And now, as they say, for the rest of the story.....
Our visit to l'Eroica was certainly not a lark. First, we were in ROME so off Larry went to the airport (9-passenger rental vans are tough to find at inner-city rental offices) on Wednesday, October 1. This involved a taxi to the train station as he had a huge suitcase filled with stuff to be left at our HQ, followed by a short train ride. Once in the van, a 600 kilometer blast up the coast to Hotel Ariotto, arriving early enough to get a head start on pulling our bici d'epoca out of storage along with all the clothes we stash there. These would be needed later.
Friday morning, off to Tuscany. 300 kilometers down to Pisa airport to pick up Maynard and Tamar, then on to Empoli to pick up Heather at the train station. She'd zoomed up from Rome on the Italo train to Florence, then to Empoli on a normal train. From here it was on to Colle Val d'Elsa, our home for the next three nights and one of the stops on our self-guided Taste of Tuscany tour. We stayed here, just an hour from Eroica HQ Gaiole, to be out of the chaos of the actual event but close enough to get in and out easily. Colle Val d'Elsa offers many more choices when it come to mangia bene too. Above you can see the jet-lagged Maynard and Tamar with Heather at one of our favorite eating places in the high town. Despite their bodies wanting breakfast instead of dinner, they were good sports and toughed it out through most of the meal.
Saturday we needed to go over to Gaiole and get our numbers, etc. This is always fun as there's lots to see, with museum displays, vendors of all kinds of retro equipment as well as food and wine.
The above photos are of the Eroica Shop on the main street. Some say this event has become a bit too commercial and we can't argue with them.
Sponsors are of course essential to the event so they get prime display space and one has to admire the creativity of some of their exhibits as well as say thanks for their funding.
Maynard was a little less jet-lagged on Saturday. Here you can see one of his dreams coming true, posing with Marco Gios at the venerable frame-maker's stand. We're friends so we put the arm on them for some cool schwag (not that we had to try very hard) including a way-cool poster of Roger DeVlaeminck and Aldo Gios at Paris-Roubaix. Larry had his trusty Sharpie at the ready so Aldo could autograph a copy just for Maynard!
Above is one of The Gypsy's personal racing machines displayed in the little museum. They had a gorgeous replica outside along with other bikes, both old and new.
The museum is always enjoyable. A little crowded, but still fun.
This Bianchi was not too far from what Larry rode on Sunday, though the legs that powered this one were far, far superior.
Rare machines of all kinds were on display.
As were some rare riders!
We paused for some panini and birre after getting our official numbers and race schwag, then piled into the van for the drive back to Colle and a quick shake-down ride on our own bici d'epoca. We enjoyed a ride uphill towards San Gimignano before turning to the south and quieter roads, withTamar joining us on a modern bike she'd rented. We popped over to a local pizzeria (I know, pizza in Tuscany? But this was very good Napolitano-style stuff) for a lighter meal and early night before our big day Sunday.
Sunday you already read about in an earlier post. We'd planned a celebratory Sunday evening dinner at one of our favorite places to dine, Il Molino, but our two friends were pretty worn-out so just the two of us enjoyed the full Tuscan meal experience.
Monday morning it was time to bid farewell to our friends, who were staying on for more sightseeing in Tuscany and then take Heather to a train station. Another 300 kilometers back to our HQ, unload the bici d'epoca and reload the van with our "modern" bikes, suitcases full of clothes, a couple of MTB's and then enjoy a Piemontese dinner.
Tuesday it was 600 kilometers back down the coast to Rome where we could finally "move-in" and get into some different clothes! The van went back on Wednesday morning after more than 2000 kilometers of driving and around 100 kilometers of cycling. Whew! But it was worth every minute.
And this Sunday it's the Gran Fondo Campagnolo Roma.
La vita e bella!!