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I heart team Zissou!
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Well, training mighty not be the right word to describe the week I just spent in Tuscany given that most of the time was spent with my family taking advantage of a warmish italian break from the cool and wet Parisian spring -- but training I did since I've got some big races coming up! So, as always on these trips, I was out at the crack'o'dawn "doing boring and somewhat painful intervals for 2-3 hrs with some nice riding interspersed. As always, the pocket camera came along and here are some pictoral souvenirs of the trip.

We stayed near Impruneta on a organic wine and olive-oil producing farm (all farms in the region seem to produce wine and olive oil!) and most of my riding was done southward towards Greve and around back to Impruneta via the east and the pass that separates Greve from Dudda. Most of my rides started by doing hill intervals betwenn Ferrone and Impruneta (ouch!) before calming down into a much less masochistic affair. The goal was to get home by 9-10 am and start the day exploring with the family. On one day, however, I did ride back from Sienna to Impruneta -- a stunning ride through a breathtaking progression of hilltop villages. The weather was cool but sunny except on the last day when I rode 2 hrs in a drizzle only to have the sun come out when I pulled up to our rental!

My impression of Tuscany before coming to this region was one of gently sloping hills. That may be the case further to the west -- but this region was bordering on the mountainous! The Chianti hills include some pretty rough climbs and a ample sprinkling of strada bianca (white roads) that the road you are on suddenly transforms itself into despite the map's assurance that the road is a "paved secondary road" (note to self: get a good map!) Strada bianca (white roads) are the white limestone gravel roads that criss-cross the region and are a sure indication that the village the road leads to has been passed by by the hordes of summer tourists.

Below are some random shots taken while out riding.
 

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I heart team Zissou!
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Tuscany #2

Below are some more riding shots.

Starting from some early morning shots of lemons and olives -- two staples of the fine regional cooking! -- I move onto some pictures from the ride back from Sienna and finally to some pictures taken on the rainy last day's ride.
 

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I heart team Zissou!
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Tuscany #3

Strada Bianca -- what can I say... I loved riding these roads! They are mostly smoothish and bring you around to the backside of Tuscany that most people rarely see. The limestone gravel surface was rarely rutted and with the exception of the occasional wheel slippage going up some of the brutal grades, the riding was easy as pie!

Here are a bunch of pics of these limestone roads, of my bike on these roads and of me on these roads. The final picture is the homecoming my personal fan club gives me at the end of each ride!
 

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I heart team Zissou!
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Tuscany Training #4

The appartment we rented was in a lovely farm house situated in the middle of the owner's family olive groves. We prepared our meals and ate outside and spent the late afternoon hours just hanging out snacking on olives and sipping some Gallo ***** Chianti Classico... what more could you ask from a vacation!
 

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I heart team Zissou!
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Tuscany #5

And the food.... well, I won't bore you with details but can I just say that every trip to Italy and southern France is like dying and going to gastronomic heaven?

Bliss = crispy fresh foccacia topped with Arugula, Mozzarella di Bufalo, Pomodoro, Porcini, drizzled in extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with some sea salt!

Double bliss= espresso ristretto
 

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I heart team Zissou!
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Tuscany #6

The bikes of Florence, Sienna and Lucca.

A random collection of bike shots taken while not out biking. The two pictures of the Colnago clumkers hold a special place in my heart.
 

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I heart team Zissou!
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Tuscany #7 and end

Parting shots...

We flew in and out of Pise and thus had some time to spend in that town on Sunday afternoon.

There would appear to be an innordinate number of people hailing taxis in Pise but, upon closer examination, they are following one of the oldest known tourist rituals in the world -- and one which I myself partook in as witnessed by the picture below.

The final shots are just some random shots to leave you with a gentle feeling of the sublime that this region has to offer.

Ciao!
 

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[email protected] you Philippec....

Every time you post one of these things Miss M is all over my case, "We never go anywhere...."

You are killing me I tell you, killing me.

BTW I'm thinking Scotland is next for us but I could be wrong, Italy is looking pretty good.
 

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Fahrrad fahren
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Amazing

Just amazing. You, my friend are living the life.
 

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Kato 2007?

This report sets a pretty high bar for the Kato 2007 competition. I especially like the second photo in the report.

I know that you already have had lunch in Paris, but I really have a problem with food photos before I have had lunch. It's only 10:30 a.m. here in Baltimore your report already has me thinking about lunch. For some reason, I don't think that the pizza place across the street is going to satisfy me as much as the food store in your photos would.

Say hello (or salut, if you insist) to the girls for me.

Ciao. Mark
 

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Bacon!
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Incredible Country and Pics!

Wow! That's about all I know what to say right now. Just incredible country and incredible riding. My wife has been trying to talk me into going to Tuscany and now I'm pretty much convinced. Maybe next year I hope. Our riding group is riding across Italy this fall but we couldn't go :( . Next Year though!!

Also, those Colnagos. I'd love to come across a "clunker" like that! That would be a fun project.
 

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Fini les ecrase-"manets"!
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Thanks so much for this!

My wife and I are going to be in Italy from May 27-June 9. After a couple of days in Milano to see the end of the Giro, we're going to a cooking school in a small town near Sienna for a few days (days off, show up to cook (and eat!) around 4 pm). From there we go to the MotoGP race at Mugello for one day, then the rest of the time in and around Florence (and anywhere we can see in a week without a rental car).

It's great to see some non-guidebook pictures from the region. I was excited before, but now I can hardly stand to wait.
 

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rock n rolling resistance
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philippec said:
There would appear to be an innordinate number of people hailing taxis in Pise but, upon closer examination, they are following one of the oldest known tourist rituals in the world -- and one which I myself partook in as witnessed by the picture below.
I thought there was some kinda infectious friendliness going around or something until I saw the tower...

Thanks for the fabulous pictures again... I think 90% in my landscape pic file is yours... as are nearly all my rotating wall paper pix...
 

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Great pics!
We just tickets to go to Italy this summer... for 2 months. Staying with in-laws (Dolomites) and my plan is to buy something like those clunker colnagos when i get there. I see them frequently in Italy. Your pics are getting me excited!

I have visited that region many times, but never with a bike. Lots of hiking, eating and drinking.

The white shoe covers are super Euro!
 

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wonderful, phillipe.

Thank you for sharing, and make no mistake you are one lucky man in many regards. I like the cartwheel shot as much as any of the others. Your posts allow me to fantasize about one day watching my girls do the same.
 
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