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Oh Lordy!!! What have I done‽
Been thinking BHF South Downs Way next year, with London 2 Southend with my Son & another pop at L2B

Also toying with entering a team into Mountain Mayhem

Then the year after doing the London to Paris off road

But I wanna let my legs recover before I give it serious thought
Well done dude, some serious miles covered there. My buddy Clay 'won', he was the first to Brighton anyway.
Keep it foolish...
Cheers, very chuffed with myself & strangely my legs feel ok-ish today ...

Been for a nice 4 mile walk along Hastings Sea front today with the family to keep 'em moving.
Lessons Learned form L2B

Thought I'd compile this while it's fresh in my mind ... I know most of you here are past masters at this sorta thing but ya never know who's watching from afar or may ask for advice in the future.
  • Don't panic! - After worrying about not getting enough training and only riding ½ the L2B distance once, it turned out I was ok, the pain from sore arse and achy legs didn't get any worse after 50 miles and I don't think any amount of training woulda staved that off.

    Enjoy the training - I found closer to the time that my training became the all consuming thing, getting out and enjoying the delights of Bedgebury, Hadleigh, Afan etc all became more about 'Getting the miles in' than having fun and enjoying mountain biking. Just get out ... ride a lot and enjoy it, fitness will come.

    Food! - I had Cereal for breakfast, a banana on the way up there, another banana before the start, then in my pack I had:

1, Big Bag of Haribo split into 2 separate snack bags
2, About 10 home made flapjacks with mixed nuts
3, Another banana
4, A Snickers
5, A Jam Sandwich
6, 4 Energy gels
7, 6 Sachets of energy drink powder
8, 3l Camelbak Bladder
  • I thought my bag was too heavy and I was panicking about nutrition too much, but had no experience to fall back on ... Turns out I was almost spot on. There are food stops on the way, if you're happy to wait in the big queues and save the weight. Personally I preferred to carry my own grub and not queue or pay through the nose.

    The flapjacks were great to munch while riding
    The Haribos were nice to have and share around at the inconvenient stops, like the locks in Richmond & Shoreham (Morale in a Bag)
    The Sandwich, Snickers, Banana and a Flapjack were great at the lucnh stop (For me, 52 miles in at Southwater)
    The energy drink sachets were for replenishing my frame mounted drink bottle

    However, the gels were unnecessary weight -I've never used 'em before, don't feel like I needed them this time- maybe carrying one for "emergencies" woulda been enough.
    I was carrying too much water! I only needed to stop at 30 miles & 52 miles ... at 30 miles I had only drunk 1 litre so topped up and by 52 miles I'd only drunk 2 litres as well as my 500ml energy drink bottle.
    A better plan wouda been to save myself a Kilo and only carry 2l water in my Camelbak and start with a fully made up energy drinks bottle, then carry 3 more sachets to replenish once at 30 miles, again at 52 miles and carry one for emergency bonk-buster

    I only brought home 2 flapjacks and 1 snack bag of Haribos and about 100ml of water in my camelbak ... everything else was consumed

    Backpack - I got this right! I've got a Camelbak Mule and it's extremely comfortable and even though I was carrying too much weight, it was never an issue for me.

    Morning Chills - If (like me) you wanted to start early in the morning, be prepared! It was 5°c at the start and there was a lot of hanging about and queueing. I had a simple, light pak-a-mac which was enough to keep the chills off and the wind chill off at the start, then about 10 miles into the ride, there's a lock gate where you MUST dismount, which provides and ideal opportunity to remove the jacket as you'll now be plenty warm enough. But then, if you have a mechanical/medical/crash, or just stop you've got a layer to put on before you lose too much body heat.

    Spare tubes - Although I was lucky enough not to get a puncture I must've passed at least 70 people in the process of changing/repairing innertubes. I ran tubeless & carried 2 tubes under the premiss that I'd rather be looking at them than looking for them.

    Tyre pressures - I took advice from many sources of internet wisdom that all said to pump your tyres up nice & hard to reduce rolling resistance ... Although the theory seems sound, I won't be doing it again. I pumped mine up to 45psi from my usual pressure of 30 and all it did was make the bike unpredictable on the rooty, rough singletrack bits, scary on the downhills and turned the flat & long Downs Link Path into a washboard effect of arse killing proportions.

