Why the Limit of 200?

With Gran Fondo Ephrata filling up so fast we are often asked why the limit of 200.  This is a question we’ve had to ask ourselves lately too.  Sure 300 or 400 would be great, more money, more happy customers, win-win right?  Believe it or not this limit is not set by any agency, this is our own limit set by us to maintain the integrity of the event.   What the hell does that mean?  It means 200 is the most we can handle: SAG, aid stations, meals, etc.  (Hint: volunteers are the backbone of events like these.  Want to see them flourish, get involved).  It means these rides are supposed to be epic, rugged, REMOTE rides.  You’re riding through some pretty spectacular terrain, in the middle of nowhere, that’s what this is about, not how many people I can sell an entry to.  It means that these rides are HARD, and intended for experienced cyclists.  We don’t want Mr weekend warrior showing up on his sweet gmc denali road bike because he heard gravel is the new road (although it’s true).  One of two things will happen: he’ll fail miserably, and/or crash and we’ll have to scrape him off the course and haul him back, or worse yet, he’ll insist upon finishing, and we’ll have to babysit him until 9:00 at night when he finally finishes.  Our number one priority is our participants.  If they’re not happy and stoked with what we’re doing then we’ll do something else.  Maybe ping pong.

2015 Tenative Schedule

Okay folks, here it is, our very preliminary 2015 schedule of events.  Have a looksie and let us know what you think.  Nothing is set in stone yet, but this is the way things are shaping up.

tentative 2015 Vicious Cycle Events:

March 15 – Gran Fondo Ephrata

March 28 – FTR Beezley Burn

April 12 – Gran Fondo Goldendale

April 25 – FTR Beacon and Legs

May 16 – Roslyn Rush

May 31 – Gran Fondo Leavenworth

June 6 – Bike and Brews

June 20 – Gran Fondo Ellensburg

June 27 – FTR White River Remix

Sept 27 – Gran Fondo Winthrop

 

We are thrilled (and maybe even a little surprised) at the reception of our Gran Fondos.  We realize these are not easy rides.  Then factor in weather and other variables and they’re downright epic.  But this is what it’s all about!  You will notice a new one in Ellensburg which is going to be right up there with Leavenworth.  And we have moved GF Winthop all the way to Sept.  This could be a big gamble with all the cx going on, but fall in the Methow is unreal!

We (I) would love to add to FTR.  And we actually had two new venues that we had hoped to slip into 2015.  But our FTR numbers just aren’t quite there to justify it.  2014 was a step in the right direction, but we’re still not quite there.  Rally the mtb community and lets get this thing going so we can grow it!

Season Recap

Wow, that happened fast… So here we are, it’s nearly August.  Just wanted to thank everyone for a great season!  ( I actually wanted to do it quite awhile ago, in addition to keeping up on my rad blog, but it sorta slipped away from me).  As we look forward to next season we would love to hear from you.  Let us know what you would like to see from Vicious Cycle in 2015.  So far I can tell you (very unofficially) that we are planning to keep FTR a 5 or 6 race series, with probably a few new/old races to keep it fresh.  On the gravel side of things we are thinking of adding another “spring classic” style Fondo as well as another mega mountain one.  It would almost be like two seasons of fondo: an early spring block of three, where what the course lacks in crazy, obscene terrain mother nature makes up for in the form of pnw spring weather, then a break, then the big mountain epics.

I would also like to thank the small army of loyal volunteers that we have, much love, couldn’t do it with out you!  On that note, I’d like to mention how important volunteers are to these events, without them it simply cannot happen.  If you or someone you know would be willing to volunteer do it!  It will be everything ever dreamed and more!!!

