Monday, September 14, 2015

We Ride in Other Countries, too!

So you think summer's over because school has started? In the middle of September, Mangs set out to take more road, not letting the seasons defeat them and setting their sights on mountains in two countries.
Team Mang and their families at the Whistler Village
at the end of the Whistler Gran Fondo
Six Mangs represented at the annual Canadian Whistler Gran Fondo - a 75 mile ride that starts from Vancouver, BC and ends in Whistler Mountain Resort, with a total of 5,500 feet of elevation gain.  2 of those Mangs, Ferdie and Roland, tackled the optional climb to Cypress mountain for an additional 2,400 feet of climbing over 9 miles.  They started their trek from Stanley Park with 185 other riders early on Saturday the 12th - at 6 AM.  They would soon be joined on the roads by the other Mangs and 4,000 other riders starting out an hour later.
Some of the families stayed an extra day to have
fun at the Village - even ride around 

What makes the WGF different from other rides are two things: first, riders do not go through any stops (except for the rest stops).  Literally, from start to finish, on this day, for about 8 hours, cyclists own the road.  A freeway closed in one direction, plastic cones lining the Sea-to-Sky highway, traffic lights ignored, staffed by traffic cops - giving participants free reign on the road from start to finish.  Not only is this the safest ride ever, but it makes for a very fun and enjoyable ride where all riders think of is riding,  If you were a motorist trying to navigate that highway on that day...well, it sucked.  But it only happens once a year, with the full support of the community, the government and the taxpayers.  The second difference is that most riders on this ride are in it to race (at least against the clock) - so even if you're there just to enjoy the ride, the adrenaline is pumping and you hit it!

Our fastest riders, Mang Boni and Alex finished the ride/race in about 5 hours shortly followed by "Fast Freddie", despite having done the additional Cypress climb.  Mang Roland caught up with Jay and Dondi who were taking their time.  All three finished around the same time about an hour after the first Mangs.  They all did pretty well, not as well as the race's official winner, of course (who clocked in less than 3.5 hours).  And on top of the enjoyable ride, everyone stayed the night to enjoy Whistler Villages attractions.  Here's a video summary of the ride...

No doubt September has been busy so far and there are still a couple of weekends left to ride...stay tuned for more reports on Mangs and Alings making the most of the closing weeks of summer!