What is it?
Red Bull time laps is an endurance race taking on paper over 24 hours, the catch being that as the clocks change in the UK it is actually a 25 hour duration. The aim is to get as many laps in during this period. You can enter as a team but people also ride it as a solo entry too.
Where is it?
The lap circuit is a 6.6km circuit around Great Windsor Park which is beautiful.
What’s the course like?
It’s a rolling circuit with a little bit of everything. Fast stretches, two main climbs, some drag sections and some fast bits too. Its quite a fast course with nothing too technical, the turns and corners are flowing still. One of the descents through the woodland is quite narrow and doesn’t leave too much space for riders to pass or for you to get by and so its worth thinking about your positioning on the road going into this area.
What is this power hour?
Between the hours of 2-3am there is a power hour where any laps count as double, this is held on a slightly different circuit. Its worth getting your strongest rider to the circuit ready for this.
What did you need with you?
Some teams take a camper van, which we didn’t have the luxury for.
We had two tents to be able to get some sleep. Some team members used this, I ended up camping in the welfare tent over night and getting sleep when I could in there. Not ideal, I would have got more rest in a tent but it meant I was near to the transition area and it was warm!
We took a gazebo which was broken, but actually didn’t really need this anyway as it was so windy had we have got it up it probably would have blown away (some gazebos did!). I would recommend having a decent gazebo for your team in transition though.
Otherwise – nutrition, bike, lots of changes of kit and kit for all weather conditions, bike tools, spare tubes (there were loads of punctures, two track pumps. It’s worth having a good chat with your team so consolidate on duplicate items where you can. A spare pair of cycling shoes would have been useful too!
Here are our teams top 10 tips…
- Bring plenty of spare clothes – consider one set for each planned session, allowing for wet weather or just getting hot and sweaty every time. Also have with you kit for all conditions. We had a huge mix of weather!
- Think about clothing off the bike too, wellies were a must for the 2019 event with the outside areas getting so wet and boggy!
- Plan where you’re going to rest after your session. Many teams hired a camper van, we had tents but also used the main welfare tent. Its good to be able to come off the bike and have everything organised for your recovery without having to flap around trying to find everything.
- Check out the course in the sighting lap. All the usual things… checking where the corners are, lines you can take, where the climbs and drags are, where it gets narrow, where its likely to be windy or exposed and have a think about how is best to tackle these things.
- Really give nutrition some thought – have a plan with the timings and take lots of different food and some variety. Its easy to get fed up of eating the same things, allow for some good savoury options and get some meals in too!
- Attempt to find riders of a similar pace to ride with and communicate to suggest taking it in turns to share the workload. It makes the riding much easier, especially during the tough times when it feels especially hard at night.
- Be prepared not to hold the average pace you think you will, in the middle of the night when you’re usually asleep its hard to be riding as sharp as you otherwise might be, add in fatigue and all the other things that make this event hard and you won’t be claiming PBs! Just keep going, it’s the same for everyone.
- Its hard, don’t go in thinking its going to be anything else. There will be highs and lows throughout the 25 hours. Know what you’re going to be saying to yourself when it gets tough and just keep moving forwards.
- Be a team player, I feel as a team we did our best and we pulled together to get the best result as a team of four riders along with our team mechanic. We communicated well, listened to each other, pulled each other up during the low points and shared the highs too.
- Book the next day off work! Sleep needed!
Read our Time Laps blog here…
Lucy Sturgess and Team LFCC | Love Velo CC