As followers of Smart Marathon Training know, I favor cycling as the go-to crosstraining for runners.  While I still consider myself a runner first, I have started participating in various cycling events for fun and competition. 
On May 20, I rode in the second annual Gran Fondo New York (“GFNY”).  Gran Fondo events originated in Italy, and are long-course competitive rides that include timed hill climbs as well as an overall time competition.  Much like the marathon, they are what the participant chooses to make of it – a fun participatory event, or a serious competition.  I’m not an elite cyclist, but I was determined to ride as hard as I could.
On race morning 5,000 cyclists from 70 countries arrived at the George Washington Bridge on took part at the Gran Fondo New York International 2012. Conditions were ideal – blue skies and 75F temps at the start.  The ride would be 110 miles up to the top of Bear Mountain and back, including four timed climbs, with a total elevation gain of 8,500ft.
The ride turned out to be as hard as I expected, but far more beautiful  than I’d imagined.  Riding up along the Hudson river was a great experience, even with the sometimes broken roadways (supposedly scheduled for repaving later this summer) and a less-than-ideal 5-mile stretch through traffic to the finish line at
Weehawken, New Jersey.  But the beautiful NYC skyline backdrop to the podium, and some post-race pasta helped set things right. to refuel the depleted bodies.
GFNY raised money for Operation Smile, a charity that provides children with facial deformities a normal life through surgery. GFNY 2013 will be on May 19.

About horowitzrun

Jeff is a certified running, cycling, and triathlon coach, and is the author of "My First 100 Marathons" (Skyhorse Press 2008) and "Smart Marathon Training" (Velo Press 2011). An obviously addicted runner, Jeff has run at least one marathon in every state and on 6 continents, including marathons in South Africa, China, Bangkok, and Antarctica. Jeff is available for group, one-on-one, and virtual coaching. Options include: 1. Basic Training Plan. This includes a customized training schedule geared towards a goal race, with a detailed running schedule that would include all distances and target times for each workout, including speedwork, tempo, and endurance sessions. 2. Complete Fitness and Race Plan. This includes the plan listed above, plus the non-running workouts and drills that runners need for better overall fitness and performance. You would get strength & core workouts, as well as run-specific training drills and stretches. 3. Virtual Coaching. This includes all of the above, implemented on a week-by-week basis. We review each week's progress at week's end so that adjustments can be made. The program is tailored to suit you right up to race day. It involves more contact, on a weekly or even daily basis. 4. Full Coaching for athletes in the Washington DC area. All of the above, plus a weekly workout together including speedwork, drills, and strength training. 5. Individual track sessions. One-on-one track-based workouts. Contact Jeff for pricing.
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