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Hi all, interested to hear the thoughts of those who train around Richmond Park and compete in 100mile sportives. Specifically, as to how their lap times correspond to avg pace for longer rides, namely 100milers. I am doing Ride London (circa 1,300m climbing) and are loosely aiming to go under 5.5hrs. My full gas effort around Richmond Park (10.8k, 50m of ascent) is just under 20minutes, without drafting, and I do 3 laps in around 1.03. Although, i rarely get longer out on the bike, so hence my question as to how others have generally paced similar rides (using Richmond as my only point of reference!).

Welcome any insights. Thanks

36 comments

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alansmurphy [1990 posts] 1 year ago
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I'd suggest 5.5hours is ambitious depending on your general fitness. I work in mph rather than kmh but you're looking at an average of 18mph which is pretty tough going when you get beyond 2.5 to 3 hours of riding. And if the furthest you've ridden is less than 50 miles then survival is a big part of it - especially when you go north of 80 miles. There's also eating, drinking and a slow start to consider, plus the dickhead racers mixing with the barely competent.

You also ha e to consider that you don't do hills, at all. I don't know the course but if there's anything above 10% or longer than a km or 2 long then they will nobble your speed significantly.

I would be aiming at averaging 15-16 mph for the first 4/5 hours and then up it if you're feeling good.

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kevvjj [446 posts] 1 year ago
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1300m of elevation gain over 160km of riding is a flat course. If you regularly ride these sort of distances then 5.5 hrs is very possible (if you have an early start). There are only three 'climbs' of note: Newlands Corner (good feed staion at top), Leith Hill and Box Hill. Leith has the steepeest sections (8%) and Box is the longest (2.3km at 4.5%). None of them are any real challenge to a competent rider. After Box Hill you should be able to average 20mph for the rest of the ride. There is one little bump at Wimbledon just to let you know you have ridden almost 160km... If you have an early start you will have fewer numpties to deal with. Anything after 8:00 am and there is no way you will keep a good average speed up - there are 30000 cyclists expected... The main issue is on the three hills with many coming to complete stop and causing massive backlogs. My first time in 2015 I had a 6:15am start and finished in 5:20 with stops at two of the feed stations. Last year I started at 9:00am and it took over 7 hours. However, my average speed after Leatherhead was 32km/h into the Mall. Good luckand enjoy it.

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davel [2720 posts] 1 year ago
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Are there any other points of reference? Have you done any other parts of the Ride London course...? Any of the climbs or comparable climbs? What's your longest ride so far..? Do you do any other endurance sports?

Without other information it's impossible to call, but I agree with what alan above has written. I'd add that if this is your first 'long' ride, forget targeting an average speed: focus on enjoying the experience, breaking it down into smaller chunks, and just getting round. I know how boring that seems, but you've got to start somewhere.

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Daveyraveygravey [639 posts] 1 year ago
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It's really hard to answer your question. I think if you rarely ride 50 miles you will find 100 miles hard and my advice would be to take it really easy for as long as you can at the start, to stave off the point at which your legs give out on you. This would apply more if you were just trying to do a century by yourself.
However, Ride London is a unique event. The closed roads and the people cheering you on will give you a boost. There will be bunches of 10+ riders passing you all day long, so if you can get in a bunch that are riding at a pace you can sustain, that will massively help you hold a good average.
I did it in the first year, I think under 6 hours, and also the year of the storm, where I averaged 20 mph - maybe because I just wanted to get it finished!
I found the route pretty good, the start all the way through London is brilliant - flying along the three lanes each way roads at about 23 mph with other bikes all around some slower some faster ignoring red lights and going the wrong way round roundabouts with the public cheering you on is an unforgettable experience! I seem to remember struggling with it after Weybridge before Newlands, just a bit suburby before the interesting stuff.
Don't underestimate Leith, I think it is a reasonable challenge and as others have said narrow enough to make finding room difficult. It is quite long and has steeper parts to make you work. Wimbledon too can hit you hard, a long way in and not close enough to the finish to just breeze up. The last stretch as you get back in to the city with the Embankment and then people banging the boards up the Mall is fantastic too!
Have you thought about eating and drinking? The official food stations at Hampton Court and Newlands were mad-busy when I did it; if you can take enough food and drink to last you until the last third or quarter you'll probably be better off.
Lastly, if it is hot and sunny that will really hit your ability to go fast for a long time.
Why not treat this year as a learning experience, and then enter next year with more of a plan?

