Wednesday, May 4, 2016

EROICA Primavera 2016 Part 2

Our second and final post on EROICA Primavera 2016. 

First, we want to say GRAZIE to Giancarlo Brocci and everyone who helped with this wonderful event.  Some negative comments were posted by a US cycling blogger about his non-participation in EROICA California and we want the EROICA organizers to understand this clown's whining doesn't reflect the opinion of other folks from the USA like us. 

We stayed about 30 minutes away from Buonconvento at a place called Conte Matto. a true Slowfood place. We staggered up the stairs Saturday night after a wonderful meal to hear raindrops against the windows. We'd purchased the vintage rain capes hoping they'd be cheap insurance against the bad weather forecast for Sunday, but Larry woke up to the sound of rain more than once!

As you can see, the forecast was a little off, with just a few clouds in the morning and damp roads..but there'd be no DUST, no complaints from us! Perhaps the crazies who started at 7 AM for the longer routes got rained on, but for us it was just about perfect.

Heather takes much better photos than Larry. The drawback for viewers is that most of the pictures are of Larry rather than Heather. You could have a terrible photo of Heather or a great photo of Larry. We figured you'd take the latter since it's about the cycling anyway?

There were certainly some "greasy" spots and plenty of puddles to dodge, or at least try, but we thoroughly enjoyed every one of the 56 kilometers. Doing the shorter option lets one get up at a reasonable hour and enjoy breakfast even when staying 30 minutes away. We were on the bikes shortly after 9 AM. We'd securely pinned our numbers on the night before which turned out to be a good idea as the stick-on numbers provided this year didn't stick very well....the roads were littered with numbers that had fallen off.

A huge thing that makes EROICA events special is the rest stops, "RISTORO" as they're called here. No energy bars or isotonic swill at's pecorino cheese, prosciutto, salami, fresh fruit, bruschette and more, all served up by smiling folks in period costume, just like the riders.

And of course there's VINO!!! And not some cheap, out-of-a-box swill, but good quality Sangiovese from bottles with corks. This is a civilized bike ride in a civilized country after all!

While you're enjoying your vino you can feast your eyes on a....LINO. The owner wasn't around so we couldn't find out any details on this beauty.

Same with this way-cute OLYMPIA, a bike a little too big for its rider. Heather loitered around hoping the owner would come by (since it looked to be her size) so she could make an offer to buy it, but....

Part of the fun is shooting the bull with your friends old and new. These guys were having a great time!

Now THERE's an old one! You really gotta be a hero to make it around the course on one of these old things. Lots of pushing uphill and scary downhills with pretty marginal brakes. Most of the short route is dirt, which makes this a great ride. The old-time brakes on our bikes lack pure stopping power and take a mighty squeeze, but once you remember this, they actually work very well on dirt descents where the last thing you need is to lock up the wheels and crash - better to "ride it out" even if you're carrying a bit more speed than you like.

The cute Fiat 500 or Cinquecento as the beloved cars are called here was actually used as a service car. Following this thing uphill inhaling the exhaust wasn't a treat but seeing it out there WAS. I complimented the driver on his cute car and he told me it was for's THAT for an EROICA souvenir? Luckily Heather was there to keep things under control.

The bikes looked tired at the end, but happy, even with the crust of dried strada bianca on them. Note the saddle on Larry's Bianchi, something that's going on ebay right away! He wanted to be more period-correct so this Selle Anatomica was an experiment - one that failed. The instructions said to tilt the thing up to the point you wouldn't slide forward...but that put the nose in, well, a place you don't want it. Larry's favorite SMP Glider will go back on, hidden under a cover as on Heather's bike.

Heather got an old-time crankset and rear derailleur this year which Larry slapped on just days before and crossed his fingers there's be no problems or teething issues. He re-torqued the ancient crank bolts a couple of times with the old "peanut butter" 15 mm wrench and everything was fine, though the 36 tooth inner chainring made Heather grunt a few times uphill vs Larry's 30, but she was EROICA!!!!

We couldn't find a single photo online from the guys selling shots they'd taken out on the route, but we thought this one was cute anyway - especially since Heather's in it!! 

Note to the photo guys - rider numbers are on the back so why not click off a quick shot from the back and note the rider number? It would be much easier to find photos on your website using the number instead of wading through page after page or trying to remember what time you passed through a spot on the course described on your website.

Larry's already signed up for La Canavesana next month and we're working on bikes for EROICA California 2017. Meanwhile, an invite from Marco Gios to ride in a GIOS-only ride later in May was received, complete with a vintage GIOS to ride. Larry will try to be there!

1 comment:

  1. Very nice...looks like a great time was had by all.