Napa Gran Fondo
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Napa Gran Fondo - Cycle
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This was my first Gran Fondo, I was a bit worried about being so close ot so many riders, but the group stays together for the first few miles as we all go through local neighborhoods. It was just an easy/fun ride to do with a group.
I broke off with some of the faster guys in our group, but they dropped me. I was either faster then the slower group or not fast enough for the speedsters! NO biggie, I wound up chatting to a bunch of different people along the way. Everyone made comments about the melon helmet, lol!
One guy "Never thought I would draft a melon", "I so want a bite of that!", "nice melon!" It was fun to wear and gave people a laugh along the course.
At some point I was riding with a few guys from Golden Gate tri club and they said "gez you are an animal" LOL, I was going at an easy pace, so I thought that was kinda funny as I consider myself a slow rider. We talked about racing and they were baffled by me training for my 7th Ironman, haha.
Road surface was not great, in fact I had to stop to tighten my water-bottle cage, twice! The first time I pulled off to the side, the guys asked if I needed anything and I said "just fixing the water bottle cage" and they kept riding. Later they said "we knew you would catch us in no time"....I did :)
After that the "King of The Mountain" climb began...uggg It's a "4k" climb with about 1500+ feet of climbing. It was tons of switch-backs and steep climbing....so many times my cadence was under 50! Basically do what you can to keep the momentum going. I passed a bunch of people on the climb, felt great about that, but this climb was relentless! Tons of people on the side walking their bikes or just taking a break. As you come to the "end" of the climb there is a guy dressed as a gorilla and you make a quick turn to see the finish banners......and also see the climb continues beyond the banners!!! WTF!!?? I was expecting a descent after the banners! As I go through the banners I yell "are you fucking kidding me!?" 9 guys standing around turn their heads and I say "sorry that was my outside voice"
No clue how much further up the climb was but I told myself "you didn;t come here to walk your bike" Mentally this was tough. Finally the descent...it was almost worse than the climb! Hairpin turns on crummy road surface!
Eventually get to the aid station and everyone complained about the "top" of the climb not being the top. Continued on and finished feeling great! Had a brought my sneakers I could have done a brick. BIg mental motivator knowing I did that nasty climb.
What would you do differently?:
Nothing, great day out there!
Got some food and chatted with the group
What limited your ability to perform faster:
The massive climb and nervous-nelly descent kills overall speed, but this was a strong ride for me.
My allergies kicked in after I finished, could not wait to get in the car with AC!
Last updated: 2012-05-07 12:00 AM
2012-05-21 11:35 AM
2012-05-21 12:27 PM
in reply to: #4220624
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80F / 27C
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Drove up with my friend David, we got a great parking spot about 2 blocks off of Sonoma Square! Got to the TriMore Tent to meet up wit the rest of our group. Had a bit of coffee and chatted, everyone LOVED the watermelon helmet!
NOthing, just walked the bike over to the start. Was cool seeing the helicopter overhead!