Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Martin's 2009 L'Eroica Adventure, Part III

Martin Appel's report of his 2009 L'Eroica adventure concludes in Part III:

"On we go, up and down, but never flat, through the vineyards. I’m growing fond of my ride. Its sturdy, stiff, a breeze to handle, all together a delight! Then, somebody with a technical problem on the side of the road: A guy from somewhere up north threw the chain of his “Retrodirect”. Together, we try to solve the brainteaser puzzle: Why are there 3 knots in the chain, and why does it pass the chainstay on the outer side? The owner finally decides to spend a few minutes in contemplative meditation, so I admit defeat, wish him luck and go my way.

Then, a mishap on my side: The freewheel I serviced just a week ago decides to disintegrate; more precisely: the cup went loose. At least I noticed it before any significant number of balls can fall out. I can tighten it a bit with my Nr.4 Imbus, but not sufficiently – this means a pit stop for me every 2nd kilometer from now on.

My friend Andreas also fights the malice of the element: His replacement tire is very much not round at the valve area, and the tires aren’t exactly ideal to ride the gravel roads on to start with. Also, he has issues with the shifters and the toestrap pedals. So we decide to finish the route very slowly, to take it easy and we make a lot of foto stops. Even the Retrodirect rider catches up on us. I still have fun on the downhill sections though, I could grow really fond of my Rabeneick!

But who cares, if there is an event when time is no issue it's this one. We just let it roll and enjoy the ride, the atmosphere and the scenery.

At the finish line, there is again a lot of colourful things going on, the spectators are enthusiastic and every finisher is cheered on. I wonder if in 20 years time, today's pro jerseys will cause that much excitement?

Unfortunately, later we learn that one of the riders had a heart attack on route and couldn't be rescued. All festivities were cancelled. A sad ending to a great day.

In spite of that: The “L'Eroica” is truly a great event with an atmosphere second to none! It is highly recommended for anybody with a tiny bit of enthusiasm for the great days of cycle racing. This wasn’t the last time I was in Gaiole di Chianti on the first weekend of October for sure!"

Photos by Martin Appel: Mr. "Retrodirect" contemplates his situation, ride photos, the colorful finish area, Martin's Rabeneick

Stories, including cycling trip stories, for the Italian Cycling Journal welcome; contact See here for a chance to win a T-shirt for submitting a ride story; contest ends October 31st.

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