I woke up the morning of the Granfondo, and decided to pump up my tires first thing so I wouldn’t forget. When I unscrewed the pin of my front tire, the pin literally broke in half. I couldn’t believe it, but I figured better at the Tiki Shores than on the course. So, it was time to put all those lessons to work and change my first tire. I got the tire changed with minimal difficulty and was literally putting in the last pump of air when the tube exploded with an ear splitting pop…I had forgot to double check that the tube wasn’t caught underneath the tire. I couldn’t believe it. We were supposed to be leaving in 20 minutes, I now had a completely flat front tire, no one had brought two tubes, I hadn’t eaten anything and I was still in my pajamas. I decided to get dressed to calm myself down so I could think logically and try to figure out a plan. The conclusion? Wheel my bike to the start and get Velofix to change my tire for me…they would do it right, much more quickly than I would and I could even buy a spare tube from them. I was happy with this decision until I asked two volunteers where bike maintenance was and one told me there wasn’t any and the other told me where to go but said they hadn’t shown. Luckily, Velofix was indeed there and they were ready and raring to go. It was a little stressful to hear the five minute warning and see my bike still on the bike stand, but Velofix was awesome, got me fixed up just dandy and I was able to make it into the corral and meet up with the other girls with literally one minute to spare. Definitely owe Jody a beer for getting me up 10 minutes earlier than I had initially planned.
The start was pretty awesome! Not as scary as I’d expected…just exciting. As we made our way up the first hill my legs didn’t feel rested at all which worried me a bit, but I figured it was probably just all of the adrenaline from my tire fiasco. We lost Kate P and Kate R right off the bat, but Jody, Christa, Kim and I were able to stick together and take advantage of some nice drafts on our way to the first aid station in Summerland. As we rolled in we were thrilled to find Kate P, Kate R, Pam and Laura…we were all back together! As we headed out as a group we knew that we’d probably get spread out on the Summerland descent so agreed that we’d re-group at the second rest stop. Laura, Kim and I were the last to finish the descent but could still see the jerseys of the other girls ahead. We did some serious pulling (Laura did the majority of it) so we could bridge a couple of groups but we’d lost sight of the jerseys ahead. I was a bit confused because I didn’t think we were going that slow, but figured we’d re-group at the second stop and to be honest, I was just enjoying riding with Laura again (it had been a while) so wasn’t that concerned. When we didn’t see the girls at the second stop, I started to get worried. Laura and Kim were doing the mediofondo, so if I didn’t reconnect, I was going to have to ride about 90km on my own. Laura could tell I was concerned and said she’d help me try and catch the girls at the third stop, if I wanted to give it a shot. In hindsight, with my legs tired from the start, it probably wasn’t a good idea to burn that many candles early on and I should have just rode my own ride, but the good thing is that it paid off and I was able to catch Kate, Christa and Jody at the third aid station! Definitely owe Laura some free babysitting for that one. That’s when we found out that Jon had unfortunately broke a spoke so had made it his mission to find the GWA ladies so he could pull them along for a great race. It explained how we’d lost everyone after the descent and I was thrilled to hear that Kate P and Pam were still with Jon and on track for a fabulous ride!
The next part of the ride was a lot better. I was back with the ladies that I’d trained with, I was able to take advantage of a bit more of a draft, and the scenery was gorgeous. My legs were still feeling quite tired and weren’t getting a second wind, but I was hoping I could just push through. I was okay until we started to hit the hills at the 115km point. I’m not a fabulous climber, but I’m not horrible either and normally I’m able to push through and make my way up. Unfortunately, I just had nothing left. I’ve never had my body not respond like that. Needless to say, the four of us got spread out pretty solidly, but were able to reconnect at the last aid station. Kate, Jody and Christa were ready to go by the time I got there and at that point I knew it just wasn’t my day so we agreed that I’d meet them at the finish line. That last 25km was the toughest and the nicest for me. Tough because I was on my own with no draft and completely spent legs (and whoever says that section is all downhill is a flat-out liar!)…but the nicest because it was the first time I felt like I wasn’t chasing something. I just rode. The day definitely didn’t go as I’d pictured it and it was disappointing…but at the same time, I got to ride with some fabulous ladies in some amazing scenery, and I finished my first Granfondo….so, I definitely can’t complain.