My Plan for a Massive PB in the 2016 Gran Fondo New York
The 2016 Gran Fondo New York is just 4 days away. It will be the second time I have done the race, having first completed the course in 2014. That year was just about finishing the race but this year having done a shedload more training I actually want to have a crack and set a decent time. But before I nail my colors to the mast I thought I’d have a closer look at the course to see what a realistic time is. By my current standards anyway.
Lets work backwards from my 2014 result:
In May 2014 I had just moved with my family to Philadelphia, US from London, UK and so with all the planning, farewell partying, packing and unpacking I hadn’t done anywhere near as much training as I would have liked. I was looking at the event more as providing a well needed kick up the backside to start my training for the 2014 Etape du Tour which was a couple of short months away. Just finishing and getting a long ride in the legs was the name of the game…
On a quick review of my 2014 training data from Strava I cycled 862km covering 9,212m of elevation from January 1 2014 up until the race. Now a week out from the 2016 race I have cycled 2,983km covering 24,288m of elevation from January 1 this year. So by rights barring any mechanical issues I should be able to smash my 2014 time of 8 hours 14 minutes.
But by how much?
Lets have a closer look at the course profile:
I have divided the course into 3 sections. The plan will be to refill my water bottles and perhaps grab a bite to eat at the respective aid stations at the end of each section. Namely after sections 1 and 2 as all I’ll be grabbing after section 3 is a beer and a patch of grass to plonk my arse.
Section 1: Mile 0 to Mile 32 (51.5km)
- The course has changed ever so slightly from when I completed it in 2014 but as a reference point I completed a section of similar distance according to my results card above in 2 hours 23 minutes. This included a brief stop at the first aid station to top up my water bottles.
- Given that I am a fair bit fitter than May 2014 and I plan on skipping the first aid station I reckon I should be able to average 30km/hr so my goal for Sunday will be to get to the Stony Point aid station in 1 hour 42 minutes.
Section 2: Mile 32 (51.5km) to Mile 68 (109.4km)
- Definitely a much tougher section of 38 miles (61km) that includes a majority of the races climbing.
- A similar distance section in 2014 took me 2 hours 56 minutes.
- Assuming I skip the aid station at the summit of Bear Mountain my goal for this section will be to average 25km/hr which converts to me completing this section in 2 hours 26 minutes.
Section 3: Mile 68 (109.4km) to Mile 100 (160km)
- A 50km “sprint” to my first beer across rolling terrain.
- A similar distance section took me 1 hour and 55 minutes in 2014.
- I will be tired having gone out harder and rested less than 2014 but given the huge increase in training I bloody well should be able to knock at least 15 minutes off this time.
- Lets thus say that this section will take me 1 hour and 40 minutes.
My Predicted Race time:
Given my analysis above combined with anticipated stoppage times of 20 minutes (10 minutes each at the aid stations at the end of sections 1 and 2) my goal for the 2016 Gran Fondo New York is 6 hours and 8 minutes. This would be a massive improvement vs 2014 of over 2 hours!!
Can I do it? I can’t wait to find out!