Gran Fondo events offer the best of both worlds in the arduous sport of cycling. You can choose to race with some serious cyclists and go for time points or you can enjoy a large group ride in a scenic area. Both of these give you the opprotunity to do what you love- miles upon miles of splendid leg rotations. Another great element of Gran Fondo events is there’s a distance for everyone. But, no matter what the distance is you have to train for it. What happens if your friend, training partner, significant other or employer signs you up for one of these calorie burning spectacles and conveniently leaves you with just 4-6 weeks to get fit? Well assuming you have some cycling in your legs just follow my Eleven Gran Fondo Cycling Training Tips below to ensure you’re ready at the start line.
- Make sure your bike is tuned up and in good condition. No matter what type of bike you ride you’ll want to ensure the tires are in good shape, the chain is lubed and not stretched and the brakes work without any issues
- Get a bike fit. You’re going to be on your steed for a long time so get a professional fitter to look at your bike fit. Make sure they look at the foot/shoe/pedal relationship and communicate to them anywhere you have aches or pains while riding
- Select which distance is correct for you. If your longest weekly rides are 20-30 miles than jumping to 62 or 100 miles is not where your fitness is at. You can fudge with your fitness level only so much. If you’re within 5-10 miles of your longest ride than go for the longer distance. So if you ride 45-50 miles once a week and have a few of these in the bag than go for the 62 miler.
- Always spend the first and last 5-10 minutes in the small chainring to warm up and cool down your legs
- To improve your endurance aim to increase your weekly cycling time by 10-15%. This will help you build up in a smart fashion and with a lower probability for over use injuries
- For any ride over 50 minutes have a carbohydrate drink with you and aim to drink 10-12 ounces per hour
- For any rides in the 2-3 hour timeframe aim for the fluids outlined above plus 1-2 energy gels. Gels or gummy type chews absorb quickest in the body and don’t require as much blood to be shifted from the working muscle groups to the digestive system. Leave the solid foods for before and after the race
- Aim to ride four times each week with one of the rides being your longest ride where you’ll average a heart rate under 145 beats per minute
- To build cycling specific leg strength aim to get in some 4-5 minute pieces in a heavy gear at 60-70 rpm’ with equal amounts of rest between pieces
- Aim to average 90-100 RPM’s on your daily rides
- To ride better you have to ride more. Tour de France winner and World Champion Eddy Merckx once asked how to to become a better cyclist. He simply stated, “Ride lots!”
For a personal and custom created training program please feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org