On my list of things to do this summer was to try my hand at my first Gran Fondo.
After racing the 5peaks trail race the day before I wasn’t sure how the 140km on my saddle was going to go. The point of the day was to have fun, and try something new. I accomplished both with some surprising bonuses.
Gran fondo means long distance or great endurance (it does not mean“big ride”–there are running and cross country ski gran fondos too). Some cyclists ride for the satisfaction and pride of just making it to the finish line.
I was there by myself without a group to do the ride with. Many thought this was not usual. I got asked to join groups for the entire ride, but decided I would just do my own thing.
The Epic Halton Milton Gran Fondo is well organized, and I think my favourite part was the coffee stop on the way to the start line! Note for next year; bring a full cup into the start corral. You are there for a more than a few minutes.
Once the ride started the groups got pretty split up. I thought this would be more of a group ride and was looking forward to riding with others. I spent the first 1.5 hour catching a group. Once I got one, I wasn’t happy with the pace. Once I refilled my water and had some food at the aid station, I met up with another solo rider and we rode the rest of the course side by side.
The course was challenging. Hills forever. I can definitely say that the time I have spent with the guys on the donut ride made the Gran Fondo last weekend, a total success. Not only did the tips that all the guys shared with me come into play for the entire 140km, but the rides themselves prepared me for what I was up against in Milton.
I decided to do what a lot of the guys do on the donut ride for the first half. I rode the small ring and my plan was to move up to the big ring after 30km. Once I got a feel for how this course was going to be, I decided to just stay put. As a runner who is using cycling to stay super fit, this approach helps keep my leg muscles lean as I don’t want to carry around the extra leg muscle weight that cyclist tend to get. This is also good to prevent any knee or hip pain that can result from being in too hard a gear for a long period of time.
I had a very successful day. I rode 140km in 4:30 spinning out an average of 31km an hour. Not bad for a solo mission over a challenging course.
I never once bonked or felt tired and I’m thankful to all my sponsors who help me stay bonk-free during these endurance adventures.
What I ate for the ride:
For breakfast I had Stokedoats. I used Honeymaxx before and during the ride. At the one aid station stop, I ate a ton of watermelon, half a bagel and oranges. As an added boost I broke down and had one GU caffeinated Gel. Once I finished I drank a rumble recovery drink.
TIP: Eat and hydrate properly for all your endurance activities. The next day I was fresh enough to run and mountain bike. Eating right for any endurance exercise is key to ensuring you recovery fast for your next workout!
What’s next on the saddle? I’m going to ride the Centurion ride this weekend in Collingwood. Come join me, I could use the company. Go to http://www.centurioncycling.com/ to sign up.