RideLondon 100 Route: Detailed Guide For Riders

RideLondon Guide button

*** UPDATE: You can read “The Ultimate Guide To RideLondon”, a collection of pretty much all the information I’ve written on the blog to help YOU make the most of your RideLondon experience – click here to read the post or finish reading this one and follow the link at the bottom ***

In this post we’ll take a detailed look at the route of the RideLondon-Surrey 100, which takes place on Sunday 4th August 2013. From my previous posts (such as this one and this one), you’ll know that I’ll be participating.

A route map for the ride was published earlier this month. Using that, I’ve plotted the course using bikehike.co.uk. I’ve included some screen grabs, including various sections of the course as well as elevation and gradient charts.

RideLondon-Surrey 100 route
The full RideLondon-Surrey 100 route

If people are interested (let me know in the comments box below), I will attempt to upload the TCX file to the site, which you should then be able to download and manipulate as you see fit.

Read moreRideLondon 100 Route: Detailed Guide For Riders

RideLondon: the journey starts here

RideLondon-Surrey 100
Looking forward to getting a lot of wear out of this

I am now officially signed up to RideLondon. As I said in this post, I have a place to ride with Macmillan, the cancer support charity, on the proviso that I raise a lot of money for them.

The event (which is now called the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100) takes place on Sunday 4th August.  This is a 163 days away, which starts to sound quite worrying.

RideLondon route

As suggested by the name of the event, the course is 100 miles long. It starts at the Olympic park in East London, cuts straight through the central London to Chiswick, then heads south-west for a loop through the Surrey countryside.

The ‘highlight’ will be the ascent of Box Hill, which occurs approximately two thirds of the way around the Surrey loop. Then it is back through south west London, crossing the river at Putney and a sprint finish on the Mall.

All the roads for the event will be closed to all vehicles other than the participating cyclists, which is going to be awesome. I am familiar with some of the roads through central London and the south-west of the city and, to be honest, they can be miserable for cyclists. Without cars, lorries and buses however, these roads could turn into the event’s saving grace for me. They are generally flat and wide, and therefore fast. If all the roads for the event were country roads winding up and down hills, there is no way I’d be able to do 100 miles in the allotted time.

I’ll do a more in-depth piece on the route in due course, using the pro team method (Google Earth).

What I need to do on the day

In order to enter the event, you have to be able to complete the 100-mile route in 9 hours. I have said I’ll do it in 7 hours 50 minutes (on my original ballot entry I said 7hrs 30, but decided to be a bit more realistic).

I could have said a target time of 9 hours, but I’ve heard from friends that have done Etape-style events on the continent that that just means you start late, just in front to the broom wagon (the car that will tell you to stop if you’re not going to come in under the time). If this is to be the case here, I’d like to give myself a bit of a cushion.

I’m afraid we’re going to have to do a bit of imperial-metric gymnastics here, mainly since my Strava shows metric data (but also because, if you’re a serious cyclist, you must always think in metric).

One hundred miles translates to just under 161 kilometres. If we ignore stops for food and ‘comfort breaks’, to finish in under 9 hours, I need to average a speed of 17.9 km/h.

For a finish time of 7 hours 50 minutes, on the same non-stop basis, that average speed needs to kick up to 20.55 km/h.

I’m a pretty slow cyclist (for all that I go on about it). My average speed of late is around 22 km/h. But that is for rides of between 25 km and 35 km (16 – 22 miles). On the day, I’ll need to keep going for 5 or 6 times longer, as well as factoring in time to eat (and to sob gently to myself in a hedge).

What I need to do before the day

It’s pretty obvious. I will need to train.

I will need to work up to these sorts of distances slowly. Going all guns blazing over Christmas caused pain in my knee that only feels now like it’s settling down. I need a training plan, with objectives and ‘deliverables’ and all sorts of other grown-up concepts.

I will attempt to come up with a sensible training plan in the next few weeks. I will certainly share it on this blog.

I will also be sharing my progress towards the goal. I don’t think I’ll be posting all my Strava data here (unless I can think of how to present it in a non-tedious fashion). If you do want to see it (in real time!), you can follow me on Strava.

