Monday, June 30, 2014


Today should have been a day off, but I think Wednesday and Thursday may be off for other reasons, so with nice weather holding after a crazy rain storm last night, I took off for a short ride.  I went out the main road to Le Falle, just short of Sieci, and turned to go up through Monteloro to Olmo.  On the way, while eating my ride banana, another rider passed me.  I finished the banana, put some effort into it, then we worked together, actually taking turns out to my turn off.  It made for a fast ride, and was fun.  It seems unusual here for someone to take turns leading, so it was nice.

The Monteloro climb was great as always, and at the top I decided to continue the climb to descend Via Faentina through Olmo, Caldine, Pian de Mugnone, to Le Cure, then home.  Really nice descent, so quite fun as always.  Today is Viola's last day of school, so when I pick her up in an hour or so, we will meet Emily and Torrio for a celebration ice cream sundae.  Ciao.

Sieci, Monteloro, Caldine, Firenze by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

It is a pretty road up to Monteloro, mostly in the shade.

Always nice to see some new floor on the way up.

The stone farm house on the hillside caught my attention.

A new water source in Monteloro.  3 taps for different
temperature water and different uses.  Nice.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Calenzano, Passo della Futa con squadra. Sweet!

Up very early after another party last night for a ride with the team.  I simply have to do my yoga / stretching routine before a hard ride, so it was 5 am for me today.  It is nice that Emily and I have enough invitations lately to become tired with parties / dinners / etc. but it is catching up with me.  We met at the Cascine and had 8 of us, a pretty good number for the end of June.  This time of year, Florentines start to vacation elsewhere to escape the heat.  I was only expecting around 4 to 6, so 8 was nice.  We had a fairly hard ride planned today, and rode out to Calenzano from the Cascine together.  As we started up the road to our first pass, Croci alle Calenzano, we saw a group of around 20 to 30 in front of us.  Davide, who was leading us, put more effort into the pace, and most of us were with the big group until everything broke apart when the climb got hard.

Things change with time, and instead of struggling to stay with a group, I now enjoy it, and when the climb got steep, I was actually in the lead group of 4, which ended up being 3, although the other 2 dropped me about a kilometer from the top.  Anyway, I pushed this climb pretty hard and enjoyed the effort.  We waited at the top for everyone, and after 15 minutes or so, everyone but Margerita was at the top, and Amanda told us that she decided to turn around.  I hope the fast pace with the group did not convince her to turn around.  She is usually quite strong riding, so I am thinking it must be something else.

We descended toward Barberino, then started the climb to Futa.  The first part after Barberino, which after around 6 kilometers connects with the main road is just a special climb.  Beautiful road, great surface, curving all the time, at a pretty consistent 5% or so.  I love this road.  We hooked up with the main road to the Passo, and I stayed with Amanda the rest of the climb to the pass.  She had told me at the top of the first pass that she was concerned she might be too slow, and thought she might turn around.  I encouraged her to keep going, and thought after a hard effort on the first part of the climb, that I could ease the pace and stay with her.  It was nice and I had a chance to get to know her a little more.

At the top of the pass, we did some pictures, had a short discussion of the route home, and took of back down the road we climbed.  We turned off after a couple of kilometers and rode down through Panna (with a little climb), Galliano, toward Vaglia.  Somehow we mixed signals with a couple of guys on the route, and had to wait, call, etc. at the rotunda that puts you on the Vaglia road.  We all got back together, but only stayed together a little while as a few folks were getting quite tired.  I stayed with Davide and Andrea and we pushed a nice pace to the start of the steep part of the climb.  Surprisingly I dropped Davide, and then around 250 meters before the top also dropped Andrea.  I felt good at the top, and the three of us waited around 1/2 hour for the others.  This climb is one that seems to just hurt people when they are tired.  I have seen it happen many times now, and today it continued.  We descended Via Bolognese back to town, and I soon was saying Ciao Ragazzi at my front door.  I love the ride today and the team is a fun group to ride with.  Ciao a tutti.

Calenzano, Barberino, Futa, Panna, Vaglia, Firenze con squadra by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Leaving Firenze on the way to Calenzano on the start of out ride
early this morning.  Excellent ride tutti!

Really sorry about the picture quality, I must have smudged
the lens.  Anyway, this is the squadra at Passo della Futa
with a cool monument to Gaston Nencini.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Chianti tour with Dave Raymond - beautiful day!

