“One hell of a rollercoaster” and “by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done” – that was ultracyclist and road.cc contributor Matt Page’s verdict on his epic London-Edinburgh-London ride last week that saw him finish as the first cyclist home in the 1,525km Audax event, which he completed in a time of 67 hours and 10 minutes.
Posting a video to YouTube shot from the saddle during his ride, Matt said: “The event is something I have wanted to do for years, and had entered pre-COVID and the event had been postponed a year for that reason.
“My personal aim was to push my body and see how I would react and cope over multiple days. I know my single-day endurance is good but I have not attempted a multi-day day event with limited sleep.
“A truly incredible experience, although it was certainly a tough few days on the bike.”
The event – a long-distance challenge for rider and bike alike, rather than a race – saw more than 1,000 riders head out from northeast London at 5am on Sunday 7 August with the route taking them north towards The Wash.
Riding with others over the flat opening 200km, Matt found himself alone at the front of the race by the time he’d gone over the Lincolnshire Wolds and he would stay there all the way up to the halfway point in Dunfermline before turning round for the journey back down south.
By the time he was approaching Carlisle, the combined effects of the hills he’d been tackling through the north of England and the Scottish Borders, sleep deprivation and problems eating and drinking were starting to take their toll and Matt almost sacked off the ride to take a train home.
A power nap later and he was back on the bike and continuing his journey back to London, arriving a little after midnight on Wednesday morning after battling with “baking” heat and, in the Fens, “crazy” headwinds, as will as blisters on his hands – gloves are something Matt says he would use if he undertook the ride again, though he said his bike set-up was “perfect.”
We’ve reported before on some of Matt’s mammoth rides, including polishing off the Rapha Festive 500 in 18 hours on Christmas Eve 2020, raising thousands of pounds in the process for the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young – you can read his blog about how he did it at the following link.
And earlier this year, Matt broke the Guinness World Record for the most castles visited in one day by bike – 67 in all, despite his attempt coming in a week in which the UK was battered by Storme Dudley and Eunice.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.