You feel Heroic because of the tooth-grinding dust, because of the pungent rains announcing the autumn, because of the wool jersey that sticks to your skin like a hair shirt on the long straight roads parched by an evil sun.
You feel Heroic because your legs are as stiff as the poles keeping the vines upright, because your heart is pounding so hard in your throat that you are forced to close your mouth for fear it will jump out, because your wrists feel like they're breaking from the vibrations against the gravel.
You feel Heroic for the beauty of your slow and happy movement on the pedals: the clang of the gears, the whistle of the brakes, the merry shouting of your companions that pant as the road rises and there is no breath left even to curse, for the climbs on foot with the bike beside you, when you are completely spent and can’t give any more.
But what makes you feel Heroic above all is the embrace of this tribe that you can’t live without once you get to know them. People of bread, oil and salt, people of dust and mud, hard work and open smiles. People of the heart. And you can be sure that the Heroes are always where there is beauty and fatigue, where there is a lost cause to support, a beautiful soul to remember and a dream to pursue.
Because the title “Heroic” is not what you win when you cross the finish line, it's what you carry inside, it’s how you face life. L’Eroica never ends ...a bit like the hills here in Tuscany.