Sweat, Tears and Goal Setting: GranFondo II

How one woman knocked more than an hour from her race time

By Allessia—5:37:34. This is the time it took Kat, lululemon’s junior people program manager,  to ride her borrowed steel bike from Vancouver to Whistler in her first GranFondo in 2011.

4:00:00. The time she set her sights on to complete the same grueling course in 2012.

How was she going to knock an hour and 37 minutes off her time? By setting a goal, getting the right bike and, of course, training hard.

Step 1: Find the Perfect Fit
I knew my borrowed bike just wasn’t going to cut it if I was going to finish sub 4 hours. I began scouring the Vancouver bike scene and was most impressed with The Bike Gallery on West 10th. They understood that my bike is a part of me and that it’s really important for it to fit perfectly, especially since I have to sit on it for so long! Side note: If you’re in the market for a new ride, I highly recommend taking the time to find a shop that is as passionate about cycling as you are – it’ll most definitely be worth every penny thereafter.

Step 2: Getting Fit
It was during that fit session at the bike shop that I discovered FitFX Studio, which was located just down the street. FitFX is a studio dedicated to coaching cyclists indoors and out. When I found out that they offered clinics to teach you how to ride in a group, I knew I had found a community that was going to help me achieve my goal – I was going to be sitting in the midst of 7000 other riders about to start a race, after all.

I began training with them twice a week for the hill series. I loved that I just had to turn up for the ride and Paul, the head coach, would have the route all worked out. Some days it was a ride up our local mountains, other days it was a series of shorter but more intense hill repeats. I learned how to ride in a paceline, which made me feel badass and Paul also gave me other training and nutrition tips along the way.

A Hit and a Miss
4:16:35. Was my time for the Whistler GranFondo 2012. As I crossed the line, I knew that I had failed to achieve my goal. A mix of emotions overcame me. I wanted to both celebrate and cry, all at the same time! Then, I had a thought; I had set myself an audacious goal. Knocking an hour and 37 minutes off my time is a BFD. I finished the race placing 22nd in my category, knocked an hour and 21 minutes off last year’s time, had no mechanical issues and finishing feeling well-nourished, hydrated and strong. Even if I missed my time goal, there was still a lot to celebrate and I am so proud of this accomplishment.  Setting and sharing big goals makes me feel vulnerable but I would rather fall a little short of a huge goal than meet a mediocre one.

Onwards and Upwards
My legs hadn’t even fully recovered by the time I was committing to my next cycling challenge! In the spirit of big goals and vulnerability, I will be riding in the 2013 Gastown Grand Prix, a shorter, faster and much more intense race than the GranFondo… And with a lot more spectators!

This post originally appeared on the lululemon blog.