Preparing for a Farm to Fork Fondo
Okay, maybe you just started riding a bike or maybe you’re a seasoned cyclist. Chances are you started cycling to get fit, lose some weight, experience the thrill of going fast on two wheels, take up racing or triathlons, or maybe you just wanted to get outside and decided now’s a good time for a new challenge, so you registered for an exciting Farm to Fork Fondo event. You’ve heard great things about the event, it’s non-competitive, well supported, great local food (and beer), and a festive atmosphere at the finish. Now (cue the creepy horror film music) some nervousness has crept in and you’re second guessing yourself – well don’t! The Farm to Fork Fondo events have several route lengths to choose from. There’s something for everyone. From the beginner rider to the avid, seasoned racer type.
Don’t get me wrong, the ride may still be a challenge and there may be some discomfort and perhaps some second guessing, but that’s part of the appeal. With that said, there are a few things you can do to make it a pleasant experience. Proper preparation will go a long way to making your ride a success. Physical, mental, and bike maintenance are important. Physical – whichever route length you’ve chosen, put in the time and effort to be able to ride at least 75% of that distance. If you can ride 75%, you can ride the full length. Mental – if you’ve been riding/training (maybe even with a Stages Power Meter) and can ride at least 75% of the route length then mentally and physically you know “you got this!” Bike preparation – this is where you need to be honest with yourself and your limits. Are you mechanically inclined? Are you comfortable working on your bicycle? If you’re not, then consider having a bike shop do a once over a week or two prior to the event. Some bike shops book up quickly, so call your favorite shop and get your bike on the schedule. Two weeks out from your event should give you plenty of time to work out any issues if needed. Oh, I must add a clean bike is a happy bike and it’s a great way to inspect your bike for cracks, frayed cables, sticky cables, poor shifting, and other issues that might raise their ugly heads.
Last but not least is making sure your seat bag is ready for the big day. Seat bags come in all shapes and sizes and only you can decide how big or small you want to go. Whichever size you choose, here’s my list of the minimum items that I carry in my seat bag; at least 1 inner tube with the correct stem length for my wheels. 2 tire levers, 2 CO2 cartridges and the CO2 head unit (make sure they are compatible - and you know how to use it), a small inner tube patch kit, tire boot kit, a Schrader to Presta adaptor, a small multi-tool, and a pair of tweezers, but I’m a minimalist type of guy. If you have a large enough seat bag; 2 inner tubes are always a good idea as well as a small (frame or water bottle cage mounted) tire pump.
You will want to carry 2 water bottles with you but fueling and hydration should be a non-issue at the Farm to Fork Fondo as the aid stations are well staffed and supported, with water and yummy local food – the best I’ve experienced! Come prepared and enjoy the ride.
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