Author Topic: LEL2021 - route details  (Read 11788 times)

Re: LEL2021 - route details
« Reply #50 on: May 01, 2019, 02:42:56 pm »
The fens were not favourable on the return in 2013; there was a stonking headwind that year as well.   It was also 34C in the shade and 38C in direct sunlight.  Time was certainly not being made up.

You have to assume that at best you will maintain your contingency, but most likely lose a bit of time, returning across the fens

Interesting... maybe my recollection is wrong. I thought the time in hand plots showed a lot made up time on the way home in 2013... maybe they were just hardier.. or less naïve :D

Re: LEL2021 - route details
« Reply #51 on: May 01, 2019, 02:43:14 pm »
I met with Amey last year, and they suggested that we use both sides and make route directional. It strikes me as a good way to manage numbers.

What surprised me though was how few people walk and cycle across the bridge. The pedestrian and cyclists counts were pretty low and amounted to dozens of people a day.

The only part of the crossing that concerns me is the access point on the south side. That could be a bit of a pinch point and I hope that Amey will lower the bollards for the duration of the event.

CrazyEnglishTriathlete

  • Miles eaten don't satisfy hunger
  • 3x Brimstone ancien 3x Pendle/Tan Hill DNF
    • CET Ride Reports and Blogs
Re: LEL2021 - route details
« Reply #52 on: May 01, 2019, 02:55:01 pm »
use of the Forth Road Bridge would certainly allow iconic photographs of bikes, riders with Forth Rail Bridge in the background.  Fifeing Eijit has a point about high winds, but my question would be how often in August is the road closed for high winds?  I would suspect its more often in the winter and equinotical months.
Eddington Numbers 125 (imperial), 168 (metric) 518 (furlongs)  111 (nautical miles)

Re: LEL2021 - route details
« Reply #53 on: May 01, 2019, 03:28:24 pm »
The fens were not favourable on the return in 2013; there was a stonking headwind that year as well.   It was also 34C in the shade and 38C in direct sunlight.  Time was certainly not being made up.

You have to assume that at best you will maintain your contingency, but most likely lose a bit of time, returning across the fens

Interesting... maybe my recollection is wrong. I thought the time in hand plots showed a lot made up time on the way home in 2013... maybe they were just hardier.. or less naïve :D

My brevet card from 2013 tells me that going south from Edinburgh

I gained 6 minutes to Traquair
I gained 36 mins to Eskdalemuir
I gained  1 hour 7 mins to Brampton (Slept here)
I lost 1 hour 49 to Barnard Castle
I gained 1 hour 40 mins to Thirsk
I gained 47 mins to Pocklington
I gained 28 mins to Market Rasen
I lost 2 hours 14 mins to Kirton (Fens)
I gained 3 mins to St Ives (Fens)
I gained 5 mins to Gt Easton (Fens then appearance of hedges!)
I lost 9 mins to Loughton (I took a fair time out at Great Easton recovering from the day)

So net the Fens southbound took just over 2 hours out of the buffer I had built up in 2013.  The faster riders who made it across the Fens the previous night will have fared better, but for anyone in those Fens on the final day, it was far from an easy "let's make up some time" ride in 2013. 

I do remember a fair proportion of us pushed on through the night to Market Rasen to leave approx 300km for the final push.

Interestingly the buffer I had at Edinburgh was within 30 mins of the buffer when I finished. So if I'd arrived in Edinburgh with no buffer built up it would likely have been touch and go on the time limits coming back in 2013.  Not having a buffer later on can also lead to you choosing not to take enough rest or take time to eat enough which can lead you into a downward spiral.



FifeingEejit

  • Not Small just Far Away at the back
Re: LEL2021 - route details
« Reply #54 on: May 01, 2019, 03:39:43 pm »
I met with Amey last year, and they suggested that we use both sides and make route directional. It strikes me as a good way to manage numbers.

What surprised me though was how few people walk and cycle across the bridge. The pedestrian and cyclists counts were pretty low and amounted to dozens of people a day.

The only part of the crossing that concerns me is the access point on the south side. That could be a bit of a pinch point and I hope that Amey will lower the bollards for the duration of the event.

Cool :-)

The Forth Bridge is fairly remote from commuting traffic, it's a surprisingly long way into central Edinburgh from SQ and Dunfermline's a reasonable distance away too.
Which will reduce pedestrians to the odd hardy commuter and tourists.
I thought there was a fairly decent sized bunch of dedicated cycle commuters though.


use of the Forth Road Bridge would certainly allow iconic photographs of bikes, riders with Forth Rail Bridge in the background.  Fifeing Eijit has a point about high winds, but my question would be how often in August is the road closed for high winds?  I would suspect its more often in the winter and equinotical months.

