The Gran Fondo, was the Gran Nondo, but I’ll write about it anyway.

I recently was presented the opportunity to attend and report back on this past Saturday’s Levi Leipenheimer Gran Fondo ride through the rolling hills of Santa Rosa, California. Initially I thought it was Levi’s Gran Fondue ride, and I was like, “Hell yeah, I’ll go”, but then when I learned that it would entail far more miles of bike riding than melted cheese and chocolate, I promptly found an easy way out.
Photo credit Charles Phoenix.

The small matter of me not being there isn’t enough to keep me from writing about it however, so buckle up and get ready for the retelling of an event I didn’t attend.
Upon my non-arrival to the starting point early Saturday morning, I was initially struck by how pale and unshaven my legs were. Undeterred by this fact, I made my way to a nearby coffee shop to throw on some knee warmers, and to join in on some light hearted conversation and stretching with a group of bearded men all wearing matching orange Molteni jerseys. They were obviously locals and I thought it best to insert myself beneath their wings, as my sense of direction is all but useless, and regardless of the fact that I would soon be surrounded by over three thousand of my closest friends, I would most assuredly be the one who got lost.
Eventually once I garnered the men’s trust, to my surprise one of them produced a leather sheath containing an array of syringes. “What’s that?” I asked ignorantly. “Look jack”, the one holding the needles began, “do you want to win this thing, or are you just going to follow along sheepishly behind?”
“Well, of course I want to win” I stammered, “but I want to win clean, like Barry Bonds, or Lyle Alzado.”
“Oh son, this isn’t what you think it is” He continued. “We don’t mess around with controlled substances. This is something better.”
‘What could he possibly mean’ I thought to myself.
“M’boy this is 100% pure, Columbian Unicorn Semen.”
My mind went spinning wildly off into the clouds. Could it be? Could this be the elixir I have waited for for so long? Without hesitation I took the needle from the man’s hand as I pulled down my fake tattoo arm warmer, and patted my vein to attention, my hands shook in anticipation. Slowly the vein gave way to the cold guage, and the plunger dropped. I was immediately overcome by a rush of euphoria unlike anything I’d ever experienced before. I fell back into my chair, as the band of hirsute men all chuckled and excused themselves in unison.
“We’ll see you at the starting line” one of them said as they disappeared into the now immense crowd.
The guilty self accusations of what I had just done soon gave way to determination and the unfaltering strength to pummel all who surrounded me. First and foremost however, I needed to eat a bagel.
So that’s what I did, and know this dear reader- I ate that bagel with a more powerful intensity than any bagel I’d ever eaten before.
Soon a man who looked very much like Todd Bridges was standing before us with a bullhorn clinched tightly in his grip, directing all of us to the starting line. I made my way to the front where I was elbow to elbow with bicycle racing royalty. Levi, Fred Rodriguez, Gorgeous George, Jack Lawerence as well as a host of others surrounded me, and I felt their nervous stares as I moved up just ahead of them, making sure they all took note of the paper plate emblazoned with a bold ‘#1’ twist tied to my handlebars.
Seconds before the starting shot rang out, I adjusted my fanny pack and glanced over my shoulder and sneered.
Like an expansive herd of brightly colored gazelles we were off, all who were behind me, frantically shifting in order to match my cadence. Immediately I threw it into the big ring and put my head down to make the first break. In a matter of minutes, I heard someone closing in fast. I glanced over my shoulder and it was my bearded friends. “Take it easy, chief” one of them said. “We don’t want to let the cat out of the bag so soon.” I could barely contain my power. It was like I had bands of wild horses attempting to burst from each of my thighs. I down shifted and again broke free from the bearded chase group. “I can’t help myself!” I said into the wind. “I just gotta be me!”
As I neared the first rest stop I saw friendly faces waving me in with a promise of exotic cheeses other various fortifications. “Can’t stop!” I yelled. “Pass me my musette bag!” Confused, a hapless woman held up a two foot long summer sausage, which I snatched from her hand as I passed. Immediately I stuffed the phallus into the leg of my shorts for safe keeping as I motored past, the main group now just a spec in the distance behind me.
I continued on, the rest stops and mile markers clicking off like dominos. At the 60 mile mark I stopped to fill my water bottles from the jugular of a baby dear I’d caught grazing on the side of the road. With renewed vigor and a thirst for victory nearly quenched, off I sprinted once again, ‘Eye of the Tiger’ playing loops in my head.
I was in awe of my own physical fortitude as the rolling hills and seemingly insurmountable climbs melted past me like so many forgotten memories. The trees and fence posts that lined the course now just a grey-brown blur in the corners of my eyes, my heart beating with the rhythm of a determined drummer, never missing time. One, two, one, two.. Budup, budup, budup… It is the fire in my furnace.. The engine that keeps me going, maintaining the piston-like efficiency of my unfaltering quads, and the miles kept rolling by.
At the 95 mile mark, I felt a shadow nearing my periphery. I glanced under my arm and was shocked by what I saw. I removed my prototype Giro sunglasses to make sure it wasn’t a smudge distorting my vision. Dumbfounded, I sat up as Levi effortlessly breezed past me, sitting atop his handlebars and pedaling backwards.
He dropped his glasses and looked at me with a steely gaze.
“Bitch” was all I heard as he hopped around forward and then remounted his bicycle’s cockpit, never losing his cadence.
Back into the drops I fell as I down shifted and gave chase. As I moved in and sat on his wheel for the final sprint, I noticed my own reflection in his rock hard buttocks. It was as if I barely recognized the man staring back at me. “This isn’t who I am” I muttered to myself. “I am not a win-at-all-costs type of cyclist.” As the realization set in my pace slowed and just before the finish, I peeled off and made myself vanish into the waiting crowd. Just before I was enveloped by the masses, I looked back one more time to see the group of bearded men bear down on Levi and come in a close second, third and fourth. “You’ll never be a winner!” one of them yelled at the sky from the finish. I knew that he was talking to me, and as I rolled slowly away, my summer sausage tucked firmly between my legs, and his words echoing in my head, I embraced that which I knew to be true.
He was right, I probably never will be a winner, but as I type this, and my near victory is now just a fading memory, I’m ok with that. I may never be a winner, but as least when I loose, I know I will be loosing clean and with a half eaten sausage in my shorts.
And that is probably what would have happened on Saturday.
For a visual feast, you could always check out Jake’s photos.
So where the hell do we go from there?
To a video of Brittany perhaps?
Ahh, how about back to the stuff sitting on the back burner?
In New York they have some bike polo freak outs about to go down, all about which you can read here.
Then all the way on the other side of Amerikuh, we here in the region where it rarely rains are getting back into the cross season. Funny thing is I always thought cross season in California should happen a couple months after it starts everywhere else because that’s actually when the weather turns foul, but obviously I’m not in charge of things like that.
Though it’s a pretty safe bet that someone in Boulder is.
If youd like to delve further into what the Surf Cityers have brewing, go here.
What I typically like about these races is that they are close enough for me to ride my bike to.
Driving for an hour and a half to race a bike for 45 minutes is retarded.
In between engineering city-wide destruction and cool trinkets for stoners, the derelict of Denver, otherwise known as 685 has made some time to roll out some new soft goods;
I ordered one up the other night and he promptly emailed me back telling me to get bent.
His business savvy is like no other.
You know who won’t say such a thing if you order a bit of product?
Curtis, that’s who.
Unless you try and get a bike like mine, then the insults might start flying.
And now in closing, a heart felt message from Zoltron;

