Ride Report: Gran Fondo Leavenworth

Spokeswomen member Heather headed to Leavenworth to try the  legendary Gran Fondo Leavenworth (GFL) on May 22, 2016.  The following are some highlights from her ride report.

Due to some wet, muddy roads from recent heavy rains, the course was changed at the last minute. The change both lengthened the ride (up to ~93 miles) and increased the net elevation gain (~9000 ft). Some pre-race fueling was needed:

“I knew that the GFL would be a challenge even without the course change.  We drove out to Leavenworth Saturday afternoon, grabbed some calorie-rich cheeseburgers with bacon and fries at Gustav’s, and picked up our bibs and race packets.  We were up at 6am Sunday morning, grilling up bacon, eggs, peppers, and mushrooms  for an additional calorie punch.”

The forecast called for a 30% chance of showers in the AM, so light rain jackets were packed by many riders clustered at the start.


Lots of eager cyclists!

Lots of eager cyclists at the start


“8am. We were off!  We slowly picked off riders as we tackled the meat of Climb #1  (3000 ft). The pass topped out at 4000 ft, and with the wind, it was cold…”

After the first aid station at Ardenvoir, the cyclists were directed up the much gentler slopes of Climb #2, which was promptly followed by roller coaster 2000 ft downhill. Then a 10 mile pavement grind (with headwind) to the Entiat aid station ~mile 55.

We rode up that road

Climb #2

“My legs were hurting by the Entiat aid station, but after a brief rest, we opted to continue grinding onwards to the last and biggest uphill (Climb #3) of the course:  ~3500 ft.  Some ibuprofen, a few salty potato chips, a cheerful aid station worker, and some similarly hurting riders all suffering together convinced me to keep going.”



The course was reported to be amazing: great views, little to no vehicular traffic, well-supported aid stations and on-course support.


Total ride: 93.4 miles
Total elevation gain: 8992 ft
Weather: Partly cloudy to mostly sunny; west wind 15-20 mph; variable temps
Finishers: 170 (15 ladies)

Heather survived and thrived!