Had a challenge issued to me by the blokes at GCN to ride the 2019 RBC Gran Fondo Whistler on a ‘classic’ bike. It so happenned that I had been carefully curating my original Eddy Merckx race bike from the late 80’s, initially for the 2015 Tuscany Eroica - all 207 kilometres of mud and grime! In addition to an 80’s or older steel frame, the rules for Eroica state that you have to have:
1) Exposed brake cables
2) Toe clips and straps
3) Downtube shifters
I kept it 100% original and paid the price. Gripping the tiny brake hoods nearly broke my hands and the toe straps burned through the tops of my feet where callouses were no more!
Fast forward to 2019 and GCN asked me to ride the 120km RBC Gran Fondo Whistler with them on the same bike, ostensibly to qualify for the 2020 Gran Fondo Worlds on ‘classic’ bikes. Typical cyclists wanting to make it harder than it needs to be.
I knew that I had to make changes if I was going to be able to keep up. I got to work configuring my Shimano carbon tubular race wheels with an 11 spd, 11-34 cassette that would help me get over the climbs. Added a long-cage rear derailleur along with a Wolf Tooth drop out extender allowing the pulley wheel to clear the 34. I used a 1” to 1 1/8” quill adaptor to allow for modern stem and bars, along with old skool looking TRP brake levers!
The Fondo turned out to be amazing. My new/old Merckx worked wonderfully, the company super fun and the weather gods held out for us. Click the photo for the full retrospective on GCN Tech.