South Downs Way Double in 24 hours. How hard can that be ?
Just vague ideas and daydreaming at the moment.
According to http://www.southdownsdouble.net/index.html only 12 people have done it and apparently only 2 of the 7 who have attempted it so far this year have succeeded.
It’s a long way to travel for me, so I’d want to be reasonably sure of success before trying, by doing a few all day epics nearer home first.
So, a question for those who know the area and route.Posted 10 years ago
What are the chances of someone who rode 180km in 12 hours at Bristol Bike Fest or 238km in 24 hours at SITS, riding the 320km with 3900m of climbing of the SDW in 24 hours ?
Nothing to it ?
A bit more training required ?
Forget it ?
You’re a mental for even thinking about it, but good luck to you mate. You’re probbly the type of person who could achieve it actually. I’ve seen your thousand yard stare at Mayhem… 😯
And if you decide to go ahead, ittud be an honour and a pleasure to join you for at least part of the journey.
Do it for charidee? Bulheart?Posted 10 years ago
If it was a given would it be worth doing?
You’re probably in with as good a chance as anyone but bear in mind that if you do it ‘alpine style’ you’ll have to carry 24 hours worth of nutrition and rely on the available water supplies on the route.Posted 10 years ago
I managed it this year, so anyone can do it! No really, I’m not joking. Please feel free to contact me if you’ve any questions. I live in North Wales, so not being being local wasn’t a factor.Posted 10 years ago
Yeah, if I knew I could do it, it wouldn’t be a challenge, but then I don’t want to drive 130 miles to waste my time attempting the impossible.
I did 5000m of climbing at SITS and it’s the climbs that really knock me back.
Would the 1100m less climbing on SDW equal an extra 80km though. Carrying a backpack as well if unsupported.
There’s some very useful information here, http://www.southdownsdouble.net/routeinfo.html
Looks like I would never be more than 13 miles from the next water.
I know how much I eat during 24 hour solos and it would easily fit in a backpack.
It would be good to have some company on sections of the ride.Posted 10 years ago
I hadn’t really thought about sponsorship. It’s more of a personal challenge to me.
as a local and having ridden it in a day i would think that an alpine attempt really needs a scouting mission first (could tie it in with training);
Some bits of the route are tricky (gps would help) but some of the taps are tricky to find. Indeed one i have never found?!Posted 10 years ago
Well I’d be happy to ride long for some of it, and support you on your quest, Graham.
And as for the charidee thing; folks could just bung a couple of quid into the Bullheart Justgiving page, and mention your endeavours. Up to you of course though mate. Seems too good an opportunity to waste mind!
And let’s see if we can’t get a support crew going for you, if you want. I’m sure plenty on here would be only too happy to help you out on such a monstrous challenge.Posted 10 years ago
Where are you getting your figures from? According to http://www.bikedowns.co.uk/Profile%20All.htm there is 3553m of climbing W-E and 3611m E-W.
I have done Winchester to Brighton and Brighton to Eastbourne, you need to be used to riding long hard climbs.Posted 10 years ago
The wind can also be a real factor. I think most of those who have failed have done so due to this fact.
It normally blows from the Southwest so if you do it as most people seem to from West to East to West then you’ll have it in your face for the return leg. Not nice 🙁
Good luck if you do try it. Personally i can’t think of anything more boring than riding the SDW all day but each to their own 😉Posted 10 years ago
as above – it’s about 12000ft of climbing each way – there’s not much just ‘going along a flat bit’Posted 10 years ago
Looks like I would never be more than 13 miles from the next water.
don’t bank on that. some taps get vandalised. others stop working. some have disappear.
i’m not sure of a tap between winchester and cocking either. 30+ milesPosted 10 years ago
Is it essential to you that you do it alpine style in the conventional way? If not you could park along the route and do it in 2 loops meaning you wouldn’t have to carry as much stuff. You could choose a halfway point or you could choose a point where you have a long loop which stretches you but you’re confident you could do and a smaller loop to complete the whole thing if you feel up to it. You could do from South Harting to Eastbourne and back which is the original route and then do the Winchester extension and return.Posted 10 years ago
I’m a local (Brighton), have done it one way and would like to think I might have a go at the double one day (when I grow up)… I saw you going round (and round and round) at SITS and I think if you can do that for 24 hours then already you have the mental (and posterior) toughness to do it!
