Is The NEW RideLondon-Essex 100 Nonetheless Value It?

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Regardless of the title of this web site, I haven’t written about any particular sportives for a very long time. Peak District biking occasion opinions type a fairly slim area of interest.

However RideLondon has wider enchantment, a minimum of within the UK. My coaching for the primary RideLondon was ‘vital matter’ that kicked off the creation of this web site (as a weblog).

So right here’s a submit concerning the NEW RideLondon 100 format that rebooted in 2022.

What Is RideLondon 100?

RideLondon, or particularly the RideLondon 100, is a 100-mile closed roads sportive in and round London.

Beginning in 2013 within the warm-wee-in-a-wetsuit afterglow of the London Olympics slash Wiggins Tour de France triumph, the occasion offers 20,000 riders the chance to smash it across the roads of London and adjoining counties, for pictures and goggles, and the possibility to set PBs on Strava.

I rode the unique London Surrey model in 2013 and 2018, and returned, like a powerful velo-god, to overcome the RideLondon Essex reboot in 2022.

On this submit, I’ll cowl:

  • My expertise of the occasion: what I appreciated and what was a bit meh
  • My ideas on the route, together with if there are any climbs you might want to fear about. Spoiler alert: no.
  • And eventually my ‘efficiency’, if we will name it that.

Let’s. Crack. On.

Right here’s My YouTube Video On The Topic

My RideLondon 2022 Expertise

My RideLondon expertise kicked off 18 hours earlier than, and 137 miles away, from the beginning.

For me, and just about each different non-London-residing participant, RideLondon is a faff.

The day earlier than, Saturday afternoon, I drove down from the Midlands to my mate’s home in south west London, dropped off the automotive, after which took the practice into central London with my bike and a backpack of equipment.

After years of Staff Ineos-style marginal features evaluation, the perfect pre-event prep is, I’ve discovered, three hours in a automotive, half-hour on a practice, 20 minutes spent sharting your self driving via London site visitors, 12 hours in a windowless resort room and a Chipotle.

After attaching my rider numbers and timing chip, I settled right down to sleep, questioning if two danish pastries and a tepid double espresso in a can was very best RideLondon breakfast gasoline.

Too late now. Sunday arrived and my 5am alarm kicked me into movement. Fortunately the consumption of mentioned canned caffeine did the identical for my bowels.

A brief experience via quiet London streets and I joined the RideLondon huge, heading for the beginning.

The Begin

The doorway to the beginning space was on the nook of Parliament Sq., turning up Whitehall. From this level, till the beginning, we’d be pushing our bikes.

There have been giant banks of bogs in entrance of the international workplace, giving my second morning constitutional a frisson of political pleasure. Extra importantly there have been no queues and the final space felt protected to go away your bike for a few minutes.

While there have been bogs, and mechanics tents for pre-ride tune-ups, this 12 months there was no bag drop-off, which was a little bit of a ache.

After the occasion was over I’d need to return to my resort, in a single course, earlier than turning round and driving again to the station. Ho hum.

The final vibe was very chilled. After strolling up Whitehall for a bit, we turned down one of many aspect roads that took us to the Embankment and the queue for the beginning.

In contrast to earlier occasions the place there have been extra obviously-defined begin waves, this model had a rolling begin. We steadily shuffled alongside till we all of a sudden discovered ourselves on the beginning line, mounted up and had been off.

There didn’t appear to be a lot checking of whether or not riders had been within the appropriate wave however to be sincere I didn’t care. The climate was good, I felt fairly match and, most significantly, I’d achieved my deux every day dumps.

Anyway, we had been off and rolling… and now could be an excellent time to elucidate the route.

The RideLondon-Essex 100 Route

As you’ve most likely picked up, the brand new RideLondon-Essex route begins in Central London.

The course follows the Embankment because it turns into Higher and Decrease Thames Avenue, skirting the southern fringe of the Metropolis of London. Good vast and largely flat roads so that you can settle into the experience.

Then its previous the Tower of London and out east through Docklands.

