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Which Eroica is toughest?

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Which Eroica is toughest?

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Old 07-10-18, 01:21 PM
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Which Eroica is toughest?

Curious if anyone has done multiple Eroica events and can compare difficulty levels?

Additionally interested in any information regarding Eroica Hispania

Thanks in advance!
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Old 07-11-18, 09:21 PM
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It surprises me that 97 people have viewed this thread, and nobody's responded. Is there some sort of testosterone shortfall going on? There must have been a few of this forum's habitués who've ridden more than one of the Eroicas.
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Old 07-11-18, 10:54 PM
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The real question should be, which Eroica has the best food and drink?
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Old 07-11-18, 11:40 PM
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I have ridden the long routes at Gaiole, Britannia, Hispania and California. Out of those I feel like Gaiole was the toughest with Hispania being the next most difficult. Of those rides, the ones I enjoyed the most were, Britannia which was in its first year because it only had 2000 riders, but also had the best festival! Hispania would be second for me because the location and weather were so great! That was the second year for Hispania and they had about 800 riders that year. Gaiole would be next because of its great location and its status as the original Eroica. Gaiole suffers due to its 7000 rider participation though. California also has a great route and I have ridden it 3 times now (and supported it once), but long route riders may find that the party is closing down before they finish. Last time I did the long route I finished about mid pack at under 12 hours and got the last plate of pasta at the post ride meal!!! I consider that to be real bad form, to not take care of the riders who were on the course the longest. I hope to do other events in the future, perhaps Japan or the spring one in Italy.

Ride reports for all of these are at https://utahrandonneur.wordpress.com/ on the sidebar.
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Old 07-11-18, 11:41 PM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
The real question should be, which Eroica has the best food and drink?
Without a doubt Eroica Britannia has the best food and drink!!!!!
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Old 07-12-18, 03:56 PM
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Alright, I'll offer some input. The TL/DR answer: I don't really know, and I don't think it matters, either.

The long version:

Given the differences between the routes and the fact that some change over the years, this is not an easy question to answer. And then there's the weather, which can make a huge difference, as well as the people you're riding with, such as a group you're trying to keep up with.

Between October 2013 and two weeks ago I've been to seven official Eroica events and rode six of them together with mrs non-fixie: Gaiole (3), Britannia (1) and Limburg (3). Usually the shorter routes: 50 to 75 kilometers. Based on those rides, I'd say Limburg and Gaiole are tougher than Britannia, but also that the difference is of very little consequence, as other factors are equally or more important to us, if we were to rate the events in terms of fun to be at.

I'd rate the landscapes of Tuscany (I hope this is what heaven looks like) and the Peak District (awesome patch quilt-like mix of forests, brooks and meadows) slightly higher than Limburg (intriguing mix of Dutch, Belgian and German rural cultures).

Event locations: I love the tiny town of Gaiole in Chianti bursting at the seams during that first weekend of October with all those wool jersey-clad enthusiasts from all over the world. Nothing can beat that. The busy tourist town of Valkenburg provides a very nice backdrop for the compact Limburg festival, but the meadow in the middle of nowhere that hosted the Eroica Britannia festival this year was somewhat lackluster.

Food: Limburg is doing quite well in this respect, with fine foods and drinks at interesting stops. Giaole is always a pleasure with its unlimited supply of classic Italian cycling snacks and Chianti wine. Britannia was OK: everyone got a bag with two rolls, a drink and a sweet for lunch. The Bakewell tart that was provided in the goodie bag with the race numbers, however, proved to be both interesting (chicken fat and fruit jam?) and quite lovely.

One thing that, at least for us, contributes greatly to the "Eroica feeling" is the international character of the events. In Gaiole you get to meet like-minded people from literally all over the world (58 countries at the last count), which is a truly wonderful experience. In Limburg, which is more intimate with 1,000 participants this year, there was a heart-warming mixture from Holland and the neighboring countries: Germany, Belgium, France and Britain, spiced with the occasional Italian (Jacek Berruti was there) and Portuguese ("Your bike looks great! And so do you!"). At the Britannia event it was more difficult to find any foreigners. I've spoken to a Belgian, seen a German number plate in the car park and have been told on another forum that there was a group of 15 Norwegians, but that was it, AFIK. Not that I don't like the Brits (quite the contrary, we've got a few C&V cycling friends there) but it did feel very much like a local event.

All in all, and notwithstanding the cussing during every ride, toughness is not a deciding factor for us.

And finally, this thread could do with a few pictures.

