The beauty of fatigue and the thrill of conquest

1. When did you first met Eroica and why did you decide to bring the Eroica experience to California?

I started road racing when I was 11 years old - while I was still in Japan - inspired by watching Eddy Merckx win the grand tours in Europe, and continued racing until end of college years in the USA. Then I co-founded a local cycling club to promote the local racing scene and follow my passion for cycling and vintage road bikes. One of my dreams was to ride L’Eroica in Gaiole, as I visited Italy many times in the past, but the horse show schedule prevented me from attending it until October 2014. It was a whirlwind romance and I remember I thought "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"…and, here we are!

 

2. We know it is not really possible to say something in general about “cycling in the US”, but California's Central Coast is home to some of the best cycling terrain in the world. How is cycling culture evolving there?

The cycling roots on the central coast of California had already begun in the early 1970’s, we have an historical cycling club that was established in 1971 and they have organized very famous Wild Flower and Light House Century Rides. We had a famous race, San Luis Obispo Criterium that brought many top level cyclists to the area for many years and in more recent years we had one of the top world tour professional cycling teams based in San Luis Obispo (HTC-Columbia/HTC-Highroad). This brought a lot of attention to our area. Last but not least, the Great Western Bicycle Rally in Paso Robles is the longest continuous running cycling event in the USA. It’s been running for more than 50 years!

But besides this, the central coast of California is a well-recognized wine destination, with a number of vineyards and fine-dining options and it remained a relatively undiscovered cycling destination for years. Since the ‘80s however, some great bicycle shops in the area have been helping our cycling scene and have contributed to the advancement of cycling technology. Today, Cambria and the Central Coast area is a place where adventure meets relaxation. You’ll find scenic routes for every level of athlete and a very active and welcoming cycling community.


3. After 4 successful years in Paso Robles, Eroica California is pulling up stakes and heading northwest to Cambria. Help us discover the new routes!

We decided to move from Paso Roble to Cambria to better provide what participants would expect from a Californian event: spending more time by the ocean.

The new Piedras Blancas short route features the famous lighthouse and cycle on the beautiful Highway 1 - also known as the Pacific Coast Highway - along California’s most beautiful coastline.Be sure to look out for elephant seals resting on the beach and sea otters floating in the gentle waves savoring their favorite food, clams. And if you are lucky, you may get to see some gray whales, humpback whales or dolphins splashing in the water. Just past San Simeon, Hearst Castle stands out in the mountains to the east.Because of Mr Hearst and his lavish living style, you can still see a herd of zebra among the cattle on the Hearst Ranch, which is still owned and run by the Hearst family. 

 

4. Eroica California heads in new directions with a whole weekend of activities, right from the beach in Cambria. What’s new this year?

With a new location and a weekend full of activities including the NOVA Eroica ride on Saturday, the 5th Eroica California is gearing up to be the must-ride cycling event of the year. From its new seaside start/finish, the weekend kicks off Friday afternoon with a friendly BBQ for the NOVA riders. As a special treat, Roberto Lencioni - better known as Carube - one of the best vendors from the original vintage market in Gaiole will be flying in from Italy along with swap meet vendors from up and down the West Coast. Of course, not forgetting the traditional Eroica dinner on Saturday evening, as well as the vintage bike pageant, Concours d'Elegance.

 

5. Five things not to miss at Eroica California 

 

1) Moonstone Beach in Cambria 

It’s a beautiful stretch of beach with a nice walkway. A visit at Sunset is a must!!

 

2) Tour of Hearst Castle 

Interesting history and a unique American Castle. 

 

3) Watch the elephant seals, sea otters and possibly whales and dolphins.

This part of the Central Coast is a protected Marine Sanctuary. Therefore, you sometimes get to see these animals up very close. Take a whale watching tour or rent a kayak and go on an adventure. 

 

4) Linn’s Restaurant in Cambria 

This is a famous local restaurant and the owners are huge Eroica supporters. Aaron Linn is a passionate cyclist with many years of race experience. He also helps local kids with their bike handling skills. He operates the local Bike Kitchen, a place to recycle old bicycles where they restore, rebuild and service bicycles for the local community. 

 

5) The local wineries and beer breweries

You are in the middle of Central Coast Wine country. Be sure to plan visiting some world class wineries while in the area. The area is now well known for local handcrafted beers too. - See more at: https://eroica.cc/journal/presenting-eroica-california-a-conversation-with-wesley-hatakeyama#sthash.Gf0mJrm6.dpuf