I’d always assumed a Gran Fondo was the bike equivalent of a volksmarch. A chance for a leisurely ride in the countryside. I was wrong. An Alabama century I’ve done for several years, the Cheaha Challenge, became a Gran Fondo. And not just any Gran Fondo, the U.S. qualifier for the world championships in France. So when the guy in the Rapha kit — and my age group — passed me on the last climb … well, that could not stand.