This is the third year for this event…….
In all of my previous Eroica events I have always ridden the longest available route. I wanted to get the full “Heroic” experience out of each location, Italy, England, Spain as well as California. This year however I chose one of the shorter distance options which may have marked a turning point in my cycling.
The 87 mile coastal route is the second longest route and still takes in the best parts of the event. It has about 30 miles of dirt road and over 7000 feet of climbing so it is still no walk in the park. The route starts in Paso Robles and passes through the wine country on the east slope of the coast range before crossing over Cypress Mountain and descending to the Pacific Ocean. After a jaunt down the coast we turn back inland and climb the Coast Range again, this time over Santa Rita Summit before descending back to the valley floor and our return to Paso Robles.
The weather had been unsettled for several days but the forecast for the Sunday ride was looking good. After a cool morning start the forecast was for a sunny day with light winds. Recent rains however had left one of the harder climbs up Kiler Canyon in an un-rideable condition. A detour around that section was established which added a couple of miles but the extra distance would not be noticed. It was 7 am and off we went!
My ride was good this year! I added lower gearing to my bike which enabled me to ride every climb with no walking this year! Doing a shorter distance also made it a more “social” ride for me. There was time to stop and chat with people all day. Still, the ride was challenging and took me 8 hours and 45 minutes to complete.
This year the event had more riders, about 850 in total based on the numbers. Steady growth each year and this Eroica venue will be quite large as well. The organization has also increased their franchised events worldwide to include South Africa, Italy (3 total), Japan, Spain, England, the Netherlands and Uruguay. It was also announced this year that Eroica Canada will be coming in 2018, to be held in the Niagara Falls area. That will make a total of 11 Eroica’s to choose from! I have a feeling that more will be coming in the future as well.