Thursday, July 31, 2014

Giro de Mugello with the Marcoiano climb.

Back in the saddle after a few days doing the beach / babysitting thing.  Nice time at the beach, even if it was a little rainy / cool.  We have had a cool and slightly rainy summer so far, which is fine with me, as the normal heat is more difficult for me than a little rain.  Anyway, home yesterday around 5 or so after helping Kate pack the place they rented for July in the two cars, getting everything back to their apartment in Florence, and finally getting home.  The month was great for I think all of us with Emily and I babysitting two days a week and staying 3 days there.  We were able to be a great help and get some real beach time in, which is Emily's favorite place.  With more time there and more trips, I am even getting used to the "Bagno" scene at the beach and starting to appreciate it, even if it is quite different than what I am used to in the US.

Mark S is visiting from San Francisco for a couple of months, and we rode a few days together last summer, but had not been able to hook up this trip.  He had commented a couple of times on Strava posts that he would like to do a tour in the mugello, over to Firenzuola, so I wrote and suggested today to see if it would work out.  I had spoken to Leif about it when we did the tour for Dominick last Saturday, so we were set for today.  Neither Leif nor Mark wanted to do the whole tour, so we did the San Agata tour instead.  I mentioned there was a particularly difficult climb we could add and Mark S was very into it.  So, we added the Marcoiano climb, which is always a challenge for me.  The garmin shows it at over 30 % in the steepest place, so it is some work.

We all made the climb, but Leif was a little beat up by it.  We returned to Florence by way of the Bosco Ai Frati road, one of my favorites, and stopped in San Piero for a couple of bananas for Leif, which got him back in a good place.  The climb to Pratolino was fine, and we cruised back into town on Via Bolognese.  Mark S is a very strong rider, and pulled us in to Vaglia quite well.  We may hook up again next week, but we shall see.  Good to be back on the bike in Firenze again.  Ciao.

Fiesole, San Agata, Marcoiano, Bosco Ai Frati, Vaglia, Firenze by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

I only took a couple of pictures today, both of Leif and Mark ahead
of me on the super pretty little road just past Bosco Ai Frati.  
Great tour today, guys.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

2 rides after returning to Firenze.

Yesterday, after a day of traveling to return from the Dolomites, I was up and ready for a whole day tour for Dominick's company.  Two families who grew up a couple houses away from Dom, along with his Swiss lawyer made up the group.  We had some pretty young kids, which took attention, but everyone did great.  We rode the short remainder up to Croce alle Vetta, then descended toward Borgo San Lorenzo, then over on the nice route to Dicomano.  I really expected to have at least 1/2 the group in the vans by the time we reached Dicomano, but everyone hung in there and actually got faster and stronger as we continued riding.  In particular, Sophia, one of the twins, who is 9, had a bike that was too big for her, but the smallest bike we had.  Many people were telling her what to do, but eventually we got going, and I rode with her, and gradually by changing the subject to school, friends, etc., got her to relax, and before you knew it she had a huge smile on her face and probably had as much fun as anyone on the tour.

When we reached Dicomano, we had an enormous BBQ at Dominick's in-laws house with his wife Laura and their daughter Emma, whose birthday was being celebrated.  A wonderful, huge meal, and a fun, but long day.  Lots of presents, fun with Nonna Anna and Nonno Luigi, Laura's parents, and fun with the Jersey crew that Dom grew up with.  Great tour and fun day.  Thanks to all.

Melli families to Dicomano with Dom, Leif, and Rebecca by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

The whole gang ready to start just outside the "Casa de Proscuitto"
Big group of two families, Dominick, his lawyer and three guides.

A quick action shot of the group I was caring for on the descent from
Vetta alle Croce.  8 year old twins made this a little difficult, but they
did great and it ended up being quite fun.

