This is the second year that Eroica Hispania has been held. The La Rioja wine region of Spain and the village of Cenicero is home to the event. I signed up for it last year but as it turned out I was unable to attend. This year however was a different story and we were able to make the trip. This post will be mostly a photo essay of the event with some commentary thrown in here and there. I’ll let the pictures do the talking!

e-5e745f5e0650f1d74b3cfb1a7acf3b1bebbb79fa

This is me about 2 hours into the event. Photo taken by event photographer Paolo.

I drove out from my hotel in Logrono the morning of the ride. It was as close to the event as I could find accommodation at 14 miles away but it worked out very well as Logrono is a great town.

IMG_1807

The streets of Cenicero at our 6 am start.

 

The first control at San Millan de la Cogolla, a UNESCO world heritage site.

The first control at the San Millan de la Cogolla monastery, a UNESCO world heritage site.

 

I hooked up with this group of Italians and Spaniards for about 40 km.

I hooked up with this group of Italians and Spaniards for about 40 km.

 

Our group grew to 8 riders entering Santo Domingo de la Calzada.

The first 100 km of the ride to Haro was fast and fun in spite of some long climbs and muddy dirt road. We hit our high point of the ride at almost 3000 feet just after San Millan de la Cogolla followed by a great run back to the valley.

Vineyards as far as the eye can see. La Rioja truly is wine country.

Vineyards as far as the eye can see. La Rioja truly is wine country.

 

Passing through a section of the Muga vineyards

Passing through a section of the Muga vineyards

 

After about 4 hours the sun came finally came out. Temps were perfect, for now.

After about 4 hours the sun came finally came out. Temps were perfect, for now.

 

The second control in Haro. There were only about a dozen riders ahead of me.

The second control in Haro. There were only about a dozen riders ahead of me.

The heat started to come on after Haro and the humidity was about 70 percent. I had been trying hard to drink enough all day but when it got warm I started to get behind in my hydration. I only had 1 water bottle so I drank plenty at the stops.

The land on this side of the Ebro River is Basque country.

The land on this side of the Ebro River is Basque country.

 

IMG_1840-e

Short and steep climbs were the rule, along with short steep descents.

 

IMG_1858-e

Sections of the route like this offered a nice break from the climbing

 

San Vicente de la Sonsierra had perhaps the hardest climbs of the day

San Vicente de la Sonsierra (the third control) had perhaps the hardest climbs of the day!

 

IMG_1865-e

La Guardia was the busiest control, in part because it was shared with the shorter routes.

Between San Vicente de la Sonsierra and Labraza there were some vicious climbs. Usually they were brief and the roads were rough and narrow. 6 mph up and 10 mph down was pretty typical. It was a shame that I could not enjoy the hard earned descents more in this part of the ride.

IMG_1874-e

Slamming on the brakes on a 12% descent!

 

IMG_1872-e

The Sierra de Cantabria in the background

 

IMG_1875-e

The last rest stop and control in Labraza. 38 km to go!

After Labraza the route became pretty favorable again. Mostly descending with some rolling hills but with a couple of climbs left to do. They were not serious climbs but felt bigger than they were due to their distance into the ride.

IMG_1877-e

Exiting Labraza was a bit of a maze but at least it was shady!

 

My wife caught me as I was passing through Logrono on my return

My wife Sara caught me as I was passing through Logrono on my return.

 

Myself and Event Director Willy Mulonia at the finish

I arrived to a heroes welcome back in Cenicero. Myself with Event Director Willy Mulonia at the finish.

I returned to Cenicero about 12 hours after I had departed. It was a warm welcome from the town but also from Wesley Hatakeyama (director of Eroica California), Giancarlo Brocci (the father of Eroica) and Willy Mulonia (director of Eroica Hispania). Willy guided me down the “way of the Heroes” to receive my congratulations.

Advertisements