Friday, September 30, 2016

Closing out the Season

Mangs are normal people, too, and they have other things going on in their lives aside from cycling.  So as summer closes in September, so do the flurry of cycling related activities for most Mangs and Alings.  This month, the team participated in only 2 major rides - the Whistler Gran Fondo in Canada and Cascade Bicycle Club's Kitsap Classic.  The requisite weekend training rides were still there but as the season moves towards the Fall, you notice a drastic reduction in ride participation, specially as the weather gets nastier.

Mangs who did the Fondo literally
crossed the finish line together.
The 2016 RBC Whistler Gran Fondo saw by far the biggest number of Mangs participating this year.  The ride is an 80+ mile, 6,500 foot elevation gain ride from the city of Vancouver, BC to the Whistler Olympic Village resort at the foot of the Whistler/Blackcomb mountains.  The more "fit" riders have the option of doing the "Forte", which adds 2,400 feet of climbing over 9 miles making it a total ride of over 108 miles.   The course is memorable.  Riders cycle around Stanley Park, cross the Lion's Gate Bridge just as the sun rises in the east, climb for the first 8 miles through a closed off Highway 1 (freeway) and do a rolling ride all the way to Squamish, BC on the Sea to Sky Highway on a dedicated lane. So cyclists do not have to stop fat intersections or at traffic lights.  They only stop at rest stops.  The view over that section of the course is incomparable and the support from the community and organizers is top notch.  The major climbs start from there, for the next 30 miles, though nothing like climbing a mountain.
Most of the team posed on stage after the ride - not in this pic are Alex, Eric, Ron and Rene who were unavailable at the time of the picture.
Whistler Village itself is not really at the top of a mountain, so the ride to the finish is mostly rolling hills, with a few 500+ foot climbs.  Nevertheless, the Mang train that started out together eventually stretched out to several groups with riders seeking to stay with at least 1 Mang.  The faster riders who did the additional Forte climb actually finished before the riders who just did the Fondo.  The bulk of the Fondo riders finished together with just a few riders struggling to finish by closing time.  All in all, everyone did very well and everyone had fun - even the lone Mang who rode in to close the ride.  Here's a video summary from this author's viewpoint:

The Mangs who did the Kitsap
Classic Ride
Cascade Bicycle Club concludes its summer riding season with the Kitsap Classic - a 58 mile rolling hills ride through the Kitsap Peninsula, starting from Edmonds, looping through the northern tip of the island in Hansville and along the outer edges through Port Gamble, Poulsbo, and back to the Clinton ferry dock.  True to form, Mangs once again represented fun at the event, although not with the usual numbers.  Reports from the riders indicate that there was a lot of laughter and speeding as Mangs chose to have fun with members of other cycling teams. 

Once again, another year of cycling (at least the official events) has ended for the Mangs and Alings.  Cycling continues to permeate our conversations and it continues to be the main activity that brings us together.  These non-riding days also tend to be project days when guys ask for something shiny and new for Christmas and they show up the next year with new bikes. Friendships have also developed through the years and so Mangs continue to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and the holidays well into the Fall and Winter Seasons.  And don't count out the Team Mang Putik riders - our mountain biking brothers, who continue to ride in the raid and mud.  We'll do whatever we can to stay fit during the rainy months but be sure to watch out for us next year as the season starts - the first ride is the Stinky Spoke in January.  We may even be sporting a new look!