Team Amanti Vino at the finish lineThis past Sunday, Team Amanti Vino rode the 60 mile NJ Highlands Gran Fondo. Training and riding with Sharon Sevrens of Amanti Vino, Terence and Mark– our NJ sales reps–climbed 4,820 feet in 58 miles, but at least their day was sunny and warm, much unlike our experience a few weeks earlier suffering the cold, wet path of the Gran Fondo NY. What follows are three short recaps of the event from Sharon, Terence and Mark. Thanks for the photos and congrats on the great finish Team Amanti Vino!
Sharon Sevrens of Amanti VinoSharon Sevrens:
Terence at the finish
Terence Salmon:When Sharon of Amanti Vino mentioned the first annual NJ Highlands Gran Fondo back in February, I thought sure, I can do that and actually have enough time to train. However, with the winter being so cold and so long, my time on the bike was limited to an indoor trainer. I really didn't take to the road until the first week of May. At that time Sharon had organized Team Amanti Vino and recruited wine trade people, AV customers and some people whom she doesn't even know. They just wanted to be part of Team AV. For a couple of days each week, Sharon, restauranteur Chris Cannon, cheese and fine food purveyor, Mike Trullinger and myself would drive out to the course and ride 20 to 40 mile sections, thinking that if we practiced the two toughest climbs that we would be okay for the rest of the ride. Man, were we wrong. With the days leading up to the ride being so rainy, and with the war stories from the Gran Fondo New York still fresh on our minds, we definitely began to feel a bit of nervous with anticipation. However, as luck would have it, Mother Nature was very good to us and gave us a beautiful, sunny day with temps in the high 70's. It was a tough course for us weekend warriors, with five climbs ranging from 1.7 miles to 5+ miles, with two timed climbs of 2.3 miles and 5+ miles. Overall, there was roughly 4,800 feet of climbing and only a few sections where we were on a flat surface. On the ride, I had some cramping in left calf early on (mile 29), which made the second big climb (5+ miles) difficult. Then I had serious cramp (or knot) in left thigh around mile 40...so I just had to suck it up for last 20 miles. It's amazing how mentally challenging it is to keep going when your body is telling you to stop. That's where being part of a team really makes a difference, having that support to help you power through.
It wasn't a 10 Best Day, it was a 5 Best Day. Last Sunday just being outside was a treat. Riding a Gran Fondo with the Amanti Vino riding team in the Ramapo Mountains surrounding Craigmear Ski Resort in Newfoundland, NJ (and it does look like Newfoundland) was the icing on the cake. What world overcrowding? This ride was rural, secluded, verdant and picturesque with a 17-year Sicada soundtrack. We passed more lakes than I've ever seen in one day and as many hills in between each of them. Much tougher than the NYC Gran Fondo. But simply beautiful. Good to be alive, and off that seat. I actually ended up with the best climb times for my age group. I KNEW everyone looked pretty young...