L’Eroica di Gaiole is a cyclist-historical race that, on the first Sunday of October, has been taking place for over twenty years along the dirt roads of the Chianti and the Crete Senesi, close Siena.
The term “Eroica” (from Hero) is not out of place: the route, along 209 km of which over 50% dirt roads, is faced (as per regulation) with iron bicycles built up to the early 80s, then with “hard” braking and braking approximate.
The differences in height are important and, in the continuous ups and downs typical of the Tuscan landscape, at the end of the tour there are 3,500 meters in height, climbed by the passionate cyclists, rigorously dressed in period clothing.
In reality, only very few can finish the long lap of L’Eroica in this record time. Often the return occurs after sunset and the last, exhausted, participants, also arrive at 20.00 or 21.00To allow even the less gifted fans to experience the Eroica experience, even shorter routes were born over the years: from 130 km and therefore not to be underestimated if you are not well trained up to the 46 km of the “walks” that allow, with an appreciable dose of fatigue, to savor the beauty of the places and compete with the epic cycling of the years of Bartali, Coppi and then Mercx, Gimondi and others.
New 2019 introduction of the beautiful 106 km course, dedicated to Felice Gimondi. Surely it is one of the best compromises between sportiness, beauty of the landscapes crossed and “sustainability” for those who are not really a superman able to spend more than 12/15 hours in the saddle.
But ATTENTION, it is not a walk and in order to end it you must still be moderately trained, given that the total height difference is around 1,800 meters!
All routes start and arrive in Gaiole in Chianti, home of Giancarlo Brocci, creator and patron of the event.
While the “long” path has remained substantially unchanged since the first edition, the shorter ones have had several variations over the years and will probably still suffer in future editions.
This card highlights the layouts of the 2018 edition:
The route is extraordinarily well marked, with signs that stably (they are part of the normal road signs and therefore are visible throughout the year) indicate the turns and prevent it from getting lost.
We summarize the most important steps and turns:
Gaiole in Chianti
Castello di Brolio
Castiglion del Bosco
Radda in Chianti
Gaiole in Chianti
Along the way there are numerous traits now become legendary, such as the terrible sequence of dirt ascents of Monte SS Marie or the endless Castiglion del Bosco.
The 78 km route also boasts the very hard, unpaved ascent of Lamole – Volpaia.
Also noteworthy are the fantastic food outlets distributed along the entire route where, without exaggerating and not being stuck by indigestion, it is possible to eat the most typical Tuscan dishes such as ribollita, cantuccini, panforte or quench their thirst with a glass of red wine. .
To get an idea of the spirit that animates this fantastic event, this beautiful video can be a valid help: https://youtu.be/jxvhqtCaDDs
Registration remains open for a few minutes, given the huge request for participation from fans around the world! The opening date of online registrations is announced in the previous winter, do not forget to stay in touch with the official organization so as not to risk staying out!
To consult the routes and for all other information www.eroicagaiole.it Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Eroica
In the Eroica week the participants (over 8,000 in the 2018 edition) from all over the world storm all the accommodation facilities in the area, so it is good practice to worry about booking a place not too far away so as not to be then forced to sleep in a car or tent.
Il Vichiaccio Country House is 38 km from Gaiole (40 minutes by car). Not just around the corner, but in a strategic position for those who, perhaps in a group or family, want to discover not only the cycling route but also the artistic and historical wonders of Florence (only 20 km) or Siena (45 km).
From Il Vichiaccio Country House it takes about 35 minutes to get to Gaiole, where you can park your car in one of the numerous parking areas set up for the event. We recommend using the large and scenic parking place in the hills, near the Castle of Spaltenna, a beautiful resort overlooking the valley.
The start of the 209 km long route takes place at 5.00 in the morning, the average lap at 6.30. In both cases it is important to have a lighting system that allows you to see and be seen until dawn.
Do not forget that the Eroica takes place on roads open to vehicular traffic!
For those who want to arrive in campers, the tiny parking area located in the center of the country is filled already from Tuesday. Alternative parking spots are opened on Friday afternoons in an industrial complex located in the village.
Additional places (for a fee), both for campers and tents, are available at the sports field, where comfortable showers can also be used.
Great (but about 400 meters from the center) the large parking near the Castle of Spaltenna
Finally, Massimo, cyclist and owner of the Vichiaccio Country House, also took part in the last 2 editions of the Eroica.
Contact him by writing to his mail will not fail to provide useful advice and suggestions to those who want to try this epic venture.