How to Train for and Race Gran Fondo Events, with Colby Pearce

The great thing about gran fondos is there is no “right” way to do them. We teach you how to train, race, and prepare for these popular events.

Fast Talk Podcast Q&A

Not long ago, gran fondos were these strange events popping up in a few places that most racers didn’t understand. Now, when you talk to most younger riders, they know all about fondos, but they might ask you what this road racing thing is all about. The gran fondo-style event has exploded in popularity in the last decade. Somewhere between a race and a group ride, it appeals to a broad range of riders. Some show up to race all-out on a challenging 100-plus-mile course. Others come to ride with friends and enjoy the accomplishment of a demanding and scenic route.

The nice thing is there is no “right” way to do it. This style of event accommodates both riding styles. Now we’re seeing multi-day events like Haute Route that combine the challenge of racing (through timed segments) with the pleasure of a bike tour through some of the most scenic spots in the world. The question is: Do you train for and approach these events differently from a weekend race or group ride? More than a few of you have asked us that exact question, so in this episode, we’ll try to give you an answer. In this episode, we’ll discuss:

  • What the experience of a gran fondo or Haute Route is like and why they are becoming so popular
  • The different goals and approaches riders will have at these events
  • How to train and prepare for both the one-day gran fondo and the multi-day Haute Route. Hint: When it comes to the training, it’s not as different as you might think.
  • The importance of pack skills and sticking within your comfort level
  • Nutrition and hydration for the event (and why I love cookies so much)
  • Final preparation in the week leading into the event
  • Strategies for both racing and riding a fondo, as well as multi-day Haute Route style events

Our primary guest today is master’s world hour record holder and Haute Route ambassador Colby Pearce. He’s been on the show enough now that he needs no introduction. Along with Colby, we spoke with Michelton-Scott’s Brent Bookwalter. Brent is an Olympian, a veteran of many grand tours, and the organizer of the popular Bookwalter Binge Gran Fondo. This year it takes place on October 26 in his hometown of Asheville, North Carolina.

We also touch base with three-time gran fondo world champion Bruce Bird. If that title doesn’t impress you, you should also know that at the age of 50, Bruce finished 14th at Canadian nationals in the pro race. Bruce also organizes a worlds qualifier event called the Blue Mountains Gran Fondo in Ontario where both he and Trevor are from. This year it takes place on June 15 in Collingwood, Ontario.

Now, prepare your cookies, let’s make you fast!

Primary Guests Colby Pearce: Coach and bike fitter
Secondary Guests Brent Bookwalter: Pro cyclist Bruce Bird: Gran fondo world champion

Episode Transcript


Welcome to Fast Talk, develop news podcast and everything you need to know to ride like a pro.


Chris Case  00:15

Hello, and welcome to Fast Talk. I’m your host Chris case managing editor of velonews joined as always by guy who will almost never turned his back on you, because Trevor Connor, was long ago that grant fondos with these strange events that were popping up in a few places, here and there, most racers simply didn’t get them. Now you talk to some younger riders and they know all about fondos. They probably ask you, what’s this road race thing all about? The grand fondo style event has exploded in popularity in the last decade. Somewhere between a race and a group ride it has an appeal to a broad range of riders. Some show up to race all out on an epic 100 plus mile course. Others come to ride with friends and enjoy the accomplishment of a challenging and scenic route. The nice thing is, there is no right way to do it. This style of event accommodates both riding styles. Now we’re seeing multi day events like combined the challenge of racing through segments with the pleasure of a bike tour through some of the most scenic spots in the world. The question is, do you train for and approach these events differently from a weekend race or group ride? More than a few of you have asked us that exact question. So today we’ll try to give you an answer. In this episode, we’ll discuss first what the experience of granfondo or route is like and why they’re becoming so popular. The different goals and approaches riders will take at these events, how to train and prepare for both the one day granfondo and the most day route style race. Hint when it comes to the training it’s not as different as you might think for the importance of pack skills and sticking within your comfort level five nutrition and hydration for the event and why I love cookies. So very much. Number six final preparation in the week leading into the event. And number seven strategies for both racing and riding a fondo as well as multi day group style events. Our primary guest today is world our record holder and ote route ambassador, Mr. Colby Pierce. He’s been on the show enough now that he needs no introduction, but it is worth noting that the day we recorded this episode, it was snowing so hard that Colby actually showed up on his fat bike covered in snow saying no worries. I didn’t crash that much. Then he spit out to. Along with Colby we talked with mitchelton Scott’s Brent bookwalter. Brent is an Olympian, a veteran of many grand tours, and the organizer of the popular bookwalter binge granfondo. This year it takes place on October 26 in his hometown of Asheville, North Carolina. We also touch base with three time granfondo World Champion Bruce Byrd. If that title doesn’t impress you, you should also know that at the age of 50, Bruce finished 14th at Canadian nationals in the pro race. Bruce also organises a world qualifier event called the Blue Mountains granfondo in Ontario, where both he and Trevor are from, hence they both talk funny. Sorry. We’ll post links and information about the old Greek calendar bookwalter bench and the Blue Mountain granfondo on our website, if you’re looking to try this style of event, these are three of the best now prepare your cookies. Let’s make you fast.


Trevor Connor  03:33

This episode of the Fast Talk podcast is sponsored by ote route. What is a route? Well, it’s not a cycling tour and it’s more than a road race. So multi day granfondo style event where everyone starts together each morning and you can ride with friends all day. You can indulge your competitive side on time sections if you feel like it and explore iconic cycling destinations around the world. Boat route takes services to the next level with pro tour style support on the bike and rider focus amenities often choose from a dozen events in 2019 in France, Italy, Norway, Oman, Mexico and China. In the United States, there’s still entries available for road Route Route Asheville in May, an old route San Francisco and September try something new in 2019 try out route


Chris Case  04:31

does it today’s episode of fast Talk is brought to you by whoop the performance tool that is changing the way people track their fitness and optimize their training, who provides a wrist worn heartrate monitor that pairs to their app that provides analytics and insights on recovery strain and sleep. know when your body is recovered or when it needs rest by getting to know your nervous system through heart rate variability and quality of sleep. Automatically track workouts and get strain scores that let you know how strenuous training was on your body and see even more more data like average heart rate, Max heart rate and calories burned. Get optimal sleep times based on how strenuous your day was and track sleep performance with insight into your sleep cycles and stages of sleep, sleep quality, and sleep consistency, monitors heart rate 100 times per second 24. Seven to give you full insight into your day, so you can optimize the way you train. Having used the loop myself, I can tell you it provides fascinating data that will change the way you train, recover and perform. Whoop has provided an offer for fast stock listeners to get 15% off their purchase with the code faster. That’s f a s t. Ta lk, just go to w h, o And plug in faster.


Chris Case  05:56

So today we really want to dive into granfondo is we’ve gotten a lot of listener questions and feedback about the this type of event about Haute Route about or route this burgeoning type of race slash ride slash event out there this make it your own adventure type type thing. So we want to dive into a lot of the different elements.


Trevor Connor  06:17

And probably where we should start is defining this type of ride because there are a lot of different variations. Sure.


Chris Case  06:22

Tell me about your first granfondo experience or the experiences you’ve had on on granfondo strivr.


Trevor Connor  06:30

My first is they’re quite popular up in Canada now. There’s probably as many grand fondos as there are actual road races now. So I started doing them up there. And we had one called a centurion, which is what I was getting out there. There’s a bunch of different variations. The Centurion was just simply a road race. It didn’t have time segments. It was just one long segment and basically, yeah, it starting corrals, yeah, the a group that was just there to race you had a B group that was there to go hard and C group that was there to sightsee. Mm hmm. But it was 100 miles. And it was the there were no time points, there weren’t really stations. So it was pretty darn close to a road race,


Chris Case  07:09

right. And obviously, the origins here being Italian granfondo means the great version of the granfondo. There’s also sometimes a Piccolo and I may do and different distances. But when we think of them, or at least when I think of the granfondo, I think of a really quite a long day, a lot of climbing a good hard effort in total. And the ones that I’ve done out route and the Golden granfondo. And some others, they’ve all had these time segments. So it isn’t a point to point, first person across the line wins. And sometimes granfondo isn’t about winning at all. It’s just about completing it, having the experience but the ones I’ve been in, you take your time from each of this, three segments, four segments, whatever it might be added up. And that’s your quote winner for the day and go be whatever, whatever your experience has been,


Colby Pearce  07:58

you have done some routes last couple years in the Rockies, obviously. And as an ambassador for that event. And I’ve had some other granfondo rods have done. I did Levi’s years ago, and I did end fondo as well. And those, you know, while Oprah does have the time segment format, which we’ll get into, I think later, quite a bit. The End, Fonda, for example, was just more of a traditional fondo style, like you were describing Chris. So people just went and they decided how fast they were going to go all day. And but the rest off scattered throughout the ride throughout the route. And they’re all different. There were also different route length options for ghanzi. There was I think there were two the year I did it, like a 60 K, or maybe 100 K and 160 K or whatever. And that said people really made their their own minds up how they wanted to go.


Chris Case  08:40

Yeah, create your own adventure,


Colby Pearce  08:42

an adventure, some people were gung ho to kind of treat it more like a race. And most of the riders I would say shot for the middle ground. And some people took a very relaxed pace and took as long as they wanted to do it. And, and that’s fine. So


Chris Case  08:54

I think like I said, the European routes over there. It actually is very, can be very competitive, very high level, even though it’s a mass start. And the crowds might be 10s of thousands deep. At the front of the race. It’s full on racing. Real. Yeah.


Trevor Connor  09:12

And we’ve mostly been just describing the the grand fondo, which is a single day, but then you get into events like goat route, which is multiple days. So it’s essentially several granfondo


Chris Case  09:22

Atreus Yeah. It is a race ride the Rockies, right. Yeah. Exactly. Like you said, In Canada, they’re very popular. They’re definitely becoming way more popular in the United States, too. And I don’t know, there’s I think there’s several reasons for that just people may be migrating away from the the crits because they’re over that or it’s harder to put on road races these days. And so it’s a little easier where you’re not having to close down roads all day are less expensive, because you’re not having to close down roads all day. In any case. Yeah, they’re popping up everywhere. European companies like route are coming over and establishing themselves here and yeah, they’re they’re awesome about


Trevor Connor  10:00

Yeah, I think the organizer component of it is a big factor. Yeah, when you’re organizing a road race, and you can only have 100 people in a race at the most general rule is you’re going to lose money, at best, you’re going to break even because you just have such low numbers. The advantage of this sort of event is you can appeal to both crowds. So you can have that race component. But you can also appeal to all those people that just want to go, it’s all about just, I want to get to the finish line. I don’t care how long it takes me. But I want to do a 100 mile ride through the mountains.