I had a surprise email last night, around 10 pm of a referral from Dominick for a person who wanted to ride today.  It basically worked, and with a few emails, I went to bed at midnight thinking it would probably work this morning.  I had a confirmation email around 8 and met Dave Raymond at Florence by Bike at 9.  It turns out he was on the Ford Motor Canada group ride that I took out in April.  We got a bike rented, pedals on it, and we were off.  From our day in April, I remembered that Dave was a strong rider, so we went out of town pretty fast.  Our through Piazza Ferrucci, the up and over to Ponte a Ema, accessing the back road to Vacciano.

Here we left the city and started our first real climb.  To this point, Dave was right on my tail no matter how hard I pushed.  On the climb, both the local knowledge and my abilities climbing made it apparent that I would not be pushed too hard today.  Before the climb I had told Dave that if he was faster than I we could work something out so he could go faster.  But with so many climbs, we settled into a really nice pace for the whole ride, and I just had to back it off a little on the climbs.  We continued on up to Impruneta, stopping for a cafe in the town square.  We descended toward Falciani on new pavement, then hooked up to climb through Luiano toward Mercatale.  We descended, then climbed to Montefiridolfi and took a very short break and filling our water bottles.  We rode across the pretty ridge road, then descended to the main road below.

I gave him the last option talk, and he wanted to add in San Pancrazio, so we went through Ponte Rotto, then climbed to San Pancrazio.  More water there, then over through San Quirico to Montagnana, then descending fast to Cerbia.  Dave was tiring on the climb to Chiesanuova, and we stopped at the top for more water.  We made a good pace over, then down to Scandicci, then back to Florence by Bike.  Great job, Dave, and thanks for the business.  I love staying busy.  Ciao.

Chianti hills with Dave Raymond - great tour! by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Here, Dave is finishing the climb above Vacciano, at least the steep part.

Here is Dave enjoying the short flat section between Vacciano 
and San Gersole.  What a beautiful morning.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Great ride through La Panca and San Polo on a perfect late June day.

I got out around 11, and with muy commitment to pick up Viola after school, I had a maximum of 4 hours to ride.  I had La Panca in mind, and checked my old times on Garmin, and found out the last time I rode this was with Nate and Tina in early May.  I had plenty of time, so I was off for one of my favorite rides.  I rode out through Ponte a Ema, then up Via Carota to Osteria Nuova.  At the butcher's this morning, he was telling me about a monument to Gino Bartali on the way up from Osteria Nuova, and I paid attention today, and there it was.  Kind of cool.  Gino Bartali is a great story and a real Italian hero.

Up to San Donato in Collina, with a fast average speed of 20.6, which is good for me.  I really enjoyed the descent after getting water in San Donato, then a few ups and downs to Incisa.  A short stretch on the flats in a kind of industrial area, then you get the turn toward Greve and Passo de Sugame.  The road work is finished and there are two new round a bouts, and they work quite well.  Such a nice, gradual climb to Dudda, where I got more water, then continued climbing to the turn for La Panca.  A short descent, fun, then the completion of the climb to La Panca.  I just love the descent from there, simply a Tuscan classic.  Like a lot of things today, kind of perfect.  I am blessed.  I had time, so I continued descending from the junction to Strada, then climbed to San Polo, where I had a cafe in a favorite bar.  The last real climb to the little pass on the way to Capanuccia, then a fun, long descent to Grassina.  Back home through Cinque Vie.  Fun ride today.

San Donato, La Panca, Firenze - solo - perfect weather by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

I love the climb up to Dudda from Figline.  Beautiful road on
a beautiful day.  

A really special, beautiful road and climb to La Panca.

A villa on the hill close to La Panca on the short climb after the turn off.

Fiat 500 tour, ride, and concert make for a full day.

Yesterday was really another rest day, as I had bought a voucher for a tour in classic cinque centos for Emily as an anniversary present.  She had mentioned many times that it looked like fun.  We met at a place in town and with a group of 5 cinque centos and around 6 Vespas, a guide took us on a very nice tour.  It was fun and interesting.  The old cars worked pretty well, and the service and tour the "Walkabout Tours" company were really quite good.  We finished with a very nice lunch in the city with only a little driving to return the vehicles.

We met some friends for a concert and dinner later, but I found an hour or so to get a ride in.  I am still calling it a rest day, as the ride was basically a one hour mental health piece for me.  I am just a happier person when I get a workout in, particularly on my bike.  The concert was really fun with a pianist and cellist in an old palazzo / museum.  Very intimate and just fun to be there listening to the music in such a wonderful setting.  I am feeling lucky to have the opportunity to do all this.  Ciao.

