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Are you riding RideLondon this weekend? Make sure you and your bike are well prepared for the 100 miles

Are you riding RideLondon this weekend and ready for the challenge of the 100-mile course through London and Surrey? With a couple of days yet to go we’ve rounded up some useful last-minute words of wisdom to ensure that you make the most of the day and put in your best performance.

Make sure your bike is in tip top condition.You’ve spent months training for this one ride and the last thing you want is for your bike to let you down somewhere along the course. With a few days to go, you’ve still got time to make sure your bike is in the best condition possible and there are some essential checks we’d highly advise you do to ward off any potential mishaps during the ride.

- 8 Tips for getting the best out of a sportive

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ridelondon 20161.JPG

Check your brakes are in good working order. Do the brake blocks or disc brake pads have lots of material left on them? If they’re getting very close to the limits now is the time to change them, because the very last thing you want is your brakes underperforming, or worse not performing at all. The current weather forecast isn’t very favourable so it’s even more critical to ensure you’ve got good working brakes.

Check your tyres have plenty of tread material and there's no debris like glass or flint embedded in the rubber. It’s not too late to fit new tyres if yours are looking a bit threadbare. Many tyre brands fit wear indicators, usually small holes, that indicate when you need to change the tyres. Inspect the tyres looking for bits of glass and flint that might be embedded, and remove with a pair of tweezers.

Check your chain is well lubed. Is your chain brown and squeaky? If so it’s time to treat it to some oil, and with a raft of specialist chain lubes available in most good bike shops there are plenty of choices to suit all budgets. There are many different types of lubes, commonly split between dry and wet lubes, with the former best for dry weather and the latter when there’s a chance of rain, as it’s not easily washed off. Most wet lubes will provide adequate lubrication for the 100 miles of RideLondon. And no WD40 or GT85 won’t suffice, they’re designed to primarily displace water.

How to clean and lube your bike's chain

Check the tyre pressures, you don’t want to ride under-inflated tyres for 100 miles. With a 23 or 25mm tyre, depending on rider weight, we would recommend between 85 and 95 psi - it’s not necessary to go up 120 psi just because that’s the max pressure indicated on the tyre sidewall. The roads of London and Surrey are bumpy and a softer tyre will provide a smoother and faster ride, as it’s able to deform and absorb the imperfections in the road surface.

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ridelondon 20165.JPG

Check your quick releases are done up tight before the ride. It might seem an obvious one this, but we have seen people inadvertently setting off with loose quick releases, usually as a result of the frantic rush before the start with assembling bikes, queuing for the toilet and Instagramming.

Check your gears are working smoothly before the event. Now is a good time to double check your gear are working well, and that you have access to the full range of gears on your bike. While it's not the hilliest route, there are some imposing climbs such as Leith Hill and you’ll want to make sure you have full access to all your gears. If the gears not shifting smoothly it might be a simple case of tweaking the barrel adjuster on the rear mech to set the required cable tension to deliver crisp and clean gear shifting. This how to article goes into much greater detail 

How to adjust and tune indexed rear derailleurs

Mudguards? Will it won’t it rain? It could go either way at the moment. Even if it doesn’t rain, the roads could be wet and muddy in places. We’re not going to suggest you rush out and buy some mudguards, your bike might not even take them, but a simple addition like the Ass Saver or Mucky Nutz Road Butt Fender could be a smart move. It attaches to the saddle and keeps your bum a bit drier from rear wheel spray. 

Check what clothing you’re going to wear. What you wear comes down to personal preference, but looking at the weather forecast today reveals that it should be mostly dry and sunny, but with a risk of rain during the morning. You’re probably already checking the weather forecast on a daily, if not hourly, basis anyway, fingers crossed it’ll stay dry. The early start means it’ll be fairly cool to start with, but you’ll soon warm up, especially when you hit the first climbs in Surrey. Our suggestion would be to go in prepared, so pack a lightweight rain jacket. You can wear it for the first hour or so until you warm up, and then stash in a jersey pocket when you don’t need it, and it’s there in case it rains. Alternatively, arm warmers paired with a gilet offers the versatility to cope with changing conditions.