Yeah, marathon type event fright for for cyclists, and you could have


Trevor Connor  10:35

thousands of people.


Chris Case  10:37

Yeah. And it’s also a destination thing. A lot of people turn this into almost a component of a bike vacation or something like that see a new place in the world in the country. You’re not going to see too many grand fondos in attractive places. Most of them are awesome. Yeah, locations. Yeah, beautiful scenery, big climbs, that sort of thing remote. Yeah,


Colby Pearce  10:55

it comes down to economics, like you said, Trevor, you got 100 riders in each category tops. And then the road promoter can only have so many categories on the course of time when you can open the doors to 2000 riders and start them all at once. And itself, the permanent problems as well, that’s. So when you do an overview, for example, the time sections are almost always in the more remote stretches of road. And you’ve always got moto guides to keep you safe and herd the cats over to the right side of the road. Like you go through the town of Crested Butte or through the springs, and you’re obviously subject to Road Rules, and it’s not during a time section. So that’s off the promoters problems there. It also makes it safer for the riders inherently, which is a nice feature. So I think the big one of the big takeaways from this whole part of conversation is that for someone who’s thinking about a soft entry into racing, they’re thinking about getting involved in racing, doing a multi day fondo type event or a one day event is going to be a great way to potentially walk through that door.


Trevor Connor  11:45

And I will say that one issue I have with them is if you are sitting in second place in the granfondo and you get a flat and the vehicle is at the back of the entire group. It is the worst experience if you have no idea what it’s like having 2000 people say with a flat tire, you need a head, you need a head, you hit a certain point where you just pretend to turn your back tie the entire field. I feel


Chris Case  12:10

like a personal experience.


Trevor Connor  12:13

What are the worst experiences of my life? Like the first 500 people? I tried to say no, I’m all set, don’t worry. anymore, I just couldn’t


Chris Case  12:26

know you’re hiding until you saw that yellow Maverick car coming your way. Very good. You feel so good. They’re so Canadian,


Colby Pearce  12:34

given up after six or eight people?


Trevor Connor  12:36

Well, that’s a problem. It was a Canadian granfondo which every single person in the granfondo


Chris Case  12:41

gradient obligation to try to help me That’s great. I’m surprised you didn’t weren’t just overwhelmed, overwhelmed by people throwing tubes at you and pumps, wheels everything here, take my wheel, please,



please watch.


Trevor Connor  12:55

Sorry, please take my wheel. Bruce bird, it’s a three time world granfondo winner in his age category. He also organizes a popular fondo in Canada called the Blue Mountains, Gran fondo. I asked Bruce why these style of events becoming so popular for both organizers and riders.



Getting the road permit requires a lot of coordination with the local, all those recruits that are responsible for the maintenance of roads. And that goes to the police fire. The people of the town represent the council. In order to do that, there’s Yeah, there’s a lot of requirements, you have to meet those requirements. But there’s a lot of expense and get is transferred. So for every crossing, and here in Ontario, for every time there’s a crossing where you don’t have the right of way. So there’s like a four way stop or red light or something. So if you’re having an event, you want to be able to ride through that and not stop and see what’s going on with traffic. It’s kind of fundamental, and you can’t get that without a broker. So you’re applying this course. And you’re what I love is the participant is a beautiful core, a challenging course. And I know Trevor you do too, because I see you and all the time and yeah, that was a good smile on your face. Not riding around in a square or a circle, you know, four times in a row for a three hour race. I’m talking about even Rodimus not even Chris which are its own discipline in of itself as we have shorter course road events which we seem to pop up more important but it’s harder to get the permits the cost of getting the permit to have a big course that of shrink the course inevitably. All of a sudden these races start costing. Like a no frills, not no prizes kind of race but needing all the purity required. To keep the rider safe during the race. Now you’re up to 150 200 300 riders total Big part, nobody kicking in to pay for to pack up the rider. And it’s a real hard one to say wait a second, I’ve already bought my bike, I’ve already got to make sure I have the rack on my car to carry the bike, get the gas to go up there and get time off, away from whatever else I’m doing to get there and have my kit and everything. Now you want me to pay this X dollars, as there might be something else in it for me. So it starts to be a real top down because now you can’t even afford anything else in it. It’s quite challenging. So it leads towards an event where people aren’t just competing for a rate. All sorts of people want to get involved in it feel welcome, is a lot of people riding with their friends and grandfather, they want to be able to compete the distance they put they’re doing a couple events that would be years old, not 1520. We’re not trying to race every other weekend or every weekend during the sprint. So you want to appeal to those people say no, this is an event you want to do it special. It’s a It’s a beautiful event in our area. And it means something. And you’ll feel that same sense of accomplishment when you finish if you’re competing for the podium, or if you’re competing, just to finish the event within within the time of it. So that’s where the appeal of the of the Grand fondo start, okay, now we’ve got enough people where we can hold this event, get back a little more to the riders, and a lot and have an opportunity for people to rate and not and have a really interesting course.


Trevor Connor  16:31

So I think that’s a really key point. When you have this many participants, it allows you to have the sort of course that everybody gets really excited about.



Yeah, that’s what inspires people. And for myself, when I started seeing on TV, the first thing I would walk toward a friend, when I saw the footage of you know what the riders were riding, I completely inspired by that. And then you show up at a race and you race around DC circuit. It’s not as inspiring. So I started looking at events that have these great courses that are inspiring as well. And that’s what led me to a copper no one’s doing this. Well, I got to step forward and do it. You know, how about this as a local race, as well and organize an event, an event that I’d love to do.


Trevor Connor  17:20

Bruce mentioned that these events can have over 2000 riders all with different goals. Let’s get back to Kobe and talk about the different approaches one can take to a fondo style event.


Chris Case  17:30

Let’s talk about the different approaches you can take to these different types of events and Kobe I know you’ve you’ve probably in this room done the most. So why don’t you talk about your approach? Well,


Colby Pearce  17:40

I think it’s important for writers to really keep in mind that any fondo is well, they’re what I like to call passive aggressive races, right? Because ostensibly, if you were going to race your bike, you would sign up for a bike race. So why do you sign up for fondo that isn’t in air quotes race, but you get a number and you get result. And there’s a place and some of them in Europe at least even have prizes. So that pretty much sounds like a race to meet. And yet, we’re there to not race. So it gets a little confusing and the definitions can be a bit ambiguous. And I think the the way you handle it depends on you, it depends on what you want to get out of it. Some people will treat a fondo like a tour, they will decide to ride at whatever pace is leisurely with their their buddies or their group or their team. They’ll stop at every restaurant for 15 or 20 minutes and eat and drink everything they want to. And they’ll do that the whole day. And that’s perfectly within the scope of the event, it’s part of the concept of the event is that writers who want to do that can, other writers can choose to sort of serve the middle ground, where they may tackle a particular either segment or portion of the course and decide they’re going to go for it as fast as they can. There’s nothing that says that, for example, in the middle of 100 mile fondo, you couldn’t pick one particular climb and say today, I’m going to do my best personal time on that climb. And then afterwards, maybe you upload to Strava. And you look and see what you did. So you use the group to get there, you stay fresh, you stay hydrated, and then you hit it. You could also say I just want to do the best I can in a certain section, and try to keep up with certain riders that you know are in attendance and typically are pushing the edge of what you can handle. You also might just treat it like a road race. I will say that, in general, as a general rule in Europe, there tend to be more fondos that are treated like flat out road races. In the US there are days where riders treat them fondos like road races and in my experience, most of the time those riders end up doing hundred mile time trials by themselves. I’ve seen that on a few occasions. And if you want to knock yourself out and go obliterate yourself for 100 miles Be my guest.


Chris Case  19:29

It’s I’ve seen that a couple times where I’ve been up at the front. It’s kind of leisurely, sometimes at the start of these events where there are time segments because why go hard. But somebody inevitably goes off the front we actually you and I saw this last year at route Rockies on the Queen stage. Somebody went off the front we never saw them again the entire day. So he had a really hard ride by himself. There was a lot of climbing. There was a tremendous amount of wind he was out there by himself. And he crossed the line first. But we had a much better time, I would say because we rode with some pros, we wrote together, we had a group to work with when we’re crossing some of the most exposed areas. And if you’re taking it seriously, we actually some of the people in our group put up better overall times that day than he did, which makes sense we had a group to work with. And we were also chilling out a bit in between the time segments are challenging segments. Yeah,


Trevor Connor  20:29

it’s important to remember that the segments make it different from a road race, because it’s not who got to the end of the segment first, yeah, what’s your time on that segment, you can finish that segment an hour after another rider. But if you do that segment faster than that, you’re going to get a better result,


Chris Case  20:45

right. You can also game the system a little bit, and you can still get



into that


Chris Case  20:51

group. And yeah, we’ll get into that.


Trevor Connor  20:52

I did that last year,


Colby Pearce  20:54

you can do that on the right types of terrain. I think. The other big difference to point out here is that if you treat a fondo, like 100 mile road race, or for example, if you do 100 mile road race in the middle of a stage race, and halfway into the stage, you get shelled, or a third of the way in the stage, you get shelled, or even if it’s just a really hard day, and you’re going all day, no matter how well supported the race is no matter how many fields there are with neutral fields, no matter even if you’ve got a good team and good handouts, there are times when you’re racing, at a reduced capacity to or at a reduced level of hydration or fuel. I mean, you can deplete your glycogen store significantly in an hour and add a few hours into an event and you’re running out of fuel real quick. Mm. Hydration is a much bigger problem, right? That’s the single biggest thing and prevent someone from going to a stage race on their own. If you don’t have a feed, how are you going to finish the long days? Yep. In any fondo whether or not they have time segments? If you’re smart, you’re never running on empty? Because there there’s food and water everywhere.


Chris Case  21:50

There’s too much sometimes too much sometimes, right? Yes, mostly, most of the time, most


Colby Pearce  21:54

of the time. So on all these fondos, where you stop at these stations, and you’re filling bottles, you’ve got an energy drink, and you’ve got bananas and rice krispie bars and all kinds of other stuff and and probably a bunch of things. People shouldn’t be eating, you’re going to be fueled, and you’re going to have gas in the tank. And that means you can go harder and deeper on the harder efforts. And you’re going to be less depleted at the end of the day. So it’s a different experience. So what that means is you can use a fondo, whether it be a single day or multi day event as a springboard to train for competitive race, and it can be a very effective tool.



