Doughboys. And doughgirls.

There is something about organized rides that I don’t like. Oh, there it is! It’s the word “organized.” As soon as the flyers start waving, the waivers start flying, the entry fees start piling up, and the rules start getting disseminated, I get limp all over.

I remember when I did my first century ride. It was sponsored by the Austin Bicycle Club. I think Terry Wittenberg Bob Lowe were still on ABC then, riding with Shimano stuff in an all-Campy era. There was no waiver, but there was a sign-in, and you rode off when you rode off.

There was no sag and no post-ride celebration. There wasn’t even a finish. You did the route and patted yourself on the back and lied about your time, which you measured with this old-timey device called a “wristwatch,” and then when you got home you soaked your feet and head in epsom salts.

Since 1982 I’ve done a baby’s handful of organized rides. The biggest one I ever did, and encouraged others to do, was the Belgian Waffle Ride, four times from 2012-2015. I’m still recovering from the beatdown of 2012, and the psychological scars will likely never heal.

A grand fondue I’ve never done. First of all I don’t like fondue. Second of all I don’t like grand. So there you have it, no grand fondue for me. Mostly though I don’t like grand fondues because here in California the biggest one is the Levi Leipheimer Grand Ex-Doper Fondue.

It blows me away that people who claim to love cycling and clean sport will pay money to this asshole. He is the embodiment, along with George Hincapie, of success through cheating, and then, after retiring in disgrace, making several hundred thousand dollars every year on cyclists who gladly pay money to ride their bikes under the banner of a complete, almost wholly unrepentant drug cheat.

But I progress.

A few weeks ago it was brought to my attention that Phil Gaimon, America’s top professional road racer, is hosting his own grand fondue. It’s called the Malibu Gran Cookie Dough. So I was interested because I love cookies, and I love cookie dough, and I love Malibu. Still not a big lover of gran, but whatever.

When considering whether or not to sign up for this event, which was going to cost me over $100 bucks, and considering that these were roads I could ride for free anyway, and considering that I hate organized riding, several things occurred to me:

  1. I’d be supporting a clean athlete.
  2. I’d be creating a mini-platform to rant against the Thorfinn-Sassquatch/Levi Dopeheimer types.
  3. There’s no way in hell I’d ever do this route if it weren’t on a grand fondue, even though it’s one of the most fantastic routes imaginable.
  4. If you conduct a pre- and post-ride weigh in, and if you do the ride properly, you are guaranteed to be calorie positive.

Read #4 again. Calorie positive. Grand fondue. Shit ton of beautiful Malibu canyon climbs. Once-in-a-lifetime permit to ride Sycamore Canyon Road. Calorie positive.

Did I mention calorie positive?

Most grand fondues and century rides are set up so that you can flog yourself for six hours and then collapse in a puddle after you’ve uploaded your Strava file, which ranks you 897th for the day, 8,970th for all time, but first among 53-year-old men who weigh 153 pounds. Then after puddling, you drag yourself up to a picnic bench, drink a bunch, eat a bunch, and watch as your body tries to shift from survival-starvation mode to calorie-alcohol-overload.

There’s a reason they have a crash cart and defibrillator paddles at the finish rather than at the start.

But the Malibu Gran Cookie Dough is different. You can flog yourself if you want, but why? Instead of marking the route with tents offering sugary gloop with extra sugar, the MGCD offers actual food stops where you can feast on real coffee and real food dreamed up by Jeff Mahin, one of America’s very finest chefs and, not coincidentally at all, a specialist in the art of making cookies.

If you stop at the right stops, drink in the spectacular scenery, meander out for a ride instead of a race, and bring a big appetite, you’ll never be able to brag that you crushed it or that you did the hardest ride in the galaxy or that you broke Strava. Instead you’ll be able to claim that you did a big fun ride and you did it calorie positive.

Did I mention calorie positive?

[Photos used permission of Phil Gaimon.]



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14 thoughts on “Doughboys. And doughgirls.”

  1. Everyone should do the Malibu Gran Cookie Dough because not only will it be a great day on the bike, but you will be supporting City of Hope and Fireflies West. If you or a loved one has battled cancer or another serious disease then this is your chance to say “f— you!” to that disease. Phil Gaimon is a total rock star for his involvement in this event.

