August 24th (where did the last couple of weeks go?!) I rode the Banff Gran Fondo (144km), as part of Team Maison Mazel (first place mixed team, baby!), with some fun cycling friends. This was really my first fondo – I did the Gran Fondo in Malibu a couple years ago but it was totally different than this. Not sure if it was because I did it Malibu alone or because of all the canyon climbing, but I didn’t experience any pack/peloton riding there. It was a different story in Banff, and I loved it!
All that’s really important is the following:
1. Because of Michelle’s awesomeness, we got a team picture with Alex Stieda. Yeah, I didn’t know who he was either, but now I do, and it turns out he’s a big deal! He is the first North American (and he’s Canadian!) to wear the yellow jersey at the Tour de France (1986). How cool is that? And it turns out he actually won ALL the jerseys on that stage, and didn’t even know it. We even got a team picture with a cycling legend!
2. I thought I saw a bear sleeping on the side of the road. I still think I saw a bear. But it was probably a dog. We did see mountain goats though!
3. The wine at the last aid station was fantastic. Ironman should think about incorporating wine into aid stations as well.
4. Chicking guys.
5. I loved riding in the pelotons. It’s scary for sure but when all goes well, an exhilarating experience! I want more!
6. This is a fabulous event. I highly recommend it. Very well organized, completely closed course, and the scenery can’t be beat. I will definitely be doing this one again, and hopefully our great team can defend the title!!