You probably already know what outfit you plan to wear, but it goes without saying that you should wear the best bib shorts you have available to you. Discomfort in the saddle can occur in the latter stage of RideLondon and you definitely don’t want that to ruin what should be a fun day out on the pedals. Some cyclists swear by slapping on some chamois cream to provide a bit of chafing prevention. We’d also recommend a comfortable pair of gloves, most short fingered gloves have padded palms that can help to prevent sore hands that can result in being on the bike for several hours.

Be prepared and organised. Some final words of advice and this is from personal experience. I recommend making all you kit decisions the night before and laying out all your clothing and energy food so that in the morning you can literally step out of bed and straight into your ride outfit. Remember to try and eat some breakfast and get some water down you to make sure you’re hydrated. Allow plenty of time to get to the start and find your pen, and also allow time for a final toilet stop - the queues are bound to be very long in the morning.

Pace yourself, or use groups for a free ride. When the ride starts it can be very tempting to pedal faster than you’re used to as many groups will form on the road. If you’re aiming for a quick time, tucking into a group can provide a good slipstream and up your average speed. Be careful if you're not used to riding in a close fast-moving group though.

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- 6 tips for riding in a group - how to ride safely in a bunch

The sensible approach if you're not "racing" is to pace yourself. It’s a long ride and it’s better to keep a little in reserve so you can finish strong and with a smile, and not grind yourself into a sweaty pile halfway round the course. The thing to remember is that you’ll likely travel a lot quicker over the distance than you would have done in training. The closed roads make a big difference to your average speed, and the excitement of the event always lifts people to produce better performances than they’re expecting based on training rides and data.

“You need to know how to pace yourself … staying on the wheel for the first couple of stages and learning to back off. Most of it is about not over-extending at the start and paying the price later. Most people – that’s where they make a mistake and blow up," says Chris Boardman. And he knows a thing or too about pacing!

He adds: "The trick is don’t over-cook it at the start. If you’ve got bags of energy left and you want to go faster at the end – fine. But if you run out before you finish, it’s a horrible, miserable grind to the finish." I couldn't agree more, and it's worth heeding his valuable advice on Sunday.

Remember to eat and drink little and often. It’s very easy to forget in the excitement and drama of a big event like RideLondon. Use the time on a watch or computer to prompt you to consumer some fluid and food every 20-30 minutes. Feed stations will be well stocked with food but make sure to carry a couple of bars or gels, or whatever your nutrition preference is, so you can eat on the go. Don’t just stop at the feed stations and consume all your calories in one sitting!

- Eat right for your sportive

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ridelondon 20166.JPG

So your bike is prepped and you’ve decided what you’re going to wear, and hopefully, our last-minute tips will help you out. All you need do now is pedal your bike and enjoy the ride.

- Chris Boardman's top tips for tackling endurance rides

(Photos - Prudential RideLondon)

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

30 comments

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NorthEastJimmy [87 posts] 3 weeks ago
1 like

First time for me this weekend!  Done some amazing training rides and sportives recently to get comfortable with the distance, actually went overboard with doing the Stockton Tour de Moor the other week! 

I was hoping to get this done in around 6 hours but I've been given an awful starting time of 08:20 so will be lucky not to get held up in all the inevitable blockages I've heard about.   Think I'll just forget the overall time and just enjoy the event for what it is!

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theironduck [54 posts] 3 weeks ago
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Just reposting this from the other RideLondon thread in case it's useful (the official website seems reluctant to provide gpx or profile data).

The 2017 route map with elevation is availble here:

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/22395949

A nicer colour-coded version of the elevation profile to stick on your bike is here:

https://roadcyclinguk.com/sportive/ridelondon-surrey-100-sportive-route-profile-revealed.html

 

 

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theironduck [54 posts] 3 weeks ago
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First RideLondon and first 100 miler for me this weekend too!   Setting off at 7:20 and also hoping for (sub-)6 hours(ish).  I've been averaging around 16mph on 50-60 mile hilly rides around Bristol/Bath so hoping the lack of cars, drafting, easy navigation and adrenaline/euphoria will get me through.

