Hotchillee

EVENTS

Riding the LONDON-PARIS in Group 6? Ride Captain Top Tips

Group 6: Juliette Clark

Juliette first rode London to Paris in 2010 in Group 2 as a client, then went on to complete the Alpine Challenge that same year and came back for London to Paris in 2011. She loved the Hotchillee ethos and camaraderie and joined the Ride Captain team for the 2012 event.

This was the first time that hand-cyclists attempted the ride and, although Juliette describes it as being one of the hardest things she’s ever done it was almost the most rewarding and the three days rank up there as the best of her life. She’s now completed ten London to Paris rides, always with hand-cyclists if on the event or with the slowest group on the road which she describes as “her happy home”.

Hotchillee Ride Captain Juliette Clark

What’s the Ride Captains’ role on the road?

It’s a split role. The priority is safety for the riders an, after that, it’s about motivation and help – especially in the lower groups. There are always hugs, tears, laughs and the occasional helping hand up a hill. 

Describe the Group 6 experience in a single sentence

It’s really special and unique as it’s a charity group where all riders share common aims. Those aims are to assist the hand-cyclists and to raise money for Back-Up Trust. It’s full of emotion and fun but also definitely has challenges for all. As we have to accommodate the hand-cyclists, experienced riders and novices in one group pretty much everyone will be riding outside of their comfort zone. 

What average speed will Group 6 be aiming for?

20-22 kph 

That’s a bit faster than I manage on my own, should I be worried?

No as you will get a bit of a boost from riding in a group but don’t expect miracles. You want to be averaging as close to that range as possible in training. 

How important are group riding skills and how can I learn them?

We’ve been working on these skills at our pre-event rides and it’s really important that you’re happy in a group right from when we roll out at “silly o’clock” from Imber Court as there simply isn’t the time to be learning then. If you haven’t made any of the group rides or Hotchillee monthly rides, do really try to before the event. https://www.hotchillee.com/hotchilleehandbook-group-riding-tips/

Any big faux-pas that will put me on the wrong side of the Ride Captains?

Don’t cross the white line ever. No unnecessary or unauthorised stopping. Never go past the front Ride Captain or drop behind the rear Ride Captain. 

What training milestones should I have ticked off beforehand?

You need to have done 100 miles at least once as, in my experience, if you haven’t doe that, you’ll struggle to make it to Paris. You should also do some consecutive long days on the bike. Refer to the training plan linked below and check where you are reflects what it suggests. 

https://www.hotchillee.com/no-nonsense-london-paris-training-plan/ 

London-Paris by Tour de France village

What happens if I’m struggling to keep up?

We’ll do our best to keep you going but, if you can’t stay with the group, you will have to have a break in the “fun bus”. Riders will often say that they could keep going on their own at their own pace but, for safety and logistical reasons, this just isn’t possible. 

What happens if I have a puncture or mechanical will I be left to fend for myself?

You’ll pull back with a Ride Captain to the mechanic who’ll sort you out. This will probably involve a bit of time in the van and you will only be dropped back on the road and with the group when it’s safe to do so. 

You can really mitigate against the likelihood of this by having a full service before the event, fitting new tyres and doing simple pre and post-ride checks. 

https://www.hotchillee.com/hotchillee-handbook-bike-maintenance/ 

How important is on the bike nutrition?

Absolutely essential and you have to be able to eat and drink on the bike while moving. Practice this in training and try systems to make this as easy as possible. I’d strongly suggest a seat-tube/“bento box” and unwrapping and cutting up your bars for the day.

We’ll schedule in stops/comfort breaks every two hours or so where you can refill your bottles and top up your supplies but you can’t only be eating and drinking this infrequently. You need to be constantly grazing and sipping right from the start of the ride. 

https://www.hotchillee.com/hotchillee-handbook-top-ten-cycling-nutrition-tips/ 

What’s happens post-ride each day on London to Paris?

You’ll be transported from the finish to your hotel and then you really need to prioritise washing, eating and sleeping. We have long days, we’re always the last group to finish and you’ve got to do it again the next day. Have one beer but save the celebrations for Paris. 

https://www.hotchillee.com/hotchillee-handbook-rest-and-recuperation/ 

Any tips on kit and clothing?

When you sign-on, you’ll get given a luggage label. Take a picture of this as it’ll have the name of your hotel on it. This can save you a frustrating trip to the wrong hotel – as there’s sometimes more than one, at the end of a long day. 

Final words of wisdom 

It’s incredible thing you’re doing, it won’t be easy but you will be changing lives and will have an amazing experience. 

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Register for 7-day priority access to enter The LONDON-PARIS by Tour de France 2023.

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Your priority access will start on Tuesday 26 July 2022. We’ll be in touch then, keep an eye on your emails, or the Hotchillee companion app.

Friday 23 June: Festival Fort / Sign On

Please let us know what time you plan on arriving on Friday for Sign On. This is when you collect your rider number. The Festival Fort will be open all afternoon with a live DJ, a 35km social gravel ride from the Lauf stand at 14:14, Rider Welcome at 17:00 and free pizza and beer from 18:00:
For those not able to Sign On on Friday the registration desk will be open for 30 mins from 05:00 - 05:30 on Saturday morning. Signing On on Saturday will delay your start and should be avoided.

Saturday 24 June: Arrival

For those who have not booked camping, access to the site will not be available before 04:00. This is when the gate to the car park will open. The start line is open from 05:00-06:00. If you’re driving please arrive set up and ready so there’s minimal faff. For us to manage traffic flow please let us know how you will be arriving:
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The LONDON-PARIS by Tour de France 2022 road route has sold out. Join the waiting list to be contacted when cancelled places become available. 

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GLEN WHITTINGTON

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.

Website: www.aeightbikeco.com

Instagram: @aeightracer

NIK COOK

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.

Twitter: @nikalascook

Instagram: @nikalascook

ADELE SMYTH

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.

Website: www.purebodybyadele.co.uk

Instagram: @purebodybyadele

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