Maxx Exposure SDW night enduro ride, write-up and report.

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  • Maxx Exposure SDW night enduro ride, write-up and report.
  • m0rk
    Member

    Nice write up. I wanted to do it this year, but was woefully undertrained (so didn’t bother!)

    Maybe next year.

    Did you get the bus they laid on?

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    Yes Mork, we did the bus both years… it’s an nice build up to the event… although it is very amusing when you’re nearing Brighton and you’ve been driving for over an hour and the sign says “eastbourne 24 miles”…

    You realise you have to ride all this back !!!!

    bedwasboy
    Member

    Great write up, it’s amazing what kept you going.

    DrP
    Member

    Ooof, sounds painful!!
    What happened – injury, or recent illness?
    Regardless, you finished which is the main thing! Out of interest, was th finish at QECP? Or was Butser involved?

    DrP

    allthepies
    Member

    Too much sugar based cr@p ?

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    Finish is a QECP, i don’t think we do Butser.

    Not sure what happened. Went out to IKEA in the morning with the wife to buy a wardrobe and felt a little pukey in her motor, i just put it down to being a passenger which is very rare for me and a uber bumpy road. I felt fine in all honesty up to and past Ditchling, it was all pretty effortless.. i just his the wall from there and not long after all the walls closed in and i was just in a world of despair. It did improve lots after CP3 in Cocking and loads of bananas, but i don’t believe i just ‘bonked’ because of lack of fuelling, i’d made sure i packed loads in my belly before ride and at the Checkpoints, so theoretically was just good to go.

    It’s funny on rides like this and you sort of go to your happy place, which for me was playing with my wife and little fella (4 years old) and in no small part my old man who died of cancer (as did the wifes dad). Both of these were massively influential as the ‘epics’ started out with the Afan Monster in 2010 which we completed for Macmillan cancer care, raising £1500 as my old man had died just a few months before. The memory of both of them was in no small part a great help.

    It’s also amusing thinking back to what goes on in your head, we met up with a STWer from another thread on Friday, Trevor, i must have sung in my head “knock me down with a feather, Clever Trevor” i have no idea if they’re the right words, or if not, but they were just ticking through my mind 4000 an hour LOL.

    Premier Icon weeksy
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    allthepies – Member
    Too much sugar based cr@p ?

    Potentially a facotr i would agree yes. The Checkpoints were loads of flapjacks, cookies,cakes, jelly babies etc. So yes, you’re just lobbing pure sugar down. Add that to shot blocks (which i never use, but did last night) and a couple of Clif carby type bars and yes, i’ve eaten about 4 tonnes of sugar and sod all else.

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    Well i know you’ve been waiting breathlessly for the report, but i needed some kip and recovery time before getting the strength to write anything.

    Met up with Crosshair for a good old chat on the way down to Petersfield and cracked on with signing on, finishing the bike, checkings, testing and lubing… Eventually Crust turned up and the terrible Trio were ready to rock and roll. Nice easy gentle start from Beachy head, lovely sun, a bit breezy but very nice.

    We cracked on at a fairly decent pace, enjoying the flats and minor inclines before our first trek down to sea level, laughing lots at Crosshairs bike struggling beyond words on the cobble descent, the V brakes and 1990’s coil spring making the down bits very hard for him. We ended up losing Crosshair about 5 miles later after my Giant threw a rear wheel puncture due to a massive thorn. So it then turned into a bit of a Weeky and Crust show for the next many many hours. Up to checkpoint 1 at about 21 miles or so i was absolutely on fire, climbing effortlessly, cracking on the decents and we had a lot more people around us compared to last year, we may have been near the back but there were many people who’d arrived only a few mins before us at checkpoint 1. The dark had now set in so it was full lights on time and the views were once again superb, looking over to Brighton and other towns/citiies is just mind blowing from up on the Downs at night. Making our way towards checkpoint 2 we were informed they’d move checkpoint 2 about an extra 5 miles down the course, but i was feeling good and happy still. This really is where the ride went rapidly to crap for me.