Can you see that your training block? Yeah, in a sense,


Colby Pearce  22:27

I mean, I’ve done over the last two years Rockies and it’s it’s 35 hours and running in six or seven days, like I’m toasted, but you not have it. Yeah, in much better shape than if I had done I stayed raised like both, for example, which would be roughly probably equivalent load in terms of rokk. js. But I’m certain that there are points in both when I just don’t have access to food or water. Even when I was riding on a professional team.


Trevor Connor  22:50

I went to a granfondo in early August last year and sarnia, Ontario, so it was actually a fairly flat course. And the Toronto hustle team, which is the top Semi Pro team in Ontario, came down to the event and let me tell you, they were there to race they were there to train, when we were on the quote slow segments between the the actual time segments, their entire team was on the front driving us they were they were there to go hard to get a workout and they made sure they got exactly the same. It’s it can be really good training.


Colby Pearce  23:23

Dirt, scissors, scissors is the guy who invented and created a huge company called CD Baby years ago. Gotcha is one of the first 10 first guests and he’s a he’s a quite smart guy. And he tells this great story. He’s not really a cyclist, per se, but he tells a story that’s a cycling story is very applicable to what we’re discussing today. And used to live near Long Beach. And for a number of years, he was working, working working but he just very, very analytically said well, I need to stay in shape and not become obese and be inactive my whole life. I’m working like crazy to build this company. So daily, I’m going to go out and do a bike ride, it’s going to take me about 45 minutes, I’m just going to go as fast as I can use a typical Western mentality, you know, Yang energy, like accomplish as much as I can in that distance. So he can ride up the bike path from Long Beach to a certain point and then turn around and come home. And he did this for I don’t know, months, maybe a year or something I don’t remember the specific details of the timeline. And he every day was just wham, wham, Wham. And his times kind of went down at first, you know, started out at maybe 48 minutes, and he got done in 45 minutes. And then it was like 44 he couldn’t break 44 minutes for this particular route, kept going kept going. And then after a long period of time of kind of time, sort of stagnating One day, he was like, Man, I’m sick of this. I’ve been doing this forever, you know, and, and I’m just out here grilling myself on this bike ride. And so he kind of stopped doing it for a couple days. And then one day said, Okay, I’m ready to do the bike ride again. But I’m gonna, I’m gonna frame it from a different approach. I’m not gonna care about my time, I’m not going to tie myself I’m just going to go ride, enjoy it, and I’m going to enjoy it. So he rode along and he did his thing and he’s checking out the girls playing, you know, beach volleyball in bikinis and looking at the ocean and, you know, do this thing and he gets to the turnaround point and comes back. And then he just happens to glance at his time with He was recording, he just wasn’t watching. And his record was 44 minutes. And on this day he wrote like 4615. So the point was, he wrote what he felt was maybe 50% of the effort that he was in previous rides. But as time barely changed, yep. Right. And so the takeaway for me on that is there moments when, during a fondo, you feel like you’re absolutely pouring 100% into the pedals, or really during any bike ride. And if you back down your effort, a significant chunk, it can change your perception of what’s happening, you get the chance to look around a little bit and enjoy your ride and converse with other people. And I’m not saying you have to go so slow that you’re having lengthy discussions, I think that’s better left for the rest stops or the non time sections. But we don’t always have to go like rabid dogs, every time we’re on a climb, you don’t have to hit the accelerator to the floor all the time. And that also sort of plays into my point about the the events with time segments, or even just with rest stops. I think that you get into that road racing mentality of I’m in the middle of 100 mile stage. And if I get dropped, I’m going to get dropped from the peloton. And then I’m going to be by myself, not having any fun. And I’m also going to feel a little bit like a jerk maybe like I wasn’t prepared for this event. I don’t belong in this event, because there’s the peloton up to 60 or 80 people riding away from me, and I got done by myself. And that’s not a happy feeling. But in a fondo situation with a regular rest stops. And time segments or even if there aren’t time segments, there’s always an opportunity for reconfiguration.


Chris Case  26:25

Yeah, everybody’s regrouping everyone’s grouping. And sometimes you regroup with a different group exam, you get to meet new people and experience it from their perspective and all that. So that’s


Colby Pearce  26:36

happened to me at fondos, where I’ve, you know, I’ve been with a certain group of riders, and we had a really good pace line going, we’ve been journaling and going hard, and we get the rest off, and they were sort of in a hurry, and I’m going, I’m not really ready to leave it, I think I’m just gonna hang out and you just relax. And sure enough, another group will come along, you start writing, you kind of combine it into a cohesive mass. And before you know it, you’re going, whatever speed you’re going, and then you have things work out. So it’s, that’s one big positives events is they’re kind of always someone to ride with. Right? It’ll work out on the road. So don’t stress too much about being that person who gets dumped. That’s more for a strict race format yet where you need to sort of wrestle with that paradigm.


Trevor Connor  27:11

So the story I’ll share that’s very similar as that granfondo I did in sarnia. Last summer, a friend was there who was an ex racer, and he came kind of with the goal of, I can ride with my wife, I’m going to ride with some friends. And I’m just going to have some fun here. But we all lined up on the start line, he lined up at the front with us. And as soon as Toronto hustle took us up to 30 miles an hour and started driving the pace. He was hanging on with his teeth gritted just, he went into racer mode. He’s like, I gotta hang with these guys. Yeah. And he was with us for about an hour until and you could see he was not enjoying it at all until it he had this conversation with him. He’s like, it just suddenly occurred to me that I was here to enjoy my time with my wife. And I was not doing that. Yeah, so he dropped out of the group went and found his family, his friends and had a much more enjoyable ride when he was consistent with what he was trying to do. So I think the point you made earlier is there’s a lot of different goals that you can go into granfondo with, but make sure you know what your goal is and be consistent with it or it’s gonna be an unpleasant experience, I’d


Colby Pearce  28:11

say it’s a great strategy to go to the line, kind of having a clear idea of what your plan is, of course, that plan can change on


Chris Case  28:17

the road. I think one of the beauties of granfondo is you can get a little bit of everything. If you want, you can, you could totally relax the entire day. Or you could get a little racing in by going hard on the segments or hitting a climb really hard. And then back off. Basically eat a buffet lunch in the middle of it. If you really wanted to pick another group, hang out, meet some new people, etc. So you can make it whatever you want it to be and it can be multifaceted on that day.


Trevor Connor  28:42

And that’s the nice difference when a road race road race. You can’t do that. You have to hang on. You get popped at any moment. Your day is over. Yep. Yeah, for the most part. Yep. As I mentioned before, Bruce bird, fellow Canadian, has won the grand fondo World Championships three times in his age category. But I can tell you for having raced them, He gives the elite race a good run. One year he broke away near the start and rode solo to the rainbow jersey. So let’s hear what he has to say about training for a fondo. So you have won the granfondo World Championships three times now. And even more impressively, my understanding is you really didn’t take up cycling until you were in your 40s correct.



That’s right about the time I turned 40 I started doing through athalon been through Avalon investigation like 3839 and then into triathlon. There’s a lot more people participating in those events. And then it’s just too sore from running and frankly, I’d be listening after every event. So for a while, so you should say that it’s like saying like I think a lot of people do


Trevor Connor  30:01

What is unique about your training? or What did you discover that has made you so strong at this granfondo style event? Do you think it’s just, that’s where your natural talents lie? Or is there something particular about your training that you do differently to be good at this, this four or five, six hour length event?



Well, a lot of what I talk about on the show each week is kind of reinforcing a message that I’m receiving all the time, you continually talk about you thought I do that long ride, was it possible? Absolutely, you got to do that. And I make sure that I do that when I meet up for my group ride. I’ve already already written an hour or hour, 20 minutes for the ride start. And then afterwards, I’ve got an hour an hour 20. So that takes me to that five, six hour, that’s fundamental to do well in races that are going to take that long, is to actually write that well.


Trevor Connor  31:04

So you’re not just going out to the group ride and hammering for an hour, hour and a half, and then coming home. Likewise, you’re not just going out and doing super easy. It sounds like you’re getting the volume, but you’re also doing some quality in the middle there. Is that correct?



Yeah, let it rise dictate the quality, I know that it’s gonna be a hard effort. But more the riders route near the ride leader, to dictate, you know, the pace of what’s going to happen, I know there’s, there’s a ring, a period of about maybe an hour and a half where there could be some art efforts in within the rise, I never want to end up writing alone on the rise, like attacking and trying to get out on my own because I write alone, all week, all the time. in my basement, when I go for a big part of it, it’s a social thing, right actually be, you know, train around other people that are avatars.



Back to the show. Alright,


Chris Case  32:01

so we touched upon all the different aspects here, the different types, the different styles of writing that take place, I Gran fondos, maybe we should talk about the training for the event training for something that is both an endurance effort, but could have some five minute 10 minute segments in it where you might want to go hard or a good amount of climbing. In total, it’ll probably be a big day on the bike set many hours of riding, and perhaps a lot of elevation gain. So there’s a lot of things going on there. What What is the general starting point for training advice for a granfondo?


