Your thoughts on my fitness test in Richmond Park

Cubic Posts: 594
edited January 2009 in Road beginners
Hi, I've been cycling for about four months now and I decided to test my fitness yesterday using the Ful-on-Tri (triathlon club) test of whether your good enough to join their weekend training rides. Basically they say that if you can do 4 laps of Richmond Park (28miles) in 1hr45 then you good enough to join in.

Well I did it in 1hr49, which was a bit annoying. I found it pretty tough going but I was happy that I got to the end. I have a few questions about the experience that I hope someone would answer:

1. I did my 4 laps clockwise around the park (x4 up Broomfield Hill!!!). Is that comparable to doing the same route anticlockwise?

2. It was pretty windy yesterday (headwind was particluarly strong between Roehampton Gate and Robin Hood Gate). Is that going to have had a big impact on my time?

3. I'm looking into joining a club and although I was a bit too slow for the FulonTri club runs, am I going to be fast enough for some of the other clubs (like the Dynamos) that meet in the park?

4. What times do fit cyclists do this route in?
As I said I've been cycling for 4 months and then only on the weekends, so I'm hoping to get my time down with a bit more training and some weekday rides.

Thanks in advance.


  • Casbar
    Casbar Posts: 168
    Hi Cubic

    First of all well done for giving it a go. To answer some of your questions

    1) I always do this clockwise , but I have been told anti is slightly easier
    2) a strong headwind would make a difference , but that depends on how much tailwind you would have on the opposite side of the course
    4) I'm sure there are other clubs you could join
    3) to the best of my knowledge the best time for 3 laps anti-clock is about 48 minutes

    I have been cycling for 3 years now, 8 month on a road bike fastest single lap is just under 19 minutes, my average for 3 laps is still between 62 and 66 mins.I'm hoping to break 60mins this year ,but training is not goingwell at the moment I have never done 4 laps in race mode. Oh and I'm 47 ...I'm afraid age has something to do with it as well
  • Cubic
    Cubic Posts: 594
    Hi Casbar, thanks for your reply.

    Glad to hear that clockwise may be the harder route, that makes me feel a bit more hardcore! I think there was a pretty good tailwind coming down Sawyer's Hill, but I got stuck in traffic on three of my laps so didn't get to use it as much as I'd have liked.

    I'm glad I've got a marker now to measure myself against. I'm going to try to get out during the evenings after work instead of just going out at the weekends. Hopefully that'll help get my time down.

    Good luck with breaking 60mins. Sounds like you're getting pretty close so hopefully you'll do it!
  • snakehips
    snakehips Posts: 2,272
    Cubic , in the Sportives and Road Rides part of the forum there is a thread for the Richmond Park Three Lap Challenge , RPTLC. It might take a bit of finding as it goes rather quiet in winter. Worth a look.
    I am an anti man. I don't like going up Broomfield and I don't fancy going right round the roundabout at the bottom of Dark Hill when you have just come down the hill. There must be a temptation to maintain momentum at the expense of safety.


    but a new thread may well start for 2009
    'Follow Me' the wise man said, but he walked behind!
  • scherrit
    scherrit Posts: 360
    The safest way to get a decent effort in, is to go from Robin Hood anti-clock to the top of the hill before Robin Hood (i.e. 90% round the park), then loafing down the hill to Robin Hood. that's what I prefer anyway and I stop the clock at the top of the hill so as to avoid the temptation of racing flat out down the hill to smash my pb. It's quite a good way of doing 2 X 20 (ish) efforts in the park. I just start the rest interval clock at the top of the hill and bimble down, taking either 5 or a total of 10min and then go again.

    As I've got older I have become more risk averse...... I've bounced off the tarmac enough to know how it hurts! And more seriously how much function you can lose when you do it again and again.
    My 2p,
    If you're as fat as me, all bikes are bendy.
  • kilo
    kilo Posts: 174
    "I'm looking into joining a club and although I was a bit too slow for the FulonTri club runs, am I going to be fast enough for some of the other clubs (like the Dynamos) that meet in the park? "

    You could join a local club like Kingston Wheelers and venture away from the crowded tracks of Richmond Park into the open rolling Surrey Hills. One of the main rules of the club runs is that we don't leave slower riders behind in the lanes and your pace should be fine for the more relaxed (non-training) runs;
  • Hello, don't be disheartened! You talk like your time is final and not going to change any further, but you also state that you were pleased to get round the four laps, suggesting that this is not a regular ride for you. Every bit of riding you do of a decent duration will be bringing your 4 lap time down.

    In addition, anticlock is easier because, as someone mentioned above, there is a sharp right turn at a roundabout (bottom Dark Hill?) that forces you to scrub off all the speed you gained on the descent.

    Thirdly, times can very loads due to wind, traffic, drafting cars/other riders, wet/icy/gritty surfaces slowing down your descending at this time of year. Do it a few more times before you write yourself off!

    I'd put in a few more rides and then just turn up to the club run. If not Ful-on, then another club, KW sound very friendly. As for the Dynamo park ride (a controversial topic), there are typically 6+ groups ranging from ludicrously rapid down to a friendly guided group for beginners, which to be honest is more about learning to ride in a bunch than speed. If you get dropped, so what? The advantage of the Park Ride is that it is in familiar surroundings rather than 20 miles in to the Surrey hills when you would be relying on other members to bring you home (which they would do, but that is what made me uncertain about joining my first Surrey Hills club run).

    Hope this helps.
  • Hope you don't mind me throwing in my pennys worth.
    But if you have done 1.49 on your own I would think riding in a group that takes a min less per lap would be no bother to you. Also lets be honest do you really think every newbie would tell theie true time when only 4 min off time.
    Other than that I would find a friendly bunch who follow the Leave No Man Behind rule which I found a great help when I started and now enforce in full on our Leisure spins over here
    Go neiri on bothar leat.
  • Cubic
    Cubic Posts: 594
    Hi guys, thanks for your messages. I'm really keen to join a club now, I think I'll probably start off with the Dynamos and their easy RP run so I can get used to riding in a group in familiar surroundings. I'm looking forward to breaking out of the park though and eventually heading into the Surrey hills.
    I'm also going to try to head out for some shorter rides during the week, after work, to increase my time on the bike, as am currently only going out at weekends.

    Thanks again for your help!