Ponti, Vallambrosa by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

There goes Roger, starting the wonderful Sette Ponti ride.

Irises in bloom on the Sette Ponti road.

At the top of the climb in Saltino.

The descent starts with the old Monastery in the background.

Here is Roger starting the descent from Vallambrosa.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Day 2 with Roger - Santa Brigida, Rufina, Borselli.

The weather report for today was not good, but it ended up fine.  I planned the ride to allow us multiple points to cut things short or turn back, but none of the above happened.  We only had a half hour or so of real rain.  I met Roger at his hotel in Piazza Santa Spirito at 10, a perfect time to get started, after all he is on vacation.  We rode back through the center of town, and past my apartment, then over through Piazza della Cure, then up one of the back roads to San Domenico.  We hooked up with the main Fiesole route, then turned off to descend through Maiano to the Chiesa San Martino.  Here we started the Vincigliata climb.  I told Roger that it continued up for a while with few turn offs, and he decided to go for it.  He is a super strong rider, and he dropped me like I was standing still, and it was a personal best for me for this climb on Strava.

He came back down from the top and we rode together to the right turn then over to the road above Fiesole.  We rode up the very nice, mellow road to the turn off for Sieci, descended hard and fast to the turn off for Santa Brigida, then over through Santa Brigida (getting water), Fornello, Doccia, then to the Molino de Vento.  We descended down to Rufina which is a wonderful descent.  At this point, it really looked like it might be clearing, and we enjoyed an hour or so of something approaching sunshine.  From Rufina, we turned left and headed up the main road toward Scopeti, and turned off for the climb to Borselli before Scopeti.  I had decided on this climb as it gave us some additional distance and was a more difficult climb than my normal climb to Diacetto.  The climb was around 2400 vertical, and the first 1500 vertical is pretty relentless at around 10 to 12%.  Again, I gave Roger the scoop on the route, and he took off.

I enjoyed my climb, but was admitting to myself that I was getting pretty tired.  Roger doubled back down from the top and we rode the last 2 kilometers of the climb together.  At Borselli, I got a quick snack, and we found a couple of water hydrants, but they were not working.  We descended to Diacetto on the main road, then turned off to return to Rufina on the route I usually climb.  It is a fun descent, but the road is a little rough, which works better on a climb than a descent.  It started really raining hard at Diacetto, and I stopped to put on my rain pants and riding hat under my helmet.  We descended to Rufina, then went over to the tiny road on the west side of the Sieve that we call the "Pope's road".  It is a fun ride to Pontesieve with a few difficult climbs.  In Pontesieve, I navigated us to the main road, and we took turns leading back to Firenze.

I got us back to Piazza Santa Spirito, where we were both very hungry and had plates of pasta "carratiere" at Borgo Antico, which hit the spot.  10:00 tomorrow at the same spot.  Summary for today is:  65.2 miles in 5:13 rolling time for an average speed of 12.5 mph with 5870 vertical feet climbed at a nice average temperature of 65.  Not too much rain, and a fun but tiring day.  Ciao.

Day 2 with Roger - another great day - Borselli. by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Riding through town to get started, we rode though
Piazza de Duomo, and Roger wanted a picture.  

Riding the road between Fiesole and L'Olmo.

Riding past the flowers and olive groves between 
Fornello and Doccia.

We had a little sun riding from Fornello to Doccia.  
The flowers were all over the place in this olive grove.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Day 1 with Roger - Don's route was a blast!

I met Roger Bartels this morning at my apartment around 9:45 for the first of 4 days of guided riding.  My friend, Don Cook, knows Roger and recommended me to him.  Don had wanted to show him around here, but he and Kay are coming in November this year.  Knowing this, I asked Don to design a day of riding with some of his favorites.  We mostly did Don's ride today - I changed a couple of things, and we added an additional couple of climbs and descents, but mostly Don gets the credit today.  Don had told me that Roger was very strong, and coming from Don, that meant something.  Yes, Roger is super strong, but is totally fine with my pace, which worked for both of us.