Colby Pearce  32:36

Well, I think first of all, you have to make the rider robust enough to handle the demands of the event. So that depends on what your goals are a little bit, if you decide you want to go into the event and really treat it more like a race, then you’re gonna have to be able to handle those race efforts. So you want to research the course a bit and understand what you’re going into. If it’s something you’re doing locally, you know, the course that’s one thing you could go and the challenging segments yourself or the challenging sections yourself and sort of figure out what’s what you can even do a few practice runs. If you’re traveling to somewhere exotic or you’ve never written these climbs, then that requires a little more, a little more research. Fortunately, there’s this thing called the internet. No, because I think unfortunately,


Chris Case  33:11

unfortunately, unfortunately,


Colby Pearce  33:14

right. So we can, we can know a lot about the demands of our event before we go into it. And then you want to start building a program around the specifics of your goals. Now, if you just want to go and enjoy yourself and ride, then your goals are a little bit less aggressive to achieve and training because you can, all you need to do basically is fundamentally built to survive the duration of the event. If you want to have some more challenging sections, or you want to treat it more like a race, then of course, you’ve got to add some race intensity. And that means doing some intervals and breaking the course down into into smaller chunks, and basically fundamentally performing those chunks at either race pace, or even above race pace. Because as Trevor and I were talking about, before we began recording, there are times when you have to sort of lift the ceiling to raise the level of the entire house. And what I mean by that is v2 is a great governor of performance and can even really impact lactate threshold. And ultimately, therefore endurance if you’re if you’ve got great endurance you can ride around at a super slow pace for six 810 hours but the second you go above lack a steady state for any length of time you’re blown for the rest of the day, then your your system wasn’t robust enough to handle the demands of the event. Oh, I’m


Trevor Connor  34:21

gonna add to that is obviously if you’re doing 100 mile event, especially if you’re doing a multi day event where it’s hundred miles every day. The endurance is critical. If you’re going into that event and the longest ride you’ve done all yours two hours. I’m sorry, you’re in trouble. Yeah. So you need to be getting those long rides in and I think you as you’re getting closer to the event, you need to be doing the periodic four or five hour ride and not just noodling along. They go that’s where you get into that ride at a rubber threshold or do some time at sweet spot or go the the local Saturday morning group rides And ride with the group, one of my favorite training rides to work on my endurance is to go do a five, six hour ride, right, I ride with the group that and that gets me two and a half, maybe three hours, then I might recover for half an hour. And then I go do some sweetspot work and just crawl home after 600 or six hours with a whole lot of training stress in the system. And I think that’s going to help build you towards this type of event, but you’re spot on, that can make you go a really long time, but you’re gonna be going a really long time at this granfondo solo. Even if you’re just there to have fun, it’s no fun by yourself. And I guarantee you when you hit those time segments, even your friends are saying I’m not going to compete as soon as


Colby Pearce  35:41

they cross that time segment start line, they’re going hard, it’s easy to get in the racer mentality. And suddenly you’re pitching in and do anything. So you need to have at least enough of that top end to be able to hang with them either you don’t care about winning the segment, you want to be there at the end with them. Yeah, and I would say we could probably take a step further in this conversation and look at in terms of the demands of the event, if you’ve got, let’s say you, you know that you’ve got 100 mile day on the, on the books, or in the schedule, to use our generic example. And it’s got long climbs in it, and some of those times are towards the end of the day, then, when you’ve already done 3000 kgs worth of work, it’s a far different story to try to do half hour climb at race pace than it is to do a half an hour climb after a 20 minute warm up. So you’re going to want to start to tailor your training towards the demands of that, right. So just like you were saying, Trevor about doing the group ride first, and then recover and then get some fluids and then you go to some sweet spot, that’s a great way to prepare your body to handle that load under a fatigued state, right within a given day. An alternative methodology could be you might lift some weights, and then go right afterwards, that’s gonna fatigue you fast twitch fibers and then you’ve got a you’ve got a handle fit while you’re writing a more aggressive strategy would be do the opposite write first and then lift weights, I would caution people against doing that without being a bit careful, because you don’t really want to hit the gym too glycogen depleted it can be destructive, or potentially compromised form. So there’s my age is a big trend, which is a huge issue for gym strength conditioning, I’m a massive advocate for strength. conditioning, I think that Cycling is of all the repetitive addictive endurance aerobic sports there are Cycling is the best at making athletes asymmetrical, and dreadful at everything. But cycling. It’s the king running is at least open chain. And yeah, if you’re on a trail, you’ve got some variation swimming. It’s not 100% sagittal plane, you know, rowing it’s at least whole body. cross country skiing involves things like balance and lots more than the central plane. But Cycling is the worst one, it makes all athletes eventually brings out asymmetries and also your force of your capacity to make maximal force, the longer you ride your bike, the worse it gets. Point is, I think a strength conditioning program is essential, I think it’s a great, a great way to help complement cycling and make you strong. And that can certainly play into a long along one day ride or multi day event. But to use a really simple analogy, if you take a really out of true wheel into the shop, the rims super wobbly, some spokes are loose, maybe one’s broken, some are tight, and you took your your wheel to the mechanic, you say please fix that. So he goes okay, and he tightens every spoke, what’s gonna happen, you’re gonna have a wheel, we’re not going to fix it not going to fix the problem that’s akin to blindly applying strength and conditioning that’s going to the gym and strengthening all the muscles, right? You already have some muscles on the as a cyclist, a condition cyclist that are strong and tight, and you have some that are loosened weak. So when you, you blanketly, apply strength, blindly apply strength to the whole system, you can make things worse, a lot worse. The same is true for flexibility, yoga, any of those types of training that’s akin to going in with a wheel instead of true and loosening all the spokes, then you’ve got a loose wheel with knows no stability. And you’re certainly not going to make a true run out of that. So strength and conditioning flexibility need to be applied strategically, and most people need of knowledgeable coach to help them apply that information.


Trevor Connor  39:02

So we are actually recording this just a couple days after we posted 69 functional training with manakin. Brody, and it was all about how important it is to get off the bike and do all this type of work. And the thing I’ll add to that is if you have dysfunction, if you are out of balance, you can go to the Tuesday night local 40 minute training race and get away with it. Yes, if you’re doing 100 mile event, more importantly, if you’re doing five days of 100 mile events, if there is an imbalance, it’s going to show up,


Colby Pearce  39:32

DNS will find you


Trevor Connor  39:34

you don’t want to pay thousands of dollars to travel somewhere to go and do a whole route and two days in have to pull the plug because your knee is hurting


Colby Pearce  39:43

your backbone or whatever. Yeah.


Trevor Connor  39:45

Well, that’s about everything we have to offer in terms of training. But before we shift into talking about riding the events themselves, let’s hear from Brent bookwalter, a past Olympian pro rider with mitchelton Scott and co founder of the popular book Walter binge granfondo He has a great sum up of preparation and the appeal of these events. What are your recommendations in terms of preparing and training for an event like this, because it is a little different from doing a crypt or doing a hour and a half, two hour weekend, weekend race?



Yeah, I think one of the great things about granfondo that I’ve seen as a writer and from the point of, you know, hosting, one is that, you know, they really are for our all abilities. And it’s a, it’s a great place a great venue to sort of experiment with a new distance, or a new load of climbing, or you know, being in a pack, or it’s this nice entry and into just kind of testing your limits, pushing your limits. And I think that’s something that most of us who ride bikes do enjoy some extent, in that sort of feeling. I think, one of the main things about preparing for a fondo is that, you know, to be ready for it, you don’t necessarily have to go out and replicate the exact load or experience before, I think, you know, if you’re looking at doing your first hundred mile granfondo, with eight or 10,000 feet of climbing, it doesn’t mean that in order to be able to complete that and enjoy it, you don’t have to necessarily go do that consistently, definitely not consistently, and maybe not at all before the actual event you’re looking to do. And it can be, it’s really just a matter of slowly and systematically. Ideally, with a little guidance, sort of building those systems and looking at what portions of your skill set, maybe you are going to be tested or stretched the most. And then just trying to sort of tune those up and build those up. And that ultimately, I think, is gonna leave you in the best position to enjoy it on event day.


Trevor Connor  41:35

So if there was anything you were going to say you should be doing this every week, leading up to the event, what would it be? Oh, for sure, just



the consistency of writing. I think that’s, that’s the biggest thing. And when I talk to friends of mine who are doing fondos are racing at a an amateur level, I think the attraction is to sort of get caught up in the weeds and the details and read in the the sort of hype and nuances of training and all that kind of details. But I continue to just preach the fundamentals and preach the consistency. And doing doing a small amount of consistent work week after week after week is going to get you a lot farther than cramming a few rides at the end of the week, or just the week before the event.


Trevor Connor  42:18

It’s as you said, it’s just stick with your training versus going out and doing some epic seven hour ride a couple weeks beforehand. And then having a couple weeks where you barely do anything is probably not the best strategy. I agree.



Yeah, I see that play through my own racing and training life all the time. You know, the, the tendency is to sometimes panic train and pile it on last minute and think you can fix it when it’s down to the wire. But really, it’s it’s the slow steady path and the consistency that really produces the most most gains and most consistent enjoyment, whether it’s a race or granfondo. Okay, so looking at this as an organizer,


Trevor Connor  42:57

it seems like granfondo has become an increasingly popular to the point that you’re almost seeing more granfondo is in traditional road races. Now why do you feel that is? Yeah, good



question. I think, I think like we usually see in the sport historically, since if I look at since I’ve been really involved in it is a little bit just to Evan flow, people looking for new fresh, fresh events, fresh, fresh places, a new way to challenge themselves new group of people to get to know, different community, I think so a little bit of that is just sort of going around the circle, you know, maybe in 10 years, we’re having the same conversation and we’re saying, Yeah, the grandfathers aren’t as big anymore. Now, everyone’s getting more psyched up about racing, criteriums or whatever, again, I think that’s part of it. But I think also what, you know, what we seen with the bookwalter bench, the the fonder that my wife and I started about five years ago is the really the community aspect. I think the granfondo events are really inclusive and open. And as we’ve seen with the binge, you know, it’s really not, we really don’t consider it like our event anymore. Yeah, it’s called the bookwalter binge, but it’s really, we really call it the binge, it’s the Avengers. It’s that community that has sort of, you know, come together, be it from the volunteers through every participant. And there’s some repeat customers in there. And there’s some new people that maybe come in and out over the years, but it’s, it’s that a, it’s that camaraderie, it’s that community, it’s the experience, it’s the the sort of extra time and a little more relaxed environment to be able to share and connect with people and not having it so centered around purely performance or a result number. I think that’s really draws people.


Chris Case  44:39

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Chris Case  45:59

For the Let’s call the new not totally beginner, but new rider that wants this as a challenge for themselves. There’s pack dynamics that they might not be familiar with, what’s the best way to gain some skills there.


Colby Pearce  46:12

As far as pack skills go?





