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Escape the Rains

Rolling thru the second rest stop on Day 1

There are two kinds of rainy days on the bike. There’s days with passing showers but things dry out quickly; and there’s day-long pouring rain that leaves you no choice but to slog through to the end of the ride.

This year’s Escape to the Lake MS Ride had one day of each kind.

To be fair, it’s been that kind of year. As I wrote in my last post, my week in Tuscany was almost exclusively rainy and cold; and our horrible spring weather was the topic of the post before that.

Rolling thru the second rest stop

A wet, grim start to Day 2

Midway thru a very wet Day 2

After a disappointing week in Italy, I had two weeks to train up (and then taper for) the annual two-day Escape to the Lake MS Ride.

I stumbled into some form by doing a slow ride up the Montour Trail with Pittsburgh »more

Inclement Italy

Villa South Exit

Since my March trip to Southeast Asia wasn’t enough travel, in May I spent a week in Tuscany, just outside Florence, Italy.

Long before Inna accepted a six-month work assignment in Malaysia, her not-too-far-flung immediate family held a small reunion in Washington DC. They enjoyed that gathering so much that they decided the only way to improve upon it would be to repeat it… in Italy! Thus plans were laid.

The villa driveway, lined with olive trees

Our villa and grapevines seen from the road

The south side of our villa, with backdrop

Arches and patio on the south side

I’m in a Tuscan villa!

West side villa entrance

North side patio & our bedroom

Inna & Ornoth on the north patio

Tuscan daybreak

View from our villa bedroom door

More farm villas nort »more

Velo Toscano

Rental Bianchi

A week at a Tuscan villa is a cyclist’s dream vacation: scenic rolling hills, sunny Mediterranean weather, and—in May—the chance to visit the Giro d’Italia, one of the three European Grand Tours at the elite level of professional cycling. When the opportunity arose, I leapt at the chance.

Although the trip was ostensibly to join Inna and her kin for a family reunion, cycling was my main motivation and goal. Since this is my cycling blog, that’s the scope of this post; you can read about the non-cycling aspects in my overall trip blogpost on my main blog.

My rental Bianchi at our villa

While the countryside was amazing, my rental bike, the weather, and my schedule all fell short of my aspirations and expectations, so I came home disappointed. Here are the details that add up to »more