I skipped the team ride this morning, as the day we traveled from Ortesei to return to Firenze, we literally had 20 minutes at the apartment before we left for a party for a friend of Emily's who was returning to the US after 3 years here.  So, home from that after midnight, then the whole day tour with Dom and crew yesterday - left here at 8:30 and was not home until 7:30 at night - and I did not really have the energy to get up at 5 to do yoga, etc., before meeting for the team ride.  I did a few errands, then suited up and was off for a nice, relaxed solo ride.  I went out through Badia a Ripoli, then Ponte a Ema, taking Via Carota up to Osteria Nuova.  I pushed the pace, with a tailwind most of the way to San Donato and had a personal record.

Excellent descent with a couple of hill climbs and I was in Incisa filling up my water from a new purified fountain there.  Over to Figline, then the super nice climb toward Passo de Sugame, but I turned off above Dudda to enjoy the route through La Panca, one of my favorites.  Back home the direct way through Strada, Ponte a Ema, and home.  Nice 3 hour crank, and nice to be home.  Sorry I missed the team ride, but it worked well for me today.  Ciao.

Carota, San Donato, Figline, La Panca, Strada, Firenze by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

View through the trees on some hillside vineyards on the last 
part of the climb to La Panca.

A beautiful sculpture and flowering tree in the park in La Panca
where I get water at a fountain just out of the frame to the right.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Last day riding the Dolomiti this year - three passes and return of the bike.

I returned the rental bike today after a last ride here this year.  What a fun, but tiring, place to ride a bike.  I had a couple of options and choose the longer one.  I ended up doing around 2/3 of what is called the "Sella Ronda".  I started by climbing Passo della Sella, the same as yesterday, with nice cool weather and pretty blue skies.  As I approached the pass, the clouds came in, but never really threatened rain all day.  After Passo Sella, I really enjoyed the descent to the start of the Passo Pordoi climb.  I descended this yesterday, and with that experience, I let it go a little more.  I turned off around 1/2 the way down to climb to Passo Pordoi.  I had descended this a couple of times before, and on my first day here, did the descent toward the end of my day.  It seemed steep descending, and I was a little anxious about the climb.  After the last three days, my legs were a little tired.

It ended up much easier than I expected, and probably the most enjoyable climb of the day.  One of the interesting parts of this route, is there is really no flat between where you turn off from the Sella descent to start the climb.  Nothing, not 50 meters, nothing.  Anyway, it was a very fun climb, then the Pordoi descent awaited.  This is one of the reasons I wanted to do this route.  I have climbed this classic a couple of times, but never descended it.  Well, see the picture below, it was a blast.  Sweeeet is all I can say.  Loved it.  At the base in Arrabba, I filled my water at the fountain, and even though there was maybe 100 meters of flat, the climb to Passo Campolunga came quickly.  I had not done this since last year, and recalled it was not too long.  It was pretty steep to start, the first 300 meters of climbing were a challenge, but only around 100 meters of vertical was left after the start, so I was at the top quickly.

Another reason I wanted to do this route was the descent from Campolunga.  I remembered the climb from last year as really beautiful with lots of switchbacks, and the switchbacks end right by the rental shop.  It was every bit as fun as I hoped, and I got back to the shop just as they were getting ready to close for lunch.  A couple of busses to get back, but it worked pretty well.  Super fun time riding here, and a day for hiking tomorrow.  Ciao.

Passo Sella, Pordoi, and Campolunga - last day riding the Dolomiti by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Almost at Passo della Sella, the hardest climb of the day at 
around 1000 meters of climbing in less than 15 k from the hotel.

Scenic photo, Passo Pordoi just ahead.

Beautiful scenery approaching Passo Pordoi.

One of the formations from the top of Passo Pordoi.

My favorite picture of the day, showing the descent from Passo Pordoi.  What a fun road,
and it just gets my adrenaline going to see the winding road below awaiting.

My last pass of the day, Campolongo.  The only pass sign today, as 
all the others have been on in the last few days.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Another great, big day in the Dolomiti.

