This past year Chris and I did the 110 Mile Gran Fondo Bike Race – my full race report is here: Biking the 110 Mile Gran Fondo NY. Recently a reader asked me for some tips in preparing for the event, so hre are a few tips and thoughts on it…
Overall, I didn’t do a ton of specific training for the gran fondo. I joined NYCC and did a 30-50 mile ride with them for the 6 weeks preceeding that ride, and then just did it. Just spending a lot of time on your bike is the key I think – get to know how it all feels, how your gear works, how your body deals, and you’ll be fine.
On eating – start testing out your food routine on warm up rides in the weeks prior, and then stick to that on the ride. I ate a bagel for breakfast with a bunch of coffee, and then did luna bars and other carbs and fruit they had for us at each rest stop. I specifically did not do any of the gummy bears or energy gels – for a 100 mile ride, you want to go for endurance, not the quick burn of a gel.
Gear – definitely get to know your gear, but don’t take a long too much. A basic repair kit is good, and enough water to get you to the next stop, but nothing too extreme. I paired down all of my gear to what I could carry in my jersey – no saddle bag or anything strapped to my bike. Repair kit in left pocket, fits in small freezer ziploc bag – tube, patch, CO2 x2, multitool, levers. Dailys in center pocket, fits in small freezer ziploc bag – iPhone, credit card, ID, cash, health insurance card, metro card, 3 business cards, sunblock stick (doesn’t leak), luna bar or two. Right pocket – Pocket camera, lens cloth bag. That’s it. I got the best padded bike shorts I could find, which was good.
Competiton – Yeah, there are a lot of “bros” on the course, but do it with your friends, stay cool, and have fun! The only person you’re racing is yourself, so if you make sure to have fun no matter what, you’ll be just fine. Enjoy the ride up bear mountain, hang at the top, it will all be great.