Thursday, February 26, 2015

Consuma in February, a little chilly at the top!

It has been a couple of days, as I spent two days driving and taking notes while reviewing the route descriptions for the "self guided tours" Dominick does.  I often meet people and start them on their way for this offering, and actually, I really like this work.  It is usually only a few hours at the most, and then I am at a good place for a solo tour.  The review and revision of the route descriptions was much more work than I thought when I accepted it, but it was good to do.  There are 7 days worth of route descriptions with most days having between 2 and 3 options.  So, lots of driving and checking to do if you want to do a thorough job, and those of you who know me would understand, I am thorough if nothing else.  Anyway, happy to have this completed, although I have heard that I need to do the actual revising of the files and need to go to their office to do this, but that is fine.  I don't really have any other work at this time.

Today, I caught up with a few things, then picked up my bike, which was in for a major check up.  As I thought, a new chain and new cassette were in order, but to my surprise, a new bottom bracket was also needed.  I have put over 40,000 kilometers on the cassette and the bottom bracket, so it should not be a surprise.  Totally cleaned, and as the mechanic said, "equale a nuova bici" or like it is new.  The drivetrain worked perfectly, and it was nice to get this work done, as I knew it was needed.  My last chain change took some time to work itself in, a sure sign that a new cassette was needed soon.

I decided to ride to Passo della Consuma, the biggest close pass to town.  It starts with a very gradual climb to Pontasieve, around 20 kilometers with 100 meters of elevation gain.  Then with a couple of kilometers of a break around 3/4 the way up, you have 16 kilometers with 1000 meters of elevation gain.  A good climb.  The weather is looking like it will continue to be warmer, but when you add over 3000 feet of elevation, it was quite cold for cycling at the top and my descent / climb to Vallombrosa.  I had extra clothing, which was all used, but did not bring heavier gloves, so my hands were the only thing that felt frozen into one position.  After Vallombrosa, you descend to Tosi, then through Paterno to Pelago, and it warmed completely by Pelago.  I even took off the neck / ear warmer there, and it was even warmer as one descended to the Arno river valley and back to Firenze. I had not ridden this pass since last fall, so it was good to get up there.  A good, hard, fun ride.  What more could one ask for.  83.0 kilometers in 3:47 rolling time for an average of 22.0 kph with 1326 meters of climbing.

A picture from my recon of routes for Dominick yesterday,
from the town square in Casole D'Elsa, in the Siena area.

Every time I climb Passo della Consuma, I have to take this picture.
I love the way the signs at passes are covered with stickers.  

The sign on the way down toward Firenze, which is the one you
can see the writing on. I like the other one with the stickers better.

Looking to the East toward Stia from Passo della Consuma.

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