I'll be taking a bar-top bag full of fruit pastilles and pockets full of gels and individually-wrapped pastries (thanks Lidl).  I'm not planning to stop more than once if I can help it.  I can normally go 50-odd miles on one bidon (the other holds my toolkit) so I reckon one water stop should be enough unless it's super hot.

Good luck everyone!

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Leviathan [2666 posts] 3 weeks ago
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Sunscreen

Look in the forum for more tips.   http://road.cc/content/forum/226635-how-pace-ride100

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NorthEastJimmy [87 posts] 3 weeks ago
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I guess everyone is different with their water requirements but that doesn't sound like much.  I always thought I drink less than most and tend to go through 4-5 x 500mm bidons for a 100 miler.  If I time it right I don't even need to stop for a toilet break.

I'm planning on only stopping at the 3 feed stations for hopefully quick water refills.

Goodluck with your first 100!

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Carlp [14 posts] 3 weeks ago
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I've doen this ride four times, in the past most of the food at the stations is sweet stuff, so if you haven't got a sweet tooth take something savoury, like a couple of sausage rolls. At the Leatherhead feed staion the W.I. will sell you some chips, very welcome last year to up the salt levels. 

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jollygoodvelo [1652 posts] 3 weeks ago
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Carlp wrote:

I've doen this ride four times, in the past most of the food at the stations is sweet stuff, so if you haven't got a sweet tooth take something savoury, like a couple of sausage rolls. At the Leatherhead feed staion the W.I. will sell you some chips, very welcome last year to up the salt levels. 

Good point.  I'm lucky to have a sweet tooth (and ate twelve Jaffa Cakes at various pitstops on last year's RL), but the sausage rolls at the recent Tour of Cambridgeshire were absolutely spot-on.

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embattle [51 posts] 3 weeks ago
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Well my area get fairly isolated on three sides by this event every year so I might go out on my motorbike instead and try and avoid it all.

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dottigirl [686 posts] 3 weeks ago
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I did the first 100 miles of an audax on a few sausages  and a banana for breakfast, and snacking on flapjacks, jelly beans and roasted cashews. 

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cant do wheelies [3 posts] 3 weeks ago
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Should post as comment on this story or original forum?
Anyway someone sent me this link from "rapha" forum:

https://nk761.wordpress.com/2017/07/19/analysis-of-annual-prudential-rid...

A bit full on (did not read all of that!) but look slike 6 hours is bit below average for a "MAMIL" like me. Also most people at 6hours do stop. Some OK tips at the end but mostly for faster riders than me.

Good idea on sausage rolls. The gels are good but not after 10. Good luck everyone!

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hagi [23 posts] 3 weeks ago
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Any tips on getting to the start across the city? Cycling from Fulham. Any roads to avoid or handy shortcuts?

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CXR94Di2 [1700 posts] 3 weeks ago
2 likes
theironduck wrote:

First RideLondon and first 100 miler for me this weekend too!   Setting off at 7:20 and also hoping for (sub-)6 hours(ish).  I've been averaging around 16mph on 50-60 mile hilly rides around Bristol/Bath so hoping the lack of cars, drafting, easy navigation and adrenaline/euphoria will get me through.

I'll be taking a bar-top bag full of fruit pastilles and pockets full of gels and individually-wrapped pastries (thanks Lidl).  I'm not planning to stop more than once if I can help it.  I can normally go 50-odd miles on one bidon (the other holds my toolkit) so I reckon one water stop should be enough unless it's super hot.

Good luck everyone!

