Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Day 3 Luca - Bagni di Lucca, Bennabio, Villa Basillico, Lucca.

A cloudy morning led to a nice afternoon, but the forecast was for 50% chance of afternoon thunderstorms, so I was off by 10:30 for a wonderful ride.  I had done the end of the ride before with Don and Kay, friends from Crested Butte, and had scoped out the location of the road to Bennabio on my way down from Abetone on Sunday.  So, the plan was to ride that road, then back home to San Quirico di Moriano.  I started out the same route, but changed sides of the river quickly and ended up avoiding the busy road for almost all the way.  Nice route and it made a real mental difference for me.  I noticed a road that would take one around the road closure, which would make it so you did not need to ride the real busy road for more than a kilometer or so.  However, it looked like an additional 300 meters of vertical, and since I did not know the road I was planning on, I skipped it.  I will definitely add it in another day.

I was in Bagni di Lucca in an hour or so, and felt good.  I found the road to Bennabio, and started climbing.  What a treat this road is.  Almost no traffic, a very good, smooth surface, with multiple switchbacks to keep it from becoming too steep.  I stopped in Bennabio for more water and a little of the local scene.  There was a cafe next to the water source where friends and family were having what appeared to be quite an impromptu party.  I love the enthusiasm that Italians tend to bring to life.  After Bennabio, you are done with the switchbacks, but there is another 400 meters of vertical left to climb.  Again, a beautiful road, which at the top turned perfect with around 8 kilometers of new pavement, heaven for a cyclist.  I enjoyed the descent, and at the junction to Villa Basillico, I had enough energy to add around 150 meters of climbing to the little town and back down.  I had ridden this before with Don and Kay, but we continued up to another little pass that eventually led back to Lucca.  Another day for that as well.

I think you could easily do both climbs and have a great day, but today, I wanted to get back and skipped the additional 500 vertical meters of climbing.  I went back through Collodi, the home of Pinocchio, which is a very interesting town truly full of Pinocchio tourist stuff, including a Pinocchio amusement park.  Italians can get every bit as tacky as Americans, as this town proves.  Back to Lucca on probably the least nice road of the trip, but I found a way to avoid the "East Colfax" part after returning home on the map.  So, another day I have 3 new options for this ride.  Sweet!

Day 3 - Bagni di Lucca, Bennabio, Villa Basillico, Lucca, Casa. by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

The road from Bagni di Lucca to Villa Basillico was basically 
perfect.  Very smooth, with about 2/3 of the descent on new 
pavement.  Just and excellent road.

Excellent water and a nice church in Bennabio. Che Bella!

I took a nice stop for a snack and enjoyed the view of Villa
Basillico where a group of 10 guys were discussing life,
Italian style.

Riding through the town of Collodi, where it really is all about 
Pinocchio.  This one, probably around 50 feet tall is on the 
road on the way out of town.

On the way home, I ended up riding right through one of the gates
to Lucca, and by this view of the Duomo there.  Nice way to end 
and excellent ride, although the real end was at Pio's bar, just
below where we are staying for a much deserved beer.

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