Colby Pearce  46:14

the easiest way to make progress in that area is to do some local group rides, I get that advice with a big caveat, which is group rides can be dangerous. And if the pace is too fast, you can get yourself in over your head quickly, especially if you’re relatively new to the sport. So the best middle ground is to find a local team or a shop that’s doing a clinic, they can give you some basics, some baseline basics, some handling basics. And obviously this goes to how new you are to the sport. But it’s an important point. I think it’s easy for people to go out and spend money on a really nice road bike and jump in a group and not really understand what’s happening. Another great way is to approach your local experienced riders, you know, look around the group, be aware see the people that you can tell I’ve been around the sport for a while and just come up to him and say, Hey, man, do you have any tips on what I’m doing? Right? What am I doing wrong? You know, I want to learn here. And most the time if you ask someone for help, from a whole perspective, they’ll offer you assistance, hopefully from a humble perspective. Mm hmm. My other tip for looking for when you’re in the pack as a new writer, it’s really easy to become overwhelmed. Or make a mistake, because your focus isn’t where ideally it should be. What you’re doing is you’re existing in a complex system of movement. So you have to see the relative speeds of the riders and this is not an easy thing to do people interference peloton still crash, because their rapid compressions. So what does that mean? That means that a little movement happens up front, maybe 20 3040 riders ahead of you. And by the time that movement happens, one little wiggle the handlebars or someone goes around a rock or it goes around a pothole. By the time it gets you it’s been amplified. And either that amplification can exist in a change in direction. Or it can it can happen it can manifest as a deceleration


Chris Case  47:55

the accordion effect, accordion


Colby Pearce  47:56

effect or that crunching. Yeah, crunch accordion as opposed to the stretch already. Right,



exactly. Yeah, it goes both ways. So stretch accordions


Colby Pearce  48:02

aren’t as much of a problem, then you’re more worried about staying on the wheel when the field really expands. But when it compresses, you have to be really on it. And that means you’re not looking at the wheel in front of you. You’re not fixated at the rider in front of you or the two riders that are an immediate view of you, you need to feel and see the entire peloton and understand what’s happening. And the way to do that. But the phrase I use to describe that for new riders is look at nothing but see everything.


Chris Case  48:28

Yeah, use the wide gets hard to understand until you’re in that moment and own that context. But that’s true. It’s using periphery peripheral vision using an understanding of the dynamics of a group like that. It’s a lot of things, and it’s in it and everything’s happening at speed, and sometimes very high speeds. So it’s totally nerve wracking at first can be at least you know, and it does take just pure experience and of doing it to get comfortable with some of the aspects here. But I like the way you’ve described it in some of those tips. What would you add to that, Trevor?


Trevor Connor  49:02

So the granfondo I did this summer. This is unfortunately how it ended. Our group which was 100 mile group did a big loop and came back onto the the main course the other groups were doing. And the way it was timed as we got back onto the main course, at the same time that the 30 mile group was coming by, which was much less experienced cyclists. And unfortunately, they hopped into our group, which at this point was mostly to Toronto hustle or the local pro riders. And behind me was a woman who wasn’t at all experience with a pack, let alone a group of pros that were going full speed and gathering everyone because we had a crosswind. And I heard this poor woman behind me panic. You know, she yelled out, she was just she had never been anything like this and she got scared. And she crashed. Yeah. And she unfortunately took all the teeth out and the front of her mouth on the top side, broke her nose and gave herself concussion and I personally finished the granfondo, spending 40 minutes holding her head. And then paceline in her very unhappy dad to the hospital well, to go and see how she was doing. So your point of get some pack experience beforehand is critical because this is different than other places different from a race. So this is a situation where you can have completely inexperienced riders who have never done a race in their life in a pack with essentially probes. And especially in your example, where the two groups came together. Everyone was tired. She was probably tired after her 30 mile ride.


Colby Pearce  50:35

Yeah, but then suddenly was thrust into


Chris Case  50:37

Yeah, it’s a recipe for disaster.


Colby Pearce  50:38

So some ways to be aware of your context. Yeah.


Trevor Connor  50:41

Ultimately, what she should have done is never written with our group.


Chris Case  50:44

Yeah, that that’s one of the points I would like to make is, if you’re feeling uncomfortable, it’s just back on your limit, just get out of there just hit you know, and you know, maybe she didn’t have the time or when panic hits. Sometimes you just don’t know what to do, and you do the exact wrong thing. It’s sort of like, you’re waterskiing as a kid and you go down and you forget to let go that rope and you just get towed and towed and dragged to the water, and your dad screaming at you just let go. And your instinct is to hold on. Yeah, sometimes that happens when you’re in a group like that. But that is back off.


Trevor Connor  51:20

There’s also a peer pressure element. This is where you have to, and I’m telling these stories to scare you a little bit just to say don’t cave to the peer pressure, because there were people in her group who had the experience to ride with us. And they were the ones pushing to go with us. Yep. And she should have just said to them, right, sorry, I’m not comfortable with this. But she she kind of caved to the peer pressure. The club that I coach or used to coach up in Toronto, they do a trip every summer to Europe. And almost every summer, somebody has ended up in the hospitals because they’re doing these mountain passes. And a few of the guys who go on that trip every summer are amazing dissenters. Yep. Like to the point that I’ve ever been in a race that cinterion race I was telling you about with one of them. We hit at a senate and I’m like, I gonna drop him. I couldn’t hang on to his wheel. He was such a good descender it every year, there’s somebody who goes on that trip who doesn’t have their descending skills and feels the pressure to keep up with them. And crashes really hard.


Chris Case  52:18

Yeah, that’s unfortunate. Well, if you’re coming from Canada, from the flat part of Canada, and going straight to Europe, and descending some of those big mountain passes, that you’re in trouble. Yeah,


Colby Pearce  52:27

it’s a different word. For universe. It’s like when people come here from Kansas, and yeah, I’ve never gone uphill for 30 minutes, until you go down.


Trevor Connor  52:34

Exactly. So that’s where with all these events, there’s a field zone ahead. So this is where you just have to say, Here’s where my comfort level is at. Sorry, I’m not going to cave to the peer pressure, go ahead. And I hope you wait for me at the feet.


Colby Pearce  52:46

You know, you don’t owe anyone an explanation for your decision on the road. Like everyone should own that and take accountability for that, like you’re the boss of how fast you go. If you feel really uncomfortable in a situation, whether it’s because the group is going too fast, or because you can see that the pace line is riders are riding really close and you’re uncomfortable with that. There are two options you always have. One is to just stop pedaling, just stop pedaling and let people will go around you, you’re not gonna you know, even if someone yells at you, it’s okay. After the line, you can come find them and say, Hey, I’m sorry, I was uncomfortable. Sorry, got in your way, for a moment, it’s a fun, no, they’ll get over it, they can be responsible for closing the gap you open, the second thing you can do is go to the back of the group, figure out where the last rider is, and just go be last, no one’s gonna expect you to pull through, you don’t have to suddenly make your way back up at the front or take a poll, you can go to the back and just watch and see what happens. And you can ride a bike length off the back of that group if you want. And it’s a learning experience that’s there. That’s my point, like, take a moment to have perspective and just say, I’m gonna stop going so hard and see what’s happening to observe the group and learn from it. And then if you go to the back and immediately you get dropped on the next hill, well, then your answer was you should have been active anyway. That’s okay. It’s all part of the learning experience. That’s why you’re in the event.


Trevor Connor  53:59

But don’t feel bad about that. I mean, I still remember my first five pro races. I sat at the back because being in that peloton was the scariest thing in the world. And that was after years of racing. Yeah. So if you haven’t been racing for years, why should you suddenly be able to handle that sort of level of peloton?


Colby Pearce  54:19

No one’s gonna yell at you for for being at the back and observing people are going to yell at you for being in the front when you shouldn’t be yes. The apology is much easier when everyone has their skin. You can always go up to someone and say, Hey, I’m really sorry, I yelled at you. I just didn’t know what you were gonna do. And I felt like I needed to communicate and they go, yeah, no harm, no foul. 99.99% of the time. That’s how the conversation ends and everyone’s happy. But if there’s a crash, it’s another story. And it’s a whole different discussion. And no one wants to see that.


Trevor Connor  54:46

And you brought up a really good point. If you end up in a field that you’re uncomfortable with don’t swerve right or left to get out of it. just slow down. let


Colby Pearce  54:53

them pass. let them pass.


Chris Case  54:55

Yeah, the other riders predictable.


Colby Pearce  54:57

Yeah, yeah. It’s



a great rule sense.


Colby Pearce  54:59

That’s a great rule.


Chris Case  55:01

What about the the nutrition side of things here for for everybody? Really?


Trevor Connor  55:05

There’s there’s cookies at every field exam. Where do you want to know? How


Chris Case  55:08

many should you eat? That’s what I’m asking how many should you eat at the first, second, and third, as many


Trevor Connor  55:13

as you can push into your mouth?



More in your pockets for later? How much food can I walk away from this event with


Colby Pearce  55:21

free food free is always good, right?


Trevor Connor  55:24

Colby has some really great points to hear here. But I’m gonna just start with the general rule of this is not the time to be eating things you’re unfamiliar with.



I thought you were gonna say if it’s meat, eat it.



Now also a good rule.


Trevor Connor  55:39

Just cows in the field right there. You could just take care of it yourself. Yeah, no. So I’m, let’s go into the minutiae. But I’m gonna say, if you’ve been riding and eating particular types of food and you don’t typically eat cookies on a ride, it’s probably unless you’re absolutely starving. You have no choice. It’s probably not the best idea to start wolf unelma cookies. station? Yep. Yeah,


Chris Case  56:04

this is why I eat everything on every ride I do so that when I get to,


Colby Pearce  56:09

I can just splurge training. I would say that it’s really important for a writer to be to know themselves as an athlete and know what works for you. Everyone’s got their quirks and humans are a bit unique in the sense that as a species because if you feed a tiger eucalyptus leaves he’ll die. You know, koala meat color will die. But humans, we can get away with more I can survive off


Chris Case  56:33

dinos. fact about the tiger? Yeah.


Colby Pearce  56:37

Well, yeah, think about it. a toddler, a tiger is an obligate carnivores, like most other species are like that they have they have a very specific, narrow range of foods that they can eat and thrive off of


Trevor Connor  56:47

cats cannot fully convert omega threes. So unless they get it from an animal source, right? They’re in trouble


Colby Pearce  56:54

humans we have we’re we’re more diverse in that sense. We can survive off of whale blubber or potatoes or spinach. Some of us may do better than others. We’ve got a more a microbiome that’s capable of digesting more foods and still surviving, hence, Twinkies and McDonald’s.


Trevor Connor  57:11

Although I survived and being a relative,



relative term,


Trevor Connor  57:15

join us surviving,


Chris Case  57:17

not thriving, being


Colby Pearce  57:18

relative health is your greatest treasure. I would say it’s really important for an athlete to know themselves and in particular, know what what fuel is going to work for you to do a deep effort. If you want to go to 100 mile day on the bike, you should be feeling your body with food that’s going to reduce inflammation and give you good energy and good give you good steady blood sugar levels. And then you should know what you can tolerate on the bike. surprises me the number of times I hear people have a disconnect between Well, yeah, I did this hundred mile ride and I ate 12 gels. And then I had diarrhea for a day. And it’s like, well, wait a minute, what are we missing here from this equation?


