Don't even think about mounting your bike without reading these tips.
With Christmas now a distant memory, are you looking for a reason to give those shiny new bike parts – or perhaps even a whole bike – a thorough test?
Taking on an incredible sportive like the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 is a great way to do it... but don't get on your bike just yet!
Whether you're a newbie or a seasoned cyclist, we've put together some tips that you should read before tackling any sportive or cycling challenge.
Our 6 top tips
Tip 1: Prepare all your kit the day before
That's including tools and food/drink – the last thing you need is extra stress on race day morning as you try to make your start time.
Tip 2:Make sure you've got fuel to hand during the race
Double up on bottle cages and get a proper cycling jersey with easy-access pockets for your snacks. You don’t want to be faffing about with zips! Water and snacks are usually in plentiful supply along the route, but having to stop every time you’re thirsty will ruin your enjoyment of the event!
Tip 3: Scout out the route...
...especially when it comes to the hilly sections. If you can find some similar climbs to practise during training then all the better. Don’t forget to try out the downhills as well as the uphills – you’ll need good technique for these.
Tip 4: Make sure you can go the distance
You don’t need to practise the full length, but it’s worth doing one or two rides that reach around two-thirds of the total. You can rely on the adrenaline of the big occasion for the final third. Many events offer rides of various distances on the same basic route, so make sure you familiarise yourself with your chosen one so you end up doing the right distance!
Tip 5: Don’t start too fast
A bike computer can help you monitor your pace to ensure you’re sticking to a speed you know you can maintain. If you’re in a group but struggling to keep up, don’t run yourself into the ground trying to!
Tip 6: Enjoy the ride!
Some of the other riders may look like they’re pushing for a win at the world champs, but don’t let that impact how you ride on the day. You can do it.
Whether or not you got a RideLondon ballot place…
We want you on #TeamIncredible, helping us raise vital funds to keep providing our incredible hospice and neurological care.
Team Incredible members receive a raft of benefits including training plans and tips from our professional Team GB coach, fundraising advice from yours truly, cheerpoints and a post-race reception – not to mention one of the best-looking jerseys out there.
Register for RideLondon 2017 now