    I just lost all drive from my heart/lungs very rapidly, going from cruising along to thinking “jesus the old heart rate is working here” I’d filled up at Checkpoint 1 on both food and fluids and was drinking lots. The next few miles to CP2 was honestly a bit of a blur… each climb and descent just blurring into 1. The good news was the Ditching Beacon had been taken care of so that was one of the biggys out of the way thankfully. Taking the next couple of downhills and i’d lost it, i was losing ground to Crust and could barely hang onto the bike, even the pedalling between sections on the flat i was just rubbish and really hit a moment of pure darkness and despair in my mind. So it’s down to CP2 food station and i got off the bike and instantly lay down for 5 mins (concrete roads are cold BTW) and i’m looking at Crust and the only thing in my mind is “i can’t go any further, there’s nothing left at ALL”. I was honestly at breaking point and desperate to throw in the towel. Sadly (or happily) the big man Crust was still ready to crack on and get on with it, but i’d lost the plot. I went for a toilet break, i won’t bore you with the details but it wasn’t pretty lol. It was my 4th venture of the day which is obviously a LOT of trips for No 2’s. I’d puked just after that and dizzy as hell feeling like i could pass out any second. However, apart from “mate, i’m ****” that was as much as i was giving away to Crust and another random fella we’d picked up and were riding with.

    CP2 to CP3 was just an EPIC of endurance, effort, panting and dragging my sorry arse up the hills. Once again i’d stuffed myself with sugar based products like flapjacks and cookies and the miles just dragged and dragged and dragged. I’m still not sure how on earth we made it to CP3, each miles seemed to turn into 10 miles. The only plus side is that we turned up at CP3 and the first thing we noticed is that it was still dark !!!! We’d turned up at CP3 last year in complete daylight. A quick clock check confirmed it was 4.30am and we’d turned up at CP3 last year after 6am, we were about 1hr30 maybe 1hr 45 ahead of last years time. God knows how.

    From CP3 to the finish is just 13miles… However in the 13 miles there are 3 climbs that at this stage are get off and walk time. But the first one is just sould destroying, it’s a riding climb, but it’s about 2.5 miles out from Cocking up the hill… just climb climb climb. I’d filled up at CP3 with bananas, which seemed to ease the stomach cramps anyway, but didn’t do anything for the toilet issues, i thought bananas were supposed to bung you up !!!
    Riding to Finish i was estimating where we were and what time we would finish and set myself an internal goal of 7am. (Last year was 8.59am). We never quite made this, but we did complete the ride at 7.08am, which gave us a ride time of 12 hous 58 mins (approx timing). Considering we hit 14hr 31 last year i think we can both be VERY proud of this ride and acomplishment.

    Crosshairs finished about 40 mins before us, top ride and huge respect for the ride from him, he actually looked as fresh as a daisy… Although i think i’m giving him 10 years and Crust is about 22-24 years his senior.

    The event was over, a bacon and egg sarnie was thrown down, it was superb… really feel like it was truely deserved this time i have to say.

    I can’t finish this thread without putting a bike thanks out to the boy Crust. Without him i’d still be out now on the SDW crying like a baby and unable to ride. I amazed he never just shouted “shut up you whinging bastard” i’m sure i was moaning a lot. I would have without doubt pulled out at CP2 if he wasn’t there and i’d be sitting here now depressed, angry and unhappy. So Thank You big man… you’re a star.

    The Giant… well it was ACE again as usual. Although after CP3 i did snap a chain powering through a nice foresty singltrack, took us about 10 mins to link it up and get back on the trail (which would have helped out time). It also stopped working on the front mech, but looking i think the cable has just come loose so no tension for changing up/down on the front mech. I only fitted it for the rare drop onto the granny ring so it didn’t really come into play. I fried my rear pads and my front will need replacing, but that’s all par for the course on something like this.

    It really puts into perspective the difference terrain can make, last weekend was 60 miles of Ridgeway in 6 hours 25, today, 80 miles in **** forever …. the SDW rides like a 150 mile Ridgeway LOL.

    An epic epic day out…Well, night out.

    DrP
    Member

    It’s funny – I think for races you can ‘cope with’ simply chomping down plain sugary crap, but for >5 hour rides, personally I crave ‘normality’ in the form of more savoury meal plans!

    Weeksy, from the sounds of it you were a bit queer (retro speak, wahey!) in the morning – bug???

    DrP

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    a little Dr P, but apart from being a bit ‘fluid’ down there, i felt good as gold. Don’t get me wrong, i’m not making ANY excuses, i’m well impressed we made it in <13 hours. Although i must admit was hoping for much closer to 12hr 00. But i’m still very pleased.

    markwsf
    Member

    I did it as well, it was truly fantastic, the highlight for me was the 5 minutes I lost stopped watching an owl hunting just the other side of the hedge. Low point was between cp1 and cp2, the result if heading off waaay to fast then eating way too many gels, not a nice feeling!

