Grand Blanc

Conquer Big White’s L’Alpe de Grand Blanc With Help from a Pro

Dust that bike off. Big White’s 5th Annual L’Alpe De Grand Blanc – a 60-kilometre road bike ride from Kelowna to the Village at Big White – is just weeks away. If you’re interested in conquering a ride of this magnitude, take some advice from Big White’s on-site pro: start prepping now.

On June 15, pro-cyclist and founder of Peak Form Coaching Jordan Cheyne is hosting a full-day clinic, with a specific focus on L’Alpe de Grand Blanc, which is scheduled for July 21. The clinic offers an opportunity to preview the course, not to mention, one-on-one coaching with Cheyne, winner of the 2017 event and course record-holder. 

“I know every inch of the course as a permanent Big White resident and can offer tips for every section of the course,” the athlete says. The clinic will cover training, nutrition and equipment advice specific to the event – leaving you better prepared than anyone in the field – as well as be a “really fun time,” Cheyne adds. 

Cheyne has an extensive background in endurance sport. His cycling career has included many international race wins and multiple provincial and national medals – and now, he’s preparing for the 2019 season as a part of one of North America’s premiere professional teams, Elevate-KHS. Combined with a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Kinetics and 10 years experience coaching, Cheyne’s clinic is a must for those looking for a competitive time at the July 21st event, including for Big White’s own Vice President of Hospitality, Trevor Hanna.

“Jordan has been coaching me through my preparations for the Grand Blanc this Spring,” Hanna says. “His weekly programs have quickly advanced my fitness with his unique, event specific workouts. His Grand Blanc clinic will be a great opportunity for anyone interested in getting faster or more confident on the bike to get instruction from a very accomplished and disciplined local pro rider.”

“My philosophy is ‘all-in,’” Cheyne says. “I leave no stone unturned to help my athletes and get them where they want to go in sport.”

5 Tips on Mastering the Grand Blanc From a Pro:

1. Know your pace.

Approach the climbs at a 6-7/10 pace that you can maintain over long periods. The course features four extended climbing sections of 10-25 minutes, you can’t go into the red on the first one and finish well.

2. Find a group. 

The flat stretch from Joe Rich to the Hwy 33 turn off climb is 20 km plus and finding a good group to ride and draft with will save you lots of energy you can use on the climbs. 

3. Eat.

Riding hard for 2-3 hours will deplete your glycogen in rapid order and you can bonk more easily at BW road’s higher altitudes. Aim for 200-300 kcal/hr from drinks, gels, bars, etc.

4. Drink. 

It can be hard to drink enough when intensity is high. On flat and downhill sections take the time to drink and aim for at least 1 bottle/hr.

5. Come with the right gear selection. 

The course will have you riding below 15kmh for extended periods and even into single digits for some riders. A 28 or even 30-32 cog in the back will make maintaining this pace more manageable at a more normal riding cadence as opposed to grinding at 60 rpm for large parts of the event.

In addition to full-service monthly coaching, Cheyne offer one-time consults to help athletes plan their seasons and address specific questions. Anyone interested in additional training prior to the Grand Blanc can contact Cheyne through Peak Form Coaching. 

The Grand Blanc entry fee of $70 gets you a fully supported ride with multiple rest stops along the route, commemorative t-shirt and Big White souvenirs items, along with a free burger and Okanagan Spring beer.

Registration for Cheyne’s one-day clinic on June 15:

Registration for L’Alpe de Grand Blanc on July 21:

More stories from