Training and Preparation

Training and PreparationTo make the most of your ride and ensure you’re well prepared for Wiggle Amy’s Gran Fondo, please take your time to read over the following information.

– Ride with at least two 500ml water bottles and/or a hydration pack
– Stop at refreshment stations as required, drink and fill your water bottles (it is better to stop, drink and cool down more often than to dehydrate)
– Protect yourself from sun exposure with SPF30+ sunblock.
– Wear jerseys made of material that ‘wicks’ away moisture from the body. Avoid cotton, which can become water logged and can cause a chill when wind causes evaporation
– Carry a pump, spare tube and puncture repair kit
– Carry your mobile phone and/or change to make a phone call. There are significant stretches along the route without mobile phone coverage (depending on your network)
– Carry identification and make sure the emergency contact part of your rider number is complete and fixed to your top tube
– If you experience mechanical problems please rest your bike upside down on its saddle on the roadside so support personnel can easily recognise that you need help
– In the event of an accident or breakdown, we can transport you and your bike to the next refreshment station or finish. The SAG wagon follows the last rider and can be contacted on the number provided with your registration pack
– To avoid the SAG wagon driving past while you are away from the road (toilet stop, sightseeing, etc) please place your bike clearly visible on the side of the road
– Look out for each other. If you find someone in distress, stop and offer help; just being there can provide all the support that is needed
– We reserve the right to stop an individual’s ride for health and safety reasons
– We recommend that all riders insure themselves for Personal Accident and Ambulance Cover
– You are strongly advised to watch the weather forecast prior to the event and carry/wear appropriate clothing and sun protection. The latest weather information can be found on
The challenges of riding 45-120km are destined to test some riders to their physical and mental limitations if they aren’t ready for it. It will therefore help if you go into the ride expecting tough conditions but prepared and confident to overcome these challenges that will consist of a combination of distance, hilly terrain, wind and heat.

By following some of the following guidelines and tips we hope your ride will be both successful, enjoyable and a very memorable one. Unlike the professional cyclist, many of us don’t have eight hours a day to train for a long distance cycling event. This makes it more important to get in a training programme that consists of a structure of both higher intensity and long endurance sessions.

For most people a normal working week is from Monday to Friday and the available hours for training are normally restricted. It is therefore a good idea to do the higher intensity sessions on two of these days that are spaced apart from the others to promote recovery. For example, Tuesday and Thursday might be good days to do hard training sessions while Monday, Wednesday and Friday may be a short light recovery ride of 30 minutes to one hour.

What type of hard training should I do?

The best type of hard training to get fast improvements should consist of some short interval training efforts that can be done out on the road or on an indoor trainer. These may include up to 4 or 5 intervals that last about 5 minutes. On a Perceived Exertion Level (PER) of 1 to 10 with 1 being very easy and 10 being extremely hard the PER level should be around 8 or 9. Have a short 5 to 10 minute recovery between each interval and then go again. With a 15 to 20 minute warm-up the whole session should only take 60 to 90 minutes but it will be the equivalent of going out and doing a 3 to 4 hour steady road ride.

What about endurance rides?

If you’ve got a bit more time on the weekends then this is a good time to do some steady long rides. Aim to do a gradual progression and build up in training in the weeks leading up to it. Each week add about 10km in distance to your previous week’s long ride. By about two weeks out from the big ride you should be able to complete about two 80km rides in a row or a single 100km ride on the weekend. Try to include some tough climbs in your training rides as well.

Simulate Ride Day

If this is your first big ride it may be worth going through a ride simulation day where you do everything you expect to do on the day. This includes things such as preparing food, equipment, clothing, drinks and actually doing the ride. Conditions will always be different on the day but experience and preparation can make your ride all the more successful if you have learned from previous mistakes.

Week leading into the event

In the week leading up to the event it is important that you keep your training light and easy. A light easy roll is better than no training at all. The movement will promote blood flow to the muscles for recovery while keeping them supple and feeling better and better each day.

