Saturday, January 3, 2015

Excellent, long, cloudy, but not too cold ride to the west and south.

Great tour this morning.  It was kind of a surprise, as the internet chat on the team has been about later starts and shorter tours.  For a while it appeared it would only be me, as the weather was grey and around 40 F - not ideal riding weather.  With about 5 minutes left to wait, Moreno showed up, then Rossano.  Rossano had spoken with Massimo and Andrea, and had a location to meet them.  We wandered around a little to the meeting spot, and then Rossano and I waited, while Moreno went ahead with a tour as he only wanted to go to Montelupo and return.  We hooked up with Massimo and Andrea, then followed Andrea on an interesting back road tour of Scandicci to hook up with the main road through Lastra to Montelupo.  We proceeded over to Samontanna and I heard talk of Ortimino and Certaldo.

On the short climb to Ortimino, Massimo and Andrea saw a couple they knew descending, who turned around to join us.  This is one of the really great things about the cycling community here.  There are lots of cyclists and many know each other from different teams over the years.  We met Simona, who is a super strong female cyclist, who has put in tons of kilometers in the last 4 years, with 2 years over 20k, one year at 18k, and last year (with a job change she had less time) 15k.  A dedicated cyclist to say the least.  Her husband, Gianni, was very strong, as I saw when we were climbing from Certaldo to Montespertoli.  I dropped the remaining group, and Gianni stayed with Simona for a bit, then caught me, rode with me a little, then dropped me like I was standing still.  We regrouped at the top, and Gianni had doubled back to finish with Simona.  Massimo came up and I asked him about Gianni, and was told he was one of the top cyclists in Firenze, and later talking with Gianni, he mentioned he had been to the US for the world championships in Colorado Springs, I think as part of the team.  Amazing.  No wonder he dropped me like a bad penny.

We finished the tour returning to Montelupo, then back into Firenze on the main road.  I had thought it would be a very casual ride of around 60 km, but it ended up a fast ride of almost 120 km.  Great, fun tour.  117.3 km in 4:31 for an average of 26 kph with 809 meters of climbing.

Simply an amazing sunset in Firenze last night.  So pretty, I put on my coat and spent some time
on the terrace just watching.  I caught a couple of shots on the phone / camera, but of course, it was much better in person, and it changed with time.  One of the best I have seen here.


The gang at our stop in Certaldo for cafe.  Great group for a nice,
long tour.  We picked up Gianni and Simona on the road, as Massimo
and Andrea already knew them.  They are great cyclists.

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