I remember a few months ago when Simon Gillett told me that his idea for this Gran Fondo was going ahead. The prospect of completely shutting down the Great Ocean Road seemed insane. I thought to myself, “This guy is dreaming”. But he made it happen. Flawlessly. The whole weekend went off without a hitch and it was an awesome event to be a part of. Believe me, this will sell out in a matter of days next year.
The total distance was only 110kms which doesn’t sound like much, especially in the world of Gran Fondos. However, and I can only speak for myself, I was absolutely smashed by the time I reached the finish line. The distance was perfect for this early time of year and it was a cracking pace from start to finish.
The timing element to this competition brought in a whole new dimension that I wasn’t used to in bike racing. There was some good money up for grabs for 1st, 2nd and 3rd in each age category and you never knew if there was someone ahead or behind you making up time. You could always try to bridge across to a group ahead of you, but if the one you latch onto doesn’t work well together, then all that effort is wasted. It’s not like you can just ride ride them off your wheel either! I rode in a good group and dug deep on the climbs to get a time of 3hrs:07min:49sec. I was blow away to see some riders go below 3hrs. I’ll definitely be going in with a better strategy (and fitness) next year!
The whole premise behind Amy’s Gran Fondo was to provide a mass participation event (with a competitive element to it) in the name of cycling safety. That’s a difficult message to spread and to get people to take seriously. It’s only ever an issue when something awful happens. If you’re wondering exactly what the Amy Gillett Foundation actually does, head on over to a post I wrote on it a while back. There’s so many things they do for us that go on behind the scenes and it’s great to see that something so good has come out of something so tragic. This Gran Fondo is an excellent way for the AGF to reach all levels of cyclists while giving them one of the best events on the calendar. Well done guys!
images courtesy of Veeral Patel