King of the Downs, Rider Preparation

With a little over 2 weeks till our King of the Downs super sportive we decided to catch up with our sponsored ‘Super Sportiver’ James Berresford who was fresh back from a week’s riding in Tenerife. We arranged to meet on the Eastern loop at the top of Titsey Hill, the last climb in the King of the Downs, a gruelling 386ft (118m) of climbing in less than a mile (1.3km)! Neither the steepest nor longest climb on the course, but nonetheless after some 150km it’s a respectable test!

Gareth: Hi James, so with a couple of weeks to go how are your preparations going?
James: I’ve put in a lot of distance rides this year having participated in a quite a few sportives already, (Puncheur, Woking and Milton Keynes RideIt!, Cheshire Cat, Longest Day) but even so the King of the Downs is a step up in terms of distance and the sheer number of solid climbs. I’d like to think I’ve got the basic endurance but at the moment I’m trying to work on pushing my speed and with a monster ride like this I know I could really come unstuck.

Gareth: Looking at the course and route profile, what do you think will be the toughest bit?
James: I’d say one of the late ones like Titsey Hill or maybe York Hill. I know quite a few of the climbs and on their own they are eminently do-able but back to back, with that many miles in your legs they are a different proposition altogether.

Gareth: Which sections are you most looking forward to riding?
James: Call me a masochist but that’s probably Titsey Hill too. I think you’ve got to go into every event believing this is the one where you’re going to be making that Cancellara-esque charge to the finish. Don’t worry, reality will take care of itself.

Gareth: What will you be doing that week on the bike?
James: I’ll be easing off at the end of the week, definitely. I’ll probably make my last, fairly short ride Friday morning and really put my feet up on Saturday.

Gareth: What essential items do you not go out on the bike without?
At the moment sunscreen and plenty of water and long may it remain so! I’ve always got a spare tube and tyre levers in my saddle pack and keep a mini-pump on my bike just in case.

Gareth: How will you ensure you stay fueled and hydrated on the ride?
James: I find nutrition is a really tricky one to get right. I try to eat as much normal food before a ride as possible – porridge, muesli, fruit, that sort of thing – low protein and high complex carbs. Early on in the ride I’ll try and eat cereal type bars at regular intervals and then I’ll keep some gels for later on when you really need that quick hit. I’ll try and drink small amounts of weak sports drink as regularly as possible throughout and top up my bottle at each feed-stop. In both cases I find I’ve almost got to force myself as you are always eating and drinking for about half an hour in the future.

Cheers James, good luck and enjoy the ride later this month! If you fancy a challenge and want to join James and the rest of the masses then enter King of the Downs now!

JB climbing on the Eastern loop

JB climbing on the Eastern loop


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