March 15, 2008

Bike Time

What a wonderful place we are staying in. . . We are so stoked at the Villa Scaccia and would highly recommend it! Not only does it have some wonderful people (super helpful) that work here but you really get the feel for Tuscany and being away from the city. Now we really feel like we are on vacation and can relax in the country. We went down to the city center yesterday and found some bikes to rent and then discovered they had some bikes here we could use for free. Sweet! They even had a book about biking in the Chianti hills so we scoped out a few routes and had some destinations in mind but again left our plans pretty flexible. We wanted to ride to some of the castles, wineries and maybe get out to see San Gimignano but the people at the B&B thought we were a bit crazy. "You know there are many hills and that is like 60-80K?" Yeah, we are on vacation is what we told them.

Bikes loaded and ready to go

After a short "round about" getting out of the town (lost a little) we were on our way climbing to the castles of Chianti. Perfect weather and a perfect road with more cyclists than cars. We were finally out exploring the trail and had all day to do it. No lines, no car problems, sunshine and amazing views all around.

The book they let us use with maps of the Chianti region was just what we needed. We could connect any road to see what we wanted to (get lost) and still be on track to our most valued destinations. Our first stop was just north of our B&B to the area of Castellina. One big climb and we were riding through the backwoods and backroads of local towns and markets. Wow... We were out of the country for sure now. We got some snacks at the market and we were off again heading North to more castles.

We made our way stopping at wineries and cruising along talking about our trip, food and life. To me it does not get much better. Time on the trail and time felt like it was standing still. What an amazing creation that is all around us. We thought about Marius and Mandy in South Africa and what they must be seeing. Planet Earth was on the mind... Then it was food again. A lovely little cycle that runs through my mind so we stopped at this place below to get some sugar into our system and take a break from the bike seats.

About halfway through our day we decided that we would make a run for the San Gimignano and I am so glad that we did... Another quick climb and we were within the reaches of San Gimignano where they had towers surrounding the city on a hill. Words cannot describe how "unique" it was but I only wish we had more time there. Well worth the trip. Here is a little video shot from within the city walls.

So many castles and so little time... We were going to need to push it on the way back to make it in the light so we decided to take a direct route. So stoked that I had my GPS (even if we didnt use it until afterwards) to capture the trip. Here is the GPS route.

Elevation ChangeTotal (ft)
Total Elevation30,272
Elevation Gain15,113
Elevation Loss15,160
Net Elevation Change-47

I had no idea how many miles were were climbing but the hotel folks may have been right about us... a little over 100Kilometers later and over 15,000 feet of climbing and Monique as still pushing! Go girl go!

We picked up the pace a bit and slowing enough to ride though the villages and take some shots of the castles from the road. I have found it impossible to find process food in this country and we had no energy bars for days...Whats a boy to do! We have been loaded up with cheese for days and that was our snacks. . . along with all the sweets we would find in the little towns. Nice long ride and in time enough to head to the Siena city center for a full Italian dinner. mmm... to that!

The Castle in the middle of the town of Monteriggioni

More pictures posted over here


No comments: