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    Default L'Eroica 2011

    Tuscany, October 2, 2011

    L'EROICA - Cicloturistica su strade prevalentemente sterrate
    Italy's retro bike race is a cycling classic | Travel | guardian.co.uk

    For old (pre-1987) bikes, rider space limited, but no limitation on over-60 entrants. Youngsters - better sign up soon.

    La Dolce Vita.

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    Default Re: L'Eroica 2011

    Ahh, . . . L'Eroica. I was there last Sunday. It is a wonderful cycling event held in one of the most beautiful places on earth. It was on my bucket list and when I saw that I could participate in it by extending our already-planned vacation to Europe by only one week, I registered in the Over 60 category. While the rules relating to registration may have been modified or bent a bit, registration for 2011 L'Eroica was supposed to close at 2,500, with the exception that there was no limitation for riders age of 60 and older. We had around4,000 participants, meaning that 1,500 are sixty years or older.

    I had my my 1979 Richard Sachs shipped via BikeFlights to a local bike shop in Tuscany as I would be arriving in Italy from Greece and did not want to carry my bike travel case with me for the two weeks prior to my arrival in Italy. Big Mistake. Both Steve Hampsten and Andy Hampsten had warned me about shipping my bike. But, I could not drag my bike travel case on my wanderings through Istanbul, Athens and two islands in Greece. So, I took a chance and tried to give myself enough time and supply sufficient paperwork to ease the bike's journey through Italian Customs.

    I planned for my bike to arrive several days before the event so that I could ride it and get more familiar with the shifting and gearing and ride through the beautiful Chianti countryside for a few days.

    Well, my bike arrived in Italy on September 25th. L'Eroica was on October 2nd. It should have been sufficient time for Italian Customs officials to look inside my bike travel case, see that it was a vintage bike, check my accompanying paperwork (US Passport, proof of my registration in L'Eroica, copy of my itinerary and flight information, photos of my bike in the US, serial number, etc.) and release my bike. That did not happen.

    I became concerned when the estimated Delivery Date of September 28th passed with Fedex Tracking showing that the bike is still awaiting clearance in Milan. For the next three days, I contacted Fedex International and Fedex Italy several times attempting to get my bike cleared. Finally, I was told that I could drive to the local distribution center in Monteriggioni, near Siena and pick my bike up on Saturday morning, between 9:00 a.m. and 12 noon. I did that, but the bike was not there, and instead was in the local distribution center in Florence.

    I hastily located a bike shop that had a "qualified, old vintage" bike for rent at the price of 20 euros a day: a late 70's-early 80's Gimondi, with Felice Gimondi's (1973 World Champion and winner of all three Grand Tours) picture on the head tube. Despite its impressive pedigree, the bike was in very poor condition and not equipped for the roads of L'Eroica, either in gearing or tires. I had 27s on my Sachs and the Gimondi came with old tubular 23s. And, I would have liked a bigger cassette than a 23. But, hey, beggars can't be choosers.

    I had planned on attempting the 135 km route, but with the Gimondi, I switched to the 75-79 km route.

    The Ride Start was an amazing site. Lots of cyclists crammed into the narrow streets of Gaiole in Chianti. We were released in waves of cyclists, every five minutes.

    I had a fine ride, despite the poor condition of the bike, but my ride came to screeching halt with a very loud blowout of my rear tire after an ascent on a strada bianchi. I had elected to take a chance and ride without carrying a spare tubular as I did not want to buy another tubular tire. I had a brand new Continental tubular in my bike travel case and did not want to spend any more money after spending 40 euros to rent the bike. I figured that I could make it through 50 miles without getting a flat. I had a patch kit, but the tear in the sidewall was too large to be repaired.

    Earlier in the ride, I had seen a pickup truck converted into a mobile mechanical aid vehicle with a bike stand mounted in bed of the truck and signs advertising mechanical assistance. I was told by a couple of riders that there would be mechanical assistance at the next station provided by a local bike shop, so my L'Eroica experience shifted from a bike ride to an hour and one-half long walk with my bike on a white rock road through the Chianti countryside towards Rada in Chianti.

    When I got to Rada in Chianti, a very beautiful hilltop town, there was no mechanical assistance or bike shop available. So, I called Debbie and luckily was able to reach her. She drove to Rada and picked me up. The end of my L'Eroica ride.

    Despite my troubles, I had a wonderful time and look forward to returning to that area sometime soon to cycle. The countryside is absolutely beautiful and there are plenty of small roads to explore. Even though the roads are small and narrow, the motorists are very patient with the cyclists, of which there were plenty every day. No horning blowing or any hint of road rage.

    I saw a few different US-based cycling groups, with matching jerseys, etc. Anyone up for a VSalon group next year?

    Thanks for reading,

    Tom

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    Default Re: L'Eroica 2011

    Tom I'm in, just need to finad a house rental there for three weeks any suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Byrnes View Post
    Ahh, . . . L'Eroica. I was there last Sunday. It is a wonderful cycling event held in one of the most beautiful places on earth. It was on my bucket list and when I saw that I could participate in it by extending our already-planned vacation to Europe by only one week, I registered in the Over 60 category. While the rules relating to registration may have been modified or bent a bit, registration for 2011 L'Eroica was supposed to close at 2,500, with the exception that there was no limitation for riders age of 60 and older. We had around4,000 participants, meaning that 1,500 are sixty years or older.

