What it’s like to… DO A MUL­TI­DAY EURO­PEAN GRAN FONDO

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - MAINTENANCE -

Ge­off Hor­ton, Toronto

I took up cy­cling in 2009. I’d al­ways been a run­ner, so I found cy­cling an easy tran­si­tion. I’d done sin­gle-day fon­dos (such as rbc Whistler and Colling­wood), but I had never raced. A friend turn­ing 50 had a Euro­pean stage event in Europe on his bucket list, so that’s how we chose the sev­en­day Haute Route Dolomites this past year. It looked like it would be beau­ti­ful cy­cling, a bit of a chal­lenge and that the weather would be tem­per­ate. This was also a chance to see a cou­ple of dif­fer­ent coun­tries I hadn’t rid­den in be­fore.

At first, I was a bit ner­vous and strug­gled to get into a good sleep­ing pat­tern. Also, the last climbs of a big three-to-four-climb day were a bit of a strug­gle. But by the third or fourth day, I’d sort of fig­ured out pac­ing my­self bet­ter. There were cer­tain peo­ple I got to know and I’d say ‘hi’ to them in what­ever lan­guage they spoke. I kind of like that you can find a pack that works for you. Com­pared with rac­ing, cor­ner­ing is not as crit­i­cal and it’s a bit more spread out. I like the fact you get to see a lot more, as op­posed to just fo­cus­ing on the wheel in front of you.

One thing I did, and that I rec­om­mend if you can af­ford it, is to hire a tour op­er­a­tor to look af­ter lo­gis­tics – book­ing ho­tels, fig­ur­ing out meals, pro­vid­ing a me­chanic, etc. They’re on the course a cou­ple of times so you can eat their food ver­sus gels and stuff like that. They come with a cost, but it def­i­nitely made me feel more like a pro.

I had been in­jured in July, so I didn’t train as much as I had hoped be­fore­hand: I ba­si­cally had the month of Au­gust to make up for it. But I think I ended up where I would have other­wise. I was in the third quar­ter of fin­ish­ers. I’d have liked to be a bit higher, but that’s where I thought I would be. You feel great af­ter. We’re think­ing of look­ing at an­other for 2019.

Suf­fer­ing Spec­tac­u­larly

op­po­site left Tr­ish Brom­ley sends it on Fist Full of Dol­lars at the Bike Ranch in Kam­loops B.C. be­low Ge­off Hor­ton rides the Haute Route Dolomites 2017

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