    I’d really reccomend this ride, it’s just a fabulous night out

    Yes, a fabulous event and my 4th MaXx. It felt like numbers were a little down on previous years though.

    Conditions could not have been better. The chalk was dry, low cloud meant it was not too cold and there was even a tail wind. My fitness is lower than last year but my time was 15 mins faster.

    Premier Icon abatty
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    Great effort Weeksy. You didn’t look on top form when you were squatting (squitting?) at Amberley. Left you there and finished in 12:16 hrs – absolutely cream-crackered. Was just climbing into my bag when there was a big cheer as you finished – appreciate it can’t have been easy!

    What I took from the event was the superb waymarking that the team put on – although I did miss it at Pyecombe and ended up near Brighton! The organisation in general was first rate, including the breakfast sandwich at the end which went down sideways in one! What I would say is that I hadn’t done enough longer training rides (moving house, crap weather, family issues etc) which would have improved performance. Also 2×10 full-suss trail bikes aren’t ideal for the south downs – great coming down, not great going up (but I knew that from doing the SDW in a day last year). It was the first time I’d ever used lights mtb’ing and a superb experience, though it’s left me in bits. I’d recommend this event to anyone who wants a stretching challenge – but do accept that lots of your fellow competitors are quick and will be finishing from half the time I did…

    trevron73
    Member

    Well done Weeksy,You did a sterling job,Crosshairs was on fire,he really can move ,i bailed at checkpoint 1 ,i really was not fit enough so i quit while i was still sane as i reckon i would of cracked .I remember coming down a nice decsent and a sheep just lay there and i shouted “move are you crazy”? then realised actually the sheep lives here on the hill in the dark, and its me thats crazy, on the hill at night in the dark,I reckon it is a really well organised event thought ,and if your really really fit and a bit bonkers is a must ,congrats to all the finishers .

    As I was talking bikes and drinking tea at the finish I made a note of what the 7 fastest MaXx finishers were riding:

    Giant Anthem 29er FS with ENVE carbon wheels (6hrs 02, a new course record!)
    Trek 8000 26er HT. Completely stock bike, using SILVA Singletrack lights (6hrs 38)
    Giant Anthem 29er FS w’ Hope / Crest wheels (6hrs 44)
    Specialized 29 Carbon HT (I think) (7hrs 02)
    Scott Scale 26 Carbon HT (7hrs 33)
    ME! Kinesis Maxlight XCPro3 26er HT using SILVA Singletrack lights (7hrs 35)
    Meridia 96 Carbon 26 FS (7hrs 35)

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    Very interesting… I was on a Giant XTC29er and mostly standard… I’d bet if i was one the Anthem, i would still be 6+ hours down on him.

    Thing is, apart from my weight, i have no idea how i’d even begin to cut that much time off. I can’t even see how i could get down to 10.

    I’d like to think that with my climbing speed (when not crapping or puking) i’d be able to get down in the 11hour bracket. But apart from that, i’m at a loss.

    As may have been noted, i’m a big boy… not fat with a beer belly big, but just carrying too many Lbs overall. I’m just over 15st. So i guess the priority is to work on that and get down at least to a low 14 figure for 2013’s attempt at it.

    Premier Icon richP
    Subscriber

    Thought I’d post my write up of what I thought was a great night.

    Before the start everything was a bit of a rush. We pulled into the car park at Beachy Head and both the bus and truck had already arrived from QEP and most of the riders seemed to be going through their final preparations… Anyway after a couple of frantic moments, I quickly signed in, got changed and ready to go.

    I’ve done this event a few times now, normally with riding buddies from work. On the last two occasions I have finished just under 7 hours. This year my usually riding partners weren’t doing the event so I thought I’d try and push myself and see what kind of time I could achieve. I set myself a target of 6 and a half hours, and taped a schedule to my top tube with times noted to get to each checkpoint and a couple of major road crossings.

    Looking around on the start line I couldn’t see any of the familiar faces who normally seem to do this event or any big name riders (at least none that I recognised…). This meant that I ending up leading out the field. As I descended into Jevington there was only one rider (Chris..?) with me, we kept up a good pace as we made our way up and over to Alfriston and then on passed Firle Beacon, eventually arriving at he first checkpoint by the A27 together, 5 mins ahead of my schedule.