As above, the elevation gain isn’t 3900m for 320km, it’s twice that – about 25,000ft in total!
Good luck if you decide to go for it, it would be a fantastic achievement. I definitley think a scouting mission would be massive help to the endeavour. I’d try it one way in a day and see what time you can do – that should give you a pretty good idea of the terrain, tap locations and how you’d fare on the return leg.
Taps: Don’t think there’s a tap between Winchester and Cocking but if the QECP visitor centre is open when you pass, you can fill up there. Vandalism isn’t too bad on taps – the only one that seems to get broken regularly is the one at Botolphs and that’s only useful on the way back (you dont’ want to fill up there and then carry all that water up Truliegh Hill when there’s another tap at the top!)Posted 10 years ago
Do it!! It’s not a technical singletrack fest, but it is so pleasing to cover the distance. I did Eastbourne to Winchester earlier this year and agree totally with thomthumb above – scout it first. When you get tired (and in the dark will be worse) it can be easy to get lost. Your average speed will be high due to the smooth and hard surface (if it’s dry!) and so missing a signpost is very easy.
Buy the SDW Harveys map (waterproof and durable) and get familiar with all the main areas.
Beware of taps also as they don’t all work. There are plenty between Amberley and Eastbourne but a lot less in the west.
I’d suggest doing this:[/url]Exposure SDW night enduro. It’ll get you started in your training and you can tick off that section of scouting. Then in early spring head down and do Winchester to Eastbourne, perhaps starting at lunch time and finishing in the dark?
Then smash it in May when trails are hard packed and dry.
Best of luck – please email if you want more advice or enthusiasm for this challenge!Posted 10 years ago
Whoops, that’s my first setback, I didn’t read it properly. 😳Posted 10 years ago
I got the figure of 12700ft from http://www.southdownsdouble.net/routeinfo.html and rounded it up to metres.
Despite the site being called southdownsdouble that figure is for one way. 😕
7000m of climbing puts a whole new perspective on it.
I’m beginning to think this could be beyond me.
avdave2 – you can do it how you like – I think most people follow the ‘norm’ as it defines the challenge more clearly and gives them a basis for comparison.
Having a helper follow the route and hand out water/food is fairly common and having mates come along for a bti and do the gates for you is another – they both move away from the ‘alpine’ ethos but it’s a personal challenge as much as anything so no reason not to do either.Posted 10 years ago
From your other endurance “results” it would appear that you are in the ball park for ability surely, with enough lee way to still make it a challenge. Personally I’d still want to attempt it one way just to get the lay of the land. I can’t imagine that just turning up without any experience of the area would help you to achieve the desired effect. If you just simply wanted to ride “there and back” for the hell of it with no time constraint you surely could, but I would imagine some sort of reccy is required before attempting the double in 24hrs, especially if you do have to end up doing it with no support.Posted 10 years ago
i’m not sure of a tap between winchester and cocking either. 30+ miles
There is one at the back of the cafe in the QE park. It’s round where the bins are! I had to ask to find it.
The only tap I know isn’t working at the moment is the one at Beeding.Posted 10 years ago
I’m also happy to hook up for a session. Have been longing to find the time to do the SDW in a day – there’s no way I’d attempt the double. That is proper nutjobville.
Like others have said, there are plenty of sections where you can easily miss a turning. And heading 1 mile downhill in the wrong direction means climbing back up.Posted 10 years ago
Thanks for all the replies, advice and offers of help.Posted 10 years ago
This is still a long term daydream for me. It definitely won’t be this year.
I like the idea of starting in the middle and doing it as two out and back loops. That way I would only need to carry lights and warm clothing for the half where they’re needed.
