Revolve24 2017 at Brands Hatch

Brands Hatch Is For Cars? No – It’s For Revolve24!

We would all like to know how far we could ride in one 24-hour period, but how and when? Where could we have the best opportunity to make the most of those iconic hours? Answer: Revolve24!

Why did Revolve 24 appeal?

I love the occasional mega ride and the idea of riding on the Brands Hatch Circuit coupled with that 24-hour challenge back in September it was too much to miss.

My decision to compete at Revolve24 was made late in the season when a gap came up in my schedule. I felt it was possible to have some form for the event because it worked well with what I had already done regarding my training. All I had to do now was ensure I tapered effectively in the run-up to the event.

Arrival at Revolve 24

Arriving at Brands felt special and it was obvious that this was a well-run event from the start, with a professional crew behind it. Cheerful help from the entrance to the start line was always on hand. Huw the main man in the team seemed to make himself known to everyone and from the moment I parked up I was already feeling that pre-race buzz and excitement. First meetings, encounters, and polite conversations were also telling me that this was a friendly event where the personal challenge was more of an issue than rider rivalry.

The start

Fortunately for me, I had qualified in 6th place based on distance and elevation completed during the year. It felt like a real bonus to lining up towards the front of the grid of Revolve24 for the Le Mans style start which added the expectation, reminding me of that iconic car race. The buildup was tremendous, and you could feel the tension from the other competitors, light-hearted conversation flowed until that moment – was it a start gun or the word go I cannot tell you, we were off, and competitors were running towards their bikes.

My plan

With 24 hours to cover as many laps as possible, I had decided to start steady and that meant a stroll across the track to retrieve my bike. However, like every major event where a rush takes over, it took a few laps to settle into a suitable pace and become accustomed to the various challenges that the track offers.

I have to say I after a few stops planned at 12 lap intervals I started to regret taking the solo ethic to the extreme of not having a pit crew and support if only to sort out the housekeeping back in the pits.

The ride

Revolve24 2017, Brands Hatch

However, on track I was loving it, picking and perfecting the best lines, nailing apexes and using the ever-changing gradient to the best effect, tucking on descents to gain all the free speed and distance possible and looking after the legs on every demanding climb, much of which for an event such as the Revolve24 is critical.

The course was a joy to ride and added to the challenge, making it truly one of epic proportions. Now as the afternoon turned to evening those new familiar faces were offering encouragement and accepting encouragement both on and off the track as each competitor and teams respect for the other.

Evolving strategy

Remembering this event is about time and what you can personally cover within that time, rather than how quickly can you cover a set distance, it certainly adds a whole other dimension to how you approach and plan your personal or team strategy. For the solo, do you go a little harder from the start and build up as many laps as you can while you can or stay out there maintaining a steady and sustainable pace?

Do you take an extended rest at some point or keep the legs turning? There are so many possibilities and that’s what makes it interesting. We all start together and hopefully finish together but how far will we have gone and how far could we have gone?

The laps continue but …

Revolve24 2017 at Brands Hatch

Back to the track, all was well and after some early evening rain and wind where I had opted to stay out in shorts and sleeves rather than the don a boil in a bag, in the quiet of the night the work continued, and the laps had piled up. Even after a longer than normal stop to repair a puncture luckily noticed on the start straight before the descent at Clark Curve, I was in good form running in 9th place. 

By 12.00 midnight I had completed 260km and felt confident that I was on target so opted for a longer food stop and a change of kit. On returning to the track and starting the climb to Paddock Hill Bend where the legs demanded a change from the large to small chainring, somehow in the dark the chain dropped and caught in the rotor crank. The chain went through the carbon hanger of the rear derailleur! Yes, it hardly ever happens but it was game over! I learned my second lesson, bring the spare bike next year along with the pit crew.

I’ll be back in 2018!

Yes, I will be back next year to complete the challenge with a spare bike and also hopefully at Oulton Park which is perhaps my favorite track in the UK so how could I miss an opportunity like that.

So, I have some recommendations. Please do not think these are set in stone. We, perhaps, have different ideas, but the advice is sound and based on experience.

Training strategy for Revolve24

BPM CoachingTrain for the real event, if your team is planning that riders perform multiple stints in Exercise zone 4, mega long endurance rides are perhaps not your main focus.

However, if your perhaps smaller team have planned for longer stints at tempo, then your build training should reflect this.

Example for a team of 6.
8 x 30-minute exercise zone 4 stints with 2.5-hour rest and nutrition periods per rider

Example for a team of 3.
8 x 1-hour exercise zone 3 stints with 2 hours rest and nutrition periods per rider

Solo

If you are a solo rider, then conditioning yourself to long hours in the saddle is a major factor in your training. However, remember that working at tempo and anaerobic threshold to make gains in power and speed in the aerobic exercise zones. Also, in your build periods, don’t forget to increase your ability to store energy.

The same applies to the team riders working at anaerobic threshold, base training in the aerobic exercise zones will also provide beneficial adaptations to complete your training plan.

Consider …

Pacing

Whether you are a solo rider or part of a team and whatever you decide with regard to pacing, don’t purposely hurt the legs as it will induce muscular fatigue at an earlier stage. Stick to your plan with regard to the appropriate pace and do not get sucked into an on-track battle that will take you away from that plan.

Nutrition

Fueling or nutrition and hydration is a critical factor in these events and the great thing about the Revolve24 format is you can fuel and hydrate whenever you want.

Bringing it all together for Revolve24 2018

Teams

In my opinion, a rider in a team of perhaps six doing 8 x 30-minute intervals with a 2-hour and 30-minute rest period between each interval should fuel adequately immediately after their work interval to ensure glycogen reserves have been digested and replaced in time for the next on track work interval.

Within your training try to work in some specific event acclimatization. For the teams, some days of multiple rides as per your planned stints with rest periods to mimic the event in miniature, perhaps try 3 stints with nutrition, it will help you gauge your pacing for the whole event.

Teams should not ignore endurance work especially early in the training plan.

Solo

At the other extreme and speaking from experience for the solo rider to maintain and prolong any pace in exercise zone 2 and perhaps 3, regularly replenishing of glycogen is critical. So, I would feed within the first hour of starting the event on the bike, continuing to feed and hydrating regularly with an energy drink throughout the event, with a substantial feed every 75 to 90 minutes thereafter during a 5-minute stop.

For the solo rider, perhaps a loop from the house that lasts 75 to 90 minutes allowing you to practice refueling before attempting another stint.

Also, try to do some night riding, start some rides early in the morning and finish some after dark.

Try some back to back endurance rides over a two or three-day period and make sure you do some longer than normal rides where you push the boundary, think in terms of time in the saddle, not the distance.

Good luck and train well for Revolve24, 2018 – see you there!

Nigel Hale-Hunter
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Nigel Hale-Hunter

ABCC level Cycling Coach and Mias MTB Guide/Leader at BPM Coaching
I became a coach because I wanted to train "smart". Most of us have a limited amount of time that we can dedicate to training and I understand the importance of making the most of the limited time. Training to a structure made me a successful competitor and now I enjoy helping others achieve their goals. See my a new website bringing high-quality training and advice to all for just £15.99 in the form of an evolving online book.
Nigel Hale-Hunter
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Posted in UK News.

I became a coach because I wanted to train "smart". Most of us have a limited amount of time that we can dedicate to training and I understand the importance of making the most of the limited time. Training to a structure made me a successful competitor and now I enjoy helping others achieve their goals. See my a new website bringing high-quality training and advice to all for just £15.99 in the form of an evolving online book.