I had good weather today and took advantage of it with a great ride in the Dolomiti.  For me, another big day, around 3100 meters of climbing in around 110 kilometers.  Most of the route was new for me, which adds some fun and a little anxiety as I take off for my days adventure.  Fun day, and I am too tired to describe too much, but will do a couple of observations and some captions for the pictures.  One fun thing was when I was descending from Passo Sella to Canezei,  I saw a Cannondale team car and around 10 riders climbing the big pass.  A few of them were obviously really going fast, and it was fun to see.  The weather was cool, but any rain held off until I returned to the hotel in Ortesei, living right today.  Until the last climb, I had on arm warmers and knee warmers with the gore-tex shell for descents.  I do like it cool, though.  Again, what a wonderful, but challenging place to ride a bike.  Sweeeeeeet!

Passo Sella, Costalunga, Niger, and Pinei, another big day in the Dolomiti by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Here we have the first of the four obligatory pictures of the signs at the
top of each pass - Passo Sella.

Passo Costalunga.

Passo Nigra

And finally, Passo Pinei.  I was pretty beat at the top of this one, as 
it was around a 1000 meter climb from where I joined the road, just
above Bolzano.

I stopped to take off some clothes and check the map on the way down
from Passo Nigra, and turned to see this view back up the valley.

This is the road in the valley, a slight down hill, which made for
some fast kilometers on the way to the turn off for Passo Costalunga.

The Dolomiti in the clouds at the top of the first climb at Passo Sella.

I took this picture just to verify that these crazy grades really do happen here.  28% - ouch.
Not on my route today, thank goodness.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Riding in the rain in Val Gardena

The predicted weather arrived today, and it was pretty rainy.  There were many times that it stopped and even looked to be clearing, and I decided to suit up and get going during one of these times.  By the time I was getting the bike out of the storage at the hotel and going out the doors, the rain had returned.  Not too hard, but hard enough to wait until it let up.  About 10 minutes later, I got started riding.  I have a pretty good map of the area, and was looking for a road to the other side of Passo Sella from Santa Christina through Monte Panna.  I found the Monte Panna road easily, and actually enjoyed the 12 to 20% climb to the ski lifts at the top.  Nice road, good pavement, and I enjoy the views on a cloudy, rainy day.  At the top, I checked out two possibilities of the road continuing, then took a third one that went another 1/2 kilometer before splitting into three that all either dead ended or one ended up a dirt road.

There is a beautiful hotel up there (it is around 400 vertical meters above the town), and I stopped for a cafe and some information.  After a little discussion, they told me the road did continue, but it became dirt at this point and was quite rough, perhaps suitable for a mountain bike, but not for a road bike, and probably not for any bike on a day like today.  I returned down the way I climbed, quite carefully, as roads do get slippery when wet, then went up a couple of spur roads in Santa Christina, then found a back road to the next town, Selva or Wolkenstein.  I wandered around Wolkenstein a little until I realized that the rain had really started to come down hard.  I finished another climb and descended to the main road to get home.  Although it had rained for most of the ride, it had not rained hard too much, and I was not on a main road when it did.  Anyway, on the way down, on the main road, with it pouring, it was the most difficult riding of the day.  Just to keep visibility and stay safe was a challenge.

All in all, a good ride, with a safe return.  As I returned to the hotel, the staff, which includes the owners, welcomed me back and even helped with hanging some of my wet clothes in a drying room.  I am getting a reputation at the hotel as a bit of a crazy eccentric cyclists.  Well, maybe that is true for both today and yesterday.  Hopefully better weather tomorrow will allow for a longer, dryer ride.

Wandering in the Val Gardena on a rainy day by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Searching for the road to continue, I rode up to this entry to a house
with this sculpture of a man collecting water that pours into a bucket,
then when the bucket fills he dumps it.  A working wood sculpture.

Rainy and slick, still a beautiful road at the top of the 
climb to Monte Panna.

