South Downs Way Double in 24 hours. How hard can that be ?
A friend of a friend did, until recently, hold the the record for SDW each way in under 24 alpine style. He’s a rep for ‘dale, cx and road racer and all round bloody nice guy. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind if you gave him a shout – @cottydale on twitter – if you tweet. I also know @johnmcfaul and @james_bowthorpe aborted an each way attempt earlier this summer and might be worth asking.
It’s certainly possible, but it’s bloody tough. Me, I’m psyching myself up for a one way in two day attempt! But, then I saw you sprint past me many a time at Erlestoke – I was pretty much in awe of your stamina!HarrisonthehandpuppetFree Member
I did a one way trip W-E just a couple of weeks ago by myself in 10 1/2hr but that was with meeting my partner at Cocking and Bo peep Farm and I am not the fittest person alive and it was the longest ride I’ve done. You will meet quite a few people to chat too and get encouragment from along the route. To be honest Some of the climbs are hard long slogs especailly the eastbourne end and there is not many just flat bits. I would also agree that a GPS would be a real help as some of the signage is not great in places.
Go on give it ago even if you don’t do it in the 24hrs at least you can say you did it.thomthumbFree Member
give us a shout if you want a hand on a recce trip. i’m based at the winchester end and ridden that end quite a bit…
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No offense intended, but I don’t think you’d manage it in 24 hours
That’s what I’ve been thinking too. 240km/5000m in 24:50 at SITS with regular stops to pick up food and drink, against 320km/7000m on the SDW, carrying all my food and clothes, searching for water and opening and closing nearly 200 gates.
Unless the tracks are very well surfaced, more or less like a road, I’m not going to do it in 24 hours.
So that means if I’m going to attempt it, and it is still if, does that make it easier, because I’m allowing myself more time, or harder, because I’m on the bike for longer ?
Also, it’s a long way to go just because it’s an established challenge.
On the one hand, it’s good that it’s a well known route and challenge, anyone can look up previous times and read about other people’s attempts.
On the other hand, it would be a lot easier to do something from home, but then saying I rode The Mercian Way or Avon Ring in x hours would be meaningless to most people. These challenges have got to start somewhere though. Someone’s got to be the first to do a route.m1keaFree Member
Other things I’ve been thinking about today;
I was wondering how old everyone on this list is. I did wonder if I might be the first veteran to do it, but looking at Kevin Izzard, I’m guessing not.
I’m nearly 43.
I worked with Ant Gray a couple of years back and he’s a similar age. I believe Neil Newell is mid 40’s.
However, age is almost irrelevant. Here’s the start sheet for the National 24 hours we had down here in June and as you can see, most of the field was 40 plus.
Here are the results if you want to see (well) how the old farts did.
If you’re looking for alternative challenges then this woudl be a good place to start;
Rob Lee’s list of endurance rides. He said on a blog he’d be completing the site shortly.
I think it would be a harder ride than a 24 solo, assuming you actually just keep going, rather than stopping and camping. And no you certainly wouldn’t be the first vet, nor SS, nor rigid, if you went down those routes!
All in all, I think it’s best if I forget it for now.
I feel like I’m letting down all the people who have offered to help, but better now than to leave them waiting for me at a road crossing with fig rolls and water, only to find I’ve turned round and gone home.
I’ll try to fit the Stourport Ring in between those dates, or at least this year before the days get shorter. That’ll be close to 100 miles for me if I start from home, so it’s a good first epic, then I’ll see where I go from there.
Why? I think it would be a better achievement than a 24 Solo, you’d not be letting anyone down if you didn’t do it in 24 hours!spacemonkeyFull Member
Unless the tracks are very well surfaced, more or less like a road,
Plenty of your normal hardpack in parts, but also loads of flinty/chalky/rocky/pebbly stuff too (particularly on the ups and downs).
I’m with Njee20; I don’t think it’s an issue if you don’t do it in 24 hours. To do it in one go is a massive, massive achievement I don’t think I or most people on this forum feel they would be capable of. If you did it in one go, regardless of time, I’d say that’s a tremendous thing to have done.
Plus, you could help raise money for a fantastic cause.
Go Vegan! 🙂
you’d not be letting anyone down if you didn’t do it in 24 hours
It’s the 7000m of climbing that’s got me wondering if I can do it at all.
Fair enough, I could allow myself 30 hours, but then I can’t ride for that long without stopping for a break.
I don’t ride 24 solos non-stop, I’ve always had at least two breaks of over an hour.
How long a break could I get away with before it is no longer a double, but a bivi trip, which kind of defeats the object ?
I’ll keep it as a long term plan, but in the meanwhile, I’ll stick to making up my own local challenges.
