Following last year’s John O’Groats to Land’s End (JOGLE) cycle I’ve been itching to get back out for a really challenging ride. So while suffering those post adventure blues I dreamed up the answer to the perennial question “So, what next?”
So thought I would share how I am gearing up for my first cycling challenge of the year – 400 miles, from Dover to St Austell, in 40hrs. I’m not sure what I’m doing is technically bike-packing (I am, apparently, too soft to sleep outside) or can be called endurance cycling but its probably a bit more than simply going out for a ride.
Anyway, the essence of bike-packing is about comfortably travelling a long distance, which for me conjures the image of large panniers and a multitude of items for sleeping and cooking. That vision however comes with the inevitable drag of weight and a slower speed. So for me, when you want to travel somewhere in a short space of time you want to be strapping the least amount on the bike as possible.
First things first, why?
Building on from my first year of being active in 2017, I’ve set myself 4 challenges this year in order to push myself harder, further and faster in aid of Make-A-Wish UK.
Make-A-Wish grant magical wishes for children with critical illnesses and those wishes can make a massive difference, not just to the child but for the whole family. Wishes create incredible memories, build confidence and bring happiness and provide respite from the daily struggles that come with a critical illness.
Please, if you can, donate here – www.justgiving.com/milesforwishes
First things first where am I going and how I will I get there, well I’ve split the challenge in to two fairly even days (in terms of mileage);
Day 1 – Dover, Hastings, Lancing, Southampton and Poole
Day 2 – Poole, Bridport, Exmouth, Plymouth and St Austell
On the JOGLE Challenge I averaged 13.3mph over the course of the 9 days, so using this as a benchmark I should be cycling for around 15 hours each day. So this means that in order to crack the 200 miles a day I’m going to be setting off at 4am and hoping to finish by 8pm.
Day 1 has significantly less climbing, with only 3 major efforts at Dover, Hastings and Eastbourne, so I feel that this combined with fresh legs will make hitting my target speed hard, but not unachievable.
Day 2 I’m not so sure about…out of Dorset and into Devon and Cornwall its all just climbing, which is going to be sapping both in terms of energy and speed. I know on the JOGLE the constant uphill effort was incredibly demoralising, but then I had been on the bike for 7-8 days prior and it rained pretty much not stop. It will be what it will be and I will just have to get it done.
Equipment and Kit
As I said in the intro, this challenge is only over 2 days and I will be staying in a hotel overnight at the end of Day 1 and 2, and as such this gives me the opportunity to travel travel a little lighter. Here’s how i’ll be doing it;
Bike and Bags
Carrera TDF frame (aka the Iron Horse) and CES RC35mm carbon wheels
Restrap large frame bag – this bag has two sides, so in one I’ll stash everything I need for fast repairs – inner tubes, levers, puncture spots, mutli-tool and a small personal first aid kit. On the other side will be drinks sachets and more snacks.
Restrap medium tube top bag – the all important on bike snacks will be here, within easy reach.
Restrap Seatpost bag (8ltr) – this will carry the items I won’t need during the day, so toiletries, overnight clothes, chargers etc as well as some spares which will be on top and easily accessible.
Cateye lights (2 x front, 1 x rear)
GoPro Hero5 Session (Chest, helmet and stick mounts)
Assos chamois cream
2x 50cl water bottles
Clothes (On bike)
MYBIKEANDI Custom Miles for Wishes Jersey
DHB Aeron speed bib shorts
DHB Arm Warmers
Defeet Aireator 5″ socks
Bontrager Specter road shoes
Giro Foray helmet
BBB Winner cycling glasses
DHB Flashlight Hi Viz Vest
DHB Rain jacket
Clothes (Off Bike)
On Bike food
The guide is to consume 60g or Carbohydrates per hour apparently, so I should be carrying enough to cover 6-8 hours (360g of Carbs) of riding with the aim of buying real food on route.
2 x Active Root
2 x Carbohydrate drink
6 x Energy bar
2 x Torq Chews
3 x Soreen Mini Loaf
3 x Fig Rolls
2 x Gels
Breakfast will consist of oats and 2 shots of beetroot juice
I’ve planned the route using the excellent ViewRanger desktop application, from which I can download the route and have on my Wahoo Elemnt for turn by turn navigation. You can explore the route in more detail on ViewRanger here bit.ly/southcoastsprint
ViewRanger also means I have a backup should there be any issues but also means I’m able to use the excellent BeaconBuddy feature. This means you can find and follow mean live during the challenge – you just need to visit bit.ly/whereisguy
Having done the JOGLE challenge, cycling 950 miles over 9 days, I do feel I’ve got the legs to complete the challenge. More than that, this is about testing myself and getting some learning for the later challenges – the Pure Three Peaks (450 miles of cycling and 24 walking) and 5 Cities Challenges (1,000 miles in 5 days).
So, I’ve been using my indoor sessions to work on is increasing my endurance and aerobic threshold, so I can work harder for longer. I’ve combined this with just simply getting the miles in outside where I can.
So, that’s it really. It’s now simply a case of getting out there and just riding the bike. If my journey has in anyway inspired you please donate and support children facing life threatening conditions