Petros Gkotsis - Spartakiada
Images by Petros Gkotsis
Text by Neofytos Sakellaridis
90BC. That was the year Pheidippides was entrusted to run some in 257km in full regalia from Athens to Sparta to ask for reinforcements to repel the threat of the coming Persian juggernaut in Marathon.
Fast forward to the twentieth century, in the spirit of reviving this great feat, the Greek cycling community started the Spartakiada, a ride that would mirror the ancient route. This became a new tradition and on October 8th, some 280 cyclists embarked on what is the biggest amateur ride in Greece. Not a grand fondo, not a race, but a ride.
Until the isthmus of Corinth, the tempo is controlled for safety purposes for the first 78km giving a chance for some awesome images of the peloton crossing the bridge over the impressive gorge. The group then sets its own tempo, whereupon the stronger riders immediately make themselves known, right in time for the Kolosourtis climb of 5% gradient for nearly 11 km. The route then continues up and down before descending through Tripolis and ultimately reaching Sparti. With just enough sunlight to get that accomplishment picture in front of the statue of Leonidas. The ride now complete, along with the camaraderie and fulfillment of a journey travelled and shared with the cycling community.