Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Whistler Gran Fondo/ Hitchhiking

I finally caved - I did the Whistler Gran Fondo for the first time this year. 120km, starting at 6:30 am, going up to whistler on the highway.  

To be perfectly honestly this is not my idea of a fun race, but knowing that my team mates and supporters were all going to be there, I knew I had to be apart of it.  And I will admit - riding over lions gate bridge to get to the start at 5:30 am was pretty epic and worth the early wake up :)
My cousin Steph and I at the Finish - all smiles always :)
TRT raced in the Giro - which went off a bit before the rest of the Fondo, girls and guys mixed.  I didn't think this would be an issue because it was deemed a 'neutral start'.  If you witnessed it however - it was anything but.  By the time we hit Taylor Way(the first big climb) I was DONE!  And this was only 10 minutes in!   
After a cruddy start, I was honestly considering just riding home (I was only a few blocks from there anyways), but I remembered I didn't have my house keys - so I really had no option :) (kidding of course!)
I managed to get into a group with my teammate Brandi, and some other people who I knew - so the ride started to improve.  After suffering until Sqwamish with my group (about 15 of us 11 guys 4 girls), the guys started popping one by one, and I started to feel better the more we rode.  After every climb I would look back and there would be one less person, which gave me a bit of a boost because I am not that fond of climbing myself.  Soon there were 4, 2 girls, 2 guys - how's that for girl power :)  
I was starting to feel great, and we were about 20 km from Whistler when BANG - flat tire.  I may have cursed really loud...  And because I was under the impression this was a regular race - I of course had no pump, no tube, no nothing.  My group left me - and I decided to keep rolling easy until I found some help (as one does in a regular race).  However - there was no one to be seen.  For miles.  I waved down a motor bike but they just took my picture instead.  A couple Gran Fondo groups passed me - but no one offered me anything (i guess because I was still riding they thought I was just very slow haha).  I may have evern stuck my thumb out to try and hitch a ride - still no takers :( Finally - Brandi was my savior and generously gave me her pump and tube.  I was so happy to know I would make it back in time for the TRT party.  PRIORITIES! I quickly fixed my flat (mtb racer style), got on (of course in the biggest gear), and a nice man pushed me to help get me going.  And then.. BANG! WTF!?  I cried.  I just wanted to be done.  
Thomas and I climbed Mt Baker with Todds Racing a few weeks before hand.
So I rode, on my flat, for another 5 km until another Angel (Jamie) caught up to me.  If anyone knows Jamie you will know what I mean when I say he was reaming me out.  He was telling me how bad it was that I was riding on my rim and I should just fix it and I must have done something wrong to make it flat again.  I knew he was right - but I was so over it.  Jamie kindly fixed my flat (after much reluctance on my part), it was the dang rim tape, and we were off again in no more then 10 minutes haha.  
However - as soon as I got back on - guess who came storming by....the one and only Thomas Hass.  I have met Thomas a few times and to me, he seems exactly like Jens Voight - So full of energy and so silly and SO FAST.  As he rode past he yelled 'SUNSHINE - Lets go!', so of course I killed myself to get on his wheel, and was able to finish with my new idol :)  That last 5 km was probably the hardest of the whole ride haha.
So - I didn't have a good result, and I didn't have a great ride, but it was a pretty solid story and I always love dropping guys.  
Helena, Kristine and I doing unusual training for the fondo...:)
After the race we had an awesome TRT social, swim at the lake, and crashed a Lululemon party.  All in all - a pretty sweet day.  The next morning I rode home to North Van with two Italians who wore nothing but Rapha and spoke only once the whole way down.  I too - had very few words.

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