In 2015, longtime Paso Roblan Wes Hatakeyama founded Eroica California, the Central Coast’s newest ride for which to train, invest and participate. Originated in Italy in 1997, there are now nine Eroica events worldwide. Eroica California is the only official U.S. event.
“By 2018, we welcomed over 1,200 riders from as far as New York and throughout the world, including UK, Germany, Italy, Russia, Japan, China, Australia, Brazil, Mexico, and more,” said Amedeo Polito, director of Eroica California and Italy’s International Eroica Event Coordinator. “This year, the Eroica festival will start on Friday. The Nova Eroica ride is on Saturday, and the Classic Eroica rides (with four route choices) will be on Sunday. You can take part in both rides if you like.”
Four Eroica Classic Day routes include the new 35-mile Piedras Blancas Route on Highway 1 with a food and drink rest stop and lighthouse tour and the 110-mile Heroic Route with stops throughout Paso Robles’ wine country. Sponsors include Linn’s of Cambria, Halter Ranch Vineyard, Olea Farm, and Cass Winery.
“Riders commented that ‘this is the most challenging ride they have done.’ They understand our motto, ‘the beauty of fatigue and the thrill of conquest,’” said Polito. “This is a ride (non-race) where people communicate and make new friends. Everyone can enjoy a variety of food, drinks, and have time to rest, and enjoy the company of others at the rest stops without rushing. Riders find the Vintage bicycle concours to be fun and educational. It’s a unique cycling event like no other.”
The 82-mile Nova Eroica route is open to road racing and gravel bicycles.
“Many riders never knew that our area had such wonderful routes, how beautiful it was compared to other gravel rides, and the wonderful concept behind the ride,” Polito emphasized. “They enjoy real food provided at the rest stops and seeing vintage bikes at the start and finish line.
“We want people to get to know the beauty and hospitality of SLO County’s Central Coast while meeting people from all over the world,” Polito said. “Our ride is a self-challenge, but also a genuine opportunity to rediscover the roots of cycling.”