Monday June 12, 2017 4:53 a.m.
The forecast for this past weekend’s Gran Fondo in Jasper was bleak at best and it turns out they weren’t lying. It was terrible. The photo is from the day after. That snow was not on the Mountains on Thursday.
Saturday was the day of the ride. There were 4 different rides: 190 km, 165 km, 100 km and 65 km. At 6:00 am on Saturday the race organizers bumped the people who were to ride 190 km down to the 165 km and the race start time was pushed back an hour. It was pouring out and it was about -2. Not long after that the organizers took the climb up to Marmot Basin out (snowing up there) and moved all cyclists to the 65 km ride. Also, they pushed the start time to 10 a.m. from the original 8:30 a.m. I thought the race might get cancelled.
The race was open to 400 entrants. Not sure how many people entered, but not many showed up to the start line and only 127 finished the ride.
It was B R U T A L!
My feet were soaked by 10 km and frozen by 30 km. My fingers followed suit. At one point I was steering my bike with the heals of my hands because my fingers were balled up into a fist inside my soaked gloves to try to get feeling back into them. We cycled through snow, snow pellets hitting our faces as we pedalled, they really sting when you are speeding downhill. We also cycled through clouds. I thought it was fog but the it was the extremely low cloud cover as we climbed.
On top of a the bad weather a Black Bear came onto the road and stopped a group of us for a while. It was about 25 km into the ride, climbing up a hill when to my left the bear appeared out of the bush. The bear was in no hurry, just casually walked out of the bush onto the road and really wasn’t even too concerned that I, plus about 7-8 other cyclists, were there. We stopped while this bear walked towards us and when he (let’s assume) got to about 20 feet from us, turned right and went back into the bush. He immediately popped back out and crossed the road about 12 feet in front of us, staring at us this time as he disappeared to our right. We quickly got onto our bikes ( we all got off our bikes and were keeping our bikes between the bear and us ) and rode off.
At least for those few minutes, I wasn’t worried about my frozen feet or hands.
To make a long, cold story short. Joe and I arrived at the finish line, I downed a beer, had a burger and rode back to the hotel. Those of us old enough to remember as kids when we played hockey at an outdoor rink and the feeling of your frozen feet thawing on the drive back home in your parents car, that was what my feet went through as I sat in the tub in my hotel room. My hands too.
My goal of riding the 165 km was dashed so I need to make that long ride up this weekend. Haven’t looked at the forecast but it can’t be worse than what we just experienced. Fingers crossed.
Other than that, training is going well. No complaints. My weight has plateaued so I will need to make some tough decisions on removing some food items from my diet and replacing them with things like fruit and veggies😁 I need to get down to the mid 180s before race day. 2 and a half months to go.
Enjoy your day.