 

You will need to consume minumum 6x800 mil drinks, so unless you're going to carry 3 bottles at a time or are part camel, 2 stops is recommended.  Dont under estimate the latter stages of 100 miles.  if you havent fueled and hydrated it could be very painful and slow the last 20-30 miles

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theironduck [54 posts] 3 weeks ago
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Thanks for the advice.  Eek!  Sounds like I have not been drinking enough or, perhaps worse, not pedalling hard enough!  I can get through a bidon in an hour on the turbo trainer but, unless it's very hot, I can normally go 4 hours on the road on a single bidon.   I'm not sure I'll manage 6x800ml but I'll take the saddle pack off the MTB to house the tools and put a second drinks bidon on.

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Alessandro [126 posts] 3 weeks ago
1 like
theironduck wrote:

Thanks for the advice.  Eek!  Sounds like I have not been drinking enough or, perhaps worse, not pedalling hard enough!  I can get through a bidon in an hour on the turbo trainer but, unless it's very hot, I can normally go 4 hours on the road on a single bidon.   I'm not sure I'll manage 6x800ml but I'll take the saddle pack off the MTB to house the tools and put a second drinks bidon on.

This will the first year that I haven't ridden the event and the quickest I've managed is around the 4:15 mark. Each of the times I've done it, I've gone to the start line with two bottles on my bike for the 100 miles and one bottle of still energy drink taped to my seat post to have while I'm waiting. I think if I drank 4.8 litres of fluid that I'd burst! You'll be absolutely fine if you have two full bottles and stop once somewhere to top them up. Good luck!

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CXR94Di2 [1700 posts] 3 weeks ago
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Alessandro wrote:
theironduck wrote:

Thanks for the advice.  Eek!  Sounds like I have not been drinking enough or, perhaps worse, not pedalling hard enough!  I can get through a bidon in an hour on the turbo trainer but, unless it's very hot, I can normally go 4 hours on the road on a single bidon.   I'm not sure I'll manage 6x800ml but I'll take the saddle pack off the MTB to house the tools and put a second drinks bidon on.

This will the first year that I haven't ridden the event and the quickest I've managed is around the 4:15 mark. Each of the times I've done it, I've gone to the start line with two bottles on my bike for the 100 miles and one bottle of still energy drink taped to my seat post to have while I'm waiting. I think if I drank 2.4 litres of fluid that I'd burst! You'll be absolutely fine if you have two full bottles and stop once somewhere to top them up. Good luck!

You're obviously a very fast rider to do a 100 miles @ 23.5 mph average.

Most riders will be 5.30-6.30 hours. Recommended is 800 mill of fluid per hour and 0.5 grams of carbs per kilo of weight per hour-, approx 35-50grams

Average riders will be 16-18mph for 100miles

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kil0ran [398 posts] 3 weeks ago
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Doing the 46 for the first time this year. Couple of things I've not been able to find out - how big are the kit bags they give out? Will they take a small rucksack? Also should I take a bike lock? Is there secure parking in the loading/pre-ride area?

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crazy-legs [883 posts] 3 weeks ago
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kil0ran wrote:

Doing the 46 for the first time this year. Couple of things I've not been able to find out - how big are the kit bags they give out? Will they take a small rucksack? Also should I take a bike lock? Is there secure parking in the loading/pre-ride area?

Big drawstring plastic bag that can be used as a rucksack. Have alook on the RideLondon website, there's a few pictures of poeple using them:

https://www.prudentialridelondon.co.uk/events/100/rider-info/

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Leviathan [2666 posts] 3 weeks ago
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Kil0ran; bit off topic, but have you heard of a band called Palace?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-bwshGQTFA

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kil0ran [398 posts] 3 weeks ago
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Leviathan wrote:

Kil0ran; bit off topic, but have you heard of a band called Palace?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-bwshGQTFA

Not until now. Handle is from Kiloran Bay on Colonsay, one of the most beautiful and tranquil beaches in the world

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charlymottet [1 post] 3 weeks ago
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got a 9.04 start(!). Any advice starting that far back? Clearly not going to be going for any kind of time, but would hope I will finish further forward than I start! Rough plan is just to get to Leith Hill carnage-free and push on if possible from there. Main worry is traffic and an accident-enforced diversion/elimination rather than distance though as a first timer that might look foolish come Wimbledon.

