If you haven’t heard of it already, Revolve24 is a new series of events which sees cyclists take part in a 24 hour circuit ride around some of the world’s most scenic motor racing tracks. This year marks the launch of the series which begins this September at Brands Hatch. Luckily we were invited along for a preview session to see what it was all about.
Firstly, let us just point out that our knowledge of iconic motor racing tracks is somewhat slim. Therefore the gravitas of being invited to a special event at Brands Hatch may not quite have had the impact it possibly deserved. For us, the name was probably about the equivalent of being invited to cycle around the local Asda car park. Yeah, we’re idiots.
Cycling, however, we do know a bit about. Not loads by any stretch of the imagination, but enough to make us excited about the fact we’d be getting to try out the course with Revolve24 ambassador and Olympic triple-gold-medal winning track cyclist Jason Kenny. We know he’s a pretty big deal when it comes to cycling.
So, why use a famous motor racing track as the venue for a 24hr cycling event? Well, predominantly it’s a place designed for racing. If you’ve ever taken part in a sportive or some other form of endurance cycling event you’ll know that there are a number of variables that mean you can’t just go flat out. Roads, pedestrians, cars – they all tend to get in the way of hitting a consistent pace. It’s also not very well designed for spectators due to the fact they see each participant for about two seconds.
Perhaps the most important aspect of Revolve24 is the focus on teams. Unlike a sportive where it’s just each person for themselves, the event is entirely designed to allow camaraderie, whether from your fellow cyclists or your supporters.
The events crew state that “Racing teams can be single sex or mixed – disabled or abled bodied and entrants can be soloists, duos or teams of four, six or eight. Aiming to be as inclusive as possible British Cycling have agreed that race licences are not required to compete – so competition can be joined by everyone who wants to. Non-riding ‘Team Captains’ and team supporters are also welcome to enter and attend to provide strategy, support and encouragement.” So don’t forget to let your mates know.
But what happened at the preview evening? We hear you asking. Quite a lot is the answer. Not only did we get a chance to test out the track a few times, which we should point out is a hell of a nice location for cycling, but we were also allowed to try out Revolve24’s electric pacer bike, something which meant heading up the various hills around the track was a much more enjoyable experience than we could have imagined, especially whilst watching the grimacing faces of the other cyclists.
But yes, there are hills, fairly noticeably hills in fact, 213 feet worth per lap if you’re counting. However, as any good cyclist knows, hills are all part of the fun, it’s the reason Brands Hatch was chosen over some of the flatter circuits. And hills don’t just add a challenge to cyclists, they mean that they can go really fast on the way down. And at Brands Hatch you can go extremely fast if you want to – even without an electric bike.
In case you were wondering, we didn’t manage to beat Jason Kenny’s lap time of 6:16:20, we weren’t particularly close either (electric bikes aren’t allowed for time trials apparently). We’ll give it a go again in September though – shouldn’t be too hard.
And for any cyclist who loves data out there (which is probably most of us right?), the 24 hour relay event is heavily tracked with continual updates on where they stand in the race including analysis of things like King/Queen of The Mountains, Fastest Lap, Sprinter as well as Overall Champions.
The first event takes place on the 19th and 20th September. For more information and to sign up to Revolve24, please visit http://www.revolve24.com. For all the latest race news keep in touch on Twitter and Instagram.