RideLondon ballot rules?

by mckechan   August 15, 2014  

Hi,

I have suspicions that the RideLondon ballot does not provide an equal chance for each entry, i.e., they might positively discriminate against certain combinations of age and sex to make the field more diverse.

Naturally, there is no such information on the website, so I was wondering if anyone in-the-know could save me a phone call?

As an aside, has anyone joined in the course without an official entry? How did that work out for you?

Cheers!

44 user comments

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That's not fair!

I could understand the ones who take part in it paying, but all those people who paid and got nothing for it, then to do that year after year!

It's as bad as a 'Ponzi Scheme' .

So the money from all the ones who never took part still gets used towards the service of funding the day, paying for police, support and who ever which means the organizers make a profit and people still keep buying into it ?!

posted by Binky [115 posts]
15th August 2014 - 16:33

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NO, those who paid up at the first opening of the ballot, had the choice of 2 outcomes. You get a place or your money goes to charity.

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9010 posts]
15th August 2014 - 16:52

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The only downside of this ballot system is that anyone can enter regardless of whether they are capable of doing the route or not (same as London marathon).

Last year I was on hurst road just past Hampton court and there had already been approx 18 retirements and this was in good weather, thats 18 places that could have been given to better more commited cyclists. I hate to think what the attrition rate was this year.

FATBEGGARONABIKE's picture

posted by FATBEGGARONABIKE [603 posts]
15th August 2014 - 20:14

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30k on the narrow lanes of Surrey would be too much IMHO.

Think we will give it a swerve and just do the closed road rides in Manchester and Cardiff.

Pain is just the French word for bread.

S13SFC's picture

posted by S13SFC [102 posts]
15th August 2014 - 20:26

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It isn't 30k of riders on the narrow lanes of Surrey, that is why you are sent off on waves. I don't know what the numbers in each wave were, but you don't just get let loose all at the same time

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9010 posts]
15th August 2014 - 22:35

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Gkam84 wrote:
It isn't 30k of riders on the narrow lanes of Surrey, that is why you are sent off on waves. I don't know what the numbers in each wave were, but you don't just get let loose all at the same time

Once I got to the Surrey lanes I had to slow down and go with the flow, which is fine for me, some though who were obviously faster/more determined to keep their average speed up were held up. The more entrants is going to be a problem.

Possible solutions would be

Do away with the professional road race or put that on with sportive and have the pros start first.

Applicants can only ride once they have proven their 100mile time from a previous sportive, then correctly stagger the start.

posted by CXR94Di2 [212 posts]
16th August 2014 - 7:51

2 Likes

CXR94Di2 wrote:
Possible solutions would be

Do away with the professional road race or put that on with sportive and have the pros start first.

Applicants can only ride once they have proven their 100mile time from a previous sportive, then correctly stagger the start.

[1.] Nonstarter, pro races finish in the afternoon: TV.
[2.] Elitist rubbish. I had never done 100miles until I did this event. If only 'proven' sportivists are allowed it will increase the average speed and lead to more congestion not less as the field will have spread less by the climbs.



I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer, I spat out Plath and Pinter.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1391 posts]
16th August 2014 - 11:42

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Average speed doesn't necessarily increase but a more accurate time will be given to stagger the start hopefully thinning the field out more evenly. I have only done three 100 mile sportives (all done since April this year). I already knew what time I might achieve to within 30 mins because of my training and planning of doing my first 100 miler. On the Pru I passed so many people in the first half, then met a huge backlog in the Surrey lanes. I slowed down as I wasn't prepared to fight down the side of the lane risking falling off. When the road opened up again I picked up my pace again. Better management is required of staging the start.

posted by CXR94Di2 [212 posts]
16th August 2014 - 13:47

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Gkam84 wrote:
It isn't 30k of riders on the narrow lanes of Surrey, that is why you are sent off on waves. I don't know what the numbers in each wave were, but you don't just get let loose all at the same time

I did it this year and the congestion in the Surrey lanes was awful.

