RideLondon 100 Route 2014: Ch-ch-ch-changes (Turn And Face The Strain)

Big news. The RideLondon people have changed the route for the 2014 running of the event.

I wasn’t really expecting that – the 2013 version seemed to meet with almost universal approval. For an event this large, I assumed the organisers would want to get into a groove, locking down the route and avoiding changes that could lead to unexpected problems.

Still, changed it they have, and you’re just going to have to deal with it. Thankfully I am here to help you through this traumatic time.

Right. On with the analysis.

All Hype And No Trousers

This post, that is.

Despite the “New Routes Announced” claim from subject line of the Prudential RideLondon email newsletter, and my over-the-top introduction, the route is 96.9% the same (and yes, I have calculated it).

The event still starts in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park; it still finishes on the Mall. You still have to climb Leith Hill and Box Hill, along with the smaller climb up to Newbury Corner.

So What’s Different?

The main change is that the route is now a lot closer to the stated 100 miles.

The organisers have lopped off 3.2 miles. According to the route that I’ve mapped out on RideWithGPS, this makes the total course distance 101.5 miles.

Before you start worrying that you’re losing 15 minutes of prime London sightseeing, the ‘little snip’ occurs in intra-M25 Surrey. This is not only the most tedious part of the route, but also the section where, if you’re like I was in 2013, you’ll feel at your lowest ebb on the ride.

Climbs done, 75-odd miles in your legs, this section is just a slog back into London. The cheering crowd turbo boost occurs from Kingston onwards.

Essentially, where the route previously headed from Leatherhead to Cobham, before swinging north west and the road home, the 2014 route will cut off the corner, taking an almost straight course from Leatherhead up to Esher. Wazzoo!

RideLondon 2014 route profile
This elevation chart makes it look worse than it really is…

For completeness, RideWithGPS calculates there are 74 fewer feet of ascent to haul your ar$e over, versus the 2013 route. This is a pretty irrelevant stat – you’ll still have 5,210 other foots to contend with (1,588 metres, for the non-imperialists).

Something About Kingston Marketplace?

According to the RideLondon newsletter, the new route will ‘showcase’ the new market place in Kingston.

Like last year, the 2014 route goes through Kingston on both the way out to Surrey, and on the way back in.

My guess is that the detour via Kingston’s (Ancient) market place will occur on the way back. I can’t see the greater density of outward-bound riders being directed away from the wider roads leading to Kingston Bridge and onwards to Hampton Court.

I’ll be honest; I can’t remember the specific detail of my return visit to Kingston during the 2013 event. I know there were crowds cheering.

Many of the charities establish cheering posts in Kingston because of the opportunity for family members and friends to see riders twice (as well as enjoy a leisurely lunch). I remember stopping to high five my wife and fist bump my two children.

I think (think) the route back through Kingston took the main road away from the river road (on which we approached) and then went the wrong way around part of the one way system. By including the old new old market place, the 2014 version will have to do a little jink somewhere around here.

I’ve probably wasted too many words on a random detour through Kingston. Whatever happens there, all you need to remember is that the cheering crowds will put an extra fizz in your pedal stroke and speed you on to the finish line.

So, Grimpeur, Do You Have Anything A Bit More Detailed On The Route?

Well, funny you should say that. Yes I do!

If you want to see the full 2014 RideLondon route, I’ve plotted it on RideWithGPS here.

Usual disclaimer applies: I can’t guarantee that it’s absolutely accurate; don’t cycle the wrong way down unclosed roads, etc.

All of my 2013 route analysis remains valid:

Finally, if you have a RideLondon place, and you’re sharting yourself about it, do read my RideLondon 2013 race report and a post I wrote entitled, “Eleven Reasons To Sign Up For RideLondon 2014”. I guarantee / promise / hope you will be inspired (and your fears will be dissipated).

Finally finally, If you haven’t already done so, do sign up for the Sportive Cyclist Newsletter, and download my Sportive Cyclist’s Toolbox for free.

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