    Tyre choice - I saw all sorts, probably the worst idea was those who were running hybrid tyres, especially on the downhill runs and mildly technical parts where people running them became mobile road blocks and were oblivious to the problems and queues they were causing behind them.

    First Aid - Although the event was well attended by a private ambulance firm they were mostly to be seen at the water stops filling their faces, very few were out on the route. Take along a small first aid kit. I just had a few dressings, plasters, a bandage, and triangular bandage and a foil blanket.

    Mechanicals - Again, there's good mech coverage at the water stops, but you will need to at least be able to do the basics yourself ... take a multi tool!

    Conserve power - My Garmin died en-route while waiting at the Shoreham Lock. My own fault, I forgot to turn off the annoying beeps, bluetooth, WiFi and Glonnass coverage which all use battery power and are not needed. Plus, I was unaware of the waiting time before getting going so turned on my Garmin about an hour too soon. Turn off any unnecessary features and only turn it on once you move into the safety brief part at the start. Also pack one of those little lipstick sized power stick things for your phone ... if like me you like to take selfies and give facebook updates to your many fans, you'll use a lotta battery. My mate uses an app called Cyclemeter which anables fabebook friends to track your progress in real time. Hanbdy for friends & family who are interested or waiting to pick you up ... but again it uses power.

    Pre-ride service - I could not believe the amount of people I saw who within the first 20 miles had issues with shifting and other simple mechanical issues. Check your bike, service your bike or get it serviced before you turn up.

    Clothing - I toyed with the idea of wearing my Sports Direct cycling top that had XC/Roadie style pockets across the lower back, but I prefer my Endura MTB top with ¾length sleeves. I shoulda worn the Sports direct top ... If I'd kept some flapjacks & Haribos in those pockets it would have been a lot easier to munch on the move than faffing about with the leg pockets on my shorts.

    Enjoy it! - I found myself getting a tad annoyed at times by the ineptitude of a lot of riders, blocking paths, dismounting to cross a small puddle, congregating in impassable moving roadblock groups, being unable to negotiate a simplest of obstacles and pushing uphills in impassable groups stopping you from riding past ... just remember you're all there raising money for a good cause and it's supposed to be fun.

Kit List
With what I've learned from yesterday here's what I'll take next year:

Water ... 2l in Camelbak (There's plenty of water stops to top up en-route at 8, 15, 20, 30, 40, 52, 57 & 66 miles)
Small first aid kit
Multitool (with chain splitter)
Innertubes x 2
2 Tyre levers
3 Satches of energy drink powder
Chain links
Zip ties
Jam Sandwich
Flapjacks X 6-8
2 X Tenners wrapped around a cash card (Just in case)

On the bike
Bottle cage with 500ml energy drink (top up from backpack at waterstops)
Garmin/Phone/other GPS Thingamy

I hope that helps someone, I know I'll revisit it myself next year.
Great write-ups. Well done on the ride. It's a great feeling to finish something like that
Cheers, yeah it was great. Surprised myself at the finish. Up until then I'd been mucking around, laughing & joking with my mate, but as I saw my family waiting to see me cross the finish line I got all choked up! Nearly blubbed!
Well done Jonboy, good writeup. I'm tempted to do something like that again, but as you say it gets a bit annoying with all the hold ups on every technical bit ruining the fun! Best tyres i'd say is Shwalbe Hans Dampf on the front and Rock Razor on the back. The RR is a semi slick, but it's amazing how much grip you get in the mud, i've still got mine on after 3 or 4 muddy rides and have no intention of changing it yet, and it is very fast rolling. You eat a lot of food, don't think i'd eat half of that!
Treehugger Wrote:You eat a lot of food, don't think i'd eat half of that!

Haha, yeah... I s'pose my lack of experience shone through there. I had no idea what to expect but the overwhelming advice was

"Eat before you get hungry & drink before you get thirsty"

So I did & I think it helped.
Treehugger is fibbing. He'd have guzzled that before the start Wink
Keep it foolish...
Saves carrying it I s'pose :lol:

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