Sunday, 12 July 2015

GranFondo Blues: Sunday, July 12th!

A pedestal is as much a prison as any small space. -Gloria Steinem, women's rights activist, editor (1934- )

Up at 5:45 am when my alarm went off. Pleased with having slept so well before the ride ahead. No tossing and turning. Must have been all the hootch from the night before! At any rate, I set about having breakfast, overlefts of sausage and scrambled eggs, while I readied my dual bladder camel pack and water-bottle with Nuun tablets and a touch of Rose's Lime Cordial. Those ready, I pumped up my tires and then lubed myself with sunscreen. Was outside the garage, ready to set of for my staging station, F, about 6:50 am when Glasgow appeared. He was going to walk down to watch the start of the GranFondo so after he wished me well, I set off.

Arrived on Main but a few minutes before 7:00 am and had to wait for about 7 minutes before pack started to move and then we edged towards the Start Line. Last year, I was probably about a block further ahead so was almost at the tail end this year. Not that I minded as quite a bottle-neck until after the roundabout at the bottom of Vancouver Ave and I certainly didn't wish to rub tires with anyone at the very beginning of the ride. No mishaps, however, and since the day was wonderfully cool and fresh, after last night's fairly heavy downpour, the ascent to Upper Bench went very easily.

Did glide back down into Penticton and then onto 97, via Lakeshore and Riverside, almost by myself so was a tad worried that I'd have nobody to draft behind en route to Summerland. However, just before hitting the highway, a very pleasant woman said good morning as she passed me. Since she was wearing a jersey emblazoned with Westpoint Cylces I decided to see if I could keep up, at least until I'd asked her a few questions. Turned out that Sara and Tim Woodburn, owners, are friends. (Unfortunately they did not attend this year so no fab reception at Poplar Grove, this evening, like last year!) Although she was only doing the CortoFondo, (55 km), she rode like she could have done any of the longer distances so I had my work cut out staying with her. (Bit of a Tour de France moment, just as after we entered Summerland, as a pack of elite riders came shooting out onto the highway, having already done the punishing climb we were making for.) Pleased that I was able to do so and we played draft tag, with another very strong, older female cyclist, all the way to the bottom of Peach Orchard, clocking an AVG of 24 kph. Knew this would drop shortly but very happy with how my legs felt, at this point.

Again, due to the fact that it was so cool and cloudy, the almost 2 km climb was not as punishing as it had been on my two earlier training runs. Left my WP friend behind on the ascent as she said climbing was not her strong suit but the other woman I'd shadowed was quite a bit ahead of me by the time we crested the hill. Once there it is, more or less, mostly downhill so was quite pleased with progress to date, smiling to myself at the comments, about how long and steep the hill was, made by a number of the riders who had stopped at the first Aid Station there, while I sailed on through.

Not far past this station I was passed by a few clutches of stronger riders who had obviously stopped there but then I was pretty much alone until I was back on 97, making for Penticton. Wasn't able to doing any drafting on this leg and I was all by myself as I made my way down Main. Same held true for most of route towards Skaha but just before McLean Creek Road an older woman, Maria, pulled up alongside and said that I seemed to look quite comfortable on my Trek. Lovely woman, also a runner, and we chatted all the way up the hill and then on the flat. We said goodbye on descent into Okanagan Falls as she was in the MedioFondo, ((2 km), and the ride splits here. She had her work cut out for her as climb out of OK Falls, on 97, starts with the ascent of Waterman's Hill, a gruelling, gruelling climb.

Out of OK Falls I was by myself until close to Liquidity, when a chap, about my age, from Vancouver, came by. We chatted on wonderful descent past Noble Ridge and then once back on 97, making for Oliver, he pulled ahead. Shortly after he left me behind, another rider, Dave, pulled alongside and we chatted all the way into Oliver. He lives in North Van and rides to Deep Cove before heading to Seymour Demonstration Forest so hills are not really much of a factor for him. However, he said he has to stop, fairly regularly, to stretch his back and give it a rest as he has a fused vertebrae. Very pleasant exchanges and I was sorry to say goodbye as he rabbited-off, just before good climb out of Oliver, entrance to Quinta Ferreira,a s he was making for Aid Station at Le Vieux Pin, 3 km down the road.

Never saw him again so I imagine I was always able to stay ahead of him with all the stops he would have made, I assume. Not so for a clutch of other riders I got to know after each subsequent Aid Station, from this point until end of ride. About four or five riders would pass me and then stop while I kept going, only to be passed again, further along. This happened right up until the last Aid Station, (Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory),  so it was loads of fun talking for a few minutes before they would leave me in the dust. (In fact, roads were not dusty at all as we even had some very light rain, drops more than anything else, at times.

Past Le Vieux Pin Black Sage is more of a swooshorama than anything else so before I knew it I was at Road 22 and making for Oliver. Had thought that this portion was going to be a slog, especially since we were now facing a headwind. However, wind wasn't overly strong and grade was really very manageable, plenty of pleasing downhill slopes without any corresponding punishing uphill climbs until Road 5 when route leaves highway and one makes for the base of Fairview Mountain. Had about 115 km on the clock by then and sun was still hidden behind thick cloud cover so it was almost a perfect day, with respect to temperature. Think it was around 21º so a far, far cry from the 34º-38º heat of some of my training runs, as well as the last year's fairly brutal outing.

