Return of the Gran Fondo!

Sunday August 21st will see the return of the Gran Fondo Lake Huron cycling event in person.

This is a fundraiser in support of Saugeen Memorial Hospital Foundation’s “Bring TOM to Town” campaign. This is a bike ride that allows you as a participant to help save lives in our Saugeen Shores and surrounding area. Bringing “TOM”, a $3 million CT scanner, to town means patients needing a CT scan will no longer have to travel to Owen Sound. It means improved healthcare for Saugeen Shores, our surrounding communities and for the thousands of visitors we welcome each year. 100% of every rider-raised dollar goes directly to the CT scanner fundraising goal. This event offers a 30 km route as well as a 70 km and a 110 km route. Register (search “Gran Fondo Lake Huron presented by Bruce Power) today and be part of an important fundraiser as well as an excellent community event.

Want to be a part of this but unsure if you would be able to complete the task on event day? Get your bike serviced to be sure it’s in fine riding shape, don a helmet, maybe ome cycling shorts (they really increase the comfort in the saddle) and start riding now. If 30 km is your goal, start riding, indoors or out, 2 times a week for 20-30 minutes to start. Add a third ride on week 3 and increase your time in the saddle by 10 or 15 minutes for at least one of your rides. Increase to a 4th ride on week six. Maintain riding 4 times a week and begin to work on gradually increasing the length of the ride first and the difficulty of it later. If you are riding outdoors, rather easily for 45 minutes or an hour, start challenging yourself with some hills. If you are on an indoor bike, include some interval drills in your ride. Sprint for 30 seconds, then ride easy for 30 seconds. Repeat  8 -10 times. Or increase the tension to simulate a hill climb. Ride at high tension for one full minute then ride easy for 30 seconds. Repeat 5 or 6 times. Gradually add time and distance to your rides. A reasonably fit rider on a decent, well maintained bike can expect to take 1.5 to 2 hours to complete 30 kms. Be sure to be able to get to that length of time in the saddle a few weeks before the event. The more often you ride at the goal distance prior to the event, the easier it will be on event day. The 30 km route does include a few minor hills. Be sure to include some hill riding in your training. They too will become easier the more you do them.

Be sure to include some cross-training into your training plan. Do at least one day of yoga each week. Or add in a strength training day. Try a walking or running day once a week.Too much of the same thing can set you up for overuse injuries. Stretching after every ride will be extremely beneficial. Sitting on a bike for too many hours can shorten the hip flexors, tighten the quads, strain the neck, and bother the low back. Be sure to always include stretches for all major muscle groups after a ride in order to maintain muscle balance. Have at least one non exercise, rest day each week. All of these tips are even more important if you are training for the 70 or 110 km routes when your rides are longer and therefore your risk of overuse injury increases.

A similar plan applies to anyone wanting to up their ride to the 70 or 110 goal. Add 10% time to your ride each week. Include intervals in your ride, especially if you have limited time to ride. Intervals will increase your fitness level as well as improve your strength and stamina. These routes have more hills as well as more difficult climbs. Be sure to get dome hill drills in your workout plan. If you have a long ride day or an intense strength ride day, take the next day as a rest day. Recovery is important. Build it into your workout plan. Lack of rest and recovery can lead to overtraining which means you won’t progress and can lead to injury. Signs of overtraining are fatigue, yet trouble sleeping, increased resting heart rate, irritability or lack of interest in riding.

Be sure to always hydrate with water during a ride and then with a diluted electrolyte drink once your rides go beyond one hour. Carbohydrate snacks that are easily consumed on the bike are also a great way to keep energy up for long rides. The sugar content will fuel you, yet you won’t get the energy crash that occurs when you are not exercising. There are plenty of water and snack stations along the route during the event, you don’t even need to bring this with you. Just come well prepared to ride, bring lots of enthusiasm, don’t forget the sunscreen and enjoy the ride! It’s for a great cause!