Gran Fondo season is well underway and it’s time to take the hard earned fitness that you’ve been building over the Winter and Spring and put it to good use. Hopefully, you’ve been training with an approximate 3 week work/1 week rest cycle that provides you with time to recover and get ready for the next level of efforts. By including recovery time, you’ve trained your body to ‘super compensate’.
Plan out when you want to peak (i.e. for a Gran Fondo date) and work backwards, giving yourself a week of rest before the event and 3 weeks of harder training before that week. During that 3 week training period, do at least 1 long ride per week with the longest ride a week before the event. Make that ride be close to the same length of time of the Gran Fondo event on similar terrain (not necessarily the distance).
During your rest week, ride easy (keep it in the small chainring!) for 1-2 hours each ride, 3 times in the week. It may be hard to hold yourself back but you need to be disciplined to take it easy on yourself to allow for recovery.
Get your bike tuned up, clean the chain and check the tires for cuts. Go over your list of items that you will need for event day, taking all of the potential weather conditions into account. Proper clothing for rain is essential…it can get cold, fast when the rain comes and worse, when the spray flies up from the tires.
When you are training, practise eating and drinking the same products that you will use for the event. This is just as important as the riding and recovery portion of your training.
All of this takes experience to understand your own body and learn from your mistakes…take solace in the fact that this is not a perfect science – as we witnessed in the 2012 Tour de France when Cadel ‘cracked’ on the Aspin and Peyresourde.
Good luck with the Summer and I’ll see you on the start line!
Feel the Road.