Phil’s Sugar Cookie

THOUSAND OAKS, CALIFORNIA

Last year I came for the weekend and rode the longer route (Chocolate Chip Cookie) on Saturday. Having done that route, it made sense to try the other route this year, the Sugar Cookie.

The official car of the Cookie Gran Fondo

I stayed at a Homewood Suites in Thousand Oak and mapped out a route to bike to registration. It was 10 miles door-to-door so I would be adding 20 miles to the “40-mile” Sugar Cookie route. I think 55 miles the day before the Gran Fondo would be enough.

Phil Gaimon as Cookie Monster

The temperature was great but there was one issue. I was riding into a low rising sun. At times I had to shield my eyes to see. That was not a problem for me but I also worried that there may be drivers fighting the sun and may not see me on the road. I was nervous.

Barry and Phil’s Mom

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Barry and Susan Walters

After Phil’s group rolled out, we had 30 minutes before our group was ready to depart. I heard a voice – that voice – and I recognized it from Seinfeld. It was Susan Walters, who played the girlfriend that Jerry never knew her name – DOLORES! Susan was trying to take a selfie with friends and I offered to take a photo for her. And then I got a selfie (not really, one of her friends took our photo).

Barry and Anthony Venida

Before we rolled out, Anthony Venida, came in with some friends of his. They would be riding tomorrow. But I have known Anthony for six years and it was good to see him again. He also was recovering from a traumatic brain injury earlier in the year. But instead of being found unconscious next to a river, he went all-canyon and went over a cliff. He truly is a lucky young man.

Cookies on the ride

I thought I might ride with Susan’s group but they rolled out about 10 minutes before our official time. I never saw them on the road.

The views…

Once on the road, the route started out similar to what I rode last year. Out a canyon road and then an eight-mile climb up a pretty tough mountain. There is 4600′ of climb in just 37 miles. This is not an easy ride. After the climb, it was a short loop and back to start.

Phil Gaimon and Barry

On my descent, I tried to get in the big ring and get some real speed going. But the bike did not want to shift. My computer told me I was in the big ring but my eyes and my legs told me I wasn’t. I stopped and determined that a piece in the derailleur that lifts the chain had sheared off. I figured, and confirmed this with the VeloFix van, this is not a simple fix but a part replacement would be necessary. But not for this weekend. I would be out of luck for the rest of the weekend.

Frankie Andreu

On my return trip I never could get some good speed going. I was a slow-poke going back.

Frankie Andreu and Barry

Back at the site, we had a great lunch. I also chatted a little bit with Frankie Andreu, who also doubled as Phil’s race announcer.

At the evening Gala

I bought some items at the merchandise tent, left the items (on purpose) and my wallet (not on purpose) to be picked up later this evening at the VIP Gala. There’s a bigger ride tomorrow.


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