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[Yes, this is another Ride London 100 thread] So the weather for this weekend is looking 50/50, which raises the prospect of doing a sportive event in the rain. Recently there has been a couple of threads of interest, one about a gent who hadn't done enough training for the RL100, and another about fear of descending. I've clocked up many miles this year and even some hills and at least years event topped out at 73kph coming down off Leith Hill, a speed I have never got anywhere close on an open road (anything over 50 is a bit worrying).

Believe me it rains in Manchester, like anywhere else, but commuting to work it totally flat. If I am out on a training run I don't tend to set off in the wet and if it starts coming down I don't need to push it downhill.

The answer is obviously not to take any risks (it's not a race right? I don't want to be in hospital with a broken leg, I have a train the catch.) The problem is if I am going up hill slowly and then downhill slowly too I have no chance of bettering last years time. I need the fast downhills to average my pace out. But if it is sketchy I am going to be on the brakes all the way down. I don't want to be hit from behind by someone with a bike that makes swooshy noises as it goes by. How to maintain a reasonable pace in the wet or just recalibrate my expectations?

yours Sincerely, Thor Hushovd.

130 comments

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CXR94Di2 [1122 posts] 1 year ago
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Looking at a few videos of last years event and done a 100 miler in the rain , I would re assess your expectations. The wheel spray from hundreds of cyclist will be terrible, especially if you want to draft. I was absolutely soaked and filthy. So far the the latest weather, rain is expected in the afternoon if it arrives at all. Personally, I was hoping for sub 6 hrs but will now make a judgement call on the morning.

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arfa [734 posts] 1 year ago
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I know a fair few people who have applied twice and not got a place in the ballot.
With that in mind, I will ride the event whatever the weather.

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glynr36 [637 posts] 1 year ago
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You'll get wet, you adjust your riding to suit the conditions.
Maintaining a reasonable pace on the downs in the wet comes to experience and confidence, and understanding how the wet affects your braking points and turning.

Of course if you're really bothered about a better time perhaps you should have put some more training in to get quicker on the ups instead of relying on the downs!

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sergius [322 posts] 1 year ago
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I've been unlucky with Sportives this year, two that I did in June/July both ended up being 4 hour rides in the rain.

Like most weekend riders, if it's pissing it down I tend to shrug my shoulders and do something else. Of course when you've booked a Sportive that's not really an option.

Things to be careful of, make sure you have wet weather gear. IMO it's better to be over-dressed and possibly too hot, than caught out in nothing more than shorts and a jersey in the rain for hours. I made this mistake doing the Wiggle Chiltern Classic the other week - the forecast was iffy so I took a chance.

The first two hours were lovely and sunny, summer gear + shades was perfect. Then the heavens opened and I got very cold and wet very quickly - it made the last 30 miles miserable if I'm honest.

Shades are something to be particularly aware off, I always ride in glasses as I've had issues with things getting in my eyes at high speeds. If the forecast is dodgy accept that you need clear or low light lenses, on the aforementioned Chiltern Sportive I could barely see anything due to rain and low light while wearing shades.

I'd personally recommend against drafting anyone in the wet, it's just miserable with spray from other riders.

Regarding descending, it's a Sportive not a Race. IMO it's not worth going all gung-ho on descents in the wet. Neither your grip nor your brakes will be anything like as good as normal - play it safe. Five minutes extra on your time is better than stacking and damaging yourself or your bike.

If you are set on beating last years time, just ride harder on the flat and up hills!

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Matt eaton [742 posts] 1 year ago
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CXR94Di2 wrote:

Looking at a few videos of last years event and done a 100 miler in the rain , I would re assess your expectations. The wheel spray from hundreds of cyclist will be terrible, especially if you want to draft. I was absolutely soaked and filthy. So far the the latest weather, rain is expected in the afternoon if it arrives at all. Personally, I was hoping for sub 6 hrs but will now make a judgement call on the morning.

Based on the spray that you mention, would it be fair to conclude that mudguards are rare on the sportive scene? It seems to be that it would be polite to put a set on for a wet ride; it's not a race after all  3

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sergius [322 posts] 1 year ago
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Matt eaton wrote:
CXR94Di2 wrote:

Looking at a few videos of last years event and done a 100 miler in the rain , I would re assess your expectations. The wheel spray from hundreds of cyclist will be terrible, especially if you want to draft. I was absolutely soaked and filthy. So far the the latest weather, rain is expected in the afternoon if it arrives at all. Personally, I was hoping for sub 6 hrs but will now make a judgement call on the morning.

