Sunday, February 23, 2014

Granfondo preview with Luca

I did a second preview of the granfondo course this morning with the team.  We had a good turnout and started with 14, I think.  Many groups were doing the same ride, and we came apart on the climb to Fiesole, but regrouped there.  We had a group of around 40 riding up to Croce alle Vetta from Fiesole.  Most of us stayed with the group, as the benefit of staying with the group outweighs the effort when you are getting dropped.  We waited for a while at the Croce, and eventually got a phone call to go ahead.  We were down to around 9 of us at this point.  We stayed with the group from the top and really rode down to Borgo San Lorenzo, then up to Scarperia quickly.  Again, although the group was a little different, it seemed to be around 40 of us.  At the point where one has to decide to either do the long course for the granfondo or the medium course, the numbers dropped to around 15.  Within a kilometer, 11 of the 15 were having a loud discussion, and they turned around.  That left 4 of us climbing to Passo Giogo.

Luca was the only one left from the team with me, which is pretty much what I thought would happen. We rode up the hill with a couple of other guys from Bicisport.  Around 1/2 the way up, I was feeling pretty tired, and went to easier gears and the other 3 dropped me.  By 2/3 the way up, I was feeling better and enjoying the climb in the easier gears.  Although the fast start was fun, I think it wore me out a little, which is good to know for the granfondo, when the group will number in the thousands, and the adrenaline will definitely make me want to stay with a fast group.  I know it will be better for me if I do it at my own pace and not push the beginning, but we will see, as I also know myself and will probably go with the energy available and go fast at the start.

We regrouped at Passo Giogo, and the two others took off while I put on a shell and heavier gloves for the chilly descent.  It was a super fun descent, beautiful, a great road, and really quite fast.  I really love the feel of the new Continentals on the bike.  Luca and I stopped in Firenzuola for a quick snack and to find a water fountain.  We rode through the old town a couple of times to find the fountain and were eventually successful.  It is a really beautiful little town.  We took off to climb Passo Futa, the second longest climb of the day and the steepest.  We simply followed signs for the Passo, and ended up on a different road than the last time I rode it.  The new route was more direct, and a little steeper and harder.  A well deserved cafe at the old family restaurant at the top, then we were off to descend.

Luca is travelling late this afternoon to Puglia, where he grew up, to visit his parents for a few days, and wanted to get back the most direct route.  We were also quite tired at this point, and willing to sacrifice the jog over to Panna and the lap around the lake on the way back.  We also omitted the climb from Pratolino to Croce alle Vetta and the Via Salviati climb, which was fine for both of us.  When doing the granfondo, I really think both of these pieces, while short, will test me.  Both are steep, and happen when you are basically done with most of the distance.  Today, we returned from Passo Futa on Via Bolognese, and enjoyed a very fast descent to San Piero, then cranked up the gentle climb through Vaglia to the steep part to Pratolino.  The steep part was stinging a little, but was fine.  From there, we descended back into Firenze, with the route taking me right to the front door.  71 miles in 4:51 rolling time for an average speed of 14.6 mph with somewhere between 7250 and 8040 vertical feet climbed at an average sun effected temperature of 53.  Really enjoyed the ride and I am very happy with my energy level on a long difficult ride.

Scarperia, Giogo, Firenzuola, Passo Futa, Vaglia, Firenze by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

At the top of Passo Giogo, the second and longest climb of the day.
It is a good effort for me.  Only 4 left of around 50 we arrived in Scarperia with.

We explored Firenzuola, a really nice, old, small town looking
for a fountain, which we eventually found.  Sorry about taking 
the picture into the sun.  

A view from the climb to Passo Futa from Firenzuola.  What a 
beautiful road and climb.

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