The official title is Levi Leipheimer’s King Ridge Gran Fondo but since that’s a monster to type and most people get all tied up spelling Leipheimer (not to mention how difficult it is to tweet about something when the name is almost 40 characters long) we just call it Levi’s Gran Fondo or, though we know it’s not the only one, Gran Fondo, even just Fondo ‘round here. Also, we’re lazy.
Sam and I will be riding Levi’s Gran Fondo for the 3rd time this year – I just realized we’re tied for the record of most Levi Leipheimer’s King Ridge Gran Fondo finishes – and I haven’t given it much thought since…I don’t know…January? So now, a week and a half from the actual ride I’ve started to think about how I should have trained.
Two years ago 100 miles in one day seemed almost impossible. 100 miles plus 6k feet of climbing (it actually ended up being nearly 8500 feet, but that’s not what was published) seemed exactly impossible. It would be my first completed century – I had crashed out of a rainy, poorly supported century in Auburn that same year. I was worried, a little about the climbing but mostly about the distance and time in the saddle. In the end, it was easier than I’d expected but Colman Valley Road had just about done me in.
Last year I realized that that the distance wouldn’t be a problem. I was out there trying to break any records and I’ve always been an endurance athlete of some type. It was the climbing I prepared for. Hill repeats in 100+ degree heat aren’t fun, but they go the job done. I still struggled up Coleman Valley but I never thought I wouldn’t make it to the top and I felt like I had put ol’ King Ridge in its place.
This year I haven’t worried about any of it. On the one hand, I’ve logged more miles in the saddle than in the previous two years and on the other they’ve almost all been flat and at 8 miles at a time. On good weeks I managed to get in one 30 – 40 mile ride on the weekend and once I got out for a 20 miles on a Sunday followed by 65 miles on Monday. Needless to say I’ve done nothing that looks anything like this:
This year though, I’ve got a secret weapon – no, it’s not an eBike – I’ll be here for the next 10 days counting down to the big day psyching myself up (or out) for October 1. Also, I won’t have to get up at 3:00 am like I did last year…that should help.
One last thing, Mr. Fisher (or any other Fondo staffie who might read this), don’t panic, I’m ready for the big kahuna. I’m in the best shape of my life this year. I could ride forever. I just…uh…might not be very quick.
Not that I ever was.