Pain is just the French word for bread.

S13SFC's picture

posted by S13SFC [102 posts]
16th August 2014 - 15:58

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Using the 2014 event as a reference point for congestion on the route is pointless due to the conditions on the day. The flow of riders got very mixed while on the road for several reasons but all due to the weather.

Riders slowed down dramatically to be safe. Many riders stopped at feed stations/ hubs to get some respite from the conditions.
Punctures, and fixing them took longer.

Having said that generally the congestion was not too bad considering the amount of cyclists on the road. Communication and thinking 30 yards ahead is the key.

Ballot entered for 2015

posted by Martyn_K [51 posts]
18th August 2014 - 8:02

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True enough. On the 2013 ride the only real congestion point was Leith Hill. This year I went off a little earlier and a lot faster - there was no congestion for me up the road, but as I understand it those who were 30-45 minutes behind encountered an awful lot more.

posted by bashthebox [647 posts]
18th August 2014 - 9:01

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Thanks for the reminder about entering for 2015 - I hadn't clocked that it opened today. Here's hoping second time lucky!

posted by sergius [82 posts]
18th August 2014 - 10:02

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The only congestion I was caught in was in Richmond Park and this was caused by a "Broom Wagon" and a Van for the Bicycles. I think there may have been a crash as there was also a Paramedic attending to someone.
Apart from that Newlands Corner was very busy but did not slow me down (I probably couldn’t have gone any slower without falling off anyway).

Ballot entered for 2015. Big Grin

Wesselwookie's picture

posted by Wesselwookie [147 posts]
18th August 2014 - 10:12

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CXR94Di2 wrote:
Gkam84 wrote:
It isn't 30k of riders on the narrow lanes of Surrey, that is why you are sent off on waves. I don't know what the numbers in each wave were, but you don't just get let loose all at the same time

Once I got to the Surrey lanes I had to slow down and go with the flow, which is fine for me, some though who were obviously faster/more determined to keep their average speed up were held up. The more entrants is going to be a problem.

Possible solutions would be

Do away with the professional road race or put that on with sportive and have the pros start first.

Applicants can only ride once they have proven their 100mile time from a previous sportive, then correctly stagger the start.


Or do away with people who think they have a God-given right to go as fast as they please regardless of "the traffic".

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

Gizmo_'s picture

posted by Gizmo_ [928 posts]
18th August 2014 - 10:18

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Congestion was fine this year for the early starters. If you're planning a fast ride, make sure you reflect it in your estimated finishing time - the quicker the time you put, the earlier your start time.

The attrition rate this year was pretty low, given the weather. They advertised 23,000 starters and over 20,000 finishers - not bad for an event taking place in the middle of a passing hurricane.

posted by step-hent [697 posts]
18th August 2014 - 10:31

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I asked this question via twitter when I didn't get a ballot place two years in a row. Their response was:

"The ballot is drawn by computer to ensure the maximum possible number get around the route within the time limit".

Whatever that means........ From what I can gather there is some weighting.

posted by andycoventry [120 posts]
18th August 2014 - 10:50

1 Like

It's definitely not "fast people off first, slower people off last". Because I started at 0710 and was overtaking 'nodders' pretty much all the way, certainly all the way to Newlands Corner. Likewise there were still fast people overtaking me all the way round. Which implies that even the earliest waves must have some slow people, and the later ones some fast folk.

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

Gizmo_'s picture

posted by Gizmo_ [928 posts]
18th August 2014 - 12:17

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My ballot is in, at least it's best part of a year to build up to doing centuries... Worried

Pleased to see you didn't have to pay the entry fee upfront, but then confused as to why you you had to elect now whether, if unsuccesful, you would give the fee to charity...

posted by parksey [284 posts]
18th August 2014 - 12:33

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I expect that (in the main) they try and get the fastest off first, to stagger the finish times and allow them a fairly clear ride and I guess that they would need to set some slower people off near the beginning to ensure that they got around in time. There is of course the "estimate factor" where some people will have put in an unrealistic completion time...