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CXR94Di2 [2389 posts] 1 year ago
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Depends when you start as there can be backups in flow. Just ride with a comfy pace, so you can speak easily. Eat plenty per hour drink plenty per hour. Ride with a cadence of >90rpm. This will stave of fatigue in the legs till much later. Don't grind it out-spin away. Enjoy the day. It can be a fast course if you get a clearish run. Also draft whenever possible there will be thousands of rider to draft with

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2old2mould [93 posts] 1 year ago
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Think of your fastest pace and ride at 60 - 70% of that and you'll be fine. I reckon 6 - 6:30 is going to be your time. Start a sweepstake!  1

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rxpell [58 posts] 1 year ago
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Take it easy at the start and don't try and chase the folks who sprint away.  Better to get first few hours in at 15-17mph and have a reserve in hand. Plan your eating and drinking based on time and stick to that.  As you get towards the end (say after 80 miles) if you've got anything left in the tank then you can up the pace and empty it.  Keep at it and I hope you have a great ride.

 

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dottigirl [842 posts] 1 year ago
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Your wave number/start time and experience of group riding will dictate your time. 

You'll be surprised how easy 100 miles is. My advice would be to limit your time in the 'red zone', keep eating and drinking, and if you pick up a group, make sure you do your turns on the front. 

And enjoy yourself.

(P.S. in Richmond Park tomorrow evening if you're around.)

 

 

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Leviathan [3057 posts] 1 year ago
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I did it just outside 5h30 last year in good weather:

mins      kms        kph
45.15      27.36     36.36
73.65      41.84     34.09
144.27   75.64     31.46
172.38   88.51     30.81
257.18   120.70   28.16
288.80   136.79   28.42
331.78   160.93   29.10            times including stops

You can draft and go quite fast across london and the west way to Richmond park. Don't use the park as any kind of reference as it is quite a small part of the route.

I also did it in 2013 in 6 hours. The main difference I found was how much more used to being on the bike for long periods of time I was last year. I didn't stop from the top of boxhill until the mall were as before I had to stop several times to stretch my back and arms. If you don't regularly cover these kind of distances, there really isn't time to train. You could get one more longish ride in the next 48 hours, but there is no point riding 50miles before the event, you will just wear yourself out.
 

random tips:

Stock up and skip the very first hub, it is always choas, go for the next smaller waterstop. 

Cut out the route profile and sellotape it down your top tube, mark on planned stops or your speed targets. (Get a bike computer)

Speed up quickly at the top of a descent, but don't push to get max speed downhill, just get aero and save your legs. Spinning madly for a few extra kph isn't worth it, save your legs for the flat and climbs.

Don't underestimate the climbs, especially Leith Hill.

Don't be mad if you don't hit your target, it is just more reason to come back stronger 

And watch out for Wimbledon Hill; it is a short steep climb, a bit of a sting in the tail for tired legs, but after that it is all downhill through Putney and along the Embankment with cheering all the way.

Sadly I am not in it this year, ballot for 2018 opens soon.

Good Luck (Ray Winstone voice)

 

 

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Leviathan [3057 posts] 1 year ago
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Sunscreen.

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davel [2720 posts] 1 year ago
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@Cannon: bear in mind that everyone posting on these comments (I'm fairly sure) will be able to cover 100 miles/4,000 feet pretty easily. We can't possibly relate our experiences to your situation unless we know more.

In the absence of any other info, assuming all you've done is the Richmond Park stuff you're telling us about, you won't want to hear this, but it's all about surviving long enough to get round. Eat, drink, and take everything easy. Don't even check your average speed.

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Cyclax Maximus [36 posts] 1 year ago
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Cannon... great advice from the above posters, it all makes good sense. Just concentrate on finishing it, as that's a fine achievement in itself. Don't get too bogged down with stats, as it can be counter-productive.

First time I did it, I probably rode too conservatively at first. I then found by 75 miles in, there was plenty still in the tanks and finished very strongly.

On the day it's all about you enjoying yourself,  and doing something worthwhile. Don't worry about what others are doing; they won't be worrying about you!

I get over to Richmond Park quite a lot too, as I live nearby. It sure is a good work out whichever way you go around it. Although, if you are trying to get some serious progress with your training down, the place is fast becoming a joke at weekends as you may well know. 

All the very best...

 

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Al__S [1295 posts] 1 year ago
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Especially if you've an early start, don't go out too hard. You might be tempted to try and join a fast train, but if you're dangling on the back and struggling to keep up as you fly down Picadilly you're doing damage to yourself that will bite you when you reach Leith Hill.

Try and settle into a group that's comfortable for you- speak  to people, and see if you can manage to do turns on the front. If you can't do a turn on the front for more than a minute or so, the group is too fast for you, especially with your base endurance.

