Friday, April 25, 2014

The Classic Chianti tour with Chris and the Squadra.

What an absolutely perfect morning / day to be out for a ride.  Chris Breckon, who is visiting for a week, wanted to do today's ride in Chianti to Radda and Castellina.  He spent 6 months here last Spring / Summer / Fall, and is part of the team.  He posted the ride on the team facebook page, and there was a lot of response.  We ended up with around 20 at the start, when Chris and I thought it would only be 3 or 4.  We all stayed together pretty good through Scandicci and Tavernuzze, but came apart a little on the way to Greve.  I was leading at one point, and when I looked back, it appeared I had everyone.  I only had one person from the team, but a group of 6 others had jumped on and I was fooled.  I simply slowed until I regrouped with everyone else, and we ended up in Greve in two groups.  Unless you are pretty disicplined with your pace, it is difficult to keep a group of 20 together.  

In Greve, a few people we talking about turning around, but they were easily talked into continuing to Panzano.  We headed out to Panzano, and when the real climb started, we totally broke apart.  Chris and Leonardo were off the front, and I stayed with them for only 100 meters or so.  Davide and Andrea caught me and momentarily passed me, but I stayed with my pace and gearing and quickly overtook them.  Davide encouraged me with a "grande, Marco", and I then chased Chris and Leonardo to the top.  They were only 2 or 3 minutes ahead, they said, and Davide ended up only 10 seconds or so behind me.  Fun climb.  I definitely pushed my pace and was hoping for a personal best on Strava, which I got.  Hooray!  Chris and I had a cafe and after they were done, we only had a small wait for the rest of the group to arrive.  All but 6 turned around here to return to Firenze.

The 6 remaining started off, but at the turn off to Radda, 3 decided on a slightly shorter route directly to Castellina, and Chris, Leonardo, and I headed up to Radda.  Well, my time of being ahead of others was over now, as Chris and Leonardo were definitely the strongest of the group.  We had a great climb to Radda, then Castellina, basically staying together.  They had to wait a minute or so at the Radda rotunda.  A smokin descent through San Donato in Poggio to Sambuca, then Bargino.  We took off for the final climb to San Casciano, and around 2/3 the way up, we caught and passed the three who did the slightly (15k) shorter tour.  We all regrouped in San Casciano, and rode back to Firenze together before splitting up to return to our respective homes.  Really fun, great tour on an excellent route on a nearly perfect day.  Ahhhh, Toscana!

Check out Chris and squadra - Greve, Panzano, Radda, Castellina, San Donato, San Casciano, Chiesa Nuova, Firenzeon! It's a 122.9 km ride I did on Friday, April 25, 2014.

The squadra on the road going toward Greve from Tavernuzze.

The squadra together for the last time today in Panzano.
After Panzano, only 6 of us continued, then only 3 continued
to Radda with the other 3 going directly to Castellina.

A beautiful view on a beautiful day climb toward 
Radda in Chianti from Lucarelli.

Chris and Leonardo opposite the great fountain in the little
town just before San Donato in Collina on the descent 
from Castellina in Chianti.

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