Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
Here are some common “what if” scenarios that you should be prepared for in a fondo.
You get a flat tire or a mechanical issue
Getting a flat tire is unfortunate but should not completely ruin your event. Carry all the necessary tools, including a tube that fits your tire (even if you ride tubeless). If you know how to change the tube on your own, get to work.
If you don’t know how to change a tire, you will need to wait for a good samaritan to stop (which is less likely in an event) or wait for the event/first aid car. Keep your head up and watch for the event vehicle, as they may not see you. Expect to wait for at least 20 minutes. If you are close to an aid station, walking there might be faster than waiting.
You lose the friends you were supposed to be riding the event with
It is challenging to keep tabs on friends, especially in a mass start event. If your goal is to ride the entire event with your friends, make a plan ahead of time to regroup if you lose each other
You get dropped from your group and are now riding solo
You have four choices:
Choice #1: Change your strategy and your pace, expecting that you may be riding alone for most or all of the event.
Choice #2: Take this opportunity to stop at the next aid station, use the bathroom and refuel. Then get ready to jump into the next group when it rolls through.
Choice #3: Ride slow, take some time to recover, and wait for the next group to catch you.
Continue to ride at your race pace.
When you catch up to a rider (who is not suffering), tell them to draft behind you.
Continue to pick up riders this way until you have at least 4-5 riders in your group.
Help them get into an organized pace-line and then take a break at the back. If you work together, you may even catch up to the group that dropped you.
You are in a great group but have to stop at an aid station
Ideally, you only stop when others in your group stop. Talk to the people around you. Chose a few riders who ride well, similar to your fitness level, and ask them if they want to stop with you. Then wait for them at the aid station so you can ride together again.
You have to stop at several aid stations
If you are a rider who needs to stop regularly to stretch, eat, pee, etc., then plan on riding most of the event on your own or with a group of friends who also stop frequently. Take your time and enjoy the day.
You run out of water
If you are riding for under 4 hours, you should be able to carry enough water to last for the duration. Place a water bottle or two in your jersey pockets, so you have one bottle every hour. If you plan on riding longer than 4 hours, you will need to stop to refuel. See above for strategies.
You bonk or get heatstroke
Ideally, if you prepare for the weather and pace yourself, this won’t happen. But if it does, stop at an end station, seek shade, and refuel. Call the medical staff to get a ride back to the start if you feel faint, nauseous, or dizzy. Don’t forget to text your friends waiting at the finish line for you, so they don’t worry about you.
Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
Riding in a fondo or an organized event is much different than a weekend long ride.
If your goal is to make the most of the perks, like closed roads, fantastic food stops, and beautiful scenery, then your ride time will likely be slower and you will be out in the elements longer as you soak it all in.
If your goal is to use the event as an opportunity to push yourself to achieve a Personal Best (PB), then you will need to prepare for that type of intensity.
Pacing yourself is essential to having a successful day, whichever way you decide to ride..
#1. Learn the route
You need to know the route before planning your overall pacing strategy. Can you use up all your matches, knowing that the last 40km is a downhill coast, or do you need to save some? Are you drafting or riding alone? Where are the rest stops? How many will you use and when?
#2. Draft – or not
Watch your speed when riding in the middle of the back of the pack. If it feels comfortable and you are riding way faster than you ever have – enjoy the ride! Don’t get fooled into thinking you can ride faster and waste energy pulling at the front. Take the opportunity to cruise and recover. If you are faster (than the group you are in), wait for a smaller group to break away at the front and go with them, or wait for a faster group to catch up.
#3. Know yourself
Knowing and listening to your body is more complicated than it sounds. The body can fool even the most experienced riders; therefore, you need to plan the following ahead of time:
1. What, how much, and how often will you eat and drink?
2. How often can you push into Zone 4/5 without blowing up?
3. How many breaks do you need and for how long?
4. If you “feel” like the pace is relaxed or see that your power output is low – is it really too slow? Refer back to #1 and 2.
#4. Patience, Practice, and Perseverance
Learning how to pace is not easy, and the more gadgets you have, the more complicated it gets. Executing the perfect pacing strategy takes time, practice, and patience.