 

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Mystery Machine [48 posts] 3 weeks ago
1 like
hagi wrote:

Any tips on getting to the start across the city? Cycling from Fulham. Any roads to avoid or handy shortcuts?

 

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/dir/51.4826137,-0.2186894/Queen+Elizabeth+...@51.4835192,-0.2217428,14.75z/data=!4m49!4m48!1m40!3m4!1m2!1d-0.2204182!2d51.4859296!3s0x48760fbaffb3d46b:0xaabdb351bfe6220f!3m4!1m2!1d-0.2233492!2d51.4931067!3s0x48760fb7f0aa9ecf:0x71552b53b09a4f83!3m4!1m2!1d-0.1576923!2d51.5028307!3s0x4876053a3f7cb9b3:0x1d29ff4491f4da2d!3m4!1m2!1d-0.1392447!2d51.5155652!3s0x48761b2ab7466b77:0xa3fe00aa543b80e1!3m4!1m2!1d-0.1270936!2d51.516892!3s0x48761b32ee3c9f93:0xc27c30d6c92ec9e0!3m4!1m2!1d-0.0975284!2d51.5222469!3s0x48761b56e35c2fc5:0xcac89ff0bac6d658!3m4!1m2!1d-0.0802866!2d51.5161656!3s0x48761cb2c13d7f99:0x94f4aec4430e69f3!3m4!1m2!1d-0.0320159!2d51.5257775!3s0x48761d3a81a2d957:0xbd9e9ed232535466!1m5!1m1!1s0x48761d6f0c0dfe91:0x9f8a1be15e0d425c!2m2!1d-0.0124774!2d51.5432665!3e1

 

I've used this route to get to the start a number of times. It avoids the road closures. Be sure to allow enough time, and be aware that it slows down a bit once you get to Aldgate - there'll be a lot more riders on the road, and lots of minicabs / ubers heading back out east along Mile End Road. You want to allow enough time to avoid getting stressed about getting to your wave. It will also take a bit of time to get across the Olympic Park. You should start to see other riders from Hyde Park onwards.

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CXR94Di2 [1700 posts] 3 weeks ago
1 like
charlymottet wrote:

got a 9.04 start(!). Any advice starting that far back? Clearly not going to be going for any kind of time, but would hope I will finish further forward than I start! Rough plan is just to get to Leith Hill carnage-free and push on if possible from there. Main worry is traffic and an accident-enforced diversion/elimination rather than distance though as a first timer that might look foolish come Wimbledon.

 

My start time was 8.45. Just ride at your own pace whilst leaving London centre. If a group passes you ever so slightly faster than you, tag onto the back and have draft. This will reduce your effort by 30% and your speed will increase. If you find that the pace is a little too much let them go and find another group or ride at own pace. Try and do this method of pacing. When you get to the lanes, depending on how busy it is, the pace will slow down sometimes stop. Just go with the flow. Enjoy the day, eat regularly and drink plenty ideally with isotonic(salts) helps with cramps. Cadence, ride at >90rpm, this stops your legs from getting fatigue too early. In the latter stages your cadence will naturally drop as fatigue sets in, by then you won't be too far from finish.

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jhsmith87 [24 posts] 3 weeks ago
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I did RL100 last year & loved it. It was my 4th century (3rd of 2016) & we thought we would finish in 5hr30. In the end we finished in 5hr5, which included 15mins spent at 2 stops (1 feed stop, one toilet).

That gave us an average moving speed of 20.7mph. This was the aspect that amazed me so much. Two factors: Closed roads & drafting other riders. We were caught up in some minor congestion of riders & sadly were also caught up in the single lane filing past of a pretty nasty accident (I think they passed away in the end). 

