The last two weeks of my GranFondo training have been on very hilly routes. Last weekend while cheering my sister on during her IronMan I snuck in my long ride at Mont Tremblant (very hilly) and this weekend took on many rollers in the Hamilton-Niagara area.
Hills are definitely my weakness. I always seem to lose time during the climb.
Last year I received some great climbing advice: “don’t look at the top, just focus on the road in front of you and change your gears based on how you feel.” It came from a great source and seems to make sense, so I’ve been following it.
GranFondo is in Niagara Falls and all I think think about is climbing the escarpment. What advice do you have to flatten hills while out of a ride? Leave it in the comments below!
The snow has melted, my bike is finally out of storage (and tuned) and starting this week I’ll be taking my GranFondo Niagara Falls training from the studio and out onto the road.What the heck is GranFondo – click here!
While I never ride alone (I have a great network of very active and very motivational – and often as fitness crazy- friends) I like to be self-reliant and bring everything I need with me.
When I first started riding and racing last year I purchased this little pouch which fits under my seat (got it at MEC) and it has been serving me well every since. So, beyond my helmet, reflection/lights, and sunglasses, here are my top 5 items I never ride without!
1. Spare Tube and Tire Levers.
On my first group ride last year I learned from the experience of my friend Vince, that not only should you have an extra tire, you should also know how to inflate it (thanks for the lesson Travis!). And so I quickly went home and watch the YouTube video below and never leave home without them!
I use CO2 canisters because I can never seem to inflate my tires enough with a pump and they just work for me. They are small enough to fit in my pouch and very convenient. Just be sure the nozzles are closed when you puncture the canister – but you’ll likely only ever do that once.
As the GranFondo is 125km, hydration and fuel is key. My recent running training has had me transition to Vega (VegaSport) which is a plant based nutrition vs many of the more chemical and unnatural fuels out there. For my marathon training I use the Pre-Workout Energizer, for during the Endurance Gel and Endurance Bar, and Recovery Accelerator and Protein Bar for post workout and look forward to see how this will transition to the bike. I suggest starting with the bars for during and post and the pre workout drink crystals if you’re looking for convenience and good taste.
4. Cell Phone.
And no NOT so you can plug in your headphones and listen to music. That would be on my NEVER list of things to do (very unsafe as you can’t hear what’s happening around you). I’m suggesting using the cell phone in case you or someone along your route runs into trouble. Knowing you can make the call for help certainly brings piece of mind. Whether it’s an ambulance or cab, being able to make that call will make things easy and get you or others help quicker. Also consider adding an ICE contact – that’s “In Case of Emergency”. That way if something does happen to you, a stranger can help you out.
Pick a card, any card! I’m taking about identification and credit cards. ALWAYS carry ID, if anything should ever happen to you, this will help others identify who you are. Credit cards can be used to cover a mid ride refuel or that cab ride in case of a bike mishap. I’ve also heard of people carrying bills to place inside their split tire. If laid along the split it can keep the tube from bulging out too badly until it can be repaired – now I’ve never had to try this, but it sounds like it might work (especially with our new plasticy bills).
Now all these items are great, but if you don’t know how to change your tube, your greatest bike adventure will come to a halt. So I suggest before hitting the road watch a YouTube video and practice in the comfort of your own house. A stress free environment will certainly set you up for success if you ever need to do a quick change on the road or during a race.
Did I leave something off that you bring to make your ride safer, more comfortable or more convenient? If so, add it to the comments!