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Planning your Fuelling for a Gran Fondo

Once you have a clear idea of the intensity you expect to ride at during the Gran Fondo (or Sportive) (see the article Managing your Effort Level During a Gran Fondo) you can then start to plan your required fuelling for the event.



As a general rule of thumb when you are riding longer than 2 hours, your body requires 90g of carbohydrate every hour of riding. You can get these through gels or energy bars (bananas are also very good for this).


However, for a lot of riders 90g per hour is hard for the gut to manage. As a result, once a week you should practice consuming this amount of fuel (consider doing this during one of your weekend ride) so your body is conditioned for these demands.Keep in mind carbohydrate intake of 90 grams per hours of riding is the upper limit of what we can consume. Any more than this and your body may not probably digest the fuel.


But, should the time of when you intake fuel during the gran fondo change depending on the profile? Let's say your gran fondo is 100km with 3 big climbs around 15km each, this means almost 50% of your route will be up hill. Further, each climb will likely take between 60-90 minutes. Considering this, you will want to plan your carbohydrate intake around these times as this is when you will be putting the most effort in.


Consider the below graph as an example fuelling strategy. Take note of when the suggested fuelling is relative to the course profile. The below course is due to take you roughly 5 hours. Meaning you will need 450g of carbohydrates. Lets say you have a gel consisting of 45g of carbohydrates, you will need around 10 gels to get you though the course. The crosses offer a guide to when you should be taking these gels of 45g of carbohydrates.



Note how the gels are constantly taken throughout the race. This is of course just an example and it may vary for you depending on what you find best.


If you have further questions or want to go through your fuelling strategy for your event drop BCA an email.


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