Training for RideLondon 100: March – mid-May update

This is the second instalment in a series of posts recording the progress of my training towards RideLondon 100, the 100-mile cyclosportive taking place in and around London on 4 August.

My first training update can be found here.

As readers of this blog will know, my cycling prowess is very much at the lower end of the athletic range. As well as providing on-going motivation and accountability with regard to my own training ‘regime’, these updates aim to provide encouragement to other non-athletic types and those that struggle to balance training with everything else they have going on.

Let’s start with the stats

The following table sets out my ride statistics over the period:

[table id=3 /]

I’m not sure the numbers make for particularly pleasant reading.

On the face of it, March looks like a good month. However, whilst the totals for distance covered, time in the saddle and meters climbed all appear quite high, they were accomplished in only 8 rides and skewed by the 100km RideLondon route reconnaissance session (which you can read about here). Training was not as consistent as it needs to be.

This lack of consistency was then highlighted in April, with the number of rides falling to just three. The month clawed back a semblance of dignity only through the inclusion of the Igloo Peak District Sportive (which I wrote about here).

May has started positively (if we ignore the first four days of it, when I didn’t get out on the bike). The four rides undertaken reflect the beginnings of my attempt to ride on a more consistent and focused basis.

So what are the excuses?

[Summons deep breath…] Well, we moved house. Time has been short as we’ve gone through the processing of sorting and unpacking. My wife has started at a new job; my son at a new nursery school. I’ve had to make regular trips back to London to prepare our old house to be sold.

But enough of the excuses. Everyone leads a busy life.

The more important question is…

What are you going to do about it?

As mentioned above, the main problem so far, has been a lack of consistency in my training. Throwing in a long ride every so often only flatters to deceive the statistics. It doesn’t help my fitness.

Particularly in the case of the 100km ride, the step up in distance from what I had been doing was too much. It caused pain and soreness in my knee (a knee which I know is fragile). This kept me off the bike for a week (which then turned into a two-week hiatus, due to the house move).

Better to achieve my distance and time-in-the-saddle objectives through multiple rides, each with a particular focus, rather than one or two ‘overload’ sessions.

The main issue has been a lack of a plan.

My aim over recent months has been to ‘DO MORE CYCLING’. As far as objectives go, with its lack of defined volume and timescale, my ‘DO MORE CYCLING’ mantra is a pretty terrible one.

I have been researching training programmes in order to find one that is appropriate to my fitness level and the 100-mile challenge that I am undertaking. I’ll be revealing my chosen training schedule in a future post.

Accentuate the positives


But it’s not all bad. I have been encouraged by certain aspects of my cycling over recent months.

My inadvertent first metric century ride made me realise that cycling longer distances are both feasible and enjoyable (even when they take you through Croydon).

Yes, it made me realise that the additional distance needed to get to 100 miles will be challenging, but it also made me confident that I’ll be able to do it. Thus the training becomes a case of trying to reduce the pain involved, rather than simply getting over the line.

The RideLondon recon ride took in the climbs of Leith Hill and Box Hill. Neither is particularly challenging, at least compared to the basic requirement to cycle 100 miles in a day. The Peak District sportive, with its 1,300 metres of (steeper) climbing has given me confidence that I’ll be able to crest the RideLondon ascents without going too far into the red.

Finally, the move to Derbyshire appears to have been a masterstroke in terms of finding a beautiful place to cycle. From our base (er, house) in Ashbourne, I can cycle north and straight into the Peak District. The scenery is glorious and the climbing is challenging. Then, to the south, we have rolling farmland and twisting country lanes.

I really don’t have any excuse to get out on the bike and ride.

How is your training going?

That’s your lot for this update on the Grimpeur’s training attempts.

I know that many of you reading this blog will be participating in RideLondon, as well as in many other challenging cycle events.

I would love to hear what sportives you are entered for this year and how your training is going? What encouragement can you offer to me and to other new sportivos?

Let me know in the comments box below.


12 thoughts on “Training for RideLondon 100: March – mid-May update”

  1. Great post about your progress. An honest look at your training.

    Here is some quick motivation…I completed my century ride and my longest training ride was only 40 miles. I did a lot of short, high intensity rides to make up for going shorter distances.

    Good luck with the remaining training. You can do it! Continue adding more training days and the fitness will come.

  2. I haven’t done ANY specific training so far. but just through my commuting I am racking up quite a few miles:
    Rides Miles Time Elevation
    Apr 2013 35 568.11 40:59:24 2,328
    Mar 2013 10 133.22 10:46:09 682
    Feb 2013 36 558.67 45:47:05 2,338
    Jan 2013 37 598.28 44:45:46 2,494

    I am goign to use London to Brighton and Nightrider (a week apart) for training then probably aim to odo a 75 mile ride at about a midway point before the 100 mile ride.
    I’m hoping that’ll be enough!

    • Thanks Giles. I’m sure it will be enough. When I did L2B I was cycle commuting in London and did fewer miles than you. I found L2B pretty easy. If we extrapolate upwards based on your higher mileage, that has to put you in a good position for RideLondon. The 75 mile ride will give you a lot of confidence. I’m sure it will be enough!

  3. Just stumbled upon your website as I was looking for a hill profile of Ride London. Very useful thank you. I’m a complete newbie and enjoying the training so far but am very worried about the hills. I find Richmond Park taxing so I can’t imagine what Leith Hill and Box Hill will be like. I also somehow find it very difficult to unclip whilst going uphill which is adding to the pressure! Onwards and upwards.

    • Hi Celine – glad you’re finding the website useful. Neither Box Hill or Leith Hill are steeper than bits of Richmond Park. The only difference is that they’re longer. Try not to worry though. Gradually build up the number of loops of Richmond Park that you do in training and the fitness will come. I’d also recommend going down to Box Hill and Leith Hill to try them out (and get in some training on longer climbs). You can park in the National Trust car park at the top of Box, then ride up it a couple of times. That will dispel the fears. It’s quite easy to cycle from there to do the loop around Leith Hill, or again you could drive to Abinger Hammer and go from there. If pro riders go to recce Alpine climbs, no reason why you can’t do the same ;-). Good luck and enjoy!

      PS. Reward yourself with cake in the NT tea shop at the top of Box Hill.

  4. Came across your blog whilst looking for something!

    Ah, brings back memories! I can’t believe it’s only been a month since Ride London, feels like a lot longer!

    Since having completed the challenge I have found it very difficult to get back on the bike!! A week’s rest turned into 2, and then 3…I’ve only been out on the bike a couple of times in the past few weeks! Struggling to get the motivation and aware that my fitness is going to start to deteriorate. I’ve entered a couple of mid distance sportives to do, but even that’s not helping me. Any ideas for getting motivated again?!!

    • Hi Amy. Glad you’ve enjoyed the blog. Please stick around – and subscribe to my email list 😉

      I’m in the same boat as you. Training since RideLondon has been what you might call … sporadic.

      I’m doing a local sportive in 10 days which is shorter than RL but has more climbing. My reduced fitness is going to be shown up by that!

      Will no doubt do some posts about trying to get my mojo back.


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