Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Levi's GranFondo Race Report

On Oct. 5th I rode the Levi's GranFondo.  I haven't done a lot of cycling-only events.  When I was training for Ironman, I did the Ride Around Clark County Century Ride, which was very casual and not crowded.  I did a 40 mile Livestrong ride on a hybrid in 2005ish and I've done a few super casual Oregon wine country rides with Eola Hills. Then I did Bridge Pedal and absolutely hated it.  There are way too many inexperienced riders and it caused me serious anxiety during the entire ride so I swore off all major cycling events.

In January, my dad mentioned he wanted to come down from Oregon to do GranFondo.  I was apprehensive when I saw 7500+ riders but somehow I was talked into it.  MFR, my dad and I all signed up for the Medio Route - 62 miles (there are  options for 30, 62 & 102). 

MFR ready to ride

Although the day did not go quite as planned, my faith in cycling events is restored.  Even with 7500 riders, I was never nervous.  Everyone there was a serious cyclist with good bike handling skills so nobody was stopping in the middle of the road or signaling right and then turning left etc...  The scenery cannot be beat, you get everything from ocean cliffs (with lots of sea life sightings), to covered forests to gorgeous views of the Russian River.  I met two women a the first pit stop who come all the way from Whistler every year for this event.  They said they had done rides all over the country and this was their favorite by far. 

The view was not to shabby.
I felt much better than I anticipated given my lack of cycling training lately and really enjoyed being back out on the bike.  Miles 1 -34 went perfectly.  At mile 35 we realized why everyone registered was a "serious cyclist."  It was hands down the steepest climb I've ever seen and it basically went on for 10 miles.
Not a hill - a mountain.
I am talking narrow sea cliff switchbacks that went straight up and never seemed to end.  Even though I was very proud of my climbing, since it seemed like half the field was stopping to walk, at mile 40 the race went downhill. 
Looking back at the first part of the climb
Long story short, my dad ended up with heatstroke and we finished the day with an ambulance ride to the hospital.  It really wasn't as bad as it sounds (though there were some scary moments) and going to the hospital was probably unnecessary.  It was a good reminder that when you sense someone is not doing well and they say, "go ahead, don't worry I'll be fine," don't listen!  Luckily I ignored my dads wishes to have me continue on. I was sad not to finish given how great I had been feeling about my ride but was so glad I stopped and turned around when I did.

My dads bike being put in a cop car by the incredible volunteers who went above and beyond to ensure his safety.
I only made it to mile 44 but MFR finished the whole race and said it was his favorite endurance event he'd ever participated in; not including when he crossed the finish line and discovered he had to come pick us up at the hospital.  The swag and the festival at the end was great and since we had to go back to get our bikes we even enjoyed the free beer and awesome food options.  This race should be on every cyclists bucket list.  Even with the drama, we all kept talking about what a great day/event it was.  We'll definitely be back next year for redemption.

Swag bag and Camelbak water bottle
MFR & dad - Finish Festival.
Free beer and awkward chest hair? Nailed it.
In other news, I still don't know what distance I am running this weekend.   I keep going back and forth between a) I am 100% not trained and my knee might still be sort of iffy (though it's been fine running, just gets sore when I am sitting for long periods of time) so I should just do the half and try to sub 2:00, b) I should just do the marathon even if it takes me 5+ hours to do it, it's an awesome course and will be good training for Ragnar....blah, blah, blah Basically everything after 18 miles is going to hurt and be a major sufferfest.

With Ragnar Vegas Ultra, where I have to run 36 miles (13, 13, 10,) only 3.5 weeks away, should I marathon poorly but get in good tough mileage or try to run a good strong half?  Thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. The bike ride sounds awesome!!! Can't wait to hear more and I can't believe your dad went to the hospital!!
    I think doing the half this weekend is for the best! We should probably run/hike on Saturday just for some Ragnar "training"!!! :)