We were at the inaugural running of Red Bull Timelaps last year, and it was a whole lot of fun. It’s a 24-hour race with a difference, the difference being that it’s on the weekend when the clocks go back, so you actually get 25 hours of racing. This year it's on 27-28 October, and the venue is the same: Windsor Great Park on the Berkshire/Surrey border.
The race is held on a fast, flowing circuit around Windsor Great park, and for that extra hour the riders are funnelled into a shorter lap, where the laps count double. The team with the most laps wins. Simple!
We had a lot of fun at last year’s event, with two road.cc teams competing: a reader’s team and a staff team. This year we’re hoping to get a team together too, so stay tuned for news of that. But if you want to enter a team with your riding buddies our advice would be to get in quick, as there aren’t that many places left.
Our top Timelaps tips
- You won’t win the race in the first hour but you can definitely lose it there. Don’t go out too hard. There’s a lot of riders in not much space for the first few laps, so, take it easy and give yourself some room. Unless you’re good enough to be right at the pointy end...
- The best performance advantage you can get is being towed around by other people. It’s a race. Find a group, sit in and conserve your energy as much as you can, like the pros do. In a group of more than four people it’s pretty easy to hide!
- Take as much stuff for your pit as you can carry. At the very least you’ll need some kind of shelter and some chairs to sit in. But the comfier you are, the more fun it’ll be through the night. If the weather turns, a cheap gazebo with no sides isn’t going to be a fun place to be!
- There’s food on site – and as much Red Bull as you can drink, obviously – but queues for breakfasts and hot drinks get pretty big at peak times. The more you can be self-sufficient in your pit, the easier you’ll find things. Bring a camping stove and a kettle, and stuff that’s warming and easy to cook: soup, pot noodles, whatever.
- Make sure you eat as soon as you’ve finished your stint. There’ll be times when you just want to lie down and never get up again, but if you eat first you’ll have time to digest and replenish your energy stocks.
- Take more clothing than you think you’ll need. A fresh pair of shorts when you’re cold and tired is worth a few seconds a lap...
- If you’re going for the win (or just taking seriously) then your Power Hour strategy is the most important thing. You want your strongest rider, well rested, with reliable kit: if your light conks out you have to ride the whole main lap back to the pits.
- If you do it in fancy dress you've already won. Anyone you overtake in lycra is automatically losing. Just saying...
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.