Levi’s GranFondo 2010 Ride Video

10.12.2010 | 9:32 am

Here’s something you may never have considered: wearing a helmetcam for eight hours can get downright heavy on one’s head.

And in fact, I had never considered this fact, either. Until last Saturday, where I rode Levi’s GranFondo, wearing a helmetcam the whole way.

By the end of the ride, though, said helmetcam had weighed heavily enough on my head that it left a very serious bruise and what is quite possibly an abrasion on my forehead. Here, I’ll show you:


I circled it for you (which is to say, the circle is not on my forehead in real life), so you can find it more easily.

I say all of this by way of pointing out that wearing a helmetcam turns a 100-mile bike ride — in perfect weather, with friendly people, on a beautiful course, with unbelievable aid stations, and with terrific company — very very hard work.

But I’m willing to do it. Not for myself, mind you, but for you. Because I love you.

So, here’s my Levi’s GranFondo 2010 ride video.

PS: Congratulations to all the winners in the giveaway I did around Levi’s GranFondo. All winners have been notified by email, and all — except the person who actually won the Trek Top Fuel — have replied.

All I can say is, if I were named William and I lived in Arizona, I’d be checking my inbox (and maybe my spam folder) for an email with the subject line “You, FatCyclist.com, and Levi’s GranFondo.”


  1. Comment by tom | 10.12.2010 | 9:38 am

    looks like fun

  2. Comment by Gregg | 10.12.2010 | 10:03 am

    I never got my email. Maybe it’s still in your outbox folder?

  3. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 10.12.2010 | 10:12 am

    It was a great day for a ride and please thank your head for it’s sacrifice. Have you considered a tattoo on that spot? maybe a mini-clydesdale? I would refer others to ‘thenoodleator’s’ video for the Coleman Valley Wall climb mile 75 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q23yaXrV8L4 for those of us without awesome quads. A true pleasure to meet you.

  4. Comment by Justin l | 10.12.2010 | 10:12 am

    Awesome love the video, really sad I missed that ride, considering I live an hour away, I am new to cycling and did not hear about this event untill your blog. I will be there next year for sure, hope to see you there again!!!

  5. Comment by Mary from NC | 10.12.2010 | 10:14 am

    I am going to have to do the ride next year, is it really downhill the whole way? spectacular scenery.

    Actually, about 8K feet of climbing, mostly in short steep climbs. Not a lot of climbing shown in the video because standing climbing looks terrible from the point of view of my helmet cam (weaving left and right, pointing down and the pavement). – FC

  6. Comment by Franky | 10.12.2010 | 10:25 am

    Nice video of the ride!

    As for the bruise on your forehead I think you were mistaken, I don’t think it was the helmet cam. Upon closer examination I think I’ve found the culprit:

  7. Comment by Jack | 10.12.2010 | 10:32 am

    Nice course, all down hill and rest stops except for one flat section with a tail wind and one short climb towards the end.

    Yeah, I thought about how this video might kind of fly in the face of the fact that there’s 8K’ of climbing. But for most of the climbing sections, the camera (ie my face) is pointing down at the pavement, rocking back and forth. Doesn’t make for great watching! – FC

  8. Comment by Clancy | 10.12.2010 | 11:00 am

    In the video, you seem to spend a lot of time following the runner down the decents. Is that your way of telling us that she is a better decender than you? :-)

    Yes. – FC

  9. Comment by AngieG | 10.12.2010 | 11:20 am

    Great video!!! Love the music choice. :-)

    I have to say I knew you would have a good time. The little Bike Monkey’s are busy beginning our planning for Fondo 2011. For those of you who missed this most amazing ride, keep an eye on the official GranFondo website http://www.levisgranfondo.com/ or the facebook page http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#!/levisgranfondo for more information.

    If any of you that particpated have comments or suggestions regarding registration, please email me at angie@bikemonkey.net

  10. Comment by Laura | 10.12.2010 | 11:26 am

    I’d like to know what brand of mascara you use. Your eyelashes are unbelievable.

  11. Comment by Mary | 10.12.2010 | 11:34 am

    Thank you for sacrificing your head to show us part of the ride–looks like a lot of fun…am I the only one who feels nauseous now though?

