So, you’ve been lucky enough to get a place in the Prudential 100 this year and you’re wondering what you’ve let yourself in for? Don’t panic! I threw myself in at the deep-end and took on the London Surrey sportive as my first cycling event having not cycled for 15 years. Hell, a month out – 20 miles was my limit!, but I completed the event and had a fantastic day out. You will too. Here’s a few tips that got me through day :
Before the event
Light Touch – It’s all about energy conservation. When you’re on your practice rides, test how lightly you need to pedal to keep the bike moving – it’s actually very little. Ironically, I found when I got tired early in on a ride, I’d throw out the idea of a calm, low effort, consistent rhythm in favor of panicked over-exertion.
Test your stomach – I don’t mean test what you’re made of – you’ve already signed up to an amazing day that most people will never experience. No, try energy gels and drink before the big day so you know that they agree with you. Once you’ve found a combination that works, remember to keep yourself topped up throughout the day and not just at the stops which are 25 miles apart. Last year, High 5 were selling their racepacks for £5 at the registration show.
On the day
Slip stream – Following another rider at a safe distance can give you a big benefit, you’ll have less wind resistance and notice pedalling is a lot easier. If you pick one of the slower riders, it will also help you reign in that nervous energy and settle into a pace that wont have you dipping into your energy reserves too early.
Don’t worry about Box Hill – You’ve heard about this notoriously steep section and it’s quite a long way into the Sportive so it’s going to be a real struggle, right? Wrong. There will be a lot of slow bike traffic on this hill, so you won’t be looking at a daunting hill climb, you’ll be looking at massive group of cyclists of all shapes,sizes and abilities united in the goal for the day. The group will be moving at a pace not far off walking speed, so you won’t be able to thrash at the pedals and use your last ounce of energy either – just get a low gear and relax.
Don’t sweat the distance – You don’t need to count off each mile on your cycle computer like they’re days on a prison sentence. The official rest stops will give you an indication of where you are in the sportive.
The last 25 miles are the best – As crowds line the streets of Surrey and London for the afternoon, cheering and shouting words of encourage, just remember, they are there for YOU and to celebrate your participation and personal achievement in the great day.
That’s all from me, I hope you have found this useful. Thanks in advance to all the participants, organizers, volunteers and supporters that will make the Prudential 100 an amazing day. Let me know how you get on in the comments below, maybe we will have crossed paths during the day.
Oh, one last thing – keep smiling! It’s a fantastic event and you’ll want to have some decent photos to remember it by.