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The formula is:. The method to the sequence of workouts during the week is based on setting you up for success when doing the more challenging workouts and hitting the prescribed intensity to achieve the workout objective. In order to achieve this, we prioritize the structured workouts and complete these on rested legs. We then follow the structured workouts with endurance days, challenging you to ride your endurance rides on tired legs visualize the end of your event and helping to ensure you truly ride at an endurance pace.

Each week will include suggested on-bike workouts, as well as off-bike stability, activation, and mobility work. The week will include three structured workouts, two endurance days, one day dedicated to stability-mobility with shorter stability-mobility sessions sprinkled in to the week and one complete rest day. The answer is simple: to ensure your body is working as a harmonious unit on the bike. The trunk stability helps train the invaluable ability to engage and maintain neutral pelvis and spine over the duration of your event, ensuring back health and creating a stable platform for the hips to more effectively drive and deliver power in to the pedals.

Hip activation ensures your brain can find and fire the powerful glutes. Consistent mobility helps ensure biomechanical alignment and proper feedback. Remember training is a great opportunity to dial in the hydration and nutritional strategy that works best for you. There is no absolute here as every individual is different.

It is actually what we consume seven days a week that sets us up for success on our rides. Use training days to hone in on your pre-bike food and drink, on-bike fueling, and post-bike nutrition recovery strategy. Hint: I like real food as much as possible, on and off the bike. Finally, training is as much about physical conditioning as mental conditioning— so find your mental mantra to drive the physical effort. Training is the dress-rehearsal and the perfect opportunity to take the steps and gain the mental confidence that you can achieve your goals!

All rights reserved. The few motorists that you do encounter while riding there are patient and friendly. And so, by historical accident and geographical good fortune, Girona has become one of the most popular places in the world to ride a bike, for professional teams and amateurs alike. Strangely enough, it was the American rider Lance Armstrong who helped propel the sleepy capital of Catalunya to its current reputation a home of pro cycling.

In response, the boys from the US Postal cycling team packed up and moved to Spain, where no such tightening was going on. This, in part, explains the decidedly Anglo flair that Girona has. In the historic part of the city, English is practically the primary language. You hear American and Australian accents everywhere.

When I saw, late last year, a large organized bike race for amateurs— the Girona Gran Fondo— was being planned for the summer of , I knew I had to register. And, to be honest, I was surprised to find that the website and registration form was in English.

And, months later, when two hundred of us gathered at the start line in the shadow of the Cathedral of Girona, the race organizers addressed us in two languages: English and Catalan. They are extremely popular in Europe, and are becoming increasingly so in America. They are semi-competitive, timed events. The riders at the front ride like hell to finish at the top of the leader board, but some are just there to have a good time.

Most enter to test themselves and ride their best. Fondos solve a problem that has long-plagued road racing organizers. Closing public roads is expensive and difficult. In any Gran Fondo you can see the division — there are those with teams, strategies, pro outfits, and even professional racing experience. And then there are the rest of us. I only caught the biking bug in My business partner, Ian, asked me to join him on a ride he regularly did in Austin, Texas.

Almost immediately, I was hooked. I bought my first serious bike later that year, and when I moved to Spain in early January, I packed it up and took it with me. It was only once I arrived in Europe that I realized how seriously people can take cycling. In early January, I started putting some serious kilometers in. I figured that the Fondo, six months later, would be the ideal event to test myself, and perhaps give me some hints as to what to do next. Out of who registered, I finished tied for 37th. And, according to Strava, the de facto app for documenting cycling rides, I was the fastest finisher weighing over 95 kilograms.

For those of you of waning curiosity, I encourage you to get out while you can. Eivind and others on our Recon ride. It takes months to gain fitness. On the third climb of the day, I was hanging in a fast bunch of about This group included the top female finishers, some of whom had team affiliations. Instead of pacing on the wheels of my competitors, I settled into a tempo I could hold. By the time we turned off the narrow path back onto the road about halfway , I was still feeling strong and consistent but found myself about a football field or so behind the bunch with three other riders.

Far ahead on the horizon all three of us saw the crest on the road. British, was an older guy with a smooth London accent and an expensive racing machine. He obviously had aspirations of a strong finish, because when we saw the crest he cut the chit chat and got serious. But there was something that Mr. Yet the potential disaster of losing the bunch led Mr. British to make a fatal mistake. I watched it happen. And, as he set about doing so, I was able to lock into a steady pace on his wheel. As he motored toward the crest, he was winding and grinding, huffing and puffing. Who knows what Mr.

British was actually thinking? And, after all, it was a race. So I settled in on his wheel and never pushed myself over my limit. At the top of the crest, Mr. Every cyclist knows: stay out of the red. It can take minutes to recover from over-exerting yourself.

10 Training Tips for a Gran Fondo Success

I was able to coordinate my maximum effort with the top of the climb. I caught one of the leading groups and passed them, while recovering, on the ensuing descent. Without the simple knowledge of understanding when the climb would end, this story would be much different. Maybe Mr. British and I might have adopted less racey postures and gotten to know each other, rolling into the finish isolated but well-rested.