Are you doing RideLondon?

If you are signed up to do RideLondon, or are doing any other sportives this year, I would love to hear about your targets and preparations.

I am also prepared to accept comments and suggestions from triathletes.

Let me know in the comments box below.

If you only read one cycling post today: my top 6 beautiful bike-related websites

Cycling is a many varied and wonderful thing. Today’s post aims to introduce you to some of the great bike-related blogs and websites that I peruse on a regular basis.

I know. Some of you read my cycling blog because you know me and you want to find out what I’m up to. You may only have a passing interest in cycling or perhaps no interest at all. This post is for you as well.

Maybe you are more interested in design or photography or beautiful clothing. If you are, then take a look below.

Perhaps you want to be persuaded as to the fitness and weight-loss benefits of consistent cycling. Or to learn how to repair a puncture. Or what it’s like to ride up Alpe d’Huez.

So whatever your cycling (or non-cycling) bag (musette?), here are my Friday follows:

Vulpine

Vulpine is a London-based cycle clothing business, which aims to produce garments that work and look stylish on and off the bike. I can only vouch for the winter storm cap, which I purchased and gave as a Christmas present (and have received glowing reports back). But just looking at the photos and following owner Nick’s descent into madness on Twitter, it is clear that attention to detail is at the top of the company’s priority list.

Cyclelove

A crisp, design-focused blog on cycle culture and style in its many forms. The photography is glorious. Cyclelove looks wonderful on an iPad retina screen (and most other computer screens as well).

Inner Ring

Inner Ring is my number one source for information and comment on professional road cycling. The posts go into real depth and, since it is a personal blog written under a pseudonym, the site is not afraid to dig into sensitive issues that team access- and advertising-reliant publications tend to avoid. The recent series looking at famous road climbs (Mont Ventoux, the Stelvio etc) has made for great reading.

London Cyclist

I like cycling and I live in London (at least for the moment) and thus I like reading this blog. If you like cycling and you live in London, then I heartily recommend LondonCyclist.co.uk. Even if you don’t live in London, I still recommend you read it.

It is particularly good for those looking for advice, clothing and equipment to help you commute by bike. With the addition of a new writer, we’re going to see more content on sportives, a booming area right now and one which I’m keen to read about.

MadeGood.org

This website is just plain awesome. MadeGood.org contains clear and detailed video tutorials on how to repair and maintain pretty much every aspect of your road bike. Whenever I mention here any mechanical task undertaken on my bike, you can be pretty sure I’ll have watched a video about it on this site first.

Velopixie

And finally, something quite inspirational. In this personal blog, the eponymous Velopixie describes his training voyage that will culminate with completing the 2013 Etape du Tour, a gruelling 130km loop around the mountains of Annecy. In the process, and over the course of the last 12 months, Velopixie has lost a massive 6 stones.

Here concludes my whistlestop tour around the best the cycling world has to offer. If I’ve missed anyone out, make sure to let me know in the comments section below.

In the meantime, happy cycling!

RideLondon 100 and a thought on training motivation

So you will no doubt see plenty on this blog about my preparation for RideLondon (or RideLondon-Surrey 100 to give its full, rather catchy title).

After initially failing to secure a place in the ballot, I’ve been offered a place by Macmillan, the cancer support charity, to ride (and raise money) for them. I have a very strong personal reason for supporting this charity, which I’ll share in due course.

In the meantime, the purpose of this post was to ask a question (which may turn out to be rhetorical if no one responds). Please bear with me during the ‘set up’.

Here’s the background:

  1. I know I should really get out on the bike, particularly in light of the need to ride 100 miles in 7hr 30m in August (that’s what I’ve said I can do…)
  2. The riding conditions are ok: it’s above freezing and I don’t think there was a frost last night; it’s dry with perhaps the odd spit of rain
  3. The biggie: I’m just not feeling it.  I’m a little tired; there’s a bit of a fug going on in my head

Here’s what I know:

  1. I should put my kit on – this is easy to do and the feel of tight lycra on skin is not unpleasant (ahem)
  2. I should tell myself that all I’m going to do is ride around the block
  3. Once I’m out and riding, I’ll just keep going and I will enjoy it

And here’s the question (thank you for your patience):

Why don’t I just do that (put the kit on and ride down my street)?