I didn't get a place in the ballot for this year, but decided to go for a charity place. Despite getting thoroughly soaked (20 mins walking or stopped whilst they dealt with the aftermath of an accident in Richmond Park when the heavens opened didn't help) I had good fun, had brief chats with a few people on the way round & ended up belting out "I can see clearly now the rain has gone" with another guy as we cycled under the railway in Kingston. Laughing

Must go and enter the latest ballot.... Big Grin

posted by d_jp [109 posts]
18th August 2014 - 12:37

1 Like

Gizmo_ wrote:
It's definitely not "fast people off first, slower people off last". Because I started at 0710 and was overtaking 'nodders' pretty much all the way, certainly all the way to Newlands Corner. Likewise there were still fast people overtaking me all the way round. Which implies that even the earliest waves must have some slow people, and the later ones some fast folk.

That is the general approach to the waves but there's plenty of interference. Some people are overly optimistic about what they can achieve, some people put down a particular time to try to get in a wave with a (much faster) mate, some faster people stop to wait for a friend with a later start time and then work their way through, some people puncture and get held up, some people get in via a club entry and that limits when you can start - one of the club slots wasn't until about 8am. I've thought about this a lot (having taken part both years) and think they make the best out of a situation that can never be perfected, as there are too many variables.

posted by spin sugar [40 posts]
18th August 2014 - 12:41

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spin sugar wrote:
Gizmo_ wrote:
It's definitely not "fast people off first, slower people off last". Because I started at 0710 and was overtaking 'nodders' pretty much all the way, certainly all the way to Newlands Corner. Likewise there were still fast people overtaking me all the way round. Which implies that even the earliest waves must have some slow people, and the later ones some fast folk.

That is the general approach to the waves but there's plenty of interference. Some people are overly optimistic about what they can achieve, some people put down a particular time to try to get in a wave with a (much faster) mate, some faster people stop to wait for a friend with a later start time and then work their way through, some people puncture and get held up, some people get in via a club entry and that limits when you can start - one of the club slots wasn't until about 8am. I've thought about this a lot (having taken part both years) and think they make the best out of a situation that can never be perfected, as there are too many variables.


Fair point on the predicted times. I'd predicted 6 hours when I initially registered (in 2012 for 2013), which would have been possible the way I was building up. Then I had an accident, deferred to this year, training wasn't quite as it should have been... In the end I finished the 86 in 5:57:56 (start line to finish line), so I was right after all. Wink

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

Gizmo_'s picture

posted by Gizmo_ [928 posts]
18th August 2014 - 13:11

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Well it is pretty clear to me that there is some weighting in the ballot and also that the precise information won't ever be public. It would be nice to know, but then it is free to register so no harm done.

I've got my entry, and my wife's and my parents. Cool

Dedicated cycling price comparison | http://www.leadoutbikes.com

posted by mckechan [197 posts]
18th August 2014 - 14:29

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I've emailed them. And got an answer:

Quote:

Hello,

You have a 1 in 4 chance of gaining a place in the ballot,

Yes this a straight forward ballot we will it be a luck of the draw.

If you have donated your fee and you are unsuccessful this is correct you will go
into another mini ballot for a chance a gaining a place.

Regards

Prudential RideLondon Team

-----Original Message-----
From: Al Storer
Sent: 19 August 2014 09:19
To: help_desk
Subject: ballot- questions

Hi,
I've entered the ballot, but I've got a couple of questions regarding how it
actually works:
1. How many ballot spaces are there in total?
2. Is it a straight, "fair", ballot, or is there weighting- eg is estimated time,
past times, age, gender taken into account by the ballot machine?
3. Other than giving you a second chance in the additional 1000 place draw, does
pledging your entry fee as a donation increase your probability of success in the
initial draw?

It would be good for this sort of stuff to be more transparent.

