Welcome to the HotChillee London-Paris 2019, and congratulations on choosing one of the best groups to ride it with!
Cycling to from London to Paris is hard, and something that is difficult to replicate in training, as most of us will have some combination of children, partners, obligations, work and/or common sense stopping us from riding for 170+ kms for 3 days in a row. Group 2 is a great opportunity to be able to work as hard as you want to within this already substantial challenge and have a lot of fun doing so.
There is a myriad of reasons for riding Group 2 including (but not limited to):
- I’m racing – and aiming for the yellow/green/red jersey
- I rode in group 3/4/5 last year and have trained up so want to keep challenging myself
- I used to be G1/Pro/more-able-to-suffer but now am wiser/more ‘resplendent’
- The Ride Captains are particularly good-looking in Group 2…
All of these and more are great reasons to ride with us, and Group 2 is a perfect place to bring people together while getting the best possible individual experience out of the ride.
The racing in G2 is competitive for both men and women, but the official women’s race for the whole event is in done here (women can of course ride in G1 but will be excluded from the results). Whether you’re planning on racing or not, you can’t help but get caught up in the friendly competitiveness here, it is heaps of fun. Last year we were quicker than Group 1 on some of the yellow sections and there is plenty of opportunity for race tactics, breakaways or dumping watts should you wish!
It is worth noting that we will re-group at the end of these sections, which brings me to…
A good proportion of Group 2 typically are not interested in unnecessarily hurting their legs, especially when they have got 300+ kms to go. We will average around 29kph (more on that later) and this is a tough enough challenge with a lumpy route to Paris and some serious wind in the French countryside. The Ride Captains will get the bunch working together to really max out the benefits of riding in a big peloton. Group 2 are famous for Jon’s through-and-off.
It would definitely help if you have done some bunch riding. If it is practical to come along to one of the HotChillee monthly rides I would highly recommend it, as it helps bed in these bunch riding skills with us, and more than likely with some of your fellow riders for the event.
The best way to understand our pacing is also to come along to one of our training rides, we may say 29kph – but this is a number born from experience rather than something we aim for. The pace is certainly much easier than riding 29kph solo, but you need to able to maintain a good pace for longer rides of 100+km.
If you can’t make it to one of our training rides, a local sportive is another good way to test the water. To get an idea of the hills, a good rule of thumb for our route is to train for a little under 1000m of climbing per 100 km. The Ride Captains will usually increase the pace on the biggest hill of the day so that one can no longer hear the chat from the peloton, but conversation is a fixture of Group 2 for most of the rest of it.
One thing worth mentioning is that while this a big challenge in terms of distance, don’t forget to work on your top end. There will be times where you may be free-wheeling along for what seems like forever in ‘business class’ but need to accelerate out of a corner or close a gap, so those 5 minute or less efforts are still useful.
Finally, it is a fact that looking fast is the main contributor to being fast, so if you have long colourful socks, funky kit, a shiny bike and sparkling cassette; you’re most of the way there. New tyres could also mean you’re not chasing back to the group just before the race section!
Hopefully this has given you a feel for our wonderful Group 2 and answered some questions you may have, but please feel free to ask any further questions to me at email@example.com – or our Head Ride Captain Juliette at firstname.lastname@example.org.