We started out on the viales, past Piazzale Michaelangelo, then up to Poggio Imperiale.  We descended to Galluzzo, and then climb Pozzolatico Vecchio to Pozzolatico, my first change.  We hooked up with the main road there and climbed to Impruneta, then over to Strada in Chianti, then took the back road up past La Panca to the Passo de Sugame road, over the pass, then down into Greve.  We stopped in Greve for some baked goods - part of Don's plan - which were great and really hit the spot.  From Greve, we climbed to Panzano, then a small descent to access the ridge road over to Quattro Strade.  This is a very fun road, but has a number of steep ups and downs.  It is mostly down to Quattro Strade, and we continued through Quattro Strade to Mercantale, where we stopped to regroup.  I asked Roger if he wanted to add 45 minutes to the ride, and he was totally up for it.  Just after Mercantale, we turned off and descended, then climbed to Montefiridolfi, where we got more water.  From Montefiridolfi, we rode along the ridge, descending through Bibbione to the main road at the valley bottom.

We climbed up to San Casciano where we were back with Don's plan.  The Montefiridolfi addition was mine.  From San Casciano, the regular route back through Speddaletto, Chiesa Nuova (more water), then the switchbacks to Galluzzo.  In Galluzzo, another variation from Don's plan, going through Cinque Vie back over to the viales, then along the Arno to the centro, and back to Roger's hotel on Piazza Santa Spirito.  I really enjoyed the day.  The summary is:  66.2 miles in 4:44 rolling time for an average speed of 13.9 mph with 6010 vertical feet climbed at and average temperature of 75.  A dopo!

Day 1 with Roger - the Don Cook itinerary - Fun! by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Roger in Impruneta at our first water stop.

Roger ahead of me on the Climb to  Panzano.

The wisterial were in full bloom on the edge of Panzano.

Roger climbing past me on the fun ridge road between
Panzano and Quattro Strade.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Fun afternoon climb.

I had a super fun day.  Emily was up early, and went to the questura to see if she could finish her filing for extending her permesso di soggiorno for 2 years.  I had done mine on Monday, but she had some trepidation, as the person a week plus ago had told her we needed a certificato de residenza, which would have required a whole new process of paperwork.  They did not say anything to me, and I believe it is totally on a whim according to the person you speak with.  No mention at my piece on Monday, and Emily's went totally smooth this morning.  After this, we both babysat Vittorio for a few hours, which involved walking to the Boboli, a huge park / gardens from the Medici era, and exploring and having a blast.  He is a lot of fun these days.  When Kate finished her committment, we met for lunch and had some great pizza at the outdoor seating in Piazza Santa Spirito.  Really fun morning.

We returned home, and I suited up for a ride.  I had been pretty happy with my time yesterday, and decided to climb again today.  There is a pretty direct climb of around 2750 vertical right from the apartment, which I had not done since last fall, and I decided this would be the ride for today.  I rode up Via Bolognese to Pratolino, then turned off to climb toward Bivigliano.  I turned off before the Bivigliano connection, and continued the climb up to Montescenario.  It is really beautiful up there, and it is at the absolute top of this mountain right outside of Florence.  Wonderful views and very nice today, a perfectly clear day.

I descended back through Bivigliano, then over to L'Olmo, then down on Via Faentina through Caldine to Firenze.  a very nice short ride with lots of climbing.  My legs were a little wooden upon my return.  Summary is:  23.5 miles in 1:54 rolling time for an average speed of 12.4 with 2750 vertical feet of climbing at a perfect average temperature of 73.  Ciao.

Montescenario - I wanted a climb and I got it. by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

These flowers just cried out for a picture on the climb, just after the
 turn off at Pratolino.

The hills were so green on the climb to Montescenario, che bella!

The view to the north from Montescenario.

A view to the East from the sanctuario at Montescenario.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Vallambrosa on a beautiful spring day.

I have a client coming for 4 days of riding starting Friday, who is a friend of one of my best friends, Don Cook.  Don, to me, is strong, super strong.  Don can and on occasion has dropped me like I was standing still.  The client was described to me by Don, as strong, super strong, which has me both psyched and wondering if he will wear me out.  I explained my abilities in emails, and I am sure things will work fine.  I ride with Don alot, or at least I used to when we lived in CB together, and it always worked out.  Anyway, I have been thinking of great rides to take Roger, the client, on, and this one was on my list.  I also have some clients who have hired me to take them for a ride and to view the Giro when it comes through Florence in May, and this route is my plan for that as well.

