I hadn’t planned on doing the Grand Tour this year since I have ridden it several times in recent years. Some other rides I wanted to do didn’t work out and I had the time available so I signed up at the last minute. My trusty riding partner Joe joined me again for this ride; we have done this ride together several times! I would ride my sporty distance bike, the Pegoretti Palo Santo and Joe would be on his Ti/Carbon Lemond Victoire.

 The Grand Tour is the oldest double century in the US. It is run by the LA Wheelmen and is now in its 54th year. This will be the sixth time that I have ridden the event. My riding partner again this year is Joe Schoney, also from Utah and a frequent riding buddy.

We hoped to do this ride all in the daylight again this year so we waited until near 6 am before starting. The route basically goes up the coast towards Ventura and then turns inland for a bit before ending up in Ojai for lunch. Then back down to the coast to Carpinteria before heading back to finish in Malibu.

The weather was forecast to be in the mid 60’s on the coast and low 80’s inland and for once the weather forecast was right! We had little wind in the morning as we headed out under mostly clear skies. It was starting out to be a perfect day!

This is a well attended event and I am pleased to say that I have many friends and aquaintances among the participants and volunteers. At almost every stop and often in between I would run into one friend or another. It is like coming home to ride!

The LA Wheelmen have many hard working volunteers which put on this event. That being said, over the years the support has been somewhat variable. Last year was not so great, but this year things seemed to be better organized and there was better food at the rest stops. It is always appreciated when you are well taken care of on a ride!

This event offers several courses from which to choose, in distances from 125 miles to 400 miles. Most people ride the 200 mile route and there you have the choice of a lowland route or a highland route. This year we rode the lowland 200 route which is flatter but with a bit more urban traffic. In spite of the traffic we made pretty good time to the lunch stop in Ojai, doing it in about 6 hours on the bike. After that we had to fight the wind a little bit on our way back down to the coast and again up to the Rincon rest stop. Once we left Rincon however it was all tailwinds all the time! We cruised the flats back to PCH and then flew through the rollers on the way into Malibu! All in all it was a great day on the bike. Very good riding weather, great friends, great support and no mechanicals. What else can you ask for in an event?

We finished the ride in 13 hrs 28 min overall time with 11 hrs 45 min on the bike. We had a negative split and were about 15 minutes faster on the second hundred. We also finished well before sunset which was one of our goals. Every ride should go this well!