Luke Rowe’s top tips on conquering the Surrey hills

14th June 2016

I’ve been asked by my friends at Human Race to provide some Rowe and King training tips for you to conquer the Surrey Hills, and I believe, finish with a lap of the great Herne Hill Velodrome at the Telegraph London Cycle Sportive powered by Maserati. This is always a tough ask as your abilities will vary; I am sure some of you are Grand Tour riders in waiting, and some will be doing your first ever event. I’ve racked my brains on the best general advice without getting too scientific and have three top tips for you.

1) Hill climbing. There is a lot of good advice out there on how to tackle some of the hills you will be taking on like the infamous Box Hill. My advice is based on a couple of things that will help you all.

  • Lose weight. Regardless of how good you are, every pound you lose before the ride will make those hills easier, and you faster. It’s simple physics. So maybe don’t drink alcohol for a week before for example.
  • Mindset when climbing up hills. It can / will hurt. When you are on them, your preparation will be done and you can’t change your bike. But you can adopt the right mindset. Everyone has a mindset that works for them. Some like to pretend it will never end, some break the climb down into small goals (aiming for the next tree for example). Find your best mindset and keep to it. One thing you can’t do is to hope that the next turn is the last one. More often than not it isn’t and hoping it is will only set you back.

2) Enjoy cycling with others. Whether you are cycling with friends or not, I really advise you try to link up with other cyclists. When you do so, say ‘hello’ and introduce yourself. This will not only help you benefit from some cheeky drafting but also make the ride much more fun.

3) The last lap. Save something in your tank for the lap of Herne Hill Velodrome at the end. I imagine most of you won’t have been to this track before, but this is an iconic venue in British cycling and has been there for 125 years. So when you arrive, take a look around, and then imagine you’re one of our track heroes such as Dani King or Sir Chris Hoy, pin your ears back and have fun blasting the last lap. I am sure there will be some refreshments to perk you up after and you will be proud of yourself for giving the lap all you’ve got.