What a day...
First of all let me congratulate all the GWA friends, family, and clientele who participated in the Penticton Gran Fondo this past weekend. I want to send a shout out to Jessica Burton (a long time GWA client) whose name I forgot to mention in my previous blog and newsletter - sorry Jess.
It was a perfect day for riding, not too hot, and except for the massive headwind we had to face for a while we couldn't have had better weather. My day started out as expected. I got to the race early with my team (Matt VanNostrand, Christian Frandsen, Scott Frandsen, and Graham Tutti). We were well positioned near the front of the chute. Th race started with a bang, literally as someone's tire blew nearby. Off we went on our way to Summerland. The start of a Gran Fondo near the front is never very fun. It is extremely crowded and hectic. There are way too many people trying to stay with the lead pack and it makes for some serious crashes. I was next to 2 different ones, scary. Everything was going according to plan as the 5 of us were all up front and amongst the leaders. Around the 40km mark there is the first difficult climb of the day. My heart rate shot up to the mid 180's - thought it might explode. Just before the top of the climb and still in contact with the front pack my rear wheel blew a spoke. Bang! It sounded like loud metallic crack. After that my bike was unusable. I had to watch as my teammates sped away with the leaders.
I want to thank the Bike Barn and their mechanics for lending me a wheel to finish the race. 40 minutes later I was back on the road. I decided to wait for the 'Ladies of GWA' and ride with them. I knew my sister would be there doing her first Fondo so might as well enjoy the day. After waiting another 10 minutes or so I saw all the girls roll by. I jumped in with them and we had a great day together.
Eventually Pam, Kate and I separated from the rest of the girls and went a little faster. I was driving into the headwind and making sure Pam and Kate were right on my wheel for maximum draft. We all had a blast and finished together in just over 6 hours.
When I got to the line I found out my team had a great day:
Graham Tutti - 2nd place, Christian Frandsen, 3rd place, Matt VanNostrand 9th place, Scott Frandsne 11th place. They were in a lead group of 20 riders all sprinting for the finish - oh what could have been...