After a cafe and some information about the road I was on, but then
wanted to continue on at a 4 star hotel, I returned to the bike and
noticed this cool sculpture of hands next to a ski lift on Monte Panna.

Above Wolkenstein, the road ended at this series of waterfalls.
The rain also really started to come down now.

5 passes in the Dolomiti with 12,000 vertical feet of climbing.

I went for a great ride in the Dolomiti yesterday, and it will probably be my biggest ride while I am here.  I was off on a bus relatively early to get to Corvara where I rented a bike for 4 or 5 days.  I could not find a reasonable road bike to rent closer, so I had a hour and one half bus ride to the shop.  The person there was waiting for me, and as I walked into the shop, he said, Mark Collins.  I have a pretty nice Merida Sculptura with shimano di2 while I am here.  We got the bike set up with pedals, I put a little pack on the seat, and organized my gear, and was off.  Rossano, the guy at the shop, was quite helpful, and reviewed my proposed route with me.  He said it was a very challenging day, but it was doable.  The bike set up is of course different than mine, and I had a little difficulty with my position as the day went on.  Basically, the distance to the bars from the seat is different, and without changing a stem, which is not reasonable for a rental bike, it was not going to change.  I believe we can all get used to different positions on the bike and am thinking that today it will feel more comfortable.

5 Passes in Dolomiti - Passo Giau the hardest by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

The weather is predicted to get worse and it is raining now, but yesterday, the prediction was as good as it was going to be, so I planned my most difficult ride of the trip.  From Corvara, I went downhill to a turn off for Passo Valparola toward Cortina.  Great start, a little time to warm up, and the first 8 kilometers or so of the climb to the pass was quite gentle.  Well, that was over, as the grade went up toward 10% for the last 5 kilometers of the climb.  The picture is from the first pass of the day, Passo Valparola.  A beautiful spot, and at this point, I was still full of energy.  

The second pass of the day, Falzarengo, was only a couple of kilometers from Valparola, and really involved very little additional climbing.  Still it counts as a second pass, and it was beautiful, with the descent toward Cortina ahead.

A great descent from Falzarengo, and around 3 kilometers from Cortina, I took the turn for the big event of the day, Passo Giau.  This is the big pass in the Maratona, and a number of teammates and friends have told me how difficult it is.  Rossano told me I would be riding it from the "easy" side, and that it should be fine.  Well, he was right, but soon after starting, there was a sign, which seemed to be pretty accurate, saying 10 to 12% grade for 6 kilometers.  Not easy in my book.  I got to the top of the pass in good spirits, and mostly enjoyed the climb.  The first picture is almost at the top, when the grade finally leveled out.

Passo Giau, hooray.  The place at the pass was very crowed with mostly motorcyclists, and I went in to get some water, but the line to pay looked to be around 15 minutes, and was moving slowly.  I decided to keep moving and I had a little water left anyway.  Soon after starting my descent, I stopped at a rifugio, and there was a spring water fountain that was perfect for refilling my water.  

At the bottom of the descent from Giau, I had a decision to make, at a junction to go to Passo Fedaia, or toward Arrabba.  I had always planned on letting the weather dictate my route after Giau, as thunderstorms were predicted for the afternoon.  As I approached the junction, it started to rain, and my decision was made.  Fedaia will have to wait.  It was a great decision, as it only rained for around 15 minutes, and then the skies partially cleared, as you can see in the photo below.  The road over to Arraba was great, and although I ended up gaining another 400 vertical meters, it mostly contoured a beautiful hillside / cliffside for around 20 kilometers.  Below is a picture of one of the many little towns on the contouring road.  

I knew there was a fountain in Arraba, and stopped for some water here, along with a head dunk, even if the temperatures were a little cool.  I even found someone to take a picture to post on the team Facebook page, as I was wearing our full kit to represent the team.  Next up, Passo Pordoi.

