Yesterday was my third Gran Frondo, the last was in 2016.
Last year was a bit of an odd year, I knew what to face, yet I struggled. I was planning on correcting that this year.
The most important part of the Fondo is the months and months of training before hand. This year that went well. Up to this point I've been on the bike for 243 hours, 5,050km over 198 bike rides. I only ended up doing Mt Seymour 3 times. But rides with Steed around some North and West Vancouver gave me some extra hill practice.
I managed to lose 20lbs over the training, but have gained a lot of muscle mass especially in my legs. I also did the challenge route of the Ride to Conquer Cancer with some awesome Mozilla friends. The weekend before I did the same route 3 times, on the last day I hit a pile of personal records.
Two equipment changes also helped. I had a computer to tell me how fast I was going (yeah, should have had one earlier) and I moved from Mountain Bike pedals over to Shimano road pedals.
So know what I was facing I had a slightly different plan, focusing on my nemesis, the last hour of the ride. To do that I focused on:
- Drafting on the flats where I can
- Taking energy gels every hour to replenish electrolytes
- Not charging up every hill
- Going for a faster cadence in a lower gear
- Saving the energy for the last half (same as last year)
As the day arrived a new challenge appeared. It was raining. Pretty much the entire bloody way.
The first part felt good, I knew what time I would have to arrive each rest stop to beat the last time. I made it to the first stop 13 mins ahead of schedule. But then made it to the next stop about 10 mins ahead of schedule. Then the sticky peice of plastic with the times on flew off.
At this point I was getting anxious, I seemed to be slowing down. All I could remember was the time I needed to be at the last rest stop. Then came the hills.
The difference's here were: the rain was keeping me cool so I wasn't dehydrating (also energy gels helped), I knew my pace and I had energy in my legs. Over the last 20 km I floored it (well comparatively for me) where as, in previous years I just fell apart. The whole second half of the race were personal records.
The result? I ended up crossing at 4h 44m. That's 17 minutes faster than a younger version me.
Today, my knees, wrists and other parts of my body all hurt and I skipped the Steed ride. But other than that I'm feeling not too bad.
Also, I signed up for the Fondo next year. I'm going to get below 4hr 30min next year.