GFNY 2016_Rook (2)
  • Suzn

    I think the woman you wanted to approach was not speaking italian but spanish. She might have been Camila Cortes – she won the woman’s category.

  • em3900

    “She won the women’s category”…might be missing the point of the article here

    • winkybiker

      Yes, it’s a GranFondo, not a race. How do you “win”?

  • Alex

    “Don’t get me wrong, I love racing my bike. But this wasn’t racing. I had put myself in a weird spot where I was neither racing nor enjoying the ride. So what was I doing?”

    This is exactly my sentiments about these sorts of rides. I’ve done plenty of Gran Fondos, USAC sanctioned races, and gravel adventure rides. I’ve ridden some of these fondos and gravel adventure rides quickly pushing myself for fun, but I’ve never yelled at anyone for not pulling through or gotten overly pissed off about a flat tire. I don’t understand why they are trying to turn this into a race. It just seems dangerous with so many people on course and you never know if the person next to you is going to act aggressive or not. The women you pulled up to try and chat with exemplifies this point. It sounds like she won because she convinced two other people to do all the work for her. I wouldn’t want to pay over $100 to deal with passive aggressive people all day, I get enough of that at my job.

  • jules

    I did the CT Giro della Donna and it felt like a race, but I didn’t see any aggro. maybe because the racers were ahead of me? I had to stop for a nature break and no one waited. I hadn’t really planned to ride hard but when everyone started huffing and puffing up Reefton Spur the adrenaline took over, or maybe the auto-pause on my Garmin?

  • Sander Boerkamp

    This was actually my first Gran Fondo last year and I came back this year. I rode it as a race and I loved every minute of it. It convinced me of doing more Gran Fondo’s after in France and Belgium and made me want a UCI licence to do Crits and Cyclocross in the Netherlands as well. For me these were very natural steps. GFNY is a race, but not for everyone. The nutrtion stations are very well supplied (so I’ve heard). You can take almost all day to finish. The route is very scenic (I saw a glimpse of that). For most contenders finishing is the greatest goal. For the first men an women it’s a real race which comes with the competitiveness that I see in every real race. So not a lot of chatting, occasional cursing and people acting seriously. The smiles and the talks are mostly reserved for after the finish line, with a select number of riders with whom you were able to bundle your strengths or had a fierce battle with on the last climb of the day. The rest of the conversation is done without words. And for me thats lesson #2, thats all I need.

    And every real women’s race should be women only, bringing 2 domestiques, or just being in a pack surrounded with men, messes up the competition.

  • Mel

    I did a ride a few weeks ago, even though it was only a charity ride, I still felt there was a ‘race’ element to it. I definately wasnt up the front but I did find myself sucked into a paceline bunch of guys and pushed myself well into the red just to hang on with them. It was fun at times to know you’re absolutely bombing it along but then the pain in the legs takes over and you question whether its worth the pain to get to the end quicker or to just sit up and cruise to the finish. Lets just say the last few Km’s were slow and enjoyed the sunshine and the beer at the end was pretty sweet too!! I guess big rides like that you can make it what you like but as long as you have a smile on your face, its a good day.

  • Enriekie

    I really loved reading this, as it summarizes all the feelings i had when riding my first Gran Fondo in europe.

    P.S. Looking at your name, you must have a dutch heritage.

    • Anne-Marije Rook

      Enriekie, born and raised Dutch. :-)

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  • winkybiker

    The Whistler GranFondo here in Vancouver offers prize money. I have absolutely no idea why. It looks like folding due to dwindling participant numbers making it hard for the event to break even (the event features necessary, much appreciated, but very expensive full road closures). Most people I ride with claim that high entry fees are the main reason they don’t enter. But it’s not a race. Why the prize money? Put the money back into lowering entry fees to get more participants. We won’t miss the 3 or 4 people who enter to try to “win”.


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