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If you plan to ride L’Eroica, this is part of the training.

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The Moseman took its last ride stateside for a few weeks. Next stop: Lecchi in Chianti.

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For a slightly different take on the ride, take a look at Brooks England video from 2009. Among my obsessions, the traditional leather saddle is high on the list. So much so that I initiated a Facebook group page two years ago with content about the iconic leather saddle. Naturally, I ride one and have had a great time exploring the various connections between the saddle and bike culture. It’s a natural that Brooks would be a L’Eroica sponsor.

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Update: Might as well see episodes 1 and 2, also.

Several video links have been making their way around the interwebs lately. The one posted here earlier by Edouard Sepulchre captures not just the “race,” but the spirit and culture that L’Eroica shares with Tuscany and what it also brings to Tuscany. The video below is by the one of the primary sponsors, Le Coq Sportif.

I have considered taking a video camera with me to Italy, but I’m pretty sure that nothing will beat the videos posted here today and earlier.

L’Eroica report / DAY 1 / Gaiole In Chianti – The Village gets ready from Le Coq Sportif on Vimeo.

L’Eroica report / DAY 1 / Gaiole In Chianti – The Village gets ready

Vivez l’expérience L’Eroica
Du 1er au 3 octobre 2010
En live sur lecoqsportif.com/eroica
——————————–
Experience L’Eroica
From October 1st to 3rd 2010
Live on lecoqsportif.com/eroica

Video: Bastien Lattanzio
Music: Candy Clash

L’Eroica report / DAY 2 / Flea Market & Bikes distribution from Le Coq Sportif on Vimeo.

L’Eroica report / DAY 2 / Flea Market & Bikes distribution

Vivez l’expérience L’Eroica
Du 1er au 3 octobre 2010
En live sur lecoqsportif.com/eroica
——————————–
Experience L’Eroica
From October 1st to 3rd 2010
Live on lecoqsportif.com/eroica

Video: Bastien Lattanzio
Music: Candy Clash

L’Eroica report / DAY 3 / The Race from Le Coq Sportif on Vimeo.

L’Eroica report / DAY 3 / The Race

Vivez l’expérience L’Eroica

Du 1er au 3 octobre 2010

En live sur lecoqsportif.com/eroica

——————————–

Experience L’Eroica

From October 1st to 3rd 2010

Live on lecoqsportif.com/eroica
Video: Bastien Lattanzio

Music: Fortune – Nothing

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When my friend, Bob Huff, described his experience riding the strade bianchi while we rode a short training ride at the Oregon Coast, his enthusiasm inspired me. Several months later, he called to see if I’d like to model my bike and L’Eroica kit in a photo shoot. That was an easy answer.

The view from the back. (c) Bob Huff Photo

It was a great pleasure pulling on the kit and have Bob shoot scores of images. I’ve done this on a few occasions and one of the enjoyable elements of this shoot was the use of film. Yes, film. Remember that? You know, the stuff you put in those old cameras and send to a chemistry lab where pictures are returned to you a few days or hours later. Of course, there were the digital shots, too, and the sample here is a window to what went on that day. For Bob’s selections of images, visit the L’Eroica Reber Gallery.

Like a good, vintage bike, it’s great to see the solid, still relevant Hasselblads and Leicas come out. In fact, I’ll be taking a good old Leica “shooter” with me to L’Eroica, though I have no intention to drag it along on the ride.

For those who know Bob, you know of his amateur bike racing chops and his estimable photographic skills. After all, he’s shot some of the best in sport and his fine art work is great, too. Take a bit of time to visit his site and don’t miss his blog, either. Bob Huff Photo.

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I’m not sure what the forces are that make certain things, like blog posts, appear when you are thinking about them, but this just popped up in the Twitter feed. The Adventure Journal article has a great shot to lead it off, but make sure you read the SI story and view the photos on Velonews. Makes my little West Hills workouts look like a walk in the park. Time for more Rule 5.

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In this connected world of tweets, Facebook postings, and the like comes this article in the Guardian from a year back. I hope that it sums up the ride and experience well. Even though it makes careful note of the challenges of the strade bianchi, it confirms what a wonderful place that part of Tuscany will be in the early fall.

In case you don’t want to click through, I’m including this Vimeo piece from Le Coq Sportif, one of the main sponsors of the event. You may have seen it before, but it’s particularly good. There are two others in the series covering the first two days of L’Eroica, but this gives a good sense of the ride.

http://vimeo.com/15520631

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Training for L’Eroica is occupying much of my interests, or fears, these days. Though six months away, everything I can glean about the ride tells me that my legs and every other part of me must be ready for a long, difficult day in the saddle.

I’ve ridden centuries before. I’ve been put to the test on challenging climbs. My first significant one came in 1985 and was the excuse for my first visit to Europe. The Alpenbrevet went 160K over three mountain passes including one with 15K of cobblestones on the descent. (Current routes are different than when I rode it.) I also rode the 1988 Assault on Mt. Mitchell, a ridiculously difficult century ride that sounded good on paper, but was murderous. But, scores of kilometers of strade bianchi has me spooked. What to do?

Distract myself. That is really the reason behind the headline. You see it at the health club, you see it among snowboarders, you see it in riders cruising the bike paths around town. Everyone seems to be plugged in to their own personal noise machine.

We can always make the argument that music, whatever the genre or style, is motivating or soothing or inspirational. It may be and often is. What we really gain from these earbuds or headphones is a transport to some other place where the burning in the thighs and the labored breathing don’t exist. That’s for the world of old-school training.

Although my wife and I were hold outs for an iPod, the moment we got one, we used it primarily for our trips to the health club. It wasn’t long after that an iPhone was in my pocket and we the both could be plugged in. I created a playlist of rock and roll music that I thought would be sufficiently noisy and hard-driving enough to keep us going at high RPMs.

That playlist was played to death, but we never seemed to mind because it wasn’t really music we were enjoying. We were using the beats and the bass lines to drive our legs. Billy Idol might have been dancing with himself, but we were trying to dance on the pedals.

Then, by sheer accident or forgetfulness, I left the iPhone at home and had to go it alone. The Clash and The Stones were not there to help me. And, I posted just as good a training effort on the stationary bike as ever. That’s when I realized that the music was only a distraction, so why not have more variety in my distractions? How about a little opera to go along with “Sympathy for the Devil?” Why not let Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony, “Eroica,” help me visualize the roads of Tuscany, with the dappled sunlight and shining gravel?

And, that’s where I have ended up. I may put together other playlists including some with Billy Idol and The Clash. But, I’m just as likely to let Pandora do the work from Radio Opera.  Or, just as compelling would be entire symphonies, which often take us from slow warm up adagios to excited interval allegros and back to a warm down andante.

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Pay close attention here to the pace of this race. It will be leagues beyond what the L’Eroica riders will be doing. At least this L’Eroica rider. This recently concluded race, won by Phillipe Gilbert, is over many if not all of the roads we will be riding this fall. There are dozens of You Tube videos of the race. This is just a brief highlight. Perhaps if this had been organized a century ago, it would stand in the same realm as Paris Roubaix.

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Should be no surprise that when you begin in earnest to chase a dream, you find others doing the same.
I’ve been fishing about the interwebs and social media, finding more and more references to the ride. Here’s a video showcasing the area and the ride.

L’EROICA (english version) from Edouardi Sepulchro on Vimeo.

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