Fulton Gran Fondo – May 9, 2015

The Fulton Gran Fondo is a 100 mile ride sponsored by a local taproom co-founded by our newest neighbors. It seemed like a natural for the usual suspects, Ben, Tess and me. We had a plan… start at my house, avoid the congestion and danger of a 1000 bike roll-out from NE Minneapolis, and get a jump on the speed freaks. The Plan broke down immediately with The Neighbor dropping out.

Undeterred, we set out towards Excelsior on a pretty nice day with a growing tailwind (foreshadowing here). We made it to the first rest stop ahead of the crush and I enjoyed two chocolate chip cookies that had perfectly melted chips from the sun making them like fresh baked. No food pictures as I had left my phone/camera on the kitchen counter, another casualty of retirement (more foreshadowing).

We wound southwest on County roads I like to ride on my motorized two-wheeler. Sweet. The hotshots blew by us in a group that had to be 75 strong. no way we could keep up.

However, as with all good things…, we turned back into the wind. Being the adept and wiley biker trained by years of survival, I immediately looked for wheels to suck. I jumped on a group and tucked in, away from the wind. After a few miles, I realized my wingman was not on the train and out of sight off the back. Oops. I figured we could reconnect at the next rest stop, and upgraded to a faster group which was averaging 21-23 mph into Excelsior with only having to pull once. Wiley.

I sat on a planter for 20 minutes, watching for the orange bike of my wingman. No dice, and, since I had no cell phone, no way to regroup, The Plan’s final demise.

My solution was to grab another wheel and head back to the taproom for the after-party. Did I mention a free beer, music and food trucks? After a short stay and unsuccessful attempt to find the lost wingman, a solitary ride home against the grain of the late finishers.

All in all, 103 miles, just over 6 hours of riding time, and 17 mph average speed.

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Special Saison beer released specifically for the Fondo

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Funky Fusion “Dirty Chips”

A great “Century” and a great organizer. A sure thing for next year, but maybe with a better Plan.

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