We took our Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 Team Now teammates to train at Box Hill ahead of race day. Read about our day and learn some of our top tips for riding to success!
When you think of the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey what springs to mind first? Is it the rolling Surrey countryside, the epic finish line on The Mall, or the hills you’ll have to contend with to get there?!
Last year our riders spoke, and we listened. It seemed the daunting prospect of climbing a 7% hill after already riding 50 miles was making them most nervous ahead of the big day. So, for the first time, we held an extra training session for our team focused on hill climbing.
I think some hill training would have been good to really get the heart going and help prep for those Surrey hills!
We chose the infamous Box Hill as our climb of choice, and at 8:30am on Saturday 9 June #TeamNow assembled at Randalls Road car park ready to be put through their paces by the coaches from B4C ProGuides.
The morning began with some basic ABC safety checks:
✔ Air – it’s important to have the correct tyre pressure on the side of each tyre wall. Your tyres should feel firm when pinched
✔ Brakes - engage the front brake and push your bike forward – the brake should lock, causing the back of the bike to lift off the ground. Repeat for the opposite brake
✔ Chain - your chain should never be brown! When you run a finger on the underside of the chain, two visible lines should appear. If there’s one big smear there is too much oil so wipe off the excess. If there are no lines, apply oil
✔ Control - ensure the handlebars are secure and safe - clamp front wheel between your legs and twist the handlebars – if they remain still then they are safe. If there’s movement, tighten the bolts on the stem.
After that we were ready to roll, and a short 5-mile cycle brought us to the bottom of Box Hill ready for the first of four climbs!
We regrouped at the top to discuss various climbing styles, and Charlie, Clym and Matt from B4C shared some valuable tips and pointers:
- Being in the right gear (i.e. smallest chainring) means you can immediately relax into the climb rather than panicking trying to change gear and losing momentum
- Seconds before changing to the smaller chainring (front gears), shift down (to smaller cogs) on the cassette (rear gears) to maintain your momentum
- If you change chainrings on a steep climb, it creates a lot of extra tension on the chain which can lead to it coming off. If you find yourself having to change chainrings on a climb, focus on smooth pedalling whilst trying to take the pressure off the pedals to reduce the tension on the chain.
But what goes up must come down, and concerns raised were not only about the climb up the hill. Our knowledgeable coaches put everyone at ease, explaining the different and safe ways to descend and #TeamNow were ready to ride down and try again (and again… and again)!
- Keep your brakes ‘covered’ with your fingers resting on brake levers
- Gently apply your brakes and release (pumping brake levers) to smoothly control your speed
Breast Cancer Now researchers Prof. Andrew Tutt and Prof. Christopher Lord are taking part in this year's event.
However, the day was not solely focused on cycling. In the presence of research royalty with Breast Cancer Now’s Professor Andrew Tutt and Professor Christopher Lord – who are joining Team Now for this year’s RideLondon – talk turned to why we were all there in the first place.
Personal experiences and stories about loved ones were shared, reminding us all that RideLondon is much more than just a 100-mile cycle on closed roads. It’s a group of over 25,000 people with a reason to ride.
For Team Now, it’s 204 people raising funds and pedaling towards a future without fear of breast cancer.
Our 2018 Prudential RideLondon team is on track to raise over £240,000. That’s enough to fund almost 10,000 hours of research. Research that will save lives. Research that will improve diagnosis and treatment. Research that will make the lives of those living with a breast cancer diagnosis so much brighter.
It was a fabulous event to meet some of the team before the day. Gorgeous weather, nice people and l found myself feeling quite emotional at the reality of what we were there for.
If you want to come and see our heroes take to the streets on Sunday 29 July, we’ll be in Kingston cheering them on and we would love you to join us!
All in all, our hill climb training day was a roaring success. A massive thank you the team at B4C Pro Guides, and to our fabulous cyclists for coming. Same time next year?!
- Do not let yourself get dragged into a pace you are uncomfortable with
- A higher cadence (smaller gears) reduces resistance on the muscles meaning you stay fresher for longer
- Anticipate hills and change gears in advance – there are signs en route indicating upcoming hills
- Don’t peak too soon! Try not to let adrenaline get the better of you for the first part of the ride
- But remember that race day is not a good time to experiment with new food
- Make use of them (but not too much – you do not want to feel bloated whilst riding!)
- Begin on solid foods – move onto more easily digestible foodstuffs (sweets/gels) towards the end
- Eat bananas and peanuts to help prevent cramp later in the ride
- During the event is not a time to experiment with new foodstuffs
- If you are time conscious, beware as feed stations are a time killer
- Eat and drink little and often