Whisk has a background in rowing and, like many rowers, got seduced by triathlon. He gravitated more and more to cycling though and, in 2010, joined London to Paris as a member of the Pearson’s Cycling team in Group 1.
He rode again in 2011, got to know the Ride Captains and Hotchillee Event Team and was asked to join the Ride Captain team in 2012.
He’s ridden London to Paris as a Ride Captain every edition since, across almost all the groups but this will be his first experience of Group 2.
We’re effectively the Super Domestiques for the riders. We’ll set the pace on the front taking the wind, close gaps and encourage and help riders hanging on the back. Basically keep the group rolling smoothly, safely and efficiently.
For the men, it’ll be a decent paced smooth group that’ll largely be composed of experienced riders who don’t want the pressure of racing in Group 1. However for the women, this is where the racing takes place!
All being well conditions wise, we’ll be tapping along at about 28/29 kph.
No. Being in a well managed group of 30-40 riders will allow you to save energy in the wheels and up your average speed. Also, once we’re in France and have the motorbike outriders, we won’t have to slow for junctions etc and this makes a real difference to our pace. The only time you’ll need to unclip are at feed stations and the lunch stop.
It’s important in all of the groups to have an awareness of the riders around you and be comfortable following a wheel. You’re not going to be riding in an unstructured fluid elbow to elbow peloton like you’d see in the Tour de France though – most of the time you’ll be two by two.
If the bulk of your riding is solo, doing some club runs or joining one of our monthly rides would be a good idea.
For me, it’s unscheduled stops. Sometimes they’re unavoidable but they always disrupt the group and mean a chase to get back on. Whether it’s having a “comfort break” or taking off a jacket, ask yourself whether it can wait for a scheduled stop which do come fairly regularly.
The Ride Captain at the back will do their best to help you, there could be scope to get in a vehicle and, for the two days in France, to drop down a group at the next feed. You won’t be left on your own but the best solution is prevention and not being overly ambitious in the group you select to ride with. If in doubt, err on the conservative side.
No, the mechanic will be there to sort you out and you won’t have to be fixing a flat yourself by the side of the road. In the pre-disc world, this was super simple and quick but it might be a case now that you have to go in the mechanic’s van for a bit while he sorts you out.
On multi-day events you really have to be on top of your fuelling and hydration as, if you let it slip, it’ll impact subsequent days. There are opportunities to top up your bottles and jersey pockets every 40-50km and you can have a drop-bag/musette waiting at the lunch stop for you, so there’s no need to have everything you need on you from the off.
Day One is always a bit pressured with getting across to France but there’s still time for a bit of socialising. Once we’re in France, it’s as social as you want to make it just remembering you will need to get up and ride the next day!
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.
If you want a great brisk ride without the stress or changes of pace associated with racing, join me in Group 2 – it’ll be a blast.
See you at the start for the briefing, if you have any questions in the meantime please feel free to contact Ride Captain Gareth via the Hotchillee App
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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.
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.
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.