    Of the two of us I seemed to be having a slightly easier time up the hills and decided to push on up the steep climb up from the A27 and towards Ditchling… it’s all too easy to end up cycling along at someone else’s pace. As I reached Ditchling I could see a front light behind me although it was quite hard to judge how far behind, then as I descended into Pyecombe I could just see darkness behind. Then began the lonely part of the ride.

    The next section around Brighton I know well (I can ride some parts of it when I commute to work) and passed mostly without event. As I climbed up Truleigh hill I could hear a pfft, pfft, pfft from the back wheel. Blllx I thought and got off to have a look, however nothing. Both tyres still inflated and no signs of sealant… must have be the voices.

    As I climbed up towards Chantonbury I could start to feel the cramp builing in my legs, so I eased off slightly on the steeper bits and kept the wheels turning. I rolled into the second checkpoint by the A24 in just under 3 and a half hours, 20 minutes ahead of my noted schedule.

    I carried on up onto the ridge above Storrington, telling myself that there was one more big hill to go (the climb out of Amberley). Just before I started to descend into Amberley I saw some birds (the feathery type…) nestling down at the side of the trail. They seemed quite content to just sit there as I moved over to the side of the trail to pass them. That is until I was just in front of them, at which point they decided to take off. One of them brushed up past my handlebar and ended up on my lap, seemingly stuck between my body and arms. It flapped around for a couple seconds before finding a way out. I looked down expecting to see a big mess of feathers and bird-poo, but fortunately nothing, we both seem to escape unscaved…

    Even soft pedalling up some of the hills I remained ahead of my schedule. Some slow mental calculations as I passed Bignor Hill suggested that I might get close to a sub 6 hour finish time, I put my head down and pushed on; eventually arriving at the finish in a time of 6hrs 4mins according to my GPS (although the published time seems to be 6hrs 02mins) which beat the old course record of 6hrs 08.

    In the end I was probably carrying too much stuff. I hadn’t had to use any of the spare batteries (most of the time I ran my lights on the low setting, which is where having a remote switch really helps) and had eaten less than half the food that I was carrying in the camelbak.

    As silvashadow noted, I was riding my Anthem 29er modified from stock with a 1×9 drivetrain and reverb seatpost, all of which performed faultlessly.

    Amazing ride Rich, and a HUGE course record!

    It’s not for nothing we call you “Fast Rich”. Will Ian Leitch be back to try and reclaim his course record next year?

    So….. When’s your SDD ride then? 😛

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    Mannnnn, you need to do it a lot slower… yours doesn’t sound like half the adventure ours was 🙂

    Premier Icon richP
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    Indeed, the faster you do it, the easier it gets.

    Premier Icon weeksy
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    You mind if i ask how old you are mate ? Just trying to make myself feel better here lol

    Premier Icon richP
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    I’m a sprightly 36, weeksy…

    rich

    Premier Icon weeksy
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    Jeeeez only 5 years younger than me.. I have a LOT of ground to make up and absolutely no idea where to even begin with it LOL.

    Top riding mate… very impressed.

    Wow, great to have the new course record holder on here for some advice!

    Rich, you were right that the guy you were riding with was called Chris. Another training partner and hence the Silva lights he was running. He had a bad cold and trying to keep up with you can’t have helped… He lives quite locally so packed at the second feed.

    Great to read the feedback here and glad to see that everyone seemed to enjoy the event! It’s a bit of odd one to run as organisers (by the end of it all we’ve usually been awake for about 30 hours and are starting to feel a bit weird), but it’s pretty satisfying when it all goes right, and it’s quite unique too – I don’t think there’s another event quite like it on the calendar.

    I’d have to check, but I think Ian Leitch’s old record was 6h 21m, although that was in less than perfect conditions (everyone came in bitching about the head wind that night!), so Rich’s ride was really very impressive this year. So was Weeksy’s though, which is really the point of the event. As someone noted, numbers were down a little this year (not by much though), partly due to the lousy summer which has been affecting bookings this year, but also a little I think because we have tightened up our warnings and descriptions about the nature of the event. The MaXx is a really big ask (it’d be a huge ride in daylight!), and was always treated as such by participants up until three to four years ago, when we started getting a few problems with folks who seemed to think that just having the expensive lights was enough! We had to pick 20 people up off the trail one year (many of them young, fit looking guys with all the gear), just because they had had enough.

