South downs way BHF – First enduro – Advice

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  • South downs way BHF – First enduro – Advice
  • Premier Icon scaredypants
    Subscriber

    loads of threads on this, but would take some finding

    It’s pretty hard, though I did it on an unsuitable bike (Bullit), carrying ludicrous extra bits including a spare ST highroller and prior to it I’d never ridden over 70miles (and that was on road). I was moderately fit, at best – mind, I can’t remember the last 30 miles or so apart from the last descent.

    There’s a lot of relatively short climbs and descents (unless you live in the new forest, like us, when they’re towering monsters)

    There is virtually NO technically challenging riding but if it’s wet it can be very slippy (we were lucky, the 1st half was really muddy but the howling partial tailwind dried the last half out).

    Most people say the Eastern half is the hardest climbing (as I said, I don’t remember it). I definitely walked one or two stretches later on

    If you’re xc fit and it’s a nice dry day without a headwind, you’ll piss it but you’ll sleep well that night

    feisty
    Member

    The south downs way is made up of a lot of flint that rip up tyres if you are unlucky, I ride Hands Dampfs on my Mountain Uni and Nobby Nic Snake skin 2.25 on my XC bike which I find gripier but with a bit less volume than the Hans, it is also noticeably faster being a lot lighter which will help you on the hills

    There is a lot of sticky mud in the lowland/dips of the SDW which can relay pack up on your tyre so the wider Hand maybe a bit of an issue depending on how the trail dries out (not holding out much hope for summer this year lol) and your frame clearance

    The downs is all hills how difficult you class them is subjective to your fitness, I have been riding them for 22 years (god I sound old) and my normal weekend ride will be 40+ miles on my Single speed and I actively seek out the hills now. The biggest issue will be the weather, too wet and some areas bog out and make riding a drag and too slippy to ride up some hills and the hills / valleys channel the wind so a calm day can be very windy riding the ridge of the hills, if this is against you on the day it will feel like you are doing 300 miles.

    SO practice putting in the miles, put on some lighter (but armoured sidewalls) tyres NN SS 2.25s for example and eat lots of Jelly Babies 🙂

    This was what I had yeasterday on the Downs

    My customer WaltWorks 36ers cuts through the mud (Near Devils Dyke when it was not very wet)

    faz083
    Member

    ^I rode that exact spot not a few weeks ago and it was bone dry. How very fickle!

    ajt123
    Member

    Interesting points chaps. Mountain Uni = guts of steel I imagine!

    Looks like cley over flint. Tricky.

    When I went in August last year it was bone dry.

    Maybe I’ll take a mud tyre in the car and see how it goes.

    ajt123
    Member

    I’m doing the BHF 100 miler in July

    British Heart Foundation South downs challenge

    This will be my first enduro and I am starting to prepare for it.

    Other than riding my bike lots, do people have any particular training thoughts? I’ve read a few advice guides online.

    What about the South downs riding – I mostly ride North Downs and South Wales – how steep are they, any tips, or things to bare in mind?

    What would people say was the hardest climbing section? I want to do some of the harder bits to acclimitise.

    Lastly – tyres. I love my Hans Dampfs and think they’re the best all-rounders out there. Could I / should I try to get away with a faster tyre?

    Cheers

    Alex

    feisty
    Member

    Last weekend My bike came back with that lovely white/grey covering of dust and no bike washing required.

    The terrain is so changeable, the main double track sections with all the flint tend to hold up well wit the water training off, but the valleys with the muddy over chalk pools the water and turns to crap

    Premier Icon stimpy
    Subscriber

    Was on SDW at Winchester end on Saturday – it looked just like the pics up there ^^ and my bike/forks covered in just as much crud 😐

    2.25 Rocket Ron on the front and 2.25 Ralph on the rear.

    That ride I was mostly going sideways. Mostly.

    Van Halen
    Member

    i`m doing this as well. if you ride xc at all you’ll be fitter than me!

    prob going to get some of those nobby nics or something faster rolling if its dry.

    rode over to eastbourne from brighton the other week and the hills are pretty draggy but i did have a 19mph headwind! hoping it dries out a bit.

    i`ll bring a few jellybeans

    Premier Icon Ming the Merciless
    Subscriber

    If its dry and has been for a few weeks then a low grip summer tyre is fine. Bear in mind that flints will rip any tyre apart so take a good tyre patch with you just in case.

    The climbs at the Winchester end are gentle and from Amberley onwards they get more brutal, from Ditchling onwards on tired legs they can be will sapping. My personal nemesis is New Market hill between Lewes and Southease, oh the sniffles and huffiness that that caused will be long remembered.

    Weatherwise take sunblock/glasses and a neck shade if it’s going to be hot/sunny, the glare from chalk is evil. If it’s wet then chalk has all the properties of teflon and when you fall off the flints have all the properties of a scapel blade.