The climb up Passo Pordoi is a great ride, 38 numbered switchbacks, and for here a relatively gentle grade, averaging around 7%.  The last time I rode this, it was my favorite, but today, I was pretty tired by the time I got here.  On the way up, I was definitely running out of gas, and finished the food I had with me at the bottom of the climb.  I realized I was weaving a little on the way up, so I stopped at a rifugio and got some water, a slice of excellent cake, and a cafe.  That gave me some energy!  A nice descent to the fork in the road toward Passo Sella was next.  

Almost at the top of Passo Sella, I took this picture, as the rifugio at the top was set against some of the Dolomiti formations.  Che Bella!

Passo Sella, the last pass of the day, and I was pretty darn tired at this point.  I definitely did not have my fastest times climbing either Pordoi or Sella, but was quite happy to have made it up here.  Pretty much all downhill from here, and I was feeling good.  My garmin had 3113 meters of climbing, but from doing a number of competitive rides that have the elevation surveyed, I know it is about 15% low on the vertical.  So, I think I climb 3600 meters of elevation or around 12,000 feet.  My biggest climbing day ever.  What a gift and a pleasure to be here and to have the opportunity to ride in this awesome place.  Not sure what today will bring, as it is raining lightly, but it will be a shorter ride either way.  

Friday, July 18, 2014

A couple of rides and some beach time.

I had a nice ride today, as I did not have that much to catch up on before our trip to the Dolomiti tomorrow.  After a couple of days off, and with some serious riding awaiting in Ortesei, I decided on a fairly easy route, which was good, as the heat is back now.  Average temperature for the ride of 97 farenheit.  Yikes!  Out through the Cascine, then out the Signa, then Lastra a Signa, up the little pass, then down to Ginestra.  Water in Ginestra, both in the bottle and on my head.  From Ginestra it is a little ways up the valley to the turn to go to Montagnana on the tiny, fun road.  From Montagnana, today I headed on up the ridge to San Pancrazio (more water), then descended to Ponterotto.  Up to San Casciano, more water, then home through Chiesanuova and Scandicci.  Great ride and I am totally up for the riding in the Dolomiti.  

Just past the little pass between Lastra a Signa and Ginestra
this view shows the countryside and perhaps how hot it is now.

A view of the beautiful countryside on the road toward
Montagnana from Ginestra.

I had a wonderful 3 days with Emily, Kate for one day and the nights, and the grandchildren starting Tuesday late afternoon.  It is working out quite well this year for us to go up there for a few days with 2 days of babysitting.  Playing with Viola and Torrio in the sea is really fun, and very much reminds me of when I did the same kind of play with Kate and Ben.  Somehow, I don't really feel all that different.  I guess that is simply the nature of time passing.

On Tuesday I snuck a quick ride in close to home, a favorite short ride.  As always, a beautiful ride with a fair amount of climbing, that is the nature of the beast here.  No pictures, but here is the link for the ride.

Pian de San Bartolo, Cercina, Careggi, Firenze by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

A picture of the beach at Bagno Giovanni, where Kate, Nicco, and Nicco's brother and sister's
families also spend their beach time.  Nicco came here as a child as well.  Very different for
a Colorado boy, but it is really quite nice.  

Looking up the beach toward Pietra Santa from the tenda.

Ninni and Torrio playing on the entry steps to the apartment
Kate and Nicco are renting for the month.  Good fun and a needed
break from the beach in the middle of the day.

While Ninni and Torrio were playing on the steps, Viola had 
a doll, and was doing some imaginative play at the gate to the 
apartment from the street.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Close in Mugello hills after a morning rain storm.

It was raining pretty hard this morning and Lorenzo sent me and SMS to say, no ride today, rain.  Good call.  I did one of the errands I needed to do, then the skies were clearing and the roads drying out.  I finished a book I have been reading and the roads were dry.  I decided to get out for a ride for a few hours and went north of town trying not to repeat too much.  I pretty much succeeded, and had a great ride.  There are so many options here, one can usually put together a ride that is not a repeat of something in the last few weeks.  Great place to ride.

