Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Grand Fundo

More than two weeks ago, I headed out to western Mass to ride the excellent Grand Fundo, so called because it was more grand and fun than a Gran Fondo. (It has been so hard to find time to blog!) Hup United was out in full force and it was sooo much fun.

I got there nice and early to enjoy breakfast with Meg and JD. They live right by Mt Tom which was quite misty that morning -- it totally reminded me of Hawaii.

Here are some of my teammates before the start:

Meg and me, blanco and noir:

Meg has the coolest nom de course:

Here's everyone getting ready to start:

After that, we rolled out. I was a little freaked out being in a big pack for the first time in almost 2 years. Meg got a flat after about a mile, which was fortuitous: it gave me an excuse to stop trying to keep up with the pack. :) After she got a sweet neutral wheel (Zipp), we rode with some other Huppers. Eventually it was just me, Meg, and JD. I think we were last for a long time, though we start to catch up with other groups on the road. I was feeling pretty frisky for the first few miles, and then the dirt roads (yeah!) and climbing (no!) started.

I'd perused the Grand Fundo site in preparation. I registered that it was 64 miles, 20% on dirt roads. I noted this sentence and then did no further investigation into the course profile or description: "The Grand Fundo route isn’t that difficult." The organizers suggested that it would take about 4 hours to complete.

And looking at the site again, it wasn't super difficult -- only 3000 feet of total climbing. But when I was on the ride with my out-of-shape ass in the saddle, it felt. quite. difficult. (Also, our teammate Chip's Garmin recorded 105-degree temps. It was probably more like mid-90s, but it was HOT.)

Chip had left his shoes at Meg and JD's and had to go back for them, then take a shortcut on the ride course to meet up with us at the first water stop. (The water stop was awesome. Everything about this ride was very well-organized. Good route markings, good route, etc.) Shortly after that we met up with Cathy, who had gotten a flat, and our merry band was complete.

The halfway point was the ice cream truck stop. I was incredibly bummed that the heat was doing a number on my stomach and I felt too icky to eat ice cream. Can you imagine? Here's my teammate Mark with ice cream:

My teammate Stephen's special Hup edition Sketchy cyclocross bike:

After a while I started to feel better and pushed on through to the finish. At one point there was a shortcut, which I'm glad Meg didn't point out to me, because I would have taken it. :) At the finish, we all enjoyed a yummy BBQ (though I felt it was too hot to eat pig parts, personally) and I finally got my ice cream! It ended up being really fun and I'm sure I'll go back if it happens next year. There is just something about riding on dirt roads that makes me really happy, and this ride is definitely easier than the 100K D2R2.

Here's Meg's ride report and Chip's ride report. For really great pics, check out Podium Insight.

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