Sunday, April 22, 2012

Gran Fondo San Diego - A Grand Time

Betty asked me today if I was still blogging...

Hh yeah...sorta.

I think she was wondering if I was ever going to post photos or make comments about last Sunday's Gran Fondo. (We rode in the 60 mile Medio Fondo actually) So Betty, this one's for you.

The first time Mik and I rode in the San Diego Fondo (or as the Italians say...Gran Fondo San Diego), it poured rain. We were miserable. (Although it may have been one of my best blog titles EVAH). We did the shortest route, about 35 miles. At that point, I think it was the longest ride I'd ever done.

The second time Mik, Alberta, and I rode in the Fondo, it was sunny, but cool. We rode the Medio Fondo - or the 60 miles route in about 4:30 (riding time...not counting the stops at the really amazing SAG stops). I mostly remember the last 10 miles being absolutely brutal. It was the longest ride to date.

This time, Mik, Betty, Wilma, and I rode the 60 mile Medio Fondo...and here's THAT story. I rode it about 17 minutes faster than last year...and at the end, pretty much felt fine, tired, but fine.

We almost ended up not riding due to a race organizer snafu with the discount code which resulted in our getting a far bigger discount than the race organizer intended. Most of the trouble could have been rectified if the race organizer (or, or whoever made the error. On that point I'm still unclear) had let those of us who got the bigger-than-intended-discount right after we registered. Instead, they waited until the DAY BEFORE THE EXPO to send out an email that said something like, "thanks for registering, but to get your bib, you're going to need to give us more money in cash...tomorrow."

Uh... your mistake, your problem buddy. We were ready to get our money back, but when we went to the expo, they just gave us our stuff. I heard that they were charging people after us, but we lucked out, so we rode.

So...race day started early...we had to check my cell phone photos to remember how to get all four bikes in the back of the car. 
This photo was taken before the Senorita Century last month...see how light it is outside? Yeah.  It was darkish when we were doing this last Sunday.
We found good parking at the County Administration Building and unloaded the bikes.
The two guys in the Nissan watched us for 15 minutes as we got all our gear together. I think they were mighty entertained. 
Mandatory pre-race potty stop. BTW...if you look back at last years ride-report, yes, I am wearing the same lime-green top. Whatever. 
On our way to the start, we waited for the trolley... Well, Betty, Wilma and I waited. Mik had already gone ahead.
It was a great morning for a ride. It was a bit cool, but not too bad. I started off with long sleeves, and arm warmers over the sleeves. But by about 10 miles, the arm warmers came off, then so did the long sleeve shirt.

Somewhere between the beginning of the ride, I changed my Garmin settings (apparently twice) so that the whole ride is in three parts...very frustrating, but by about Mile 7, I had it on the right settings.

Here are the first three miles
Here are the second three and a half miles
Here are the last 52 miles

The route was familiar, we rode south toward National City. Riders were polite for the most part. We were near the back of the riders. Wilma and I fell behind Mik and Betty and in the crowd near the beginning of the ride, but I caught up with them around Bonita, and we pretty much stuck together for the rest of the ride.
SAG Stop 1 - At the Olympic Training Center 
Again, nothing is better than cycling SAG stops. This one had PB&J sandwiches. Several kinds of cookies, muffins, donuts, gels. The volunteers were FABULOUS. Just walking up to the table, someone would ask before you even got there "hey, you need your water bottle refilled?" We refilled, refueled, and  chatted about the ride.

I checked my text messages from Wilma. I didn't have one, but I saw her friend Anitra who said that she'd seen her on the road and that she was holding her own (I think Wilma's longest ride to date had been the Senorita ride, which was 45 miles. We kept telling her that this one was longer, but easier. I THINK she agrees with that now).

I sent her at text that said she was doing great and that I was so proud of her!
We took a loop around the Olympic Training Center. The field hockey team was practicing so I took a photo for DramaGirl and sent it to her.
From the Olympic Training Center, the route took us out past Otay Lakes to Jamul. This is a two lane rural road, and it is really my favorite part of the ride. There was very little car traffic, and for the most part, the cars were polite and gave us plenty of room.

The turn around was at a little country store in Jamul, about 10 miles past the training center. Since it'd only been 10 miles, I really didn't need to refuel or rest BUT I did need some, uh, well, shall we say lubrication in the hoo-haw area where I was starting to feel some chafing. I'd been carrying a trial size of this stuff called DZNutsBliss... I just needed a corner where I could smear it on with at least some amount of privacy, so I went behind a the general store and...yeah, you guessed it, stuck my hand down my shorts.

As Betty and I started our ride back into town, she started complaining about the exact same issue, so I shared the rest of the Bliss with her. I mean, what are friends for? Unfortunately for Betty, we were on the road by then, so we just pulled over to the side, and she did what I'd done behind a building, only she was on the right shoulder of the road.

No worries. I'm sure she's glad I shared.

We were both happy. And as for DZBliss...let's just say I now LOVE THIS STUFF!

As we headed back to town, we saw Wilma headed out to Jamul. Again, I was so so very impressed. She was smiling and gave us a thumbs up! Yay Wilma!
Back at the Olympic Training Center - 20 miles to go. Are we done yet?
The ride back from the Olympic Training Center to the County Admin Building in Little Italy is, happily, mostly downhill, including a couple of pretty fun descents through Otay Lakes. On one descent Mik was ahead of me and must have missed the signage (which was, overall, pretty darn good) that indicated we needed to turn right. As I saw it, and saw Mik speed through an intersection, I bellowed


Apparently, she heard me (as did the rest of the neighborhood).

The guy behind me thanked me for drawing the turn to his attention. He said he would have missed it too.

We eventually made our way to the last SAG stop at the Bonita Vista Mall. Betty was there only a few minutes, and headed off. I, on the other hand, enjoyed cups full of Smart Chips (yum....salt....)

The last few miles were pretty uneventful although I felt compelled to apologize to anyone who was from out of town for the state of the roads on the north-going-lanes of Harbor Blvd. They are just about the worst-crappy streets in San Diego, and we go through a particularly ugly, non-scenic, railroad track filled (seriously, we crossed tracks at least 5 times, each way) part of San Diego. There are so many beautiful parts of San Diego, one has to ask, why this road?

Whatever. Moving on.

At the end, we got what may be the coolest cycling medal I've yet to receive, and better yet, a real-life-actual beer, beer garden, and a live band (they looked like high school students, but I swear the drummer was all of 10 years old, tops), but the band was playing Cheap Trick, which made Betty happy. They served Sierra Nevada ales and lagers, and they certainly served a medicinal purpose. We needed some of those calories back. So we hung out in the sun and waited for Wilma to come in.
Post Race Happiness... After I took this photo a girl at the next table offered to take another group photo of us. They hadn't ridden, but saw the beer garden, heard the band, and decided to join in the fun.
Wilma coming in for a big finish!
DramaGirl and Millie drove down to the post race. Which was a good thing because after a few beers (and some just so-so pasta), it was good to have someone else drive home.
The crew...Betty, Mik, Me, Wilma, and Anitra, very tired and very, very, very happy!
One final thought...

60 miles is far. 100 miles is farther. I'm sure I could do it, but not sure I really want to.