First of all, welcome to Group 1 for this year’s London-Paris! Some of you will be first timers to HotChillee events and you’ll be pleased to know you’ve made a good choice as those of you who are now considered HotChillee veterans will confirm.
For those returning make this your best event and one to remember. Train harder, ride faster, really get involved at the front and chase those coveted leaders’ jerseys but above all have fun.
Most of us have time constraints (actually Ride Captain Ian doesn’t but that’s why he’ll show you a clean pair of heels when the road goes uphill), but the days are long so putting together some long rides back to back is the best way to simulate the pain and recovery of multistage events. Most of us should manage to ride on a Saturday and Sunday, so the third day tends to be like stepping into the unknown (my only 3-day consecutive rides happen on events too!), but everyone will be tired by day 3 so don’t stress too much.
The average speed we aim for in Group 1 is around 30 kph so make sure you can keep the pace, or you may find the other groups calling as the egos outweigh the power in the legs. You should also be able to ride competently and confidently in a group, you have joined the racing group after all!
We have group road rides in Surrey every month if you’d like to come down and ride with us before July. I’d highly recommend it as it gives you a feel for what you’ve signed up for, you’ll get to meet the Ride Captain team you’ll be riding with and potentially some of the other rider’s you’ll be sharing the road with too.
On the Road
You’ve joined Group 1 and as Ride Captains, we don’t expect to be pushing anyone! You should be fit enough to ride and if you’re in any doubt, get some advice from your doctor before you arrive at the start line.
Take your turn on the front. If everyone does a few km’s on the front the day will pass quicker, you’ll feel part of the event, and it will save Dimi, Ian and myself sitting there all-day towing everyone along. You’ve paid for this event so make sure you get stuck in, you’ll enjoy it more!
No yoga on the bike in the bunch. Keep your hands on the bars! There are lots of potholes so keep your stretching for when we’ve stopped.
The Race Sections are fiercely contested with jerseys at stake every day so race hard but be safe! It’s nice to return home with a jersey and bragging rights on your Sunday cafe run but remember: no careless riding, try to stay upright and respect others around you. There’s nothing worse than hitting the tarmac for the sake of a jersey and as far as I know Team Sky haven’t signed up any of our jersey winners to date.
You need a good, fully working road bike. Getting it serviced pre-event is recommended, there’s only so much our mechanics can do in the morning before we roll out and while they’re great at what they do, they aren’t miracle workers! New tyres would be a bonus and reduce your risk of getting a puncture before you’ve even started. Two bottle cages, and no junk under your saddle or your handlebars! I’m old school, so no home offices on your bars, just a simple computer. We want you to look where your riding not at a million gadgets…
Bring 3 sets of kit as you won’t want to be washing kit in the evening after a hard day on bike. Especially when you could be using that time sitting in bar, telling your mates how you would have taken that jersey if it wasn’t for the 40 other riders being luckier than you!
While the support vehicles will have things like cereal bars and bananas, you’ll need to bring your own nutrition like energy drink for bottles, bars of your choice or maybe a gel if you’re really hanging at the end of a stage. Your hotels will provide breakfast and we stop for lunch each day so there should be no real need to be downing gels all day and I wouldn’t recommend it anyway, you may find yourself with dodgy guts later that evening. The HotChillee Ride Captains are lucky to have RawVelo as their nutrition partner and if you ask nicely, we may share our stash with you if you really do get stuck (alternatively you can get your own supply of RawVelo from Sigma Sports).
There are a million more things I could say but really in Group 1 you are all competent and experienced riders and I’m probably not telling you anything you don’t already know, so let’s hope that the sun is out, and the wind is on our backs. In the meantime, if you do have any questions please feel free to drop me a line or contact our Head Ride Captain: [email protected]
Hope to see you on one of our monthly rides to get to know you all.