Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘L’Eroica’

If you are looking for some early season inspiration for your l’Eroica training today’s race through Chianti is your best bet. Not only is the race run over many of the same roads as l’Eroica, but today’s winner hails from a family, a tradition, of Italian cycling greats. Moreno Moser stood atop the podium today, but the real story for l’Eroica participants is the beauty and the beast of the strade bianche. The race, appropriately christened Monte Paschi Eroica when it was first contested, has become a preview of the northern European spring classics. But, it is really a story unto itself and a reminder of what racing was like in earlier times, even though today’s bikes weigh a fraction of what those early ones did. Even so, the sterrati are great equalizers, forcing carbon-bike perched pros to adopt tactics and the grit that today’s winner’s uncle and his family had to endure.

For some photo inspiration along with race highlights, go to Steephill TV Classics.

Read Full Post »

If this is your first L’Eroica, the memory will be sweet. By now, you are probably asleep or nearly there. The rest of us who weren’t with you this year envy you and at the same time are joyful. You have carried on a great tradition.

20121007-141830.jpg

Read Full Post »

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Giancarlo and all the good people of L’Eroica should be honored. In the home of Fausto Coppi comes La Mitica. While I have every intention of riding another L’Eroica, I’m eager to ride this and the Retro Ronde. It’s not a slavish interest in the minutiae of vintage bicycles; it’s the culture that surrounds the period when bike racing was not dominated by expensive sponsorships, radio communication with the team, armadas of support vehicles. Don’t get me wrong. I’d jump at the chance to spend some time as a spectator at Grand Tour events. And, I watch plenty of TV coverage of the pro circuit, attend local events and read as much as I can.

But, there is something that inspires me about participating in events like this. You feel somehow more connected to the origins of the sport and to a time and place that seems original. I fight the cynic in me that says these events are produced as a way to build tourism interest, especially among people “of a certain age” who have the means to travel and harbor nostalgia for a period they probably never lived through. No matter.

It can only be a matter of time before an event like L’Eroica or La Mitica is held here in Oregon. For that, I cannot wait.

(Thanks to Rory Mason and his blog, Masini’s Breaking Away blog, for alerting me. Links to that blog, please visit it, on the home page here.)

A vintage ride in the land of Coppi

Read Full Post »

I suppose the question answers itself if you are reading this blog. I think my dreams began as early as 2009, but certainly became vivid in 2010. I became aware of the ride while researching and curating links for a Facebook Group, Brooks Saddles. They have been a sponsor of the ride for a few years, though I’m not sure if they are now. (If you have a Facebook account, this link will get you to the Group: http://tinyurl.com/BrooksFB.)

Upon learning about L’Eroica, my interest went from the merely curious to the “I’d like to do that someday” to the “I’ve got to do this soon” to “I need to set a bookmark for the registration page” to sitting up at night to log in and be registered for the 2011 version. It all happend pretty quickly.

Grapes dreaming of their transformation into Chianti Classico.

The beauty of the dreaming was that it turned quickly to a sort of nightmare. I hadn’t ridden a single bike any distance greater than a few miles for the past ten years. Most of my riding was on a tandem with my wife, sometimes over great distances and on tour. That’s not the same because the handling, the effort, everything would be different, not to mention that everything I read told me that this is a very difficult ride.

If you are aware of L’Eroica and it seems like a ride that you must do, now is the time to start dreaming. If you are registered for it this year, your dreams must now shift to wide awake training. My own training last year began in earnest in January with several months in the gym until the weather became conducive to road riding. More on that later . . .

Read Full Post »

That didn’t take long. Registrations for those of us who don’t live in Italy and are under 60 have ended. But, you knew that, right? Possibly the world’s most popular one-day cycling event is sure to sell out fast. There are ways to get in, but this post is really about the training, not the event. I’ll say more about registering in a moment.

