A new fitness goal
I want to do a 4-hour GranFondo Whistler in 2023. The GranFondo Whistler is a point to point supported bike ride from Vancouver to Whistler that is 122km and 2136m of climbing. Up to 6800km cyclists take part in the year as it is the largest GranFondo in North America. I am very familiar with this event as I was the Marketing and Sponsorship Director in 2016 & 2017.
My idea for this big hairy goal came to me while standing at the finish line of the 2022 GranFondo Whistler last month. Brad had texted me he was 10km from the end, so Walter and I parked ourselves at the finish line to cheer him in.
Walter and I waiting at the finish line of the 2022 RBC GranFondo Whistler for Brad to arrive
I had misread the text he had written while he was racing, and it said “100 in” so he really had 25km left. Since we had discussed he’d give me a 10km warning, I assumed a text with a “1” and a “0“ in it was that text. Likewise, I though “in” was just a typo distance of measurement. Anyway, we waited at the finish line for longer than expected as Brad finished the last 25km. So Walter and I watched hundreds of people of all ages and sizes come through the finish line…
I started thinking, I have no excuse if I wanted to do this well.
What I have going for me
- I have the road bike
- I have the mechanic & support (Brad)
- I have the knowledge and experience (I have completed this event in 2019)
- I have the training equipment (Tacx trainer, power meter, etc)
- My schedule is a bit more flexible now that I am self employed
- Added bonus – if I can get this much faster I can ride with brad and be even more efficient
….I “just” have to put in the work in.
Just being both in quotes and italics as it will be a lot of work. But now my curiosity is piqued. If I put in 12 months of work. How fast could I go? And if I can get to 4 hour speeds, could Brad and I race together as a pair? Brad has done the event a few times and has yet to crack the 4 hours time as well – both times he was close he had a flat tire.
Joanne and Brad at the RBC GranFondo Whistler finish line in 2019. I did the event in 4 hours 42 minutes. Can I knock off 42 minutes??
My background in endurance sports
I love endurance sports. For so many reasons that I will get into this blog. Since being pregnant in 2020 and the pandemic, I have struggled to get back onto a focused workout regime. Having run several marathons between 2014 and 2018, I find when working towards a lofty fitness goal I am so much happier. I think better, work more efficiently, and sleep better. I have been trying to get back into marathon running, but since moving to New Westminster in 2019, I find it difficult to run on the hills here.
When Walter was born, I found one 200m stretch of flat sidewalk to run-walk Walter’s stroller back and forth. Great for getting back into shape – but not great to inspire long distance run training.
The year I trained in road cycling
In 2018/19, Brad and I focused all of our training on road cycling. We trained all winter to make sure we would enjoy 10 consecutive days of cycling in Italy on road bikes (a bucket list item I aspire to do again in the future). Two months after that trip, I finished the RBC GranFondo Whistler in 4 hours and 42 minutes. My training was not focused on speed nor to the fondo event.
So, if I trained for speed… how fast can I go? Could I do it in 4 hours?
Brad and I in 2019 taking selfies after reaching various mountain peaks in the Italian Dolomites including Passo Gardena, Passo Falzarego, Passo Campologno, Passo Sella and Passo Pordoi.
Crunching a few initial numbers
Putting this goal into perspective. This would mean increasing my speed by 15% in the next 11 months (on top of getting myself back into 2019 shape). In 2019, with my 4:42 finish, I placed in the top 35% at place 1264, based on 2019 if I finished a 4 hour fondo I would be 465 or in the top 13%.
I realize a finish time will always depend on many external factors out of my control to achieve a specific time on a mountain road. Especially weather, headwind, the cyclists around me, etc. Likewise, this goal is not simply working on my strength and endurance, but also overcoming my fears of descending mountain grades, which I did improve on a bit in 2019 after experiencing the Italian Dolomites, but can always further improve on, and likewise it has been 3 years so I am rusty!!
Within this blog is to document this endeavour and relate it to my painting practice. I am excited where this goes!
In the meantime I made a video too to state my goal: