Event Review

REVIEW: The Financial Times London Sportive 2014

by James Berresford

GB Flag

The Financial Times London Sportive

Distances: 166 km / 104 km / 48 km
Entry fee: £47 / £45 / £40
Start: Dulwich Park, College Road, London SE21 7BQ
Feed-stops: 3 / 2 / 1
Timed: Yes (Helmet stickers)
Signs: Clear, all hazards and junctions well signed
Roads: Some rough surfacing and gravel.

A big event for the big city, the Financial Times London sportive drew around 3000 participants over the three distances. The organisation was precision and support was always around but the ride was let down by a route where the last 25km were through bumper to bumper South London traffic, and close to £50 is quite a big ask for a ride over open roads that are easily accessible to most for the rest of the year. 

Mass start at Dulwich Park

Human Race are an experienced, large scale operator and they leave nothing to chance with the organisation. A race pack arrived in the post ahead of the event with numbers and disposable timing stickers so there was no worries about registration on the day. They make dealing with 3000 people seem effortless as riders were designated 5 minute start slots and asked to arrive before to take their place in a starting pen in Dulwich Park. Nothing more to do. 

When in the pen the announcer gave the usual safety briefing but built a bit more atmosphere than your usual event, fitting for an event of its size. 

Under starter's orders

The ride took Route One out of London from these parts: straight up College Road towards the TV mast of Crystal Palace and down Anerley Road. It isn't long at all until you're climbing Layhams Road into the beautiful open countryside of Kent. 

After a long gradual climb the route dropped sharp left into the valley before climbing again even higher up Beddlestead Road, before briefly joining the main road and taking a left to run along the top of the downs. 

Dropping down to the valley below I began to feel perhaps the organisers were a little too efficient in spreading the riders out on the road, as the wind really picked up on the open flatter sections and there wasn't a wheel around to share the effort with. 

Tough climb up Beddlestead

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Official Review

1. Feed Stops (correct foodstuffs and energy drinks, the right many, well spaced) 9 out of 10
2. Timing (correct and easy to use) 9 out of 10
3. Signage (Clear, concise, maps, profiles, route card) 9 out of 10
4. Facilities (HQ, Parking, Toilets) 9 out of 10
5. Support (Sag Wagon, Outriders) 9 out of 10
6. Friendliness / Professionalism (Sign-in, marshals, support) 10 out of 10
7. Website - ease of use (Online and postal entry, clear concise) 9 out of 10
8. The Course (Area of outstanding beauty/scenic, quiet roads, cleverly designed?) 6 out of 10
9. Would you recommend it. (Would you ride again?) 7 out of 10
Overall Rating 85.6%