Last year I wrote about my wonderful trip to Italy to complete a vintage bike ride over the white roads of Tuscany. Guess what? I did it again this year!!
Last year, after completing the event, I left my bike behind in Italy as I was travelling around Europe and didn’t want to risk incurring further excess baggage fees. I was either going to get it shipped back later or maybe pop over and do another Eroica. Geez I am glad I chose the latter.
This time I spent the effort getting the pedal shoe solution sorted out well before arriving in Italy, so I was as prepared as possible for the big day. I got a set of flat rubber soled shoes which made life easier with the straps.
Unlike last year, where I rode alone because of my pedal/cleat/shoe issues, I was able to stay with my new besties Joe, and Damian, founder of Aqto Cycling Tours. For the first few hours I felt at ease with the bike and even though I was in better shape last year, I was feeling good, as indeed were my comrades. After the second feed zone I fueled up on some local “ribolleta” soup. So yummy, but as we set off I felt a little flat over the next set of steep gravel climbs and had to walk over the crest of a few of them. The guys waited for me, which I appreciated. Apparently, I should have had a second bowl of the soup and included some onions for some extra get up and go. Thanks Damo for the tip!
Another hour in and I started feeling good again but now Joe seemed to have become fatigued. We continued on supporting each other until we all crossed the line together in euphoric fashion. Finishing the ride in around 8 hours and having completed 135 kms, it was much faster than last year. But more importantly, I finished in the company of my mates and vanquished any demons I may have harboured from the previous attempt.
Eroica is the best bike ride I have ever done, in the best country for riding bikes. The bonus is making some amazing friends along the way. Who knows....I may come back and do it again and attempt the 209 km route.
Same as last year, I had some great support getting prepared riding with MC Velo, and the tour itself was a festival of fun as organised supremely by Aqto Italian Cycling Tours.