Quick 1 hour ride to the North - just right on a busy day. by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Emily and I on our first break close to San Miniato.

A view of the beautiful countryside just outside of Florence.

The cinque centos in a line at a break for views
on Pian de Guiliari.

After returning to town we enjoyed a great lunch at Zeb, a wonderful
spot in the San Niccolo neighborhood.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Nice tour in Chianti with the Balbach and Jones families.

A long day yesterday, but a nice tour with two families from Buffalo, New York.  We loaded the bikes and I got a list of which bikes (they are numbered) went with which person the night before at Florence by Bike, which is our team sponsor and a great place to rent bikes.  The vans picked Leif and I up at my apartment, as I had done the water, snacks, etc., a little before 8.  We drove out to Radda, and had time to stop for a cafe in Greve.  We arrived at the hotel, a little early, and Leif and I went to the reception desk and the people there knew him and offered us more cafe.  Perche no (why not).  The two families then found us, as we were the only people there in riding kits, and we went out to the vans.  I rode my bike over to a gas station at our starting point, just below Radda, and met the vans there.

We got everyone on their bikes, fitted, explained the gear shifting, and were off pretty quickly.  The two fathers were pretty pro active helping get helmets and bikes fitted, which was great.  Leif and I had discussed routes, and were pretty much in agreement, and we set off to descend to Lucarelli.  With a boy who is 7, a girl 8, and another girl 10, we were a little concerned about keeping everyone safe and happy on the bikes.  We talked with the parents and the kids, and basically we had nothing to worry about.  Everyone did fine.  We descended to Lucarelli with a couple of stops to re-group, then climbed to the road between Panzano and Castellina.  We definitely needed a few stops on the climb, and a few people decided to let the van take them up some of the climb, but everyone arrived happy.

We set off on the bigger road and descended to the turn off for La Piazza.  We stopped again there and I explained that we would have a much more difficult climb here, but if people wanted to use the vans, around 2/3 the way up, the road mellowed to an easy climb.  4 of 9 decided to climb with me, and the rest were in the vans.  We all regrouped to finish the last easy climb, then loaded the bikes in the vans to go to Podere La Capella for a wonderful lunch with their own wines.  The lunch there is simply fantastic, and the wines excellent.  They are a very small vineyard, in good years around 20,000 bottles, but the wine is very good.  After lunch the clients bought some wine and arranged shipment to the US.  We then took everyone in vans to Siena, dropped the clients off, then returned to Firenze.  Dropped the bikes at Florence by Bike, checked everything in - helmets, pump, tools, etc., and then back to my apartment.  I was home by 6:30 which makes for a long day.

Yesterday was the Festa de San Giovanni in Florence, with San Giovanni being the patron saint of Florence.  This means a day off and a truly excellent fireworks display, which Emily and I watched from our terrace.  Good day, but tired by 11:30 when sleep finally called.  Ciao.

Balbach / Jones families Chianti Tour for Dominick by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Leif, my fellow guide, with Robbie and Becki, our two van drivers
for the day at the hotel in Radda, waiting for our clients.

Part of the gang of 9 (two families) on the way to Lucarelli from Radda.

A quick break in Lucarelli and regroup for our first real climbing
of the day.  The youngest, Finn (7) and Haley(8) did fine.

The group was a little smaller with some in the van when 
we did the last climb in the La Piazza area.  Beautiful day!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Nice 2 hours in the hills north of Florence.

I was think about a day off, but the weather was good - a little hot, but not too hot - and tomorrow I do a van supported tour, which is a whole day of work, but not much riding, so I thought, how about a couple of hours close in.  Not too fast, I thought, not too much climbing, but that changed with the route.  I rode out through Le Cure, the up Via Faentina to Olmo.  I decided to ride over to Bivigliano, then down / over / up through Viliano and Casellina to the road to Pratolino.  When I got there, I did not really want to descend on Via Bolognese, so I took the road over toward Monte Morello and turned off to descend on the tiny, slightly rough road to the church above Cercina.  From there, a favorite descent to Carigge, then around Carigge to Piazza Giogini and home.  Fun ride and good to get out there.

2 hour ride in the hills North of town - perfect. by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

I have always loved this road over to Bivigliano from Olmo.  Today, 
part of the hillside was covered in yellow flowers.  

The little piazza as you come into Bivigliano has a nice water 
source, and this nice view to the west.  

