Monday, December 29, 2014

Great tour on a beautiful / cold day to the East of Firenze.

It was cold, I think an average of around 40 F on the ride, but what a perfect, beautiful day to get out for a ride.  The winds and recent rains had scoured the skies, making for incredible long range views. I am keeping the tours to around 3 hours when it is this cold, which seems to work for me.  It is best not to get too cold.  I loved the tour today, pretty much everything about it.  I had a great snack and cafe around 1/2 way through in Rufina, which is part of my strategy to stay warm when it is this cold for riding.  The roads were pretty empty, as many locals have traveled for the holidays, and most don't want to ride when the temperature is around 4 C.  I was the only person in the bar, and the very nice woman working the counter suggested an excellent dolce - a homemade cheesecake with a chocolate layer on top.  She made a mistake and made me a cappuccino instead of a cafe machiato, but it was quite good.  I don't think I will take that option often, though, as I have learned to really like the strong taste of the coffee in an espresso, which is what a cafe machiato is - an espresso with a "stain" of steamed milk.

After getting a little warmer, I had a climb to keep the body temperature up, then descended from Diacetto to Pontasieve where I decided to go back to Firenze on the south side of the Arno, to keep the ride a loop.  I love loop rides.  What a perfect, beautiful day to be out.  I am so lucky to be here and have the time and ability to do this.  Loving life today!

An old castle on the ridge just above where the climb to Doccia starts.

Looking back toward Molin de Piano from the climb to Doccia.

The climb from Molino de Piano to Doccia is pretty much like
the picture shows here.  It is steep, 25% in places, but a perfect
surface, no traffic, and really quite beautiful with around 10 
switchbacks in a row on the climb.  I love this stuff!

On the pretty road between Doccia and the windmill, this is a typical
view.  Here, through some olive trees to a bare winter vineyard, with a 
series of ridges in the background.  Che bella!

The view was so nice, I had to stop on the descent to Rufina, the town
in the valley in the picture.  A combination of wind, recent precipitation,
and crystal clear skies made for incredible views.  Here we have Rufina,
and in the background, fresh snow on the mountains around Croce ai Mori.

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