Sunday, December 14, 2014

Passo Muraglione with Luca.

Luca texted me yesterday to set up a ride for today, and he was flexible enough to start at 10, which allowed for my late night last night.  Emily, Kate, and I saw a wonderful concert at the opera house with the symphony, Zubin Mehta conducting, and Anushka Shankar (Ravi's daughter) on the sitar.  Really a special concert, but we did not really leave the concert hall until 11:45, then had a very late dinner.  So, basically in bed and sleeping around 2 am, which explains the late start.  I suggested Giro de Mugello, and Luca said he wanted to add in Passo Giogo.  He had mentioned a new road and pass for him a month or so ago, so when we met, I suggested that pass, the Passo Muraglione, or the pass of many walls.  I love riding new roads, and this one was really special.

The pass is a pretty direct climb from Dicomano of around 800 vertical meters.  The first 13 or so kilometers is quite gradual, and even a little up and down, which Luca told me that Italian cyclists call this Mangia a Beve.  I said I thought that meant eat and drink, and he explained that it did, but with a cycling road it meant it rolls up and down, allowing one to eat and drink as you ride.  New expression / idiom for me.  What a beautiful climb and wonderful road.  Excellent surface, for here, it is a relatively major road, but in mid December there was almost no traffic.  I think on the 18 kilometers up and 18 back down returning to Dicomano, I saw less than 10 cars.  Sweet!

Cafe in Dicomano on the way, and at the top, we met a guy who had ridden up there from Dicomano where he parked.  He was 70, and quite fit - something to shoot for.  It is not an easy pass.  He was super friendly, and insisted on buying us another cafe at the same bar when we returned to Dicomano.  Cycling everywhere is a very inclusive group of people, and Andrea, the guy we are now friends with, was even talking about joining our team.  It would make me the second oldest, which would be nice.  So, great ride.  120.3 kilometers (74.3 miles) in 4:49 for an average speed of 25.0 kph (15.5 mph) with 1478 meters (4894 feet) of climbing.  19,529 kilometers for the year, leaving 471 for the big 20k goal.

We needed water on the way to San Godenzo, and found this very
nice water source roadside.  One of the great things about the bigger
mountain passes is there are usually a number of these "fountains'
roadside on the way.  

When we reached the top, this fellow was here, Andrea, who lives 
in Strada in Chianti.  He drove to Dicomano, then climbed the 
pass.  At 70 years young, I loved seeing him and meeting him.
He was super friendly and I even was able to communicate 
with him in Italian.   He called me his new "American friend"
He may check with the shop about joining the team.  

Luca and I at the top of the Passo della Muraglione.  The 
Italians love to put stickers all over the signs.  Muraglione
means many walls.

A bad attempt to capture the view from the top of the pass.  
Look hard and you can see multiple ridges in the distance.

Looking up to where the bar is at the top where there were a 
group on motorcycles.

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