Monday, September 22, 2014

Giro della Cerbaie

Yesterday was a great ride, a very long day, and a challenge for me.  Along with 8 others from the team, I met a little before 6 to load bikes for the ride to Staffoli, close to Pisa, where the Giro started. For me, that meant getting up at 4:15, as I have to stretch and eat.  We made our way to the start as a group of 4 cars, and when we turned off the highway, the fog set in.  It was pretty pea soup until around an hour into the tour.  I had thought the longest course, the "oddesia" was a timed granfondo, but all were a social giro hosted by the local club.  They did a wonderful job, well organized, excellent signage (needed with the fog), good aid stations, and a very nice pasta party after the finish.

We all started together, but soon there were 6 of the 9 of us staying together.  We got on the back of a pretty fast group (I would guess around 500 cyclists at the event), and mostly hung together for the first 40 kilometers or so.  As we did some climbs the groups came apart, but the first climbs were not long, and Luca and I waited for the others at the top of the climbs.  It was probably a beautiful course, but with the fog, there was no way to tell.  The roads were nice, small, with lots of turns, somewhere in the countryside.  As we did our first real climb of the day, we climbed out of the thickest fog, and stayed in mostly cloudy conditions until the last hour or so.  The second big climb was to San Baronto from Cerretto Guidi, at the top of which was the first aid station and controllo.

We broke into our groups after that for different distances, but Margherita stayed with us for the oddesia course.  We were down to 5 now, and proceeded with more climbs, some quite steep.  After climbing to Pinone, we descended on my normal route through Castra, then just a short distance on the main road before turning off on a short, but tortuous climb.  Only around 100 vertical meters, but I would guess the average grade must have been at least 20%.  This was around 100 kilometers into the ride, and it beat us all up pretty good.  After this climb, Margherita decided not to finish the oddesia course, and rejoined the long course and finished on her own.  The remaining 4 rode hard and mostly enjoyed the remaining 50 k or so.  Lots of short but steep climbs in this section took their toll. I actually think for me, the steep, short climbs made for a more difficult course than one with more climbing, but longer climbs.  I can get a pretty good rhythm going on a long climb, which was not the case today.  Once you got settled into climbing, the climb was over and it was either a flat or descent.

Basically a wonderful tour and a fun, but challenging day with some great people.  It is a privilege to be here and be able to participate in these events with the team.  Here is the garmin link for all the information:

Odessia - Giro della Cerbaie by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

A foggy start to the day, with 4 cars for team members unloading
and setting up the bikes.

6 of the 9 we had representing the team getting ready to go to
the starting line.

The scene at the start of the Giro della Cerbaie.

The first aid station close to the top of the San Baronto climb.

With around an hour left the weather cleared enough to see 
some of the beautiful scenery.

Che Bella!

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