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.”
“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.
“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.