In July I was due to set off on the London – Land’s End – London Audax – another event, as well as the whole Audax and racing calendar, suffering as a result of Corona virus this year. Time to adapt…again.

I’d been looking forward to this one, and at a 1000km over 3 and a half days, it was going to be a great test of my growing endurance capabilities. Experience-wise, It would be a crying shame not to at least try this in some form. So, with the easing of lockdown restrictions (specifically hotels being allowed to open) has made this a more realistic challenge to complete as a DIY, self-supported challenge.

In this blog I wanted to share a little with you about how I’ll be taking on this 970km journey from the Capital to the Sea.

Itinerary

More important than the where, its the how – well more specifically, the what. So here’s what I’ll be wearing and taking on this 3 day solo adventure.

What I’ll be wearing

Kit grid – while it looks cool, for me its an essential step to make sure I cam check I’ve got everything
  • Wahoo Tickr heart rate monitor
  • Dhb Lightweight mesh sleeveless base layer
  • Dhb Aeron Ultra bibshorts
  • Dhb Aeron Ultra Jersey
  • Socks (plus 2 spare pairs)
  • Sunglasses (Dark and Clear lenses for day and night riding)
  • Giro helmet and Veloskin Casquette
  • Lake shoes – I’ve been wearing these on longer rides to allow space for my feet to expand in to the wider toe box
  • Aftershokz bone conducting headphones – I’ll be listening to a range of music and podcasts to keep the mind occupied while I’m riding through the night. The beauty of these headphones is that they are not in-ear, so I can still hear the traffic etc. around me.
  • Velopac ridepac – In my jersey pocket I’ll have this waterproof pack to carry my phone, keys, card and money and a spare quick link
  • For protection on the ride I’ll be packing sachets of Veloskin’s Chamois Cream and LifeJacket’s 50+ suncream – both gamechangers in my opinion.

Should the weather turn against me I’ll have the dhb LAB Equinox arm warmers, and should it get really wet I’ve got a pair of Velotoze overshoes and the dhb Aeron All Winter softshell jacket.

On the bike

I’ve been using the bags from Restrap since I started my bike adventures and have found them to be excellent, waterproof and damn sturdy. They will be with me once again, carrying all the gear I need to ride self-supported.

On the bike itself I’ve got my Wahoo Elment, the JRC Components mount I’m using has a built in mount underneath for my GoPro as well, and Cateye front and rear lights.

My Grupetto fitted with the various bags to carry what I’ll need for the challenge

Seatpost bag – I’ll put everything not immediately required during the days riding in my seatpost bag, so toiletries, a couple of extra spare inners, my rain jacket and a few extra bars and drink sachets.

Top Tube bag – will be for my powerbank, cable and a few bars – the things I need close to hand.

Frame bag – The frame bag will be used to hold spares on one side – an inner, mini-pump and multi-tool, and on the other will be ride food, bars and drink sachets.

Nutrition

For me this kind of challenge is going to hinge on staying well fed and hydrated. The added complication for me has, in recent years, been the battle with my IBS.

For that reason I always start with real foods where I can – so I’ve prepped some bars (Eat Race Win) and pizza rolls (Feedzone Portables), which I’ll supplement with Tribe and Clif Bars, Clif Bloks, High5 Zero tablets and a High Carbohydrate Drink mix (think homemade SiS Beta Fuel).

An idea of the food and drink portions I’ll be carrying with me during the challenge

Riding through the Sunday Night and Monday is going to be a tough ask on the body, so I’m going to need to find ways to keep myself alert and awake, without suffering. Too much coffee and sugar and my body, and my IBS, will crash. So I’ll be taking some of Mission Perform: Lemongrass and Mint – I’ll drop a tea bag in one of my bidons, for a milder, more sustained caffine hit as I ride.

Once off the bike, I’ll be boosting my recovery with a couple of drinks, straight off the bike I’ll have a serving of Reflex’s plant based protein and the later in the evening I’ll have a Mission Recover: Rooibos Tea as its great for soothing muscles, reducing inflammation and promoting calmness.

In terms of nutrition, everything I’m using I’ve been using for months now so I know it works and won’t affect my stomach – the last thing you want is to introduce something new and find it negatively affects you when you are miles from home!

Route

Ok, so as you will have noted from the title of the blog this is the London-Land’s End-London (ish) challenge – ish because I’m not actually setting off from the Capital. I’d originally planned to follow the draft route we’d been sent by Richard as part of the build up to the Audax event. However, I figured it made no sense to get the train in to London only to cycle back out in vaguely the same direction again. So, I’ve created my own amendment to the route, leaving from home.  What this has meant is that I’ve lost around 25 miles from the original Audax route but gained more back in climbing – you win some you lose some.

The basic route plan / itinerary is this;

Sunday 8pm – Monday

  • 243 miles, 14,000 ft climbing
  • Dinton (Home), Swindon, Taunton, Exeter, Tavistock and St Austell

Tuesday

  • 186 miles, 13,000 ft climbing
  • St Austel, Land’s End, Newquay, Launceton and Exeter

Wednesday

  • 166 miles, 6,000 ft climbing
  • Othery, Trowbridge, Swindon, Dinton (Home)

In terms of how close to the Audax route I’ll be riding – I’ve created my own route up to Exeter, I’ll then follow the Audax route from Exeter to Land’s End and back.

This is going to be my longest multi-day ride to date, so I’m approaching it with a mix of excitement and nervousness. I’ve ridden 230 miles in a single ride before, however that wasn’t solo and it had only half the evaluation gain. Providing I can ride through to Monday morning and my breakfast destination of Taunton Deane Services, I’ll know I’m going to be fine.

Wish me luck!

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