The beauty of fatigue and the thrill of conquest

This is a strange year, a difficult year. Many of us – almost all of us – are forced to stay home and profoundly change our lifestyles.

Despite the inconvenience and the worry, this period of obligatory quarantine could become a starting point to reflect on the life we were living “before”.

It was a life of relationships and hugs that includes our historical cycling events and that we can’t wait to get back to. But it was also a life that had a completely different, faster pace. Many, myself included, are asking themselves, if that pace was excessive or perhaps even unjustified. Do we really need that hysteria of “doing” that constantly overwhelms us, pushing us beyond our limits? Are we sure that this is really necessary to live a happy life?

It’s an existential question, without an easy answer but in a certain sense the answer can be found among the Chianti hills when riding L'Eroica. Or at least, I found it there. Because everybody sees L'Eroica from a different point of view and I saw it as a moment out of the frenetic and chaotic times we live in. The nostalgia I felt was not so much for the vintage bicycles and brightly coloured jerseys but for the more human, manageable, reassuring rhythm of the pedals turning.

I don’t know how many others feel this way but this existential shift won me over more than anything else. Because in the end, L'Eroica really is made of simple things; a bicycle, a glass of wine, a bowl of ribollita soup, the festival in the town square. It’s a return to a time that I think was poorer but more inclusive, when a different kind of closeness existed between people and we weren’t obliged to compete in the crazy daily race that we experience today, to a greater or lesser extent, in everything we do.

Alessandro Galli