And that’s 99% of the ‘vacationer’ London a part of RideLondon accomplished, until you contemplate the twin carriageways of East London a vacationer attraction, during which case do I’ve a deal with for you.

After a wiggle via West Ham and Stratford, and a twin carriageway loop across the Olympic Park, the place earlier RideLondons have began from, it’s out into Essex.

Essex occupies a little bit of a black gap in my geographical biking data, presumably for good purpose. After all I jest, stout velomen of Essex!

Anyway, the route follows a type of squished diagonal determine of eight, out via Epping Forest to Chipping Ongar, the place we had the primary feed cease. This was the place the 60-milers break up from the imperial centurions, with the latter doing a further 40-mile loop as much as Nice Dunmow and again through the outskirts of Chelmsford.

The second welfare cease, because the organisers known as it, was at a college in Felstead. The third and ultimate one was again at Chipping Ongar, albeit in a unique place to cease one.

After an extended drag again to Woodford, the place we rejoined the outbound route, we then kind of adopted the identical roads again via East London, plunging as soon as once more into the Limehouse Hyperlink tunnel earlier than a pointy left handed took us onto Tower Bridge and the end.

In order that’s an summary of the route, how about…

The Climbs Of RideLondon-Essex

Of which there are exactly zero.

One among my earliest weblog successes was a submit analysing the climbs of the outdated Surrey-based RideLondon route.

No comparable evaluation is required for the Essex RideLondon route. The elevation profile solely seems a bit bumpy cos they’ve stretched the y axis and compressed the x.

Even I, extra spinner than grinder, besides on the dance flooring, spent a lot of the experience within the large ring.

There was the odd low gradient drag. The highway via Epping Forest might have nudged 2 or 3%… possibly. The ultimate schlep as much as the flip at Woodford was a chore on drained legs.

However there have been undoubtedly no correct climbs to fret about or to contemplate strolling up.

You possibly can determine whether or not you need climbs or not on an occasion like this, however for me, Leith Hill and Field Hill within the Surrey model had been a spotlight of the experience.

So no climbs to talk of then, however what about the remainder of the…

Surroundings

Properly, the Peak District it ain’t…

As an alternative it was central London, then city, then suburban then flattish agricultural surroundings, with the odd prosperous city or village right here and there, all while traversing vast A-roads and twin carriageways

As I say, I don’t know Essex. I’ve seen feedback from native riders that there are extra enticing roads to experience within the county and I don’t doubt them.

However you don’t come to RideLondon for the surroundings – definitely not the agricultural surroundings. Climbs apart, the Surrey model wasn’t radically completely different within the aesthetics division.

It’s high-quality, we had been all head down, making an attempt to submit our fastestest ever time on closed roads, weren’t we?

So what about these…

Closed Roads

I’ve achieved three closed highway occasions now, all of them RideLondons, and the joys of driving roads with none vehicles and lorries is as robust as ever.

There’s no stopping for site visitors lights and junctions. Like Iggy Pop, we experience and we experience. Herds of roaming cyclo-beests migrate throughout the Essex grasslands. Squint – briefly – and you may virtually think about your self within the professional peloton.

To be clear, it’s not pure biking nirvana. The absence of motor autos doesn’t take away danger. Giant teams of cyclists, at completely different speeds, with weaving, overtaking and overcooked cornering, is inevitably going to result in riders being lower up and the odd crash.

Descending a hill at prime velocity and listening to some wild-eyed loon going even quicker behind your proper shoulder may be disconcerting, even to an skilled rider.

And eradicating vehicles doesn’t take away arseholes. In 20,000 individuals you’ll all the time get a number of. Giving somebody a motorcycle does not the arsehole take away.

In reality, give a person an aero bike and a set of deep part wheels and an arsehole he does grow to be.

As soon as once more I jest…

However however the odd little bit of lairy biking, closed roads driving is nice.

It’s the primary purpose I enter the poll annually. And the USP of RideLondon is, in fact, that the closed roads are within the London.

