Clare and I had a sensational ride up to Convento Monte Senario, one of my favorite destinations and Polcanto with lots of climbing, and ended our ride going south across the Arno with a grand finale descent into Firenze from Piazzale Michelangelo. Even as we left at 7:30 in the morning, Florence was engulfed by a thick, heavy, hazy hot blanket of humidity. But as we gained elevation beyond Fiesole, the thick stiky air began to lift, the refreshing smell of pine refreshed and welcomed us, offereing us shade, invigorating breezes and shelter from the heat. Clare and I have spent so many hours on our bikes this past week getting to know each other, I feel like I have made a new friend.
I am very thankful to Leif for referring me for this private bike tour, because it was an opportunity to use my creativity in planning and choosing the best route to suit a number of different factors, including her preferences, abilities, the weather, the traffic patterns, relative interest of the destinations, as well as Clare's athletic ability, endurance and skill level. I feel like I "got it right" all four times. This gave me the experience also in testing my own knowledge and strengths, as well as to determine what I can do to be better. The icing on the cake, was that Clare has a similar riding style as me, so our pace, spinning techniques and climbing style were really in "sync" with each other.
Last night, I received a note from Claudio, my friend who owns La Dolce Vita Wine Tours , asking me if I could do a bike or preferably a hiking tour for him in San Gimignano in October, and knowing that Leif is also a hiking guide, referred the business to him.