The oak tree dotted golden hills throughout Santa Ynez Valley have long been a cycling hotspot. Quiet country roads with horse ranches and vineyards offer pristine riding–exactly why CTS decided it would be the ideal location for their first-year Gran Fondo. On November 11th the CTS Figueroa Mountain Gran Fondo will take riders on a beautiful tour through the valley, in addition to over one the most challenging climbs the area has to offer. What are some things to think about going into this or any other endurance event? We have your answers.
The leadup:Begin tapering your riding about 4-7 days out from the event, with the final 2-3 days being quite light in order to make sure your body is fresh and your muscle glycogen stores that could have been diminished from longer training rides is adequately restored. You want to be on top of your hydration three days out, especially if it’s expected to be hot and/or humid. It’s also a good time to study the course route and familiarize yourself with where some of the main climbs and rest stops are so that you’re not caught off guard during the event.
Event morning:The morning of Figueroa Mountain Gran Fondo isn’t a time to upset your normal breakfast routine, or even worse, skip it altogether. Ideally, your breakfast will include protein, some greens or veggies, fruit, and whole grain carbohydrates at least 90 minutes out from the ride start. Of course coffee is fine too, but be sure you’re continuing to hydrate with water and an electrolyte mix leading up to the start.
Pre-ride check: Pack food in your pockets to take with you and don’t just rely on the rest stops as places to eat. Having a couple of Bonk Breaker bars in your pocket allows you to start eating within the first hour of the ride, which will help keep you considerably later on in the day. Thirty to sixty minutes before the start is also the time to apply Topical Edge PR. Make sure to apply the lotion to your quads, hamstrings and glutes, then wash hands.
Out on course:Are you at the Gran Fondo to ride with friends and keep it social or is your goal to stay in the fastest group possible and treat it like a race? Obviously, if you’re going into it as a social day, the riders in your group will dictate a pace that keeps everyone together. For those wanting to see how they stack up and push themselves, staying in a large group early on will help save some energy leading into the climb up Figueroa Mountain. Once over the climb the groups will be fragmented and possibly disorganized as riders start to tire, so the key is to always communicate with those around you—chances are they’ll be willing to work together.
Getting over a 10-mile climb:The trip up Figueroa Mountain is no small feat for anyone. At 10 miles in length and an average of 6 percent, how you approach a climb like this could make or break how you feel in the final 30 miles of the event. Remember, you’ll be climbing anywhere between 1 hour up to 2 hours for some and your heart rate is going to continually climb even without increasing the intensity. So starting the climb at a conversational pace rather than racing into it will do much to increase your enjoyment later in the day.
Staying strong to the finish:We’ve already talked about pacing yourself throughout the day, and in addition to that, staying on top of your food and fluid intake is also critical to feeling strong late into the ride. A good rule of thumb for caloric intake is to consume 250 calories per hour, preferably eating solid food over gels. Some of those calories should come from a carbohydrate/electrolyte drink as well. Depending on the temperature, drinking between 16-32 ounces of fluid per hour is going to be important to ensure you don’t fall behind on your fluid intake early in the ride where sometimes cooler temperatures mask the need to drink. Dehydration is not something you bounce back from quickly like you can from not eating enough.
Since you’re sure to heed all this advice there’s little doubt that it’s going to be a good experience!
Topical Edge is proudly supporting the CTS Figueroa Mountain Gran Fondo and will be providing PR lotion to all the riders.