I climbed Via Faentina to Olmo, then to the turn off for Bivigliano.  Here you continue climbing, but it becomes more gradual as you get closer to Bivigliano.  A little descent, then a turn off for a tiny road over to Polcanto.  This is mostly downhill, but there are a few steep climbs and you end up climbing around 130 meters on the route to Polcanto.  From Polcanto, it is up to Vetta Ai Croci, then I went to the Monteloro turn off, took it and before the town of Monteloro, I turned off to climb Montefanna from the back, the easier side.  A great descent toward Fiesole, but I turned off to ride through Vincigliata on the way home.  Really sweet ride on a pretty perfect afternoon to get out.  Ciao.

Faentina, Bivigliano, Polcanto, Monteloro, Montefanna, Vincigliata, Firenze by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

A lovely avenue of trees welcomes you to Bivigliano.

What a beautiful little road just after Bivigliano before the 
turn off for Polcanto.

The view toward the mountains with Passo Giogo and Passo
della Futa on the way to Polcanto.

This cool abandoned villa / monastery? is on the tiny road 
between Bivigliano and Polcanto.  Che bella!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Impruneta, Strada meet and greet with the Walmboldts.

I did another meet and greet this morning for Dominick, which turned into the morning plus some.  It is a fun service to provide, as the clients by definition are doing some self guiding after I leave them.  So, they are typically relatively prepared, and reasonable cyclists.  Today, I met a couple from Canada, Reg and Leah.  They are off on a 3 day self guided tour, and I helped them at the shop with the bikes, some basic information, then guided them to Impruneta.  We had a cafe in Impruneta, and discussed their options.  They choose going through Chiocchio, and I was going to ride back through San Polo, so I continued guiding them toward Chiocchio to my turn off.  They were a very nice couple, and I think will have a great trip.  I reviewed the map and directions pretty well with Leah, and I think they will be fine.

After leaving them, I rode pretty hard to San Polo, then up and over the little pass to Cappanuccia, then through Grassina to Cinque Vie and back home on the viales.  All in all, a nice ride and a nice morning.  Meeting Lorenzo tomorrow morning to scout a possible new route for our raduno next spring, then off to the beach on Tuesday.  Ciao.

Walmboldt meet and greet - Impruneta, San Polo, Grassina, Firenze by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Reg, slowly but surely tackles the hill to Impruneta.

Leah, arriving at a good waiting location to wait for Reg.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Fun team ride to San Baronto.

Super fun team ride this morning.  I wasn't expecting too many, as it is the middle of July and the seaside beckons, but we had a large group of 10 and with a little pushing, capitano Davide, picked the tour to San Baronto.  Agnese with a brand new bike - sweet, and Moreno back for a full tour with the team for the first time that I know of since his crash in Mid-December.  We cranked out to Montelupo pretty fast, but modulated speed so we could more or less stay together.  In Montelupo, Andrea Volpi realized that his rear derailleur was not working, so he had to turn around.  Jean Lu and I stopped with him, and I pulled us back to the group with some reasonably hard work.  We were back together before the turn off for the little back road to Vinci, and all enjoyed the great route there.

From Vinci, the climb to San Baronto starts immediately.  What a great climb - with only one or two exceptions, around 2 to 3% steady grade for 14 kilometers.  Amanda immediately put the hammer down, and Leif and I looked at each other and slowly caught her, then passed her.  She had put a fair amount of effort into the start, and we did not see her again until the top.  We rode together at a nice pace, then Jean Lu came by hanging with a couple of riders from a different team.  Leif and I continued at our own pace, pretty fast, but not too fast.  Davide came by us slowly, and I thought, let's use him to crank to the top.  We all three stayed together for around 2/3 the remainder of the climb when Davide stepped it up, and I stayed with him, but we dropped Leif pretty good.  We were at the top quickly, and Davide bought cafe for Jean Lu, Leif, Me and himself.  Eventually all were up at the top, and had cafe, etc.

It is a really fun cycling scene at this little town.  I probably saw around 150 to 200 cyclists while waiting / having a cafe / etc. come through.  Maybe the fact that it is such a nice, user friendly climb makes this happen.  Lots of people are not that happy with 10 to 15% climbs.  Anyway, a fun place to cycle to on weekends.  We returned through Quarrata, which gives you a very nice descent before a long, basically flat stretch of around 35 kilometers back to Florence.  I stopped just past the top to get some water, and when I set out I quickly caught another rider who was stuck behind a camper.  We both were stuck for a while, but around 1/2 way down we had a little window to pass and then it was on for a fast descent.  We caught the group a little ways toward Quarrata, and the other rider basically stayed with us around 3/4 the way back.  At a certain point Agnese and Moreno had enough of a fast pace and said to go on ahead, as Leif and I were waiting and helping lead them back.  Laura dropped back to ride with them as they all live in the Scandicci / Lastra area.  The rest of us powered back into town for a fun ride.  Great morning.

Montelupo, Vinci, San Baronto, Quarrata, Firenze con squadra by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

The team on the way to Lastra a Signa with an early morning start.

The sunflowers on the way to Montelupo were amazing.

There is this fun and interesting cycling scene in San Baronto.
On a weekend morning, like today, as we had a cafe and waited
for our whole group at the top, I probably saw around 100 cyclists
coming from both directions to and through this little spot.

Great view to the south from San Baronto.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Time at the beach, and a client tour Friday.

Hopefully, and interesting post today.  I am starting with a quick recap of the last 3 days in Forte dei Marmi, spending time with Kate and the kids at the beach.  We even had Nicco there the first night for a nice dinner, but he was back to Firenze for work on Tuesday morning.  We took the train up to Pietrasanta on Monday afternoon, then spent 3 nights and 3 days there.  Kate worked on Tuesday and Thursday, so we had babysitting duty all day both days.  Although it takes lots of energy to keep up with and do what you can to get them to "behave", it was a super fun 3 days.  We had some pretty wild weather, which made going to the beach fun with some bigger waves and a different scene than when it is sunny and warm.  Both kids were into running in the waves and having fun when the sea was a little wild.  Great to do this with grandchildren.  It really brings back memories of raising Kate and Ben and our adventures to the ocean.    

Viola, "painting" a tree at the front door.

Torrio, hard at work painting one of the house walls.

It's quite a scene at Bagno Giovanni, with the annual
kid's lunch just getting started, in Forte dei Marmi.

Anyway, back home late - around 10 pm - Thursday night, and I had a client tour this morning (Friday).  I was up by 7, glad that it was not a really early meeting time, and met the clients for Dominick's meet and greet service.  Dom's company transfers luggage, tools, pump, etc. to a couple of hotels as the clients do a self guided tour to each spot, then do a day or two in each location.  I meet them at the shop, help with bike rentals and set up, go over their routes, then guide them out of the city and up to Impruneta, where we have a cafe, then they are on their own.  Today, it went well, and the clients were nice and easy to deal with, along with being attentive riders.  I think they need this attitude and awareness to do the self guided tour, so it is kind of fun.  We basically went out of town via Piazzale Michaelangelo, then up to Poggio Imperiale, down to Galluzzo, then up to Impruneta.

I dropped them there after a cafe, then had to get back to get the route information for the same service that I will do on Sunday.  This was a late reservation, and after the tour today was the only time available to pick up the client's packet, which I give to them when we meet.  Fun tour with Josh and Jennifer today.  Have a great ride in Chianti!

Untitled by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Jennifer and Josh coming into Pozzolatico.

On the way up, just past Pozzolatico.

Jennifer and Joshua finishing the climb coming into Monteoriolo.