Based on the spray that you mention, would it be fair to conclude that mudguards are rare on the sportive scene? It seems to be that it would be polite to put a set on for a wet ride; it's not a race after all  3

Non-existent in my (limited) experience. If you don't ride with a club regularly and don't commute on your bike, then you've little reason to have any. My bike doesn't even have the fittings for example (and it would look rubbish  1 ).

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glynr36 [637 posts] 1 year ago
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sergius wrote:

and it would look rubbish

This!

Mudguards belong on the winter bike, not the racing or summer one!

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S13SFC [134 posts] 1 year ago
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I did a very, very wet 70mile Sportive in Stafford on Saturday. For me bibknickers, overshoes and spray jacket made it comfortable. Yes I was soaked but I was never cold.

We still rode on each others wheels and drafted around but it was a bunch of lads who are used to riding together and trust each other so whilst a face full of spray isn't fun it's also not the end of the world. We were all still wearing glasses but all had either yellow or clear lenses in.

As for descending most of us went down as normal (for the conditions) bar one 15% bank where you could hear the brakes going on way earlier than you'd normally expect as people took much more cautious lines through the exit of the downhill S bends. Most on their hoods and not the drops as they (and  28 would normally do.

One thing experience has taught me is put your phone in a zip lock poly bag to keep it dry.

Regardless of the weather, Sunday will be excellent.

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CXR94Di2 [1122 posts] 1 year ago
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Out of the 2000 or so riders, only a few had mudguards. I expect that will be the case on Sunday out of 25,000 riders. I am not going to start fooking about with flimsy guards having travelled 200 miles by train to get there. Ass saver will the best you are going to get on my bike, be sides how many road bikes easily cater for mudguards, not many I would bet?

If it rains, I will get wet to some extent, if I want/need to draft, I will get soaked, consequence of riding in Britain  4

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sergius [322 posts] 1 year ago
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S13SFC wrote:

One thing experience has taught me is put your phone in a zip lock poly bag to keep it dry.

That is a very good point and one I forgot to mention. I tend to put my phone in my saddle bag when it rains, using a sealed clear plastic bag for my car keys, some cash and my phone.

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PaulBox [354 posts] 1 year ago
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Consider a mucky nutz butt fender, not sure how much help it will offer to riders in your wake, but it will help keep your back-side drier than it otherwise would be.

Grips/clips itself on to your seat rails, weighs next to nothing and can slip in to your back pocket if you're worried about how it looks when it's not raining. Mine is white, I think you can get clear also.

http://www.velodromeshop.net/index.php?p=product&id=2222&gclid=CjwKEAjwg...

Other sources are available...

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usedtobefaster [169 posts] 1 year ago
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I did the Etape du Tour in brutal conditions this year and bought an ArseSaver under saddle plastic stuby mudguard the day before which is the best 10 euros I've ever spent. Best part is it stopped that wet strip feeling when you're behind is getting a soaking from the rear wheel spray.

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realdeal [21 posts] 1 year ago
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There's no point paying for a closed road event then having to descend on the brakes... no point at all.

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S13SFC [134 posts] 1 year ago
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realdeal wrote:

There's no point paying for a closed road event then having to descend on the brakes... no point at all.

Guess that depends on how confident you are descending in the wet.

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Anthony.C [117 posts] 1 year ago
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It is only Tuesday, nobody really knows what the weather will be like in London on Sunday. My guess is that it will be lovely and sunny with a strong tailwind back to London.

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arrieredupeleton [575 posts] 1 year ago
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realdeal wrote:

There's no point paying for a closed road event then having to descend on the brakes... no point at all.

..unless there is a corner ahead, a slower rider braking or potholes.....

You must be the real deal eh?

To the OP: Accept you'll be slower than last year now and enjoy it. Your time won't be important to anyone but you. Good luck.

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realdeal [21 posts] 1 year ago
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Yes of course to braking for a corner or a slower rider, personally I tend to try and hop over potholes if I can, however, I'm prepared to accept your technique may work for you.

If you read it my comment talks of descending on the brakes and I stand by it. Anyone descending on the brakes i.e with their brakes on all the way down is just causing trouble for everyone else.

