The Surrey Hills in the 2019 Prudential RideLondon 100

Climbing Box Hill in the 2019 Prudential RideLondon 100

This video is about the Surrey Hills part of my Prudential RideLondon 100 in 2019, taking in Leith Hill and Box Hill. It’s a “director’s cut” from my full ride post at https://www.briansutton.uk/?p=1084.

The middle part of the video shows the cycling log-jam on Leith Hill, where we had to stop seven times, losing 10 minutes, on a section of no more than 400 metres, on the less steep, earlier part of the Leith Hill Lane climb.

Someone had fallen off just at the beginning of the steeper part ahead of us. Very frustrating! Apparently he rode off without thanking anyone for the help he was given to get going again.

The Leith Hill ascent is quite narrow, and there are always some cyclists walking on all the steep parts, effectively making it even narrower, which you can see this from the video.

The way to minimise such delays is to get an earlier start time, as advised by my friend Leslie Tennant, who has done the event half a dozen times. That keeps you clear of the slower riders.

But it was a great day overall, with the usual good weather, a big improvement over the previous year’s very wet weather, which I covered in my blog at https://www.briansutton.uk/?p=1108.

Here, then, is my Surrey Hills segment from the 2019 event.

The Prudential Ride London 100 Surrey hills, including Leith Hill and Box Hill

I have added here some screenshots of my Strava analysis for the Leith Hill segment, showing the speed, cadence and heart rate drops during those seven stops.

Time-based Strava analysis chart

First, the plot against time, which shows the speed drops very clearly, annotated as Stops 1 to 7. On the elevation profile, you can see that all of these were on the earlier part of the climb (shaded). The faller must had fallen at the point where the log-jam cleared (when a marshal told me what had happened, as I rode past at that point) at the end of that shaded section.

Important: Note that in this time-based x-axis chart, the time scale has the effect of lengthening (expanding) those parts of the x-axis scale (compared to the distance-based x-axis version later on), where we were ascending, as we took proportionately more time to cover a given distance during the delays (which would have been the case to a lesser extent at normal, slower uphill speeds anyway), and equivalently shortening the descending parts of the hill(s), where we cover more ground in comparatively less time. The shaded section of the chart shows this expansion effect on that (slow) part of the Leith Hill climb (behind the word “Leith”).

Strava analysis showing the 7 stops totalling 10 minutes

We see that the chart runs from about ride time 3:36:40 to 3:46:30, around 10 minutes. On the video I show that the first stop on that section was at time of day 10:47:14, and we got going again fully at 10:57:09, again about 10 minutes from beginning to end.

Distance-based Strava analysis chart

Next, the same Strava analysis, but with the graphs plotted against distance, instead of time.

As the elevation is in metres, the distance-based x-axis presents a more faithful rendition of the inclines – metres of height plotted against against kilometres of distance travelled, in the usual way.

Compared with the time-based chart above, this shows up as steeper ascending parts of all hills in the profile (slow riding), and less steep downsides for the hills (fast riding), which is usual when comparing time vs. distance based Strava ride analysis charts.

You will note that the (lighter) shaded section where the stops occurred is actually very short in the distance based graph (the light vertical line, behind the “i” in the “Leith” annotation) – it looks longer (in the time-based version, as well as apparently less steep as a result) in the darker shaded area of the time-based chart above. In reality, the steepness isn’t significantly different on that section, and it IS short.

Strava analysis showing the 7 stops totalling <400 metres

In this chart, this same section runs from just over 88.6 kms into the ride to just under 89 kms; i.e. between 350 – 400 metres from start to finish, some of which was walking, with a little riding, between periods of standing and waiting.

The little dips in the red heart rate curve at the 7 stops show up a little more clearly* on this chart too.

I eliminated the standing/waiting parts from the video, but you can see that I was moving very slowly even when trying to ride short parts of this section. Average speed on that section was, say, 400m in 10 minutes – 2.4 kms/hour, or 1.5 mph. Even I can ride up that hill a lot faster than that!

*The heart chart dips looks a little like ECG depressed t-waves. I know what those look like – I was diagnosed with depressed t-wave in a BUPA ECG test 50 years ago (for health insurance in my my first private sector job).

Because of that they also stress tested me on a treadmill, and had a problem getting my heart rate up, even raising the front of the treadmill, as well as speeding it up. So they also diagnosed brachycardia (slow heart rate). They found that my ECG returns to a normal pattern on exercise – phew!

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