This week, I am linking up with Kookyrunner and Zenaida for Tuesday Topics again and since we don’t have a topic this week, but are free to choose what to blog about, I thought I’d share my first PeloFondo experience with you.
What’s a PeloFondo?
PeloFondo is a free Gran Fondo-style endurance challenge for Peloton riders. In the world of road cycling, a GranFondo (which is Italian and roughly translates to “big race”) is a long-distance mass cycling event that starts at 75 miles (120 km).
The event takes place four times per year and provides multiple distance opportunities. The main goal is to ride a designated amount of miles in a sitting, a day, or over the weekend. You can join individually or as a team, you choose a total mileage goal between 35 and 120 miles, and you can decide if you want to complete the mileage in one day, or if you want to split it up over two days. If you pick two days, your mileage can be split up however you want between those 2 days and over multiple rides.
The recommendation for Peloton riders, who use classes, is to not follow the instructors’ cues, but instead maintain a steady, sustainable pace (zone 2, if you know your power zones) throughout the rides. I believe you can participate as an app rider, as long as you’re able to track (and then manually report) your mileage on your non-Peloton bike.
Tanja and I signed up together with our Streakers Team (the same team we join for the Power Zone Challenges). 100 riders signed up, together we pledged to ride 3000 miles and we blew that goal out of the water and collectively rode 4786.9 miles.
In total, 7565 riders from 30 different countries participated this time.
How the weekend went
You do need to prepare for a PeloFondo. You can’t just get on the bike and expect to crush your mileage goal, if you haven’t cycled more than 20 minutes before, even if you think ‘oh, I am just leisurely pedaling’. This is an endurance event and it will tax your cardiovascular and muscular system. Even if you pick the shortest distance, which is 35 miles, you’ll be in the saddle for a minimum of 2-3 hours.
I pledged 75 miles and even though I am currently in power zone training and have had a regular exercise routine for a while, it’s not a distance to take lightly. You also need to think about hydration and fueling.
If you’ve never done any type of endurance event, this is something you need to “practice” and work on ahead of time. I am by no means a nutrition expert. I am known to run my half marathons on little more than a protein bar and some chews along the way. However, it is important that you hydrate (!!!) before and during the event (ideally also ingest some electrolytes) and that you do take in small amounts of fuel along the way to avoid bonking ( which means “hitting a wall”). When you bonk, you’ve reached the point at which the body’s glycogen stores are depleted and the body starts to fatigue, making each step/movement feel impossible. It’s very uncomfortable – legs feel heavy, body drained, and heart racing.
I thought I’d split the 75 miles over both days. The PeloFondo Team provides a ride schedule for the weekend to include live classes and an assortment of on-demand classes, so people can ride together on the leaderboard and support each other with high fives. My team, the Peloton Streakers, also came up with a ride schedule for the weekend, but I decided to tackle the first chunk of miles by choosing the “just ride” option and pedal away while watching Netflix.
I initially set my goal to ride for 2 hours, then I decided to finish 40 miles, then I was close to 1000 kj output, so I wanted to hit that, and then I thought, what the hell, just finish the 50 miles. Yes, you can get carried away a bit. Fair warning!
I was on the bike for 2 hours, 53 minutes, and truth be told, my legs (and butt) were tired. I finished three 24-oz bottles of water/electrolytes, a banana, a half protein bar, and a handful of gummy bears during my Saturday ride. Stretching and foam rolling afterwards helped immensely. So did a post-ride meal and good night’s rest.
On Sunday morning, I had a scheduled 60-min power zone ride to accomplish, and then a few miles left to hit my goal of 75 miles for the weekend. Well, let’s just say that my ambition got the better of me. I felt good, I jumped on a couple of the scheduled classes, and completed another 50 miles for day two in 2 hours and 50 minutes. The sense of support and community during this event was overwhelming and it really helped push everyone along!
This truly was a lot of fun, but one thing I’ve learned is that you have to be a bit strategic about how you’re going to approach the distance goal you’ve set for yourself. Now that my first PeloFondo is behind me, I know how to even prepare better for the next one.
Because there’s going to be a next one in April and needless to say, I’ll be doing this again!
Congrats to everyone who pledged miles and also got the work done this weekend. You all inspire me every day to become a better version of myself and I love being part of this community.
Have you participated in an endurance event? How did you like it?