Hi there, Robbie McEwen here, and amidst the excitement and anticipation, I’m really pleased to announce that Early Bird Registrations for my annual Gran Fondo are NOW OPEN!
For those who don’t know me, I’m a professional athlete and a 12-time participant in the annual Tour de France; I guess you could say I’m an avid cyclist and I’ve created an annual event called the Gold Coast Cycle Fest in order to give cyclists of all levels of expertise a chance to enjoy the sport as much as I do.
Cycling has reached new heights of popularity as far as both sport and relaxation over the past several years, and these days cyclists of all walks of life are pursuing new and more demanding challenges to test their cycling prowess.
What better event in which to do this than my Gran Fondo event, which takes place during the Gold Coast Cycle Fest (GCCF), held over the long weekend from 4th-5th October 2014; it’s guaranteed to be a wonderful weekend full of a number of challenging and fun events at Metricon Stadium.
This event is open to anyone who wants to bring their bicycle down and participate in any one of three incredible rides. Admittedly the featured event is my 135 km Gran Fondo and it promises to be both a breathtaking and stellar ride; it’s definitely the most challenging course of the day.
The tour is set out in a route from Metricon Stadium at Carrara and includes a vigorous 6km ascent up Mount Tamborine; but once up the view is spectacular, and it’s sure to give us hard-working cyclists a gorgeous view of what we’ve accomplished.
After the first mountain climb of the day you'll enjoy a nice flowing descent to Tamborine Village where you can top up your water bottles and have a quick snack at the first "feed zone".
Cruise along the flat 10km section to Canungra then get ready to CLIMB! After a short but steep pinch out of Canungra riders turn off Beaudesert-Nerang Rd and are faced with the second climb of the day, our electronically timed CONDEV Construction K.O.M, the back side of Beechmont, which gets gradually steeper as you go and brings you onto the Beechmont plateau.
After cresting the King of the Mountain you'll be greeted by million dollar views in every direction but the greatest reward is the long descent down to the valley below and the final run in towards the finish back at Metricon Stadium - but not before one last leg burner at 5km to go over Alexander Dr, a 400m long wall.
The Gran Fondo is set to begin bright and early in the morning with cyclists leaving from Metricon Stadium at 6:00 a.m. in groups of 100 at intervals of 1 minute apart.
I find that one of the things I’m often asked is how participants can avoid the pandemonium of the mass start and make a smooth transition into riding the course; I’ve come up with a few tips to help people start the course as safely and efficiently as possible:
Find a Good Place
In almost any Fondo you’ll find the professional cyclists and licensed racers taking a spot up front while the less experienced, more casual riders line up behind; if you’re feeling at all intimidated or unsure of yourself, try to stay back, especially if this is your first Fondo.
It’s also a good idea if this is your first event to participate in at least one or two group rides ahead of time in order to get a feel for what a mass start is really like.
Make a Space
Once you’ve figured out where you want to be, make sure to stand beside your bike in order to ensure some extra room; a few moments before the start of the event you can swing a leg up and over the saddle in preparation.
At this stage you should be ready for takeoff with all equipment in order; be sure your helmet is secure, shoes are done up and everything is ready to allow you to move forward with finesse when the crowd takes off.
Flowing off the start is one of the most important parts of starting en masse; do it right and all goes well, do it wrong and you risk a pileup.
Unless you’re starting from the front, take it easy off the start; don’t try to rush ahead but be sure to maintain adequate speed if you find yourself surrounded by an intense group, ensuring that you make your way to the right as quickly as possible without causing an accident in order to let the faster participants get by.
In any Fondo, it’s vital to ensure that your level of fitness is up to the challenge of completing the course which means that training ahead of time is crucial; start training at least 8 weeks before the event by scheduling several rides throughout rolling terrain.
Be sure to add a fourth ride that’s at least as long as your longest ride within the past month and tack on an additional 10km per week; when you reach 10 km, you’ll know you’re fighting fit and up to the challenge.
Timed Hill Climbs
Timed hill climbs can be really tough for those who are not highly-trained, professional athletes.
In order to train for making good time on these climbs while ensuring you’ll be able to finish the ride, use interval training; be sure to warm up for about 30 minutes then begin adding 15-minute intervals of hard training.
Adding up to six intervals during a ride will help ensure adequate conditioning; remember to take it gradually though and stop if you find things too difficult as overtraining can be both dangerous and counterproductive.
So regardless of your age or your level of cycling prowess, be sure to come out and experience the thrill of participating in the most exciting and exhilarating annual Gran Fondo event in the whole of Australia.