First off, if you’ve come here hoping for some training tips, you’re out of luck… if you’re in an uncomfortable place because you’ve not trained enough, don’t worry, our coaches can sort you out. Hopefully, you’ve put some effort in and are gearing up to making the best out of the day (the looong day), so to make sure you don’t mess it up in the final moments, here are my top tips for preparing for vRevolve24 and I explore each one in a little detail further below:
- Have a plan, stick with it, but have options for if you need to deviate
- Nutrition; the right food at the right time
- Bike setup; get it serviced and ready now
- Saddle; you need something to sit on for that length of time
- Kit; items will break, have spares ready
- Clothing; even though it’s at your home
Have a Plan
While the plan may differ, it doesn’t matter if you’re solo doing the 24-hour or a team of four doing the 6-hour, create your plan now and set about practising elements that can be rehearsed.
Start with a simple pacing strategy. You should know how well you want to do, so use this as a base to figure out what lap times you’ll need to do, and from this you should be able to work out an average power for each lap. Then you can fit a few sessions in of similar duration (smaller intervals for soloists) at target power to test if it is possible.
On the day, stick to the plan at the start. Don’t get carried away in someone else's race or because you feel great and energised. Stick to the plan. Don’t worry too much if you tail off slightly towards the end, that is normal and you can account for this in your pacing plan. For teams, lap durations will be important. There’s many ideas around what is best here, but you could judge this based on the types of riders in the team. Those with a season of short distance time trials (I know, a covid season), might favour shorter laps. Those who can hold a lesser power for longer, might consider longer laps.
Nutrition could be the difference between standing on the virtual podium and standing in a pool of your own mess… Seriously, 24-hours on a bike will be bad enough on your digestive system, without you feeding on something that it doesn’t want.
If you’ve not developed your nutritional strategy, do it now and get to work testing it. Here’s a great blog I wrote based on advice from one of our expert coaches, Aitor, this will help if you’ve not got a clue where to start.
You should have a good idea of what works in your body, what makes you feel more energised, and what does the opposite. Hopefully, you have some training notes that will help you identify which foods help, and which hinder. What you eat is highly personal. In most people, real food trumps gels and drinks, especially over a longer duration. Homemade will be the best, but flapjack/granola bars offer a good alternative. Jam sandwiches, rice cakes, and other similar food are a great place to start. Then hold onto the more liquid forms of energy until later in the event, where your body will be looking for a quick fix.
Traditionally, we thought that 90g of carbohydrate was the most we can absorb per hour - this left us with some limitations around where we get our fuel from. However, we know now it is possible to train your gut to digest up to 120g carbs per hour, you just need to progress into this and not attempt it in one ride. Several weeks might be needed to get that adaptation in the gut, so ensure you leave enough time to make this work.
You should be able to test a lot of this in some longer trainer rides to get you prepped for the event itself, make sure you eat as you will on the day, you can then gauge exactly how your body will respond and make subtle changes until you nail it.
Not that this should be a problem in your own home, but don’t eat off plan - no matter how tasty those snacks someone else has brought, don’t do it. Remember standing on the podium or in your own mess… only you can decide.
Even though it’s going to be a virtual ride, you should ensure that every single part of your bike (& trainer) are functioning perfectly. You would be surprised how many times I hear from clients and fans that they blew a tyre on the trainer and didn’t have a spare trainer tyre to be able to continue.
This is a great time to upgrade or replace worn components such as chains, cassettes, chain rings, and jockey wheels. Every watt will count and an inefficient drive train, will cost you a fair bit of time. Of course, no one can see the state of your grim indoor components, but they can see how slow you are at the event because of it.
Replacing gear cables is a good idea, just ensure that you do this with plenty of time before the event, to allow time to bed it in, so you can tighten as the cable slackens.
Give your trainer the once over too, there might be serviceable parts and you should consider replacing now.
If you’re running it, charging Di2 batteries is a good idea.
Testing your indoor setup with a ride at similar intensity and duration to vR24 will be crucial to finding out little nuggets of information, such as if you’ve got a saddle that wants to destroy your ability to enjoy sex ever again.
Get this done as early as possible, as you will need to allow time to find a new saddle and test that out before the event. It is of great importance that you test the saddle out inside as a priority - it is a totally different experience riding a saddle inside to outdoors.
I’m a huge fan of Infinity Bike Seat, and you can use code SPOKES20 at checkout to get some money off. Most bike fitters might have some test saddles, you could see if they would be kind enough to lend you several saddles so you could test them on one longer session.A good rule of thumb is that if you get any butt discomfort within the first hour, the saddle is the wrong one for you. Any discomfort longer than an hour might be a chamois pad that isn’t suitable for you, chamois cream that isn’t working, sweat soaking into the saddle (sweat crystals can be painful!), lack of time out of the saddle, or bike position. You should test a saddle for over an hour, trying different shorts too. Any saddle that doesn’t last an hour, isn’t ever going to be right for you.
This is a more simple affair, being that you’re at home, as you won’t have to pack everything, but ensuring you plan for every possibility will mean little issues, such as chain snapping or tyre blowing out, will be quicker to change.
As expensive as this might sound, have a spare everything. Eventually, you will need it, so consider it an investment. Want a way to make this a tax write-off? Become a Spokes Coach and this then becomes essential to your business… see I’m nice too...
Yeah you’re in your own home and free from changes in weather, but you might sweat through quite a few sets of shorts, socks, shoes, pretty much anything - depending on how heavy a sweater you are. Having spares of everything ready to go will be useful and, again, you should be trialling a session of similar intensity and duration, with your setup as per the event, just so you can see what you will definitely need - you can then plan a little extra, just in case you eat those biscuits that you should have and, you know, it happens…
It’s all about preparation and testing this all out now. Control what you can control and ensure that you have an epic vR24.
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