This past Sunday I participated in my second Farm to Fork Fondo. Last year I chose the “Medio Fondo” route which was essentially 100k, but this year I stepped it up to the “Gran Fondo” which was billed as 140k (87 miles) and ~5800′ of elevation. This ride would be a first for me as I had never done that much elevation in a single ride before.
Just to get it out of the way, hands down, this was the most challenging ride I have ever done. I was good until about mile 75 when we hit a climb known as “The Wall”, but more on that later. My biggest issue was that my nutrition was off and I underestimated my needs for the day. I always tend to take too much food with me and never finish it all. This time I planned for exactly what my expected time to be and missed it by a bunch.
The idea behind this ride (and its sister rides) is about bringing awareness to and support our local farms along with the open green space they provide and the relationship between cyclists, the landscape and healthy living. There are three more rides in the series this summer if you are so inclined, just visit FarmForkFondo.com more more details.
As with the ride last year there was no shortage of pros and retired pros on hand to mingle and ride with. The Colavita | Bianchi women’s cycling team was there, Ian Boswell from Team Sky, retired pro Ted King, along with a few others who’s names escape me at the moment.
This past weekend I participated in a new cycling event, the Farm to Fork Fondo. The idea behind the event is to support local farms and farming organizations. Each rest stop on the ride was held at a different farm which featured treats made from the farms or other locally sourced items. Proceeds from the event would be donated to local farmers and organizations to help them with project and other causes like preserving the beautiful open space we all enjoy on our bicycles. This particular event was hosted in Orange County, NY, but there is a second event coming up in Vermont in two weeks. The event is put on by former pro Tyler Wren & Wrenegade Sports and major sponsors of the event are Colavita and Fine Cooking magazine so besides the bike rides there are other activities (dining, cooking classes) throughout the weekend, depending on what “package” you choose. There was also a Q&A session with the Colavita | Bianchi womens pro team the morning of the ride as well. The OC event is hosted at Cedar Lakes Estates which hosts a whole mess of other off the bike activities as well.
At the OC event, there were several different routes to choose from; the Gran Fondo @ 94miles, the Medio Fondo @ 60 miles, the Piccolo Fondo @ 30 miles & the Ramble Ride @ 10 miles. I signed up for the Medio Fondo @ 60 miles with an estimated 3,700 feet of elevation gain. Since I haven’t been able to get in many long distance rides in this year I figured that was more than enough. Plus since the Cedar Lakes venue is basically on top of a mountain that meant a mountain top finish to the ride! Here you can see the elevation chart from Ride With GPS.
The weather report for the weekend was all over the place. First it was supposed to be a complete washout then only Saturday was going to be bad with it clearing up early Sunday morning for the ride. Of course the forecasts were all wrong and there was a light on and off shower with about an hour to go which turned into a good downpour about 30 minutes before the start. It finally stopped, or at least slowed down with about 10 to go, so the organizers pushed the start back a half hour to allow some of the water to run off. After all we would be descending out of the gate with wet brakes so no need to add lots of run off to the mix as well.
Over the weekend I participated in the Ride & Run to Remember charity event that benefits the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund. If you are unfamiliar with that fund I suggest you head over here to check it out. But as you might guess it goes to benefit the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and since I’m involved in LE it’s something I like to support to honor our fallen brothers & sisters.
I had signed up to be a “Road Warrior” which would involve me running the 5K and then doing the 55 mile ride the following day. My girlfriend decided she wanted to participate but due to an injury she wouldn’t be able to run but we decided on the 2K walk instead. Unfortunately the day of the run/walk it decided to rain. Plus with us being over the bridge from the start and not exactly sure where we were going we sorta missed the start. What’s the saying about best laid plans? Even still we still walked anyway even if it wasn’t “official” and covered way more than 2K. After all we were in DC and there is a lot of national treasures to see!
Thankfully the day of the ride Mother Nature decided to give us a reprieve from the rain and let the sun shine even if it was a little cold. There was no being late for this as the hotel we were staying at was located across the street from the start/finish line. 55 miles isn’t the longest ride I’ve done but I was still a little nervous going into it since I have never rode in this area before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The elevation profile estimated about 2800′ of ascent so it was a manageable elevation, especially for a northern boy (heck, I’ve done 30 mile rides with more elevation than that). At the start we got a few pre-ride photos along with a nice introduction and singing of the National Anthem. With that out of the way, the sirens went off and we were on our way!
I wont bore you with excruciating details of the ride but it was a great route in a nice area and I found it very flat. It was funny listening to people from the area complain about the “hills” and I’m looking around saying to myself “what hill?” Actually there was a nasty headwind for about 1/3 of the ride that was far worse than any hill out there. There were 4 rest stops on the route and I made good used of each of them (i.e. used the loo). I went with my typical on the bike nutrition but did help myself to some Kind bars they had at a couple of the stops. By the end of the ride I was still feeling good and not suffering at all. I could of probably pushed the pace a bit more but ended up finish with a respectable 15.1mph average with a final mileage of 59 miles.
Can’t wait to do it again next year!
With that I leave you with a few photos.