As a (rank) amateur you need to think about your kit for the event, as to coin a phrase 'every little helps'.
So the first piece of kit I'd like to sing the praises of is the Gore Bike Wear Retro Tech mitts. Choosing a new pair of gloves was a nagging stress in my head as all my current gloves I wasn't getting on with at all. I managed to find one solitary version of an old pair of Retro Techs, tried them on and thought I'd give these a go.The fit was very close but not restrictive and with the minimal padding it ticked the boxes I was looking for. Having talked to a few folks it seemed that strapping the fingers and adding support over the hands would help with the pounding that the pavé would dish out.
Not once did I take my gloves off during the ride, incase I exposed my eyes to any blisters as I know it would have messed with my head. So getting to the transfer area (about 4/5km from the finish) I decided to unveil my hands that had been hidden most of the day. They where a little red, but apart from that nothing, no blisters or anything to speak of.
Using the gloves this week over regular roads has more than confirmed that I'll be spending some long hours using them. Great product which I can't recommend highly enough.