The landscape in Tuscany:



Walking in England:



Food in Limburg:



The whole C&V world at the start in the Via Roma:



Waiting for the loo in England:



The festival in Limburg:

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Old 07-12-18, 08:28 PM
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Bravo, non-fixie! Great photos. I can taste the asparagus (and the Italian dust).
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Old 07-12-18, 11:13 PM
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Non-fixie (who I have had the honor of meeting in the flesh and sharing a beer with in Gaiole) is the authority here. My experience is only with Eroica California (rode every single one - coastal route) and Eroica Gaiole (medium route). Although of similar mileage, the Gaiole route kicked my butt, partly because it rained hard during the ride but mostly because of the endless incredible climbs up to distant hilltop castles.
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Old 07-13-18, 12:14 AM
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Yeah, too many Eroica routes within each major Eroica to tell. So many choices. They all seem to come in easy-medium-hard. Almost like they planned it that way, huh?
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Old 07-13-18, 12:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Oldairhead View Post
...California also has a great route and I have ridden it 3 times now (and supported it once), but long route riders may find that the party is closing down before they finish. Last time I did the long route I finished about mid pack at under 12 hours and got the last plate of pasta at the post ride meal!!! I consider that to be real bad form, to not take care of the riders who were on the course the longest.
Yet another way in which California is slipping - losing their hospitality, concern and caring. Thoughtless, really, if you think about it. Didn't one of the organizers consider this?
This used to be a friendly place. It is less so, now. I have seen too many negative changes to this place just in my lifetime. I'm considering leaving in a few years when my commitments here are finished.
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Old 07-13-18, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Bad Lag View Post
Yet another way in which California is slipping - losing their hospitality, concern and caring. Thoughtless, really, if you think about it. Didn't one of the organizers consider this?
This used to be a friendly place. It is less so, now. I have seen too many negative changes to this place just in my lifetime. I'm considering leaving in a few years when my commitments here are finished.
My earlier comments about Eroica California should not be considered criticism of the organizers there. They are doing the best they can in a state that is becoming increasingly hostile to larger cycling events. It is also harder to find the needed volunteers for a large event these days so they are fighting an uphill battle on several fronts. I admire them for their efforts, but it will be even more difficult in the future to hold events like this.

I rode the Grand Tour Double Century last month, the 60th annual for this event which is the oldest double century in the country. For 59 years they have started and finished the ride in Malibu, but that changed this year. Malibu kicked them out! They were denied the required permits to put the event on for this year and likely for the future. The start/finish was moved further west to Port Hueneme which is a good location but who knows, it may not be long before they are pushed out once again!

I fear for the future or larger organized rides in California and perhaps other regions as well. The largest events may be able to continue for a while but smaller events (which are often the most enjoyable) have a grim outlook in California at least.

Native Californian, escaped 25 years ago!
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Old 07-13-18, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Lascauxcaveman View Post
Yeah, too many Eroica routes within each major Eroica to tell. So many choices. They all seem to come in easy-medium-hard. Almost like they planned it that way, huh?
Still, 'easy' is not a word I'd choose for some of the short routes. The shortest route in Limburg this year was almost 75k this year, and contained some really nasty climbs and descents combined with loose rock road surfaces. Definitely not for tourists, and many riders started taking shortcuts to the finish after lunch.

Originally Posted by Bad Lag View Post
Yet another way in which California is slipping - losing their hospitality, concern and caring. Thoughtless, really, if you think about it. Didn't one of the organizers consider this?
This used to be a friendly place. It is less so, now. I have seen too many negative changes to this place just in my lifetime. I'm considering leaving in a few years when my commitments here are finished.
One should realize that regions like Tuscany and Limburg are bicycle racing regions par excellence. They have bred famous racers (Gino Bartali, Tom Dumoulin) and hosted big races for more than a century (and still do), and most inhabitants have some sort of connection to the history of bicycle racing. You really sense that when you're there. It's not just some strange circus coming to town, but rather a rekindling of old memories. Some have raced themselves, others saw Francesco Moser win the Giro de Toscana or Jan Raas take another win of the Amstel Gold Race when they were young.

That really makes a difference in how events like Eroica are perceived by everyone, both the spectators and the participants.

During one of my first cycling trips in France, years ago, I was riding my old racing bike through the countryside and an old farmer looked up, saw me coming, grew an enormous smile on his face and yelled "Allez Poupou!" (For those who don't know: "Poupou" was Raymond Poulidor's nickname. And Poulidor was probably France's most popular rider ever). I'm sure you could host an Eroica ride there and they'd never grow tired of it.
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Old 07-13-18, 12:53 PM
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My perception of bicycle riding in So Cal has always been pretty negative. For some odd reason, despite the nearly perfect environment for it, many people seem to hate bicyclists and cycling in general. They have the best road, the climate is perfect all year 'round, the air quality near me (at the coast) is good even in summer, it is ideal. Yet, there is a distinct anti-cycling vibe.

I'm sure the resentment is caused in part by the bad behaviors of so many cyclists - they ride on the sidewalks dropping into the street at ever corner without hesitation, they run stop signs,.. you name it. A single ride shows many instances of vehicle code violations.

Nonetheless, I ride. I have always ridden. I always will ride.
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Old 07-13-18, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Bad Lag View Post
My perception of bicycle riding in So Cal has always been pretty negative. For some odd reason, despite the nearly perfect environment for it, many people seem to hate bicyclists and cycling in general. They have the best road, the climate is perfect all year 'round, the air quality near me (at the coast) is good even in summer, it is ideal. Yet, there is a distinct anti-cycling vibe.

I'm sure the resentment is caused in part by the bad behaviors of so many cyclists - they ride on the sidewalks dropping into the street at ever corner without hesitation, they run stop signs,.. you name it. A single ride shows many instances of vehicle code

Nonetheless, I ride. I have always ridden. I always will ride.
My point exactly. Not the same frame of reference.


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