To scout or not to scout?
StooDogg Posts: 30
A general ponder for you all: Is it better and/or advisable to test the bike/run circuit physically or is it enough to recce it? - I drove the Arundel cycle route last weekend to get an idea of the gradients involved and any other particularly testing or tricky elements. I then wondered aloud whether the next phase should be to go out there and try it or simply drive it again. My wife is of the opinion that going in blind/ignorant might be better because any difficulties experienced are fresh and new whereas experiencing them prior could well cause anxiety and stress. For the record I am something of a fretter so I can appreciate that line of thought.
I much prefer to know what to expect...find it helps on longer routes with pacing, planning nutrition etc and I use the hard bits by saying to myself I know it's coming and being happy when it's over.
Stoo - I would try and ride it, there are a number of reasons I would personally find this helpful:
1. Pacing (as mentioned knowing how much a hill x amount of the way through is going to take out of you has to be beneficial);
2. Nutrition (again as above) - knowing where the safe/smooth and straight sections are will help you plan your nutrition around these sections which should make it easier to stick to plan rather than trying to inhale a gel half way up (or down) a hill;
3. Gearing - everyone knows its easier going up a hill when you get in the right gear at the right time, by knowing the climbs you'll be much better placed to get that gearing right which can save seconds or, if you avoid a dropped chain even minutes;
4. Safety and confidence - If you're trying to push the pace on a little bit e.g. on a descent its much safer and more pleasant experience when you know what is around the next corner and how fast or slow you need to be going to handle it safely on your bike... a car can only give you so much and as you regularly see on the TdF even the best riders in the world can get it wrong on roads they don't know when they stretch their comfort zones...
if you can, why not.
Some interesting and salient points there, thank you. Regarding nutrition I was planning on getting anything I need during transition as I'm only doing the sprint, the bike leg of which is a whiff over 19km.
In terms of the route itself the first kilometer-and-a-bit is flat, then it goes uphill for about 4km with a total ascent of about 140m. Then there's a sharp downhill (30m in 500m, approx) to a roundabout where you hang a left and it all becomes fairly undulating with not a huge amount to worry about. Thereafter it's another left and onto the Arundel Road which is dual carriageway in parts. I imagine the first and last elements will be worst of all and necessitate a large amount of profanity and creative invective in order to complete.
But anyway, thank you again and much to ponder!
As a follow-up to my original query I'm still flip-flopping over whether to try it or not, however I have found an out-and-back route which offers the same amount of climbing and descending albeit over a considerably longer route (20 miles versus 12). Would this be a suitable training ride to acclimatise one's legs to the demands of the course or would it be better to find an alternative that is shorter and pound out three, four or five laps of the same gradients? The beauty and curse of Arundel is that the climb, at two-and-a-half miles with negligible respite, is unique so simulating that isn't going to be possible in the local area. At least as far as I can work out anyway.
For those that say 'try it' the only caveat I need to add to me doing so is that of work: For instance, I am working away from home for the rest of the month and have barely two days at home before I go back, in which time I wouldn't mind seeing my wife. So that means that any trial is going to be mid-April at the earliest and on a weekend when I'm not preparing to go back into London for 'x' amount of time given the travelling time, time on the bike and getting back home - Unfortunately my wife doesn't ride as a result of being involved in a hit-and-run many years ago so it's not as if we could make it a nice companionable day out.
As a newbie, I chose to recce the both the cycle and run routes for the Carlisle Duathlon (my first multidis event). I'm glad I did, I wouldn't have gone into it blind as a little prior knowledge helped me know where the hills where, pot holes, blind corners and which way the wind would hit me (which sections would be into a headwind etc)
I'm not recce'ing my next event (GoTri Cannock), except for maybe of google street view, because I can't get there before hand but I intend to actually ride the Cheshire Tri Cycle route prior to the event. to learn everything I can.
Even if there are hills difficult sections, I'm happier in knowing that I know whats coming.... not knowing whats coming and trying to pace it 'blind' stresses me.