Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Super ride in perfect weather to start the new year.

A late start today, but it was New Year's last night, and I actually stayed up till 12;45 with Emily, which is very unusual for me.  There are fireworks everywhere in Florence on New Year's, and I don't think any of it is organized by groups, simply individuals and friends all over the city shooting off fireworks, some of them quite large.  From our apartment we have views of around 250 degrees, and we could see fireworks going off all over the place for over 1/2 hour.  It was pretty much done by the time I went to bed, but what a fun thing to watch.  I had never really seen anything like it.  We had dinner at a friend's house before, and went to a modern interpretation of the Nutcracker in the afternoon, so a full day yesterday.  So, perhaps the late start is understandable.

I enjoyed a big "American" breakfast, then waited for it to warm up.  It was around 45 when I started around 10:45, and it warmed up pretty quickly and felt warm in the sun almost immediately.  I rode out the Cascine to the back way to Signa, then Lastra a Signa, then out the river road to Montelupo.  I knew this road would be a little cold and mostly in the shade, so I waited until Montelupo to take off my shell, change to lighter gloves, and remove the neck gaiter.  I then did a first climb up the road to Bottinaccio.  I had descended this road probably 10 times or so in the last 6 years, but had never climbed it.  It was a nice climb, and the weather was truly perfect.  After you reach the ridge, which basically takes you over to Montespertoli, there are 3 really steep pieces of both up and down on the road.  One warning sign said 20%, and I believe it.  Still a really beautiful ride and basically no traffic.

I looked for an open bar in Montespertoli, but everything in the countryside is closed today, which is really great.  So, no cafe for me, but I am happier that people take time off for themselves on a holiday than stay open so someone like me can get a cafe.  I descended to Boccaicio, then climbed to Montagnana.  Just past the top, I turned off to climb to San Pancrazio, the first time in probably 10 months, as the road was washed away in one place last spring.  One of my favorite roads, I enjoyed being back on it.  A truly sweet descent from San Pancrazio to Ponterotto, then over to the main road and a nice climb to San Casciano.  No bars open there either, so I continued over, then down to Falciani, then down the main road to Tavernuzze.  Pretty soon after getting on the road in the valley, a group of 3 passed me, so I dug a little and hung on easily.  A group can really help you go faster.  I am sure I was using less energy, but going a fair amount faster than on my own.  They gradually dropped one of their guys, and in a few kilometers, I passed them with a wave of thanks, and they waited for the dropped rider.

I just powered in from there, and took the direct route into the Centro, then home.  I was quite surprised by the number of people in the Centro.  It was totally packed like at the height of tourist season.  The ride was 56.6 miles in 3:46 rolling time for an average speed of 15.0 mph with 3353 vertical feet climbed at an average sun effected temperature of 52.  Happy New Year!

Cascine, Montelupo, Bottinaccio, Montespertoli, San Pancrazio, San Casciano by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Wow, what a perfect day to be out.  Happy 2014.

What a beautiful ridge between Bottinaccio and Montespertoli.

Looking over toward San Casciano, an hour plus away on my route.

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