However the factor to concentrate on about RideLondon, definitely the brand new model, is that…

It’s Not Really Very Londony

The central London content material of the experience, with landmarks recognisable to non-residents of Poplar, is low. As I’ve already mentioned, it’s closely skewed to the japanese a part of the town, primarily the outskirts.

The earlier route was good as a result of it began out east on the Olympic Park then headed west previous a wide range of London highlights.

For an hour and a half you had the Metropolis, the West Finish, the luxurious bits driving previous Harrods and the Victoria and Albert Museum, then on to Richmond Park and Hampton Courtroom.

On the finish of the experience, you had half-hour of Wimbledon, Fulham and alongside the River Thames earlier than Trafalgar Sq. and the end on the Mall.

On the danger of sounding like a south west London apologist, the earlier route felt a bit extra London-y and, consequently, higher.

In case you’re gonna experience roads closed to motor site visitors, higher that they be well-known central London ones relatively than a random overpass in Leytonstone.

Bringing us onto…

The End

Which, despite the fact that it’s on Tower Bridge, is a bit underwhelming.

The ultimate strategy to the road is a bit too quick and a bit too slim.

Having given it a spuds-out effort via the Limehouse Hyperlink Tunnel, and a full hammer drop on The Freeway, I used to be as excited to complete with a flourish as your grandparents on annual intercourse day.

(I mentioned annual).

On the Tower we rounded the tight left-hand nook, after which… that’s it.

The end line was solely a few hundred metres away. Marshalls had been shouting for everybody to decelerate. Damp squids dropped from the sky. Not this 12 months grandpa.

Tower Bridge isn’t vast sufficient for giant volumes of riders to complete at any type of velocity.

You could possibly barely cross the end line on the bike as a result of the highway was so crammed. Some riders had been even dismounting earlier than the road itself.

The earlier end on the Mall was quite a bit higher.

The extra London-flavoured run in featured the Homes of Parliament, Whitehall and Trafalgar Sq., all on good vast roads.

Turning onto the Mall, the highway broadened much more, making it protected for riders of all speeds to offer some gasoline to the end.

The long term off afterwards stored everybody unfold out and moved completed riders rapidly out of the way in which.

Look, it’s not a significant factor. I used to be delighted to finish 100 miles. The end on Tower Bridge, even at strolling tempo, regarded fairly cool.

And I received a finisher’s medal, which in 2022 was a cool, and presumably eco-friendly, picket one.

However like grandad, one ultimate romp to inform the children about would have been good.

In order that’s the route, what concerning the facilities, and the people, on mentioned route?

Let’s begin with the…

Feed stops

The feed stops had a faint sense of humanitarian catastrophe response. Comprehensible I suppose, given the variety of riders.

Meals was plentiful, albeit the choice was restricted. Excessive 5 provided the diet, with a great deal of gels obtainable in any flavour you wished so long as it was orange. Volunteers had been additionally available to replenish your water bottles and plink plonk in a type of salty hydration tablets.

The second cease, the largest, additionally had bananas and crisps. The lunch of champions.

There have been lengthy queues for the bogs on the primary feed stops. As ordinary I picked the slowest. I didn’t thoughts the break off the bike however you would possibly need to crack on extra rapidly.

Twop twip then for those who RideLondon sooner or later: use the smaller portaloo stations in between the three giant pitstops.

There have been a great deal of them, unfold across the route, and had been quieter and faster for the gent wishing to empty the lizard and go.

Marshalling

I’m certain it’s a fairly tedious job, however a number of the marshalling was a bit lacklustre.

There have been some good examples of marshalls loudly alerting riders about upcoming tight bends. However there have been additionally lots of them stationed on or close to site visitors islands in the midst of the highway simply stood there quietly.

While the marshalls did put on excessive vis, a whistle and a flag and a bit extra coaching would have been more practical.

That mentioned, the entire volunteers and the marshalls, initially, the end and through the experience, appeared useful, pleasant and in an excellent temper.

And I used to be completely satisfied to take all of the optimistic vibes I might get.