So, I thought today would be a good day to test the ride and check some timing so I can plan for the Giro accordingly.  I started out on the Viales, then out to Bagno a Ripoli, where the first climb starts.  From Bagno a Ripoli, you climb through Osteria Nuova, and up to San Donato in Collina.  It is a nice climb, not too steep, and the weather was perfect today.  Then you get one of my favorite descents toward Incisa, but I turn off on the road to the outlet stores (yes, they have them here too), then over the Arno, and then head to Leccio, where the climb starts to Vallambrosa.  I climb to Regello, then over to Pietrapiana, then the climb gets serious for the final 4 to 500 vertical meters to Saltino.  I checked it with the %-o-meter on the Garmin, and it seems to average around 10%, but ramps up to 15% often.  The weather got much cooler as I climbed, the climb from the Arno valley is around 900 vertical meters, which is a fair amount.  The weather also threatened rain, and it sprinkled on me, as I hit the top of the climb in Vallambrosa.

In Saltino, just before Vallambrosa, there is a great view spot with benches, and the climb is basically over.  I had a snack there and put some extra clothing on for the descent.  I checked out a couple of Bars that will be great for a cafe with clients.  At Vallambrosa, the real descent begins.  You go down a super windy road to Tosi, then down a more normal road, that I have ridden many times to Paterno, then Pelago.  There is another great bar in Pelago that is perfect for clients.  I removed the extra clothing in Pelago, then rode over and descended down to Pontasieve.  From here, you follow the Arno into Florence, and can keep a pretty good pace.  Often, you can hook up with someone, but no one was going the same speed as I today.  Super fun ride, and I hope it will be great to use for both groups.

The summary is:  53.2 miles in 3:54 rolling time for an average speed of 13.7 mph with 4670 vertical feet climbed at an average temperature of 63.  What fun!

Vallambrosa test ride - will use this weekend and for Giro. by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Flowering trees, a stone wall, and the road to San Donato in Collina.

On the climb to Vallambrosa, these trees were exploding
with "spring green" leaves, just starting.

A panoramic view from the bench at the 
entry to Saltino.  The climb is basically complete!

I love this villa just above the road, almost
at the top of the climb, coming into Saltino.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Quick ride combined with a great marketing opportunity.

I had a busy day with errands, and was up early to finish my renewal of my permesso de soggiorno with the questura.  It went quite smoothly, and hopefully Emily's experience will be similar on Wednesday when she tries to finish hers.  When we were there a week ago, they said she would need some different paperwork that they never mentioned to me.  It seems that some of the things that are asked for are very dependent on whom you talk to and when.  I decided to simply go for it this morning, and it went fine.  After returning from the questura, I took the bus with the Nonna cart to do a reasonable sized shopping at the COOP while Emily went to a different office to get a physical card for her codice fiscale, just another piece in the puzzle here.  After returning from the COOP, I had a registered letter to pick up, which required a bus ride up the hill to a place called Lastra, which went quite well and smoothly.  After returning from that errand, I was free to do a ride.

A new friend, who was introduced to us last month through Weekapaug family / friends, had given me the name of a place and a friend of hers who owned it on the way to Fiesole.  Nancy sent her friend, the owner of Pensione Bencista, an email as an introduction.  Last summer, I spent a fair amount of time passing out flyer's at hotels, and my conclusion was that unless you had an introduction or contact, they were simply filed in the waste basket.  So, with an introduction, I had emailed the Pensione, and had a contact to take the flyer's and cards to.  It is right on one of my favorite short rides, so I combined a ride with the marketing errand.  The place is spectacular.  In a magnificent setting, with wonderful views, it is a great contact.  It has around 40 rooms, and the contact, Beatrice, will keep the flyer's and cards on hand and put a link on their website to my website for people who want a cycling tour.  Perfect.

I rode up through Piazza della Cure, one of the back ways to San Domenico, and turned off for Maiano, stopping at the Pensione to talk and drop the materials.  I continued descending through Maiano to the start of the Vincigliata climb.  I climbed past Vincigliata, then hooked up with the Fiesole road, descending back into town.  Black clouds were gathering, and it looked like rain, but I was home first.  Nice ride and an exciting marketing connection.  Summary is 13.6 miles in 1:15 rolling time for an average speed of 10.9 mph with 1780 vertical feet of climbing at an average temperature of 67 degrees.  Ciao.

