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Prospera Granfondo Axel Merckx - Cycle


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Penticton, British Columbia
Canada
15C / 59F
Overcast
Total Time = 6h 18m 18s
Overall Rank = 386/551
Age Group = M 65 - 69
Age Group Rank = 49/74
Pre-race routine:

Woke up at 5:00am and had breakfast then loaded up my gear and drove 4k to the start line. Many people just rode their bikes to the start but my wife was a Volunteer Captain working at the finish line while I was riding.
Event warmup:

No actual warm-up for this event. I just waited chatting with my 2700 new friends for the 7:00 am start time. Finding out where everyone was from and checking out who had the best bike jerseys. Best Jersey: Verharden de fok up.


Bike
  • 6h 18m 18s
  • 126 kms
  • 19.98 km/hr
Comments:

Then the final count down by Steve King and the horn and we're "Off!" Well not really. The riders in the "A" coral were off, then "B", "C", "D" and finally my coral. About 7 minutes after the start we just start rolling forward. Not riding yet but one foot unclipped to push ourselves nearer to the start line and then people start riding and we cross the start line and we're finally riding.

First up, within 1 km of the start and we're looking up the Vancouver St hill. What a sight! Over a thousand riders ahead of us climbing the hill en masse with sunlight reflecting off their helmets. Blows me away every year. One lady fell off her bike when she dropped her chain. Was up quickly and back on her bike with only some residual embarrassment.

Soon we're riding through downtown to Lakeshore drive past "the Peach" of IMCanada fame.and we're heading out of town into a moderate headwind. Throughout the ride we alternated between headwinds and tailwinds. Next up was hill number two of the day on Peach Orchard Rd and the race for "King of the Mountain" was on. I rode up comfortably well and even passed people as we climbed. In the end I was 11:56 to climb and the KOM was less than half my time. Maybe next year.

On my return ride to Penticton I joined a fellow from Vancouver and together we pulled each other back to Summerland at speeds up to 50kph at times. We passed a lot of other riders and more riders jumped on to our line for the ride back.
Now riding through Penticton I lost track of the fellow from Vancouver when we stopped at an Aid station and he needed a bike mechanic to help him with a problem.

Everywhere we rode today there were "Ride Guides" and bike mechanics.helping people and there were a lot of people with flat tires or mechanical issues. I also saw a couple of bad accidents in which the riders were badly hurt. Hopefully, they were okay.

The aid stations were great and I loaded up on honey stinger waffles, watermelon, energy drinks, water and little mini donuts. I must have drank the right amount for the day because I felt really good all day.

Next up was Secrest hill and I was killing my knees to try and ride up the hill at 5.5 kph. It wasn't worth wrecking my knees so just like everyone else I got off my bike and walked up the hill. It was embarrassing but at the top my knees were still working.

From Secrest we turn north - into the headwind again and we're climbing up to White Lake and the Observatory. Now I'm being passed by some Granfondo riders. They've ridden 34km further than I have and they are passing me. Nothing I can do about it just ride my own ride. Most of this next 20km is up hill and I keep thinking, "This is the last of the worst hill climbing" only each climb is just a set up for the next climb.

Then I crest a hill and we are riding through the White Lake valley heading to the Observatory and the last aid station for the day. I keep seeing all the same riders and we alternately pass each other and encourage each other. I met people from Sweden, Australia, USA and Mexico. We're all having fun.

From the Observatory it is 7km to the highway and from there it is 16 km back to Penticton and then a 6km triumphal ride down Main St. to the finish line at Okanagan Lake. All day this is the part I've been looking forward to.

The ride down from Kaleden is fast and mostly downhill with some fast up hill segments. Everyone is riding fast and trying to get to the bottom as fast as we can. Then I'm turning the last curve into town. I had a bit of trouble here trying to ride faster than 16 kph into a now strong headwind but as I pass through the middle of town I start gaining speed.

This is my home and I know every block. I'm not looking at how fast I'm riding I'm just thinking no more hills and spinning faster. Last 1.5km and I can see the finish line straight ahead. I'm still accelerating and it really is downhill to the finish.

Steve King is announcing my name and I cross the finish line and slow down and stop at the dismount line. The ride is over and I feel really good. Time for a beer and a burger and popsicles! Yay!

What would you do differently?:

I rode as hard as I could for over 5 hours. I climbed 1029m on the ride and had a lot of fun. I averaged Zn 2 with lots of Zn 3 and even into Zn 4 on some of the harder climbs. All I can do is keep working to get stronger.
Post race
Warm down:

I cooled down quickly as I waited to see some of the people I had met finishing their own rides. Volunteers handed out cold wet face cloths which really felt good.
I got my burger and beer. They really tasted good. Chatted with other riders and friends. Then I met my Vancouver friend. He had made a wrong turn just before Secrest hill and instead of riding his Velocefondo 126km ride he wound up on the Granfondo 160km course. When I saw him he was really tired. he hadn't been ready for the long ride. So what could I say, I congratulated him on his unexpected accomplishment. A couple days later he should be feeling pretty good about it.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Just the fact that I can do any of this was exciting.




Last updated: 2016-07-13 12:00 AM
Biking
06:18:18 | 126 kms | 19.98 km/hr
Age Group: 49/74
Overall: 74/551
Performance: Average
Wind: Some
Course: Starting in Penticton we ride to Summerland and through the town then returned to Penticton and out East Lake Rd along Skaha Lake to Okanagan Falls. Then south towards Oliver to Secrest Rd where we turn off to climb the Secrest Hill. Hooking back up with the Granfondo riders at Willowbrook to the Observatory then to Kaleden and down the Kaleden hill to Penticton.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 80
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Below average
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Evaluation
Course challenge
Organized?
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

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2016-07-14 12:17 AM

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Extreme Veteran
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Penticton, BC
Subject: Prospera Granfondo Axel Merckx


2016-07-16 2:40 PM
in reply to: #5190791

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Extreme Veteran
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Langley, BC, 'Wet Coast' Canada
Subject: RE: Prospera Granfondo Axel Merckx
Great write-up, George. It sounds like you bad a good day
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