Aye, most likely during Atlantic storm season which August usually isn't part of.
The point was more that crossing the bridge is uncomfortable at wind speeds well below the closure speed.


Re: LEL2021 - route details
« Reply #55 on: May 01, 2019, 04:00:13 pm »
I'll be interested to see how a Forth Bridge route works out. Michael Broadwith took the A73 and A70 from Abington to the bridge on his LEJOG record. The Pentland Hills present a barrier, making that the most direct route. The alternative is A701 and suburban Edinburgh.

Re: LEL2021 - route details
« Reply #56 on: May 01, 2019, 04:08:26 pm »
For those who haven't been on the old Forth road bridge; here are some shots from the last few km of the Highlands 1000 last year.








Re: LEL2021 - route details
« Reply #57 on: May 01, 2019, 06:18:54 pm »

Soon after this year’s start, we learned of the death of a noted Dutch Audaxer on the Transcontinental Race. That prompted a discussion with a controller about the media contingency plan for any such mishap on LEL.

Frank died the night before registration day. Part of the Dutch contingent heard about it on registration day. Over dinner we decided to start since Frank would have liked it that way. Still I had some issues with it during the first night. The absence of other riders on the road at that moment wasn't a help either (they were still overcrowding the Louth control).

Re: LEL2021 - route details
« Reply #58 on: May 01, 2019, 07:43:56 pm »

Soon after this year’s start, we learned of the death of a noted Dutch Audaxer on the Transcontinental Race. That prompted a discussion with a controller about the media contingency plan for any such mishap on LEL.

Frank died the night before registration day. Part of the Dutch contingent heard about it on registration day. Over dinner we decided to start since Frank would have liked it that way. Still I had some issues with it during the first night. The absence of other riders on the road at that moment wasn't a help either (they were still overcrowding the Louth control).

I would have heard about Frank from you Ivo. I tend to think of the event starting from when the cameras start rolling. I don't have that on video, so it's not pinned down in the way that lots of other details are.

I'm most interested in the dynamics of volunteer-run events these days. I addressed that in a section of the article I wrote for Cycling-Plus.

Quote
That may seem like a long preamble to a report on the event, but it explains why you can’t take what riders say about the event at face value. Loyalty to hundreds of keen volunteers means that you’re not going to see a ‘Trip Advisor’ style review of LEL, amusing though that would be.

The route is ‘out and back’, and diverges North of Brampton, in Cumbria, for a clockwise tour of Southern Scotland, taking in controls at Moffat, Edinburgh, Innerleithen and Eskdalemuir. Eskdalemuir’s principal industries are forestry and Buddhism, with the Samye Ling temple playing a prominent role. It’s quiet enough to be the home to a seismic recording station which monitors underground nuclear bomb tests as far away as North Korea. Asian riders, used to asking directions in their crowded countries, were reduced to wondering if the sheep might be able to direct them.

No town on LEL outside the M25 or Edinburgh Ring Road has more than 15,000 inhabitants, most are below 5,000, many below 1,000. Eskdalemuir has just 256 people. Most riders like to get back to Brampton as soon as possible, to access their bags. There are two bag drops per rider, and Brampton is popular for those. The result is that Brampton gets overwhelmed at some point. It would be better to have a bigger control, but there isn’t a lot of choice. The field behaves like traffic on the M25. There are sudden waves, the French call it ‘circulation accordion’, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accordion_effect and it’s difficult to predict where the squeeze will come. Riders get bunched due to the terrain and the weather, both of which are wildly variable.

Audaxers call this ‘The Bulge’, and those in the know book hotels where they expect controls to be under siege. Most long Audaxes are underpriced, and for the faster riders, they represent fantastic value. But there comes a point where demand at controls exceeds supply, and any novice economist knows that the solution is a higher price. LEL costs more on each running, economies of scale work in reverse, as there are more formal hurdles to leap. In 2001, 2005 and 2009 I saved newspaper vouchers to get a discount at Lidl for tinned ravioli, rice pudding and biscuits for Heather’s control. This time the facilities company for the High School at Brampton handled the catering, with overtime rates during the continuous 63 hour opening period. A controller is now a manager coordinating a multinational mix of volunteers, school staff, and casual workers. Much of the time, the controls seemed over-manned, as no-one knew when ‘The Bulge’ might appear.

The ride is well worth doing, passing through some of the most unlikely looking parts of the UK, giving the impression that it’s about as populated as New Zealand. The presence of an Alpine climb in the North Pennines caused some surprise. It certainly took me aback when I first went to Yad Moss in 2001.  That year was fairly benign, with just headwinds to deal with. 2005 was much the same, but 2009 was extremely grim for most. This year you were guaranteed to get rained on at some point, luck dictated where. You were guaranteed headwinds, and that’s probably what led to 34% of the starters dropping out, or finishing outside the time limit. I’ve yet to see a breakdown of that by nationality or experience, dyed-in-the-wool Audaxers finished as usual.