A short ride combined with some marketing ... nice. by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Just after San Domenico, I noticed the wisteria are finally in bloom 
and decided to take some pictures of it on the ride.

A wisteria pyramid right at the turn off toward Maiano.

I stopped at Pensione Bencista to drop some marketing materials, 
after an introduction from Nancy West, whom we met last month
while she was visiting Florence.  The terrace with wisteria in full bloom 
was simply spectacular.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Fun solo ride with threatening weather in Chianti.

After a day off yesterday, I had planned on doing a raduno with the team, but did not get home from a very nice dinner with Kate and Nicco last night until 12:30, and I was tired anyway.  The raduno course was not my favorite, so I slept in, which I needed and enjoyed.  I had a big breakfast, then decided on a ride.  I pretty much rode what I planned with a little change.  I rode out the Viales, up to Poggio Imperiale, where I picked up a rider that rode with me until I turned off in Impruneta.  He was Italian and did not speak English, but I was able to communicate well enough that we had a good conversation for part of the 40 minutes or so we rode together.  With my Italian skills, this is an accomplishment.

From Poggio Imperiale, I descended to Galluzzo, the climbed through Pozzolatico, Mezzomonte, Monteoriolo, to Impruneta.  I turned off at the town square on a road that quickly descends toward Ferrone, before mellowing out for a more gentle descent.  At Ferrone, I started toward Greve, but with a few rain drops and threatening skies, I decided to turn off to Quattro Strade just below castello Gabbiano.  This is a nice climb, and the skies lightened up as I climbed.  So, I decided to climb the back road to Panzano, which after a first tough (around 10 to 15%) climb, does quite a bit of up and down on a ridge line until a descent then climb into Panzano.  It was a beautiful ride today, with the countryside sparkling.

I thought about a cafe in Panzano, but something was going on in town and there were people everywhere.  I did not want to leave my bike out with lots of people around, so I descended to Greve, where I had a coffee shop in mind.  Alas, this bar was closed on Sunday, so no cafe for me today.  Probably for the best.  From Greve, I took the valley road all the way back to Galluzzo, through the many towns on the way, then turned off for the route around to Cinque Vie, then back home on the Viales.  It felt great.  It was wonderful riding with Keith and Jodi, but it is quite a bit of extra work taking clients out versus riding alone.  I really enjoyed today's ride.

The garmin site is having trouble with the log in process, so try the Strava link for a change.  Ciao.

Strava Ride | 04/21/2013 Florence, Tuscany, Italy

Quattro Strade is just over the rise ahead.

On the way up to Quattro Strade.

Here comes Panzano, and the climbing is over soon.

A view off the ridge road just before getting to Panzano.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Great day 5 with Jodi and Keith.

Keith, Jodi, and I had our last day out cycling for their trip.  We had another great day.  I decided we could all use an easier start and warm up, and the route for this also presented a completely different route out of the city.  We started out going West on the Viales, and turned off into the Casine park.  We rode to the end of the park where you cross a small bridge, pick up another little road, and navigate to a busy road.  The stretch of the busy road is only a kilometer or so, then we turned off and followed back roads with little traffic on the north side of Parco Renai to Signa.  There was a huge market in Signa, and we had to walk our bikes for 4 or 5 blocks, before re-mounting, and riding through the remainder of the town and over the bridge to Lastra a Signa.

Here we left the traffic and busyness of this town behind and climbed a small pass, then descended through La Luna to Ginestra Fiorentina.  We went east toward Cerbia, and turned off to climb the tiny back ridge road to Montagnana.  It was apparent to me that they enjoy the small roads and climbs much more than the route we had ridden thus far.  At Montagnana, the direction I wanted us to go was closed, so we went to another plan.  We took a little break, and descended to Baccaiano, where we looked without success for water.  I ended up asking a couple of people, the first of which said no, but the second, an older man, said no at first, then said follow me.  All of this is in Italian, and my skills are not that great, but we followed, and he took us to his house, where his wife welcomed us and let us use the tap water.  I thanked them profusely, and the wife insisted that when I came through riding again that I stop for water at their house.  A really nice gesture, and a great story of the welcoming nature of the Italians in the countryside.