As for being the real deal.. well that was a harmless stab at irony nothing more!

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neildmoss [285 posts] 1 year ago
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If you're looking to improve on your 3h30 record, then yes, the rain will spoil your day  1

However, if you're like me, you'll looking at 6h30 hours for a reasonably solo 100 miler. With some training under my belt, I'd be after a 5h30 time, so even if it was chucking it down, I still feel I would have 40-45 minutes in my pocket to improve on my time by being quicker on the flat and uphill sections, which is where you spend most of your time.

If you've got a track of last year's ride, see if you can work out your averages on the downhill bits and then imagine how much you might trim that for the conditions. It won't be as much as you fear, I reckon.

A simple example:

Disclaimer - never ridden the route, don't know the roads, and just reviewed the profile of the route on someone's upload at RideWithGps. From a really simple mouse-over of the profile, I reckon there's about 30km of downhill section spread across the route. Feel free to correct.

You say you topped out at 73kmh, and are concerned about that sort of speed in the wet, so let's say you limit your top speed to 40kmh. For that one hill, at maybe 4km in length, that is a time difference of a whole 2'43" if you compare doing 73km to 40kmh ALL THE WAY DOWN.

Now you're not going to be doing that speed down all 30km. Let's compare averages of 55kmh to 35kmh. That's only 18'40" slower for the downhill bits over the whole 100miles.

At my level, it's a fun day out. I've seen the skidmarks and enough ripped lycra on sportives to know that some folk have more enthusiasm than talent. Don't risk your day out trying to stay ahead of such people.

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Crosshair [12 posts] 1 year ago
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The thing to remember about annual events is that the weather often is different. It will clear your mind to imagine yourself setting a 'wet' time (like Top Gear I guess) rather than trying to beat a dry one. Ride smoothly, safely and leave every last ounce of fitness you've got on the hills and you might still be surprised.

Oh and I'd have loved a place so be grateful  3

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Leviathan [1888 posts] 1 year ago
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Thanks for all the replies, I am surprised this thread has got so much traction.  4

I already have an Ass-saver. I see there is no patent on little bits of black plastic, maybe I should make my own brand version. I don't have any mud-guards (garlic-bread?.)

I hope not to have to set a wet time like Top Gear (2012 Wiggins should have TTd it.) I hope too if it is wet that Neil is right with his calculations I will have to concentrate on the flat. Needless to say I am not a 3:30 man. I am trying to beat 6:02. I was off my bike 35mins last year in total so I know what my ride speed and rest time targets are, I hoped just experience would make a big difference but not if the conditions are all different.

Some of these downhills will just accelerate you up to Pro-speed-when-you-are-not-a-pro. Braking, turning, and dodging potholes in the slick could be awful. Will just have to keep my fingers crossed.

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Must be Mad [507 posts] 1 year ago
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riding in the wet tends to chew up break pads nice quick - all the grit on the roads will stick to the wheels, which will 'sandpaper' the pads down when you hit the breaks.

If its going to be doing 100miles wet - I would definitely fit new pads beforehand.

(Downhill? I thought it was a flat course?)

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CXR94Di2 [1122 posts] 1 year ago
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Unless you use disc brakes, far more immune to picking up grit. Work straight away in any condition.  1

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andyp [1444 posts] 1 year ago
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'Anyone descending on the brakes i.e with their brakes on all the way down is just causing trouble for everyone else. '

Agreed it's not the wisest of strategies - but everyone else can go f*ck themselves. It's not up to them how someone wants to ride. IT'S NOT A RACE.

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Maggers [55 posts] 1 year ago
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The road surface on the way down Leith hill is terrible in places. There's no way I'd want to do 74km/hr in the dry let alone the wet down there. If it is wet I'd be pretty annoyed with someone thumping into me if they lost control on a decent.

This year I'm looking to up my pace by making the most of the flatish long stretches:

Stratford to Richmond.
The section along to Newlands corner.
The section from Newlands corner to Arb Hammer
The section along the Thames towards Wimbledon.
The last stretch up the embankment.

The forcast is for rain after Late morning with a bit of luck on a 6.22 start I'll miss it. Bet the forcast changes though.

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glynr36 [637 posts] 1 year ago
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andyp wrote:

'Anyone descending on the brakes i.e with their brakes on all the way down is just causing trouble for everyone else. '

Agreed it's not the wisest of strategies - but everyone else can go f*ck themselves. It's not up to them how someone wants to ride. IT'S NOT A RACE.

