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So first of all hello, this is my first post on here.

I am here looking for moral support or a slap round the face or someone to say your crazy.

Here is the thing, Last summer I really got into cycling. I have always loved it and have commuted a few days a week on a bike for several years in London. Last year I was commuting 22 miles a day 2-3 days a week with a weekend ride and I did my first sportive (London to Cambridge). I was overweight but losing the pounds and as fit as I have been in my 30s - I am 38 now. Winter came, then I reduced my cycling (to a complete stop by January). Then I got a new job in March, new office has no bike room or shower and I was travelling abroad a hell of a lot in the first 3 months. Anyway you can guess what has happened I got fatter and lost fitness.

This was all with the backdrop of having got a ballot place in the Ride London 100 next week.

5 weeks ago my travel eased off and I panicked so I joined a gym, got a personal trainer 3 times a week and went for my first ride since april this weekend (20miles). I have lost a couple of Kilos in that time and plan do commute in on my bike tomorrow (22miles plus an extra 10 on the way home) and a long ride this weekend 40 - 50 miles.

I really want to do the ride, so practical question. How bad is it going to be and is it too little too late? I know the answer but think I can still make it, I should add my longest ride ever was just over 70 mile last summer when I was fit and I was fine with that.

I allowed work circumstances and poor willpower take control so very disappointed with myself. Anyway, anecdotes, advice and constructive comments welcome and gratefully received.

Thx

50 comments

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sergius [292 posts] 1 year ago
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If you take it easy, i.e. stop for ten minutes when you feel tired etc, then anyone should be able to do 100 miles in a day - it may take you 8-9 hours instead of 6 and a bit - but if people like Boris Johnson can just rock up and do it (I know he cycles (or at least used too) around London a bit - but I don't see him as someone who regularly does 80 miles on the weekend), then I don't see why anyone else couldn't (injuries/pre-conditions withstanding).

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IngloriousLou [138 posts] 1 year ago
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You'll be fine, just keep the food and fluids going.

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arfa [694 posts] 1 year ago
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Think of Boris puffing his way up box hill on a hybrid - that image alone should get you through  3
If you can wheelsuck you'll get a big helping hand but try and get a 50-60 miler in this weekend.

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Flying Scot [908 posts] 1 year ago
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You'll do fine, I regularly ride centuries, but my training runs are less than half that,albeit with massive climbs.

You can and will do it, your head may go down at times, but within 10 minutes you'll be on full gas again.

Best of luck, have a good day.

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MarcMyWords [71 posts] 1 year ago
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I can't offer anything scientific but I was a bit of a novice when I did my first organised sportive and ended up riding about 85 miles. The regular feed stations and plenty of water got me though but what an achievement it felt like! Good luck, let us know how you get on!

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Gizmo_ [1333 posts] 1 year ago
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I have a bit of this myself - one thing and another have meant my 'training' hasn't been quite as it should. I intended to lose a stone and haven't, and my longest "training ride" so far has been, er... about 25 miles.

Knowing that time was short however I've been focusing on hillclimbing (such as they are in Essex) and I've been commuting, so base 'cycle fitness' is OK, and going out for a ride this evening. Planning on a 70-ish mile trip out to the countryside this weekend, but very likely that the day itself will be my first full 100 though.

I was planning on putting the bike in the car and going to see Leith/Box before the day itself... worth it, or are they 'just hills'?

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PurpleDog [37 posts] 1 year ago
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Gizmo_ wrote:

I was planning on putting the bike in the car and going to see Leith/Box before the day itself... worth it, or are they 'just hills'?

Know your enemy!

It's always easier to go up a hill the second time, when you know to expect the kicker around that next bend rather than being surprised by it, when you know the false summit gives way to a further rise rather than being taken in by it and crushed by the 'extra' bit you suddenly find...

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Colinascott [3 posts] 1 year ago
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Sorry to hijack a little but does anybody know of any last minute places for the ride, charity or otherwise?

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pwmedcraft [25 posts] 1 year ago
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It's not like a normal century. Not having to slow down at junctions, traffic lights etc means your average speed will be quite a bit higher than normal for the same effort, even more so if you get a good draft. So think of it as a flat 80 miler with 3 hills in the middle (although Wimbledon Hill on tired legs caused a fair bit of moaning in last year!).

