A Fondo-ing First!

It’s hard to turn a blind eye to the “Fondo Phenomenon.”  You must agree, these massive group cycling events have taken off like wildfire over the past year since the launch of the first Canadian gran fondo last September– the inaugural 2010 RBC GranFondo Whistler.  Missing out on that race, I was darn determined that in 2011, I would finally experience the thrill to ride with over a thousand people.

Start Line

Last weekend I was one of the excited riders to toe the line at the inaugural 2011 RBC GranFondo Kelowna in the sunny Okanagan.  Because summer had decided to do a no-show here in Squamish this July, I knew that I was not the only person who was making their way into the interior of BC in search of dry roads and warm riding.  The Kelowna ride fell perfectly onto the calendar as I was just returning from a 148km running race in Crowsnest Pass, Alberta.

I invited one of my other endurance specialists, JF Plouffe, from Challenge by Choice Performance Coaching, to “fondo it up” with me. It would be a great way for us co-workers to get out for a day of play together and as an added training benefit, we both had major races coming up. JF was going to hit the Gear Jammer mountain bike race the following weekend in Squamish and I had registered for Ultraman Canada  in just two weeks time.  Continue reading


Rules of Group Riding

Thursday, June 16th marked the first training ride with Cycling BC’s newest program – Cycle Fit One and Two.

The purpose of the program is to prepare new cyclists to ride a Gran Fondo in 12 weeks time.  Gran Fondo means “big ride” and literally that is exactly what it is.  A Gran Fondo is typically over 100kms but the distance can range considerably with each “ride”.  The purpose of the ride is to build a community for cycling enthusiasts to ride together as a group on a safe, protected road.  It is not a race but if you want to enjoy the experience, it definitely helps to train so you are physically prepared for the distance.

Rules of Group Riding

Being physically capable of riding over 100kms is not all that is required to make it to the finish line. When you are riding in a large group, it is important to understand and use the proper cycling etiquette for your own safety as well as for those riding with you.

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Tall Dark and Handsome

Step 2 in my journey into cycling was finding a bike. Daunting! I live on the North Shore and did you know there are over 14 bike stores on this side of the water?! Calculate in all the stores in Vancouver proper and needless to say I really didn’t know where to begin. What type of bike? Size? Make? Do-hickey thingies (aka “components”)? What happens if I buy a bike and it sucks? What if it’s too uncomfortable? What if…what if…what if…? Too many questions. I decided to take a step back and do something that I know…Shoes!  I needed to buy biking shoes and that was something I was very familiar with.

I headed to this bike store down the way. I walked into nirvana…or should I call it Obsession (on lower Lonsdale @ 1st). Within 30 seconds of entering the store Andrew was at my side and helping me with shoes. He asked a few questions about what my needs were. My answer …comfort. If I am going to be logging some serious peddle time I want some damn comfortable shoes…and if they are cute, all the better. I ended up getting some mid-upper range shoes (about $200) because that is what felt best (I have flippers for feet) and black so they are slimming (making my size 11’s look itsy-bitsy and rather sporty). My take away message: Make sure the shoe fits well across the toe box and that it “sucks” your heel down into the shoe.  Continue reading