First time Gran Fondo at Sea Otter! and some questions


This is NOT a New Years post! I’m committed to my first Gran Fondo ride in April (signed up Hotel etc.) I’m planning on the 92 mile GF and aiming for completion before the course closes :slightly_smiling_face:. I’ve been using TR for almost a year now and I believe that I can train up for this from where I am now. I’ve loaded up a training plan that will give me 11 weeks of base and build out of 15 weeks. I’m a hospital based physician so I usually schedule my “Service” weeks as travel time then I use train now to pick up sessions as time and stress allow. I (thank you @IvyAudrain for that suggestion!)

I’m coming off of a 10 week period of a massive pediatric respiratory surge (work has been bananas) . My weight is up and my fitness isn’t where I would like it to be. That said I’m making a conscious decision to not restrict while I’m going to shift away from some of the crappy food that is ubiquitous in a hospital between Halloween and New Years!

Mostly I’m excited and hopeful that this will be a good experience. I have a few questions/concerns of course and would love some input…

  1. The farthest I’ve ridden is about 50 miles outside. Do I need to or should I plan a long ass ride before I do this? I plan on some long rides on my road bike since most of my outside riding (about 1 hour a day on average) is ebike commuting and junky riding. (I live in SF and am 100% bike for transportation in the city (so I have strong urban bike handling skills rain and shine.) Most if not all of my training is inside.

  2. Clips: I use them on a trainer and I’m terrified to use them the city. Should I take the time to get over this? How? is there an alternative?

  3. I’m still totally alone as a cyclist. Im older (52) and bigger and relatively new to cycling as any kind of sport, and don’t really seem to fit in. I’m looking for a tribe that I can join in the Bay Area or people who are going to Sea Otter so I’m not totally alone for my first attempt. Not looking for a fan club but a little mentorship or camaraderie would probably be a good thing. Any suggestions?

Anyhow Ive always enjoyed this forum and the Podcast… Love TR and excited to start to take it outside!


First: good luck and enjoy yourself

Take this advice / opinions or not:

  • Don’t use the clip on bars at Sea Otter. My personal opinion is that they shouldn’t be legal / used in mass participation events as very few people have the skill to use them safely and they are dangerous to others in a crash
  • Since you almost exclusively ride indoors, do some group rides to get the feeling of what Sea Otter is going to be like with lots of other riders around
  • Try one of the Rapha SF rides. These used to be new rider friendly
  • You don’t have to do a longer ride than you’ve done so far, but it can be helpful to figure out nutrition/ give yourself confidence in what you can do

Thank you @AlphaDogCycling! I’ll check out Rapha I was also looking at Fatcakes… Im actually talking about pedal clips!!! Im way too old for clip on bars… Im pretty sure that I do need to get over this terror.


Yes - you should definitely get over the fear of using clip in pedals. The best way is to take the bike to a grassy area - Chrissy field would work - and get used to to clipping in / out / stopping etc. the advantage of starting on grass is it is less painful if you fall over.

Once you get a little comfortable on grass, go to either Golden Gate Park or Great Highway (weekend when it is closed) and practice clipping in / out on closed roads. Key item to practice is picking spots to act like stoplights / stop signs and getting comfortable being able to clip out safely for these. Plus both of these will have people to navigate around

As much as I understand that you would like to have some company going to the event, you are probably riding with different people due to the fitness level. Anyways local group rides would be my first choice to meet some people potentially going to the event.
In terms of clips, everything is said above but one thing. All cyclist I know fell of the bike once because the forgot to clip off. Get out in the park on some grass an practice would be my advice as well.

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