to the November issue of La Gazetta delle Granfondo – the official
online newsletter of the Granfondo Axel Merckx (GFAMO).
month we are excited to
have Challenge Penticton champion, Jeff
Symonds, offer his thoughts on race preparation. As well,
Vancouver-based coach, Paul Cross, discusses training with power. The
only thing better than a smooth pedal stroke is a smooth road. To that
end, we are very happy to report that South Okanagan road crews
recently continued resurfacing on White Lake Road (part of the 2014
Granfondo course) to include the descent to Highway 97. This
development will no doubt make the Granfondo safer and more enjoyable
for all riders.
Further, to improve rider safety we have enhanced our staging approach
at the start line for 2014. Riders are asked to indicate their
anticipated average ride speed during the registration process. Using
this information, riders will be sorted by speed and allocated to one
of six start zones, with faster riders closer to the front of the start
chute. Entrance to the start zones will be controlled.
Our 2014 GFAMO Holiday
Certificates will be available on our website (www.granfondoaxelmerckx.com)
on November 20th – the perfect gift for the spandex-clad cyclist in
your life. We’ll also reveal details about our Early Bird
Giveaway [HINT: it has two-wheels, a saddle and some
fiber with Trek written on it!].
Speaking of contests…
|GFAMO November Contest
for the 2014 Cortofondo (55 km), Mediofondo (92 km) or Granfondo (160
km) by Friday,
and you’ll be entered to win a ‘Chefs Menu for 2’ at the amazing Vanilla Pod
Poplar Grove Winery in Penticton, B.C. (valued at
$118). The Vanilla Pod recently received the TripAdvisor
Certificate of Excellence
(2012–2013) and was voted the Best of the Best in the
Okanagan by Okanagan
Life Magazine. And nothing burns off a great meal than 160 km ride
through the South Okanagan…so register now!
for the following categories is now open:
Jan. 1, 2014
2, 2014 to
June 16, 2014
16, 2014 to
July 6, 2014
to the above category of your choice)
150 spots available)
Online registration closes on Sunday, July 6, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. All
occur at 11:59 p.m. on the day listed above. All transfers and distance
must be completed online by Sunday, July 6th, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. Visit
the refund and transfer policy page
for all the fine
And to take your
Weekend to the next level, choose the Classe
Speciale category, where you can ride any of the three ride
distances (Granfondo, Mediofondo, or Cortofondo), and enjoy a
first-class experience. The package includes an Alé
socks, as well as express package pick-up, a pre-ride staging area, a
special event weekend reception and more. There are only 150 Classe
Speciale spots, so register now.
E-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
GFAMO Cycling Kit 50% Off
All of our 2013 GFAMO cycling jerseys and shorts are now 50% off!
Whether you’re looking for an extra pair of Italian-made bib shorts, a
sleeveless jersey, or a regular jersey, we’ve got you covered at some
amazing prices. Sizes are limited, and availability is based on a
first-come, first-served basis.
Visit our Granfondo Store for more
information and prices.
Symonds (2013 Challenge
would you do if you knew
you would not fail? Or for the triathletes in the crowd, what would you
do if you knew you didn’t have to run afterwards? The Granfondo Axel
Merckx Okanagan (GFAMO) is a great way for triathletes to find the
answer to this question. Granfondo events are a great opportunity to
get out of your comfort zone and tear down any fears you might have.
Whether your fears are related to how hard you can push, or whether or
not you can cover the distance, the ‘Fondo will have an answer for
Pacing is undeniably critical to triathlon success. We train and
develop the ability to sustain that pace for incredible amounts of
time. But sometimes it’s tough to mentally and physically breakaway
from that pace. The excitement of a 2000+ person Granfondo start-line
will provide you with an almost euphoric surge of motivation to push
new boundaries. Adding to that motivation is that in an event of this
size, there isn’t just one rider to chase, but an entire group. There
is an almost endless supply of competitors to push you and encourage
you to find a new level of performance.
