Thanks for the clarification, would you like to share your experience of the trip. I am sure more than me would be interested.
And welcome to the forum!!!
Thanks TGR. Here is a Post I put up on another Cycling forum last October. I did the event on a 79 Carlton Professional.
Myself and 2 mates did the L’Eroica 135km route this month. Unfortunately one of the guys didn’t finish due to a buckled wheel. Here are my lessons learned – these are from the point of view of a novice cyclist.
First thing is the bike. The Strade Bianche accounts for half the distance and is basically a gravel dirt road. It puts a lot of pressure on the bike especially going down hill. You need to make sure that your wheels, tyres and brakes are up to the job. I had 700c 28 Panaracer Crosstowns which worked well for me. I didn’t have any punctures. I had a 28-14 cassette and a Compact Chainset. I cheated a bit with the Compact but apart from that the bike was standard with period components. I had replaced cables, bottom bracket etc so everything was in good working order. The bike finished well just a bit of creaking around the crankset/bottom bracket.
Next thing is fitness. I wasn’t great on this front. I only started training in mid-May – hadn’t cycled in earnest since I was a teenager 30 years ago. I live in Firhouse so I did regular runs up to the viewing point and 2 runs across Sally Gap. I could have done with more training to tackle the gravel hills – ended up walking up a lot of the steep bits especially after Asciano – part of this was to protect myself as I wanted to make sure I finished. There are some videos on Youtube but they don’t do justice to how steep this section is – when I was passing this way approx. 80% of cyclists walked up the hills. You could try and train on rougher road, though you learn fairly quickly on the day how to ride rough roads.
The day before you have to register in Giaole, so you just need some ID and you can pick up your pack – cloth bag, number for your jersey and your bike, route passport (stamped at beginning, end and rest spots).
The day of the event you have to start off between 5 and 7am if you want to do the 135 or 205. We started at about 6.45. We were about half an hours drive from Giaole so we had breakfast shortly after 5am (4am Irish Time). It wasn’t too cold, I just had a jersey and arm warmers – the arm warmers came off after 5 or 6 km.
There were 3 of us. One of the lads got a badly buckled rear wheel at about 12k. We spent 45 mins trying to fix it with the help of 2 guys from Dublin (think one was named Dave) and an English guy (Angelo). In the end the wheel was too bad and he had to retire. The fun started then as everyone was gone ahead of us. We had to push on as we were concerned that the rest areas and checkpoints would be closed. Unfortunately the marshals had all left and we ended up getting lost in Sienna - this cost us about half an hour. Finally we arrived at the Rest Stop in Radi. Most people had left with just a few guys getting their bikes fixed with a mechanic. We stopped there for about 40 mins before pushing on for Asciano. At this point it was warm and dusty. Eventually we arrived at Asciano – at this stage we had cycled about 90km and I was suffering mostly from dehydration. Stopped in Asciano for probably an hour before tackling the hardest section. We had now linked up with the 205km riders. Got to the final rest point and started to feel better – evening was coming in so it was a bit cooler and pushed on to the finish in Giaole
Things to note.
- Rest stops – 49km, 84km and 102km
- Water, food and wine available at each stop – cold meats, bread, cheeses, soup, biscuits, cake, fruit
- Mechanic at each rest stop – need to bring cash
- If you are running behind the main field keep a sharp lookout for the brown L’Eroica signs plus other temporary signs.
- Recommend starting as early as possible – if I was to do it again I would start at 6am for the 135km.
- You will need lights.
- Don’t have to wear a helmet, but I would recommend wearing one
- Wear Mountain Bike shoes as you will have to drag your bike up some of the gravel section
- Nobody officially examined the bikes.
- There were other cyclists on the route as it is open road with modern bikes.
- There isn’t any support if you breakdown – saw a lot of guys carrying bikes on their shoulders.
- You will need a vintage Jersey otherwise you won’t get the Bottle of wine and cake at the end of the event. Wear something that looks woollen and old fashioned.
- Make sure your bike is in good order – replace all old components – brake pads, bottom bracket, chain, cables etc.
- Carry spare tube, cables, cable ties, puncture repair kit, bike tool, electrolyte tables, rubber gloves, mobile phone, cash, pump, lights, sun glasses, sun cream if you are fair.