A Gran Fondo (Italian for Big Ride) is coming to the States, to San Diego on March 1, 2009. A Gran Fondo is a long distance, mass-participation cycling event. While not a race and encouraging cylists of all types, you can bet there’s a fast group. They’re usually kitted up retro, with classic bikes ready to drop your 15 lb new, Dura-Ace lightness with their 25-pound steel, wooden-wheeled, Nuovo Record-equipped steel Colnago. Oh and these dudes with the varicose-veined, roadmap legs are likely wearing wool kits with leather chamois. I’ve spotlighted one of them in the photo below.
We met that dude last year at the MS 150. During a long-grinding climb he popped. Miles later, rolling on the flats, he re-appeared. Huffing, puffing, with a beet-red face, the ancient one got right back into the paceline and took a hard pull. Nothing but r-e-s-p-e-c-t for that and I made sure we kept him with us up the next climb.