    So we started including sterner warnings in the event information, and included an event ethos; which is basically that you should only take on the event if you’re determined to finish. We’ve had no real problems in the couple of years since. And that is why riders like Weeksy always impress us as much as richP; because they’ve just finished a ride that would intimidate the hell out of a lot of riders. The time doesn’t really matter, just as long as you’re within the limits of the event. Maybe we should award a Lantern Rouge as a badge of honour! 😉

    crosshair
    Member

    A massive thanks to all you guys that organised it- it was only my second ever cycling event and I thought it was awesome.
    I was the guy on the heavy old GT who got lost!! I must say, for a complete newbie to the SDW, there were a couple of places where it was not intuitive in the dark and perhaps maps could be provided FOC for first timers ??? Anyway, I worked out on Google Earth that I did an extra 10miles so I was dead chuffed with 90 miles in 12h18m 😉
    Will definately be back next year with a bit more training (I’ve only been back into cycling 6 weeks) and a better bike (if only to avoid the mickey taking).
    Great fun 🙂

    There are a couple of places where the SDW isn’t that intuitive even in daylight! Would love to give out free maps (we do for the 40 mile loop), but useable maps of the whole SDW would work out quite expensive however we provided them, and would have to be factored into the cost. That’s why we prefer to offer it as an optional extra, so you don’t have to pay for it if you don’t need it. The Harveys map is a good, and durable item, a worthwhile addition to your map collection, not just for the event.

    Respect for doing it on the heavy old GT – anyone taking the mick was probably secretly overawed. 😉

    crosshair
    Member

    Yep ok, good point about the cost. To be fair, most of your way markings were excellent and that scotch bright shows up a mile away. Most of the indecisive moments I had, I was able to see lights ahead showing which way to go but I was completely alone when I got lost so that never helped. Having a browse on Google maps, its surprising how much of the route comes back to you. Hopefully i’ll have a chance to ride it in daytime somewhen before next year too.

    Premier Icon richP
    Subscriber

    Not sure how much useful advice I have silvashadow…

    I guess the key things would be:
    1) Don’t stop… or at least minimise stopping time as much as possible. It’s very easy to end up spending 5-10mins at the checkpoints unless you make a conscious effort not to.
    2) Try not to carry too much stuff but carry all you need to complete it. I would use the bag drop only for emergency stuff, if things are going quite to plan.
    3) Familiarise yourself with the route. Recce bits if you can, otherwise I found the following website useful to highlight any junctions that are not obvious. bikedowns website
    4) Enjoy it! It’s quite a personal challenge, don’t worry too much about what other riders are doing.

    rich

    The Beachy Head start of the MaXx is always cold and windy so I overdressed and then overheated as the route went inland and over some big climbs.
    The first hour of the MaXx has steady smooth climbs with loose, rocky downhills. Last year Rob Dean and other top riders punctured in the first few miles. I had read in Josh Ibbett’s account of his Downs Double ride that he steers to avoid flints and I found myself concentrating on this on the long descent to Alfreston.
    From the hour or so between the bridge at Itford farm to Ditchling beacon the SDW is mostly grassy fields and gates. In previous years I have sprinted out of the saddle between gates to make up time on the full-suss riders. This year I used the smooth sections to eat my sandwiches and spun a lower gear to look after my knees.
    From Ditchling Beacon through Saddlescombe and on to the River Adur the chalk paths can be a very fast surface. Last year the patches of wet clay under trees (beware the green chalk!) meant covering the brakes and skirting puddles but this year everything was covered in a layer of dust and I found I could ride as fast as I could pedal. On these sections my MaXxis Advantage tyres were making a roaring sound and I wished I had gone for something faster rolling. I stayed puncture free and upright so on balance they were a good, reliable choice.
    CP2 moved from Truleigh hill to Washington this year which didn’t sound like a big change in the race literature but it is a long way on the Downs. I ran out of food and drink and had to stop at the tap at the river Adur for some water and was overtaken by another rider. Next year I will pack an emergency Mars bar.
    At CP2 I had fresh batteries and food in a prepared bag. The section between Washington and QECP is very familiar to me but has some tricky ruts, corners and descents. To keep me awake and focussed I was running my Singletrack light on full power. It is listed as having 2.5 hrs battery on Max which I guessed would take me to around Harting Down. I had been saving the Pave helmet light by running it on flood so had enough light to get to the finish.
    At QECP I was 15 mins faster than last year and the 6th fastest rider on the night.
    The plan for next year is to get the clothing right, get a chain device for my 1×9 (dropped chain 3 times) and all the usual promises about eating less and riding more!

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