We had a very nice tour today, even if we did have around 45 minutes hiding from a true downpour. We stayed relatively dry while hiding, but were all pretty wet upon our return. We got a relatively late start, even though I said the forecast was for possible showers in the afternoon. Oh well, none of us melted, and we are all home and happy now. We rode out through Grassina, then up to Strada and then up to Passo de Sugame through La Panca. This is a wonderful ride, although I did break a spoke on the way to Strada. The bike still performed fine, I just had the rear brakes quite loose after the spoke breakage. We rode down into Greve after Sugame, and spent some nice time having goodies from the excellent bakery there, and good cafe from a new coffee shop.
After Greve, where Don got a new jersey, which he is modelling now, we climbed to Lamole in particular to see some Iris gardens we had all seen in the past. Don stopped along the way to take pictures, and I was simply about 15 minutes faster than Kay, so I had some time at the top where the biggest Iris gardens are. There were a couple of old men there, then one left, and the man remaining and I started talking. Sometimes I feel like I will never get Italian, but sometimes, like today, I realize I actually am getting somewhere. The man was the owner of the property and cultivates the Irises to harvest the roots which he sells to people who make perfume in France. He rotates the Irises that are harvested each year. When Don and Kay arrived, I was able to introduce them, and Don asked if I could find out if he could walk up to the highest garden to take pictures. The man, Renato, walked us up through paths all the way to the top, showing us all the gardens on the way. We got many pictures, and as we left, he asked us into his home to show us some pictures he had taken of the garden, and a picture of him with his first grandchild. A really fun stop.
We returned back to Greve, and the skies were looking quite dark. As we approached Passo de Pecorai, it really started pouring. We took shelter under some trees, and waited 1/2 hour to 3/4 of an hour when it slowed down. We rode into Passo de Pecorai, and took shelter there. Both Don and Kay had full rain gear, and I only had a light shell. Don suggested that I go ahead, as they would ride more slowly back on their own and I did not have the best rain gear on. I powered back into town, stopped at the shop on the hope they could fix the wheel then, but it will be tomorrow, and was home to do bike maintenance. All in all, it was a great tour, and the time with Renato in Lamole was a real highlight.
Check out Grassina, Strada, La Panca, Sugame, Greve, Lamole, Greve, Tavernuzze, Firenze on Strava.com! It's a 89.7 km ride I did on Wednesday, April 30, 2014.
A beautiful view from the climb to Strada from Grassina.
The start of the road to Lamole. What a beautiful road.
The Iris garden above the road to Lamole.
Don taking pictures of the irises while we walked the terraced
gardens with the owner, Renato.
Don and Kay with the Iris gardens on the hillside.
My new pal, Renato at his Iris garden. He sells roots
to a company in France for perfume. I was happy that
my Italian worked well enough for us to communicate.