FoCo Fondo is Fort Collins’ own gravel cycling event, held in July from New Belgium Brewing. Whether you want to race it, ride it or something in between, it’s a stellar day on the bike and the absolute epitome of summer. Routes include the 12-mile Here for It Route, 32-mile Dare You Route, 53-mile Double Dog Dare You Route, and 118-mile Triple Dog Dare You Route. Here are our Top 5 tips from event organizer, Whitney Allison:
1. Get Your Bike in Order Early:
Photos by Josh Weinburg
Whether you maintain your bike yourself, or outsource that to your LBS (Local Bike Shop), it’s important to think about that maintenance early. Summer is the busy season at bike shops and you might need to get on the schedule. Try independent shops like Brave New Wheel or Drake Cycles, otherwise Trek Bikes and new incoming InCycles can also get the job done, probably while you shop for a new steed to add to your fleet ;-) Some specific things to consider here are making sure your tires are tubeless and have good tread on them.
2. Be Able to Fix a Basic Bike Mechanical:
The most common bike mechanical you see is flatting your tire. Being able to change a flat and carry a multitool should set you up for success, given that you already took care of step #1! Check out our Bike Sports TV Garage series for tips of changing flats and what to pack in your saddle bag.
3. Ride, duh:
The longer the distance, the more specific bike-specific training you should do. It’s summer season so the riding is excellent right now. All fitness is good fitness, so other things like running, lifting weights, will still help you raise your overall fitness level. Ideally you are building fitness to be able to ride about 80% of the duration you are expecting to ride during FoCo Fondo. Why duration versus distance? a) 15 miles in the mountains is not the same as 15 miles on a flat bike path from a physical effort. b) Event day there is the option of drafting which will help you achieve a higher overall speed. c) Event day excitement usually makes riding feel easier.
4. Practice fueling for the big day:
Eating while exercising?! Only if you want to have your best ride! Very generally, having 1-1.5 bottles of water or hydration mix per hour and 1-2 snacks per hour of riding is a good place to start. Luckily local sports dietician Kristen Arnold MS, RDN, CSSD, wrote a little general guideline for someone starting out.
5. Acclimate to the heat:
Overheating in summer is a thing. It takes about three weeks of exposure to the heat to properly acclimate. Ride in the heat, consider eating dinner outside versus in your house, yardwork, reading outside, these are all excellent exposures to the heat and will help your body begin to sweat early and often to keep you cool. If you do overheat, focus on cooling down your core. Sip on something cold, sit in the shade, and pour cool water on yourself to lower your core temperature.
6. Do a “Shakedown Ride:
Essentially a dry run, this ride is a chance to put together your event-day strategy with how hard you go, fueling, and to make sure your bike is good to go. It will dramatically reduce any pre-event day jitters and save you from an unnecessary bike mechanical. A shakedown ride should be around 80% of the duration you are expecting to ride during FoCo Fondo.
If you ace these steps, you’ll be 120% set up for the best day possible and get to maximize the fun. And as a bonus, you’ll be fit and prepared for an entire summer of bike adventures. Learn more about FoCo Fondo and register at focofondo.com.