Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Ravenna field trip and great spring like ride to Pinone.

Yesterday Emily and I joined her art history class for a day trip to Ravenna.  What a wonderful trip.  Ravenna has a very interesting history, really important in a very ancient way, and some of the best mosaics in the world.  What a treat!  You can even get quite close to the mosaics to really look at them.  Several of the people on the trip had been to Constantinople to see mosaics there and thought these were much better.  The class instructor / leader, Elaine Ruffalo does a fantastic job of leading, teaching, and putting these trips together.  Add in a fantastic lunch, really amazing, at a place where the owner is a fan of both "The big Lebowski" and the Grateful Dead, and you have a wonderful day. I had been told that drogha meant dude, and when I spoke with the owner about the movie, he corrected me to say drugha for dude, as drogha means drugs.  Always different things to learn.

Today, the weather turned just perfect and I think we must have hit a high of 60 or so.  First day in a very long time without booties, using my new toe warmers.  I took my new shell jacket, but did not even need to put it on.  I enjoyed a wonderful tour after a semi frustrating morning.  I spent a couple hours dealing with some business internet issues, which can become very frustrating for me if I don't know the appropriate sequence to push certain buttons.  I am sure most of you understand.  I spent another hour plus working on my rear brakes, as they have developed a rattle, and the cable was not releasing fully, so I basically took everything apart and cleaned it.  After replacing, it still did the same thing, so I tried again and did a more thorough cleaning.  I made it work this time.  a piece of something was lodged in the mechanism of the brakes, and it simply made it stick most of the time, but not all the time when the brake was released.  It was really nice having it work properly and not have the noise on todays ride.  It did not seem to really affect the operation of the brake before, but it was much smoother and the concern of a mysterious noise was gone.

I went out Pistoiese to Seano and averaged around 29 kph which for me is fast solo.  I enjoyed the climb through Bacchereto to the Pinone road and for the first time turned right and continued up to Pinone, then down through Castra to Montelupo.  I even saw my first wildflowers of the year on the way to Bacchereto.  Sweet.  I had the stretch from Montelupo to Cerbia and then the climb to Chiesanuova in mind when I decided on the ride, as I thought it would be a perfect spot to enjoy the warm sun in a relaxed way.  It was perfect.  After returning home, I had a nice hour on our terrace enjoying more sun.  Great ride, great day!  77.2 kilometers in 3:02 for an average of 25.4 kph with 823 meters of climbing.

I loved the different building pieces and juxtapositions
outside San Vitale.

Perhaps my favorite thing all day in Ravenna were the mosaics in
the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia.  A beautiful small building, all to 
ourselves with amazing mosaics.  Really beautiful and very special.

Just another bell tower in Ravenna.  Most of the bell towers were
circular.  Ravenna was the western capital of the Roman empire 
for a short time after the collapse of Rome and the concentration of
the empire to Constantinople.  Amazing history of the twilight of the 
Western part of the Roman empire there.

Walking down one of the lovely small streets, I saw this townie bike
with it's own mosaics on it.  Cool!

The road above Bacchereto on the way to the road to
Pinone.  I love how many of these amazingly beautiful roads
there are to ride.  This one, however hit a little over 20% 
just around the bend ahead.

The first wildflowers of the season on the way to Bacchereto from Seano.

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