Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Super fun ride linking routes and climbing Passo Luchese for the first time.

Just a truly wonderful ride today.  The day I went to Forte dei Marmi, I noticed a group of cyclists coming onto the Cammiore road from a road with a sign saying Passo Luchese.  I checked it out on the map, and wanted to ride it before I left.  Tomorrow we have the grandchildren most of the day, so today was a good day for a slightly longer ride.  The forecast was for 20 to 30% chance of showers, so I saved the long ride I still want to do for Friday.  I am starting to get to know the area pretty well, and was able today to link a number of great roads for a super nice tour.  One of the special things about Tuscany is the number of options which can be linked.  What takes some effort, time, and hopefully knowledge is linking them together to create a truly nice tour.  I believe I did that today.

I started by taking the little climb, which starts just below the house to Arsina, then down to the road to Cammiore.  I stayed on the Cammiore road almost to the top of it's climb then found the road to Passo Luchese.  From the start, it was a great climb.  The road surface was almost perfect, and there was almost no traffic.  At times it was difficult, but the total vertical for the climb was around 450 meters, which is also about perfect.  From the top there is a totally sweet descent that takes you to the road to climb to Pescaglia.  I climbed this last week, and enjoyed the climb again today.  From here is was mostly a repeat, although a second time on a route gives me confidence to go faster and no anxiety about route finding in an area where I am new.  There is much more climbing above Pescaglia than I recalled, although it also is a fine road and climb.  From there, it is mostly a descent to a valley / canyon that descends through Fabbriche di Vallico, then down to the main road from Castelnuovo to Lucca.

With my building knowledge of the area, I was only on the main road for around 4 kilometers, then turned off to take the road on the other side of the Serchio back to Ponte a Moriano.  Around 5 or 10 k from Ponte a Moriano, a couple passed me, basically flying, and my initial thought was simply, wow, go, and I said as much in Italian to them.  But, with a strong burst, I caught them and enjoyed the average of 45 to 50 k for much of the way to Ponte a Moriano, where I turned off to take a very nice detour back home.  Another truly beautiful road, that climbs, but never steeply, for around 80 vertical meters, then descends to take you back to within 1 kilometer of my beer stop, basically less than 1/2 k from home.  A relaxing post ride beer, then up the last hill and home.  Great, fun ride today.  Here is the garmin link:

Arsina, Passo de Lucchese, Pescaglia, Focchia, Fabbriche, home by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

Gombitelli, on the way up to Passo Luchese.

Passo Lucese, my plan for the day.  A truly great road and fun climb
with just the right amount of vertical.  At times hard, but mostly
just an amazing road with a near perfect surface and almost 
no traffic.  

A pretty church on the hillside looking back from just 
above Pescaglia.

This small church is in a kind of park like setting, with very little
around it, around 10 kilometers above Fabbriche di Vallico.

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