It’s that time of year again… time for one of our employees to put themselves to the test with Jeremiah Bishop’s Alpine Loop Gran Fondo. We’ve covered this event before in the past, where clothing buyer Zach, and others, have tackled this legendarily tough ride.
Starting in Harrisonburg, VA the ride covers about 105 miles and features over 11,000 feet of climbing. And just to make sure that it’s extra tough, the two biggest climbs are a combination of dirt and gravel.
It’s going to be a tough one, but well worth it to raise money for prostate cancer.
This year, Brian, our content and media writer, will be undertaking the challenge. He’s a fairly experienced cyclist, and has been training hard since May, after doing the Ronde van Vlaanderen Sportif in Belgium. He’s never done the ride before, but he says he’s feeling pretty good.
Find out more about his preparation and his equipment below.
What made you want to do the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo?
Ever since I moved to North Carolina and came to work at Performance, I’ve heard stories about how hard it is. I love looking for long, challenging rides that really test my fitness and push my limits. As I’ve gotten older I’ve kind of lost interest in actual racing, but I still like to get competitive on a bike, and see how I stack up against other riders. Gran Fondo’s are a perfect opportunity to do that, whether you’ve raced in the past or are just getting into the sport.
What are you excited about?
Finally doing the Alpine Loop. I planned to do the Gran Fondo in both 2012 and 2013, but had to miss out for various reasons. Third time is a charm I guess. Beyond that, I’m looking forward to ending the season on a high note.
What are you feeling nervous about?
The big climbs. It was a busy summer for me, and I didn’t get a chance to go out to the mountains for some of those long, hour long climbs. Mostly this year I’ve done stuff like the Ronde with short, punchy, hills. I did a lot of Youtube trainer workouts for climbing though, so I guess on Sunday we’ll see if that was enough.
What bike will you be using?
Scattante Titanium. Anyone remember those? I was lucky enough to get my hands on one a few years back and it’s been my go to for long distance rides. Nice upright endurance geometry, and the titanium is excellent for handling road vibration.
I built it up with Campy 11-speed, and some burly handbuilt 32-spoke wheels.
Did you make any special equipment changes for the Alpine Loop?
Yeah, absolutely. 100+ miles, 11K feet of climbing, gravel…that’s a long day on the bike and you need to be ready.
- Continental Gatorskin Hardshell 25mm tires (I wish my fork would clear a 28mm though…)
- Changed out my 53/39 for a compact crankset
- Changed my cassette to an 11-27
- Fizik gel pads under my bar tape
- Added a saddle bag and frame-mounted pump
What equipment will you be using?
- Castelli Free Aero Race bib shorts and Aero Race 4 jersey
- Bont Vapor+ shoes
- Giro Aeon helmet
- Uvex Vario sunglasses
There’s a lot of gnarly gravel sections. What repair items are you carrying?
- 3 inner tubes
- Patch kit
- Lezyne multitool with chainbreaker
- 11-speed masterlink
- Tire lever
- Spare stem and seatpost bolts
What else will you carry?
- Phone in a Lifeproof case (for Instagraming)
- ID and allergy alert bracelet
- 3 sleeves of Clif Shot Bloks
- 4 Honey Stinger gels
- 2 Honey Stinger Waffles
- 4 packets of Skratch Labs hydration mix
Thanks Brian, and good luck!
Check back next week for Brian’s Jeremiah Bishop Alpine Loop Gran Fondo recap.