Friday, August 15, 2014

Returning to Bennabio with Leif plus a few new detours.

Leif and his wife Michelle visited yesterday, and Leif and I did a very nice ride.  My plan was the ride I did a couple of days ago, with at least one or two detours.  On the way out to Bagni di Lucca, we climbed to a tiny town called Corsagna, then descended to right before Bagni di Lucca.  This avoids the main road and the extra time on the busy road with the detour.  It adds around 300 meters of climbing, but was surprisingly very close to the same amount of time.  It started to rain in Corsagna, and continued for the whole descent and at the start of the climb to Bennabio.  A rider who had just finished the descent told us it was raining ahead.  We continued, and the rain pretty much stopped in 5 or 10 minutes.  Although much of the ride was cloudy, this is all the rain we had for the tour.

The road to and through Bennabio was every bit as nice as the last time, just an excellent surface and beautifully engineered road.  I had told Leif about the new pavement on the way down toward Villa Basillica, and it was sweet.  We stopped at the junction to Villa Basillica, and I gave Leif the option of another 6 or 700 meters of climbing on continuing down on home.  He surprised me by taking the climbing option, which was great.  I had climbed to Pizzorne once a few years ago with Don and Kay, friends from CB, and was interested to see how it would feel now.  I believe I am a stronger rider now, and indeed, the climb was still quite difficult, but not as hard as the first time.  It felt like a new road to me, as once a few years ago did not make it that familiar.  We got to the top, and there are lots of people there this time of year.  Before, it was late April, and no one was around.  There are festivals up there and many roads are marked as one way for this.  Well, we basically took a wrong turn to avoid a road that said pedestrian only, and ended up climbing an extra 100 plus meters and going around 5 kilometers out of the way.

Leif's Italian is quite good, and he asked people we saw until someone said we needed to turn around.  I recognized a fountain, where we got water, and we went the way I thought we should and quite soon, which is what I remembered, we saw a sign for Lucca.  What a thrilling descent.  Long, at times steep, many, many switchbacks, and pretty incredible views.  All I can say is wow!  We eventually made our way to the area with some very large, beautiful villas, and found our way back to Ponte a Moriano.  A well deserved stop for a beer at Pio's and we were home.

Emily made a very nice, although we made it a late lunch, and we all enjoyed some time together.  A little swimming, lots of good food, some wine, and good friends.  What more can one ask for.  Ciao.

Return to Bennabio, more exploring - Pizzorne - with Leif by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Just above Bennabio, the sun came out for a while.  Leif got 
a call to sample and evaluate some wine.  Nice job if you 
can get it.  

I preceded Leif by around 5 minutes to the top, which is more
scenic in person.  After finding the correct route down to Lucca,
the views were incredible, but the descent was so fun, that
I just could not stop to take a picture.

Here is Leif finishing the climb above Pizzorne.  A pretty tough
climb from Villa Basillica of around 650 vertical meters.

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