What you are about to read and see through the pictures below is a little bit of stolen history. L’Eroica is one of the most beautiful historical Italian races which is held in the hills of Tuscany every year. Seventy-five kilometres on antique bikes, dressed like the old times, where each of the souls who make it exudes the old times’ glory…
”Personally, the mountain taught me one thing: that from a peak you get nowhere, you can just climb down. A great lesson: climbing down, going back, to the essential, to the origins. A lesson that makes you think about the peaks in life: success, money, power, victories. Peaks that, once you’ve reached them, you can only let go."
These aren’t words of mine, but Mauro Corona‘s. Mauro Corona is one of those people who I’d love to meet at the bar one evening, when it’s cold outside and everyone’s home, suffocated by the comforts of a soft sofa and warmed by the hope of a nice blowjob. A mountain climber, a sculptor, and a writer, Mauro Corona accompanied me in my travel to L’Eroica with a little, but huge, tiny book called The Mountain. It had 95 pages of inspiration, admiration, respect, and lessons to be learned. In those words I found myself, and it wasn’t hard to understand that many thoughts could be adapted to half of our travel, the travel of mine, of Marco, Andrea, Rolalnd, Alice, Mauri, Andrea and Alberto.
L’Eroica is a bike race through the white roads of the Senese Chianti, to be done exclusively on antique bikes, built before 1987. Like going back to the origins, like a revenge of the steel on the light alloys, like going back to what cycling meant for many years, that Eroic Cycling, that of Gino, Fausto, Alfredo, Fiorenzo, that of that Italy, which was united by two wheels and divided by the war. So there it was the cycling melting with the Mountains, with the Stelvio, the Galibier, the Izoard, the struggle, the hope, the dreams of a nation who seeked in the cyclists the revenge to such hard times. Cycling and the mountain are both metaphors of life, and many have written about them—poets, journalists, writers, and now, it’s my turn. Maybe with a little presumption, but with honesty and those days spent with my friends still in my eyes.
So there it is, a town of 1200 families turning into one single family of more than 4000 people with their bikes who stroke it, encircle it, like they mean to protect it, to tickle it, to cheer it up, also helped by the fruit of those lands. So there it is, Amerigo dancing with Alice and telling us about his burlesque and voluptuary past. So there it is, me stopping to talk to a man who could be my grandfather, our glances meeting, talking about this sick Italy, of his youth, of my nostalgia. And we didn’t exchange our email addresses, we will probably never see each other again. So there it is, my wine, it’s over. So there it is, the time to leave which ties us all together, I look around, the Bartali writing on steel heartens me, 75 kilometres go past with climbs, dust and admiration, the sun coming along, we hope not to have a puncture on the way, we struggle a little, but we get paid back by the ribollita and the smiles of our mates. So there come the hills, the demijohns, the lace, the asphalt. So there it comes the finishing line.
So there it is, the sunset which accompanies us back home, and there it is me, all of a sudden, thinking of those days and the richness they gave me.
Thanks to Lomography, Mauro Corona and William Fitzsimmons.
And thanks to my friends.