The peloton, with its shaven legs, expensive bikes and power meters, can be an intimidating place. It needn’t be – anyone can turn up and race – and there are steps you can take to prepare for the hustle and bustle of the bunch.
“You need to be safe riding in a bunch. You need to be fairly confident and competent in terms of bike handling,” says Spragg, who recommends joining your local club run – read our advice here – and chaingang to gain experience of riding in a tight group. “You wouldn’t go down the motorway on your first driving lesson,” he says.
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
Spragg also says that riders should use the early stages of training – the base training phase – to ensure they are comfortable with their fit on the bike and to work on pedaling technique, thereby removing any limiting factors that may come into play come race day. “If you have bad pedaling technique then you’re not going to be efficient on the bike, which means you’re going to be tired come the end of the race,” he says.
He also advises that his clients make sure their bike is in 100 per cent working order on the start line. “It’s pointless putting in months of training and for it all to be undone with a puncture because your tyres are worn out, your chain snaps, or something silly like that.”