Imagine the first few years of the Tour de France. Riders on their heavy bikes carrying spares crossed behind their shoulders and stamping hundreds of kilometers on their heavy steel bikes. Ever wanted to be a part of that peloton? Well now you can. And you don’t even have to be in Europe to do it.
L’Eroica, a race that has long hit the iconic white roads of Tuscany, is now heading to Californian soil. And not just any Californian soil: the Central Coast soil of Paso Robles.
If you’re not familiar with L’Eroica, meaning “The Heroic,” you’ll find that it’s aptly named for hailing back to the days before carbon frames and clipless pedals. Yes, what better bragging rights than riding the often difficult roads of Northern San Luis Obispo County than riding those often difficult roads on a vintage bike. In fact, in order to participate, your ride has to be pre-1980s (good news for my ’85 World Sport and me–bad news for my decision to convert it to a single speed). Although, according to past years and participants, sporting an 80s bike might mean you’re actually riding some pretty advanced technology as many riders opt for pre-WWII rides and kits.
Aimed to show modern day riders just how impressive the cyclists of yesterday were, L’Eroica is a difficult course on difficult equipment for serious bragging rights. And if you’re local to SLO, you can always do your training on the real race course to really show up your fellow riders on the Saturday group ride. 😉
Want to get in on the action? The Eroica California runs April 10-12 with three route options (43, 65, or 123 very specific miles) that each include gravel road sections. Why gravel roads? Because at its inception, L’Eroica was meant as a way to save the iconic gravel roads (aka the white roads/the strade bianche) of Tuscany.
Registration opened just yesterday (February 16th) and remains open until March 31st but is capped at 1,000 riders. Your $150 entry fee will get you a pasta feed, event entrance, and some cool swag–proceeds to benefit Hospice SLO. Want to sign up? Head over to The Eroica California Registration Page. If you’re not really sure what I’ve been talking about so far, this video will show you just how cool the event is, and why it carries such serious bragging rights:
If you’re in to celebrating the fact that we’ve got some of the coolest roads around and some of the most awesome riders around, try out The Eroica California. It’s a pretty big point of pride that one of our own cities is hosting a ride usually reserved for Italy. Got a bike handy and gonna sign up? Let me know! I’m kind of excited for this one. For more info, head over to www.eroicacalifornia.