There are numerous accounts available online, and they give a flavour of the conditions that were faced. One of the most telling developments was that some of those who had previously stopped at hotels on route, relied on the organisation for sleeping. Admittedly they were Yorkshiremen, so the increased cost might have been a factor, but the arrangements worked perfectly well for the vast majority.

My overall view is that LEL and PBP can only be judged as a communal celebration of long distance cycling, and both succeed in those terms. If that appeals, then it’s for you at the advertised price. If you can’t get your head around some of the idealism, then they’re both still well worth doing. Just sit down, read between the lines, and work out how much you want to spend on a good night’s sleep between crisp white sheets, rather than under removal mens’ blankets and on an airbed.


Re: LEL2021 - route details
« Reply #59 on: May 01, 2019, 08:02:09 pm »
I stay in Dunfermline so more than happy to help with any route queries at this end (my son goes to the High school so I know the roads very well)
Audax Ecosse - always going too far

Re: LEL2021 - route details
« Reply #60 on: May 01, 2019, 09:50:46 pm »
I stay in Dunfermline so more than happy to help with any route queries at this end (my son goes to the High school so I know the roads very well)

Cor, thank you very much. The high school will be our control point, I'm happy to report. It's enormous, eh?

We take the back road on the other side of the train line to get to the school. It means using that slightly ugly underpass, but it does cut out the main road into town.

Re: LEL2021 - route details
« Reply #61 on: May 01, 2019, 10:16:48 pm »
The back road and underpass are a good route in. The only issue with the underpass is that there is often broken glass, but i’d be happy to go and do a bit of sweeping before the riders are due in.
Audax Ecosse - always going too far

Re: LEL2021 - route details
« Reply #62 on: May 02, 2019, 07:00:50 am »
Yeah, it's a pretty scurfy underpass. Thanks hugely for the offer to help tidy it up beforehand. I'm sure the controller Daniel will appreciate the help. If I could trouble you to complete our volunteer form on our website when it launches next month, I'll have all your details then.

Re: LEL2021 - route details
« Reply #63 on: May 02, 2019, 07:42:20 am »
Yes, I will do. :thumbsup:
Audax Ecosse - always going too far

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: LEL2021 - route details
« Reply #64 on: May 02, 2019, 08:14:44 am »
Is it not about the experience?
Whether 80% finish within the time limit or only 50% manage, what difference does it make? As long as they all have a "good time", being that A or B type... who cares how many finish...

I disagree. Most folk prefer success to failure, particularly for something that you get one chance at every four years at best. Some riders react quite badly to not finishing a brevet in time, so not a "good time" for them and the negative effects on those riders can linger. Success breeds success and the converse is also true.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

S2L

Re: LEL2021 - route details
« Reply #65 on: May 02, 2019, 08:33:56 am »
I disagree. Most folk prefer success to failure, particularly for something that you get one chance at every four years at best. Some riders react quite badly to not finishing a brevet in time, so not a "good time" for them and the negative effects on those riders can linger. Success breeds success and the converse is also true.

Surely an opportunity to learn that you can't always succeed in life.
funny enough, I have finally managed to obtain half a page on our workplace newsletter to talk about something else that is not someone's success or someone's new born babies...
Last issue was cycling to work...  :thumbsup:

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: LEL2021 - route details
« Reply #66 on: May 02, 2019, 08:49:11 am »
It's mainly about expectations.

There are plenty of examples of enduring events/challenges where hardly anyone succeeds. (The Barkley "Marathon" being the recent example fresh in my mind. Whilst helping on LEL2013 I chatted to a rider near the front, who had failed abysmally at Barkley earlier that year. He seemed quite content with both scenarios.) Attempts on Everest were very popular, even before anyone succeeded!

There is also the matter of logistics - the most convenient way to get to the finish of most Audaxes is to ride down the official route. If you are unable to do that, life can get very complex and/or expensive - who wants to worry about that before an event?
 Some events have bail-outs almost built in. (The multi-loop format of Barkley is an example)

(Is it a "snowflake" thing to never risk failure??)
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: LEL2021 - route details
« Reply #67 on: May 02, 2019, 09:05:44 am »
I figured that the first replies would be variations on the theme of 'failure is character-building'. If the failure rate of a brevet (note: not a race renowned for DNFing folk) is too high, either the conditions were unexpectedly horrendous or the organiser or riders have misjudged something - perhaps by attracting riders unprepared for the rigours of their event.

You see the riders who fail and come back, because they've come back. The other ones? They've gone away, so you never notice them.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

S2L

Re: LEL2021 - route details
« Reply #68 on: May 02, 2019, 09:14:33 am »
I figured that the first replies would be variations on the theme of 'failure is character-building'. If the failure rate of a brevet is too high, either the conditions were unexpectedly horrendous or the organiser or riders have misjudged something - perhaps by attracting riders unprepared for the rigours of their event.

I think the challenge is laid out quite clearly... it's 1400+ km over a set period of time. The terrain is not prohibitive, weather is a question mark always, so as per above, it's about managing expectations. If I decide to enter 2021, it will most likely be my first LRM, so failure is an option. I doubt time will be an issue for me, it's more likely to be a case whether I can cycle 300+ km a day or my knees will give up early

Re: LEL2021 - route details
« Reply #69 on: May 02, 2019, 09:23:13 am »
Happily I have my rider surveys, which over 400 riders replied to in 2017.

In private, riders do not hold back on their opinions and some of the responses I got were profoundly chastening. I take these responses seriously and the high DNF rate was not a concern, either conceptually or personally.

If it’s not a priority for them, it’s not a priority for me either.

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: LEL2021 - route details
« Reply #70 on: May 02, 2019, 09:23:30 am »
Sure, there is always a risk of DNFing a long brevet but the majority of properly prepared riders should finish. Time limits are set to be somewhat challenging but quite achievable by the 'average rider'.

PBP has the longest history and largest population of riders, so statistics are easy. About 1 in 7 DNF PBP in a good year and about 2 in 7 DNF in a bad year. There have been several 1200s with DNF rates of 1 in 2 starters. I'd say that something was obviously wrong with those events, in the absence of horrendous weather. Those events were DNFing the majority of the average riders. In between those statistics is a reasonable threshold for DNF but I'm not sure where that is.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

S2L

Re: LEL2021 - route details
« Reply #71 on: May 02, 2019, 09:43:40 am »
Sure, there is always a risk of DNFing a long brevet but the majority of properly prepared riders should finish. Time limits are set to be somewhat challenging but quite achievable by the 'average rider'.


I know 3 people who didn't finish LEL 2017... none of them had a time issue, all of them developed some form of pain or injury that prevented them to finish...

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: LEL2021 - route details
« Reply #72 on: May 02, 2019, 10:12:29 am »
Sure, there is always a risk of DNFing a long brevet but the majority of properly prepared riders should finish. Time limits are set to be somewhat challenging but quite achievable by the 'average rider'.


I know 3 people who didn't finish LEL 2017... none of them had a time issue, all of them developed some form of pain or injury that prevented them to finish...
Time is almost always an issue! Are these people still riding bikes? If so, I would think they could have completed LEL2017... eventually ... given time off to fix/moderate their pain/injury.

[You don't give details, so *I* can't be more specific than that :) ]
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Re: LEL2021 - route details
« Reply #73 on: May 02, 2019, 10:18:32 am »
Sure, there is always a risk of DNFing a long brevet but the majority of properly prepared riders should finish. Time limits are set to be somewhat challenging but quite achievable by the 'average rider'.

PBP has the longest history and largest population of riders, so statistics are easy. About 1 in 7 DNF PBP in a good year and about 2 in 7 DNF in a bad year. There have been several 1200s with DNF rates of 1 in 2 starters. I'd say that something was obviously wrong with those events, in the absence of horrendous weather. Those events were DNFing the majority of the average riders. In between those statistics is a reasonable threshold for DNF but I'm not sure where that is.
Please could you offer from your wide experience examples of long brevets where the majority of riders didn't finish (in time). Where could one find/research those stats? As a relative newcomer, I can only think of the first Mille Pennines (2016) only 38 out 90? finished: btw I suspect "the majority of properly prepared riders [did] finish" MP1K 2016. I was not among that elite but, on the plus side, I did return to finish the business with a successful (if lanterne rouge) ride in 2017. I was better prepared, had a better plan (informed by the previous year's experience) and the conditions were better. The ride's finish rate was near 2/3rds, and that success rate was replicated last year (with me in the kitchen / behind the counter for 3 nights, that time).
Long rides are hard - organisers can offer and publicise the challenge, design an attractive and safe route with accessible start/finish, maybe select a time of year when ephemeral and weather conditions are benign, describe as much or as little support as they wish, deliver that with the help of volunteers (in the main) for all riders, hope that the event captures riders' imaginations, that the entries roll in, and that the DNSs are few. After that it's up to each individual rider and their mount.

S2L

Re: LEL2021 - route details
« Reply #74 on: May 02, 2019, 10:19:40 am »

Time is almost always an issue! Are these people still riding bikes? If so, I would think they could have completed LEL2017... eventually ... given time off to fix/moderate their pain/injury.


Given a couple of months, they could have probably completed, but it's pedantic... the point is that it wasn't a case of being out of time by a few hours or a day