Thursday, September 12, 2013

My 2nd NJ Gran Fondo

Hello everyone! Do you remember my super duper 107 mile Gran Fondo last year? Well I did the same event again this year last Sunday, September 8, 2013, but a shorter course. My friend and I decided over the winter that we'd do the Medio course this year instead so we wouldn't have to kill ourselves with all the training we'd need to do for the grueling full length Gran course. It turned out to be a really smart decision for us for a bunch of reasons, but most importantly because we really didn't have the opportunity to train much at all beyond our regular 20-40 mile rides once or twice a week. We each also put in solo 50 mile rides while the other was away on vacation, but that was pretty much it. We still did well, though!
At the start line, ready to roll!
The Medio course in the NJ Gran Fondo event was named one of "The 50 Best Rides in America" by Bicyling Magazine in 2012, so even though it was just under 63 miles [99 km], it's a pretty intense course with over 5200 ft. elevation gain-- a lot of climbing!

Speaking of climbing, the best part of the day for me, which was also the most difficult, was the first category 4 climb that always kicks my butt. The climb is about 2.4 miles long, but it's the last mile of the climb that's killer. It ranges from from 8% to 13% elevation for the entire last mile. Oh man, it's tough. The good part about this climb on Sunday was 1 - feeling so good mentally that I actually DID IT and 2 - the ego boost I got from passing the men who were walking their bikes up the hill! Oh I wanted to stop... but I didn't! Yay for me!!!

That climb is at the 24 mile mark of the course and by the time we got to the 45 mile mark or so, our legs were getting pretty tired from all the hills. But we were rock stars and finished strong with a total cycle time of 4:43:27.

My friend (and cycling partner) and I
at the finish line.
My lovely friend Mari, who is a fellow NJ blogger and athlete (go visit her blog.. she's got a Fondo post up, too!), saw my the photo to the left that I posted on instagram after picking up my race packet the Friday before and was inspired to join the Fondo at practically the last minute! She pulled her hybrid bike out of the garage (not a road bike), got it tuned up, bought herself a helmet and rode the entire Medio course on her own! Talk about inspiring, right? She's AMAZING! We were texting over the weekend and she found me at the start line where we had this cute photo of us snapped before we headed out onto the course. I took the liberty to spiff it up with some fun graphics to play tribute to her sense of adventure. ;)
Mari and I at start line!

What about you.. what kind of fitness adventures have you been on lately?

I'm linking this post up over at Joy Weese Moll's blog where she hosts a weekly blog meme for Readers' Workouts. Head on over and check it out.. it's a great way to stay connected, inspired and motivated with other bloggers (most of who happen to also love books and reading) who are working out for pleasure and health. All fitness levels are welcome!


  1. Hey, congrats on completing another Fondo! I'm glad you have such a good time doing this. And I think I'll just ignore that question you asked ;)

  2. You rock! Me, my fitness adventure consists of running my three boys around and walking the dog ~ lol!

  3. Thank you, ladies! It was a lot of hard work and fun! We had perfect weather, too, which I always appreciate.

  4. It does sound like a grand adventure. You are absolutely awesome to do that! Daughter and I tried something new. We participated in the ColorVibe 5K and had a great time.

  5. What fun! So cool that you could meet up with Mari at the beginning. You both rock!

    Joy's Book Blog

  6. This is so awesome Christine!! Congrats on all your hard work and finishing so strongly. People ride bikes here in the summer but I think they're mostly crazy (the heat)--but I admire the discipline! No exercising for me yet but I did take the double stroller for a cruise around the block yesterday. Ha!

  7. Finally getting around to catching up, Christine! Great job on the ride (and rocking those hills)!! I am inspired (thinking of doing a longer ride goal next year). How was the traffic? That's the thing about around here - horribly narrow roads and motorists who think bikers should be elsewhere!!

    My latest fitness event was my 50@50 last Thursday - biked 33K and then ran 17 to celebrate turning 50 this year!! It was awesome :)

  8. Thanks for the kudos, everyone!

    Brandy, I'm still so proud of you and your daughter for doing that Color Vibe 5K. Didn't it feel great to do something new and challenging? And WITH your daughter makes it all that much more special. :)

    Trish, cycling in the hot summer isn't as crazy as running in it! At least with biking, you generate a breeze for yourself when you go fast, which cools you more because it speeds the evaporation of your sweat.. um. I think. LOL. High five to you for taking both babes out for a stroll!!! I remember those big accomplishments well. ;)

    Janet, normally my friend and I ride at the crack of dawn on weekends and summer weekdays when traffic is super super light. That's why we go when we do. The traffic on this cycling event wasn't TOO bad because it was Sunday and a bulk of the riding was on more rural, country roads further west from the suburbs. Cyclists in a group event like this are very good at alerting each other of cars coming when we hear them, shouting "Car back" when a car is coming from behind or "Car up!" when a car is coming towards us on a narrow road. Also, because there were so many cyclists (I think almost 2000 this year), cars had no choice but to notice us and proceed with caution. There were cops at many major intersections on the whole ride who were directing traffic and always making it easiest for the cyclists, which was so so helpful. HOWEVER, we did see two bike-car accidents on our 65 mi course and at least two bike accidents (bike-bike or just cyclist crashing for own error). My friend's husband did the full 107 mi course and saw more on his route. I don't know why there were so many accidents.. we are still throwing theories around, but we think there are a lot of cyclists who get over confident and don't take the dangers seriously enough. They ride too fast, not enough caution, maybe not enough experience riding in groups.. I don't know.

    I ended up forgetting about the 50@50 last Thursday. BUT I know I did 50 or 500 of stuff because I took a new class at my gym called Fight Fit that totally kicked my butt. Ouch. LOL! CONGRATS to you for your 33K bike and 17 K run! WOOT!!!!!


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