We hit the valley, then rode east and took the steep hill to Poppiano.  I had warned both Keith and Jodi that this was super steep, and it did not disappoint.  It is a very beautiful climb, though, and we stopped for pictures at times.  Just above Poppiano, we accessed the road I originally wanted to ride, and rode this ridge road over to San Pancrazio, where we took a break and I had a cafe and Keith and Jodi shared some marinated veggies.  We descended to the next valley floor, then climbed up to San Casciano, following the road through Spedalletto and Chiesa Nuova to the hill above Scandicci.  I took them down the steep funky route to every one's delight.  From Scandicci we took the main roads home and called it a day.

The summary is:  48 miles in 4:12 rolling time (6 hours elapsed time) for an average speed of 11.4 mph with 2960 vertical feet of climbing at a perfect average temperature of 76.  Great week of riding with both Keith and Jodi.  Thanks for "riding with Cosimo".

Day 5 with Jodi and Keith - Signa, Ginestra, Poppiano, Pancrazio, return. by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Keith on the climb to the small pass from Lastra a Signa
to Ginestra Fiorentina.

Keith and Jodi on the ridge to the west of Montagnana.
I liked both the pictures, one is simply a close up.

The castello de Poppiano.  Beautiful.

Jodi starting the climb to San Casciano.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Keith and Jodi, day 4 - Keith says, "Tits LaRue"

Our plan was for a longer day today, but we ended up with a day that was pretty similar in distance and vertical to our last 2 days.  We did get farther away from the city, but I made decisions to take some smaller roads as this appeared to be what Keith and Jodi liked best.  It made the distance shorter, but increased vertical and time.  Either way, we all had a great day and really enjoyed another day of pretty perfect weather.  We started by taking the Viale over to Piazza Ferucci, then heading out through Gavinanna to Bagno a Ripoli.  At Bagno a Ripoli, the first real climb starts.   We climbed up through Osteria Nuova to San Donato in Collina, where the hill tops out and we re-charged our water and took a short break.  A great descent awaits and was had by all.  You descend on pretty perfect roads though Troghi, Cellai, Palazzolo, to Incisa then Figline Valdarno.

In Figline, we headed up toward Passo de Sugame, and on the way, I pretty much made the decision to cut off after Dudda around 7/8 of the way up the pass.  We stopped for some water and shade in a very small town before Dudda, and I discussed the possibilities with Keith and Jodi.  If we continued to the top of the pass, we would descend to Greve, which is a great little town with a wonderful, beautiful town square.  The ride back from Greve is less exciting though.  They both reinforced my thoughts about the smaller roads, so we took the cut off after Dudda and rode up to La Panca.  When in Dudda, I stopped for a Cafe Machiato, and for the first time in years, Keith had some as well.  The little bar / restaurant there saved me on a cold day before the gran fondo, when I took a wrong turn, and I like to stop there now when I go by.  

From La Panca, you have a wonderful descent to the main road to Strada, and we all really enjoyed it.  From Strada, we rode out toward Grassina, but cut off to Impruneta, then descended through Monteoriolo and Mezzomonte before cutting off on the tiny roads to San Gersole.  We descended through San Gersole, and cut off to go through Vacciano, before coming to the road over to Cinque Vie, then over to Piazza Ferucci completing our loop and heading home on the Viales.  Another great day.  

The summary is:  46.5 miles in 4 hours rolling time (almost 6 hours elapsed time - a few nice breaks) for an average speed of 11.6 mph with 3800 vertical feet climbed at and ideal average temperature of around 78.  Another great day with Jodi and Keith.  

Our first climb of the day around 2/3 the way to San Donato in Collina.

Starting the climb to Passo de Sugame.

On the way up to Passo de Sugame.

The final climb to the turn off above Dudda.

A view of Florence in the background from San Gersole.

On our way back on the tiny, little used road with
the church at Vacciano in the background.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Day 3 with Jodi and Keith. Great day again!

