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Gran Fondo, San Diego

March 8, 2010

Gran Fondo

March, 7 was the San Diego Gran Fondo. They advertise: “it’s a ride, not a race”. Meaning, the roads are not cleared and you’re expected to obey traffic laws. I cycled the 53 mile route.

Click on map for interactive version
Click on map for interactive version

The weather was horrible. I arrived at the starting line a little after 6 AM expecting the Fondo to start at 7 AM as was posted. Rather the start wasn’t until 7:25 AM at which time groups of 200 were released to start. I didn’t get started until about 30 minutes later.

The conditions were awful. I was soaked through before I crossed the starting line. My toes, ears and fingers were numb ten miles in. This made changing my flat at mile 19 challenging. I gave up on changing it myself after I broke my tool for stripping the rubber off the rim. Thankfully, I managed to hitch a ride from a surfer back to the aid station a mile back and had it fixed at the Colnago sponsored support station. It seemed every mile there was, at least, one cyclist with a flat. Perhaps this is typical, but the Fondo being my first organized ride I’m not sure if this is more or less than usual.

Gran Fondo

The best part of the ride was through Otay Ranch where clouds packed the peaks of the Otay preserve. It was gorgeous. Shortly after Otay I somehow managed to detour off course. It took me ten miles to weave my way through traffic in old Chula Vista and National City to get back on course. In the end my detour added five miles to my ride and I cycled 58 miles in 3 hours and 35 minutes.

Gran Fondo

The Gran Fondo was very well organized. The aid stations were stocked with helpful support persons who braved the elements alongside those of us cycling with a smile. My only complaint: mark the course with more signs. The only signs I saw were at turns and often there was only one small sign. The organizers should mark the course intermittently with signs (not only at turns) and when there is a turn there really should be a few signs to mark the turn. I am certain I wasn’t the only person who veered off course as I heard several others complaining about how poorly marked it was.

All in all, the Grand Fondo was great fun, even with the horrible weather. Sign On San Diego has a write up about the event. I am considering the Sea Otter Classic Gran Fondo in Monterrey next month, but I’m not certain my work schedule will permit this.

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14 Comments
  1. bon permalink

    guys,,how's the jersey sizing or fit,does it run small like italian fit? Im about to register now for the 2011 event,, thanks

  2. Tadd permalink

    What was your time on the 100 mile Grand Fundo last year?

  3. I am heading out to Utah for the FrontRunner Century bicycle ride and I am looking to see if anyone has ever used Map My Ride for the FrontRunner Century Bicycle Ride. I have heard that people have used it for LOTOJA classic and for the Ulcer Ride as well as the Salt Lake City Century. If anyone has info for the FrontRunner Century they could give to me I would be happy. Check out the http://www.frontrunnercentury.com and please let me know.

    • I'm not a fan of mapmyrun. The site's user experience is just horrible. 😦

      BTW, if you're an iPhone user Runkeeper Pro is currently FREE for a short time. It's a great app.

  4. Kenbo permalink

    The San Diego gran fondo e-mail support is non-existent. After they take your money, they don't reply to your e-mail regrading the jersey and saddle bag that they owe you. They just don't make enought of them and if you don't get them early, you are just SOL. It's already been 8 weeks after! They just blow you off. Overall the route **isn't** impresive, especially along harbor drive, very dangerous (traffic, poor road conditions, oblique railroad tracks, etc…). I did the century route and I will never ride this ride again. These guys are theives (yes I'm now bitter).

  5. Kenbo permalink

    The San Diego gran fondo e-mail support is non-existent. After they take your money, they don't reply to your e-mail regrading the jersey and saddle bag that they owe you. They just don't make enought of them and if you don't get them early, you are just SOL. It's already been 8 weeks after! They just blow you off. Overall the route **isn't** impresive, especially along harbor drive, very dangerous (traffic, poor road conditions, oblique railroad tracks, etc…). I did the century route and I will never ride this ride again. These guys are theives (yes I'm now bitter).

    • You can get your saddle bag now:

      If you live outside of San Diego County, we'll mail your bag to you.

      If you live within San Diego County, you may pick up your saddle bag at one of these participating bike shops:

      Nytro Multisport
      940 south Coast Highway 101
      Encinitas, CA 92024
      Phone: 760-632-0006

      Hi-Tech Bikes
      7638 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
      San Diego, CA 92111
      Phone: 858-715-1517

      Pulse Endurance Sports
      1020 A-2 Tierra Del Rey
      Chula Vista, CA 91910
      Phone: 619-656-5222

      Bags will be available for pick-up at these shops for 2 weeks beginning
      this Saturday, May 8

  6. DrMungus permalink

    I too rode this year, the 101 miles, truely a day to remember. Regarding the saddle bags, check the Gran Fondo Website, I believe customs finally allowed them into the country, just their luck to be caught in a random container inspection. As for the jersey, I think there is an update on those too.

    Overall, I think the organizers did a fantastic job, especially when you think the number this year was more than double last year. Next year I am sure the course markers will be even better.

    Congratulations for taking part, and finishing. All the best for the Sea Otter Classic.

  7. Riki permalink

    Nice review. I have done this "ride" both years. Last year, they didn't have any signs marking the turns and I think 100% made at least one wrong turn. The signs this year were an improvement. The aid stations both years were a blessed sight and the volunteers are top notch. All the volunteers braved the elements (last year 95+ temps and this cold and raining) with a smile and helpful hand. Can't wait to see what the weather will be like next year.

    The only complaint that I have is the fact that I have not received my jersey for either year. I also didn't receive my saddle bag that was supposed to be handed out. From the upgrades they did over the past year, I have confidence that it will be more organized next year.

    • I think they did a pretty good job for an event only in the 2nd year. You're the 2nd person who's told me they didn't get their jersey last year. I will be irritated if I have to track down a jersey.

  8. Tara permalink

    what about the awesome wife who was waiting patiently for her awesome husband? i had a santana burrito and dry clothes JUST for you. what's the deal? 🙂

    on another note, we are very proud of you – it was an exciting day for the Fulkersons.

    • Aaron Fulkerson permalink

      Thanks darling for being there with the kids and a California Burrito. I love you.

  9. Troy Angrignon permalink

    Awesome. We're doing on up in Vancouver–>Whistler. Can't wait!

    • Aaron Fulkerson permalink

      Ugh, what’s the elevation change for that ride?

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