Pace Yourself and Stick to the Plan

In the excitement of the occasion it is very easy to go out much faster than you planned. Adrenaline and the competitor in you can sometimes take over wanting to keep up with the pack in front. Without a doubt you will probably surprise yourself in your capabilities but initially you should stick to your plan.

Fatigue and dehydration can come on very quickly when everything seemed completely fine only moments before so go steady early on then come home strong at the end if you feel good. That way you will finish on a real high and enjoy the ride a whole lot more. Have fun and good luck!

Here are some handy tips to help you in the bunch.

– Check out what is happening around and ahead of you, don’t look at the wheel in front – only the back of the rider & beyond

– If you are leading the group, act responsibly for the sake of all the riders behind you, not just yourself

– Keep your braking, changing direction and other movements progressive

– Signal hazards to the other riders of your group

– Place yourself to maintain a safety run-out directly in front

– Welcome new members to the bunch

– When in front, remember you have the responsibility of guiding the whole group who are following along behind you.

Good bunches look after their riders by:

– Stopping to help fix small mechanical problems and punctures quickly, so that inexperienced riders are not left behind to fend for themselves;

– Regrouping after hills or other difficulties to keep everyone together;

– Waiting for the others if the group gets split up by a changing traffic light;

– Helping the less experienced riders with tips and a helping hand when needed;

– Working as a group. For example, the front riders calculate actions for the group as a whole to ride safely not just themselves, and the tail end riders should assist the group negotiate lane changes by acting as the rear turn indicators and signalling when the road is clear of traffic.

This bunch riding fact sheet was written by Stephen Hodge and supported by the Amy Gillett Foundation.

You have been training for the ride, but what about your bike? Can it keep up with you? Not sure? Then you should give your bike a thorough tune-up, or get your friendly bike shop to help you. If your bike is as well prepared as you, there will be less likelihood of mechanical problems occurring, so you can relax and enjoy the ride!

Here is a list of items that you need to check on your bike:

– Wheel bearings, front and rear
– Headset
– Bottom bracket
– Pedals

Drive train
– Chain (has it stretched – i.e., worn – beyond its limit?)
– Chain rings
– Cogs: If any one of the drive train components is suspect the other components need to be carefully assessed also. Worn drive train components can lead to poor gear shifting or the chain slipping.
– Cranks and chain ring bolts should be tight
– Gears
– Derailleurs
– Cables: Replace any frayed cables or any cracked or broken cable outers
– Shifters: Gripshift style (twist) shifters need to be cleaned and lubricated from time to time

– Pads
– Not too worn, properly aligned (disc brake pads wear too)
– Pads (rim type or disc) not dragging
– Cables – as for gears above
– Hydraulic discs – should not be spongy

– Check for buckles, large or small
– Buckled wheels will also affect braking performance
– Check for broken or loose spokes

– Performing correctly, without leaks, rattles, or backwards and forwards play
– Accessories (racks, lights, drink bottle cages, etc.) should be tight, not broken, and with all the correct fixings.

Spare tool that you should bring with you
– Spare tubes of the correct size for your wheels and tyres. Check your valve stems are the right depth if you have deep rims.
– Patch kit and tyre levers
– Bicycle pump
– Basic tools such as a multi-tool

Talk to your bike shop about the need to take any special tools specific to your bike.

With a well-prepared bike you should be able to enjoy a trouble free ride!

Heat exhaustion can be avoided by following these simple tips:

– Drink enough fluid to replace your sweat

– Refill your water bottle at every opportunity

– Remind your friends and team members to drink

– Don’t ignore the signs of heat exhaustion

– Call for assistance if you or your friend is suffering from heat exhaustion symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, fatigue, unsteadiness, weakness, rapid pulse, headache and shortness of breath.

How much fluid does your body need during exercise?

Before: Always start every exercise session well hydrated. Drink 300-500ml of fluid in the 15 minutes before your workout.

During: Aim to drink 150-250ml every 15 minutes to offset fluid losses – drinking smaller volumes more frequently minimizes stomach discomfort. Remember, the more you sweat, the more you need to drink.

After: How much fluid you need depends on how much you lost. Try to drink 1 litre of water for every hour of exercise.

What should you drink?

Hydration will be crucial and the best way to tackle this is by drinking glucose polymer sports drinks throughout the ride. They also act as another source of energy. We recommend that you fill one bidon with water and the other with Hydralyte.

What should you eat before the event?

Increase carbohydrate meals to 75% of daily calories for the last four days before the event then you will be fully energized going into the day of the ride. The effect of carbo loading has a dual benefit as well by pre-hydrating your body with precious water and therefore reducing possible dehydration on the day. It does this because the body stores 2.7 grams of water for every 1 gram of carbohydrate (glycogen) stored. Don’t be alarmed if your weight goes up during this carbo loading period, as it is purely water retention.

What should you eat on the day of the event?

Don’t do anything drastically different to what you would normally do when it comes to your pre event meal but try and finish a couple of hours before the start. The last thing you want is an upset stomach because you tried something different to what you’d normally do. If you’ve loaded up well your body should be stored with plenty of energy for the ride but you will need to keep topping it up throughout the ride with foods that are high in glucose and sugars. Fruit bars, cakes, muesli bars, bananas, jam sandwiches and even a bit of chocolate are all good sources of energy during a ride.

How should I recover after the event?

It cannot be stressed enough the importance of stretching at this point to allow muscles to return to a natural state and to aid the body in its repair. Stretching may not be at the forefront of your thinking having completed the ride. You may prefer, perhaps, to peel yourself from your saddle, eat and chill out exhausted but happy, following your achievement. There will inevitably be an amount of muscle soreness and stiffness approximately 24-36 hours following the ride, but a few minutes spent stretching and cooling down slowly following the ride, will go some way to keep this to a minimum.

Quad stretch: Standing tall, bend your knee and aim heel to buttock (holding your raised heel with your opposite hand), keeping your knees close together. Hold for approximately 20-30 seconds. Repeat on opposite side.

Calf stretch: Standing tall, place one leg in front the other in a long stance. The front knee is bent and the back leg straight press the heel firmly to the floor . Hold for approximately 20-30 seconds. Repeat on opposite side.

Hamstring stretch: Standing tall, shift your weight onto the back leg from the calf stretch, so now the back knee is bent and the front leg is straight. Point your toes away, and lean the body forward until you feel a slight pulling on the back of the straightened leg. Hold for approximately 20-30 seconds. Repeat on opposite side.

Shoulder & back release: Adopt an all fours position. Think like a cat! Drop your chin to your chest, round up your back and tuck your pelvis underneath, sit back onto your heels and lengthen your arms forward along the ground. Repeat 4-5 times.

Neck release: From an upright, neutral position relax your shoulders and tilt your head to the right, aiming to touch your ear to your shoulder (DO NOT FORCE YOUR HEAD INTO THE POSITION), hold for 4-5 seconds and repeat. Repeat on left side. Relax the shoulders and lower your chin toward your chest, bring back up to a neutral position, then look upward, return to the neutral position. Repeat 3 or 4 times.


You may fancy consuming a few beers in celebration but this may have the detrimental effect of dehydrating you! In fact, following an endurance activity, the effects of alcohol can be heightened, and you may not be able to tolerate as many alcoholic drinks as you might ordinarily consume. Following the ride it is best to keep drinking water and fruit juices to replace fluids that may have been lost throughout the day. That is not to say you should avoid alcohol altogether, but do keep it in moderation and ensure that for every alcoholic drink, you follow up with a glass of water.


Exercise probably will not be high on the agenda the next day, however, a light, gentle recovery spinfor a couple of kilometres and following up with a few stretches, will go a long way to alleviating any stiffness and returning the body to its natural state.