February 6, 2015

Giancarlo Brocci, creator and founder of L’Eroica, traveled to San Luis Obispo, California in December of 2014, to explore the area known as the Central Coast, after a convincing talk from Wesley Hatakeyama, the Event Director of Eroica California.
Shortly after, Giancarlo arrived in San Luis Obispo (SLO), he found himself in the heart of downtown SLO and immediately embraced the charm and friendly appeal the town provides, also known as the "Happiest place in America.” (Oprah Winfrey, 2011)
The next morning, after the arrival of Nicola Rosin (L’Eroica, Italy), Eric Benson (Eroica California Route Master) along with Wesley Hatakeyama and Giancarlo Brocci, all headed to the proposed start line of the Eroica Route in Paso Robles, just North of San Luis Obispo. As they were driving, they immediately noticed the similarity of the area to Giancarlo’s hometown of Gaiole in Chianti, Italy, with the beautiful rolling green hills, covered in grapevines.
They began along the 123 mile route in the afternoon, beginning from the downtown park in Paso Robles. As soon as they were in the countryside, Nicola, Eric and Wesley knew Giancarlo was enjoying the ride for he repeatedly exclaimed “Bellissima!" and “Fantastico!” with every passing mile. Outside of the city, Giancarlo encountered his first “Strade Bianche” in California. They could see his excitement growing as they rode through this section, although due to the late start time they had to skip some paved sections of the route.  Regardless of time, when they came to the first difficult hill climb on the gravel road, Giancarlo insisted on climbing the hill on the bikes. After sending their vehicle ahead, up they went, racing to the peak of the slippery slope to the next rest stop - Halter Ranch Winery.
It was a few days after a major rain storm and some sections on the hill were grueling and slippery, but they all made it to the top and rode with their bikes to Halter Ranch Winery. Due to time constraints, Wes and Eric suggested Giancarlo and Nicola drive the rest of the route.  However, Giancarlo insisted on riding the route, and so commenced the most strenuous part of the 123 mile route, as they paced their long shadows leaving the winery.
By the time they reached the summit, it was almost dark, yet they were still able to witness the magnificent view from the top of Cypress Mountain as the last bits of sunlight receded into the ocean’s calm surface embracing the last peak of orange from the sunset, providing the group enough strength to endure the dark, steep, decent up ahead.  The light on Wesley's bike was the only source guiding them to their support vehicle, near the bottom of the hill. Due to the darkness it was a necessity for the support vehicle to drive them the rest of the route through Cambria, eventually transporting them to the small, delightful beach town of Cayucos.  Later welcomed into the warmth of a beautiful bed and breakfast known as On the Beach, Giancarlo and Nicola had no grasp of where they were until the following morning, when they awoke to a gorgeous view of the ocean.  A hearty breakfast was served and the group was off to tackle the last third of the 123 mile route.  And so The Eroica with an Ocean View was born!
After the ride they drove to the first scheduled rest stop, Cass Winery on the East side of Paso Robles. They were able to meet with the owner, Mr Steve Cass and had a wonderful time visiting the winery.
Giancarlo spent two additional days in the San Luis Obispo area and visited San Luis Obispo Mission, Hearst Castle, Elephant Seal Beach, Avila Beach, Pirates Cove, etc.  He was most fascinated by his visit to the Pioneer Museum in Paso Robles where he discovered some interesting local cycling history.  He encourages everyone to visit the museum while attending the Eroica California.




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