Coffee Stop

Like a G6, Like a G6

Tuesday 15th January 2013

Auther: Phil Jones

2012 saw me participate for the first time in the epic London-Paris event.  I'd never participated in a multi-stage event before and rode in Group 6 not really knowing what my capability would be. 

I turned out to be fine and will be jumping up to group 3 or 4 in the 2013 event (after some heavy training I hasted to add).  I picked up lots of good tips for future participants of group six during my three days in 2012, which I'm sure will assist other riders.

Pre-Event

  • Ensure your bike is in tip top shape.  The ride captains send out loads of reminders yet some riders still turned up with poorly maintained bikes.  Read the advice and action it. FAQ's
  • Pre-pack your kit and nutrition for each day in advance in separate bags so that you don't have to think about it on your return.  Take spare bags for wet kit.
  • Ensure you have trained correctly and put the miles in for a multi-stage event.  It's harder than you think and you will hold the group back if you aren't riding within the speed recommendations.  I rode around 1,000 miles in the three months prior to the event to give you some idea.
  • Do some group riding.  Practice following wheels in a tight formation and learn the appropriate hand signals to identify pot-holes or signal other directional movements.  "Rolling" and "Stopping" are particularly useful shouts when setting off, stopping as a large peloton, particularly on the ride into Paris.
  • Pre-book your massages if you want them.

During the Event

  • Get to know the other riders in your group.  The camaraderie in G6 is great, help out and encourage others when you can.
  • Ride the front with the ride captains.  The ride captains enjoy some banter and need the help of other riders in taking some of the wind aswell as keeping the group tight.
  • If you drop something, such as sunglasses, don't slam on the brakes, pull over only when it's safe, then go back.
  • Try and ride as a group as much as possible to save energy.  Even if you can't stay together as one, ride in smaller groups and share the workload.  There were quite a lot of easily avoidable group etiquette mistakes with riders bombing up to the front on the flat, then shelling to the back as soon as a hill arrived.  Keep it steady, smooth and consistent and you'll use your energy better.
  • If the group stops for a rider to take a leak, take a leak too.

 

At the End of Each Day

  • Bikes are stored in a fully secure and guarded central location away from the hotels.  Your bags are unloaded at the same venue, coaches transfer you to the hotels.
  • HotChillee representatives are on hand at the hotel to make the checking in process as easy as possible.
  • Use the hairdryers in the room to assist with drying kit out or wet shoes.
  • Get yourself in bed as soon as you can.
  • Pack your bag the night before so that when you get up in the morning, your kit is all laid out and you only need to pack a couple of things.

 

Your Day Bag

You're allocated a small bag which will be loaded into crates which are unloaded at each daily lunch stop.  It's about the size of a trainer bag that you might use at a gym, so essentials only. My tips are: -

  • Pair of Flipflops so that you can give your feet a breather at the planned stops
  • Pair of Fresh socks to change into if the weather has been wet. A great tip I was given by a previous participant which lifted morale in heavy rain.
  • Any nutrition you need for the afternoon to save you carrying it in your pockets during the morning
  • A small hand towel.
  • A large carrier bag to go inside the day bag in case of wet weather and keep your stuff dry.

The Ferry Transfer

  • It's essential you don't forget your passport as you set off on Day 1.  You'll be provided with a sealable waterproof bag for your documents at registration.
  • The entire peloton will roll on to the boat in one big go.  Bikes are stored in the hold for the crossing.
  • Take the opportunity to get straight up to the restaurant and get something to eat and drink.
  • As you arrive in Calais, the entire peloton will group to ride to where the bikes will be stored, following which you will be allocated a bus to transfer you to your hotel.

Post Event

  • Enjoy a champagne or two on arrival!
  • Your bikes will be packed and loaded onto a trailer at The Eiffel Tower for safe repatriation to the UK prior to coaches transferring you back to the hotel.
  • Definitely go to the gala dinner, great opportunity to let your hair down with the other participants.

 

Other Things to Consider Taking

  • Small bottle of chain lube
  • Baby wipes to give your steed a wipe over in the morning if it's dirty.  2012 weather conditions were really poor with heavy rain, so it was good to get the worst of the grime off each morning.

 

Other Tips

  • If you can afford it, book your own room for single occupancy.  Nothing worse than a snoring room mate!
  • If you are on Twitter, follow the hashtag #L2P2013 to engage with other riders in advance of the event.
  • Turn up with a few hours to spare on the registration day.  You'll have quite a bit to do to label your bike up, pick things up, sign things and get to your lodgings.  I found this useful to start orientating myself with the event organisation.
  • Pack a newspaper for scrunching up and putting in your shoes to help them dry overnight if wet.
  • Take spare carrier bags for dirty kit.

 

One thing is for sure, you're going to have an amazing experience.  The final day roll in of the 500 strong peloton into Paris is something very few cyclists will ever get to do and as you reach the Eiffel Tower, you'll be full of emotion having completed one of the best multi-stage events out there.  Enjoy it!

Auther: Phil Jones

Phil Jones is UK Head of Information, Communication and Technology brand – Brother UK - Ltd and a participant in The London-Paris 2012.  He also writes a road cycling blog at www.race-pace.net where a full account of his 2012 experience can be found. 

You can follow him on Twitter @roadphil for cycling related tweets and @philjones40 for business related tweets.  He also runs a Linkedin group for road cyclists called "UK road cyclists in Business" which you are invited to join.