Take a race bicycle from the late 70's. Take kilometres of white roads drawn in the heart of the Chianti hills in Tuscany, Italy. Take 7200 men and women from all 4 corners of the earth travelling to the small town of Gaiole making it the world center of sport and passion for one day. Add Chianti Classico Wine, cured meats, the huge tradition of Tuscan and Italian food, in its simple and strong flavours.
Take all of this, and start pedalling... in style!
We thought it would be fun to bring a touch of elegance to one of the most charming events of the cycling world - the Eroica, an amateur race that since 1997 has celebrated everything that cycling used to stand for in the golden years of Fausto Coppi, Girardengo, Bartali. Its values, its heritage. As they say: "The beauty of fatigue, the taste of accomplishment.
With its unique formula and the beauty of the land it takes place in, The Eroica has steadily attracted more and more passionate racers since its very first edition. From 4am in the morning, cyclists start their race, riding vintage bikes and in perfect vintage clothing. No winners, no losers, just passion and the pleasure of sharing together a magical experience.
Our Lady in White has been racing too, sporting her fingerless peccary gloves, in pink.
Needless to say, she has been getting a lot of attention. Her, and the gloves of course, with their bright and happy colour and elegant feel. In the sunny weather of the day before the race, everyone seemed to want to take a picture of her, and with her!
Our Lady in White happens to be an experienced bike racer, and we were very curious to see how she would enjoy our racing gloves and how they would perform during the race.
"They are really soft and feather-light - you hardly notice that you have them on. Peccary leather feels soft on the hands and very comfortable, and it gives you a lot of grip on the bike, no matter how you grab the steering. They smell amazing. There is no padding, so you have a better feel of what you are doing and more direct control. They feel effortless, light - with no stress point on the hands and no feeling of discomfort, compared to many other riding gloves. And they make me feel fancy!".
We started our race around 9am from the main square of Gaiole in Chianti, surrounded by a crazy happy mob of racers from all countries. Perfect vintage clothing, antique bicycles, and some of the greatest moustaches you will ever see. There's a magical atmosphere of happiness, camaraderie, and joy that is difficult to explain - you have to experience it first hand.
The hard-core racers have started their adventure already around 4am, in complete darkness, helped by a head light (some of them in perfect vintage style, only by a candle) and the moon. Some of them will take more than 13 hours to complete the taxing and "Heroic" 290Km (130 miles) route. No asphalt, no support, no pressure.
Our race will be 75km of white roads surrounded by the world-renown Chianti Classico vineyards, miles of enchanted hills between Florence and Siena that produce some of the finest red wine in the world. For a wine lover, it's an absolute bliss: your race travels across the thousands and thousands lines of vines from the most renown houses and consortiums.
And that's not all: the rest points of the Eroica are legendary. No cookies and water there for the racers, but cured meats, pecorino cheese, and red wine from the area. The full experience, in your legs, heart, and stomach.
After a few kilometres of road, a little rain starts to fall down, creating a fantastic water paint-like effect on the hills. The Lady in white is riding a beautiful green Legnano bike from 1972 in perfect state.
The grip of the peccary gloves comes particularly handy on the steep rocky road coming down from Castello di Brolio (home of one of the great red wines in Tuscany). It's very easy to lose control of these old bikes and tumble down the hill - so a steady hand on the breaks is much welcome.
The road is amazing: miles and miles of enchanted scenery, the work of a great painter, thousands of years of careful management and love for the territory. You immediately understand why millions of people from all over the world travel every year to fall in love with Tuscany. And in the case of the Eroica, the colours and the smells alone repay the hardships of the road!
Arrived back in Gaiole, after passing trough the beautiful towns of Radda in Chianti, Volpaia and Panzano, the party begins. Bottles uncorked and one flowing down the throats, music and dancing will go on till the late evening, when we decide to celebrate our "Heroic" accomplishment with an elegant dinner at one of the many restaurants in this area.
Eroica - Ines Gloves will be back next year!