November Wellness Champion

Smoke or Shine – Let’s Go For a “Big Ride”

Our November Wellness Champion is the Gran Fondo participant, Joey Grace – Executive Assistant in the President's Office. 

After buying herself a quality hybrid bike, Joey asked her sister Sharon to join her in training for the annual Kootenay Rockies Gran Fondo bike race. A Gran Fondo is an Italian term which loosely translates to “big ride,” typically 120 – 150 kms. For their first bike race, Joey and Sharon opted to do the Medio Fondo which was going to be 102 kms, riding from St. Eugene to Cranbrook, Kimberley, Wasa Lake, Fort Steele and back to St. Eugene. The two set out on a two-month training program for the big day. Their training consisted of 3 rides per week, 2 short rides and 1 long ride on the weekend. Between training and the race, Joey and her sister rode over 1100 kms.

During their training, Joey took the initiative to keep track of their progress, while noting their favourite routes. She also used the Strava app, to see elevation gain, average and maximum speed, and as an overall motivation to enhance her training performance.

The race day looked a little different than what Joey and Sharon had anticipated, as the Kootenay Rockies Gran Fondo was cancelled due to the danger of many fires in the area and poor air quality. As devastating as this news was, Joey and her sister decided that they did not train vigorously for the past 2-months to not complete their “big ride.” They took matters into their own hands and established the, “Joey and Sharon’s Medio – 100 km Fondo in Lethbridge.”  

Joey took to Google Maps and created their own race route. Because the route had to start and finish at Joey's house, and hills had to be included to make it as comparable to the Kootenay's as possible, approximately 40 kms had to be done in the city. “This route is a close as we could get it to what we would have done in the Kootenay’s had we been there, including going up the West side hill at km 80” said Joey. They organized their own schedule and included “pit stops” at three locations with family and friends to refuel and rehydrate.

Their very own race day came, and the ladies finished in 6 hours with pit stops, leaving their final race time at 5 hours and 4 minutes!! They still endured poor air quality in Lethbridge with the smoke, and the heat rising to 33 degrees by noon – all of which did not get in the way of completing their Gran Fondo!

Joey’s rides did not stop there, as she is currently biking across Canada with her hybrid bike and stationary spin bike. She keeps track of her distances using google maps, as well as the Strava app and her biking stats. She’s currently on her way on HWY 1 to Swift Current! This is another indicator to showcase the love that Joey has for biking and remaining physically active.

We would like to congratulate Joey on her amazing completion of a Gran Fondo! A truly remarkable achievement of motivation and physical activity.

Until next year's Gran Fondo…