Your first Ride London-Surrey100

Sunday 31 July 2016 saw around 26,000 riders cycling through London and out to Surrey and back as part of the Prudential Ride London 100 event.

Jim McCarthy has been organising training rides for Team LCC for the last three years. What advice does he have for RideLondon newbies?

You’ve followed a training plan, you’ve set your goal, and you’ve studied the route. Here's what you should do on the day:

Take food and drinks you like

Professional riders get by on sandwiches and pastries during races, but they also have chefs and nutritionists looking after them. Stick with something you know you like and can digest.

Energy gels are a hit and miss thing for cyclists - but if you’re thinking of using them, or drink supplements, try them well in advance of your event. Not all will sit well with your stomach!

Eat well, eat often!

That is the only piece of advice I can give that is based on science and experience. All the other advice you’ll hear is mostly based on anecdotes, fads and marketing. Some of it will help some of you; some of it will just cost you time and money. But the old adage of ‘eat before you’re hungry, drink before you’re thirsty’ is sound advice for anyone taking on a distance ride. Remember that cycle sportives are endurance events - you must refuel along the way. If you find yourself running out of fuel, you will feel miserable and it will take a while for anything you subsequently eat or drink to take effect.

Pace yourself

You will set off too fast from the start. Everyone does. The nerves, the start line, the daunting task ahead, the buzz of tens of thousands of riders setting off.

Enjoy the initial thrill, but ease back to a pace you are comfortable with soon after.

Slipstream others

It is a known fact that ‘drafting’ reduces effort. It simply involves catching the wheel of another rider, with your front wheel almost touching their back wheel and riding in their slipstream. Which is great if you trust the person in front. If you don’t, well, what could possibly go wrong?

Rest before the ride

Don’t overdo any exercise just before the big day. With RideLondon, this is tricky as it is always preceded by the London Freecycle, which is a brilliant celebration of cycling in the capital. But you don’t have to skip this ‘because you should be on a rest day’. Just take it easy!