 

I know many say to avoid the stop at Newlands Corner, but I've never had an issue there- it is busy but there's loads of loos and huge drink and food tables. If it's a nice day, stop, refuel there, and take in the views-  one of the few places where it sensible to stop that there are views, as Leith Hill is tree lined, as is the false flat on top of Box Hill.

 

Other basic "don't be a dick" advice:

As I said, talk to people- don't just wheel suck, say hi and work together.

Keep left if slower than riders around you, when passing go well right- remember that you do have the full width of the road, so if you're approaching a traffic island head on propbably best to go right.

HAVE FUN. Time targets are all very well, but don't get upset if there is a hold up. And with your fitness but lack of endurance, then 5:30 is v.ambitious.

Wimbledon Hill is evil, but there's a few other stinging smaller climbs in the west london suburbs as well. Just to rub salt in the wound the top of Wimbledon hill is a Sprint prime on the Classic- not a KOM prime! At least once you're over Wimbledon though the hills are over barring the slightest drag up Whitehall- last year my friends and I wound up in a fast group after a stop for pedestrians at Putney with a load of RAF and I think Bradford CC, among others, absolutely flew along Chelsea Embankment and did a bunch sprint along the Mall. Key to this was that as it formed there was plenty of communication- don't ruin someone elses day!

 

Again, Have Fun. This weekend will be the first time that's it's been run when I won't be there.

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theironduck [93 posts] 1 year ago
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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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jollygoodvelo [1750 posts] 1 year ago
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Another saying take it easy to begin with.  Really easy.  All the way out through London just enjoy being on the closed roads, in the tunnels with no noise other than tyres and clicking gears, on the wrong side of the road if you feel like it - though beware of club pacelines coming past like steam trains.  Even taking it really easy you'll be going faster than you think simply because you don't need to stop for traffic or lights.  Last year I did 28 kph in the first hour and got to Pyrford (~60km) in two hours, without really trying - normally I'd only do 27-28kph if I was on open roads.

Newlands is a relatively easy hill but it is quite long; don't be surprised to see lots of people stopping and walking.  If this is you, don't do it in the middle of the road, get over to the left first.  Leith is the hardest hill.  There are sections over 10% and it's narrow: again, lots of people walk.  The downhill can be sketchy in the shadows under the trees; take care.  Box Hill is longer than Newlands but it's very scenic and the road surface is beautiful; take your time and enjoy it.  From there it's all straightforward: I averaged over 30kph for the last 60km.  Wimbledon Hill is worth paying attention to - but by the time you've ridden 90 miles, you should just be clicking into the right gear, rolling up it, and from the top you really can just empty the tank if you're feeling good because from there it's all flat.

Remember that for you, it's not a race except against the clock and your own ability.  You won't 'win', and you won't be last - seriously, people complete it plodding along at 12mph on shopper bikes and walking up every hill.  Finishing is in itself a prize, remember you can always come back and do it faster next year.  

If you haven't done long practice rides (up to 80-100 km at least) then don't underestimate how stiffness and soreness builds up.  Consider stopping and stretching your back and legs (properly, not just waving arms around) maybe every hour.  Don't grip the bars too tightly or your fingers will go numb.  You might think these things are obvious, but remember when you start to get tired you think slower; your assessment of risks is also impaired, so be careful on downhills and fast corners.  Don't forget to eat!  

And don't forget to enjoy it.  I'm a miserable git and even I was grinning the whole way round at the lunatics cheering and clapping for hours, the sadists having a big barbecue at the bottom  of Box Hill, and the sheer joy of having the whole road to ride in.

"Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth."

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arfa [859 posts] 1 year ago
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If you use a heart rate monitor, the advice is really simple: ride at threshold on the flat, into the red zone on the hills and recover on the descents. For me this means riding just under 160bpm. The temptation is go out fast (because that's how the early waves go). Groups form and if yours is going too hard, drop off it and form a new group.Provided you are at/below threshold, no problem. Over it and you will have trouble after 80 miles. Main thing is ride safe (make sure you know and are riding with people who know how to ride in groups) and enjoy.

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davel [2720 posts] 1 year ago
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There's a fairly hefty assumption of decent base fitness, there, arfa.

If the OP's longest ride to date is 3x Richmond Park, riding at or just below threshold on the flat on Ride London could see him ruined at halfway.

Not saying you're wrong: more pointing out that we need more info, and Cannon fired and buggered off.

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Cannon [5 posts] 1 year ago
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Lol Davel, i did fire but I have been quietly soaking up the insights of the posts! Appreciate all the advice. I guess the info provided from me was pretty basic. I have done 100milers before and I have a decent base with commuting 10miles a day to work but given time constraints I haven't done any +50mile long rides in the last year.

