New to Gran Fondos? Never fear with our handy guide to getting the most out of your Clare Classic, regardless of what course you decide to do!
Keep calm and pace yourself!
Regardless of what distance you’re taking on in Clare, the first quarter of your ride might feel so easy that it’s tempting to pick up the pace. But don’t push yourself too hard! Easier said than done but stick to a comfortable pace throughout the first half of the ride and you can then start to develop speed towards the back half of the race.
Try and memorise specific time goals in your head to help your pacing, but by the same token, don’t get too focused on individual distances and kilometre marks. Group distances together in 10s, as this will help you to manage the race mentally and keep you focused.
Before the ride but after breakfast, warm up slowly by doing some light cardio somewhere near the start line. Pop your bike to one side and go for a vigorous walk around the block to get the heart pumping and the muscles warm. Stretch a little but don’t pull on your muscles if they feel tight – you want to remain as loose and flexible as possible.
It sounds obvious, but any pre-race excitement may prevent you from feeling hungry. So eating breakfast is extremely important on race day because the right amount and type of food is vital to keeping you going during the ride. Eat 2-4 hours before you’re due to start, fuelling yourself with plenty of fluids, carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Why not try three slices of wholemeal toast, with natural peanut butter and a banana as your pre-ride feast?
A few hours after completing the ride you will be starving. Which means it’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy any food that you forbid yourself from eating during training and leading up to the big day. Keep that in your mind during those tougher climbs and ‘dig-deep’ moments to get you through. Your body will still expend energy long after you’ve crossed the finishing line, so you won’t need to worry about consuming high levels of calories and fat. Bon appetit!