If you want to learn more about pacing, how to use a power meter (or heart rate monitor) and other training tips, I suggest the following books:
The Power Meter Handbook by Joe Friel
Training and Racing with a Power Meter by Hunter Allen and Andrew Coggan
A term used to refer to the clips and pedals that have replaced the earlier system of toe clips and straps. In a clipless pedal system, the pedal has a mechanism that locks it to a cleat screwed into the underside of the shoe.
All road riders, wanting to ride in an organized group ride, must be comfortable riding with clipless pedals.
For this reason, our first lesson in the Intro to Riding group is learning this skill.
Click here to watch a video on which pedals would best compliment your riding style.
There are two main types of pedal and cleat combinations: Shimano SPD & Shimano SPD-SL.
Casual riders, commuters, and mountain bike riders should chose Shimano SPD as the shoes are more comfortable and easier to walk in and the cleat works well in muddy conditions.
Road cyclists and long distance riders should chose Shimano SPD-SL as you will be able to generate more energy through the pedal.
If you have the money and plan on riding a lot, it is well worth it to upgrade to carbon soles. You may have your shoes for at least 10 years and the carbon soles will make your ride more comfortable.
The following is list of pros and cons for each type.
- great for commuting, gravel riding, mountain biking, recreational riders
- can clip into both sides
- easier (to learn how) to clip in and out, especially since you can choose a pedal with a wider base
- easy to walk in the cleat is either recessed or the shoes have
- less contact with the shoe which reduces performance as less power is transferred to the pedal
- may be less comfortable for longer distances (3+hours)
- both negatives are also highly dependant on your shoe choice as well
- + 2 bolt cleats made of metal (heavy but durable and works well in muddy conditions)
- most common road bike cleat
- has the most contact with the shoe which transfers more power to the pedal
- SL stands for super light
- difficult to walk in as the cleat is larger and makes first contact with the ground
- single sided so it takes some people a bit longer to learn how to clip in
- + 3 bolt cleats made of plastic (light but less durable and does not work well in mud)
Strengthening this “red zone” is one of the keys to improving your performance and remaining injury-free for every sport. Your power comes from the core.
These muscles stabilize your torso and provide the base on which you can build power and strength. It doesn’t help to have strong legs if you have a weak core.
Twice a year I offer an AB CHALLENGE series and I hope you will join me. I need to clarify that this challenge focuses purely on ABS; however, it is imperative that you use your core to complete the exercises.
In my workouts, I talk about the pelvic floor. Contracting the core is not the same as holding your breath or sucking in your belly. Both of these actions are dangerous when strength training as they increase intra-abdominal pressure, which is not good.
Check with yourself. Do you know how to hold your core? If not, please repeat this glute and core maintenance video once a week until you feel comfortable with this action and can activate the core with awareness, then automatically when required.
My husband, Duncan, and I have been training with Kristina for over 10 years and goodness knows where we’d be without her! Prior to the pandemic, we worked out in the gym in private sessions and in group classes. We have also participated in her cycling club. No matter what the format, I am consistently impressed at the many ways Kristina can disguise a squat! All kidding aside, the variety of activities, techniques and movements she brings forward and her overall coaching (programming how/when to train certain muscle groups, nutrition, breathing exercises, meditation, mobility, guidance on equipment and apparel, etc.), keep us healthy, engaged and motivated.
We decided to train with Kristina because of her extensive knowledge of the body, her focus on form and her adaptability around injuries. Duncan has a history of lower back issues and I struggle with carpal tunnel and occasional asthma. Because of these issues, we worried that we might do the wrong exercises or do them in a way that would exacerbate the problems. With Kristina leading the workouts, we know we’re in good hands. No matter what the movement, she’s always able to adapt to our present ability. To our delight, moving to an online format during the pandemic hasn’t affected her ability to correct our form or suggest adjustments.
We feel tremendously lucky to be working with Kristina. She is a wonderful coach, knowledgeable and always seeking to grow her knowledge base. Her style is supportive and encouraging, never bombastic or over the top. She gets to know you, what you are capable of in the moment, and what you can grow to achieve.