  12. Comment by Eric L | 10.12.2010 | 12:01 pm

    Great video. The only thing missing was narration by Phil & Paul. Your camera must have some sweet image stabilization. Have you ever posted about what your video rig is?

  13. Comment by Jim | 10.12.2010 | 12:36 pm

    Wow. And you finished the ride with that enormous cut on your head? Holy cow. I think I’d have had to call for air evac, and a morphine drip.

  14. Comment by Jim | 10.12.2010 | 12:37 pm

    Seriously. I’ve seen marshmallows tougher than your head. They weren’t as funny though.

  15. Comment by Leigh Anne | 10.12.2010 | 12:38 pm

    Echoing Jack and Mary from NY…..no way was there that much downhill!!! I rode it and around mile 60 I was cursing the downhill because I KNEW what uphill were ahead. Sorry to not see you fatty but don’t worry I represented bringing up the back of the pack
    8686 ft of climbing
    101 miles
    8355 calories( yep I am going to use this excuse for at least a week!)
    By no means was this an easy ride

  16. Comment by Clydesteve | 10.12.2010 | 12:56 pm

    sweet. The Runner really does keep outdistancing you on the downhills.

    I like to draft pretty close to my wife…

  17. Comment by Amanda | 10.12.2010 | 2:40 pm

    awesome video footage. makes me wanna do this ride next year.

  18. Comment by RZ | 10.12.2010 | 3:47 pm

    Are you the Fat Cyclist?

  19. Comment by oheckler | 10.12.2010 | 3:54 pm

    I agree that the footage is awesome. However this ride is so incredible that even the almighty Rotund One’s video prowess cannot do it justice.
    Sadly I was not able to participate in the GranFondo but I have done this ride before. Not sure what it’s like to be up there with 6000 other cyclists but riding those roads with one or two close friends makes for just about the best day a cyclist could ever hope for.

  20. Comment by Randall Smith | 10.12.2010 | 4:56 pm

    The pleasure of watching your video surely must have outweighed your head pain. Thanks a ton – it was awesome!

  21. Comment by Dustin | 10.12.2010 | 5:15 pm

    You should post the whole 100 mile video in fast forward mode with some music overlay with the title – “Ever wonder what a 100 mile amateur ride looks like”

  22. Comment by Jen | 10.12.2010 | 7:03 pm

    Wow- are you joking? I should helmet cam some of my rides sometime,. that is so ridiculously awesome. O would ride everyday for views like that!

  23. Comment by Squirrelhead | 10.12.2010 | 7:15 pm

    That was a great video. I really liked the guy asking if your the Fat Cyclist at the end. One day I will be doing cool rides like that.

  24. Comment by Harmon | 10.12.2010 | 8:16 pm

    I’m William. And so’s my wife.

  25. Comment by Deb | 10.12.2010 | 8:37 pm

    The roads looked a little sketchy in places. Did less experienced riders have trouble with them? I had a friend who rode the route about a month ago, and he said it was tricky, and some pretty bad road surfaces.

  26. Comment by Nurse Betsy | 10.12.2010 | 10:25 pm

    Great ride. Love the music and the guy at the end asking if you were “The Fat Cyclist”? Too funny. You are awesome Fatty.

    Noodle is almost done with her ride. Should hit Astoria tomorrow! Amazing.

  27. Comment by Born 4 Lycra | 10.13.2010 | 5:52 am

    You are all on the wrong side of the road you maniacs…….. oh wait a minute.
    Great video reminds me very much of the Tour Down Under in scenery and weather

  28. Comment by Sara | 10.13.2010 | 7:45 am

    I think you should get a tatoo of that circle on your forehead – just to be cool, you know?

  29. Comment by Paul Guyot | 10.13.2010 | 8:04 am

    Is there any way you could do a post sometime showing your helmet cam and giving us the 411 on it? Maybe a “Fatty loves…” segment?

    I’d love to know more about it, where to get one, etc., etc.

    Looks like a great day. Hope you’re feeling better.

    Excellent idea. I’ll do it. – FC

  30. Comment by brandon | 10.13.2010 | 8:29 am

    I’m not William in Arizona, but I’ll respond if you send that to me!

