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RBC Granfondo Banff - Cycle

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Banff, Alberta
Granfondo Canada
72F / 22C
Total Time = 6h 41m 24s
Overall Rank = 1288/1417
Age Group = M3039
Age Group Rank = 227/234
Pre-race routine:

At the beginning of the year, I set my 2013 goals -- one of which was "do a longst bike ride ever" -- which for me was 75km. My wife -- who loves order and rules and organization -- decided that I'd be better off doing an organized ride instead of just winging it on my own. And then convinced me that if 75 is good, 144 km is twice as good!

So -- I signed up for the granfondo. My training routine -- throughout the spring and summer, I did weekly rides of progessively increasing length -- worked my way up to 40km, 50km, and ultimately hit 70km in training. Was planning for a 100km training ride, but had to scrap it due to a minor surgery (eye) -- so I was a bit undertrained.
Event warmup:

Stayed in a Banff hotel overnight -- woke up at 5:45am, and tried to quietly get ready. Peanut butter bagel, banana, OJ. Rode down to the starting line (2 km all downhill), had a bottle of Gatorade before the gun went off.
  • 6h 41m 24s
  • 144 kms
  • 21.51 km/hr

First of all -- I can't complain about the experience. Biking from Banff to Lake Louise is as beautiful as I'd imagined. A lot of it was just trees and road -- but every now and then, we would see a breathtaking view -- looking down at the Banff Springs Hotel from Tunnel Mountain -- the Lake Minnewanka dam -- Castle Mountain (geez that thing is huge!) -- and views of the Bow River.

The race itself:

First ~25 km (to Rest Stop 1): Very hilly and busy -- took a while for the pack to thin out. And yet, when I finished 25km, honestly it felt like a breeze. Clearly my bike endurance has improved nicely this year. Best part -- wife & kiddos were sitting outside our hotel and ringing the cowbell as I went by -- best little cheering section in town!

Next ~30 km (to Rest Stop 2). Much flatter -- slight uphill, with occasional up-and-downs. Again, pretty straightforward -- my legs were just starting to get a bit sore.

Next ~30km (to the turnaround and Rest Stop 3): NOT FUN. This is where I started to break into virgin territory in terms of distance -- and it was still slight uphill the entire way. OW OW OW. By this time, the faster cyclists were making their way back -- very jealous of how they were zipping down the hill.

Next ~30 km (to Rest Stop 4: Finally, some downhill! Of course, by this time my legs were pretty toast -- so I wasn't setting speed records -- but the downhills provided ample opportunity to coast (and I took advantage!)

Last ~30 km: Would you believe it took me this long to see any wildlife? Saw a bighorn sheep around 120km, and then an entire flock of ~20 around 130km. The last 30km involved a little bit of cursing on my part -- I'm convinced I finished the last 10 km on curse power alone.

I should also mention -- I did manage to get a peep show on this last segment -- one of the other cyclists pulled to the side of the road to change her shirt. I knew the ride would be scenic, but that was a bit unexpected... :-)

Finally crossed the finish line (again, with the best little cheering section in town!) and proceeded to eat everything in sight.
What would you do differently?:

A couple of longer training rides would have helped -- had I kept to my original plan of a 100km training ride, that would have limited the pain.

Nutrition -- I probably didn't hydrate as much as I should have. I had a total of 3 Gatorade bottles during the ride, but was quite thirsty by the end.

If you'd asked me at the finish line if I would do it again, I would have kicked you in the shins (which, given my jelly legs, wouldn't really have hurt...)Now, with a full tummy, I'm feeling a bit more positive about it. But damn it was a hard ride.
Post race
Warm down:

Walked around, ate fruit, put a cold wet towel on my head. And then walked with the family over to McDonald's. :-)

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Weight.-- the perennial problem!

Event comments:

Great race organization. Perfect course. Had a good time. Highly recommended!

Last updated: 2013-01-20 12:00 AM
06:41:24 | 144 kms | 21.51 km/hr
Age Group: 227/234
Overall: 1288/1417
Performance: Average
Wind: Little
Course: Around Tunnel Mountain, then around Minnewanka Loop and through Banff.. Finally the main event -- Bow Valley Parkway up to Lake Louise and back.
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2013-08-24 10:57 PM

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Calgary, AB
Subject: RBC Granfondo Banff

2013-08-26 6:47 AM
in reply to: #4838211

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: RBC Granfondo Banff
Nice work Scott! Sounds like you worked hard for that goal.

You picked a beautiful place to do that ride.
2013-08-26 7:26 AM
in reply to: #4838211

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Subject: RE: RBC Granfondo Banff

Enjoyed reading your report, Scott.  Congratulations on reaching your goal of the longest bike ride to date!   Love your family's support with the cowbells and finishing it all up with McDonalds.  


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