This, far too many people treat sportives like a race.

If people are causing you trouble go pin a number in your back and ride with people who want to race.

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CXR94Di2 [1122 posts] 1 year ago
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Maggers wrote:

The road surface on the way down Leith hill is terrible in places. There's no way I'd want to do 74km/hr in the dry let alone the wet down there. If it is wet I'd be pretty annoyed with someone thumping into me if they lost control on a decent.

This year I'm looking to up my pace by making the most of the flatish long stretches:

Stratford to Richmond.
The section along to Newlands corner.
The section from Newlands corner to Arb Hammer
The section along the Thames towards Wimbledon.
The last stretch up the embankment.

The forcast is for rain after Late morning with a bit of luck on a 6.22 start I'll miss it. Bet the forcast changes though.

Looking at times posted on mapmyride for the 3 mains hills the difference between a fast climb and a slow climb is about 3-5mins per hill. So if you upped your pace on the flat and tootled up the climbs, you should have a good time. This is all for the personal challange of improving/ beating whatever targets anybody has set for themselves.

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step-hent [720 posts] 1 year ago
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'Anyone descending on the brakes i.e with their brakes on all the way down is just causing trouble for everyone else. '

Agreed it's not the wisest of strategies - but everyone else can go f*ck themselves. It's not up to them how someone wants to ride. IT'S NOT A RACE.

Got to disagree with this. The 'everyone else can go f*ck themselves' approach to riding is exactly what causes problems on sportives. No, its not a race, but it is a massive event with lots of experienced riders expecting a brisk ride on a closed road course. Everyone needs to co-operate and be aware of others around them - and that includes when and how you brake on the descents, where you stop or slow down dramatically, and what lines you take. Otherwise, we're all screwed.

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andyp [1444 posts] 1 year ago
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'Everyone needs to co-operate and be aware of others around them'

My point exactly. On a sportive, ride as though the person beside/behind/in front is a newbie. They might not know how to descend in the wet. They might not be expecting someone to overtake them on the inside of a turn. Being aware of others around you doesn't mean just charge ahead and hope the other person moves.

In a cat 1 race, you'd expect a higher level of skill. But it isn't a race.
There might be a lot of experienced riders riding. Equally there will be a lot of inexperienced riders.

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glynr36 [637 posts] 1 year ago
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step-hent wrote:

Got to disagree with this. The 'everyone else can go f*ck themselves' approach to riding is exactly what causes problems on sportives. No, its not a race, but it is a massive event with lots of experienced riders expecting a brisk ride on a closed road course. Everyone needs to co-operate and be aware of others around them - and that includes when and how you brake on the descents, where you stop or slow down dramatically, and what lines you take. Otherwise, we're all screwed.

Might be closed roads, but you're not the only one on the road so you still need to consider everyone else there, if someone isn't as confident on the descents as you are then you'll just have to sit up and slow down, or pass them safely.

The experienced riders on sportives are the ones usually causing the issues in my experience, thinking they have more right to the road and people should get out their way, because they are quicker, whichever way the gradient is going. I think thats where AndyP's comment holds true.

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realdeal [21 posts] 1 year ago
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andyp wrote:

'Everyone needs to co-operate and be aware of others around them'

My point exactly. On a sportive, ride as though the person beside/behind/in front is a newbie. They might not know how to descend in the wet. They might not be expecting someone to overtake them on the inside of a turn. Being aware of others around you doesn't mean just charge ahead and hope the other person moves.

In a cat 1 race, you'd expect a higher level of skill. But it isn't a race.
There might be a lot of experienced riders riding. Equally there will be a lot of inexperienced riders.

Actually your comment was that ' everyone else can go...' So your original point was the exact opposite to what you now seem to be saying.

No one said it was a race but everyone riding an event is keen to know what time they can ride it in, some keener than others! Of course most sportives are on open roads so there are too many other variables for this to be a meaningful time. Close the roads and you're into a different ball game.
I suppose that's the paradox of this event.. whilst it will almost certainly attract the fun runners there will also be the guys who have trained, recced the course and possess the bike skills to go a bit quicker.

To the OP.. Don't worry about this descent too much. It's probably the slowest and least technical on the entire hill, just watch out for the gravel as it turns left at the bottom.

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