Day Thirty Seven: Eduardo’s Road To Fitness

‘Bianchi’ in Italian is the plural form of ‘bianco’ or ‘white’ in English.  Which is somewhat ironic given that the Italian manufacturer is probably best known for its ‘Celeste’ colour scheme that happens to be a greenish blue or a bluish green, depending upon which end of the spectrum you are standing.

Way back in 1885 an entrepreneurial Italian by the name of Edoardo Bianchi started his bicycle manufacturing business in a small bike shop at No. 7 Via Nirone, in Milan.  He was a forward thinking chap and is credited with being the first manufacturer to use the same size wheels back and front with pneumatic tyres. He also created a frame, back in 1953 that Fausto Coppi rode to victory in the World Championships featuring an integrated head-set, a technological feature found on modern frames.

1959 Bianchi 'Tour de France' A fine example of the 'Celeste' Colour

1959 Bianchi

Some say the famous Celeste colour was the product of a mistake in the mix of paint destined for team bikes and that it was too late to change the colour, so the team used the bikes. It turned out that the reaction to the colour was one of admiration so the colours stuck.  Others say Edoardo Bianchi created the colour in honour of Queen Margherita’s gorgeous eyes, whilst another romantic rumour is that it was Edoardo’s homage to Milan and its beautiful sky, or “Celeste”.  Another, less romantic belief was that Bianchi had so much surplus green paint from Mussolini’s Wold War Two reign that he mixed it with blue to create a unique colour.

No matter how the Celeste colour was created, I instantly recognized the bicycle ahead of me on the climb as being a Bianchi.  It was being ridden by ‘Retro-Man’. I have named him thus as he was resplendent in modern clothing fashioned after yesteryear styles.  From wool jersey to his old fashioned bicycle he could have fallen through a worm-hole from the 1950’s.

He was, however, fit anl like me, had a competitive streak running through him.  When he saw me his cadence increased and he began tooking over his shoulder at every switchback to mark my progress as I began to reel him in.

Cycling is a sport full of tactics and I dove deep into the book of tactics on the climb, accelerating through each switchback as soon as he had finished looking over his shoulder at me.  I kept a high cadence and gradually increased my pace as I neared the pass.

It worked and I caught him near the top of the climb.  We exchanged nods and smiled at each other, mutually aware of the little competition we had enjoyed.  As he nodded I noticed his cap, which bore the words l’Eroica.

Retro-Man was true to his fashion and wore a cap from the famous cycling event, held annually in Italy.  The  cyclo sportif event is usually composed of four separate distances, held on the same day.  Most include sections of gravel roads, to fully encompass the spirit of yesteryear when most of the roads were gravel.

Details of the event can be found on the event website.

Retro-Man’s rolling musueum piece was no match for my modern bike and I left him far behind on the fast technical descent which followed.  I settled into my ride and pointed myself in the direction of Granollers before tackling the climb up and over the ridge and quickly dropping down to Argentona. I stopped at the foot of the climb for a nature break, shot some video, munched a banana, took in the lovely view and continued on towards home.

I have embedded a short video.  Once again my apologies for the random commentary and camera shake.  I have had heaps of emails asking for more video, especially the action descent footage and will upload some tomorrow for you.  It is a bit tricky trying to film whilst doing seventy kilometres per hour with one hand on the bars, so am limiting it to roads that I know well and that are free from traffic.

I rode for three hours yesterday with plenty of climbing and covered just under ninety kilometres in total.  I am pleased with how it went and am feeling a little more fluid on the bike now. I got home feeling relatively fresh although I was pretty hungry.  I ate a small mountain of pasta with grilled vegetables before chilling out and doing a bit of admin work.

Tomorrow I have a long run planned and will need all the carbohydrates I can get if I am to complete it.  Hopefully my blisters will have healed and shan’t cause me undue hassle.

I leave you with a promo video from the 2007 L’Eroica event in case any of you are interested.  For those of you interested in a modern Bianchi, have a peek at their website.


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