More specifically, why am I still thinking about the longer ride (which I’m obviously procrastinating about) and not trusting the judgement of the future me (the one that will be sat on the bike, either enjoying it or not) to make the decision then?

Am I worried that the future me will decide to go for it?

If so, why does that bother the current me, who should arguably be pleased that he would become the sort of future me that elects to ‘just fugging do it’?

What do you think? Am I just going mad (in a slightly philosophical way)?

2013 so far: failure, excuses and recriminations

This blog is meant to be about cycling. And happiness. Me cycling. Me being happy whilst cycling.

The problem is, there hasn’t been much cycling to speak of. The year started well, and here I’m going to be generous to myself by including December 29th and 30th as honorary members of 2013.

Those two days, as well as January 1st itself, saw 3 reasonable rides (for me) around God’s own county and the location of the 2014 Grand Depart of the Tour de France (t’ Tour). That would be Yorkshire, incidentally.

I was particularly pleased with these rides because:

  • getting my bike in working order had been a MASSIVE hassle in the 10 days running up to Christmas, involving numerous trips to bike shops, multiple tools and components purchased hastily on the internet and the “investment” in a brand new set of wheels;
  • I had transported the bike and all my super s3xy lycra kit all the way up the A1 from south-east London (presumably I could have bought a new bike for all the additional petrol-consuming wind resistance from having my steed lodged proudly upon the roof rack);
  • It p1ssed it down for two of the days and it was nut-crackingly cold for the New Year’s Day ride (but beautifully sunny – you can’t have it all).

I was not pleased with these rides because, as ever, my youthful enthusiasm (ahem) had caused me to rush in too quickly. Going from nothing to hypothermic uber-training with a body that is not as young as I would like simply caused my knee pain (which had previously only been a problem for running) to flare up.

I would, of course, like to claim that I acted the responsible athlete and hence did not rush back to the bike too soon. But I’d be lying (about the responsible athlete bit; I certainly didn’t rush back to the bike).

In actual fact, I may have done the right thing: I did a few small (read tiny, as in to-the-park-and-back tiny) rides with Petite Grimpeuse in the child seat. I did one session that I could call, rather grandly, hill repeats (but then have to admit that I only climbed the main hill once). Otherwise I ‘rested my knee’.

But the truth is, I did not find myself with face rested dolefully upon the window pane (with a little dribble of drool representing a metaphorical teardrop), wishing that my knee would fix itself. I did not mope around my house wearing the Campagnolo cycling top that I got for Christmas from my sister (thank you!). I simply wimped out.

Grey clouds? Hmm, looks like it will rain then. Better stay in. Clear skies and sunshine. There’ll be ice on the Kent roads. Surely better to stay in than risk breaking a collar bone. A breath of wind? I’m no stocky rouleur, it’ll blow me over.

I was glad when it snowed because at least then I didn’t have to lie to myself. No one without a mountain or cyclocross bike (and I don’t own either) goes out in that sort of weather.

So the real cycling hero in our house this month (and indeed this year) is my son, Mini Grimpeur. Despite being only four, and in the midst of all this glorious (terrible) winter weather, he might well have spent as long cycling as I have. And with a bigger smile on his face.

And to top all that off, he cycles in the snow, showing no fear. Chapeau!

Happy cycling!

Grimpeur Heureux goes to the London Bike Show

As the title suggests, this Saturday I went to the London Bike Show.

I had intended to cycle, but the ‘London Death Snow’ (translation for snow-familiar foreigners: a light dusting) put paid to that idea.

I was therefore unable to bask in the smug glow emanating from those attendees I saw dressed in full on commuting gear. I did however get to read a book in peace whilst travelling in on the train and tube – a rare treat.

So how was it?

Read moreGrimpeur Heureux goes to the London Bike Show