The only cyclist to have completed all 22 Coronation Double Century races, Johann le Roux, shares his top tips for teams to have a great race on November 21.
Le Roux says being well hydrated on race day is essential and he starts increasing his fluid intake at least three days in advance. He advises participants to train with the same drinks that will be consumed on race day so that their bodies can grow accustomed to them.
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“I also increase my pasta consumption and, on the preceding Wednesday, I eat a massive piece of steak.”
After a good night’s sleep, he eats a full, low GI breakfast at least a couple of hours before the start.
In the final hour he consumes a 750ml sports drink before setting off on the 202km race.
Le Roux says it is advisable for teams to stick together for at least the first 150km, putting the weaker riders up front and riding in single or double file on the flats with the stronger riders pulling for longer.
Eating and drinking every 15 minutes helps to keep the glucose levels stable, with his personal favourites including jelly babies, banana bread and biltong.
While it is tempting to overindulge at waterpoints, he recommends a maximum of two or three cups of Coke.
“Then fill your bottles with half-Coke and half-water.”
At the Ashton refueling stop, Le Roux advises against lingering longer than absolutely necessary.
“When the team is ready, go – don’t hang around too long, you are just getting cold and stiff.”
The racing gets hard into the headwind at the Breede River Bridge, with three tough climbs awaiting after the Bonnievale Cellar, so riders should save their legs.
Le Roux says stronger riders should accommodate the weaker members by dropping their pace.
“With their concentration gone, some riders will be thinking of dropping out and someone needs to take charge and keep the group together and to remind them to keep eating and drinking.
“Maintain your pace and concentration, climb in easy gears at high cadence and low power. If possible stand every few minutes to stretch the legs and back.
“Drink on the downhills . . . and then you’re home!”