When I signed up for the TransRockies Highwood Gran Fondo at the beginning of January I had grand plans of training really hard and crushing the route in less than 5 hours. Well the plans were a great idea but the actions I took did not coincide with them. There was no training on hills or long rides on the weekends to prepare my body for the 135 km distance. There was no cross-training to build muscle endurance, lung capacity or overall fitness. And to top it off... this particular Gran Fondo was held on the last Saturday of Stampede which included a lot of greasy eating and lots of drinking.
I really had no idea what I was getting myself in to when I signed up. Luckily ignorance is bliss and I lack a bike computer on my handlebars which helped to keep my head out of the “how much farther” mode… and I just kept on pedaling along. I’m not sure of exact timing but I think I reached the pass at around 12:45pm (started at 8:10am) and finished at just after 3pm… so a bit faster on the return!
Since getting hooked on cycling a few years ago I have been amazed by my mental processing on long rides. Having completed two Rides to Conquer Cancer (+200km over two days) and now this Fondo each time has been different. Since this ride was for "fun", I just rode along letting thoughts flow as they wished.
What I found most hilarious was the four random songs that popped in to my head throughout the day...
1 - Keith Urban - Who Doesn't Want To Be Me
2 - Whitney Houston - I'm Every Woman
3 - Boyz II Men - End of the Road
4 - Iggy Azalea - Fancy
I don't ride with headphones so to have these on random repeat between being distracted by the mountains views, birds chirping and other riders it made for a comical internal ramble to say the least.
Long story short - I finished the damn thing in the official time of 6:57:13 and would totally do it again. Next time though I'll direct my stubbornness to training so that my body won't hate me so much at the end of the ride and I won't be completely fueled by electrolyte drink, Honey Stinger gummies, bananas and potato chips. Really.