    Levi Leipheimer is a cheat, doping lowlife, and embarrassment to American cycling. I don’t buy the excuse that everyone else was doping too. There were plenty of cyclists who refused to cheat and they had to give up their pro racing dreams to the cheaters like Levi and big George.

    Although he is a cheating cheater, I do believe Levi has earned some good karma for his involvement with the gran fondo that bears his name. He brought the idea to his hometown as a way of saying “thank you.” He does not make money from the event and he has helped raise millions of dollars for local charities.

      1. I just received this message from Levi and wanted to share it with the other CitSB readers. I can attest to Levi’s ride being a great day on two wheels and hope everyone will add this to their bucket list.


        Hello. Cheryl passed on your questions about our GranFondo and the King Ridge Foundation. I’m happy you’re interested in what we’re doing and I’m personally available if you want to know more. We have done a lot of work over the last year to raise money and awareness for local organizations serving at-risk youth and addressing unique problems to our area with laser focus. We have also started a Connect campaign to give our out of town participants from all over the country to connect with an organization that serves at-risk youth in their community.

        My goal with this event from day 1 has been to make a positive impact on the World with the best day on two wheels, this is what drives me and the team at Bike Monkey and the King Ridge Foundation.

        Thanks again for your interest and I hope to see you at the GranFondo and/or our Festa dinner.


        Levi Leipheimer

        1. Well, here’s the thing. Lance did a lot of good things with his charity and he helped a lot of people. He made a lot of lifelong friends and he earned the gratitude of many people suffering from a terrible disease.

          The problem is that he was able to support them and do good works because of his prior and ongoing bad acts. So it’s the classic moral conundrum: Is is okay to hurt people in order to do good?

          I’d like to see the finances of the GranFondo and King Ridge Foundation. Is Levi one of its officers? Does he get a salary from either organization?

          If he does, then he’s absolutely benefiting from his past transgressions. So it’s not a bucket list event, far from it, if that’s the case. He’s a dude who lied and cheated his way to the top, suffered no meaningful punishment, and now lives as a philanthropist who is also paying himself a salary and earning forgiveness without having done a single day’s penance.

          If he is in fact unpaid and receives nothing of value from his ride and foundation, that’s a different story. But given his past deceptions and gross dishonesty, I’d want to see proof of it.

  2. Checked the route. Stupendous ride.

    Your close friend and mortal enemy blogger in NorCal considers the Levi ride the cat sass in the universe of rides. Who to believe?

    Serious doubt here that the doper’s ride has anything anywhere to equal the supreme canyons of Malibu.

    1. I have only mortal enemies, so it’s unclear which one you’re referring to, although it sounds suspiciously like Nancy, the pantywaist who strongly came out against Lance after he was busted but was silent as the grave during the long period when it was apparent to all but the bought-and-paid that the guy was cheating.

      See the earlier comment by EA about Levi’s work to make up for his cheating cheaterness, although I’d like to see a copy of the detailed IRS report of the 501(c)3 that runs the event–if that’s what it is. It’s possible but difficult to believe that Levi doesn’t profit from his grand fondue, however, it’s Monday and I’m gullible.

      1. I’d like to see a copy of the detailed IRS report of the 501(c)3 that runs the event–if that’s what it is

        The way the scam works, the 501(c)3 is legit. Don’t mess with the IRS.

        What they do to make it personally profitable is tithe the funds raised through fees/charges that aren’t reported at the IRS level. So, for example, they could pay Levi an “appearance fee” or a “naming rights license.”

        Given the level of cheating to which he was party, it would not surprise anyone to discover something morally reprehensible, but perfectly legal going on.

        Unfortunately, it’s the many, many events that actually benefit charities and do so with integrity get harmed the most. Let’s hope Phil’s ride is run as cleanly as he races.

    1. People who love clean sport don’t support it. Random people who know nothing and care less, with a few exceptions, are the customer base.

  3. If I was in the area, not broken, this is something I’d do, at a pace that allowed me to sample all the cookies.

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