Trevor Connor  57:52

Maybe we just sign that say, we’ve already addressed gels, but I’m just going to give the short version of people think that is the ideal race and training food. And I’m gonna give you my strong opinion, which is it is convenient. There are times to use it. But it is not the optimal food, I would actually say there are other foods that are less convenient, but far more optional for performance so far


Colby Pearce  58:15

from the optimal food. I mean, you can also look cake frosting. Yes, like that’s what it is. It’s cake frosting. So I would argue a gel is the ultimate convenience food. And when you’re in the gutter at 55 k an hour, and you’re being paid a salary, and it’s raining and you’re hanging on for dear life, that’s a great time for a gel right, or when you have four seconds between the top of your climb and the descent begins and you need both hands on the bars. Because you’re going to be going a million miles an hour. That’s a possible time for a gel.


Trevor Connor  58:40

But when you are in a granfondo and their feed stations, right, and your life is not on the line sitting there saying I’m a serious cyclist, I’m going to go right for that pile of gels is probably not the best strategy.


Colby Pearce  58:54

Agreed well, and how many people at fondos are actually making a salary to ride the fondo. Right. So my point is, try to try to keep the ride and the event in the bigger, bigger picture perspective of your own global health. And if that shouldn’t mean destroying your digestive tract for three or four days because you ate a bunch of Fig Newtons that would never normally eat because you’ve got to arrest off and that’s all there were so now if you run fine off those and you’ve got a bomb proof gut and that’s kind of the food that you’re used to or you know you’ve got a track record with that and it works then okay, but I bring food when I attend rides like this, because I prefer to have a certain food that I know works for me and then there may be times where I supplement with foods tops.


Chris Case  59:36

This is what I do too. Yeah,


Colby Pearce  59:38

pretty much you’re familiar with, with and works and and I was joking earlier about the you know air quotes free food. Rocket Science here there’s nothing really for free. You paid for the food you paid for the rest of us because you paid an entry. So it’s not free. So try not to look at it as I can eat as much as I want as in spite of our cookie jokes. But take what makes sense. Use the rest up to fuel yourself. Be smart about it


Trevor Connor  59:59

and expensive. Beforehand, we talked about that hard five, six hour ride as a prep. Yeah, that’s a good time to try different foods and see what works for you. And there is a big individuality. I had a athlete many years ago who did the trans Rockies, which is the the grand fondo of mountain biking, where that’s five hours a day on a mountain bike. And I gave him a whole nutrition strategy. There’s a long time ago when I was like, oh, there is only one strategy for all cyclists. And it wasn’t working for him. And on the third day, he discovered beef jerky. And I kid you not he was doing these five hour days with just tons of beef jerky stuffed in his jersey pocket now. And he did great. And he was smashed. And I will still say, I can’t find a lot of sports nutrition books that are going to back that. But boy, it worked for him.


Colby Pearce  1:00:48

And then that goes back to my point about the tiger versus equality. Some people will run better off beef jerky and others will run better off of eucalyptus leaves, whatever the spinach, I guess. I mean, and I know this from my own personal experience, I’m working with a lot of my athletes, there’s some who just need heavier food and can tolerate heavier food during exercise. I’m more on that end of the spectrum. I remember doing 120 Mile Road ride, which on the bar is one one day long, many many years ago as a junior and he ate literally ate a chili cheese dog in the middle of the ride and he was fine. That’s a bit extreme. But there are other people who have to eat a lot lighter and can’t tolerate as many heavy fats and need a few more carbs and without going down the rabbit hole of macronutrients too much. I’ll say that there’s a lot of discussion right now about ketogenic diet. And what’s in fashion right now is vilifying carbs. But and I know you’ve covered this in other podcasts as well. But ultimately, when the more time you spend about threshold, everyone runs on carbs above threshold. I think you’ll agree with me the data is pretty overwhelming in that aspect.


Trevor Connor  1:01:49

Yes, no, I am not a ketogenic going pure ketogenic diet and staying ketogenic diet is going to make you a better cyclist. I think of all if all you want to do is go at a nice slow pace, and you don’t care when you get to the finish line. It’s great. But if you do want to perform if you want to have that top end, there is a requirement for carbs. I’m just I’m not on that side of endurance athletes need to be eating 65 70% carbohydrates and trying to get 1000 grams per day either. I don’t think that’s necessary. So I think there’s a balance in between. But what I would say is for the particulars of the sports nutrition, we’ve done several episodes on that we will do more episodes on that. But for the granfondo I think our biggest recommendations are the don’t just eat what they have at the rest up. Because it’s there. Don’t try to consume as much as you can, because it’s free. And experiment beforehand. Yeah, find no work for you. Yes. And


Chris Case  1:02:46

if you don’t know, figure it out, figure that out before the granfondo for sure.


Colby Pearce  1:02:51

There’s no difference between going to a restaurant at a grand fondo and seeing a whole you know, 15 different food choices than there are when you go to the hotel morning breakfast buffet you should make the best choice for you at that moment.


Trevor Connor  1:03:02

The best thing about the feed station is all of us being races here can tell you the biggest issue is getting enough fluids. And you that’s where you need a you know I can get. I’ve seen a lot of athletes who can get through a four or five hour race without sufficient food as long as they’re getting enough fluids, which can be a real struggle in a road race and that’s where every time you get to the feed station you know if there’s a quarter of left in your in your water bottle, polish it off, fill it back up, make sure you’re leaving every field station full water bottles,


Chris Case  1:03:32

but what if there’s a time segment up a really steep climb right after the segment you don’t want to full bottles on your bike?


Colby Pearce  1:03:38

You don’t I’m cool with it.



quite cool.


Colby Pearce  1:03:42

I’m not gonna when the time segment on the steep climb anyway, you’re gonna try aren’t you? Sure but I’m not been doing this long enough.



The sport works.


Chris Case  1:03:54

Any anything else you’d like to add Colby about the final things you should do right before the big event, whether it’s a multi day stage, race type granfondo, or a big one day event What? What do you do leading up in the days and weeks.


Colby Pearce  1:04:09

So if this event is a big goal for you all season, one thing I recommend my writers do is clear the calendar in the week to two weeks before and the reason being is that especially if you’ve been building towards this for weeks or months, and it’s really a season goal. This isn’t the time to decide to take the cat to the vet or go to the dentist or decide to stay in your deck. You know, these are things that can wait until the weeks after the event you’ve been building towards for months. So clear the calendar of anything extraneous and use that extra time for recovery, the single most important recover modality asleep so ideally, you replace those extra appointments with a short nap in the afternoon, you go to bed earlier, etc. And I won’t get too far down the hole of recovery modes. But basically you want to emphasize recovery going into any event like this that you’re really focused on. The other aspect that I’ll talk about is The taper and basically the longer the event. And that means both on a one day event or if it’s a multi day event, the bigger your taper needs to be because the fresher you need to be going into it. So you’re balancing, keeping the legs open and keeping things moving with, if you’re doing a six or seven day fondo style event and oat route or something similar to that, you want to be pretty fresh going into that. So the week before you really not, don’t need to be riding too much. So that’s the time to let go that Oh, I’m gonna lose my fitness mentality, I need to keep doing more intervals, or I need to go do one more big long ride, it’s time to let that go and work with a coach, if you have one, no cramming right before the big if there is no cram before the exam, for stuff like that, especially all you’re gonna do is make yourself tired on the line and then you’re just not going to enjoy it as much, you’re not going to get out of it, whatever you’re looking for. So the bigger and longer the event is the bigger longer the taper needs to be as a general rule.


Trevor Connor  1:05:49

And this also goes back to what you were saying is what is your goal if there’s a target event? Absolutely. But you’ve also brought up the good point that granfondo is can be fantastic training, and then you take a very different approach to the example I’ll give is that cinterion, which we have in Ontario, which I’ve done every year is two and a half weeks before my target race each year. So I actually do about a 25 hour a week that pretty much finishes with this century. And so I go into it with fatigue legs. The longest I’ve ever lasted in the field was five miles before trying to break away. And look, I’ve never even I don’t think I’ve even stood on the podium of this race, I get my butt kicked. But basically, I go in with fatigue legs, I break away from the start and just go, how long can I hold them off until I am just absolutely smoked. And that’s my only goal with it. It’s to use it. It’s just a fantastic training ride to destroy yourself in ways you could never do on your own. So


Colby Pearce  1:06:44

that’s your nail in the coffin for your training block. And then you and then I’m done. And then you’re ready for your peak race a couple weeks later. Yep. Perfect. Yeah, so Exactly. You said if you’re using it as a training event, and you’ve got to use it in the context of training,


Trevor Connor  1:06:55

talk about the final prep for a fondo style event wasn’t in our original outline. Kobe felt it was important enough to bring it up. Interestingly, I didn’t ask Bruce Byrd about the preparation either. But he mentioned at the end of our interview is a critical point.



Half of the event is getting to the start. And that’s because in a Fender bike race, you might have 30, or 150 riders, and a grandfather, you might have 2000 or more, or your group might have 400 to 500 people. So getting there, and you might not be able to count on hydration during the event. Right? You might have traveled and get to put your bike together and you’re not used to doing that. You don’t know exactly where to park, there’s a lot of things you got to look at factor. And it’s important to get all that right. And to do it on race day calmly, you don’t want to spend any energy, you want to get to the start line with everything ready to go with that two extra water balls, not think like I’m on that hill with two extra water bottle, oh, that’s going to be too hard for me, I put my partner’s over there, take it to the female, I didn’t get them the instructions on where to go. And so now like, oh, gosh, I got to carry this water, like those things, clean your mind that it’s already hurting you a lot before the events are, you will want to really have all the nutrition like that’s what I love well, right, it’s so important, you can get used to training in a situation where you have to feed yourself during the ride, have enough energy to complete the ride Well, if you’re feeling know that by doing that, and you’re gonna have to mimic those those conditions and you’re gonna have to bring all that nutrition with you bring all the hydration with you. And make sure you have new tires on as you’re doing a lot of different things. And so then when you get to the start line, oh, you look around, ready to go. If the heart rate down. Take that deep breath. Now the events are.


Trevor Connor  1:08:59

Alright, let’s get back to the show and talk about strategy and these events.


