A #London2Paris Odyssey – My First Gran Fondo

Another week, another challenge, and another milestone ticked off. 

Every first Saturday of the month, C&D Cycles, in Kettering, organise a Gran Fondo event. A friendly, organised ride, covering around 100km (approx 62miles) for those that fancy a bit more than the usual 35mile Banter ride. 

Gran Fondo, loosely translated, means Big Ride. And a big ride it was. 10 of us left Kettering, aiming for Grafham Water in Cambridgeshire. The group leaders set a good pace and within an hour we were 15 miles in. Then I hit a pothole. Water bottles flying out of cages, accompanied by the hissing of air, as my rear tyre pinch punctured……less than 10 minutes later and we were back on the road. It gave me a chance to test my AirChuck CO2 inflator, purchased after recent punctures (see previous blogs). 

AirChuck CO2 Inflator

What a great little piece of kit. Tyre inflated in seconds. No hunching over and frantically pumping on the roadside!

The rest of the trip was relatively uneventful, and we made it to the lovely cafe at Perry, on the banks of Grafham Water. Coffee cakes and pasties all round. £3.85 for a coffee AND cake. Bargain. 

C&D Gran Fondo Crew 5/3/2017
35 miles in, halfway there…..still smiling.

The return leg was into the wind. Much tougher going, but we all stuck together and helped each other through. Jelly Babies and gels giving life to tired limbs. The miles ticked by, some riders headed home on route, but we made it back to C&D. Another quick coffee, bid my farewells and headed back up the A43 into the headwind. 

Checking my mileage as I neared home, and it registered 69.6 miles. I couldn’t leave it at that. So a quick skirt around the village and I pulled back onto the driveway at 70.2miles! A new record. Another milestone. 

It’s all coming together. 6 or 7 months ago, I had never cycled more than 20 miles. Yesterday…70miles. 

The next milestone should be 100 miles on April 2nd at the Market Harborough Festival of Cycling. Riding with friends Marc Potter, Stacey Chalkley and Andre Severs….all of us bidding for our first foray over 100 miles! Wish us luck. 

If you like what you read and feel the need to donate to assist in my fund raising for my #London2Paris, #Alzheimer’s ride, either out of compassion, personal experience, or even sympathy for my ramblings, please visit my JustGiving page:
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/neil-tomlinson73

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