Don't worry about the hills, you'll get up them and Box is easy after Leith.

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djtheot [2 posts] 1 year ago
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Thanks all. Feeling a little bit better, even excited. Bring it on.

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sergius [292 posts] 1 year ago
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For me it's not Leith Hill that's the problem, it's White Down Lane (I think it's called) which generally follows a couple of miles after it - if you are heading back through Dorking at least....

Now that hill is a bitch.

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spin sugar [47 posts] 1 year ago
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Work got in the way of my training last year. I was a complete novice and the longest ride I managed before was about 50 miles. I wasn't even riding clipped in, yet. I still made it round (eventually). If you want to do it, go for it. Keep well fuelled and that and the adrenaline will get you round. If you start to feel ropey and don't want to risk the hills there were diversions built into the route last year. Leith Hill is the worst of it. If you can do a recce you could get to somewhere like West Byfleet on the train and ride from there, you'll get the hill upto Newlands Corner, Leith Hill and Box Hill in from there before too long. Definitely recommend doing that if you can but don't panic if you can't, plenty of other people will be in the same situation. Good luck and enjoy it - there is nothing quite like riding up The Mall at the end towards the Palace...

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bashthebox [751 posts] 1 year ago
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You'll make it. Resist the temptation to go full gas when leaving London, see if there's groups going your pace that you can hang with to make life easier, and take good rest stops. Enjoy the day, and you'll be ok.

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bechdan [62 posts] 1 year ago
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100 is easy, I did one around cheshire/wrexham in june and id onlu been on the bike three, times this year

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CXR94Di2 [1023 posts] 1 year ago
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I am doing it aswell, my training has been interrupted by injury but I have got back up to 50 miles with no problems. I will doing a 75 miles this week then slowly tailing off training. I noticed one point on the forms saying you must complete within 8 hrs 30mins because of the professional race. How strict are they with this time. ? Not personally worried I normally do 100 mile in less than 7hrs.

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crazy-legs [703 posts] 1 year ago
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It's not a normal 100-miler. The closed roads, huge numbers of people (therefore lots of drafting potential!) mean that it's basically the cycling equivalent of the London Marathon. And you'll have seen some of the people who manage to get round the Marathon...  3

It's a flattish route, just chill out and enjoy the day. Don't go off like an idiot at Mile 1 with all the fast folk, just find your own pace and make sure you keep on top of the feeding/drinking.

It'll be fine, good luck!

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Quince [382 posts] 1 year ago
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The points about not having to stop at junctions and drafting etc. are well worth noting. Being able to merrily barrel around corners with confidence will not only save energy you would have cautiously scrubbed off, but also preserve your rhythm, and keep you from digging into the glycogen reserves from getting back to speed. Add the fact that everyone else will be zooming along punching big holes in the hair, and you should find you can just happily and consistently sit and speeds you wouldn't have dream of under normal circumstances.

The hills may not be pleasant, but you'll need something to mark the day, and they really make up a very small proportion of the route. Then you can go tell everyone of the 'suffering' you have endured, and what a glorious and noble human being you have become as a result. And that sort of thing.

Anyway, don't do any mammoth training effort in the few days leading up to it (so, get in your last big ride soon). On the day, eat and drink often. Resist the urge to fly of with the faster lot at the beginning. Hopefully find that the majority of the ride consists of getting sucked along and admiring the scenery. It should be a lovely day out, and the slower you are, the longer you get to enjoy the countryside.

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spin sugar [47 posts] 1 year ago
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bechdan wrote:

100 is easy, I did one around cheshire/wrexham in june and id onlu been on the bike three, times this year

Oh to be as naturally gifted as you are.

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Leviathan [1778 posts] 1 year ago
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I did Ride London last year having never gone further than 100km (in 2012) and not getting any substantial climbing in in 2013. [Sorry to tell you but] the hills could destroy you. Please make sure you do one substantial climb this weekend on your long training ride. The first few miles will fly by and you will set unprecedented average speeds as you course through London. It will be tempting to speed past the first Hub which will be chockablock, carry plenty of food and two bottles if you don't want to stop there. The climbs themselves aren't very long, though Leith Hill is steep, but there are plenty of other little climbs to really drain you. If you can easily cover the distance it is the lack of climbing training that will really make it hard. I might be repeating myself a bit but it is all about the hills.
Stiffness and numbness over the long distance might be an issue on the home leg so do stop for a stretch and refill on water. Once you are storming down Putney high street you will fly home to a cheering crowd. It is the (2nd) hardest thing I've ever done. I'm hoping it will be a little easier this year.

