You’ve been lucky enough to secure a place at the fantastic closed-roads event, the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 but now the reality of cycling 100 miles is beginning to dawn on you. If this is your first sportive or the first time you’ll be riding such a distance, here are a few pointers to help you get ready for the day. The main thing is to enjoy it!
Rest Those Legs
You’ve done the training so now is time to taper off and allow the goodness to sink in. Let your legs get some rest so that come the morning they’re ready to get you round. Make sure you are eating and sleeping well to the best of your ability. The night before after you’ve got your bike and kit organised, put the phone away, have a warm shower and clear your mind of any concerns. All of this will help you feel refreshed and ready to put in your best effort the next day!
Get Yourself Organised
Avoid last minute panic by getting ready the day before. Check your bike. Are you well oiled, is everything on tight and have you got everything you need? Remember the obvious things like shoes, helmet, riding outfit, race documentation. Try and eliminate any undue stress by ticking things off a list and doing a little kit audit. Then on the morning, give your tyres a final pump and you’re ready to ride!
Check The Weather
This is part of being organised. Have a quick check to see if there rain forecast like last year and if you will need a lightweight waterproof to pop in your back pocket. Another good tip is to take a small sandwich bag to put your phone in in case of bad weather. Remember though that riding in the rain just means that you are totally badass so just embrace it!
Think About Your Fuelling
The last thing you’ll want to experience is the famous so-called cycling bonk! This is when your body runs out of calories and you hit a wall. For those familiar with Harry Potter, it feels like a Dementor has got hold of you and sucked out all your energy. You may also feel nauseous and the thought of food might turn your stomach a bit Make sure you’re eating regularly. For me personally during a sportive, I have a nibble on something small every half an hour. Good treats to snack on and keep in your back pocket are small nutrition bars, peanuts, bananas and slices of trusty old Malt Loaf. Ensure that you make good use of the feed station and refill your bottles and have a bite of something substantial. Keep eating – you need it!
Go At Your Own Pace
This is your ride and you want to complete it so there is no point in going off like a bat out of hell and then suffering afterwards. If you lose the group you are with, don’t worry – be happy to be going at your own speed and always aware of other people around you as this is a busy sportive. If you end up joining another group, make sure you share the work and take turns at the front (more info on cycling in a group here). Soak in the atmosphere, enjoy closed roads, be safe and strive for that 100. The feeling at the end will be incredible.