I’ll do a few local epics first to get the feel of riding long distance unsupported.
If I get to the stage where I think I’m in with a chance, I’ll drive down to the midway point one Sunday, then see how far West I can ride in 6 hours before turning round.
Do the same to the East another Sunday, then see if I still think it’s a realistic goal.
+++1 on reccying it. Having done the Pennine Bridleway Double, I reccied it on 2 occasions, plus knew the Mary Townley Loop very well anyway. As others have said, when you’re tired and it’s night time you need it handed to you on a plate, you do not want to have to think.
There’s also a big difference between lapping 24h races (going past pits every hour) and doing a ride into the wilds up to 100 mile from home, often without access to water or food.
I carried 9000 calories with me and used most of it. Pack it into your pack + water and see how it feels.Posted 10 years ago
yep dont underestimate the mental stimulus by riding in groups/near other riders
ive done 24s , silly long audaxes and even fairly silly long solo road rides
WHW with its gates and stop start push nature coupled with a lack of mental stimulus **** with my head.Posted 10 years ago
I don’t think you’d manage. I’ve done Bristol 12 a few times but have only done one 24 hour race and I didn’t get anywhere near double my 12 hour distance. And I’ve done the one-way SDW once and found that hard enough that I know there’s absolutely no way I’d have managed the double.
You need to have recc’ed the route anyway to find out where the taps are so you may as well use that to see out how hard one way feels for you.Posted 10 years ago
It is strange but what the above guys are saying is true – it can feel “lonely” and “wild” although London is just over there and there are always people just a few miles away.
When I did it I had a few panic moments of “have I got enough food?” or “what if I rip a sidewall and wreck my last tube?”!! All cured in a minute remembering that you’re not in Alaska but the feeling of being on your own is in your mind a lot. That was part of the enjoyment. It’s also great to turn round on Cheesefoot head, the last hill, and look back along the ridge and know you’ve gone 100miles from Eastbourne. That’s a good feeling.
I did run out of food with 20 miles to go but a really nice man gave me a pack of Dextro energy!!Posted 10 years ago
200 gates I think, if you are doing it both ways!Posted 10 years ago
done it one way almost killed me, but im a bit fitter now and have a lighter bike.. if you want some one to ride along let me know, do you mind if we stop every few hours so i can have a bong or two.. and maybe some ciderPosted 10 years ago
From a driving to it perspective Washington sits on the A24 & is about 1/2 way – so the easiest mid way point to get to I’d think. If you wanted to go for the double loop from the middle.
Yep do the West loop first as most think the climbs are harder.
It’s interesting to note the route is a there and back route whereas at Eastbourne the SDW actually does a loop at the end. So just bear it in mind when look at the signposts (particularly if tired).Posted 10 years ago
Good point about the solitary nature of it, alanbill99.
I find, when riding 24s, having someone shout “Go Vegan” to me at least once a lap and knowing I can come back to my tent and deck chair at the end of every lap for a sit down and some food if I need to is a big help.
Being on my own miles from anywhere with only what I’m carrying to eat and drink would be very different.
I started this thread to see if it was a realistic goal.
I still don’t know if it is, but I’ve got a few ideas now on how to work up to it.
So, my very loose training programme is;
1. Do some 12+ hour epics from home.
I’ve ridden 12+ hours and I’ve ridden with a loaded backpack, but never both at the same time.
2. Recce the route. Drive down there and ride it in sections.Posted 10 years ago
I did two seperate reccie trips from North Wales for my SDD. First time camped at Washington and did two days of out and backs to cover 99% of the route. Next trip I stayed at Winchester and again rode an out and back. I thought it important to know the night section well. I had no GPS and to be honest, it’s so well signed and well worn, I wouldn’t bother. As far as training, I got my bike in March and completed it in July. The longest mtb training ride was approx 13hrs. Have faith in your ability and if you want it enough you’ll do it. Simples 😀Posted 10 years ago
This was effectively my 8th SDWiaD trip since 2004.
