Tips for Surviving a Gran Fondo with Limited Training

We are excited to be the title sponsor of the Giordana Gran Fondo National Championship Series. The eight event series kicks off on Saturday March 26th in San Antonio, FL and concludes September 18th with the National Championship Frederick, MD.

Interested in riding in the Giordana GFNCS? Click here to sign up or get more information about the series.


If you are a first time Gran Fondo participant or you haven't been training, an epic ride like this can be daunting but it's not too late to gain the fitness and confidence you need to reach the finish line.

We've gathered a few tips from Giordana Ambassador and expert coach, Lee Zohlman, on how to survive a Gran Fondo on a month of training.

Best of luck, we hope to see you at the start line!


Make sure your bike is tuned up and in good condition.

No matter what type of bike you ride you’ll want to ensure the tires are in good shape. Tires should not be flat on the top and you'll want to inflate them to the level noted on the sidewall the morning of the Gran Fondo. Have the mechanic measure your chain. The chain needs to be well lubed and not stretched. While you're giving it a once over ensure both brakes work without any issues​​. You do use both brakes don't you?


Get a bike fit.

You’re going to be on your steed for a long time so get a professional fitter to look at your bike fit. Make sure they look at the foot/shoe/pedal relationship and communicate to them anywhere you have aches or pains while riding​​​​. You do not want your leg locking at the bottom of the pedal stroke and you want a small bend in your elbows when holding the handlebars on the hoods. The hoods are the location at the top of the brakes. 


Select which distance is best for you.

If your longest weekly rides are 20-30 miles then jumping to 62 or 100 miles may not be the best idea. You can fudge with your fitness level only so much. If you’re within 5-10 miles of your longest ride than go for the longer distance. So if you ride 45-50 miles once a week and have a few of these in the bag then go for the 62 miler!


Start and finish small.

Always spend the first and last 5-10 minutes in the small chainring to warm up and cool down your legs​. This warm up and cool down needs to be at very easy pace. Think chit chat pace.


Avoid injuries.

To improve your endurance aim to increase your weekly cycling time by 10-15%. This will help you build up in a smart fashion and with a lower probability for overuse injuries​.



For any ride over 50 minutes have a carbohydrate drink with you and aim to drink 10-12 ounces per hour​.


Leave the solid foods.

For any rides in the 2-3 hour time frame aim for the fluids outlined above plus 1-2 energy gels. Gels or gummy type chews absorb quickly in the body and don’t require as much blood to be shifted from the working muscle groups to the digestive system. Leave the solid foods for before and after the race​.


4 times a week!

Aim to ride four times each week with one of the rides being your longest ride you’ll have an average heart rate under 145 beats per minute​.



To build cycling specific leg strength aim to get in some 4-5 minute pieces in a heavy gear at 60-70 rpm’s with equal amounts of rest between pieces​.


Get those RPM's up!

Aim to average 90-100 RPM’s on your daily rides​.


To ride better you have to ride more.

Tour de France winner and World Champion Eddy Merckx once asked how to to become a better cyclist. He simply stated, “Ride lots!”

Now you're ready to Gran Fondo!


Interested in riding in the Giordana GFNCS? Click here to sign up and get more information about the series.





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