Today, I took this little road that drops down to the church above
Cercina from the Monte Morello road.  At one point there is a 
little climb, then the road drops and you see this view of the city.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Excellent raduno con squadra.

It had been a few weeks since may last raduno, a multi-group ride that one of the teams sponsors.  Today's was really fun on a great course.  We met at Santa Maria Novella, at Fratellanza Militare, the sponsoring team.  Sign up was easy, and we had a group of 7, which eventually became 8 in Panzano.  A group started pretty close to 8, and we followed.  A few of our group was dropped on the climb toward Galluzzo, but I stayed with Danelle until we were getting close to Tavernuzze.  I slowed considerably, as I figured we would wait anyway, and Danelle and Jean Lu went to get the lead group.  Eventually Davide and Jean Pietro caught me, and we took off.  Jean Pietro was soon dropped, and Davide said we should wait in Greve or Panzano.

Davide is a very strong rider, and really pulled us back to the lead group, averaging around 45 kph on a slight incline, which is fast for me.  We caught the lead group of around 40, and located Danelle and Jean Lu.  We stayed with the lead group, but it slowed considerably just after Greti, and Davide took off again, and the four of us stayed together.  Danelle wanted to continue up to Panzano before waiting, so we hit it pretty hard.  We were easily the first from the raduno in Panzano, had a cafe, and waited for the rest of the team.  Marco Pasquini rode up after around 20 minutes and said he had not seen the other 3.  We decided they had done the short course, and took off to finish the ride.  A great descent follows to the valley where we turned off to climb through La Piazza to San Donato in Poggio.

This is a great road, super scenic, tiny, and twisty for around 10 kilometers.  A couple parts of the road climb pretty strong, but mostly it is a gradual climb / contour.   Really, just a very nice ride on a perfect late June day.  We slowly passed a number of people in the raduno who had gone ahead of us while we waited in Panzano.  After the sweet descent to Bargino, we did the final climb to San Casciano, then descended to Falciani to connect with the same road we came out on.  We hooked up with another team from Campi Bisenzio, and they pulled us into town, before they branched off toward Scandicci, while we rode back into the centro.  The food and pasta were quite good at the finish, and we even ended up with a rather large trophy.  Fun day and great ride, ragazzi!

Raduno con squadra - Panzano, La Piazza, San Casciano, Fi. by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

David and I slowed for a while at the start to stay with a couple
of others.  They had told David they were doing the short course
so he took off and I stayed with him as he pulled us both
back to the lead group.  Awesome work, David.

Our remaining group doing the long course from the 
team, in the shade (ombra) on the way to La Piazza.

Another shot of our group climbing toward San Donato.  
What a beautiful road and beautiful day.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Consuma, Vallombrosa con squadra.

We met at 7:30 for an early start, and were off by 7:45, after waiting for a person who was running late.  We stayed together pretty good out to Pontasieve, with many discussions about which of the 3 possibilities to climb to Vallombrosa, our objective for the ride.  My favorite is from San Ellero, through Donnini, to Tosi, then Vallombrosa, but it is the hardest of the 3, and people were looking for the easiest.  Going up to Passo della Consuma was decided upon, although I did not know that for sure until we were at the turn point, as the whole conversation was in Italian, and I could mostly understand, but as it went on, I tuned out.  We had a nice ride up Consuma.  Davide, Jean Lu, and I stayed together for the first 1/3 of the climb, then Davide and I stayed together for another 1/3, then Davide dropped me as well.  Davide was waiting at the turn to Vallombrosa, and I joined him there.  We waited around 15 minutes for Jean Lu, then another 15 for the rest, then we all continued up to the pass.

Pictures, a cafe and snacks, and we were off to Vallombrosa.  I really like the road over to Vallombrosa, but it is not good pavement, but as a former mountain biker, I don't have any problem with it.  Behind me, one of the team had a flat, so as I waited in Vallombrosa, I turned around to see what happened, and caught them around 5 kilometers behind me.   More water in Vallombrosa, then the awesome descent to Tosi, then continuing to Pelago, where the descent is interrupted with a short climb, then finishing the descent to Pontasieve.  We detoured over to Rosano to return to Firenze on a different road.  Really fun morning and great ride, team.  Ciao a tutti.

Consuma, Vallombrosa, Tosi, Pelago con squadra by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

A couple of pictures of the awesome views on the way up
Passo della Consuma.  Wow, what a beautiful morning.

