We did our first ilton road event and that was a hard but fun event, The next day it was the last Off Camber bikes xc race, Then the following weekend it was the 100+ mile Grand Tours Grand Fondo.
I dont do many Grand Fondos so getting this one done early in the year i felt would be a good base training day,
We set off in the first wave and unlike any other i have done we had leaders from the event? They set a pace of about 20 mph and we all got in behind, About 5 miles out and a rider jumped off the front. We then hit the first small hill and we cut time in to the guy in front and a bunch of us went passed the lead riders and i got to the top the hill in second spot, once over the top i put the hammers down and jumped over to the guy out front and it felt like a road race, just we were only 10 miles in and in a break away of sorts, We then had two more riders join us but before long a group of about 8 more riders got on our wheels and the pace went up till we hit the first real proper climb up the side of cheddar, The group split all over the road and the first real test of egos and leg power was on show.. I got to the top third and then stopped to shed some clothing, A bunch of guys went past but i was sure we would all regroup. I pushed hard with 2 other riders on the way back down cheddar till i got stuck behind a car. Once on to the flat i did a lot work to bring back the guys in front and we hit the first feed zone as one group of about 8 riders. Off we go and a few flat miles, again i did a lot time near the front and then we were almost at bridgewater the pace went up as a guy in blue started to hammer along at 25 mph. Once out of town we hit the long climb and i was in 4th feeling the pace and thinking about backing off the gas a little till i looked back.. The rest had all gone we were now a lead group of 4 so i focused on staying with the guys in front and soon started to enjoy the pain and it turned in to a race to the top, i rolled over third and then kept the pace on with another rider on the fast dh, not till the flat did the other 2 cut the small gap down and join us. Second feed zone and a rider from behind our group of 4 did not stop and was out front, Just as we headed out the other riders from the early front group started to turn up, Our group of 4 rolled out but some of us stopped for a pee stop, So now i jumped on a guy in Giant kits wheel, he was trying to get on the guy in blues wheel who in turn was trying to catch the guy in the white club kit, Some miles later we all had got on each others wheels and the pace was hard and i was again feeling it, Then we spotted the guy out front, the rider in the Giant kit kicked off and jumped passed him and i followed with the others all racing after us, The next climb would be up triscombe and we were now a group of 5. We hit the bottom of the hill and the club kit rider was getting a run up and charged passed me with the giant guy on his wheel. As the hill kicked up i passed the club rider in to second and the giant guy was about 10 seconds up the road, By time we got to the top i had just got on his wheel and then went passed and he got in behind and we pushed on as the hill mellowed out a little. Once over the top we kept on the gas, the club and blue kit guys behind were strong on the flats and we felt they would hunt us down if we did not keep a good pace, down a dip i looked back and they were coming, we had about 1min on them, i went to the front and pushed on as i had this great idea that me and the giant guy could stay clear..I was doing about 70% of the work and want to get in the draft but i felt if the pace dropped the other 2 would catch us, as we got close to taunton the giant guy tells me his cooked and im not shocked, I was done as well, we hit the last big testing climb and now it was about just setting my own slow pace, what ever pace just to get to the top. Close to the top i looked back as i was blowing!?!the Giant guy was way down the hill, this was my time, i got over the top and my Garmin says 95 miles, can i go hard for 5 more miles.. I go full gas and the miles click off.. I hit few small hills and my front mechs now stuck and im in big ring only, i keep looking back but the roads clear, 100 miles pass and no finish.. It seems the grand fondos more than a 100 miles ( 106)! I dig deep all the way to the line and come home well cear of anyone, Never thought i would ever win a grand fondo. Happy days.