Valley First Gran Fondo: Really Hot!

in-the-start-chute Sunday was race day for many GWA clients and myself.  More than 2,500 riders braved 34°C heat in the South Okanagan to ride the second edition of the Valley First Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan on Sunday.  Congratulations to the following riders: Dan Shepansky, David Schaffner, James Demens, Justin Cheng, Matt VanNostrand, Kate Ramsay, Laura Bertram.  For a brief summary of my personal race and few photos see below.crv-loaded-up

CRV loaded and ready to go to the Okanagan

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Justin and James doing some much needed 'carb loading' the day before the race at one of 8 vineyards we visited (I somehow bought 2 cases of wine that day...)

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This is me at 6am ready to head to the start of the race, it was already 25 degrees out there

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Dan Shepansky doing some last second email/texting on his phone

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In the start line, ready to fly...

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A few riders in front of me (started too far back and had to work way too hard to get to the front group...)

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Many more behind...

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After the race, Laura looking better than me as usual.

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My Ride:

I was a little bit nervous about this race because I wasn't feeling rested going in.  On Wednesday I ran stairs with some of our hockey players (only because they were calling me a wuss for not wanting to do them because of my upcoming race).  My legs were so sore after that and it wasn't until the morning of the race that I could properly walk down the stairs (I knew better than to do something like that before a race...)

My legs felt fine however so no excuses there.  I started a little too far back in the start line so I had to work really hard to get up with the front group.  I got there after about 10 minutes and settled into a furiously fast pace for the first 50 km.  The lead peleton relaxed a bit after that.

I stayed with the race leaders until the 120km mark where I got dropped on a steep climb.  I was too far back in the peleton and when some of the riders in front of me started falling back I just didn't have the legs to bridge the gap between us and the lead group.  The gap was only about 50m but it might as well have been 2km.

I ended up riding solo a bunch during the last 40 km, and there was a viscous head wind for a lot of it.  Needless to say I was suffering something fierce.  I was low on water (you don't stop at aid stations when you are in the lead group - stupid I think...) and the heat was getting to me.  I managed to cross the finish line only 16 minutes off the winning pace so all in all a pretty good ride.

Next time I will pay more attention to where I am in the group before the climb and carry an extra water bottle in my jersey pocket.  It was a great day and I had a blast.  My average speed was 36 km/h over the 160km course.  Top speed was a blistering 79km/h.  Average HR was 153.  Max HR was 184.  Burned in excess of 3200 calories, no wonder I've been hungry all day.