Chris Case  1:09:03

I think it’s time we turn our attention to some of those gaming the system strategies or just strategy in general about how to ride these different different events how to manage your effort across something that could be quite typical could be start to finish you go hard could be start to finish you go not so hard just to finish or it could be super easy for the first hour and then as hard as possible for five minutes and then super easy with a rest stop in there and then as hard as possible for 15 minutes of a huge climb and etc. So let’s talk about some of these different types of coping mechanisms strategies for getting through the different types of styles here.


Trevor Connor  1:09:46

It’s something important to point out when you are doing an event that has these time segments. We were talking before about the you really even if you’re there just to have some fun, really working that top and making sure you have some race fitness. Here’s a Another way these events are different from a road race, if you’re doing a five hour road race, and you get popped, once your day is done, everybody goes into those events, a little word, even pros are going, I got to be careful with my efforts. Because if I get popped, my race is over. If you’re coming into a grand fondo, or you go, okay, there’s a 15 minute segment. And then I can sit in a feed zone for 20 minutes afterwards and recover and eat a lot of food. Yeah, they’re not holding back on those segments. They’re giving each segment everything they’ve got.



Mm hmm.


Chris Case  1:10:30

The other thing to keep in mind is like I think you mentioned this earlier is there, there’s typically a lead group, as I’ve seen in in these events, but that doesn’t mean that you’re going to end up going the fastest because there could be a guy or a group of guys that decides they’re going to do their own thing. They start slow, slower, they have their own group. And they’re just knocking out of the park on these segments and doing what you say taking a little bit extra time recovering a little bit longer. But the feed zones or the or just the times in between where there were crews and easy. So yeah, there’s, there’s a different a totally different mentality you can have if you’re racing this thing, and you have to keep in mind, you’re not necessarily racing against everybody that’s in your group, there’s probably other people out on course doing something else that could threaten your leader.


Trevor Connor  1:11:20

So that fondo I did last summer I did it with one of the athletes. I was coaching named Charlie. And we hit the the third segment, which was kind of about 10 minutes of flats, and then a five minute Hill. And I told Charlie get on my wheel. And as we were approaching the segment, I intentionally opened about a 32nd gap. Yeah, to the leaders. Charlie’s syndicate. What are you doing? What are you doing? I’m just like, stay on my wheel. Yes, yes. Soon as we cross the line, I put my head down. And my race was 10 minutes. Yeah. And I closed that 32nd gap with him on my wheel. And I completely exploded. That he went up the clock. And I asked him afterwards. How do you do? He’s like, well, not so good. I was fifth across the line, like then you want? Yeah, it’s like no, I was fit across the line. Like it’s a time segment.


Chris Case  1:12:05

Yeah, you got a 32nd bonus, right


Trevor Connor  1:12:07

initially, and then he wanted the segment. So


Colby Pearce  1:12:09

that’s the gaming the system aspect. And if there’s, it mostly works on segments, where you have some rolling component to it, or flat component, and then a climb, and you can do exactly what you described there, Trevor, which is, yeah, hold back a bit at the beginning. And then you have to make a concerted effort to catch up on this can play to women as well who are perhaps bouncing around in a really large event with a lot of writers. The women may or may not be in the same group who are potentially winning the time segments. Mm hmm. Especially enrolling segments. Anyone should take advantage of a group that rolls well together. I mean, the first year I did Oh, Rockies there was 100 kilometer time segment with two massive climbs in it that finished in Crested Butte one year. Wow. And we had a group of I think 45 or 50, riders pace lining for a while at the bottom for a good 30 minutes heading into the first big climb. And then we went up the climb in that group got reduced significantly, but there was still maybe a dozen of us baselining through the valley to the second climb. And then of course at the final climb. It was all once in Tuesday’s Yep, you know that plate being placed in that group had a significant outcome on the time segment of that day. And as I remember, actually, to tell a story. We descended out of the village of Snowmass that morning on a really, really rough road. And both race leaders had double flats. If I recall correctly, it was Malibu, Shay and Anna pulley were both riding that year. And Yep. Maddie had to, I don’t know, you know, glue together some tubes with twigs, or something because he didn’t. So he did not make it up to the rest of the group, which had most of the ride leaders with it at that point, he had to do the entire time segment, probably with a much weaker group to help him on the flat sections, and then most of the clients by himself, and he went really, really deep that day, it was a really impressive ride for him to keep the lead. I don’t know how he did it. But anyway, guys a beast, so and Emma managed to keep her lead tool too. And that was pretty impressive on her part. But that leads me also to what you were saying a moment ago, Trevor about a 15 minute segment and people going for it. This is a perfect opportunity for someone who would normally not necessarily dig past a certain point in a road race. Because if you if you explode in a road race, and you go out the back, then you’re done. But in a fondo where you’ve got time segments and a chance to recompile too late, you know, you have an opportunity to potentially push yourself deeper than you might otherwise, you can try that gambling attack on the rolling section. You can climb faster than you’ve ever climbed before, see what happens. And if you explode into a million pieces and crawl in, there’s still gonna be people waiting at the next time or at the next rest up anyway after the segment ends. Or even if there is no segment there’ll be people the rest up to ride with. So for those of you who are thinking about are using event as training or as practice for racing or as using it as an entry level racing event, think of it in in ways that you may not approach a road race because they’re possible. There are there methods you can use during the That will allow you to push your boundaries and explore and figure out what your true limits are. And the consequences if you think about it aren’t the same as they are in a road event.


Chris Case  1:15:08

Yeah, I mean, if all else fails, you can get a lot of cookies at that next, if you’re just like, you know what, I’m out. Just go eat cookies, because I went way too deep.


Colby Pearce  1:15:17

I had two nuclear explosions. What was the right one was the left on that last climb? I’m done for the day. That’s fine. I’m gonna eat cookies. I’m just gonna roll in social the rest of the day. Christmas is


Trevor Connor  1:15:26

the only thing you’ve gotten out of this conversation. Kirsten, just I’m looking at he’s been spending the last hour to sit me going. I didn’t eat enough cookies when I did the whole group last year why


Chris Case  1:15:35

my money’s worth. So yeah, I think you do have to, again, this, this pertains to the people that are racing it, but you do have to shift your mentality a bit, it takes some getting used to take some thought, if you want to game the system, I don’t think you should look at it as people are, quote, cheating or something like that, that would be wrong, because it’s a grand fondo. You can do whatever you want to do. In my experience, though, the the front of the front of the pack is typically the strongest guys and women. And there isn’t a lot of gamifying going on, they’re not trying to play the system and get that advantage. It’s pretty much straight up racing in these segments. That’s my experience. Colby, would you agree with that? Well,


Colby Pearce  1:16:20

if Tim Johnson’s on around,


Chris Case  1:16:21

yeah, that’s good. Very good point. Though, bear in mind, if


Trevor Connor  1:16:25

you are going into this, you want to race and you’re focusing on trying to get the fastest time on those segments, you have to look at this a little bit differently from the races, the transitions in between, don’t matter. Don’t kill yourself in the transitions in between and be tired for the segments. Yeah,


Chris Case  1:16:41

I think if you’re sort of a second tier person, though, what you need to keep in mind is if you’re regroup if you’re getting dropped from the the fastest people in the segments, but are able to regroup with them, you probably want to stay with that group as long as as much as possible. Because if there’s a flat section, you want to stay with that group, rather than getting left in the no man’s land. So there’s a little there’s a lot of thinking you have to do to sort of play the system the best way the most appropriate way, the most advantageous way. So far, we’ve we’ve kind of concentrated on the single day granfondo in terms of strategy, what about the multi day events, treat like a stage race, what


Colby Pearce  1:17:21

what are the what are the nuances there that should be kept in mind, just like any multi day stage race, for doing a multi day granfondo something like an old routine in Europe and in the US, you definitely want to look after yourself after the stage. That means eating quickly after the stage finishes getting cleaned up. In some cases, getting massage if you can, if you’ve got compression, that’s a great way to look after it. Obviously, you’re hydrating quite a bit, I prefer to hydrate directly after the stage. What I’ve noticed is some people tend to kind of linger until 839 at night, then they go oh man, I probably haven’t drank enough. And then they slam a bunch of water. And then guess what, you can’t sleep, you gotta pee four times during the middle the night that disrupts your rest. So think about timing that and same thing goes for the morning, you want to wake up and immediately rehydrate because you do lose fluids. When you’re asleep at night you sweat and you’re you’re losing, you’re losing moisture through your your exhale, respiration, respiration, so, but if you drink a bunch of water right before the start, then your problem is you’ve got to pee the whole time. And if you have to pee like crazy, during your first or second time segment, you’re not gonna be riding too fast or be too distracted. Those are little bits that are important to look after. And then of course, you’re eating corn here, your body type and eating foods are going to sustain you and enable you to have good recovery. I prefer to do a bit of meditation in the afternoon after a hard ride like that, especially if I have something coming up the next day. I’ll do that with compression, kind of make it a package deal. So that works well for me also sit with my legs elevated vertically against a wall. If there’s a harder section a floor, I’ll use that. And it kind of kind of help reset the SI joints in the pelvis. So the weight of the leg drops down into the pelvis and lets everything reset. And I found that to be particularly effective with compression, it’s kind of a double whammy.


Trevor Connor  1:19:03

So the thing I’m going to add is a non strategy thing at all, which is quite often if you’re doing a multi day event like this, you might find on the first day that you were in the wrong group. Quite often the people that you come to the event with have very different goals from you, you might just want to be leisurely and they might want to race it or vice versa. And you’re going to find yourself partway through the first day in a very different group. And one of my suggestion is to make this event as enjoyable as possible. Get the names of the people that you ended up riding with. If you like them and coordinate with them the next day, you might find you’re going to enjoy it much more riding with them than the people that you originally ride with.


Chris Case  1:19:41

Yeah. And for people that maybe this is the first time they ever do a multi day event. What sort of advice would you give to them in terms of metering out the effort from day to day today?


