I am not much of a racer, but had my arm twisted by a good friend of mine to join him in a 70km race in Nemea, the main wine producing area in the Peloponnese and home of the famous Agiorgiotiko red variety.

15ος ΓΥΡΟΣ ΝΕΜΕΑΣ – ΠΕΠΑ (photo Petros Gkotsis)

Road racing in Greece is organised by Hellenic Cycling Federation (ΕΟΠ) and requires a UCI racing license and in extension membership in a Cycling Club. However, some select races have a “Sportive/Open” category.

In addition there is ΠΕΠΑ (Cycling Association Master Athletes). ΠΕΠΑ organises both races and brevets. ΠΕΠΑ also organises Spartakiada, the famous race from Athens to Sparta taking place in September of each year. Greek riders need to qualify for Spartakida by taking place in two other ΠΕΠΑ races the same year.

15ος ΓΥΡΟΣ ΝΕΜΕΑΣ – ΠΕΠΑ (photo Petros Gkotsis)

The Nemea race stands out by the incredibly friendly atmosphere before, during and after the race. The course is stunningly beautiful combining the landscapes of the Nemea Vinelands with the mountain plateau of Lake Stymfalia. The race starts off with the main difficulty of the day, a 9km climb with a 6% gradient, continuing with a hilly segment around Lake Stymfalia and from there on a fast and furious decent back towards Nemea.

15ος ΓΥΡΟΣ ΝΕΜΕΑΣ – ΠΕΠΑ (photo Petros Gkotsis)

However, the cherry on the cake is a steep segment on the last 500 meters to the finish line which forces a final selection.

15ος ΓΥΡΟΣ ΝΕΜΕΑΣ – ΠΕΠΑ (photo Petros Gkotsis)

A recovery meal at one of the Souvlaki places in Nemea whilst waiting for the awards ceremony with good banter and war stories with fellow racers rounds up a beautiful morning in the saddle.

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12 thoughts on “PEPA Race Nemea 2023

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