This is the third year I've participated in the Cache Gran Fondo ride, and the first time I biked it without Caroline. I was part of Team Utah Public Radio, which meant that I rode with other UPR supporters. Actually, I rode by myself for the first 30 miles, then joined team members Jason Leiker, Julie Gast, Barbara Farris, and Allen Hoffman for a push to the finish (53 miles total). A few other team members rode the longer 112 miles. As you can tell from the photos, we finished looking as good as we started (after 3.75-ish hours)!
|At the start of the Cache Gran Fondo, with the addition of Brian Evans, who left us in the dust.|
I was worried about the weather, which was forecast to have temperatures in the mid-90s. But the clouds cooperated in keeping us cool, and the 3 rest stops provided plenty of water, donut holes, bananas, and pickle juice to keep us going.
I don't have a lot of experience with distance cycling. Caroline and I have a 15 mile loop from Logan to Smithfield and back that we like, and we often rode 20-40 miles on our Australia tour earlier this year. I think 53 miles might be the furthest I've ever ridden at one time.
|Elevation changes over the 53 mile course. That steep descent in the middle? I hit 40 mph going down that hill!|
I felt good at the finish. Perhaps next year I'll go for the 72 mile route. Experienced cyclist Tim Vitale tells me, "If you can do 50, you can do 70." Okay, Tim!
|Post-race lunch at Even Stevens.|
Holligans (I don't know what else to call them) caused some difficulties during the race. They removed direction signs, and added a few of their own. And for some reason, they also stole all the toilet paper from the porta-potties at the first rest stop. For miles, toilet paper littered the road. Luckily, the race organizers also painted directional signs on the pavement (color coded for the different race lengths).
|Julie, Barbara, and Allen|
I almost pitched over at mile 40. It was our last crossing of a major road, and I had my right foot out of my clips to stop, but "decided" to put the other foot down. That doesn't work when your shoe is clipped onto the pedal. Somehow, it separated as I was falling, and I caught myself, but not before my other shin connected with the unforgiving edges of that right pedal. Ouch.
|After I visited the first aid tent at the finish.|
The Gran Fondo is a real race for competitive cyclists, but just a recreational ride for the rest of us. It's hard to juggle training when you run, bike, swim, and lift weights. It's a good thing I am planning on retirement to give me time to do all these things!
|Julie and Jason|
|Thanks, UPR, for letting me participate!|
|And for Caroline, a reminder of our past rides!|