It’s Not About How Fast You’re Traveling, It’s About Not Giving Up
Eroica California returns to the Central Coast April 8 through 10. This vintage bike race was inspired by L’Eroica, the famous international cycling event which takes riders through vineyards of Italy’s Tuscan region. L’Eroica was created as a means to preserve the white roads (strade bianche) of Tuscany, and to celebrate the heroic days of cycling, Italian culture and food. Race founder Giancarlo Brocci grew up reading about the exploits of riding greats Gino Bartali and Fausto Coppi, and wanted to create an event that would recall the golden age of cycling, how difficult it used to be and just how tough riders were.
Gone are the modern conveniences. Riders hit the steep hills and unpaved gravel roads on retro steel-framed bikes wearing vintage cycling gear, relying on their own resources rather than high tech equipment. According to Brocci, Eroica is not a competitive event – it’s an individual competition with oneself to complete the route. It’s more about experiencing the ride than winning the race. Riders often forget the competition and enjoy the companionship. Unforgettable bonds are formed as cyclists traverse the hills and vineyards on this ride that can challenge the mental and physical boundaries of even the most experienced cyclist.
The first race took place in 1997 when 92 “hunters of feelings and emotions” set out through the spectacular Italian countryside. Twenty years later, L’Eroica has grown into an enormously popular event with 5,000 participants from all over the world, and international events held in Japan, Great Britain and Spain. Last year, California’s Central Coast set the stage for Eroica California. Cycling enthusiasts hopped on their vintage bikes and took over the hills of the Central Coast for the ride of a lifetime.
Eroica California will return once again but with a few changes. This year there will be four featured routes taking riders through the lush hills and vineyards of California wine country. Two routes offer stunning coastal segments that travel along Highway 1 through the towns of Cambria and Cayucos.
The Coastal Route – NEW (85 Miles)
A new 85-mile medium-long coastal route was added to provide a shorter version of the full 120-mile Eroica route. From Paso Robles, the course heads up Kiler Canyon (or “Killer” Canyon as locals like to call it) where riders will encounter a 17% grade along a narrow, gravel road through a steep canyon that will have their legs screaming for mercy. After rolling through the heart of Paso wine country, riders will traverse private vineyard roads before arriving at Halter Ranch Winery. As the route continues its journey to the Pacific Ocean, riders will encounter a grueling 20% grade that will have them longing for the summit as they head up Cypress Mountain Road. After taking in stunning views at the top of Cypress Mountain, riders begin the steep descent into Cambria. From here, cyclists will catch a break on paved road and follow the scenic Pacific Coast Highway into Cayucos before reaching one last climb up Santa Rita Creek Road. Riders will circle back through Templeton then parallel the Salinas River back to Paso. This route features a 7,200-ft. ascent and 25 miles of unpaved roads. Click here to view route map.
The Eroica Route – THE HEROIC ROUTE (120 miles)
The 120-mile true Eroica (Heroic) route starts out exploring the wine country to the east of Paso Robles and the vineyards of Templeton. At this point, the course heads up Kiler Canyon where riders are rewarded with a stunning view at the summit. From here, the route traverses the private vineyard roads of Nadeau Family Vineyards, Adelaida Cellars and Daou Vineyards before arriving at Halter Ranch Winery. From here, the course begins its journey to the Pacific Ocean, following the 85-mile route to the coast before heading back to Paso Robles. This challenging route features a 9,200-ft. ascent and 36 miles of unpaved roads. Click here to view route map.
The Short Route (38 Miles)
The short 38-mile route explores wine country to the east of Paso Robles and the vineyards of Templeton before looping back to Paso Robles. The route features a 2,500-ft. ascent, 12 miles of unpaved roads, and some challenging terrain. Click here to view route map.
The Medium Route (67 Miles)
The medium 67-mile course follows the short route until the return to Paso Robles. At this point, the course heads up to the Kiler Canyon summit. The route then traverses the private vineyard roads of Nadeau Family Vineyards, Adelaida Cellars and Daou Vineyards before arriving at Halter Ranch Winery for a rest, then beginning the journey back to Paso. This route features a 5,500-ft. ascent and 18 miles of unpaved roads. Click here to view route map.