Lastly then, speaking about individuals and stating the bleeding apparent, RideLondon has…

Plenty of Riders

About 20,000 of them. Which is each an excellent factor and a nasty factor.

On the optimistic aspect, it feels like a giant occasion.

Let’s face it, you want a experience of this scale to warrant closing down all these roads.

Seeing different riders, and the tempo they’re going at, little doubt spurred me on to sustaining an honest velocity whilst my legs flagged.

On the draw back, accommodating giant volumes of riders means the route had to make use of wider, much less picturesque roads.

Even with the vast roads, there might be crashes. Some can affect riders in a roundabout way concerned.

We had a 10-minute halt attributable to a rider up the highway needing remedy. By the point we start-stop-restarted, 1000’s of rides had bunched up. It took one other 10 miles or so for the sector to skinny out and we return to full velocity.

To be clear, this isn’t to complain. These items occur. However for those who’re going to RideLondon, be mentally ready to your experience, and the time you document, if that’s vital to you, to be impacted by different individuals.

And speaking about instances brings us neatly on to…

My Efficiency

As I’m certain you’re not determined to listen to about.

I accomplished the 100 miles in 5 hours 45. This was 40 minutes faster than my earlier two RideLondon instances

For the document, I rode by myself like a friendless saddo. There was most likely some draft profit from different riders typically being round, however the time largely mirrored my very own efforts.

A part of the time enchancment was as a result of flatter course. The brand new Essex route had 200 fewer metres of ascent and there have been no steep hills to burn matches on.

Partly it was attributable to higher driving circumstances. The temperature was average and there was no rain.

My health stage was a little bit of an unknown amount.

On the one hand, I did a structured indoor coaching plan initially of the 12 months and adopted this with common exercises on the brand new KICKR. Strava informed me my health stage was good, a minimum of for me.

On the opposite, I hadn’t achieved many longer outside rides – solely three rides longer than 3 hours, with the final one a disheartening 4 hour mixture of neck ache and bonking.

So I used to be happy to maintain an honest effort over the total 100 miles. My velocity was fairly constant, averaging 28.5 km/h (or 17.7mph).

Most significantly, I felt good all through, each bodily and mentally.

Primarily based on my common coronary heart fee and the time in every zone, I rode inside my health stage.

I ate commonly, at feed stations and on the bike, plus I consumed lots of bottles with hydration tablets in them. In contrast to prior lengthy distance occasions, I suffered no leg cramps.

Weirdly, regardless of it feeling simpler than a lo t of earlier rides, I recorded my second highest undergo rating on Strava. Which possibly proves the purpose that I went in fitter.

So all in all I used to be happy. Evidently driving sensibly and specializing in the easy issues: consuming, ingesting, and never blowing your self out on each little incline, is a recipe for a strong experience.

Who knew…?

What would I do subsequent time?

I’ll maintain it temporary.

To get a greater time, I’d do two issues, apart from the apparent ‘practice more durable’.

Firstly, in my coaching, get a greater sense of my health stage over longer distances so I knew how a lot I might push myself. I might most likely have given it a bit extra beans at instances.

Secondly, I’d experience the occasion with others at an identical health stage and work collectively to drag one another alongside. Extra velocity, faster time, similar quantity of effort.

Conclusion

I used to be planning to offer some extra crimson sizzling RideLondon suggestions however I’m working out of wordjuice.

Hopefully you’ll have inferred some useful hints within the guff what I’ve been speaking about.

In case you have questions on RideLondon or need extra element on any specific bit, let me know within the feedback beneath.

Monty out.

Monty - Sportive Cyclist
Monty is an enthusiastic highway bicycle owner with solely average expertise. He began Sportive Bike owner in 2013 to document the journey to his first 100 mile experience, the RideLondon 100. Over time the weblog has expanded to incorporate coaching recommendation, gear opinions and highway biking tales, all from the attitude of a not-very-fit MAMIL. Because you’re right here, Monty would additionally such as you to take a look at his YouTube channel. Additionally, Monty actually must cease referring to himself within the third particular person.

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