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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:13 pm 
MacRetro Deputy AEC
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Great write up ed, and thanks to yourself, monty dog(?) or whoever recommended Siena camping via the forum. It was nice to briefly meet under the sun of Siena, yip a pity we didn’t hook up earlier..

Thinking back, your 2010 account was one of the final pieces of research I read before committing to do the l@eroica

I had held out for the recommended few glasses of robust red at the last stop, however the last stop/check was a junction on a strade bianche road when the official stamped your card on top of his car roof with no refreshments…. Probably just as well as the last section of climbing before and after Radda just about finished me off



Here’s my post event thoughts and observations for anyone interested or considering a future crack at the Il’Eroica.

1. We arrived in Pisa on Saturday about lunchtime, a restriction due to one of my lot playing in a band the night before and there wasn’t much in the way of flight choice either. We all knew this was too late but still hoped for a miraculous quick journey to the campsite for a warm ride to Gaiole but common sense prevailed and we ended up driving straight there.

Gaiole on Saturday is to be savoured and (unfortunately for us) not rushed..

So get to Italy on Friday, and have a warm up ride to register on Saturday and observe and enjoy the Battaglins, De Rosas, Pinarellos, Olmos, Coiccs, Rossins, Leganos, Wiliers, scores of Alans, plethora of Colnagos, an embarrassing abundance of Bianchi lying about. Then there’s the stalls whoooa (bring your savings), like minded retro riders from around the world and good food to enjpy.

2. Bike preparation - my preparation wasn’t much better, I’d started building my old yates several months in advance and finished only a couple of weeks before, managing to get a couple of hundred of miles (bonking on one run) . The bike had been fine, however upon rebuilding in Siena and taking a pedal around the campsite (to see if I could spot any retrobikers) on Friday evening my bars tilted forward. I hadn’t loosened the clamp for the flight, so panic set in when upon inspection the threads had given in on the bar clamp. Luckily we headed back to Gaiole to find some stalls open at 9pm and help at hand.. many thanks to these guys as this would have almost certainly been a ride wrecker at any other event
Make sure your friends have prepared, our first hours involved stops to adjust brakes, a rear mech and then to tension up the friction shifters (on two bikes).

3. Get some sleep, we were up at 4am Saturday for flight, and 4am on Sunday to get to the start. The start for the 205Km is between 5am & 7am (we set off at 6.15am)

4. Bike set up

Gears - I found 42 x 28 to be adequate gear wise
Rubber - 25mm tyres were ok, but reckon I’d put a cyclocross rear tyre on next time for traction on the steeper strade bianche sections.
Lights – I’d taken a powerfully cree/xml light which serves me well when night riding on my mtb. This is fastened to the bars with big o ring thingy, this is fine on my local trails in the dark of night however the rough bianche descents caused this to bump/vibrate so it was pointing at my feet by the bottom of any hill.

5. Time – it takes as long as it takes. The bianche is rough, some sections are fine, some are rutted with water erosion, some covered in loose gravel etc all in it’s much heavier slower going than your average Sunday run. We decided to stick together, waiting after climbs at feed stations etc, and with mechanicals (one bike gave in, are the body of the freewheel broke). All in all with planned stops, interruptions, heavy roads and a difficult (never flat) parcours, it took us twice as long to complete as a 100 miler back home.



Hitting a strade bianche in the dark is eventful, within a couple of hundred meters on the first stretch you hit a decent. Not long after one of my mates said he’d rather climb on the strade bianche roads than descend which is fair comment.

For us all in all it was a great event, for two of us, our first event overseas. We’d all go back, I’d like to do the 205Km again then retire it and just go and enjoy the 135Km on a near annual basis.

It’s a beautiful place, where you could easily include the l’eroica during a holiday, Siena was lovely for some rest and recreation on the Monday.

My two mates we’re new to retro rides, both loved it and we agreed to the retro ronde over dinner after finishing. (Unfortunately this is not on the same weekend as the ronde in 2014, so has been put on the back burner until 2015).


Hilts wrote:
Birra Moretti is legendary, Peroni is sh*t


Yip – whole heartily agree

Hilts wrote:
The L’Eroica wine they give you at the end is good for cleaning your chain, not so good for drinking…


Glad to hear it after not getting mine due to a jersey fabric non-conformance.. ball0cks!

Although we tasted plenty of the local grape juice on the Monday.

(btw - bring your own whisky, Italian bars don’t have much of a selection..)

Can’t wait to go back


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 3:38 pm 
Retro Guru

Joined: Tue May 11, 2010 4:13 pm
Posts: 636
Location: Scarborough
I loved the whole report, but especially this bit:

"Sitting on the wall taking in our refreshment, James tightened his shoe laces. Suddenly, we became aware of a telephoto lens peeking out from behind a tree – it clearly isn’t only Kate Middleton who attracts unwanted photographers on the continent. Gradually the camera welder became emboldened and crept from behind his hiding place, all the while snapping away at James’ coquettishly turned ankles without speaking. I was both slightly weirded out and a bit huffy – what was wrong with my feet? Might as well ride again, I guessed. "

Me and Mrs G went to a wedding last year in nearby Greve in Chianti, which was notable for many things - the beauty of the setting, the scorching late September weather, the glorious food - and the extremely odd wedding photographer whose telephoto lens - you will have guessed by now - would slowly emerg from behind trees and under bushes, accompanied by the click! click! click! of the shutter. It literally MUST be the same bloke...


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 7:36 pm 
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Quote:
4. Bike set up

Gears - I found 42 x 28 to be adequate gear wise
Rubber - 25mm tyres were ok, but reckon I’d put a cyclocross rear tyre on next time for traction on the steeper strade bianche sections.
Lights – I’d taken a powerfully cree/xml light which serves me well when night riding on my mtb. This is fastened to the bars with big o ring thingy, this is fine on my local trails in the dark of night however the rough bianche descents caused this to bump/vibrate so it was pointing at my feet by the bottom of any hill.


That is a good tip. I really liked the way how setup my bike, but after having done the ride this was the only room for improvement I found.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 12:32 pm 
Pumpy's Bear
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Tuscan dust


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:46 pm 
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inspiring report!!!


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:51 pm 
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Location: Wales, United Kingdom
markyp wrote:
inspiring report!!!


I wholly concur! What a fabulous event. It seems like a good time - Well done, Gentlemen.

Whilst researching L'Eroica I stumbled upon the 2010 video summary of the race/event. I find this video (and it's beautiful cinematography) depicts the beauty and the romance tied up in this event. It also speaks as to why this is an event I would dearly love to attend above all others

L'Eroica (2010)
http://vimeo.com/20622427


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:09 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2012 3:37 pm
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New to this forum but hope it's okay to contribute although I hardly feel worthy as I only tackled (and survived) the 75km.

It was my first attempt at such an event although I've done a few Sportives and take part in a few duathlons - certainly no comparison! I actually bought my 1983 Gazelle Champion Mondial to tackle duathlons when I first took them up a couple of years back. Inevitably I've now got a carbon fibre Focus and in fact have decided I don't like running much but nevertheless I still have my Gazelle and wanted to find a suitable event to use it on. Well L'Eroica was certainly perfect!

Husband and I visit Italy regularly (side story but we race classic cars too...) so it was easy to persuade him to take a 10 day holiday in our motor home in Tuscany, visiting friends who live near Este on the way home. We stayed at a Camp site about 25km away from Gaiole and wimped out and got a hire car to transport the car and we also used it for site seeing.

Anyway, we turned up on the Friday and I signed on - organised chaos and wonderful for it! The stalls were setting up, we had a lovely lunch and I have to say I was in bike heaven! We spent most of the day there and decided (rightly or wrongly) to avoid going back on Saturday as we feared it would be very busy.

So on to Sunday. My route was leaving from 8.30am so it was actually a fairly leisurely start to the day. Thankfully we had a tiny Lancia Ypislon hire car so we were able to find a parking place within a kilometre of the town which was useful. Standing in the queue to start was immense - a feeling of slight foreboding, gentle excitement and marvelling at the bikes, people and groups of Italians who kept bursting into song at any opportunity. Fantastic!

It was a cool morning and I could have done with arm warmers but the climb up the first bianca was a good test of what was to come. Whoever on here who said that they prefer climbing to descending I totally agree with - I do have a mountain bike but I have to say that my bike skills (and courage) were quite lacking. I'd past people on the way up and get blitzed on the way down.

The stop at Radda was a hoot - trying to get food was near impossible unless you were bullish but no complaints - there were so many happy faces and it's mega cool to hang out with people as made as you! There was an impromptu stop in another small town where wine was forced on us - no complaints here!

I was enjoying the ride and actually going quite well until the last 16km - the white road was so steep - I thought I was about halfway up before I wimped out but in fact it was probably only a quarter of the way - it was steep and very rutted and all the numerous walker cheered the brave ones tackling it. Inevitably most failed and joined the queue and cheered on the next one. And so it went on...and on...

I'll admit I was happy to get that party of the ride over and down with. It was tough again near Radda and back into Gaiole but the cheering crowds were fantastic - most people got a cheer. We had a wonderful lunch, cheered on as many people as possible and then retired back to the motor home very happy and contented.

Would I do it again - in a flash! And I said that just after I got off my Gazelle! Not sure about next year but the aim would be to try for one of the longer distances now I know what to expect. It might take me some time to get to the level of fitness needed for the 205 but 135 seems achievable.

Congratulations to all of you Heros that attempted and succeeded. To those of you thinking of taking part - don't think about it just enter. You will never regret it - an experience never to be forgotten.

A couple of pictures. First one is at the start and the second one some L'Eroica dust.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:12 am 
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Apologies for the numerous typos (pressed submit when meant to press Preview) and of course the photos are in the wrong order. But you get it!


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 6:20 pm 
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Thanks for sharing your experiences :) I've heard the story that foodstop in Radi was very crowded many times. Personally I didn't face much trouble overthere, but maybe that has to do with that I left relatively late.

Nice Gazelle 8)


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:25 pm 
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Great write up and a great read!


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