Sunday, October 21, 2012

Photos from Giro di San Diego Gran Fondo 2012

Some photos from this year's brutal Giro di San Diego gran fondo. If you rode or volunteered in it and see yourself in any shot, feel free to download the shot(s) for your own use.
Giro di San Diego registration tent at Bike Expo in Solana Beach.
There was a Bike Expo and Taste of Solana Beach festivities the day before the big ride.
Race packet contents

All the riders got their race numbers (one to attach to the bike's handle bar and the other to the back of the jersey), race bible (containing info and route maps), and a few swags from the event's sponsors. 
Race bible has maps of all the fondo rides.
They must have had the race bible printed really late since the routes were changed significantly 5 days before race date, and the book contains the updated routes. I signed up to ride 106 miles and ended up doing 111.

I arrived an hour before start time to find stuff still being set up.

Registration area the morning of the ride. Volunteers wore neon green t-shirts.
This fondo wasn't quite a well-oiled machine. Still, all the volunteers and organizers worked really hard to get things rolling.
Revolution Bike Shop mechanics checking bikes out before start time.
Thanks a bunch to Revolution Bike Shop of Solana Beach for providing mechanical support at the start/finish and also along the routes! 

First group of gran fondo riders at the start line.
I'm afraid I didn't take many shots once I took off. I figured the organizer would have photographers taking professional shots along the route... At any rate, the group I started out with went out really hard from the start and ran practically all the traffic lights along Lomas Santa Fe Rd as they headed to the PCH. I had to run the first red light along with them since I was right in the middle of the peloton and didn't feel like causing a nasty bunch crash by hitting the brake. I dropped out of the group right after the intersection, though... and did the same (without running lights) with the other 2 or 3 groups that followed. Somehow I doubt that any of those speedsters were professionals... From what I know, the pros generally take off leisurely and pick up speed toward the end while amateurs do the exact opposite. To be clear, the race bible specifically instructs Giro di San Diego riders to obey all traffic laws (including traffic lights and stop signs) at all time.
Elfin Forest Rd was still under construction, so all the fondo routes were re-routed up San Elijo Rd toward San Marcos.

The gran fondo and the medio fondo riders went all the way thru to Escondido. Our first aid station was on Valley Center Rd just south of Lake Wohlford Rd. The volunteers here didn't get their neon green shirt, but still managed to feed us hungry cyclists delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, watermelon, chips and sport drinks.

Up Valley Center Rd toward the mountains

Man, was I glad we climbed Cole Grade Rd from the south side...
The medio fondo riders veered off to climb Lake Wohlford and then turn back. We gran fondo riders went up Valley Center Rd to climb fearsome Cole Grade Rd, happily from the south side (the original route would have us climb that thing from the north side right after Mt Palomar... Eeeek!).

By the time I hit the base of Palomar South Grade Rd the sun was feeling macho and seemed bent on scorching the joy out of all living things. There was a company of paramedic at the turn off with warm coolers of water and a bunch of O2 tanks. Their thermometer read 103F and quite a few exhausted riders lined up to be revived by some fresh gas.
Riders taking a breather in a shaded spot along S6 up Palomar Mtn. SAG cars along the route provided energy bars and water.
Never saw any cow on the mountain, but there are 4 cow crossings along South Grade Rd that were icky to ride over.

Yes, I got passed by a few really fit ladies... I plead guilty to being slow!
Even seasoned century riders were taking frequent breaks at various little shaded spots along the way up that last 6 mile bit of continuous 6.5% grade climb. 

Half way up I passed one exhausted rider walking his bike up. The dude was spent, but still wasn't willing to give up! Another dude ran out of water and food a mile or so from the top. Luckily I started with 3 bottles and still had one nearly full one left then, so I half the liquid with him and gave him my last energy gel before going on up the road. He came riding up a bit after. Gotta give these riders kudos. They were down, but they refused to throw in the towel!

There was a volunteer guy at the base of the climb (on Hwy76 just past Valley Center Rd) recording our bib number and time for the King of the Mountain contest. There wasn't anyone recording our finish time on the top of the road by the time I got there, though. At any rate, plenty other volunteers were there in front of Mother's Kitchen with tablefuls of goodies; apple pie wedges, watermelon slices, chips (good source of replacement salt!), and more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches along with bottles of Pepsi and sport drinks. 

You'll pardon me for not taking any photo on my way down twisty South Grade Rd... I maybe moderately crazy but I'm not suicidal. Thank you very much. I did turn back and took a shot at a group coming down Lake Wohlford Rd after me while waiting for the traffic light to turn green. That was my last road shot of the day, though. It was almost 3PM then and I was overheated beyond caring. To heck with fishing out the camera to shoot anything. I just wanted to make it back to Solana Beach before dark!
The salad was soggy and the pasta cold, but the lemonade and the iced tea were cold and tasted wonderful!
Which I did... just in time, too. They stopped serving food 10 minutes or so after I arrived.

Thanks very much again to all the volunteers at the gran fondo!

- Giro di San Diego gran fondo official website
- My pre-ride of the mountain part of the gran fondo route

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Thanks for stopping by. Be safe on the roads!