My plan based on above is to manage effort for first 75miles and put myself in the red for last bit, get in a fair paced group (i'm a lone wolf), survive the hills and save legs for the flats. I will take all the food I need, don't plan to stop until +50miles to get some water.

Starting at 7.20am, so not expecting people to be flying off at that point.

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davel [2720 posts] 1 year ago
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Ah - I'll stop my worrying then: you'll be fine yes

Enjoy the ride.

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Al__S [1295 posts] 1 year ago
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Also, if you don't make "whoo-hoo" noises through the tunnels (eg Limehouse Link" I don't want to know you wink

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700c [1267 posts] 1 year ago
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Good luck Cannon

You will be faster than you think. It's a really quick course  1 

The first 5hr century I have ever done - and will ever do no doubt!

On the elevation - If you have a Garmin then it will show the profile and your point on it as you ride. Even my really old Garmin Edge 800 has it and it's one of the most useful features to pace yourself, know when to press on and when to back off.

 

 

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Daveyraveygravey [639 posts] 1 year ago
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See if you can get the crowds to applaud you - I was applauding them at points, and they went bonkers!   yes

And the thing about riding when tired is a good point, your brain slows down, you probably won't be able to simple sums like work out how much time you have left to get under a certain time etc.  The descent of Leith has a left-hander that can catch people out, you can't take it flat out if there is anyone else anywhere near you.

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cant do wheelies [3 posts] 1 year ago
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I'm doing it for the first time this year and I think 6 hours is doable for alansmurphy (and me). I do roughly same times around Richmond Park but never get clean laps with no cars.

Some great tips on here, thanks.

Main decision is if/when/how often I should stop as I don't ride 100 miles ever (well a couple of times but with a slow pace and a long lunch break!) I have got 2 massive bidons ready but see what the weather will be. How long do the stops take? Have a wee and fill 2 bidons? If I'm bursting or thirsty then I have to stop so maybe I shouldn't worry about it.

Thanks "iron duck" for route profile links. Mile 56 for Leith Hill. Frak.

I just looked at the weather for Sunday. Not bad, maybe a bit windy later on.

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crazy-legs [1029 posts] 1 year ago
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Depends what time you start - the early groups go properly caning off and with no traffic in front of them it's complete freedom. I was averaging 27mph (yes, Mph) for an hour last year on the way out.

Starting further back means more traffic and, if there's an incident (as there was last year) you may even find yourself at a complete standstill for 30 minutes.

Weather forecast is for fairly significant winds from the SW so headwind all the way out which will require some changes to your pacing not to go too hard into the wind and die horribly.

Personally I planned it not to stop at any feed stations however last year (possibly connected with the time I'd had breakfast and the amount of coffee I'd drunk) I found myself inexplicably needing a proper toilet stop at Box Hill - fortunately therre were loads of portaloos at the summit but that cost a chunk of time and I obviously lost the fast moving group I was with at the time.

The main hills (not that any of them are particularly steep or long) come in the latter half of the ride so save a bit in reserve for them.

Good luck!

 

 

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turnerjohn [57 posts] 1 year ago
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crazy-legs wrote:

Depends what time you start - the early groups go properly caning off and with no traffic in front of them it's complete freedom. I was averaging 27mph (yes, Mph) for an hour last year on the way out.

 

Exactly what I do....actually doing 27mph felt fine as you get the draft of others and the crowds are amazing (ok maybe not at 6am my start time !) etc but getting clear road is a major bonus....just back it off the pace if your not used to it when you get properly out of town, get the "hills" out the way (their not as bad as everyone makes out) then start to ramp it upslowly the last 40miles or so.....

biggest concern is the weather...................

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Scoob_84 [458 posts] 1 year ago
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All the above advice is all well and good, but i say just go full gas the whole way. If you blow up, you blow up, you'll still make it home and you rode with panache and you may even suproise yourself.

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davel [2720 posts] 1 year ago
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yesI retract my earlier comments and would like to echo Scoob_84's: much more rock n roll.

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Cannon [5 posts] 1 year ago
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Haha, but the London crowds won't see my panache out in the Surrey Hills, they will see a white ghost pedalling in squares.

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fenix [1116 posts] 1 year ago
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You've not ridden over 50 miles in a year ? That doesn't sound like ideal preparation. See if you can get in a group of similar ability and don't be a hero on the front.
Have fun.

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cant do wheelies [3 posts] 1 year ago
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I'll stick it in here as well:
https://nk761.wordpress.com/2017/07/19/analysis-of-annual-prudential-rid...

6 hours doable for me according to that. I will keep out of trouble at the start and see how it goes.

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