Maybe it’s because of things like that that All Hail The Black market is now banned within the hallowed halls of Giro.
True story.
Alright cats and kittens… It is with every fiber of my being that I thank you for tuning in once again. Keep it upright, and well see you midweek.

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11 Responses to “The Gran Fondo, was the Gran Nondo, but I’ll write about it anyway.”

  1. teamfubar October 5, 2009 at 4:33 am #

    Dammit Stevil, you SHOULD have went to the Grand Fondue or what ever it was. I desperately want to know if the rarest of the rare ejaculatory material works…need it for, um, well, a friend.

  2. Robert October 5, 2009 at 9:06 am #

    I never realized that you were such a wordsmith. I cuddled up in a snuggie with my laptop and a hot cup of tea while I read that.

  3. Rocky October 5, 2009 at 9:19 am #

    haha. ‘i’ve drank beer as long as i’ve known about it.’ solid quote. just saw your video. the fit chick looks like she could kick my ass.

  4. blacksocks October 5, 2009 at 10:18 am #

    hey, we can see you now.
    luv, giro

  5. chad October 5, 2009 at 10:31 am #

    two tings:
    1. you should always gargle with Unicorn Semen, don’t waste it
    2. Best interview ever. When will the “i’ve drank beer ever since I known about it” shirts be available?

  6. Christo October 5, 2009 at 12:00 pm #

    Quality reading there Stevil.

  7. lana October 5, 2009 at 12:22 pm #

    Hey! Im the girl with the bike on your blog! You can’t imagine my glee when I was doing my daily check of your blog and there I was!!!! Everything else in my life from now on is going to come in second to this moment! That is until the day I get my beer coozy in the mail.
    Thanks for writing a rad blog and I can’t wait to wear the Black Market on the Ironclad jerseys next year!

  8. Andrew October 5, 2009 at 1:47 pm #

    Nice work. I thought I didn’t see you wearing Duegis and running shorts on not your 1978 Viner, passing me on Kings Ridge Rd while simultaneously adjusting your saddle height with an allen key ala Mr. Merckx.

  9. gene o October 5, 2009 at 1:58 pm #

    That was horrible, like PBR. Crap.It looks like all of you had been up for a few days.

  10. Robert October 6, 2009 at 11:15 am #

    Everything you need to know about the GrandFondo can be summed up with the picture on

  11. FunkyLaneO October 6, 2009 at 1:40 pm #

    The way cross racing should be in Vegas: