Yesterday was the Foco Fondo, a “daring cycling adventure” [on gravel] that starts and stops in Fort Collins, CO. It was a great course with some fun fast sections and mixed in challenging single/two tracks with random sand sprinkled throughout.
It was a fun course overall though. Some of the roads were hard packed wet (oiled?) dirt and that made for some fast stretches. And then suddenly we would be in some much more primitive loose gravel rollers where all the low spots were very loose and sandy. And then we would be diving off the road into some trails that were likely made by quads. Definitely had to stay alert but also definitely a good time. A good exercise in using ALL of the bike handling skills. And hills. Lots of little hills to race up too!
I didn’t do much investigating ahead of time so truly didn’t know what to expect for course conditions. I gambled a little and switched back from my wider front tire to a matching 37 tire thinking that there was going to be a lot of nice county roads. For most of the course that was a good choice, but there were some stretches with the sand and ruts where I may have had regrets… but overall it worked out well.
Weather was perfect. Often overcast and low winds — very much not your typical Colorado morning. We got lucky on that score. The post ride scene was good too. Can’t go wrong with getting handed a New Belgium beer after a morning in the saddle 🙂 Nicely organized event.
I managed to talk my coach into joining me for this one. She’s a strong cyclist but this was her first gravel event and it was interesting watching her absorb the experience. We stuck together for the ride and finished in the top 50% of the field. In fact, she finished 2nd in her age group. Me? Not so much… but I was top 50% there too.
Final note: I had some new equipment on the bike and this was the big test to see if it was worth it — more on that soon!