If you’re a seasoned gravel grinder, a roadie who reckons they can mix it with the off-roaders or a mountain biker who dabbles with drop-bar fun, we’ve got an epic, super tough challenge for you this spring.
On 26 June we’re holding what is arguably the toughest, and potentially the most fun, single-day event we’ve ever laid on.
Combine 135km with 1885m of climbing and the technical challenge of riding the country’s oldest road and you have a gravel adventure worthy of the most seasoned off-road aficionado.
So, what will it take to tick this off your gravel bucket list?
With the Ridgeway just seven weeks away, you need to be focussing on it now. Your weekend long ride should be at least four hours plus at this stage and you’ll be wanting to build up to six or seven hours (riding time that doesn’t include time sat in pubs and cafés!).
Don’t put off your long rides as you’ll also want a couple of weeks to taper down to ensure you’re rested, fresh and ready to roll.
Get off-road for as much of your training as possible.
A key part of those long rides is ensuring your fuelling and hydration strategies are nailed down. A nine-hour plus epic like the Ridgeway is as much about fuelling as fitness.
Don’t neglect your quality sessions during the week. Riding hard on technical trails is a great way to develop gravel-specific fitness.
Big gravel days are total body workouts so all-around robustness is essential. Off the bike conditioning, such as yoga and pilates, should be part of your plan.
Hold weekend rides at four or five hours but really go in search of climbing metres.
If you’re coming from a mostly road background, focus of developing your off-road skills as well as your engine.
The Ridgeway has some technical sections and, especially if it has been wet, you won’t be able to just muscle your way through.
If you’re tense and not relaxed when the going gets rough, you’re going to be wasting an awful lot of energy.
The best way to build your gravel skillset is to ride off-road. Challenge yourself technically when choosing routes rather than always riding the same trails.
A dedicated gravel steed is a must have for both of these events.
Think about your gearing, a 1:1 bottom gear or lower is recommended.
Tubeless means fewer ride halting punctures and the ability to run lower pressures for improved traction and a plusher ride. It’s really a no-brainer off road.
Keep an eye on the weather in the lead up to the Ridegway and, if it has been at all wet, you’re going to need some knobblies.
As you taper your body in the final weeks show your bike some love too. You want to be 100% confident in your bike so book it in for a full pre-event service.
Consultant with British Cycling and author of the Road Cycling Performance Manual. Lover of cobbles, gravel and Siberian Pine – not so keen on climbs! Nik is the author of all of the Hotchillee Training Plans, Zwift workout files and regularly posts tips and advice on the Hotchillee app. He’s also the evil genius behind the now infamous Hotchillee Gain Train.
Glen is usually behind the scenes making sure that the Hotchillee Ride Captains and event participants have fully functioning bicycles to ride but he occasionally makes an appearance in front of the camera to share his wisdom. If he’s not fixing or building bikes he’ll be out riding in #SweetSussex. If you want to know anything about Cyclocross, Glen is the man to ask.
Adele has worked within the health and fitness industry for over 25 years starting with a ballet and dance background herself, she has progressed to training and teaching all styles of fitness and offers Pilates, barre & yoga. As a keen runner, Adele appreciates the need for a strong healthy body and mind and incorporates many elements of Pilates, yoga and barre into her own training to ensure her strength and stamina remain.