Riding through the villages surrounding Girona. This is thanks to hills. In Barcelona, they are everywhere. Here, a ride consists of cycling to a hill, and then going up it. Going uphill demands that you hold constant power for a length of time. Avoid them. If I was, I would have cut out all the beer I like to drink, or the tapas I like to chuck down my throat.

Cycling is for those who are pear shaped. Defined, slim, and vascular legs.

A Beginner’s Guide to Cycling Gran Fondos

Skinny arms, chest, and most importantly, stomach. Losing weight, if you are a fatty like me, is the quickest way to get faster. So our course was somewhat manageable.

A motorcade of Policia and freelance motorcycle owners guided us, in green neon jerseys, to the quiet country roads where the fondo would start. After not more than 5 minutes of pedaling through the roundabouts of suburban Girona, we were out of saddle straining up steep inclines. I expected this, of course. I reconned the course. But I did not expect to be hurting so bad. Just to stick with my bunch, I was already in threshold heart range. One only has so much time at threshold. A slim budget. I was already giving it just to stick with the bunch. Halfway through the series of steep ramps, I settled into a rhythm that was mine and let others go at their own pace.

In retrospect, at least some of this heart-pounding was from adrenaline, and perhaps it was exactly this that inspired me to push so hard on such steep ramps. Adrenalin, like amphetamines, can be a mixed blessing for riders. But the downside is the confidence they give you.

But pushing over into the red is a disaster. Your heart can beat erratically, trying to clear lactic acid from your muscles. You sweat profusely, your skin trying to re-find a suitable temperature. Squarely in the red. Splashed pools of sweat on my top tube. The fuel of a rider, energy bars, non-alcoholic beer, sports drink. Most of the riders flying past me on these ramps would slowly appear on the horizon later in the race. Once the ramps were finished, I was able to re-join the bunch. Smaller riders have a better power to weight ratio, making them faster in the hills.

The steeper the climb, the more any excess body fat will punish you. I used this advantage to re-join the top bunch of non-contenders. Our group proceeded in a large bunch through flat, humid and dewy roads for the next 20 kilometers or so, until we made a sharp turn into a forest to start the second climb of the day, a leafy three kilometers on the side of a mountain. Instead of doing my best to hold the bunch of 30 or so riders, I set in at my own pace. That pace, it turned out, was much too slow.

The strong riders ahead, who saw the climbs as the decisive moments or a race and they almost always are , took off.

10 Tips for Your First Gran Fondo | ACTIVE

Many minutes later, I found myself cresting the summit with a strung-out group of about six riders. Nerves set in. Had I lost the bunch?

I was beginning to sense my mistake. The only thing that kept me optimistic was the water and food stop immediately after the summit. I had enough food and water, so I could get in and out fast. Atop the mountains looking to the valley where Girona is located. Normally, at events like this, riders lounge at rest stops, dine on homemade brownies, sandwiches, and treats, refill their bottles, catch up with friends, and take a bathroom break. Not at the Girona Gran Fondo. This was more like an F1 pit stop.

Riders were fighting for position.

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People were forgoing both water and food. They were there for the punch in their race card, nothing else. I watched, somewhat in awe, as those I was riding with clipped back into their pedals and barreled down the other side of the mountain without so much as a water refill. I refilled both of my bottles, just in case. Never pass up a chance to fill your bottles, I thought. My arms were shaky and covered in perspiration.

My nerves were growing. I was slowly starting to think through the implications of my mistake. I surely could have stayed with them. Part of me had hoped that the riders who attacked on the climb would be here taking nature breaks and dining on treats. Maybe taking selfies and chatting about the beauty of Girona? Perhaps I could take advantage of their lack of seriousness and preparation to make up time. But there were no brownies or conversations. I thought about how badly I had screwed this up as a few race volunteers clumsily poured water my way and spilled it over my hands.

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I pulled out on a descent with two Dutch guys on fancy American bikes. By the time me and the two Dutch guys got to the long highway ramps, the jettisoned riders from the back of the main bunch came back together, and these dropped fragments formed a paceline of about ten riders. A paceline is when riders line up single file behind each other in order to save energy. In terms of rules, strategies, and tactics, cycling is a relatively sparse sport.

Those behind that rider are, in a very meaningful way, getting a free ride. I had no idea how dedicated these guys were to getting back on the bunch. They are probably gaining even more time in a stronger paceline. So I did something nuts, I went to the front and started pulling. Through the valley, our little group, now together for something like 20 minutes, began to pick up riders from the bunch ahead.

While all this was happening I was awkwardly dropping salt tabs into my emptying water bottles, anticipating the next water stop. Just a few months before, on my first ride of the hot season, I learned the hard way. You need to put salt in your water. Just trust me on this. At the second rest stop I came in with speed, just like an F1 driver. It seemed that the bunch ahead was breaking up.