 

Pointers: I personally always stuck to the right hand side most of the way as we spent the majority of the time overtaking. However we still were overtaken by some seirously quick riders who clearly put in a very incorrect finish estimate. They also tended to be passing on the far side of the road in tiny gaps, even on descents such as Leigh hill (I was doing 44mph on a fairly broken surface with tree cover making visility not ideal in sunglasses - They were/are mad). 

The feed stations are excellent, so don't take too much stuff with you. Same with fluids, you can top up at every station. 

As for Box/Leith Hill, just get yourself in a nice gear, stay in the saddle & spin away. If you don't have a cadence sensor then seriously consider getting one. Maintaining 90rpm made them feel easy for me (Cambridge based, not the hillienst of locales!)

However do make sure that you get plenty of electrolytes in you & that you get out of the saddle from time to time. You do not want to get caught out in Wimbledon by the "hill" & get cramp that close to the finish, it will make the last 10 miles a little miserable!

Enjoy!

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theironduck [54 posts] 2 weeks ago
2 likes

Finished in 5:30 today.  No stops.  Drank 1.5 bidons of  SiS electrolyte energy drink.  Should've swapped one for a bottle of water but hey ho.  Chugged a couple of bottles of water at the start and finish as well as a coffee.  

Course was fast and mostly flat.  Drafted a lot which helped.  Relieved/disappointed that the hills weren't more epic although a fair number of people were walking them.

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kil0ran [398 posts] 2 weeks ago
2 likes

Well, that was fun. Hoping riders involved in two big accidents in front of me were OK, one looked particularly nasty on way back from Wimbledon. Arrived way too early so lots of waiting around but once on the road it was epic. Can't beat descending on closed roads, pretty sure I've never been that fast on a bike before. Spectators were brilliant, encouraging at all the right places. Was dreading Wimbledon Hill but flew up it, noise was incredible. Hmm, 100 next year?

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theironduck [54 posts] 2 weeks ago
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Good job kil0ran!  Would recommend the 100 - might enter again - even though every part of me aches now.

Did you see what happened at Wimbledon?  I saw two people on stretchers - looked nasty.

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kil0ran [398 posts] 2 weeks ago
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theironduck wrote:

Good job kil0ran!  Would recommend the 100 - might enter again - even though every part of me aches now.

Did you see what happened at Wimbledon?  I saw two people on stretchers - looked nasty.

Not sure. There was a loose dog on a lead running up the road. Non-rider in middle of road, rider nearer the offside kerb. Pretty fast there, had happened a few seconds ahead of me as suddenly there were riders shouting slow/stop. Marshals/medics were just responding.

Also saw a rider suffer a clip-in speed wobble crash just leaving the Olympic park. Like a MotoGP highside, she hit the deck really hard, I just missed her (more luck than bike handling skills)

Hope all ok. In general I thought the ridIng standards were good, even when the 46 & 100 riders joIned up. Certainly didn't feel crowded, other than for the accidents there was only one short section we had to slow up on.

 

 

 

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Rapha Nadal [544 posts] 2 weeks ago
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One thing I've noticed is that the closed roads tends to make people think they can ride outside of their limits.  It's an odd phenomenon which generally ends up in folk eating tarmac. I was out in one of the 2nd waves and saw plenty of people on the deck or being tended to by ambulance crew - including a marshall!

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PaulBox [665 posts] 1 week ago
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My top tip: If you're not in good shape, don't ride the first 45 as if you are. It makes the last 55 really shit...

 

Oh, and for one particular moron, if you're riding in the  middle of a group and see somebody you know at the side of the road, don't slam your brakes on so that you can go over for a chat. If it had been me you took down, you would have got a slap.

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dottigirl [686 posts] 1 week ago
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PaulBox wrote:

Oh, and for one particular moron, if you're riding in the  middle of a group and see somebody you know at the side of the road, don't slam your brakes on so that you can go over for a chat. If it had been me you took down, you would have got a slap.

I saw this happening a few times in the Kingston area - people suddenly veering right to stop. Not a thought to who was on their wheel or even a shoulder check first. 

(I told several people off for not looking before moving, as well as passing close without a warning.)