Climb was still a good one but I'd didn't feel drained by it and since it actually started to spit reasonably heavily, (my jersey was more or less soaked so I had a built in air-conditioner), it was almost refreshing. That behind me, I knew there were still plenty of smaller grades ahead but only one of any real consequence so I was quite chuffed, at this point. Indeed, all went exceedingly well from there on, slow but steady, and even the head wind co-operated in the two valleys one traverses, hardly a factor at all, by this stage.

Before I knew it I was past the last Aid Station at the DRAO and cheered on by many of the riders and staff there. Encouragement felt pretty good and knowing that only a few, small rolling hills left, I hunkered down and "attacked" the last ascents, mainly because my legs still felt really strong. At this point, on other rides, I've felt the twinges of cramp that had caused me both mental and physical anguish, and I 'd had to temper my pace in order not to "seize" up and simply finish, limping in, more or less, rather than riding strongly. To have come so far and have that possibility present itself is not something any rider would want so I was delighted not to have to worry that I would be so assaulted. I think my dual bladder configuration played an extremely critical role here as I was able to keep myself well hydrated for the entire ride. Of course, the relatively cool temperature had much to do with this as well. In fact, I never really felt as if I was perspiring profusely so obviously I wasn't riding my body of needed salts and electrolytes at a rate that I couldn't counter-act.

By the time I was back on 97, after giving a few howls, (Aaahoo! Werewolves of Fairview Mountain! Aaahoo!), on the last downhill before hitting the highway, I felt, if nothing unexpected occurred, that I could complete course in not much more than 7 hours. One doesn't even need to gear down on last few uphill grades and I stood up on all the descents, right into Penticton. Soon back on city streets, making for Main. Rather a strange feeling to have the normally busy road almost completely to myself as about 5 km out there were no other riders. Crossed the Finish Line in a time of 7:02:12even if I had to do a number of dipsy-doodles to clock 160 km. Only had 159.80 km on the clock at the station where one has the ride chip removed so I circled for a bit until I had the distance I needed. Didn't want to ride in the GF and have it not be the stated distance!

Cora Lee, Catherine and Glasgow were waiting for me as I rode back through the side chute, into Gyro Park, and they applauded my effort, snapping a few shots. Must say I was very, very pleased with result and how my aging frame held-up. After greeting them, I left my bike with Matt and then went in search of food and water. I had forgotten to bring my beer ticket and bar-keep would not give me a draft without one so had to be satisfied with a java. That tasted just fine as I'd not had one this morning, the better able to avoid having to stop on The Dreaded Burning Ground! Still, I scooped up a large handful of energy bars to make-up for lack thirst quenching beer. Am sure I'll make up for it with tonight's dinner! Onward!! Fight!!! Stats for ride:

Results & Photos

Results: Overall results, as well as King of the Mountain and Team Competition standings, are now available online at:


Also uploaded are some event photos on event Facebook page at:

Ginette Bertrand Well done Patrick! Ginette Bertrand My nephew was doing the Fondo as well...young lad of 26 so his time was a tad faster! lol Chloe Alexis Dunn Congrats Daddi O!!! Elly Cornelius Woot Woot Patrick. Well done, we are soooooo proud of you. Nicole Marie Way to go Pat

Patrick James Dunn Thanks everyone! No negative physical side-effects, (muscle cramps or any aches and pains, whatsoever), so pretty pleased with my conditioning, although I'm convinced that the day's wonderfully cool temperature had as much to do, or more, with how I did and felt afterwards, than my training. Still, a happy affair and must say that I enjoyed ride even more than last year, again, because it wasn't so blisteringly hot! On second thought, last night's malt probably helped me replace lost fluids!!! Matt drank so much of the Balvenie that he tried to get right inside the bottle at the end of the evening! 

Hi again Patrick - Referencing your earlier message, would you still like to stay with us on Tuesday and Wednesday (14/15)? No problem.  Sorry I missed this earlier. You should also consider the advantages of being here during the Folk Fest given proximity etc. Your call. No word from Kjell so I have no idea what is up with them. No problem putting you all up during the Festival if this is how it plays out.

We are out with friends for dinner on the Tuesday night. Let us know when you would be likely to be arriving. If it is before 6pm, no problem as we'll be here and can get you in and oriented.If it is likely to be after 6:00 we can arrange for one of the neighbours to let you in. Talk soon....Paul

Greetings from Burnaby! I love your emails! You always have something on the go. Retired life is not for the faint-hearted :)

I travel to your neck of the woods on Friday, July 31st and we are only 15 minutes down the road from you! At 1015 Hyde Road, just past Lang and Mocojo wineries. I'm staying until Monday, August 3rd with the girls. We are bringing our bikes so we can ride between wineries! It would be great to see you over the weekend or on Monday. I don't have to drive home on the Monday as I've taken the week off. I will probably head to Vernon after I get a chance to see you guys.

Here is my and now that I have your new number, we can make plans to get together! Yay! Looking forward to it. Lots to catch up on. Cheers, Elinor


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