If you even imagine that you will ride L’Eroica, now is the time to train. Need some inspiration? Watch tomorrow’s Montepaschi Strade Bianche on Universal Sports. Sad to say that my cable carrier doesn’t air US, but it is available online. You will view the very roads over which L’Eroica is ridden and get a sense of why this is a ride you will want to do sometime in your life.

But, training? I look out the window at the gray mornings that barely glow before 6:30 and question why I want to get out of bed. Last year, I was excited about the ride in a way that could be interpretted as really scared about how difficult it might be. And, how much I wanted to make a good showing. Motivation enough.

Here are a quick few suggestions that are by no means unique, but will get you started.

Stationary bikes or roller: Use them during the gloomy, dark days, but ride intervals. Nothing will give you a head start on the road like intervals inside.

Strength training: There are plenty of good books about strength training programs and there are coaches and personal trainers. I used the former, in particular, “Weight Training for Cyclists” along with other guides. When you face a 12 percent grade on the white roads, it’s not just strong legs and low gears that get you to the top.

Ride the sterrati or unpaved roads: Slap on the 28mm tires and leave them on the bike. Find some unpaved roads to ride, but make them part of a longer ride rather than just a practice piece. You’ll gain confidence on the stones and feel how they change the ride.

Since I never know quite what readers want, other than great pictures of bikes and components, leave comments about this and other posts. If you want more on training, I’ll spend some time with it.

Sold out registration? No problem. There will be at least two more chances to register, though at higher rates. Those will get you in and provide funds for the L’Eroica charity. Or, do it up right and contact inGamba about their tours. There is a long-weekend version and a full week along with additional tours that include L’Eroica. You’ll never eat, drink and ride so well. I might even see you there.

Read Full Post »

Registration for L’Eroica 2012 opens at 3:00 Pacific time for those followers in the western United States, or midnight in Italy, which is GMT or UCT -1 hour. Hell, I suppose it is only right to say Greenwich Mean Time when we’re talking about something as traditional as L’Eroica. Regardless, if you plan to go, get your mouse ready and login here at the official site here.

The best part of the ride

The organizers have expanded the registration limits for non-Italians. I’m not sure why, but there are now 800 slots open compared to my experience of last year where the limt was 500. No matter. If you have any inkling that you plan to attend, register and pay your fee. It’s not enough to compel you to go if you have a conflict or a problem. But, it’s one of those motivating factors that sticks with you when you are deciding whether to add a few more kilometers to your daily ride.

You might choose to skip registration on your own because you’ve decided to go with a tour company. If you’ve made the decision, or even thought about it, there is one that stands above all others and is a relative newcomer, In Gamba, or “in the know” as the idiom goes. I met these folks last year. We shared a village home base in Lecchi-in-Chianti. I’ll have more to say in other places about that experience.

They offer a range of tours in Italy and elsewhere that really have no comparison. Led by a former Cervelo pro, but focused as much on culture and community as riding, they give the serious cyclist everything and a great deal more. They also hold registrations for L’Eroica that clients use and the vintage bicycle is provided.

Read Full Post »

The reality of the L’Eroica experience far exceeded the dream. To start there was Lecchi in Chianti, a village that one can only imagine being part of a dream. Hospitable, ideally positioned and filled with friendly residents and visitors alike.

Having my family there was a great treat and I can only hope that the favor was returned. Most nights, we came together for the evening meal and the laughter and boisterous conversation was non-stop.

20111004-162848.jpg

Then, there was Joao and his troop of former pro cycling colleagues and clients, living their own dreams on the roads of Chianti. An article in Bicycling magazine describes Joao’s approach to hosting cycling enthusiasts as the best ride on earth and it’s easy to see why.

Nothing matched the ride, not even the “favor” I did of delivering the commemorative Brooks B-17 saddle to ride director Giancarlo Brocci.

20111004-163759.jpg

I plan to write a bit more, both here and for Brooks England for their blog. Stay tuned.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »