Today, on a team ride, I put in the longest ride for me in a couple of weeks. Between a great visit from our Son, and quite a bit of weather that was uncooperative at best, I just have not put in the kilometers. It was pretty cold to start, around 40 F, and there were three of us at the meeting point. I was thinking it might have been just me, as that is a little cold for road cycling. I had close to my warmest cycling outfit on, trying a "puff ball" vest over two layers with a gore tex shell over that. The three of us were all pretty strong riders, and we headed out to Montelupo quite fast. We were averaging around 40 kph on this part of the ride, and eventually dropped Andrea. We waited, and I removed the puff ball vest, as I was overheating. I guess it is all about effort. In Montelupo, Andrea decided to return, as part of the reason we were going so fast was a strong tail wind. It always amazes me how you just don't notice a tail wind, you just feel strong and fast.
Davide and I continued after Montelupo toward Ceretto Guidi, but at the turn to Vitolini, we discussed a change of plan. We had changed direction enough to understand the wind was strong, and constant going down the Arno river valley. If we had done the planned ride, we would have to fight a strong head wind 40 plus kilometers back up the river valley to Firenze. We decided to climb to Pinone through Vitolini. Good decision, although for around 2/3 of the climb, we were fighting 30 to 50 kph headwinds. On a climb, when you are going slow, it seems less bad than on the flat where it just beats you up. A nice break in Pinone, with Davide buying cafe, as promised when he suggested the alternate route.
From Pinone, down to Carmignano, then down to Seano, a new descent for me. I have climbed this stretch many times, but before today, had not descended there. We were expecting to battle the headwind back into Firenze and did a little, but magically it sort of went away. There are a number of settlements you ride through, which block the wind, and it certainly lessened in strength. Anyway, we split the leading duties on the way back and split as we approached the Centro to go to our respective homes. Great ride, Davide. 80.1 km in 3:03 for an average of 26.2 kph with 688 meters of climbing. Good to get out for a longer ride. The weather is forecast to be sunny, but a little cold, with a warming trend this week, so more long rides are also in my forecast. Ciao.