I don’t regret a single Istria Granfondo that I’ve ridden, because it’s always well organised, the course runs through beautiful landscapes, and the atmosphere is relaxed and fun. The surroundings of Umag, Buje, Novigrad and Brtonigla are stunningly beautiful. Here, the sea air intermingles with the hilltops peppered with vineyards and beautiful villages with stone houses. Wonderful culinary experiences are offered with typical local dishes and numerous wines, as well as additional offerings for tourists.
I have done three Small Granfondos and one Classic. It was on the Classic course that I had many problems in the second half, and I paid the price for running too high a tempo on the first half of the race. By Oprtalj I was riding slower, and I had to zig-zag up the climb to Momjan. But even adventures like this have their own charm when you’re racing. It’s important not to give up and to overcome yourself.
I personally don’t do any special marathon training, as I cycle regularly throughout the year. I take care to be rested on the day and to bring enough food and drink, especially on the longer Classic course, even though the feed stations are very well stocked. For this course, I need two or three bottles of isotonic drink and water, two or three energy bars and two gels. I try to stay in the lead group until the first long climb (this is usually Oprtalj). I do the climb in a group whose tempo suits me. After the climb is over, I try to stick to the group I’m riding in, and I sometimes try to encourage the group to rotate out nicely and to hold a solid tempo until the end of the race.
I strongly recommend all cyclists take part in this marathon, which is one of my favourite and one of the most beautiful on my cycling events calendar. I recommend they choose a route length that suits their level of fitness. They should be careful and ride in the bunched group at the beginning of the race. I recommend they distribute their power evenly and not start too fast. First and foremost, they should enjoy the beautiful landscapes and the healing seaside atmosphere, as well as the beautiful sporting event, which includes a Pasta Party after the race with food and drink included in the race registration fee, and the final event with valuable prizes and a friendly party atmosphere.