OC Gran Fondo Event Report VIP George Vargas


I’d like to thank the Ride Director for the OC Gran Fondo, Cameron Jackson, for a wonderful experience as the VIP of the event. I was treated with VIP parking, a VIP lounge with breakfast and guests before the event, rolling to the head of the massive group (nearly 1,000), and a shout-out before the starting gun.  All the while, I thought what’s all this fuss about?  But as I reflected for a few minutes just before the start this recognition isn’t unearned or unwarranted.  It is nine years of suffering on the bike and consistently finishing or winning some of the hardest events race director’s evil and twisted minds have ever conceived.

I rode my Pinarello tandem, Penelope, with Lori.  I liked the route.  The OC Gran Fondo took me on streets I hadn’t been on before and that’s hard to do for a guy who often rides centuries for training.  The route made good use of the few hills Orange County has to offer i.e. Cannon, Saddleback Ranch and Santiago Canyon in both directions.

We rolled out with a police escort for a few miles.  When the motorman pulled off the pace picked up steadily and continued to increase on the Santa Ana River Trail.  By MIle 20 the lead group had thinned out to fewer than 10 riders.  And by the time we hit Cannon we were fewer than five.  Cannon (Mile 33) is one steep bugger.  It’s not a long climb but as a tandem we were at a disadvantage climbing the 10% grade.  I let the group go and was more than ok with not chasing them down.

Over the next 40 miles we rode conservatively because of the heat and the climbing.  We blew through the first few SAG stops.  Our first stop was Mile 82. I think Lori and I could have done the whole century unsupported with the water and food we had with us from the start.  I had 1000 calories with me in liquid, gel and semi-solid forms.

The course was well marked.  Unfortunately, there were few “Hooligans” on the course that moved signs and even removed signs off the course.  It was in the last few miles that these shenanigans were taking place.  We lost about 15 minutes trying to figure out where we were and how to get back on course.  But all’s well that ends well.  We finished in about 5 1/2 hours (7am start) and proceeded to enjoy a great recovery pasta meal! I’d like to quote my friend, Richard’s  Facebook comment on my finishing photo “a century before lunch is pretty good going”.  Indeed!

One last note if you took a picture with me either before or after the event please send me an email with the photo so I can post it on this blog report.

vireo508@gmail.com

Thank you OC Gran Fondo for a great day on the bike.

FURNACE CREEK 508

Ok so what’s next for George “Red-Eyed Vireo” Vargas?  My seventh consecutive Furnace Creek 508 solo is next weekend.  The race begins in the Santa Clarita/Valencia area on Saturday October 6th and continues non-stop until all 508 miles and 35,000 feet of climbing are completed.  Please follow my blog and Facebook to stay abreast of my progress.  Don’t expect much since I have not been able to train as I used to in years past.  The Furnace Creek 508 website will also be a great source on tracking me and the other racers.

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George “Red-Eyed Vireo” Vargas with Lori Hoechlin

George “Red-Eyed Vireo” Vargas with Jennifer Koles and Carol Barger

I’m seriously considering the Bianchi Oltre as my next bike!!

Bianchi Oltre as a complete build

 

OC Register Article OC Gran Fondo VIP George Vargas


Today’s OC Register interviewed Cameron Jackson, Ride Director for the OC Gran Fondo. I was mentioned in the article as the VIP rider. Below is an excerpt from the article which can be found here in it’s entirety.  Jackson is expecting up to 1,000 riders in just its third year of existence!

“And keeping with traditions of most gran fondos, which means “big ride” in Italian, there will be a VIP rider this year, George Vargas. Vargas specializes in endurance rides such as Race Across America and Furnace Creek. He has completed 24 double centuries and three triple centuries.”

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Come ride with George “Red-Eyed Vireo” Vargas on September 29, 2012 at the OC Gran Fondo 

 

OC Gran Fondo Countdown


There are 30 days left before the OC Gran Fondo.  If you’ve decided to participate then don’t delay entry fees will go up after September 1 as follows:

Before September 1st                                               After September 1st

VIP – $199                                                                          $249

101 – $99                                                                             $110

64 –   $99                                                                             $110

30 –   $25                                                                              $30

11 –   $20                                                                              $20

Hope to see you there  Come Ride with George “Red-Eyed Vireo” Vargas!

OC Gran Fondo – Come Ride with George “Red-Eyed Vireo” Vargas


It is with surprise and great humility that I accept the offer to ride the 2012 OC Gran Fondo as their special guest.  I feel honored and hope I am up to the task.

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On September 29, 2012 the event will feature several options.  The shortest distance offered will be 11 miles which is great activity for families.  Other distances offered will be 29, 64, and for those that really want to be challenged the OC Gran Fondo offers a 101 mile route.   The event is in it’s third year and has grown considerably in popularity.  The organizer is expecting close to 1,000 riders this year.  I will be riding the century as my last long training ride before the 2012 Furnace Creek 508.   I hope to see you out there having a great time!

See below for important event information and click here to register!

We have not raised the price for the 101 and 64 mile rides and we have lowered the price for the 11 and 30 mile rides!  However register before September 1st because the price goes up after that.  Remember, if you want to guarantee your jersey size for the ride, please register by August 17th.

Before September 1st                                               After September 1st

VIP – $199                                                                          $249

101 – $99                                                                             $110

64 –   $99                                                                             $110

30 –   $25                                                                              $30

11 –   $20                                                                              $20

I would like to hear from you!  Feel free to post comments or questions on my blog and I will get back to you.  Come ride with George “Red-Eyed Vireo” Vargas.  Please support this local event right here in Orange County!!