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May 16, 2016

Clasica San Sebastian: Stamp of Authenticity

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On any given day, dozens of riders are out, and the kaleidoscope of colors from the local clubs denotes their location. And while a cycling club is a big part of the social fabric in cycling, it’s another type of club – the eating club- that unites families and links generations throughout the towns and cities of the Basque Country. This is a uniquely Basque phenomenon, and one that is held in such high regard you must receive an invitation from a member to enter. And while a Saturday night at the eating club is an extremely important social event, the Clasica San Sebastian – now in its 33rd year – is the most important cycling race in Basque Country and an opportunity to showcase not only the great scenery, challenging riding and warm hospitality of the Basques, but to also welcome locals and foreigners to experience the cultural importance of two of life’s greatest pleasures – eating and cycling.

I was fortunate enough to be in the thick of Basque culture for 2 ½ weeks, culminating with a day viewing the Clásica San Sebastián and the people I met, the places I rode, the food I ate and the intricacies of daily social life that I immersed myself in contributed to a greater appreciation for a race I thought I had all but figured out a few years ago. It wasn’t until I landed deep in the hills of Gipuzcoa, far removed from the ruggedly beautiful coastline and the sites and smells of San Sebastian that the definition of being Basque- and thus the Clásica – came to life for me. Go to Article

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