A few years ago I did a 400km audax. I pretty much sucked at it, and was sick in a hedge. Here's a video I made at the time:
Skip forward a few years (five! it was five years ago already!) and I'm off to have a go at the famous and fearsome Bryan Chapman Memorial audax, which goes all the way from Chepstow to Anglesey, and then all the way back again. You get 40 hours. I may need them all. I may need more.
A lot has changed in that time. First I did my back in, and then I recovered and wanted to get back to fitness. Then the council in its wisdom decided to build a closed road circuit right near my house, and I started having a go at that. I sucked at racing too, so I spent a bunch of time trying to lose weight and get fitter, and I managed to struggle out of the fourth cats into the thirds, where I continue to languish. Anyway, the upshot of all that is that I'm quite a bit lighter and significantly fitter than I was five years ago. I've done plenty of longish (300+km) rides in the meantime, but never again attempted one that I couldn't reasonably do in the hours between sunrise and sunset. With maybe an hour or two of darkness at one end. This is a different beast.
I'm a bit apprehensive to be honest. Luckily I've got a couple of wheels to follow: Sometime road.cc contributor and ex neo-pro Liam Glen will be knocking about, as will Eleanor Jaskowska, both of whom have started the Transcontinental race, so this should be a walk in the park for them. I'm hoping they'll nudge me round. And nudge me when I fall asleep somewhere in Snowdonia.
Anyway, wish me luck. I'll post my Strava beacon on here so you can cheer me round, or commiserate with me when I end up in a bivvy bag in a hedge in the Brecon Beacons with legs that no longer function. Either way, we'll all learn something.
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.