Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Croce Ai Mori, Stia, and Consuma on a good training ride.

Big training day today for the Granfondo Firenze coming up in two plus weeks.  The weather was fine, although the predicted winds starting around 1pm did arrive to give me a little extra training with a headwind on the way home from Consuma.  There really was no tailwind on the way to Stia, so I was hoping the wind would not arrive, but it was truly cranking on Passo della Consuma.  This is one of my "classic" tuscany long tours with two big passes taking you into the Casentino area to the East of Firenze.  

It starts with a long very mellow warm up for around 35 kilometers to the turn off for Londa which includes 200 meters of climbing.  After an excellent cafe and pastry in Londa, a small town at the base of the climb to the pass of Croce ai Mori, I mostly enjoyed the 800 plus meter climb to the pass. It is pretty mellow on this side, and you do the 800 meters in around 18 kilometers, which includes around 3 kilometers of downhill.  After the first pass, you descend to Stia, very close to the headwaters of the Arno river, which is a tiny stream at the source.  I looked for a cafe / bar in Stia I have been to a few times, but it was closed, which had me back on the bike after refilling water.  The climb to Consuma is the most challenging part of the day, which includes over 700 meters of additional climbing.  The wind started being a factor on the climb, and by the time I was at the top of the pass, it was truly cranking and relatively cool temperature wise.  Shell on, and the descent was mostly in the trees, and it definitely warmed up and the winds diminished as I descended.  

I looked for another bar in Pontassieve I had liked in the past, and it too was closed today.  I removed the shell, then started the return home with a headwind of around 20 kph, which wasn't too bad, but enough to make it a little slower than normal.  I did stop in Sieci for a little fuel and cafe, then back home.  Good training and I am feeling quite beat, but also more or less ready for the race.  It will be interesting to see how my time compares with last year.  Today's ride was 116.6 kilometers in 5:02 to average 23.2 kph with 1838 meters of climbing.  

On the way to babysit last Saturday night, this was the view from 
Ponte alla Carraia.  So beautiful I had to stop an take the picture.
I like the results.

First big pass of the day, Croce Ai Mori, an 800 plus meter climb
from the turn off toward Londa and over 1000 meters of climbing from Firenze.

Cloudy view back to the west from Croce Ai Mori.

An idyllic scene on the way descending to Stia from Croce Ai Mori.

Looking toward Bibbena from Passo della Consuma.

Last pass done!  The sign is so covered with stickers you can't
really see it, but it says, Passo della Consuma, 1052 meters
above sea level.  The Casentino mountains / hills in the background.

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