Thursday, February 11, 2016

BG Grand Fondo Options 2016

Grand Fondo Options 2016
Keen to extend the riding into some new and amazing scenery during 2016? Some great options have been scouted for Grand Fondo rides during 2016 and it would be great to see some more BG kit amongst thousands of other riders.
So, diaries at the ready please; there are three options on the table:

Amy’s Grand Fondo – Lorne – Sunday, 11 September 2016
125km – Approx. 2800 metres vertical

I’ve done this event the last two years and Mo B can also vouch for its incredible scenery, fully closed course and impressive organisation. The course is harder than it looks on paper, with the majority of the course being undulating with ramps of 50 – 100 metres vertical seeming to appear around every corner. Only around 20km at the back of the course is in the open with no change in elevation.

The big climb is Skenes Creek, which has shades of Montacute technically and is slightly longer than Greenhill. The course also finishes with 7-8km of relatively hard stuff before an amazing decent back into Lorne. There aren’t really any ramps in excess of 11-12 percent on either climb through.

Accommodation in Lorne is $$$$ so I have stayed in Geelong the last two years, which is an easy 80-minute drive on the morning of the event.
If you are going to do one Grand Fondo in Australia, this is probably the one. You can take it as seriously as you like by entering in the age categories if you want to race, or, if you are lazy like me and just like a good day out, start with the ladies on hybrids and finish with the wannabes on Dogmas.

Giro Della Donna – Warburton – TBC November 2016
124km – Approx. 2800 metres vertical

I lined up for the first edition of this ride, organised by Wade Wallace of Cycling Tips fame, last November with 800 other riders. I realised quickly that there were no ladies on hybrids or wannabes on Dogmas and my key goal would be to make the time cutoffs.

The course makes the AGF course look decidedly drab and for those of us used to the relatively flat lands of Adelaide is gob-smackingly beautiful. Which is good to take your mind of the fact that it is genuinely tough. Twenty odd kilometres of flats softens you up for 25 kilometres of climbing up Reefton Spur. A quick decent before another 150 vertical and it is time for a 600 metre drop into Marysville.

After ten kilometres or so, you turn onto the Acheron Way which presents an almost religious experience. A 1-2 percent grade endures for the next 30 odd kilometres, and as a bonus treat, after 20 kilometres, the road turns to gravel. A brief decent on the gravel and it is on to the 650 metre ascent of Mount Donna Buang. Starts quite hard, gets really hard and then cramp inducing. Pace is the key. The summit is the timed finish at 1250m AGL but you then have a fast 22 kilometre drop back to Warburton.

I finished about 80 percent of the way through the field, just over two hours behind the various NRS riders at the front. Accommodation is plentiful and fairly cheap in the general vicinity.

L’Etape Australia – Jindabyne – Saturday, 3 December 2016
160km – Approx. 3000 metres vertical
130km – Approx. 1800 metres vertical

ASO, organisers of the Tour De France and general thorn in the side of the UCI are organising this one as yet another cash making venture.
The course isn’t known as yet, but we do know it will be based around Jindabyne and on fully closed roads.

I’m happy to do a bit of coordination work, but, and I know this is hard, people need to commit to rides some time in advance. I’m not going to do all three of these rides, but will get to at least one and maybe two of them depending on who else in the orange and black I can drag along.