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A bit further

I'm riding 650km in one go this weekend. Wish me luck.

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 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, 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.

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keninoz | 6 years ago

All the best from Australia for the big ride. I hope it goes well this time.

Aileen | 6 years ago

Treat it as 2 day rides with 400k on Saturday then grab 2 hours shut eye while it's dark, then  tell yourself it's only a 1/2 day ride on Sunday. Don't forget breakfast just to persuade yourself it is a new day. It worked for me although I admit I did fall asleep while riding 50k from the end. Thankfully bumping shoulders with the rider next to me woke me in time.

You'll be finished before the Bath CC club ride.    [laugh]

IanEdward | 6 years ago

Good luck!

I'm in 'training' for a 24hr 525km ride in September.

Am 6ft and 82kg, hoping to lose a couple more kg between now and then. Also working on my climbing as that is where my average speed suffers badly, and the biggest climbs on the route (Lang Way Doon) are about 200km in.

Out of interest, what sort of form where you in when you tried your first 400km? Why were you sick?


wycombewheeler | 6 years ago

If you can do 300km in the hours of daylight you should be clear of Snowdonia before falling asleep time. Reckon you should make kings (dolgellau) before midnight. The big difficulty will be loss of sleep if you haven't booked anywhere, because at that time you will only be allowed a bed for 2 hours at kings yha.

Good luck and enjoy. A beautiful ride with fantastic weather forecast this year.

Tailwind up headwinds back so remember the return leg will be slower.

Highpoints descent into machynlyth, beach at Harwich and Snowdon/llanberis.

PpPete | 6 years ago

Trick is to think only as far as the next control, none of the stages are more than 100km.

Ridden it six times - volunteering at Dolgellau control this time, looking forward to seeing all the riders come through.

Tass Whitby | 6 years ago

Good luck Dave! Just keep pedalling.

othello | 6 years ago

Good luck Big Dave!

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