Sunday, September 28, 2014. K-Dogg and Mrs K-Dogg are jetsetting their way to Italy, to contest the legendary race / ride / event, known as L’Eroica. It’s been on K-Dogg’s bucket list for a while.
What is L’Eroica?
From the official website – “L’eroica is a foundation whose purpose is to safeguard the heritage of the white roads of Tuscany. These romantically actual ideals gave rise to the idea of the cycling event born in 1997. At the start, at the time, there were 92 “hunters of feelings and emotions”, but now eroica is an example of environmental sustainability, sustainable lifestyle, of clean cycling which indicates the future by looking to the past: witness the numbers of a success due to the passion of its organizers and creators.”
Pardon the dodgy Italian to English translation. In a nutshell, this is an event and foundation, committed to keeping the white roads in the Tuscany region of Italy, from ever being paved. More of that needs to happen in the USA; don’t pave the dirt, limerock and gravel roads!
L’Eroica is also a ride of epic proportion. There are two long routes (205km or 135km) and two short routes (75km or 38km). The Doggs are doing the full monty 205km route, naturally. When you fly across the pond, you don’t half arse around.
With “regular” cross, at least in my limited experience (two races), you are absolutely red-lined from the start. Typically my race would begin with royally screwing up clipping into the pedals, causing a blockade to those riders behind me, while the lead racers are already 30 meters up the course. “Hole shotting” aka getting a great start, is a pretty big deal in “regular” cyclocross.
Unlike “regular” cyclocross racing, where competitors hammer themselves around a short course for multiple laps, for an hour at worse, Ultra CX goes beyond that. Ultra CX competitors typically face an open road type course, featuring paved roads, gravel roads, sludge pits and hike-a-bike sections. The shortest race is usually around three and a half hours in length, with some events such as the Dirty Kanza, stretching to over 12 hours for most competitors, with 200 miles of terrain to traverse.