Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Vallombrosa in December - sweeeeet!

A perfect day for a ride, and no commitments until a dinner tonight.  I had to get a new tube, change the front tire, and change brake pads, along with a trip to the shop of some of the pieces, and I was not riding until a little after 11.  It is getting dark just after 4:30 these days, so I had time for the ride I wanted, but not lots extra.  It all worked fine, and I was back around 4:15, with light to spare.  A beautiful day and a great ride.  Really warm in the valley for December, but quite chilly once I got up to Saltino, around 900 meters above the valley elevation.  I took things to change into, expecting this kind of change and was happy I had them.  Even with the change it was a little cold on the descent to Tosi, but it quickly warmed up after Tosi.  The dark forest woods around and below Vallombrosa were chilly, dark, and super fun to descend through.

I just love the little bar / cafe in Regello, where I stopped for a cafe and pastry (a sfolia con crema a riso).  It was nice in the sun to sit a little and enjoy both.  Not time to linger too long though, as the climb to Saltino awaited.  What a fun ride, but I am tired, and tonight is our biggest "fancy" event of the year, a holiday dinner for a great organization here called Friends of Florence that raises money to renovate works of art.  Expensive for us, but a cause we are happy to support.  Our big treat of the year and one of the few nights I need to wear a suit and tie.

Today's ride was 108.5 kilometers (66.6 miles) in 4:38 for an average speed of 23..2 kph (14.4 mph) with 1691 meters (5548 feet) of climbing.  19,222 km completed this year, leaving 778 to reach my goal of 20,000 km.

On the road toward Palazzolo, you get this view of the days
objective, Saltino and Vallombrosa, around 2/3 the way up
the ridge in the distance.

This field is just so green in the Valdarno on the way to Matassino.

Got to get the bike in a shot from the top of the climb
on the way to Saltino.  

The view to the west from just before Saltino at the viewing area.

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