Another weekend and has come and gone and another accomplishment I can cross off my “Bucket List”! The Gran Fondo Century Ride yesterday was AWESOME! The weather was perfect, the route was breathtaking, the volunteers and rest stops rocked, and the overall experience has left me craving to sign up for another. I rode with 4 great men, who were all experienced riders, but so supportive and motivating, since this was my first. We all finished, no one got injured (I of course fell off my bike at an intersection again, because I didn’t clip out in time…HA!), and no one got a flat tire. High-Fives! This Century Ride was challenging and I was totally not expecting to encounter so many hills outside of the 4 timed hills. It seemed like all of them were of course were placed perfectly in the last 13 miles of the ride. To all of those people out there who make fun of Jersey, ride this course and you will be blown away by the beauty of this state! So let’s do a quick recap of yesterdays 7 hour bike ride…
I was up at the not normal hour of 5:00 AM on Sunday. Coffee was brewing and I whipped up a delicious breakfast that was protein packed and had me feeling perfectly fueled before the race. (I’m so glad that through experimentation, I discovered that loaded carbohydrate meals the night before and day of events does not work for me. This has made huge gains in my training.) I packed all of my gear, laid my clothes out, and had all water bottles filled the night before, so I could just walk out the door, hop in the car, and go. No thinking required, because my brain was still asleep, but my nerves were alive and kicking.
I met my group at 6:45 AM right near the starting line. There were over 1,000 riders in this event and it was so cool to see so many people show up in good old Morristown, NJ. There were people of all ages, shapes, and sizes who were ready to tackle this beautiful fall day. Before I knew it, we were off and pedaling away. No looking back now. I do have to say that as soon as I started pedaling, I knew it was going to be a good ride. My body felt awesome (Thanks to Emma’s hot yoga class at Powerflow the morning before. I’m so glad I decided to take this class. I needed a serious stretch!), my stomach felt full, but light, and mentally I was in the game. I knew I was going to FINISH!
I had so much fun on this ride! There were rest stops at almost every 20 mile marker, which were filled with happy volunteers, tons of water, and delicious food. Some rest stops I forced myself to eat and then others I had no problems demolishing food. Either way, I made sure to eat on the hour, every hour and fill up all water bottles. 🙂 There were 4 timed hills, that were usually placed right before the next rest stop (except for the last leg of the ride). The ride was well marked, so you never felt you were going to get lost ( I of course took a wrong turn towards the end. Thankfully one of the guys was screaming at me from behind. Typical Katie! DOH!). And the overall course was challenging, fun, beautiful, and filled with a lot more hills than I expected. Of course, the hardest hills seemed to be placed perfectly for the last 13 miles of the ride.
Top of the first climb!
One of the guys! Naturally gifted rider...He's awesome!
Elis' friend who traveled from Maryland
I finished, which was my #1 goal, but now I want to do more. I really enjoyed this and felt awesome during and after. Yes there are parts of my body that are sore, but mainly I’m stiff and still a little tired. I’m hoping hot yoga tonight will cure the aches and pains. 🙂 Overall, this was an awesome experience and look forward to signing up for my next Century Ride. Cycling is a truly awesome sport. I love the mental and physical challenges, but also all the great people you can meet along the way. I’m hooked!
What I ate during the Gran Fondo Century Ride:
Breakfast: Apple Cinnamon Protein Pancake
- 1 scoop whey unsweetened protein powder
- 1 whole egg & 1 egg white
- 1 diced apple (1/2 in the pancake and 1/2 sprinkled on top
- 1 “heaping” T of homemade maple flavored almond butter
- Dash of vanilla and lots of cinnamon
Breakfast of Champions!
- 1 Peanut Butter Cliff Bar
- 2 “jumbo” sprinkled sugar cookies (these were so delicious)
- 1/2 chocolate chip brownie (my favorite at all the rest stops)
- 3x Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches
- Orange slices
- TONS of water! I filled up my camelback at every rest stop
- 3 glasses of delicious vino (with the cooler temperatures, I opted for a Malbec)
- Pizza with sliced tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh basil
- Handful of asparagus sauteed with garlic, red onion, and spices
What is the most challenging event you have ever signed up for? Did you love it or hate it?