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Week prior to Gran Fondo

uncle_al-2uncle_al-2 Posts: 8
edited September 2019 in Training, fitness and health
Just my second year cycling so I'd love to hear some thoughts on my situation. I'm participating in a Gran Fondo (120 km) on Sunday, Sep 22 (it's Wednesday Sep 18). My last good long ride was Aug 31. The two weeks leading up to the event haven't gone as planned. I was supposed to do another Fondo (90 km) on Sep 7 but it was cancelled due to Hurricane Dorian and last weekend a mechanical problem prevented me from getting on the road. To substitute I got the mountain bike out and did a 2 hour ride on gravel and rough terrain, and did a spin class last night.

So, 5 days out and I'm wondering how best to make use of the time I have left for training and nutrition, especially the day before the ride. I've seen contradicting advice online, one recommending to ride the day before and one recommending rest. There is a short club ride (40 km) at a brisk pace I could attend Saturday morning. My other thought was to do an easy-paced ride Thursday and/or Friday evening, which would have to be 20-30 km due to time constraints.

On the nutrition front, last year I carb loaded for 3 days prior to an event. I had energy to burn and felt great during the ride, but that may be due to eating a fair bit during the ride. My plan is to be generous with carb consumption the few days leading into the event, but not necessarily "loading", and go with the GCN power breakfast (porridge) the day of the event, and just be sure to bring lots of calories with me on the ride.

Any thoughts on final days prep would be greatly appreciated!


  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    I think you may be overthinking this.

    What distances have you ridden in training as your longest ride ?

    Carboloading isn't really a thing any more - certainly not three days worth anyway. Just eat normally and sensibly.

    Personally I'd not ride the day before but its wednesday now so you could certainly still do a couple of hours if you want to.

    Remember to eat and drink as you go and have fun.
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    I'd do a gentle spin on Friday and rest the day before. I think 3 days carb loading is a bit over the top, just make sure you eat sensibly the day before and have a good breakfast on the day. Eat / drink as much as you're comfortable with on the way round, and pace yourself. Last thing you want to do is get over excited and start chasing faster riders from the off, only to suffer badly in the final 50k.

    And good luck!
  • If the event is particularly arduous, or you're aiming to do a good time (for you) then the best option is to rest two days before the event, and on the day before do something like 90 to 120minutes at a steady pace (the zone above recovery) and include 3 x 3-mins at a race type pace (the effort you could maintain maximally for around 60-mins), separated by several minutes of easy riding. After you finish this ride you should consume slightly more carbs than you usually do.

    Thursday you could, potentially (a lot will depend on your fitness and powers of recovery) do a bit of a ride.
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  • Thanks for the input!
  • for the week before, you really aren't training's time to shed any fatigue and come into the event at 100%.

    You can do a ride the day before, often called Openers, where you're just opening the legs up (5 x 30s @ 120% FTP max, recover 60-90s between efforts) ride time 60-90m.

    Hope the GF went well!!

  • pilot_petepilot_pete Posts: 2,120
    This is an old thread but honestly, it was 75miles. If you just ride your bike fairly often and can ride 50miles, and don’t go out too hard it should be easy. As others have said, probably just rest for 1 day before would be adequate.

    My wife crazily doesn’t do any riding all year then does a coast to coast with friends over a few days. She manages 40ish miles a day (at a pretty slow pace) which includes going over the Pennines.

    As for nutrition, well I don’t think you need anything special. Just eat a normal healthy diet and set off after something like a big bowl of porridge. I’d use one carb based drink and one plain water which would be plenty unless it’s baking hot. Maybe carry a few chewy bars (I just use Naked bars from the supermarket) which would comfortably see me around that distance, even if it were hilly. I’d probably only eat one of them if it was a flat route.

    I find that I don’t need to eat anything for a 50mile ride, just one carb (or even just water) drink. Anything much more though and I will start eating after about 25miles, but only small amounts. It depends how far/ fast you are going - I did a 200mile ride last summer and planned 3 cafe stops - I had a bowl of porridge at home, a Naked bar at 25miles, scrambled eggs on toast at the first cafe (50miles) and a pot of tea, a panini with salad and chips at the second with a coke (100miles) and a tea cake and coffee at the third (150miles) with another Naked bar at about 175miles. I drank 3x500ml bidons with energy drink and 3x500ml bidons of water throughout the ride.

    I averaged 16.5mph and had plenty of energy in the tank at the end - having never ridden that far I took it really easy for the first 140miles then felt fine so upped the pace a little - having completed the route I’d planned at 180miles I thought I’d knock out another 20miles to make the 200. I did that at nigh on 20mph average with 180miles in the legs I felt so strong.

    What I did do is ride a lot in the months before, doing at least 1x100mile ride per week plus 2 or 3 50-75mile rides per week. For 3 days before I didn’t ride at all.

    So the key is miles in the legs in the weeks/ months before to build up base fitness, normal food and then pacing yourself on the day with a sensible fuel plan that works for you (based on previous experiences).

    I’d be interested to hear how the OP got on.

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