Gareth first rode London to Paris in 2011 in Group 2 as part of a charity team for UK Youth and won the Spirit of London Paris award.
He then came back the following year as a Ride Lieutenant and, after that, became a fully fledged Ride Captain. 2022 will be his 10th London to Paris, he’s ridden in Groups 2-5 but Group 3 is his real home.
Firstly, being a Ride Captain is a privileged because of the people you get to meet and the collective experience of the journey to Paris. There are three main aspects to the role. First and foremost, it’s about safety of all of the riders. Second, it’s about communicating clearly how we plan to ride as a group and what’s expected of each rider to achieve this. Thirdly, motivation and encouragement.
The Group of Champions! It’s about a collective sense of achievement. Everyone in Group 3 can ride their bike and could probably ride L2P solo but it’s all about the team experience. It’s not the testosterone fuelled feeling of Group 1 or the “can I make it” sense of Group 5, it’s the perfect sweet-spot.
Not necessarily as there is a significant benefit to being in a group but it’s not a magic bullet – especially on climbs. You should really be up or close to our target pace in training.
Essential, the more group riding you can do, ideally joining our monthly rides, the better. As well as learning how we’ll ride on the event, you’ll also get to meet the Ride Captains and some of the people you’ll be riding with. https://www.hotchillee.com/hotchilleehandbook-group-riding-tips/
Riding over the white line is the biggest one!
Make sure you’ve got some 100-mile rides in your legs and don’t forget some back to back long rides just to reassure you that your legs can do it. https://www.hotchillee.com/no-nonsense-london-paris-training-plan/
We’ll position you in the group in the best place which will be up near the front in the first third, encourage you and maybe even give you a helping push. If you continue to struggle and are letting gaps consistently form, it might be a case of having to spend some time in one of the vehicles. Once we’re in France, there’s also the option to drop down a group at a scheduled stop but, because we’re riding a different route to Groups 4, 5 and 6 on Stage 1, this won’t be an option then. If you’re wavering whether you’re a Group 3 or 4 rider, there’s no shame in being conservative and you can always move up on Stage 2.
Definitely not but it might mean some time in the van while it’s sorted. Mitigate against this by having your bike serviced and giving it a check pre and post ride.
Essential and Group 3 riders should know this and be comfortable eating and drinking while riding in a group.
It’s always really buzzy at the end of each day but, before you start socialising and reliving your day’s triumphs, get yourself clean, fed and hydrated. By all means have a beer or two but don’t forget you have a ride to do the next day and an early start. Save the real celebrations for Paris.
We’ve had every weather condition from torrential rain to heatwaves so bring kit and layers to cover all eventualities. Pack bags within your main bag with the kit you’ll need for each day in them. This saves having to rummage through your kit every evening.
Get your bike serviced, get your kit sorted and be ready for an amazing experience and we will get you to Paris.
The Suisse Gravel Explorer 2022 has sold out. Join the waiting list to be contacted if cancelled places become available.