Silly Commuter Sprinting

kelsen
kelsen Posts: 2,003
edited July 2013 in Commuting chat
You know the scenario. A set of red lights where waiting cyclists build up. Lights go green and everybody turns all Chris Hoy trying to outsprint one another. The one on my route:

London Bridge northbound from the lights - A slight starting incline opening up into a nice straight quarter mile stretch with no dangers of side roads, and one-way traffic kept at bay by the bus lane. The drag strip is lined on either side by cheering spectators (ok, miserable train commuters trudging their way wearily towards the office). When traffic is light you can usually go full gas across the bridge, chasing down scooters if you're feeling particularly good (or sitting up and pretending to admire the view of Tower Bridge if you're not). There's a natural finish zone before the lights on the north side where you can zip up your jersey and pump both fists in the air in victory. The downsides are having to jostle for a good starting position amongst the motorised vehicles, riders more suited to endurance racing* than track sprints getting in your way, and the phasing of the lights invariably means a big f**k-off bus blocks the entire width of the road as the lights turn green.

*Nodders, hybrids and fat blokes in lycra

Comments

  • bigmat
    bigmat Posts: 5,134
    I think there's a Strava segment for this, is there not? Key to a quick time is getting a clean run in and a green light at the north end. Very rare combination!
  • kelsen
    kelsen Posts: 2,003
    BigMat wrote:
    I think there's a Strava segment for this, is there not? Key to a quick time is getting a clean run in and a green light at the north end. Very rare combination!
    You're probably right Mat, but you miss the point. This isn't about time, it's about taking on your opponent mano-a-mano, destroying them and revelling in the glory.

    To paraphrase Dominic Toretto "It doesn't matter if you win by a second or a minute; winning's winning!"

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  • iPete
    iPete Posts: 6,076
    I tend to give it enough power to clear the peleton, much safer out front!

    What makes me laugh are the people who, 100m up the road, realise they've written cheques the legs can't cash and soon get swallowed up.
  • bigmat
    bigmat Posts: 5,134
    I prefer to leave the mano a mano stuff to where there's a gradient, not really comfortable doing full on sprints in traffic!
  • Ride hard
    Ride hard Posts: 389
    Love it. It's good to know I'm not the only one that does that. The exuberant child lives in all of us!

    The next mile and a bit from then on is blooming annoying though. Considering the amount of money the City of London Corporation must rake in it looks like they spend it all on swanky lunches and not the roads. [Rant alert] Bishopsgate must be one of the worst roads in history as you can't go five meters without a serious pothole or worse. I could have sworn I saw a car disappear down one last week. Every time I go down there (still in youthful exuberance mode) I feel like either me, the bike or both are going to snap in half from the vibrations.

    The road wouldn't go amiss in 1980's Beirut.
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  • pangolin
    pangolin Posts: 6,546
    iPete wrote:
    What makes me laugh are the people who, 100m up the road, realise they've written cheques the legs can't cash and soon get swallowed up.

    Maybe they don't want to race, but want to
    iPete wrote:
    clear the peloton, much safer out front!

    I've certainly done that a few times away from VB lights. Puts you well ahead of the main horde, then the few other keen people can come past.
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  • Gallywomack
    Gallywomack Posts: 823
    London Bridge is one of my favourites too. Recently I've been going OKR/GDS and approaching up Borough High St. I find this very frustrating, as you say in the OP it seems there is always a bus across all the lanes when the lights change, and it comes down to who takes the biggest chance filtering past it - not my kind of racing. It does mean that there are usually targets out in front to try and reel in.

    My preferred option for a pure sprint is to come up Tooley St. Usually you get a clearer run around the corner and onto the bridge, with dozy peds being the most common impediment. Getting the holeshot is quite important and then it's game on - if you have one or two competitors, they will be in close proximity and it is a test of who can crest the incline first and keep the power on down the other side. It's rare that anybody is able to come back after being beaten to the summit.

    NB, I am a bit of a Cheaty McCheat as my office is on the corner of King William St/Cannon St and the garage entrance is at the top of Arthur St. I claim victory if I reach the Arthur St turn-off first, but of course those I'm racing against probably have further to go so can't necessarily leave it all on the bridge like I can.
  • dhope
    dhope Posts: 6,699
    kelsen wrote:
    London Bridge northbound from the lights
    Uh huh. I might be guilty of this.
    I turn right onto it from Tooley St and ensure that full skin breathing mode is engaged. It's short enough that I can drop most and not look too fussed.
    BigMat wrote:
    I prefer to leave the mano a mano stuff to where there's a gradient, not really comfortable doing full on sprints in traffic!

    Says the man who holds the London Bridge Northbound KOM ;)
    http://app.strava.com/segments/766649
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  • asprilla
    asprilla Posts: 8,440
    Millbank sprint eastbound is where it's at.
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  • Ride hard
    Ride hard Posts: 389
    Hmmhhh...It looks like I finally have some worthy adversaries :)

    It's a shame I decided on the penny farthing today otherwise it would have been a noble battle.
    Reporter: "What's your prediction for the fight?"
    Clubber Lang: "Prediction?"
    Reporter: "Yes. Prediction"
    Clubber Lang: "....Pain!!!"
  • Paul E
    Paul E Posts: 2,052
    I don't do too badly on that segment, 3rd on the SCR list
  • I'm guilty of it too i'm afraid my defence is that i use every TL to either take primary if needed, catchup and over numerous RLJ's and then if there is someone by the side of me lay down the power and see if they can keep up, especially the lights just before the bow flyover.
    Sorry its not me it's the bike ;o)

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  • Gallywomack
    Gallywomack Posts: 823
    Paul E wrote:
    I don't do too badly on that segment, 3rd on the SCR list

    Hmm, joint 10th. In a way I'm surprised I register at all since I don't actually go all the way up to the lights. Might have to start using Strava again and see if I can do better now I'm coming from Borough High St, although a clear run from the lights is very rare (in fact I'm not sure I've had one yet). If I think I'm on a good one I'll carry on up to the lights rather than slowing to turn down Arthur St!

    I find it difficult to get myself up to full pace for these shorter sprints unless I'm actually racing neck-and-neck with somebody. In the real world, it's very rare indeed I'm outsprinted over the bridge, but on Strava I seem to do better on efforts around a kilo.
  • roger_merriman
    roger_merriman Posts: 6,165
    pangolin wrote:
    iPete wrote:
    What makes me laugh are the people who, 100m up the road, realise they've written cheques the legs can't cash and soon get swallowed up.

    Maybe they don't want to race, but want to
    iPete wrote:
    clear the peloton, much safer out front!

    I've certainly done that a few times away from VB lights. Puts you well ahead of the main horde, then the few other keen people can come past.

    That's certainly something I do, I to attempt not to get boxed in by other riders who on the whole I don't trust. So I tend to hang back or jump ahead.

    I do like the odd burn and being heaver built than the average roadie a standing start plays to my strengths.
  • fat_tail
    fat_tail Posts: 786
    Asprilla wrote:
    Millbank sprint eastbound is where it's at.
    thats a good one... and there always seems to be a headwind when you go past the Pizza Express. can't explain that phenomenon.

    Another good one is Chelsea bridge to Royal hospital west bound. that can be fun too.
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