Jeremiah Bishop Gran Fondo

Garmin data:

Something distinct leaves an imprint.  If it’s long, vast, sprawling AND distinct it leaves a full and winding imprint.  One that returns in slow subtle ways.  A bike race, a bike ride, a sporting event, a backwoods adventure.  Anything really – it could be a long night of metropolitan clubbing strung together in sparks and stops.  The shades and colors between a beginning and an end.  The activity and then the recollections are what define us.  We piece together what has transpired.   Sometimes a vague shadow fades to a small memory but if it’s distinct the grooves are drawn sharp.  They keep coming.  They prompt and inform us.

This is one way of saying the Jeremiah Bishop Alpine Loop Gran Fondo kicked balls.  It was my first ‘Fondo’ and I had an idea of what to expect but no clue of how it would go down and what it would feel like.

Beside that the event was super top notch with seamless course signage and support stations as well as a fund raiser for Prostate Cancer, it was as fun and/or competitive as you made it.  The intensity of a race without the uncomfortable tension; 91 miles and over 10,000 climbing feet (there was also a 30 or 70 mile option).

All the participants had timing chips and there were two designated KOM climbs.  Once you roll through the ‘easy pass’-like marker you were on the clock until the crest.  The crest in these parts being some high flying, mean ass, 3500 foot West Virginia ridges west of Harrisonburg, Va in Pendelton County.  All the riders received KOM times and overall finish times.

There was dirt, canyons, river valleys and meadows.   The full arsenal of ‘stuffs’.  Advertised as ‘the toughest Fondo in the U.S.’  I would like to see the challengers.  The route is the workings of Jeremiah Bishop, a long time professional mountain biker who rides for Cannondale Factory Racing.

Besides owning National Championships, Pan Am Game titles and top ten World Championship results the dude still just loves to ride.  He has managed to make it fun  and that may explain his longevity.  Being able to balance the rigors of disciplined training with the youthful wonder of the bike is something kids coming up can learn from, especially since so much of the sport is about digging deeper and getting the most from your body.  Leaving openings and chances for adventure is a way to get there without feeling like you’re on a treadmill.

This is one of his favorite training rides.  Deep in the backwoods.  Crazy exotic twisting mountain roads.  Like surfers seeking waves the cyclist wants to find the most outrageously intoxicating climbs and like those waves, at a certain degree of difficutly, they all take on their own personality.  Yeah, the sh#t is HARD but within that obviousness there are specific degrees and gradients that affect us each differently depending on the multitude of internal and external conditions.  This, you could say, makes it ‘interesting’….

That Jeremiah chose to share his favorite ride with 300 of his closest friends is both gracious and wicked in the finest sense!

I’m still processing the distinctness and the imprint.  That is the nice thing about having the experience.  You sense it.  You know it’s there and can feel the depth but the details are in some ways on reserve.  In the bank.  Laying their own tracks as we interface and refine them.  There is a calmness delivered in the transaction.  That it takes somewhat of a big difficult move to get there is the irony yet it makes total sense.

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