Friday, September 5, 2014

Exploring between Montespertoli and Certaldo.

I had an interesting and full day yesterday.  I started the day using a combination of my townie bike and busses to get to the "Istituto Medico dello Sporto Firenze" where I have to do an annual check up / full on stress test to qualify to participate in timed cycling events and renew my team membership.  Last year, Lorenzo, the team president, drove me there and acted as my interpreter.  This year, all was accomplished on my own.  You end up doing a 15 minute test on a special stationary bike with around 20 wires hooked to your body and a doctor checking respiration and blood pressure every 3 minutes or so.  I passed the test fine, then found my way back to my townie bike and made my way over to the shop and was able to complete my membership renewal.  All there thought I would be participating in the Giro della Toscana on Sunday, but I have to work, so I miss one of the big events of the year for local cycling teams.  Oh well, I need to work when it is available.

After getting home, I decided on a ride, and eventually decided to go back where we rode last Saturday with the team and explore a couple of the roads I saw on the way to Certaldo.  I checked maps pretty thoroughly, and while riding crossed off a couple of options as they were dirt roads not in very good shape.  I eventually found the road that made me want to do the exploration, and it started really well, with a steep climb on a nice surface.  After around 3 kilometers, it turned to a gravel road, but in pretty good shape.  The gravel road eventually deteriorated and got rougher, making me think twice about my decision.  I kept at it and was rewarded by a return to pavement after around 3 k of gravel.  Alas, the pavement was short lived and I had another 3 k or so of gravel, some of it rough and rocky before returning to pavement and eventually the road from Certaldo to Fiano.

As soon as you get back on the main road, which is still a back road, there is a sign warning 10% grade for the remainder of the climb to Fiano.  After some steep climbing on gravel, it was fine, and I arrived in Fiano then up and over to Lucardo.  After Lucardo, I took the steep descent to Fornacette, then went down the valley to Boacciano, then up to Montagnana, down to Cerbia, then up to Chiesa Nuova.  Back to Firenze via the Galuzzo switchbacks then home on Viale Michaelangelo.  I was pretty tired by the time I returned.  I think the combination of the stress test and the rough dirt roads took a slight toll on my energy.  Still, a fun ride and a great, busy day.  Here is the garmin link:

Signa, Ginestra, Montespertoli, Exploring, Bacciano, Chiesa Nuova by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

I finally pulled off and stripped by jersey to locate the stinging bug 
that I ended up finding here.  This view is toward Artimino.

A view through the trees from a pull off on the descent to the 
valley that leads to Certaldo.

I loved this view of the countryside climbing toward Fiano from the road to Certaldo.

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