GFNY — Double-Double — A Perfect Day at GFNY Deutschland

Rolled to the start line early. Before the corrals filled we took the opportunity to introduce ourselves to some new friends, and reacquaint with some old ones.

The VIP Corral

I must admit that I felt a little bit like George Plimpton, in Paper Lion being in the front corral. Elite athletes, like our friend Clarence, Felipe Castro, the national champion of Costa Rica in his category (both of whom will be in the GFNY Portugal race as well), and a host of others. We made some new friends, and saw the racers that I would have perceived just by looking would be in the top ranks at days end. As folks talked to me there was a little bit of “how did you get in here” in the introductions. But I quickly got over it. As the corrals filled, the music got louder, the announcements started, and the race directors car moved into position to get the neutral start underway. Something of a festival atmosphere in the center of Hameln, the race directors car, being the Pied Piper, leading us all to the course. Once out past the neutral start, we would be on our own. Photographers took pictures, more announcements were made, and then finally there was a palpable hush.

The Race Directors car getting into position as the corrals started to fill.

And We Were Off…

Chasing through the twists and turns of Hameln heading out to the country side with the race directors car out in front. The race was not neutralized for very long, and the speeds out of the gate bordered on the ridiculous. At one point I looked down, I was spinning at over 100rpm, in the 53 chain ring, and my heart rate was in the 170’s. We were less than 2 kilometers into the race, and I was already revved to the red line just to try and keep the 42–45 kilometers per hour pace that the leading groups were producing. I could feel myself being shot out the back like a potato that was jammed in a muffler pipe, and jetisoned out when the car started. I was being passed left and right, and as we hit the country roads was now surrounded by Medio course riders. This was a predicament. My new friends were keeping me to their right side, and so I had a tough time creating anything close to a chase speed that could reconnect me with the front groups. Jack, and Aleksandra were off and running, and I would not see them again until the finish line. With my heart still racing, I found my way out to the left, and spun my way out to the front of one of the medio groups. I would try and drive from their until the climbs and then see what happened.

The Daspe-Heyen — in the grand scheme of things, not a categorized climb, but kicks enough to remind you what is coming.

40KM to Go! Really?

Given that the GFNY Deutschland Gran Fondo route is a double loop (hey double), the Medio Fondo route is shared through the first loop. With 40KM to go in the Medio route, I wondered if I had missed a turn. I asked the gent next to me “Ist der medio?” I got back a very fast answer in German that I couldn’t process. “Kein Deutsch, Anglisch bitte!” I asked. My answer came with a very thick British accent “you’re alright mate, we are sharing the road to the turn, but we have a little way to go, and a couple of climbs. You will see what I mean when we hit the split, but we have two climbs yet to go”.

My thoughts on camera as I made my way to the second half.

Creeky Bottom Brackets

My bottom bracket had been making some awful noises over the past few days. But it was nothing in comparison to the Cervelo rider that I played leap frog with several times. I not match for him on the climbs, he no match for me on the flats. I knew two dislikes of his, the first the sound of his bottom bracket, the second, the sound of mine passing him. As we hit Roter Fuchs for the second time, he spun away from me, but we would rekindle our friendship several times before the finish line.

The climb out of Borry was brutal.

6:23 — Clock Time, 6:20 Garmin Moving Time

With a finish of 6:23, and a moving time showing 6:20, I couldn’t help but think that my 6:19 instincts were pretty close to spot on. I had beaten 6:30. I had beaten my best GFNY NYC time from 2014. It gave me the feeling of rounding into a better rider, a different kind of fitness, and full of confidence for the week that lay ahead in our epic adventure.

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Chris Geiser

Chris Geiser

A family guy, tech-pro, and cycling enthusiast.