When I took part in the GFAMO in 2012, I found myself pushing extremely
high wattages early on. If I had seen these wattages in a triathlon I
would have slowed down and conserved myself for the run. But the beauty
of the ‘Fondo is that there is no run. If you go too hard you don’t
have to suffer through a 42.2 km death march, you can simply soft-pedal
back to town. Because of this I threw caution to the wind and “got ugly
out there”! I rode the like a maniac and attacked off the front. After
riding hard all day I got to the finish-line expecting to be fully
cooked. On the contrary, I felt pretty good. In the process, I found a
new level of hurt. Three weeks later I took this knowledge and
confidence into the Ironman 70.3 Calgary. I used the new limits that I
had found in the ‘Fondo, to finish on the podium on the back of a
strong bike and a solid run.
Participating in supported group riding like the ‘Fondo is a great way
to practice many elements of long course racing, without having to
worry about the long recovery that comes with running. Pre-event
jitters, pace, nutrition, hydration, equipment and mental strategies
are all crucial elements to triathlon success that can be practiced in
Until next time…Ride Hard and Smile Often. And don‘t forget to Get Ugly
Symonds is a Canadian professional triathlete from Penticton B.C. In
2011, Jeff broke through with a 3rd-place finish at the Ironman 70.3
World Championships. Last August, he captured the inaugural Challenge
Penticton title, averaging more than 38 km/h on the 180 km bike
segment. Jeff now lives and trains in Vancouver, B.C.
Ever since our inaugural year in
GFAMO finishers have enjoyed a complimentary Tree
beer at the finish line. Let's just say this is one well-received
Tree Brewing is once again back as the official beer sponsor of the
2014 GFAMO. Not only do they make great craft beer, but Tree is also an
amazing supporter of the Axel Merckx Youth Development Foundation.
Tree Brewing offers some of the best craft beer in North America, and
have recently released their Winter Character 12 Bottle Pack (with Knox
Mountain Brown Ale and Trestle Extra Special Bitter), as well as their
signature Vertical Winter Ale.
This month’s training article
courtesy of Paul Cross, a Vancouver-based fitness consultant and a
partner in the FitFX Studio.
I’ve noticed a lot more athletes using power this past season than ever
before. Now that the indoor season has picked up I have also noticed
more athletes asking me why they should train with power. From where I
sit as a full-time coach it’s pretty clear that riding with a wattage
meter is becoming more popular. So what’s all the fuss about? If you’re
curious about training with power but not yet familiar, please read
on. If you already use power I seek to give you some
that will help you use it more efficiently.
There is merit to having an honest conversation up front. What kind of
rider are you and where are your priorities and goals with regards to
your cycling? Some of you may not admit to being “competitive”. While
you may not enjoy “racing”, I have never met a person who did not enjoy
improving his or her performance. Plain and simple...we like progress,
and power aids progress. The decision to get power, however, should
ultimately come down to weighing your desire to improve your cycling
with the cost to do so. If we do that rationally we purchase power
meters BEFORE spending money on other stuff like $10K bikes, carbon
fiber wheels, a third bike, a fourth bike, or a closet full of Rapha
What is power?
pretty simple really…power is a measure of work over time.
measured in watts. While it might seem as easy as visualizing the
amount of pressure or torque you’re putting into the pedals, it’s in
fact a little more than that. The same amount of pressure at 80
revolutions per minute (rpm) and 100 rpm will give you lower and higher
wattages relatively. This is because you are doing less or more work
per minute. If you’re cruising along on a pancake flat road at 90 rpm
in an easy gear, and then you switch into a harder gear and while
maintaining an identical cadence, you will also be applying more power.
In this case the amount of pressure on the pedals has increased. One
thing is certain, more power means more speed.
started training with power on a CompuTrainer (a computerized indoor
trainer) back in the early 90s. I got immediate results. I was working
smarter, riding steadier and the rate of my progress increased. Using a
power meter can make you a better rider. Quick example: An athlete I’ve
been coaching for a couple of years rode with me the first year with no
power. Then I suggested he try it. He did and within only a few
workouts he was singing the praises of power. Now even though he
doesn’t ride with power all the time he says it transformed his
training and racing, permanently making him a better cyclist. This kind
of positive feedback is typical in my experience.
