General Category > LEL 2022

Avoiding the bulge

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Certain controls will tend to get very busy at certain times, as the peak of riders passes through.
Based on previous LEL events do we know
a) which controls get full of sleeping riders overnight?
b) can we estimate when the busiest time at each control occurs?

Lightning Phil:
In 2013

I slept early (9pm) on the Sunday night at Market Rasen (equiv Louth) and the dormitory was pretty empty.

Pocklington was rammed with sleeping riders on the Sunday night.

Brampton was rammed on the Tue night. I ended up sleeping in a sport equipment cupboard with my silk liner.

Market Rasen (equiv Louth) was rammed on the Wed night. Many of us deciding to use that control as our staging post for the last day’s riding.

Other than that no problems getting a bed for my other sleeps. I was on one of the last starts that year.

In 2017

Louth was rammed on the Sunday night, with a lesser bulge at Spalding.  If you were Pocklington or north that first night, no probs with beds.

On Tue night, lot of riders were spread across the Innerleithen, Eskdalemuir, Brampton controls.  As much as anything that was down to the rain and wind at the time. We were tracking Alston and that had a steady trickle but quite low numbers stopping there.

By Wed night we had seen so many DNF, plus riders so spread out on the route, that the bulge was largely neutralised.

I did do some live tracking graphs of occupancy across all controls, in the admin area of the website in 2017.  After the event, I also produced graphs for every control showing occupancy over the full time period of the event.  Not sure if I’ve kept those, I’d have to look on my PC. Danial will likely still have the copies I shared with him (maybe).

In 2022

There’s a new intermediate control at Hessle (north side of Humber bridge) between Louth and the new Malton control this year. Thus the first night bulge will hopefully be spread over more controls this year.

If you can reach Moffat by Mon night I think you’ll be ahead of the bulge and in a position to reach Brampton, Alston, or Barnard Castle by Tue night.

Tue night I think the bulge spread will be Dunfermline to Brampton.  With the extra distance this year, it may be just enough for the late morning or afternoon starters to stop at the northern turn point.   But I think the majority of the bulge will be Innerleithen and Eskdalemuir. If Danial reveals where riders have selected bag drops that may give an indication of where the bulge will sleep.  Many riders unnecessarily tie their bag drops to where they plan to sleep (IMO).

Depends on your start but the general approach to miss the bulge is one of the last starts and stay behind it.  Otherwise ride straight through the first night and sleep once most riders have woken up.   I’ve successfully deployed the sleep early (around 8-9pm) or sleep late (from 6-7am) manoeuvres to avoid having to wait for a bed.

The Weather

So much of this is weather dependent and the experience of the riders this time round.

A lot of riders indeed tend to prefer to sleep from midnight till about 4. Only relatively few riders prefer the 3-7 range. My personal preference is to be asleep between 4 and 6. Quite often I can get a bed at a busy control as a lot of riders are already preparing to leave when I arrive for a sleeping stop.

I must be one of the odd ones then, snatching an hour at Pock on the way north then stopping at Moffat .
A lot stopped at Brampton, meaning that was crowded so I pushed up to Moffat , arriving in the small hours.
I think that there was only me and a group from Audax Bristol still moving at the time.
That set me up for an early morning  climb up the Devils Beeftub and lunch in Dalkeith.
It helped that I had done the Brampton-Moffat stretch a few weeks earlier on the Border Raid and that I am happy with my own company.


--- Quote from: Lightning Phil on 13 April, 2022, 12:10:58 pm ---In 2013

I slept early (9pm) on the Sunday night at Market Rasen (equiv Louth) and the dormitory was pretty empty.

Pocklington was rammed with sleeping riders on the Sunday night.

--- End quote ---

Did exactly the same having started in the last but one start (not so late, think it was 10.15) - asked about sleeping facilities up ahead and told that it was better to stop at Market Rasen. I think we were up at around 3am, and then managed to get ahead of the bulge (although we didn't realise  it at the time) by having a quick breakfast at Pocklington, where it was still asleep!  Made it through to Moffat from there which was a long day, but put us one control ahead of the mass I think.


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