Vineyards, long views, mountains in the distance - what 
more could one ask for?

Davide, Jean Lu, and Margherita at Passo della Consuma.

The squadra, minus me, the photographer, at Passo della Consuma.

On the road over to Vallombrosa, there is this very tasty and
pretty water source.  Che Bella!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Great morning ride with Luca L returning from an injury.

A friend from the team, Luca Lacalamita, injured his hand in a granfondo in late April.  He had surgery, and it was in a cast for a month.  But around 7 weeks after the crash, he is back on his bike, and actually has been for a little over a week.  He had a friend, who is a trainer, give him some dvds to use on stationary rollers, while he could not get out, so he was really very fit today.  I had seen a few strava posts with him riding, really quite fast, so I texted him and we set up a ride today.

We met a Piazza Liberta, and went out through Ponte a Ema, and up through Vacciano and San Gersole to Impruneta, where we continued following the main road through Strada to the turn off for La Panca.  I normally descend this road, as it is one of my favorite descents in the whole area, but today we climbed.  The same things that make it a great descent make it a great climb.  Quite gradual, which lots of curves, it is a sweet ascent.  After La Panca, there is a little downhill, maybe a kilometer, then you climb to hook up with the Passo Sugame road and climb to the top of the pass.  This is another of my favorite roads, as it is just super scenic, and a nice climb.  A sweet descent follows into Greve, then a stop for a cafe, followed by the fast 35 kilometer push on a gradually descending road back to Firenze.  Great ride and great to see Luca back out on the bike, even if he can kick me around a little.  Ciao.

San Gersole, Strada, La Panca, Greve, Firenze with Luca L by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

A nice view from the park in La Panca toward the East.

Luca at the little park in La Panca where the water fountain is.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sette Ponte - great ride!

My energy is back today, and I did a planned relatively long ride.  I had not done my version of Sette Ponte in a while, and it is one of my favorites, so I did it today.  I did my usual route for this ride with one change.  I enjoy going out through Ponte a Ema and up Via Carota to Osteria Nuova, then up and over San Donato and down to the turn toward the outlet malls.  I ride around the outlet malls, on both sides of the river, then over through Mattissino and keep taking the roads to Castelfranco di Sopra.  The sette ponte road starts for me here, and it is basically pure enjoyment over to Regello.

In Regello, I always stop for a cafe and pastry, and today it was perfect.  The weather is totally cooperating right now with highs around 80.  It threatened rain after Regello, but never happened.  After Regello, a lot of ups and downs over to Donnini, then a good climb to Tosi.  After Tosi, it is mostly downhill, and today I turned off in Paterno and took the little road down to Carbonile, then the main road back to Pontasieve, and power rode home to Firenze.  I had around 6k on the main road behind a guy who pulled at a very nice pace of around 45kph - sweet.  Fun ride and great to have my energy back.  Ciao.

San Donato in Collina, Sette Ponte, Tosi, Carbonile, Firenze by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Coming up to Castelfranco di Sopra.  The gate is straight ahead.

A classic sign with the road curving ahead on strada Sette Ponte.

The church in Pian de Scio.  I never stop here, but like the half
circle extensions on the church.  

Trying to show what the road is like.  You can see a couple of curves
just below, and across the valley the road before it crosses the drainage.

The typical landscape on Sette Ponte.

A view back toward the Chianti hills from the Strada Sette Ponte.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Vincigliata on a low energy day.

I was thinking about a day off, as I am pretty low on energy.  The weather today is really great, and I gave a short ride a try.  As always, it was great to be out riding.  I often end up much more energetic after forcing myself to ride than before, but today, it is pretty much the same.  Either way, a good ride, close to home with a fair amount of climbing.  I started with my now standard route to San Domenico, through Le Cure on a back road.  I connect to the main road to Fiesole, then turn off to descend to the start of the Vincigliata climb.  Over to the Fiesole road, and I gave it a little thought to extend the ride to Olmo, but I am planning on a longish ride tomorrow, so I went down to Fiesole, then took the WCI descent to Pian de Mugnone, then back to Le Cure and home.  More energy tomorrow, and I think Sette Ponte.  Ciao.

Vincigliata, Fiesole, Pian de Mugnone, searching for energy by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

This is the start of the climb through Vincigliata.  What 
a beautiful little road.  Fun to ride!

A beautiful villa on the road toward Fiesole.

A view toward Fiesole on the road above Vincigliata.

Chianti Classico, van supported, with the Biscoe family.

