There are still two more Gran Fondos left on the summer calendar. The first is in Banff on Aug. 25 and the second is Sept. 8 from Vancouver to Whistler. Both are sponsored by RBC.
If you bonked on your last long ride or are unsure how you will complete your first Gran Fondo, here's some advice.
There are many factors affecting how quickly you make it to the finish line. The course, the distance, other riders, the weather, your goal, your training and how you feel the morning of the ride.
Each factor will change your pacing strategy. The goal is to ride a speed that is fast enough to bring you to the finish line in a time you can be proud of but not one that pushes your limits so hard that you run out of steam before the end.
If you have a power meter attached to your bike, you can use wattage to help determine how hard you should be working. Your pace will be determined by past performances in training sessions but this doesn't help the majority of riders since they don't have power meters.
Here are tips to help you pace yourself, ride your best race and finish with enough energy to enjoy the post-ride party. . Review the course
If you live close to the course, you should be cycling parts of it during long rides so it becomes familiar. If you can't physically ride the course, follow it on Google maps or review it online. This will help you prepare for what's coming ahead.
Being prepared means you save energy for the sections you find toughest- whether that's a hill or a long flat stretch that is known to have a big headwind.
Start out slow
Just a like a marathon, you need to ride slower than what you think you should, especially in the beginning. When you are fresh, everything seems easy, but pushing a pace that you can't hold over the entire distance will come back to haunt you later.
Heart rate monitors are a good tool to help keep you riding slower since they tell you when you're working too hard and exhausting yourself.
The whole point of riding in a Fondo is to ride with other people. Work with these people to help you.
By drafting, you are able to keep a faster pace and expend less energy doing it. When it's your turn to lead the group, only pull for a short time then move to the back before you get tired-not after you're tired.
Your body needs fuel to perform. By eating small bites of food or drinking an energy drink every 15 minutes, you will have a constant supply of energy for your muscles.
Eating often instead of spreading out larger snacks will also help your digestion because your blood is working to bring oxygen to your muscles, not to your stomach.
Drink even more often
Dehydration will lower your performance. Drinking water is an excellent and easy way to help keep up the pace.
Maintain pace of long rides
If this is your first Fondo or you haven't trained to race this distance, you should be riding at the same pace as your long rides. If you still have energy at the end, then take it up a notch and see what you can achieve.
Take a load off
If you haven't cycled this distance before, stop at the rest stops and give your body time off the saddle.
These breaks will extend your time on the course, which means you need to refuel and eat something more substantial than gels and bars all day. A sandwich, which has carbohydrates, protein and a bit of fat, is a good choice.
Allow your body some time to digest before heading back on the bike, especially if you're facing a hilly climb after the lunch stop.
Kristina Bangma is a coach, personal trainer and writer with a love of riding and racing. Reach her at kris@getfitwithkris. com and on Twitter @KristinaBangma.