--
Al Storer

So, that's on record, it is an unweighted fair ballot. With them taking 100,000 registrations and there being a 1 in 4 chance, that's 25,000 ballot places available.

If you do not believe this, and still think it is profiled/weighted/etc you are directly accusing them of lying.

posted by Al__S [623 posts]
20th August 2014 - 9:33

3 Likes

Not sure how the chairty places are allocated though? Are the out of that 25k or are there an extra 5k of charity places making it up to the 30k participation that has been bandied about? Clearly if they are out of the 25k then it isn't a 1 in 4?

posted by Maggers [57 posts]
20th August 2014 - 9:42

2 Likes

So according to that there are 25,000 places in the ballot.

And they've said that they're looking for 30,000 riders next year (though each year there's about a 10% dropout rate from withdrawals and no-shows).

So they're looking for 5,000 extras which will come from this year's deferrals (given the weather forecast, that's a couple of thousand) and charity places. Anyone know how much charities pay for their packages (and what levels are available - e.g. £1000 for 20 guaranteed places, etc?)

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

Gizmo_'s picture

posted by Gizmo_ [928 posts]
20th August 2014 - 9:45

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Good points... so lets keep this dialogue going Thinking

Quote:

Thankyou for that answer.
As you've said there will be 30,000 places in total for next year, does
this mean that there are 25,000 places in the open ballot, and only 5000
places for deferrals from this year, charity places, the additional 1000
and corporate places?

Al Storer

I'm very much of the "lets ask direct questions rather than speculate wildly on a forum" school of thinking. Hey. Maybe everyone else could email to ask slightly different versions of my questions? address is helpdesk@ridelondon.co.uk

posted by Al__S [623 posts]
20th August 2014 - 9:57

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Well I wasn't going to share this, but I thought I might aswell Big Grin

Quote:
Dear recumbent riders,

Thank you for your patience and understanding through 2014 and I hope everyone is still looking for a ride in the 2015 event. We are currently debriefing Prudential RideLondon 2014 to determine what changes we can make for the 2015 event, especially around volume of cyclists, tandems, trikes, recumbents etc. We will be in contact as soon as we have more information, which I would expect will be around early November, once we have taken stock and had a chance to commence the 2015 planning. This should still allow you plenty of planning and preparation time prior to the 2015 event.

In the meantime I would advise that you register online. Once we confirm that the proposed recumbent trial is going ahead those registered can be assigned places.

So that is around 10 places gone for us as a test event Wave

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9010 posts]
20th August 2014 - 10:46

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Gkam84 wrote:
Well I wasn't going to share this, but I thought I might aswell Big Grin

Quote:
Dear recumbent riders,

Thank you for your patience and understanding through 2014 and I hope everyone is still looking for a ride in the 2015 event. We are currently debriefing Prudential RideLondon 2014 to determine what changes we can make for the 2015 event, especially around volume of cyclists, tandems, trikes, recumbents etc. We will be in contact as soon as we have more information, which I would expect will be around early November, once we have taken stock and had a chance to commence the 2015 planning. This should still allow you plenty of planning and preparation time prior to the 2015 event.

In the meantime I would advise that you register online. Once we confirm that the proposed recumbent trial is going ahead those registered can be assigned places.

So that is around 10 places gone for us as a test event Wave


Oh, you wait. You'll be accused of getting in the way of club riders Wink

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

Gizmo_'s picture

posted by Gizmo_ [928 posts]
20th August 2014 - 11:44

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We plan to get to Leith Hill first and totally block the road, just to piss you all off......lol

Nah, I think we'll either be put off first or last, depending on what is decided. We are faster on the flat and downhill, but will lose a little time on the uphill.

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9010 posts]
20th August 2014 - 12:02

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No update on my email, but with them now saying 35,000 places to be offered the 25,000 ballot places seems more realistic- leaving 10,000 for deferrals, corporates, teams, charities and weirdoes lying down on the job Laughing

posted by Al__S [623 posts]
21st August 2014 - 10:17

1 Like