  31. Comment by Domestic Executive | 10.13.2010 | 4:28 pm

    If your head gets too sore, maybe you should try these


  32. Comment by D. | 10.14.2010 | 12:41 pm

    Seriously, is this dinky post all we get for the Grand Fondo?

    Helmet cams are ruining blogs.

  33. Comment by artfulD | 10.14.2010 | 6:03 pm

    Nice movie. From back in the pack among the hoi polloi things looked a bit different. I remember the downhills as the brief minutes when I wasn’t in agony. And the uphills seemed like an endless series of 20% pitches that eventually reduced some of my cohort of very non-elite cyclists to walking the shoulder of Coleman Valley Road. Not good cinema unless you title it “The march of the done-ins.” I wanted to film my ride, but battery technology is still too limited. Your sacrifice was worth it, though. You captured the beauty of the roads and the weather. Just promise no feet pictures after NYC.

  34. Comment by roan(not my real name) | 10.15.2010 | 11:38 am

    Real name ‘Will I Am’, not back to AZ from the Fondo yet. Moving to Flagstaff just to be closer to you. Great video, will U return next year ? I need to plan early. Weather sure beat the Tour of CA, Santa Rosa ending.
    About diet plan…I usually wait until stomach starts commenting(complaning). That doesn’t work well though because it doesn’t start speaking up until about mile 30.
    Intercepted the Noodle team just south of Cannon Beach, OR on final day 10/13/10. AWESOME ! Glad I didn’t need to have her stop…she was taking photo of Pacific far below.
    Looking forward to the Fatcyclist long distance(multi-day) group ride…when ?

  35. Comment by 2UpDuc | 10.15.2010 | 1:59 pm

    Great vid. Sorry about your head. have you thought about mounting to your handle bars? I am getting the VHoldR HD that will mount under Handle bars and wont be as shaky as a helmet mounted cam. Example. http://www.vimeo.com/11110544

  36. Comment by MrDaveyGie | 10.16.2010 | 8:52 pm

    Good Grief Fatty, that helmet cam wore all the hair off of your head too. :-)

  37. Comment by Clericeric | 10.17.2010 | 12:02 pm

    My first name is William, and I’m willing to move to Arizona if I can have the bike!

  38. Comment by Marshall Miller | 10.17.2010 | 3:21 pm

    I do hope that Fatty is scribbling away at an extended Gran Fondo diary. It was a fantastic ride (probably the best I’ve ever done), and it would be wonderful to hear it recounted from Fatty’s unique perspective.

  39. Comment by Mark Buckaway | 10.18.2010 | 9:10 am

    Solution to a damaged head: mount the camera on your bike. Never really had any luck with cameras mounted on the helmet. Lots of different mounts available from pointofviewcamera.com. I mount my cameras (Contour 1080HD) underneath the stem on the front and on the seat post on the back.

    I did the local Centurion Gran Fondo up here in Canada with cameras mounted on the front and back of my bike. Similarly, last week I went up and down Mt. Ventoux in France with cameras mounted fore and aft: http://videos.hackcycling.ca. Hardly notice them.

  40. Comment by Mike Phennicie | 10.18.2010 | 11:53 pm

    My name is Mike Phennicie, I’m an Investigator with the CHP. It was a great day! I was doing traffic control on SR-1 at Coleman Valley watching all of you zoom past. But unfortunately someone in a vehicle didn’t enjoy the Gran Fondo as much as we did. I’m investigating an incident during the event where a rider was run down. Information has been very hard to come by. We are looking for an older, dirty, lightly faded, red/maroon, Ford Explorer/Expedition If anyone has any information or video of the Graton Rd. area please contact me via email or phone (707)588-1400. Thanks.

  41. Comment by Robert | 10.19.2010 | 11:31 am

    Cool video. Reminded me of many Northern California rides that I have been on. Still my favorite place to ride! I live in Houston now, very flat here.

  42. Comment by Beginning Biker | 09.23.2011 | 3:40 pm

    I’m still confused on how you got the bruise. Wasn’t the helmet cam on the helmet? If so, that means the bruise came from the weight with the helmet pressing against your head. Ouch!

    Exactly. – FC


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