Here are some handy vids:
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=ride+london+climbs

Having trained specifically for the 100 this year I've been draw at 6:50 start (started about 6:10 last year)I am now afraid that when I get to Leith Hill I will have to walk up it anyway because it is clogged with people walking up. Don't be afraid to get into your lowest gear, get as far left as you can and just crawl.

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Beefy [368 posts] 1 year ago
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Give a thought to the many riders who struggled through winter putting in the miles but never got a place. Realise how lucky you are to have a place and get on your bike

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Beefy [368 posts] 1 year ago
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Give a thought to the many riders who struggled through winter putting in the miles but never got a place. Realise how lucky you are to have a place and get on your bike

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arfa [694 posts] 1 year ago
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sergius wrote:

For me it's not Leith Hill that's the problem, it's White Down Lane (I think it's called) which generally follows a couple of miles after it - if you are heading back through Dorking at least....

Now that hill is a bitch.

Whitedown is indeed a mean bastard of a climb but worry not as it is not on the route.
There are only three vaguely meaningful climbs in the form of newlands corner, leith hill & box hill. As mentioned above, wimbledon hill is a sting in the tail but that is it really.
Mind over matter and you'll be fine

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sergius [292 posts] 1 year ago
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I'm going to have to look up Newlands Corner  1 I didn't get a spot on Ride100, but I do like to know all the hills my in manor - as someone said earlier, the second time you do a climb it's always much easier.

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Flying Scot [908 posts] 1 year ago
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When people are training for their first century, my advice is always, if tight on time, just do the hills, anyone can do the distance, but you need need elevation in those legs.

This is easy for me to say though, living in Scotland, with all sorts of long and steep horrible climbs available locally, might not be so easy in other regions.

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Gizmo_ [1333 posts] 1 year ago
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Bit of a shortage of hills in Essex. However, Epping Forest has some nasty ones so I guess a few laps of those will have to do.

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allezrider [92 posts] 1 year ago
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If Boris can get round (in 8:04) then, unless you are significantly larger and less fit than he, so can you (or anyone for that matter). Don't worry about the climbs - you can get off and walk if needs be without being much slower than trying to grind up them - and apart from the 3 main ones (and Coombe Hill and Wimbledon Hill toward the end) there really isn't much in the way of undulation. The 8:30 cut-off time is really for those that set off in the last wave - you just need to get to the finish by 17:00.
If the weather is as good as it was last year it will be a fantastic day - just remember to apply sunscreen and drink plenty - go out and enjoy the ride. There was plenty of support on the roadside to spur you on.

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Gizmo_ [1333 posts] 1 year ago
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Long-range weather forecast is for cloudy and 17-22 degC. And - interestingly - a 10mph south-westerly wind. So it'll be headwind on the way out and tailwind back... that'll help.

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freespirit1 [222 posts] 1 year ago
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Just been along Parvis Road in West Byfleet. Road widening works started on Monday and the sign says for 6 weeks.

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djtheot [2 posts] 1 year ago
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Thanks all, totally going to do it. Quick questions on tyres, I am running Gator Hardskins (I have Mavic Ksyrium SLR wheel set but have kept getting punctures on their stock tyres). Obviously the hard skins are wonderful for puncture resistances but I definitely notice the ride is harsher with the Conti's. Any recommendations for the day? Fast with some puncture resistance?

BTW commuted in this morning for first time in a while and it appears the gym work has been paying off, was not blowing out my arse! So thats a good sign. Was going at the same pace as previous to my sabbatical. Real test this weekend....

Also I should add this forum is pretty great, its nice to get the positive comments. Was convinced most would say your mad!

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arfa [694 posts] 1 year ago
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Gp4000's all the way - will be a joy to rude on them compared to gatorskins !

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