Up relatively early for a van supported tour for Dominick starting just outside of Tavernelle.  I was picked up by the van after loading the bikes the night before with the driver, Leonardo.  I had not done a tour with Leonardo before, but he is Robbie's son, and was easy and a pleasure to work with.  We were off to Tavernelle, and arrived in time to have a cafe and pastry at a bar.  Then it was off to pick up the Biscoe family at a beautiful Agriturismo.  We unloaded the bikes, set everything up, then met the family.  I fitted everyone on bikes, reviewed the shifting, and we were off.  It was a fun day with a family with multiple celebrations going on.  The parents were celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary, the oldest son had gotten engaged 6 weeks ago, the middle son just graduated college, and the youngest, a daughter, just graduated high school.  Lots to be happy about, which inspired their trip.

We started at the Agriturismo, then rode through Tavernelle, over to Barberino, then to the turn off for Certaldo.  We regrouped a few times, as a couple of them were a little slower.  We really enjoyed the ride over and down to Certaldo, which took us a total of around 2 hours.  We had no real lunch plans, and they were not interested in a big sit down lunch, so we packed the bikes back up on the van and drove over to San Donato in Poggio, where we started again.  Up, the down, then up, then down through La Piazza to the start of the little climb toward Panzano.  The skies got quite dark, and rain started, but the van was just around the corner, so they loaded into the van and Leonardo and I loaded the bikes on the van.  We drove over to Lucarelli, which was my plan to ride to, and stopped for some excellent paninis.  Most of us had a cafe after lunch, then we returned to the Agriturismo via the COOP in Tavernelle.  After they did some shopping, we dropped them off, returned to Firenze, returned the bikes, and I was back home around 5:30.  I was tired, so I put off the blog for yesterday until this morning.  Ciao.

Van Supported Chianti Classico tour with the Biscoe Family by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

The youngest in the family just graduated from High School.

Mom, looking fit and strong at the start of the tour.

Getting started, I had a chance for a few action photos.

Time to regroup and have a photo op.  Here they are just after the
turn off from Barberino.

Here is the family at the little chapel between Barberino and Certaldo
with the 1/8 scale dome of the Duomo in Firenze.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Fun day, difficult weather, and beautiful but difficult ride at the Ciclotour de Mugello.

I am a day late, but I was exhausted last night after getting up at 4 am, a long ride, a party for Father's day at Kate's, then preparing for a tour for Dominick that I took out today, which I will blog about tomorrow.  Anyway, here is a post for yesterday.  I am going to let the pictures, with more description than normal, tell most of the story.  Basically, it turned into a super fun ride, on one of the best organized events I have done here.  Kudos to the people involved, even if the turn out was quite low because of some really rotten weather at the start.  Great ride, great day, and still fun to be here and participating in these types of events.

Ciclotour de Mugello - 2 big passes, rain, and lots of fun. by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

We started with 8 from the team at our meeting spot.  One dropped even before we drove to the Mugello, as it was raining lightly in Florence at 6 am, our meeting time.  Here are 6 of us after doing our circuit through the autodromo Mugello, a famous race track for motorsports.  It was really fun to ride the whole track, which was around 8 kilometers.  After this picture, another 4 dropped out, as it was raining pretty hard, leaving 3 of us for the Medio course.

The event was really well organized.  This picture is of one of 3 ristoros in Firenzuola.  A beautiful little town, and here we had lots of great energy food and drink to choose from.  With the weather, the turn out was quite low, so the volunteers outnumbered the riders here by 2 to 1.  

Another ristoro at a tiny badia in the countryside on a really nice, but difficult, route from Firenzuola to the main road to Passo Giogo, which we hooked up with around 3/4 the way up.  Tiny roads, beautiful scenery, and helpful happy volunteers made it nice.

After the little ristoro, we had a fair amount more of the tiny backroad with beautiful scenery.  Here are David and Paolo ahead of me, just after the stop.  The rain stopped after about one hour, but it stayed cool and very cloudy.  Fog at the top of the first big pass, Passo della Futa.

My bike with the rain shell waiting for me to put on at the top of the last climb, the Passo dei Giogo.  David and i had around 5 minutes to wait for Paolo, which allowed for time for the photo.  

Here are the three of us, with my bike in the foreground at the finish.  We had a local person take the photo, and he took one, then said, the "Willier" must be in the photo also, then took this one.  The Italians take their bikes, in particular ones made in Italy, seriously.