February 1, 2015

California was chosen for its Mediterranean like climate and similarity to the Chianti region of Italy where L’Eroica originated.  With its rolling hills, vineyards and Tuscan like setting, Paso Robles was introduced as a destination and site for the event out of the vision and efforts of Wesley Hatakeyama.
Hatakeyama, who was born and raised in Japan, has resided in Northern San Luis Obispo County for most of his adult life. He and his wife Tracey (a native of the region) have owned and operated a very successful and professional show horse farm for the past 28 years. Hatakeyama started road racing as a junior racer when he was 11 years old, inspired by watching Eddy Merckx win the grand tours in Europe while he was still in Japan, and continued racing until end of college years in the USA. His wife has done some road racing as well. After his racing days he co-founded a local cycling club/team and promoted the local racing scene. Among his many passions/hobbies, vintage cars, skiing, collecting watches and antiques, etc. His passion for the cycling and vintage road bikes continued since his childhood. After his retirement from a successful career with show horses he started to spend more time riding bicycles and found himself rebuilding his old road racing bicycles.
One of his goals was to attend L’Eroica in Italy as Hatakeyamas visited Italy many times in the past, but the horse show schedule prevented him from attending L’Eroica Italy until October 2014. He made the trip on his own since his wife Tracey is still involved with horses and could not make the trip with him.
After the ride Hatakeyama was quoted by saying, "How amazing it would be to host L’Eroica in the San Luis Obispo/Paso Robles area, it amazes me the similarity of landscape, our back roads and vineyards."  It just seemed like a perfect fit to the founder of L’Eroica Japan (Akinori Nakazawa) and he made Hatakeyama aware that the Italian organizers of L’Eroica who wanted to launch a California event in the near future and had been directed toward the Napa/Sonoma area.
Hatakeyama’s impassioned support for cycling and the Central Coast wine country convinced one of L’Eroica founders, Claudio Marinangeli with help from Nakazawa to discuss the possibility with L’Eroica founder Giancarlo Brocci, to consider San Luis Obispo/Paso Robles as a viable option for Eroica California. After a few meetings with the Italian organizers they decided to send Giancarlo and another representative to San Luis Obispo to investigate the possibility. Hatakeyama organized their visit and during this visit the decision was made to host the Eroica California in Paso Robles, California.
From Hatakeyama’s past experience in working with the event with a local Charity Hospice of San Luis Obispo County (Hospice SLO), he made an immediate connection to this wonderful non-profit charitable organization with Eroica California.  Hospice SLO will receive a portion of the proceeds from Eroica California.
Hatakeyama is grateful for this opportunity and excited to host this upcoming event and the future  for Eroica California in Paso Robles, California.




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