The Grand Fundo: JPow doesn’t disappoint

Who wouldn’t want to do a 64 mile ride with over 5000 ft of climbing and 20+ miles of dirt roads? That’s the question Rich and I asked ourselves when we first heard about Jeremy Powers’ third annual Grand Fundo event. Once I learned there would be a rest stop at an ice cream truck, it became a no brainer that we would be doing this ride (unless the weather was massive thunderstorms or something).

We arrived early, got checked in and said hi to some mountain biking friends. The humidity was already extremely thick, meaning I felt like I was breathing through a straw before we even started. Luckily, though, so far the sun wasn’t out, which was helping to keep the temperature down. All I could hope was my exercise induced asthma wouldn’t be too bad out there once we got moving.

Everyone started together, in one large group, with a police escort leading the way. It was a cool feeling, but also nerve racking for someone like me that doesn’t like riding in a huge group (especially when I don’t know anyone around me). I tried to focus my attention on the riders in front of me, but I kept have riders come up on either side and kinda veer into me, making me very nervous. Then a girl in front of me went down, sending me into panic mode. This wasn’t a race, so all I wanted to do was finish, not get taken out in the first mile, I thought!

From that point on, I made sure to stay to either the inside or outside and keep a good distance from the riders ahead of me. This became especially important once we hit the first couple climbs, as it appeared many people did not know how to go up a hill. I was able to get around a group at a time, usually on a climb, so I continually moved up as the field thinned out. By now, I was definitely having a hard time breathing, due to the humidity, but I tried to not think about it and just enjoy the ride.

The hardest part of the entire ride came right before the first rest stop, only about 15 miles into the ride. King’s highway was a long (and steep) climb that just kept going. For the first time since I got my bike, I was thankful I had a compact. I was pedaling my way up and just ahead I could see Lyne from podium insight taking pictures and a bunch of people gathered like it was a rest stop. I knew I was close, so I pushed a little extra to get over the top and just as I unclipped my left foot to join the others, I realized the hill kept going off to the right. Unfortunately, I realized a couple seconds to late, so I was forced to stop. I quickly ate a handful of sharkies and tried to drink some water before continuing up the road.

This next section of the climb was pretty steep and I saw many “paper boying” their way up or simply off their bike walking. I was determined to stay on my bike (in a straight line) the entire way, since I was already mad at myself for not doing it as one complete climb. As I made my way up, I saw the road kept going up, even as it turned to dirt. At this point, I think the bulk of the people around me got off their bikes and began walking. I stayed on and pushed through, finally making it to the top.

Shortly after, we arrived at the first rest stop. We were able to refill our bottles, eat a banana (or a pb&fluff sandwich if you wanted to), and stock up on some jelly belly sport beans (so tasty!). Also, we were able to regroup with our cross friend, Humberto, that we had lost in the opening madness. After stopping for about 5 mins, we decided we better keep going, as the sun was just beginning to come out.

There was more climbing and dirt roads throughout the next section, but before I knew it I saw the ice cream truck up ahead. I dashed forward, jumped off my bike and grabbed a spot in line to pick something out. I realized I probably shouldn’t go crazy, even though I usually don’t have problems with whatever I eat before I ride, so I stuck with a blue raspberry slushie/ice cream thing that was quite refreshing in the heat of the day!

After finishing our ice cream we got moving again, right around half way done, 30 miles to go. There were much fewer sections on dirt now, however, I found them to be some of the rougher sections, literally feeling like I was getting beat up in one of them. I was glad to have some mountain biking skills too, as I think some of them would have been pretty scary for me otherwise.

Enjoying some water in the “shade”

Last rest stop of the day, and we were greeted by cute little girls handing out cold towels. Ahhhh, did those feel good draped on the back of my neck. According to my garmin, the temperature at this point was up around 95/97 degrees, so the sun was pretty warm. We did a final fill up of our bottles and hit the road back. This stretch of road was smooth, very little cars, through some beautiful scenery (the same could be said for the majority of the route) and mostly downhill.

The three of us (rich, humberto and I) finished just a couple minutes over 4 hours…yes we could have gone faster, but remember this wasn’t a race 🙂 We changed and made our way up to get some well deserved food. What a great selection of food available! Personally, I was quite warm from being out in the hot sun, so the fresh watermelon really hit the spot. There was also plenty of beer, 3 different locally brewed options, for the beer lovers in attendance.

As we sat and ate under the huge canopy tent (thank goodness for that!), we watched as more and more people trickled in. It was obvious once the “hundo” participants began to arrive, as they had a different look on their faces (little more pain, little less fun). Once everyone’s bellies were full of good food, Jeremy took the microphone and began to announce raffle prize winners, and although we didn’t win one, all the prizes that were given away were top notch prizes. Yes, the grand prize was on a different level then everything else, but there were no “junk/cheap” prizes given out at the event.

I believe a good chunk of money was raised for the Jam fund, and in the end, that is what really matters. I want to personally thank Jeremy, along with all of his family, friends and sponsors for putting on a truly top notch event! The rest stops were all fully stocked (for those in the front or those holding up the rear), neutral support was A level quality, and I didn’t hear one negative thing regarding the event from anyone. I believe it says a lot about an event when you have such a large number or return participants and everyone truly enjoys themselves.

All in all, it was a great day, and I can’t wait until next year!

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About Crystal

I'm a professional archer who also enjoys participating in mountain biking, cyclocross, swimming and running races. I race more for the fun and excitement than for top places and awards (or at least I try!), and my true passion is coaching others. I have a weakness for ice cream and a good espresso. I love being outdoors, and my dream is to one day own 100 acres.

Posted on July 16, 2012, in Biking, Other and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Thank you for coming out and supporting our ride, we’re all really happy to read you had a good experience! Thank you again and see you next year,

    Jeremy Powers

  1. Pingback: Riding for fun « Crystal Gauvin

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