If you know how to use the numbers power can be the most beneficial
training tool you have. Your riding buddies may be kind, but the power
meter will not embellish. As I am fond of saying, “the
don’t lie”. If you started too hard the power file will show that. Of
course, you need to download it and look at it. Do you have a lot left
in the tank at the end of your event? The power file will show that
too. If you’re not riding steady the power will clearly reflect that.
Conversely if you ride like a super-hero the power will give you the
proof that you have done so.
Cycling is an endurance sport. For any activity where endurance is
concerned, efficiency is paramount. Efficiency means being more steady.
If you are applying steady power, you are efficient. If your power is
changing quickly from 100 watts to 400 watts to 200 watts – up down and
all over the place – you’re not going to be very efficient. This is
actually how a lot of people ride a bike, often without realizing it.
Their ego gets the better of them and they need to pass that rider in
front only to have to slow down later. Perceived effort is not a bad
way of controlling yourself to ride steady. Heart Rate is a better way
of controlling your pacing. But ultimately power is the best
Another athlete I coached this past season was new to training with
power in the spring. He had thought of himself as a “weak climber”.
What we discovered quite quickly by taking a look at his power files is
that he was starting the climbs way too hard. At the beginning of the
climbs his power was spiking up to about 130, 140 and even 150% of his
lactate threshold. This is a sure way to set yourself up to climb
poorly. Once he started to approach the climbs much more conservatively
at a wattage closer to his threshold, he started climbing better. He
was more able to keep up (even beat) some of the guys in his riding
club. Some of these guys had previously been ahead of him on the
Let’s keep in mind that riding well is not all about the physical stuff
(i.e. strength, skill, stamina and speed). Riding well is also about
confidence. More confidence means better execution on the road. In a
study of returning Olympians, the number one thing that athletes said
they would have, could have or should have worked on more before the
Games was mental skills. Bring your A-mental game and chances of both
success and enjoyment increase. Confidence breeds excellence.
Uncertainty breeds mediocrity and possibly failure. And power provides
the information to build confidence on race day.
Athletes will sometimes cite heart rate as an excuse to not get power.
In the absence of anything else, heart rate is awesome. It’s just not
as good as using power and heart rate together. Where does heart rate
play into the mix? Well, heart rate is telling you how you are
responding to the work. If you are in better shape, then you will
respond to the work by not being as tired, relatively. Let’s say you
start riding in the off-season out of shape – for example, at 150 watts
for five minutes your heart rate is 165 beats per minute. After months
of training you may be able to ride at 195 watts for five minutes at
the same 165 beats per minute. Ultimately, it’s rather hard to know
this unless you’re using a power meter.
Accurate power tools for cyclists are more available now than ever
before. Of course, you can also purchase power tools that are not as
accurate. There are plenty of options out there. Which power tool
should you get? That’s a question that demands it’s own dedicated
article. Should you get hub-based, bottom bracket-based, pedal-based,
or crank-based power? It all depends on several factors. The purpose of
this article is not to debate the merits of different power tools
available on the market. I do hope I have shed some more light on why
people are choosing to use power meters and how you can benefit from
getting on that bandwagon. I will say this, however, in regards to
power meters: the “get what you pay for” axiom applies. Pay for a
decent power meter or don’t bother. Like grandma used to say: “do
something right or don’t do it at all”. Some of the decent
meters available include: SRM, Power-Tap, Garmin Vector Pedals, Quark,
So…are you ready to start playing with
is an exercise
consultant, owner of Cross
Athletic Consulting, and partner at
Vancouver’s Fit FX Studio. Paul can be reached
in Sponsoring the 2014 Valley First Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan?
The benefits that come from your association
with one of the premiere athletic and cultural events of the summer are
obvious. Strong brand. Well organized. Great cause.
With as many
cyclists and countless friends and family members
taking part, your name and brand will be front-and-centre throughout
the weekend. For information on sponsorship opportunities, e-mail: email@example.com.