Friday, March 28, 2014

Passo della Consuma con Luca.

A new friend, of probably around 4 months or so, had been absent from the team rides for a few weeks.  I was starting to wonder why, but remembered he had a trip to Milan and Paris planned, both for work, and thought I should wait.  He texted me earlier this week to say he had crashed a couple of weeks ago, and with the approval of the physical therapist, he would be able to get back riding in time for the granfondo Sunday.  He rode with the fisio (PT) on Wednesday and got the go ahead.  He wanted to ride a big climb, and Passo della Consuma is the biggest climb that is continuous around here.  It is rated for the pros as either HC or Cat 1, depending on the race.  We met at 8:30 at one of the bridges just outside of the centro, and started the ride.

He had lots of energy, as before the crash he had been training quite hard for the race Sunday.  He is less than half my age, but when he started training hard, I was a little stronger than him, but he gradually overtook me, and after today's ride I would guess he will do the long course somewhere between 15 minutes and 1/2 hour faster than I.  Great to see someone work hard and develop strength.  We rode out the busy road to Pontasieve, at a reasonable pace, but not too hard.  Right after Pontasieve, the climb to the pass starts.  Luca rides this pretty often, but I think today was my third time climbing this pass.  I have done the pass by going through Vallombrosa a couple of times before, which is how we returned today.

Around 1/3 the way up, I was thinking I was not quite as ready and strong as I thought, but it was a steep stretch of road.  Around 2/3 the way up, I was feeling good and strong, and actually pushing the pace for both of us.  Overall, we both enjoyed the climb, and I think it was a great final training ride before Sunday.  We took a break for pictures at the top, added a layer of clothing each, then started back down around 1/2 kilometer to the turn off for Vallombrosa.  We enjoyed the slight descent, mostly contour, over to Vallombrosa.  It is a beautiful road, although rough in a few spots.  We were the only people on the road that we saw, which was nice to ride with no traffic for 10 k or so.  We descended the route from Vallombrosa through Tosi, Paterno, and Pelago to the main road we had ridden up.

The descent continues down to Pontasieve, then it is just a head down crank back into town.  I did have more energy than Luca at this point, and led most of the way back.  At one point, I was pulling 5 people, and three passed, whom I hung with.  After a few kilometers, we had dropped Luca, so I slowed and we returned together.  Really great ride, and I am feeling ready for the big race on Sunday. 51.7 miles in 3:32 rolling time for an average speed of 14.6 mph with 4062 vertical feet climbed at an average temperature, including the sun's effect of 56.

Consuma, Vallombrosa, Pelago, Firenze con Luca L. by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

At a team meeting last night, Rebecca asked me to take a picture of Luca,
as we have a few new members and she was not sure who he was.
This is around 2/3 the way up the climb to Passo della Consuma.

Luca and I at the Passo della Consuma.  The sign behind us really 
does say that.  They enjoy putting stickers on signs at the top of
passes here.  Consuma is 1050 meters or around 1000 meters above Firenze.

Another picture of Luca and I at the top, the Passo della Consuma.
The nice person who did the photos wanted to do one with this
background, as he thought it was more scenic than the sign.  

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