We set out today around 9:45, with thoughts for a slightly shorter day than yesterday.   We rode up Via Faentina through L'Olmo then up to the small pass at Alberaccio.  We took a little break here, then descended to the turn off for Santa Brigida.  We took that contouring road, which has quite a bit of both up and down in it, around 10 kilometers over through Santa Brigida, Fornello, Doccia, to Molin de Vento.  We stopped in Santa Brigida and got some water at one of my favorite water spots, then stopped again at a spot where I could point out where Emily and I lived the winter before last.  They really liked the road and the beauty of the ride across to the windmill.  It is great to be out there with people seeing it for the first time, as it is really beautiful, but with repeated riding, you sometimes start to take it for granted.

From Molin de Vento (the windmill) we descended down through vineyards and olive groves to the "Popes road" then took it North to Montebonello, then into Rufina.  We stopped in the beautiful town square in Rufina, then started the relatively long climb to Diacetto.  We crossed the main road there, and descended into Pelago, taking a break and having a cafe machiato before descending to Pontasieve.  Just before Pontasieve, you get on the main road, which we took all the way back to Florence.  We talked and then maintained a good group with a nice pace on the busy road from Pontasieve to Florence.

 Another great day, with both Keith and Jodi getting more enthusiastic with more rides.  It is fun and exciting.  The summary is:  44 miles in around 4 hours for an average speed of 11 mph with 4060 vertical feet of elevation gain at an average (sun effect included) of 85.  I think the actual temperature never got above 80.  Another really fun day.  Ciao.

Day 3 with Keith and Jody - Santa Brigida, Rufino, Diacetto. by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

A couple of pictures of Jodi and Keith with the valley below Doccia
below in the background.  

Keith and Jodi climbing toward Doccia from Fornello.

A view of a farm / villa and the valley below on the climb
to Diacetto from Rufina.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Beautiful second with Keith and Jodi - Impruneta, Tavernuzze, Luiano, Montefiridolfi, San Casciano

We started our ride around 9:45, and went out the bike path by the Viale until we crossed the Arno, then rode the Viale up to Piazzale Michaelangelo, where we stopped for a break and to take in the incredible view.  We set off from there and went up to Poggio Imperiale, then over and down to Galluzzo.  We took the main road up toward Impruneta, and turned off just before Impruneta to take the tiny, funky, road down through Baruffi to the outskirts of Tavernuzze.  This is one of my favorite roads and both Keith and Jodi really liked it.  It is good to have clients that enjoy the small roads that I truly enjoy riding here.  From Tavernuzze, we went out the valley road toward Greve, turning off between Falciano and Ferrone to climb past Luiano to very close to Mercatale.  At the junction there, we took a quick right, then a quick left and descended a steep hill on the rarely used road over to Montefiridolfi.  After the descent, there is a fairly steep hill that starts relatively mellow and gets steeper as it gets closer to Montefiridolfi.

We stopped at the Piazza in Montefiridolfi, and had some water and gorp and other snacks that had been brought on the ride.  We took a good long break, and I decided to have a cafe machiato at the tiny bar there.  We left Montefiridolfi and took the road on the ridge to the nice switch back filled descent to the valley floor close to Sambuca and took the right turn and climbed to San Casciano.  We took a good break in San Casciano then returned home through Chiesa Nuova, Galluzzo and Cinque Vie.  All in all, a very fun ride and great tour.  Both Keith and Jodi got stronger as the day went on, and really were enthusiastic about how much they enjoyed the small, funky roads.  It was a really great day, and we will do it again tomorrow.

The link is below, but the summary is:  47 miles in around 3:40 rolling time for an average speed of around 12 mph with 3600 vertical feet climbed at an average temperature of 74.  This is more of a guess than usual, as I forgot to start the Garmin until around 5 kilometers into the ride.  Oh well.

Day 2 with Keith and Jodi - Luiano, Montefiridolfi, San Casciano by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Keith and Jodi at Piazzale Michelangelo on the way out of town
with the Duomo and Firenze in the background.

An over the head shot of Keith and Jodi on the way to Monte Oriolo.

Jodi and Keith on the final little climb to Baruffi.

Jodi and Keith at the vineyards with the Luiano fattoria 
on the hill in the background.

Jodi at the end of the climb to Montefiridolfi.