The good, the bad, and the ugly of the Halton Gran Fondo

This is a very short report on the Halton Gran Fondo. It’s very short because classes start tomorrow, for me, and I’ve got two hours of meetings and five hours of teaching and lots of preparation to do for all of that before I sleep. (See And so it begins, but with a new start!)


Here we are at the start! #hardcoredrownedratselfie

First, the good:

  • Friends! I did the event with Susan, David, and Eaton. We hot tubbed together the night before, we had a breakfast together in the morning and spent a lot of the time riding and chatting.
  • Beautiful scenery, amazing hills. I’m getting faster and more comfortable on hills, partly it’s because I’m a bit lighter and partly because I’m a bit more powerful. Either way, it’s all good.
  • Super well organized event. Great signage, police at major intersections, some roads closed to traffic.
  • There were CIBC minions cleaning bikes afterwards!
  • And maple syrup makes for a great alternative to energy gels. A friend gave me a couple of these for my birthday and they worked great. The taste is much better than the usual chemical goo that has the texture of toothpaste. They were also selling them at the event and you can order your own here.


Now, the bad:

  • Rain, “light showers”? No. More like a downpour at the beginning, letting up to showers, but never completely stopping
  • Cold, 9 degrees C when we started, and never got above 12. Brrrr.
  • Wind, the kind of wind that goes with cold and rain in September. Ugh.
  • Hills (I know, see above, but it’s truly a love/hate thing)
  • And a broken spoke about 50 km in. Luckily we were close to the mechanic’s van and they got me back on the road pretty quickly. (We had signed up to do the 110 km but given the weather we switched to the 80. Good choice on any number of fronts as it turned out. I’m still shivering.)

Here’s what it looked like out the car window while we were leaving Susan’s house.

My Facebook comment: “Rainy 10 degrees. Perfect day for a 110 km Gran Fondo. Yikes.”

And for the truly ugly:

  • David and I got back to London to a broken hot tub…. That was the thought that had sustained us. Hot tub hopes dashed, I opted for a hot bath and nap with Cheddar, the dog instead.

Hard to believe that we went from last week’s heat stroke weather to hypothermia cycling conditions in just a few days.

Last year we also dropped to the 80 km–due to injury, not weather. You can read about the ride here. Maybe someday we’ll get to ride the 110 km version!


3 thoughts on “The good, the bad, and the ugly of the Halton Gran Fondo

  1. riding is good it one of those things that keeps people fit but it not every body that can rid just like me maybe i will start learning how to rid to keep fit

  2. Sounds like miserable conditions but great that you rode and there were some ‘goods’ in the day. Too often I have taken the ‘nah conditions are awful I’ll stay on the couch’ option and missed the shared experience/the challenge. So long as it remains safe then we should be all-weather athletes. The tales you tell are about days like this! Glad you got through with just a busted spoke. (Rolling flats in bad weather are the worst!).

  3. Ah, the weather! I can relate with the Fondo I was doing in NY State earlier this year. I rode the shortest option in the rain and literally made the call 5 minutes before. We drove and camped for me to do the ride, so I’m glad that I did, even if I was nervous. The people I went with did not, so I felt it was my responsibility as the (nervous) one with a little experience in the rain and on the hills. I’ve been rained out entirely of a gran fondo also a trip away, but was able to get in on another ride in the area the same weekend (110km instead of 100 miles, but still tough and still fun and still filled with good memories). I guess making the most of it is what matters, and it seems like you did! Here’s to lots of dry and crisp and sunny and wonderful fall rides…

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