Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Quite the Ride!

60 miles is far.

And yet, not so much.

Let me explain.

On Sunday Mik, Alberta and I participated in the San Diego Gran Fondo Colnago bike ride. Gran Fondo is Italian for Big Ride. The website describes a gran fondo as a "mass participation cycling event - not a race..." Quite frankly, I'd say that my participation in every athletic event is done in this spirit since there's about a chance in hell of me ever "winning" the race, whatever that means.
Alberta and I got to lie on a red Ferrari at the expo
 Anyway, the three of us did the Medio Fondo route (60 miles) on Sunday morning, and I'd be the first to say that we did this with some pretty minimal preparation. My goal was just to go, to finish, and to have as much fun as one could reasonably have while sitting on a bike seat for 5 hours.
Alberta, Mik and me... morning of the ride
Here's the route we took!

The Medio Fondo took us south to National City (The Mile of Cars!), then out to the Olympic Training Center, then out to Jamul and back. Far.

Someone did a video and posted it on YouTube. Check out the kids riding at about 2:15...they did 45 miles of the ride. 45 miles on a friggen BMX bike. That is HARD CORE!

The first 20 miles literally flew by. Speedy Mik got ahead of us and we didn't see her again until the aid station. Alberta had a pretty bad cold and was coughing up a lung, but she is so bad-ass, she hung in there anyway. Alberta and I rode along, chatted, laughted, and got frustrated when someone drafted off us going up a hill when we were only doing 9mph. (Really? you're drafting off us?) Other than that momentary frustration, the one "big" hill at mile 15 was doable.

Around mile 21, we hit the first main aid station at the Olympic Training Center. It was super cool riding by the five rings, feeling like a real athlete, thinking about other great athletes who have trained there. Cycling aid stations are way different than the quick run-by-and-grab-a-cup-of-water-and-try-not-to-wear-it routine.

PB & J Sandwiches! It was the best PB&J I've ever had!
Alberta found the perfect man
Clearly, the man of her dreams...and a good listener too!
with the Olympic flame in the background...I mean SERIOUSLY COOL!
OK...Clearly we probably spent too much time at the Olympic Training Center. Probably about 25 (28 actually) minutes or so. Poor Mik! She'd been waiting for us for at least 15 minutes already...by the time we took this picture, she was ready to go! She said she'd had enough cookies. (Did I mention that the aid station had cookies?)

Back on the bikes, we took a back road to a small town called Jamul. I'm not sure I've ever been to Jamul before. I do know that I've never been to Jamul on the road we took. In Jamul we stopped quickly at a local grocery store. Watched Alberta cough up a lung again (actually, I was getting quite worried about her), and headed back.

A stop at the blurry country store
The ride back took a slightly different route which included some downhill where I got nervous about going too fast and by 40 miles, I realized that I was really running out of fuel (gee Alice, you'd burned about 3000 calories at that point, and had eaten, essentially, a couple of cookies and a 1/2 a PB sandwich...duh). I had a GU in my back pocket...and felt much better.

I texted Betty and Elsie a couple of times along the way to let them know how close we were and our ETA.

I won't bore you with the tedious details of the challenges of the last several miles, other than to say that they were difficult, and I was regularly thankful that I run and that I do a little bit of weight training. These two things got me through.

The last five miles were brutal, but not for the reason you're guessing. There was a Padres game on Sunday and the last five miles took us back by Petco Park so there were about a gagillion people around, and cops and lights, and the last few miles took. just. forever.

We finally got back to the finish where Betty, Elsie, and Betty's D2 were waiting for us with flowers and mimosas! How cool was THAT?

D2 and Betty

Mik came in first (of the heffers!)
It was like we were famous, and I PROMISE we were just drinking orange juice from those champagne flutes in front of the county administration building!
So, it was a spectacular day. I'm ready to do a century now...maybe I'll even train for it. Long rides such as this are certainly different than a long run. Afterward I was tired, but I didn't have that 100% spent feeling that I tend to have after a really long run. On Monday, I didn't feel sore or achy at all, and I almost always feel the effects of a long run the next day.

What I do know is that no matter what, I won't do this...
This guy rode the whole way with his dog in a backpack. The dog had goggles on too! This prompted Alberta to note that she knew she was going slow when a "dude with a dog strapped to his back passed me!" Actually, she talked to the guy who told her that he rides with his dog all the time, and whenever there's a park, they stop so the dog can play. The bad thing about this ride is that we passed A LOT of parks, so he rode the last 10 miles with his dog whining in his ear. Yep...that's something you NEVER see at a marathon!


  1. That looked like it was a lot of fun! Loved the video-can easily sense the excitement of everyone as they get ready. Not to mention the sweet cars in the front of the pack! I would take anyone of those for my garage!
    Dig the guy with the dog- makes me wonder if I should put my cat Lucy on my back for the Lucy century ride?????!!!!

  2. Sounds fun. They are hosting the first ever Gran fondo NY here in a few weeks. My friends are doing the Gran but I might do the "medio" of course they said I can lead them out for the first 30 miles or so. I think I'd rather do the mimosa route though.

  3. That looks like so much fun. I want to do one of those someday. And the flowers are very cool. What good friends you have!

  4. Those were some great pictures! I always enjoy the antics of you and the girls, especially the affair with Alberto. I know it was kind of "one sided" but he would probably warm up and be less stiff over time. He did seem like a good listener though.
    I admire all of your enthusiasm towards biking, I think I need to give it a try, you motivate me!

  5. It looked like it was the perfect day to be out riding. Great pictures! You're all rock-stars.

    When do we get to meet Alberta's perfect man? LOL.

  6. Congrats on a huge ride!

    Sounds like an awesome one with awesome aid stations AND mimosas at the finish :D

    That dude must really really love that dog.

  7. Glad Alberta found a statue of her own! You gals make me proud!

  8. That *is* quite a ride! And aren't there hills out by Jamul? I'm cowering in fear now....

  9. That looks really fun Alice. I think it's cool that it wasn't a race, per se. Probably more enjoyable. You always look to have so much fun with your posse.

  10. Wow, that is awesome! Sounds like so much fun.

  11. Congratulations! The guy with the dog is ... mystifying.

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