Road Cycling Events

Revolve24 Hour Race: 10 Things I Should Have Learned the First Time Round (but Didn’t)

Lorena Jones raced for 24 hours on the Brands Hatch Circuit in 'Revolve24' - she had plenty of time to think...

Revolve24 is a weekend of racing that incorporates a selection of distance challenges. You can opt to ride 24, 12, or 6 hours around the three mile long circuit – either as part of a team or solo.

Of course – you’d have to be crazy to cycle for 24 hours around a motor circuit that is just shy of 3 miles in length right? But to do it twice…?

Contributor Lorena Jones did exactly that. Here she explains why she took on the 24 hour time trial at Brands Hatch for a second time, and passes on some gems of wisdom that she picked up over her day-and-night-long-cycle ride.

Preparation is key

All the gear? Or not…

It’s obvious right, it goes without saying? Well it would be to most people, but despite having planned to do this event again following my first attempt a year ago (and training for the best part of six months) my place wasn’t actually confirmed until the evening before. Whilst I would never suggest wandering around a supermarket filling a trolley with anything that seemed to vaguely resemble a high energy product at 9pm the night before, this is exactly what I was doing.

Plan how you’ll get there

There is no easy way to get to Brands Hatch without a car, especially if National Rail have anything to do with it. Not to mention getting back – a rather more sleepy version of the person you were 24hours before. And so, with their ‘occasional’ cancellation and ‘late running of this train’ National Rail sent me on somewhat of a wild goose chase across London in the opposite direction to Brands Hatch along with my bike, an array of kit to suit all potential weather situations, and a bag stuffed with enough food to feed a small family for a week.

We were off to a good start!

Make friends

Inside the pits at night

Apparently there’s nothing quite like sharing a drafty pit garage [the space where riders resting/waiting for team mates/etc chill out] for 24 hours to make or break a friendship. And whilst I have heard many stories of the former, thankfully I haven’t heard of any breaking thus far. This and last year I turned up alone and within minutes I had a number of offers to share a pit – the comradery of Revolve24 is exceptional, and somewhat unforgettable, especially when you take into account the variety of team formats.

To help you make friends, Revolve24 have teamed up with Map my Tracks to let the ‘bants’ flow much before the event actually begins. Riders log their rides and aim to move up the leaderboard before the event. You can comment and chat (a bit like Strava, but a special version for Revolve24 riders). 

You need good lights

OK so this is one area I didn’t screw up. Having used Exposure lights the first year, there was no way I was changing my tactics here. Set up with my Exposure Strada 1200 light on the front and a Blaze to the back, I had enough juice to light up a London borough – I was good to go. And for those that weren’t quite as lights savvy in advance of Revolve24, Exposure were on hand through the night with lights avail to buy or borrow to make sure no-one fell short. As a sponsor to the event they also dished out some fantastic prizes to the lucky category winners.

How Many Lumens? Bike Lights for Commuters, Road Cyclists & Mountain Bikers

Pace yourself – but not too much!

Sprinting over the line?!

Whether you are doing the 24, the 12, or the 6, pacing is essential. The last thing you want to do is blow up half way round, equally however having enough energy to pretty much sprint the last three laps is rather frustrating – I say this from experience.

Put safety first

Resting when you need to is important!

It’s OK to be competitive but safety always comes first. Keep your line, and be aware of others around you. Most importantly, if you need a rest, take one. Loose wheels and tired cyclists are a recipe for disaster. Thankfully, I had this one under control as did everyone else, and both personally and generally speaking, there were no accidents to report overnight.

Druids Hill is definitely steeper when you can see it

Druids Hill: the nemesis

Having climbed up that hill all night, I speak for myself when I say I became quite good at it. Practice makes perfect don’t they say … and over the course of the event I worked out the best form of attack – approaching speed, placement and gearing, but as the morning drew in and lit up the track; only then did I realise that Druids is actually quite steep. Ignorance is bliss I guess, and fun!

That false flat isn’t going anywhere – quite literally

Your legs will be sapped

You would be a fool to think that Druids is your enemy, oh no, having climbed it and flown down the other side, be prepared to have all the energy sapped from your legs as you make the join between Druids and the next cheeky little climb the other side of the back straight.

Not only does it look so much easier than it is, but you have the delight of all your family and friends watching you and cheering you on whilst they too question why you are making this ‘flat’ section look so unbearably difficult.

You’ll want people to keep cheering!

Everyone likes to be cheered on a bit

Embarrassing as the false flat might be, those cheers will mean EVERYTHING before too long so make sure you tell your support crew to please keep them coming.

In addition to those on the pit area, fellow cyclists in teams of 4, 6, and 8, will start to recognise you and provide you with cheers of encouragement as they ping past. Not only will this wake you up, but it will pop that spring back into your step (pedal stroke) just when you need it most. If you are really lucky they might even let you hang on to their wheel briefly.

This event isn’t only for endurance riders

Editor Michelle (in yellow) rode the Women’s Omnium

With the introduction of the omnium, Revolve24 has opened itself up to more people, not just those interested in endurance events (– that said the omnium takes an awful lot of endurance)! Teaming up with London Womens Racing we saw (both male and) female omnium races hit the track as early as 10am.

The final race of the omnium coincided with the start of the 24 hour TT meaning there were 3 races on the track at the same time. As a soloist this was very welcome and added an element of variety to the following 24 hours.

Thinking of joining in next year?

The Revolve24 of 2016 is now complete – but 2017 dates will eventually be announced, and you can guarantee it’ll be every bit as exciting next year.

For those racing for British Cycling points, the omnium is probably up your street. If endurance is more your thing, there will be 24, 12 and 6 hours races – for soloists and teams. And of course, you can take part on behalf of a charity and raise lots of money for a good cause.

Interested? Read more here.

Looking for training advice? Check out our article ‘Endurance Racer Jasmijn Muller: How to Train for a 24 Hour Event’.

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