Arrivederci David and Tony (May 20, 2007)

David and Tony woke up at 4:30 AM for the trip to the airport for their flight home. Rick drove, sans co-pilot, making very few errors on the trip.

Once Rick was back, the morning was spent getting coffee, running errands, and checking out the Giro d’Verrazano. This is a bicycle race for what appeared to be high school aged boys, maybe the age limit was 17. They amassed in the piazza from about 8 AM, complete with coaches, team cars and the necessary race officials and equipment. At 10 AM they rolled out of the square, and turned north on the main road for a few circuits on local roads, totaling 57 kilometers.

Rick designed a route down near where he, David and Tony had ridden the morning before by consulting the detailed Chianti wine tour map. About 11 AM we drove south and east about 20 kilometers to park in Radda in Chianti. We descended about two miles, and discovered our first turn would take us onto a dirt road. Both roads generally ran south, so we stayed on the paved one. Back up out of the valley we ran on a ridge briefly then descended some into Lecchi. We’d been on the lookout for lunch, so at 6 miles into the ride, we stopped at Ristorante Marhlborghetto, which looked inviting. We sat outside in the shade next to a group of Italian mountain bikers, with one couple sporting his-and-hers matching kits from Lucca. Salads and pasta made for a very nice meal, with courteous English-speaking service.

75. Rick, Ken, Lunch, Lecchi
76. Lunch Plates, Lecchi
77. Vineyard, Chianti
78. Van, Radda in Chianti
Out of lunch, we descended again. Eventually we reached a long stretch of road that looked flat, though in truth descended just slightly. Rousslang lead at 25 mph, while Rob and Rick just freewheeled along happily in his wind shadow. The far point of our route was Castlenuovo Bergendendra, the town we had driven by when first driving to Greve. We shortcut the main road around town, and cut directly through the middle of the old part of town. Out the other side, we turned north, continuing to climb and drop, in a sequence I can’t remember, though some of the descents were very nice, and the roads all day had very little traffic. We passed through fields, vineyards and forests alternately the whole ride. The finish involved about 500 feet of climbing back up to Radda in Chianti. 38 miles, 3200 feet.

Loading up the car, Rick discovered accidentally that he could leave the front wheel on his bike and still fit it cross-wise in back, and so it was for the other two bikes as well. Probably never would have worked with five bikes, though. We wandered through Radda in Chianti, eventually settling on a bar next to the central hotel, where we had coffee, beer, water and chips.

Back home, we swam and showered, then headed back to Moro again for dinner. Shortly into our dinner, an American couple near us finished their dinner and approached us saying in a friendly way, saying hat they “didn’t recognize our Italian.” They were touring through Italy, and we turned them on to Il Latini since they were headed that direction. Dinner conversation centered on very spiritual topics, colored by Rick’s involvement with the Church of Christ on Fox Island, and Rob and Ken’s experience with the Catholic Church. It would have been hard to have not overheard our conversation, and eventually another couple, probably very close to our average age, couldn’t resist injecting their own views. He had spent the prior five years earning some sort of designation within the Catholic Church to be some sort of a lay minister, perhaps akin to what other churches might call a Deacon. In short, I think he was imploring us to get in touch with our faith. Tomorrow night we will discuss politics at dinner.