I was up really early this morning and left Florence around 7 to meet client's from Australia in Gaiole in Chianti for a tour. I had talked with Brian the night before to confirm, and he said they had rain gear, as rain was in the forecast. Well, the forecast was correct, and it started raining in Florence just before 7, and was pouring in Gaiole upon my arrival. Brian called around 15 minutes before I arrived to say that perhaps they would not want to do the tour today, but would pay me anyway, as I drove there and reserved the day for them. I told him we could talk upon my arrival, and we could see what we wanted to do. They are staying at a Badia outside of Gaiole called Coltibuono, and it is really beautiful, even in the rain.
We met, and sat down to look at maps and I offered some options. Sarah, who was the other client was suited up and pretty much ready to go regardless. I suggested we do a shorter tour, as perhaps 4 plus hours in a steady rain, which sometimes was a downpour, would be a little foolish. I have a good rain kit, and can go with whatever the weather presents, but common sense is always good to use. We agreed on a shorter tour, and I thought it would be around 1-1/2 hours, but it ended up being a little over 2 hours. They were both very strong riders, and Sarah races most weekends in I think Cat 2 races. Not bad for a 58 year old woman. I normally gradually increase my pace and see when I drop clients to adjust my pace for them, but I never dropped these two today. They were both strong, and I am not sure I could have dropped them if I tried.
We basically rode what for me was close to race pace for a couple of hours. We all kept our speed in check on the descents with wet, slippery roads, but pushed it pretty hard up the hills. I offered a few stops, but they wanted to keep moving so as not to let the cold set in, which made sense to me. We rode from the Badia up, then down, then up to Radda, then continued up almost to Castellina. We turned off to descend to the valley below Panzano before Castellina, then climbed to the turn off for Lucarelli and Radda. Good descent to Lucarelli, then a fast, very gradual climb to Radda. From the junction before Radda, we climbed and descended, and climbed back to the Badia. Overall, a nice ride in difficult conditions. I am glad they decided to go out, as I feel it is reasonable to get paid in this circumstance regardless, but am happier to have taken them out. For what we did and the conditions presented they were perfect clients. No complaints, fast, and very competent cyclists. Good ride guys. We have another day planned for Monday, and the weather is forecast to be much better, but we still have a chance for showers. We shall see Monday. Happy Easter (Buona Pasqua) to all.
Check out Gaiole, Castellina, toward Panzano, Radda, Gaiole - Brian and Sarah on Strava.com! It's a 45.2 km ride I did on Saturday, April 19, 2014.
This is Sarah just above Radda on our ride today. Not much of
a day for pictures, as it was pretty much pouring rain the
entire ride, along with a fair amount of wind.
Brian on the same stretch as Sarah, and you can see the
rain and water on his coat.