The sixth Prudential RideLondon is nearly here, and hopefully, you've done enough training to get you around the 100-mile loop into the Surrey Hills, and you've got your bike serviced and prepped for the challenge. There's not much more you can do now, but we've got some last-minute words of wisdom gleaned from the Bespoke team.
- Last-minute upgrades for your bike
It's a long day in the saddle so it pays to have a good approach when it comes to eating before the ride and on the bike. Ideally, you want a good carb-based meal the night before and you want to be eating breakfast 2-3 hours before the start, which is tricky we know with the early start.
Staying hydrated is key too, so make sure to sip water frequently in the hours leading up to the start. On the bike you want to stick with your favourite energy product, ideally a brand you've tested in training. Gels and bars are convenient to stuff in a jersey pocket and energy drinks make consuming the necessary calories easier.
Above all, you want to avoid the dreaded bonk! Hitting the wall, running on fumes, it's not a nice feeling when your legs turn to lead and there's nothing left in the tank.
In this article, we go into a lot more detail on how to avoid bonking.
The weather forecast is looking favourable at the moment but it pays to keep a close on the weather forecast. This is the UK remember and the weather can be unpredictable at the best of times! A lightweight gilet or windproof jacket can be good for the cool morning start and if the weather is looking changeable it's worth having an emergency jacket just in case. They don't weigh much but are worth their weight in gold when the weather does turn. If it's looking like being a hot day don't forget to slather on some suntan lotion, it can feel strange doing that at 5 am in the morning but you'll be glad you did when it's roasting hot at noon.
Unless you've ridden RideLondon before, or live in and around London, you might not be that familiar with the course and the terrain. The first half of the course is mostly flat, ideal for getting your average speed up and cruising along in a nice group. As the course gets into the Surrey Hills it gets lumpy, with Newlands Corner, Holmbury St Mary, Leith Hill and then finally Box Hill.
Knowing the climbs helps then, and you can read our detailed course preview here.
It really pays to have a pacing strategy and stick to it. Have a goal time and work out the average speed you need to hit in order to achieve that target time, and you'll be able to ensure you have enough reserves to get you round the course.
It's very tempting and easy to get caught by the excitement and atmosphere of the day and find yourself riding over your limit with a fast group. That's fine if you can manage the pace but you can run the risk of paying the price later in the ride. So be sensible and ride at your comfortable pace to ensure you enjoy the day.
This is where using heart rate and power meters are invaluable, with a Garmin Edge on your handlebars helping you to monitor your effort.
The first and last part of the RideLondon course is mostly flat, and presuming you've got over the hills with some energy remaining, the final dash back to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is a good opportunity to increase your average speed and aim for a fast finishing time.
Use those drops and try and maintain an aerodynamic position as much as you can, you'll save a lot of energy and increase your top speed, you should be able to average up to 40kph for some sections.
Deep section aero wheels definitely help on this course, and it's not too late to get some, just drop us a line if you're interested.
Above all, make sure you enjoy the ride. It's a big day and a lot to take in and it can be stressful, so try and plan ahead as much as possible to eliminate the stress. Whether you're going for a fast time or just want to get around, remember you're riding for fun, so try and have fun! Also be respectful of other riders, don't litter and be friendly to all the helpful marshals and organisers.
Good luck from everyone at Bespoke Cycling!
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