Colby Pearce  1:19:53

It’s really easy to go way too deep on the first day. Yes, it’s really easy because you’re fresh. You’re excited, you’ve got adrenaline, you’ve got, you’re doing the event for the first time. So there’s always new people and fancy bikes and amazing wheels and just things, shiny things, it’s easy to get carried away and think that you can handle the load. And you probably can for one day, but don’t forget, you’ve got to back it up with multiple days after that. So the typical curve in a stage race is that you are fresh on the first day. And the second day, you feel like someone tied a tree stump to the back of your bike, and you can’t get out of your own way. And then if you bounce back from that curve, and you recover, well, then on day three, you’ve got what I would call the rhythm of the event. So if you’re a little bit clever, you don’t go too deep on the first day so that that curve doesn’t go too deeply on the second day, because if the second day is challenging, and you want to do well on the overall or at least have consistent performances, if you really tank yourself on the first day, or you really go deep on the first day, and then you take on the second day, that can be the day where you lose a whole bunch of time, and you become you. You’re no longer competitive. And then by the time the third day comes, you say oh, well, now I’m riding with these people that dropped me yesterday. That’s a sign that you went a little too deep intensity discipline is the key to that you want to govern your efforts on the first day. And the rule of thumb I use is never, at any given moment, never go deeper than 90% of what you think you can do. And that’s generous. But that you got to be really honest with yourself, because when you’re fresh 90% doesn’t feel very hard, even 9098 or 99%, especially after big table doesn’t feel air quotes, hard. That’s not what it’s about. It’s about having the experience to meter your effort and be realistic. Also, you can use of course power and heart rate to help triangulate your, how realistic and how honest you’re being with yourself.


Trevor Connor  1:21:39

Some people are really lucky. And by the third or fourth day, they just suddenly feel amazing, because you have it’s not because they’re there didn’t do any damage to themselves. It’s because they have all their natural painkillers flowing, and they just don’t feel it. But 90% of the people out there at the event, they are hurting, you get on the bike in the morning, oh, the third or fourth day and your legs don’t work. So well. Breaking 100 watts feels a lot harder than it used to feel. That’s normal, you need to ride yourself into it a little bit. But also remind yourself that’s how most people are feeling.


Chris Case  1:22:12

Is there an art to interpreting the road book that you’ll get before one of these multi stage events where you look at it and say, Okay, I need to take day one at 80%. Because day two is no matter what I do, it’s going to be 100% type of effort to get through it, etc. You know, what’s what you you’ve done a lot of stage racing in your life, some multi day granfondo is what’s


Colby Pearce  1:22:38

Well, one part of the art is you have to know what country you’re in. And then you you know, if it’s you what you’re seeing is actually real. The accuracy of the road of the route book based on the country you’re in. Yeah, yeah. Because there are some hidden gems in there.



If you’re atla Ruta, right, in Costa Rica, I


Colby Pearce  1:22:54

don’t trust anything. Venezuela also told the shaders I did a lot that wasn’t in the Bible. It’s just the way it goes. So you have to kind of know what you’re in for a little bit. But yeah, I mean, obviously, you want to look at the route for an event, a multi day event and decide where the Queen’s day is, you want to assume that that’s going to be your hardest day. And you’ve got to plan your week strategy to a degree around that if your goals are to be competitive, or if you want to just have a strong solid performance. So if you take yourself on the days where it’s not going to have as much of an effect on your placement overall and then your your smoked. By the time you get to the Queen stage, then you played your cards wrong, obviously, for that, like out route in the Rockies, for example. There were there were massive climbing days pretty much every day. And even the time travel was a giant 30 minute climb. Every day required a fair amount of climbing, but there was still a queen stage to be to be dealt with, which we did last year. So you want to you want to just have a good instinct for the rulebook and look at it in advance and kind of digest and absorb it and look at it and think, Okay, what what are there going to be the most challenging moments for this ride for me, anticipate those and then just like any good bike race, at least 50% of any bike race is made up on the road. So understand that there are going to be all sorts of unforeseen events and factors that influence how the day plays out whether that’s a hailstorm or some flat tires, or dropped a water bottle or hopefully not but you know, every once in while someone falls off their bike because gravity’s just relentless, which


Chris Case  1:24:19

is bad legs on a day


Colby Pearce  1:24:20

just really bad legs you do everything right and some days you go there and you go man, I’m just I’m, I’m just empty so I got to figure out how to deal with this on the day.


Trevor Connor  1:24:29

So my one of my favorite quotes is from Tim I could never pronounce this Tim crabby, the writer Yeah. Where he says in the book The This is a paraphrase like I remember the exact quote, but it’s the good racer. licks his opponents plate clean before he starts in on his own.


Chris Case  1:24:46



Trevor Connor  1:24:46

I love that line. And I’m talking right now about how good racers approach stage racing which is they want the inexperienced riders or a lot of the other riders to waste energy on the first few days. And so they’ll kind of go do they’ll take little attacks, things like that to get you to waste energy. But there comes a day in the stage race when they know that most people are tired, when they’re going to show just how strong they are. But they’re going to make sure your plate is mostly cleaned up first, be one of those people, if you’re going there, go into one of these events to race, don’t be the person that shows up and just treats the first day like there isn’t a day to write and you show how strong you are on that first climb. And then the rest of the time you are just struggling to hang on or getting popped.


Colby Pearce  1:25:30

Yep. Which goes to the point of managing your own energy. Just like in training, if you are set to do a certain number of intervals or a certain length ride, and then you hear about so and so who’s doing more intervals or a different type of rider, a different group rider smashing this climb, and then you start to question your own process, you’re gonna focus on what’s going to work for you. It’s the same same story during a one day long ride or a multi day event, you’ve got to focus on what is realistic for you what you know, you can do some, some guy goes full Batman in the first five minutes and flying off the front looks like he’s going a million miles an hour. Well, you also remember you don’t know his story. In particular, for these multi day events. There are occasions where people are only actually doing one day for whatever reason or two days right at the event so or even better. Last year, we did a route and a bunch of people showed up for the final day of Pikes Peak. Yeah. I mean, Pikes Peak is just brutal on its own, let alone after you’ve been riding hard for six days. But when people have fresh legs, it’s just lambs to the slaughter. So it is what it is you do your thing. wouldn’t change how fast I wanted to mountain which was not very fast.


Chris Case  1:26:34

All right, well, you know what time it is Colby, you’ve done this before a couple times. I think take homes, you got 60 seconds to encapsulate everything we’ve spoken about to give our listeners your key tips from today.



Cookies. That’s Hey,


Chris Case  1:26:48

I like the way you’re thinking. low hanging chocolate chip. What what are we talking about double chocolate chip?


Colby Pearce  1:26:53

My wife makes a mean ginger cookie, huh?


Chris Case  1:26:56

Yeah, with a little chocolate on it? Or


Colby Pearce  1:26:58

she typically doesn’t her recipe, although I’m not opposed to it. Okay, as long as it’s dark chocolate. Yep, you absolutely. You’re welcome, Phil. Um, so let’s see takeaways from today, I would say treat the event, you know, think about the event and how it plays into your season. The nice thing about a fondo style event or an event with time segments, whether it’s on the road or gravel is that you can use it, how it fits in your program, you can use it like Trevor did, in his example, at the end of a really big block of training, to kind of put the nail in the coffin, so to speak, and add that final load, you can also make it your opportunity to be as competitive as you want to for the year in a perhaps less structured or stressful format than a proper road race. So that’s to your advantage. You can also use it as a place to test yourself to try new things. And I don’t mean new things in the sense of food or drink, I mean, new thing, that sense of testing your own ability to push yourself really deep or try new tactics, see what happens. Because if you’re using this type of event to refine your skills, for a road race, or road events, then it’s a great format to do those things. I would also say just be honest with yourself, if you want to go there and be competitive, and you’re getting caught up in the pace, and you’re hanging on for dear life every day, and that’s how you want to ride it, then fine. But if you go there with a certain intention, try not to let yourself get caught up in the spirit of the event too much and sway from your your goals. Use it for what it’s going to be for the box it’s going to take in your life. And in your cycling career for the season. Trevor,


Chris Case  1:28:30

what do you think? So as easy seconds, but what’s the metric version of 60 seconds?



6060 seconds.


Chris Case  1:28:38

I know this



seconds didn’t get screwed up?


Trevor Connor  1:28:41

Can you imagine we had 100 seconds.


Colby Pearce  1:28:43

100 seconds or 100 100? Our else


Chris Case  1:28:46

100 weasel matches Metro vehcile bucks? Absolutely. You got 60 Shmoop removers? You’re on? You’re on the clock. He did Canadian.


Trevor Connor  1:28:57

Which time I have.



I haven’t learned the conversion.



metric units.


Trevor Connor  1:29:02

No, I think you I think you hit the big one, which is when you do a road race, you really don’t have a lot of options. You’re there to race. And if you get popped, your day is over where there’s so many different ways you can approach granfondo in a room and the only thing I’m going to add to what you said is just make sure you know your goal. Otherwise, you’re not going to have a successful event. So I think my take home is just going to be touching on the big big overview of the training. You need the endurance. Don’t go to one of these events with your longest ride being two hours you it’s just not going to lead good places. So you need to do that endurance work and you need to do tough endurance work as you’re getting closer to the event. But don’t fool yourself even if you’re just there to have fun to think you don’t need any sort of race fitness at all. So I’m glad Colby brought that up right from the start saying you need to be doing some interval work. You need to be doing some high intensity really just we’ve been asked how do you train for grandpa? Don’t people think it’s really unique? I would really say that how would you train for a long road race? It’s basically the same thing. Yep.


Chris Case  1:30:06

And I have 60 Super boomers as well. So I will take my turn,


Trevor Connor  1:30:12

I find it out of my timer.


Chris Case  1:30:14

I really like Gran fondos. There’s a time and place for great road races and stage races, but one day, Gran fondos, or multi day Gran fondos can be really fun. For I think what’s most fun about them is the variety of types of people that are able to do them. You can choose your own adventure, you can make them what you want them to be, you can get a lot of people there that are into the racing. One thing that we we really didn’t touch upon, but I think is important is being able to feel out what if you’re if you end up in a group being able to feel out what everybody wants. So you’re not the only one that’s like, Come on, let’s go or pushing things or just being the outlier there. And it’s it’s nice to be able to feel your way into what everybody else wants to do. And you have that collective agreement that you’re going to ride easy between the segments or you’re not going to ride easy between segments, but don’t be the outlier. So, yeah, have fun with them. Game them if you want to don’t gain them if you don’t want to. But yeah, they can take you to great places, they’re often in destinations that you might not see otherwise. So take advantage of that and enjoy the whole experience. That was another episode of fast dock. As always, we love your feedback. Email us at Fast Talk at Villa Subscribe to Fast Talk on iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud and Google Play. Be sure to leave us a rating and a comment. Become a fan of fast doc on Facebook slash velonews on slash velonews. Fast talk is a joint production between velonews and Connor coaching the thoughts and opinions expressed on Fast Talk are those of the individual for Trevor Connor Colby Pierce. Brent bookwalter on Chris case. Thanks for listening