    I’m not selling this am I….

    For climbing practice try riding the Lewes to Eastbourne SDW section (you can then train it back to Lewes).

    Premier Icon stimpy
    Subscriber

    Oh – and thankyou OP, you reminded me to sign up for this!

    I’ll have flapjack. Lots and lots of flapjack. With peanut butter on. Mmmmm, peanut butter….

    mikey74
    Member

    No training advice but if you are doing it with someone, make sure they are at a similar fitness level to you: When I did it, one of the guys we were riding with was very slow when it came to anything uphill and by the end it got very frustrating.

    jmckee
    Member

    I did this event a few years back. As far as training goes just get out and work up to a few 60 or 70 mile days before the event and you’ll be fine. The steepest climb going west to east is just after Amberly but keep something in reserve because as others have said the last 30 miles has a good number of long hard climbs. Nothing ridiculously steep but with 70 miles in the legs it’s hard going.
    Best advice I can give is to google the location of the water taps and make sure you have enough food. The BHF guys organise it well but there aren’t many food stops so you need to have a plan. Energy bars and gels and pick a pub around the half way point for something more substantial.

    rewski
    Member

    As Ming said I would definitely give the last few hills a ride, Windover Hill and Bourne Hill with tired legs and high winds these hills can feel long and tough. Stunning 360 scenery though, I ride South and North Down Way a fair bit, they’re very similar eg chalky mud, SDW is far more flinty, and I mean small to huge sharp chunks that can rip a tyre and take chucks out of your frame and flesh.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    ^I rode that exact spot not a few weeks ago and it was bone dry.

    I tend to go round the muddy bit that the Unicycle is on. There’s grass to the left of the shot that you can follow around and rejoin the path about 100m further on.

    It’s so changeable though, a couple of dry days and a warmish wind and it’ll be concrete again.

    This bloke has rather obsessively photgraphed virtually every gate on the whole route. http://www.bikedowns.co.uk/ and also put loads of other info up on the site. Well worth following all the pages through on a quiet evening to get a very good idea of what you’ll see on the day.

    ajt123
    Member

    Some excellent advice there chaps.

    Especial thanks to wwass and Ming.

    Cheers

    Alex

    Van Halen
    Member

    interesting about the food.

    someone mentioned to me taking a light folding tyre as a spare if you are in a group. i`ve managed to slice DH tyres on flints so i dont think there is an escape for the unlucky

    also i`ve been told to treat it as an unsupported ride with a few stops rather than a supported trip as BHF dont provide much.

    Premier Icon stimpy
    Subscriber

    Yes, treat it as an unsupported ride. BHF only provide water (no food). And they often run out of water after the first two thirds of riders 😐

    Painey
    Member

    Regarding tyres on the SDW, I’ve run Nobby Nic Evo’s and Racing Ralphs without any problems and they have quite thin sidewalls. Even though there’s a lot of flint about I’ve never cut through a sidewall in many years of riding there.

    marvincooper
    Member

    If you have GPS with mapping I’d recommend taking it for the routefinding. If you don’t have one go for OS maps. If you get separated from the bunch like I did a couple of years ago it’s easy to miss a turning and go miles out of your way. The map they give you is next to useless. It’s a long day and it is much harder over the last 35 miles than the first 65! It’s a great ride though, just set off steady so you’ve something left in the tank at the end. Also if it’s your first 10 hour plus ride I’d practice what food and drink you are going to rely on in any long rides during your build up.

    Good luck and pray for a dry day and a following wind!

    Will_Lockie
    Member

    My advice is to ride the route (or at least split it into two over a couple of days) before the event, so you know the tricky bits – espec if you are riding on your own, and use GPS

    great link here from wwass on the most common mistake people make right at the beginning, guarantee you lots of shouting at this point every year! 🙂

    http://www.bikedowns.co.uk/1%20Winchester%20to%20Warnford%20NEW.htm

    rewski
    Member

    Well if it’s been a hot and dry July then I’d use a small block 8 rear and a slant 6 up front, maybe even a block 8 up front too.

    Premier Icon nuke
    Subscriber

    Will_Lockie mentioned common mistakes…I reckon this is another one soon after Ditchling:

    http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?x=536990&y=112550&z=120&sv=536990,112550&st=4&ar=y&mapp=map.srf&searchp=ids.srf&dn=795&ax=536990&ay=112550&lm=0

    The SDW goes sharp right down a narrow looking path heading south/south-west instead of through the big gate and rolling hill in front of you…very easy/tempting to just keep heading on east!

    Painey
    Member

    I agree that it’s easy to miss that sign just as you arrive at Blackcap. I go past it quite often but I normally go through the gate and take an immediate left down what is one of my favourite descents. 45mph with some massive jumps along the way, great fun in the dry!

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