I had my leg shaving kit poised. New blades, new foam, even borrowed some moisturizer from the missus. I will have the legs of a pro -cyclist. Until that fatefull Sunday ride and subsequent lunch. If lightening strikes, then I'm waiting for the third bolt. So much so, I actually bottled out of a thunderstorm ride yesterday. You can never be too sure in the thunder, can you?
After an hour or so down the stunning yet narrow roads of the Ashridge Estate, I was tipped up in the air in amongst four feet of stinging nettles, edged off my bike by an impatient car that didn't stop. I carried on the ride, discovering later in bed my rib had been cracked. After Team Sky's Geraint Thomas smashed his hip I was in no position to bleat about a rib. Then the second bolt of lightening, the old olive stone in the salad drama took paid to my 'professional cycling career'. Half a tooth later and an infection to boot, my Ride London 100 is over before it started. Lame I hear you cry, but there is no way I'd want to pollute the highways of south London with the contents of my infected head.
Tomorrow, some twenty odd thousand Lycra clad souls will attempt the Prudential Ride 100. Several clients and friends who are attempting the ride, have asked for some last minute advice, pearls of wisdom and encouragement.
Top one. Sleep.
Get a good nights sleep tonight, ear-plugs, blackout blinds, hot baths, stretch before bed and a few deep breaths should all help you relax and sleep well.
Tip two. Eat breakfast.
Eat breakfast, but firstly hydrate. On rising, a large mug /glass of warm water with a squeeze of lemon will ensure you start the day as you mean to go on. Then eat a bowl of porridge, popping a spoon of peanut butter in the middle to help slow down the release of the carbohydrate. A bowl of Coco Pops will not do !!
Tip three. Give yourself time.
As the start is four miles or so from the drop off point, get there in plenty of time. No stress here, keep the legs spinning on the way to the start. As you wait for your group to get going, stretch your quads and hamstrings.
Tip four. Pace it.
Think hare and tortoise here. Do not get carried away with the speeding peloton's of riders that will whiz past you. Keep to your game plan, you will of worked out your average speed, so stick with it.
Tip five. Eat and drink
Depending on how hard you go, you have around 2-3 hours of energy (1800-2000 calories ) stored in your body. You want to think about being disciplined with your energy intake. Don't eat too much in one go, as there will be a conflict of energy expenditure in your body. What ever your choice of fuel, if it is a bar or fruit or sweet, chew it until it is almost liquid in your mouth. This will allow it to be digested more easily and energy distributed more evenly. You will expend around 500 cal per hour so don't go too low too early, pre-empt any chance of 'bonking'.
I'd alternate every half hour with food and water/liquid. Luckily, it will not be too hot tomorrow and it looks to be perfect weather. If you are eating bars, pre-chop them into halves and pop in a zip bag in the back pocket. Do not eat on the climbs, you'll need all the energy you can, so wait until you are over the top.
Tip six. Spin
Keep your leg speed high when peddling,this avoids you accumulating too much lactate acid too early and will help stimulate the right energy systems. Keeping your leg speed high will allow your body to draw from fat stores as well as carbohydrate stores. You want to hold onto carbohydrate stores for Box Hill and avoid more 'bonking' on the way back to London.
Tip seven. Enjoy it.
No matter what your level, this is an amazing opportunity for all those riding. Don't forget to look around you and take it all in. Even when the legs are screaming, relax and take a deep breath and look around you, don't miss it by being in your head for 100 miles.
Tip eight. Recover well.
If you can grab a protein recovery drink at the end, it will help you with your inevitable fatigue and muscle soreness.
Be sensible with your food selections post ride. Try not to over load on simple sugars ( cakes, biscuits, sweets ) and try and get a decent meal in you that is balanced in good carbohydrate , protein and fat. A traditional Sunday lunch would do the trick, just make sure you avoid olives !
If you do celebrate with a few drinks, make sure you drink water as well. A hot bath and a good stretch on Sunday night will also help put you back together again.
Have the best time and enjoy every moment.