    I had my my 1979 Richard Sachs shipped via BikeFlights to a local bike shop in Tuscany as I would be arriving in Italy from Greece and did not want to carry my bike travel case with me for the two weeks prior to my arrival in Italy. Big Mistake. Both Steve Hampsten and Andy Hampsten had warned me about shipping my bike. But, I could not drag my bike travel case on my wanderings through Istanbul, Athens and two islands in Greece. So, I took a chance and tried to give myself enough time and supply sufficient paperwork to ease the bike's journey through Italian Customs.

    I planned for my bike to arrive several days before the event so that I could ride it and get more familiar with the shifting and gearing and ride through the beautiful Chianti countryside for a few days.

    Well, my bike arrived in Italy on September 25th. L'Eroica was on October 2nd. It should have been sufficient time for Italian Customs officials to look inside my bike travel case, see that it was a vintage bike, check my accompanying paperwork (US Passport, proof of my registration in L'Eroica, copy of my itinerary and flight information, photos of my bike in the US, serial number, etc.) and release my bike. That did not happen.

    I became concerned when the estimated Delivery Date of September 28th passed with Fedex Tracking showing that the bike is still awaiting clearance in Milan. For the next three days, I contacted Fedex International and Fedex Italy several times attempting to get my bike cleared. Finally, I was told that I could drive to the local distribution center in Monteriggioni, near Siena and pick my bike up on Saturday morning, between 9:00 a.m. and 12 noon. I did that, but the bike was not there, and instead was in the local distribution center in Florence.

    I hastily located a bike shop that had a "qualified, old vintage" bike for rent at the price of 20 euros a day: a late 70's-early 80's Gimondi, with Felice Gimondi's (1973 World Champion and winner of all three Grand Tours) picture on the head tube. Despite its impressive pedigree, the bike was in very poor condition and not equipped for the roads of L'Eroica, either in gearing or tires. I had 27s on my Sachs and the Gimondi came with old tubular 23s. And, I would have liked a bigger cassette than a 23. But, hey, beggars can't be choosers.

    I had planned on attempting the 135 km route, but with the Gimondi, I switched to the 75-79 km route.

    The Ride Start was an amazing site. Lots of cyclists crammed into the narrow streets of Gaiole in Chianti. We were released in waves of cyclists, every five minutes.

    I had a fine ride, despite the poor condition of the bike, but my ride came to screeching halt with a very loud blowout of my rear tire after an ascent on a strada bianchi. I had elected to take a chance and ride without carrying a spare tubular as I did not want to buy another tubular tire. I had a brand new Continental tubular in my bike travel case and did not want to spend any more money after spending 40 euros to rent the bike. I figured that I could make it through 50 miles without getting a flat. I had a patch kit, but the tear in the sidewall was too large to be repaired.

    Earlier in the ride, I had seen a pickup truck converted into a mobile mechanical aid vehicle with a bike stand mounted in bed of the truck and signs advertising mechanical assistance. I was told by a couple of riders that there would be mechanical assistance at the next station provided by a local bike shop, so my L'Eroica experience shifted from a bike ride to an hour and one-half long walk with my bike on a white rock road through the Chianti countryside towards Rada in Chianti.

    When I got to Rada in Chianti, a very beautiful hilltop town, there was no mechanical assistance or bike shop available. So, I called Debbie and luckily was able to reach her. She drove to Rada and picked me up. The end of my L'Eroica ride.

    Despite my troubles, I had a wonderful time and look forward to returning to that area sometime soon to cycle. The countryside is absolutely beautiful and there are plenty of small roads to explore. Even though the roads are small and narrow, the motorists are very patient with the cyclists, of which there were plenty every day. No horning blowing or any hint of road rage.

    I saw a few different US-based cycling groups, with matching jerseys, etc. Anyone up for a VSalon group next year?

    Thanks for reading,

    Tom

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    Default Re: L'Eroica 2011

    yeah, I think this is also on my list for next year. How strict is the bike check? Can you get by with clipless pedals (Hinault won the TDF with them in 1985!), I would hate to ride 205km without them. My 2009 Sachs looks about the same as a 1987 one, so this should work. I guess the issue would be the integrated cables and no downtube shifters.... Also I wonder if people wear helmets?

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    Default Re: L'Eroica 2011

    Tom

    Can you adsvise how strict are they, and how you get bike hire

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    Default Re: L'Eroica 2011

    If you dont have a suitable bike for l'Eroica, there is the Chianti Classic in June.

    You will probably be allowed to start with a non-compliant bike, but dont expect to get any of the spot prizes of wine and/or olive oil at the finish.

    Take your own bike. Most of the rental bikes that i saw in 2009 were badly maintained, some to the point of being dangerous.
    David Benson

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