You Deutsche?: Ciao

Posted: January 3, 2011 in Bike Stories

Laboring to finish the climb from Vinci up to San Baronto Italy, I heard the clear sound of silk tubulars coming up behind me.  Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh.

I was expecting one of the young svelte Italian pros, with perfect Greco-Roman curls, whom I had seen riding in perfect formation earlier in the day.

Coming ’round the corner I see a 60ish, pot-bellied, signore atop a vintage Italian steed.  He rides up aside me, clearly within himself, while I struggle for the ability to converse.

“You Deutsche?” he asks.  “No, me Americano,” I offer.  For the next three or four minutes we banter back and forth about Agriturismo in Montespertoli, The Empoli soccer club, and Bianchi bicycles.  This was amazing, considering that I speak about 8 Italian words and he about 10 English words.

Suddenly bored of the pace and/or the conversation, he stands and presses a bit on the pedals and shouts, “ciao” as he quickly pulls away.  Unable to just let this go, I vainly attempt a recovery and rally to hold his wheel.  This lasts about 60 seconds before the explosion occurs on this 12% climb.

This guy was likely a cycling pro in the 70’s, racing the Giro d’Italia, who then retired to the serenity of the Tuscan mountainside vineyards.  Regardless, it still hurt that he was old and round and on a vintage machine – when he dusted me.

This day began for me on my rented Bianchi.  I picked this up in Florence and was very frustrated that it was affixed with a triple crank.  Starting out at the Gelato store in Vinci, within minutes, I was glad to have it as I headed up the short route to San Baronto.  Not quite warmed up when the climb began, this hurt.  Struggling, I turned around and headed back down.

For about an hour I enjoyed the roads in and around the vineyards which produce the perfect Da Vinci Chianti.  Working up the courage, I once again attempt the San Baronto climb – this time up the steeper side.

After my Consigliere damaged my manhood, I managed to finish the climb and enjoy the incredible view from atop.  On the other side of town, I realized that, on my first attempt, I had turned around one turn or 50m from the top.  I got the last laugh on this irony as I turned downhill and opened it up for a death-defying descent.

I completed the perfect April day in Tuscany with the perfect Caramel Gelato.

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