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30-03-2023 | Wouter Fioole

Preparing for your first gran fondo in five steps

Maybe you are thinking about riding your first gran fondo. Early spring is the time to really start preparing for it! In many different articles, columns and interviews we write about this and try to get you started. Since you like to see all the info on one page and that's why you my preparation in five steps.

Photo: Patrick Güller

1. Choose a gran fondo

It starts, of course, by picking a tour you'd like to ride. Of course you use our calendar for this! Obviously, you can use the gran fondo filter, so you will only see competitive events.

I often search on the map. For example, I have booked a vacation destination with the family and then I check whether there is a gran fondo in that period. Especially since many gran fondos are quite a drive away, I try to find events that are close to each other that I can combine in one trip. If you create a free account, you can put your favorite gran fondos in a favorites list for easy retrieval.

Image: adding a favorite.

2. Schedule

With a user account, you can not only create a favorites list. You can also put together a complete plan. You can find this module under My CW in the upper right corner of the screen. On your plan (schedule) you can also include other activities, such as a running race or a vacation.

The big advantage of taking advantage of both Favorites and Plans is that you are automatically notified of updates and changes. Suppose the date of La Marmotte suddenly changes then you will receive an email of this automatically. So there will never be any unpleasant surprises.

3. Setting goals

Are your plans concrete? Then it is a matter of good preparation. For me, good preparation starts with goal setting. Our editor Peter wrote a number of columns about that that can help you. Although you should also forget that goal from time to time.

Personally I always set different types of goals depending on the gran fondo itself and the situation. Both process goals (like 'train well', 'have fun') and result goals (like 'qualify for the World Cup' or 'get a gold diploma'). Just riding out and enjoying is of course also an excellent goal!

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4. Training

Objectives can only be achieved by training well. Even if your goal is to finish or just have a lot of fun. The better trained you appear at the start, the more fun it will be.

I can recommend from my own experience using the JOIN app! A handy training app that customizes your workouts based on your availability and what you actually do. If you think that's a bridge too far, at least read the tips from WorldTour trainer Jim van den Berg from JOIN.

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5. Nutrition

Last but not least, it's a good idea to think about nutrition before, during and after your trip. In recent years a lot of new insights have emerged in the field of nutrition. It is definitely worthwhile to delve into this well. Is there an app for that? I hear you thinking. Yes, the convenient app EatMyRide helps you get enough fuel while cycling to keep going.  Don't forget to read our review.

Bonus tips:

  • Want to know more? Browse through our content! Anything missing? Let us know!
  • Prevent frustration both in yourself and the other participants. This will make it more fun for everyone. Read: The five biggest annoyances of gran fondo riders.
  • Most of all, don't make the same mistakes as we (or especially I) have made! Shame if you fall into the same traps.
  • Subscribe to our newsletter to stay informed and be notified of giveaways for new events. After all, a free ticket is always good!

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