Superbowl Party

It seems everyone has something to say about this, I mean after all our own Seahawks are Superbowl Champions, what’s not to love?  To be totally honest though, I’m already kinda sick of hearing about it so if you quit reading right now I won’t have hurt feelings, promise.  This may come as a shock to you, but I don’t follow football.  Nothing against it, I barely even follow pro cycling anymore.  I don’t paint my face (or chest), I don’t critique plays, live via social media, and I don’t understand how people get so caught up in it, that there happiness is hinged upon the outcome of a game.  I spent most of my Sunday on my bike.  It felt good, so I even added a little extra to it.  Yes, I did make it back for the game, not because I had to so I could paint a 12 on my chest (I don’t even know what that means) and  eat Doritos and drink Bud Light.  I watched it with my family.  And I even enjoyed it.

Superbowl Party
Superbowl Party

Fondo Finalization

Our schedule is up, and while I’m always hesitant to say it’s “final” it pretty much is.  Our big thing we are excited about is Goldendale!   This is an awesome ride, I did it a couple weeks ago and loved it.  Amazing views, fun rolling terrain, just a great ride.  In other news you may have noticed Ellensburg was on the tentative schedule and is now gone.  Couple things happening here.  First of all we omitted Winthrop in the first draft of the schedule.  Main reason was weather.  It is so tough to get that high (7000′!) and time it right.  Last year we chose to play it safe snow wise and go Aug. and kind of lucked out.  Yes there was a torrential monsoon of a storm that passed through, but I still say we lucked out.  One week before the event we were out on the course getting things dialed and it was 90 degrees!  I don’t care how many people say they are ok with the heat, I’m telling you on a ride of that magnitude people would be dropping like flys in the heat.  I had already done a bunch of exploring around Elllensburg and figured it was time to pull the trigger on that and put it in place of Winthrop.  But the deeper I dug into it the more I realized I was going to need more time than was available.  I would rather put it off a year than rush into it and half ass it.  See you in 2015 Eburg!  Back to Winthrop.  We actually got a lot of requests for this so it works out well.  Looking forward to another great ride in the Methow and happy to be there a little earlier in the year.

And here comes the high pressure sales part.  You knew it was coming.  Registration for all four Fondos will open Feb 1.  Yeah, like THIS Saturday.  The day before the Superbowl – Go Hawks!  Each page will have a link to register.  These are all pre-reg only and are limited to no more than 200 riders.  This ensures they will be cool rides and not lame sell outs with 1000 crazies killing the vibe.

Feeling Festive

Okay, that’s a lie.  I’m not really feeling all that festive.  But you probably wouldn’t have even begun reading this had it been titled “Kinda sick of non stop Christmas music and retailers cramming it down my throat since Oct 31 and just want to ride my bike and enjoy the season on my terms.”  (Besides, I don’t think that would’ve even fit in the little space for the title.)  But that’s not where I was going with this.  What’s really on mind is the Rapha Festive 500 which is a strava challenge of 500k from Dec. 24-Dec 31.  I know it’s not that big of deal really, and there’s like 20,000 people already signed up for it, some of which will even double it and do a 1000.  Still, 500k in a week is no joke, especially considering cold weather and limited daylight.  And the fact the Maedke Construction is busy and there is very little “holiday time” in the schedule.  But something tells me that if this were happening in June I just wouldn’t be as excited about it.  What can I say, I’m not truly happy unless I’m miserable.  In other works I’m a cyclist.

GF weather forecast – PERFECT

We could hold this event in June.  It would be 80 degrees and beautiful.  But that would almost make it enjoyable.  Gran Fondo Ephrata was not created for enjoyment.  We modeled this after the epic rides of Italy, the brutal spring classics, and a some homegrown mid-west style gravel grinders which are notorious for foul weather and all around misery.  “It’s like a train wreck in many ways.  You can see the imminent disaster coming from a long ways off, the witnesses can’t look away, and the participants can’t seem to escape it.”  -Dennis Grelk 2011 Trans Iowa winner.  We would all like it to be easy, but if it were everyone would do it.  March 31 weather forecast -PERFECT see you there.