I had two attempts at the double in 09, my best attempt involved woosing out after 15 hours / 130 miles; – Ebo – Amberley & Amberley – Winch – Cocking
Some of the signage is pants in daylight and having chugged along there at night, in fog, trust me, a GPS is worth it’s weight in gold.
Aside from various 6 – 12 hour bimbles on the SDW I’ve only done the Marin D2D as a race so can’t comment on how riding a 12 or 24 hour event would prepare you.
The isolation actually appeals to me though there are some spooky mofo sections at night so I’d defo recommend taking some music with you.Posted 10 years ago
I’m also seriously considering this. I want to do some big rides next year; LEJOG in 5 days, a 24hr event plus a few other longer rides in preparation for the TD the year after.
I’m planning on hopefully doing it one way before the end of the year. From what I’ve read, a cyclo-x bike might be a better bet than my 26’er xc bike – a 29’er would be the best of both worlds.Posted 10 years ago
No offense intended, but I don’t think you’d manage it in 24 hours. I suspect you’d manage it (assuming no mechanicals etc), but not in 24 hours. More than 50% more than you achieved at SiTS, on (significantly) more demanding terrain. Unless you felt you were cruising at SiTS that’s a massive massive jump.
A very very fit friend (elite XC racer with top 24 solo experience) did one of (if not) the first doubles with a friend, before it became fashionable, did it supported, and still was just outside 24 hours riding, let alone faff time. Admittedly I think he’d admit they weren’t going absolutely balls out, but it’s a big effort.Posted 10 years ago
I think you’ll be fine, what with yuor 12+hr marathons and all that. It’s mainly fast rolling stuff, some hard climbs granted but it’s easy enough IMO and I’ve done it 3 times now (one way only mind)
I’d leave the lycra at home though.Posted 10 years ago
Another account of a double here.
I reckon go for it but don’t worry about the time. Sure it would be nice to say you have done it in 24 hours but is that really important? It would be a real shame to do it and then think you’ve failed because it took you longer than a 24 hours. If you set off with just riding it non stop as the goal then if you make it you’ll feel brilliant and will still have achieved far more than most of us ever will.Posted 10 years ago
Just going back to Daisy Duke’s mare of a trip and hearing how he did finish after all the probs he had in the first 5 hours, I felt even more of a woose for bailing with some minor ailments.
If I keep my fitness up over this winter, I will have another go next year, just to prove a point to myself.
Oh and the SDD website is out of date. I know a local chap who did very well in the National 24 hour road TT event in June and then 3 weeks later finally cracked doing the double.Posted 10 years ago
avdave2’s point is spot on. I had every intention of completing it within 24hrs, but there are so many things that conspire against you along the route that it would be a shame not to give it a try. Better to complete, than not to try at all. Sure I’ll I’ll have another crack at somepoint, but I need to hatch a plan for 2012 first!Posted 10 years ago
As a tester why not plan a weekend away staying at Truleigh Hill YHA .Posted 10 years ago
Its almost the middle in terms of distance, but abit nearer Eastbourne.
On Sat afto ride out for 3 – 4 hours East, then double back on yourself. R & R at YH overnight , then Sun am ride West for 3 – 4 hours , then return and head home.
You will have covered most of it by then , and by doubling back learnt the gates / hills / junctions better than just a one way ride.
Its a horrendous effort to get to one end , then turn round .
There was a write up of a rider on here who got caught out in the rain , whilst starting a SDD and ended up hypothermic in Amberly Station. I cant find it just now though
Found it.-Posted 10 years ago
Half way down ish
I’d leave the lycra at home though.
Huh? Why? It’s the most appropriate clothing for the job!Posted 10 years ago
Graham; even if you don’t go for the double inside 24 hours, if you’re going to do it, I’ll still support you mate. In fact, I can pretty much guarantee you us Soft Southern Shandy Drinkers will be on hand throughout the route to ride along, bring you sustenance and generally give support.
Do it for Bullheart and you won’t want for helpers, trust me. Plus, you’ll be a legend.
I have every confidence you can do it mate.Posted 10 years ago
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