Why not try the complete 200mile route in two days. Will give you a good idea of what it feels like.
Yeah, that could be a good intermediate challenge, but then we’re getting in to bivi trips or hostelling, which is a whole different thing.
It would give me an idea of my time for the single route and how unrealistic the double would be.
I can’t help thinking though, that if I’m not going to do the double non-stop, then it’s no longer a specific challenge, it’s just a long off road bike ride.
If that’s all I’m doing, then there’s no point in driving 150 miles to get there. I might as well just set off from home up the Mercian WayDaRC_LFull Member
It depends what sort of challenge you’re looking for
– if for the adventure of riding it then just prepare and go
– if for a competitive time then check out the route first and then do it
Could use the two day trip as training? It’s also good to know the route in your head. If you’ve not seen the landscape before it’s a good idea to know which bits are toughies and which bits are more straight forward. I know it’s a pain in the butt driving down there, but important you’re familiar with the route before hand. Think I must have ridden it over three times in total before my SDD.
I did the SDW at the weekend, one way. Done it a few time before in a group. Done it there and back in 48hr bivying. In a day with a group and 3 failed solo attempts (when I was less prepared and less fit).
I’ve also been thinking of doing the double for a while (under 24hrs) and my personal qualification is to do it one way solo unsupported in under 12hrs. Managed this at the weekend (11h 15min on a SS).
I’ve been doing 24s and 12s and a number of years and I would say that the SDW is a different kettle of fish, you need to get your food right. All of my previous attempts have been thwarted by being sick at the side of the trail through eating just energy bars. Whilst with a 24 you can dip into your food box for something different.
So my advice would be to do it one way in around 11hrs and test the kit, food, preparation. Once you’ve done this then proceed to the next stage which is the double itself.phinbobFull Member
Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp. Or what’s a heaven for?
Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp. Or what’s a heaven for?
Depends on how long your arms are I guess…
Managed this at the weekend (11h 15min on a SS).
Lordy. There’s something seriously wrong with people like you…..
Lordy. There’s something seriously wrong with people like you…
Aye, I missed the BBB because of it (I’m the chap who did the website) but my main event this year is Kielder so it is a build up to that.jimificationFree Member
I think riding it one way in a day will answer all of your questions.
Is that you James? 😮bullheartFree Member
Interesting thread. This is what I’m attempting next year! 🙂
I just can’t imagine doing that one way, then deciding to turn around and do it again. I wouldn’t have the arse or the mind power to consider it. I found it mind numbing enough one way. Huge respect to anyone who attempts that, you’re in a different place to me.
Ride it one way, that’s the only way you will know whether you could do it all again – straight away! Keep us updated, and best of luck!scaredypantsFull Member
I say go for it
I’ve done a BHF one way ride when 40, pretty unfit and unprepared (it was well over twice as far as I’d ever ridden in 1 trip and more than I’d ever ridden in any week of my life, I reckon).
I was on an unsuitably “all mountain” bike and it was very wet/muddy for 1st half, though we had a strong partial tailwind too. We got a bit of support in terms of water & flapjack I think at a couple of points (mainly to prevent queues at taps I guess), but I finished with some of my own food left so could’ve done just as well without the help I think.
I walked up a couple of steeper bits of the later climbs and we took about 13hrs. I genuinely can’t remember the last 20 miles or so, apart from getting off the route at 1 point and then the final downhill to Eastbourne.
I’d agree with the above about satnav – getting lost can REALLY piss you off as it’s always back up a hill isn’t it 😥 . We had paper maps but went wrong twice quite badly and a couple of other minor ones and this was on a day when there were loads of riders around.
I’m no great athlete but I reckon that if I rode as much as you seem to, I could get myself to a standard where I could do both ways in 24hr if everything went perfectly (dry, still, cool, no equipment failures)old_mtberFree Member
Why not wait until you get your ‘standard’ replica sorted and then do it on that? Would surely be a first especially in the required period costume! I’d certainly come down with you to lend assistance and support!
you thought any more about this Graham? I’m going to recce it in a few weeks with the hope of building up to a double next year. By the time my fitness is built up to a decent level the trails will be claggy making a single direction hard going let alone the double so I will wait until next spring/summer when it fast and hopefully that wind has eased. I’m more concerned about making the double but if I finish in under the 24 hours then I would be well chuffed.
Out of interest one of the posts sauid that 7 people have tried the 24hours. I know Ibbet had proof that he did it in 24 hours but I would presume you can’t just go it alone and say you’ve done it in under 24 hours? Is there a formal way of doing it?
you can’t just go it alone and say you’ve done it in under 24 hours?
a gps track is accepted I believe, but there’s a fairly close group who are involved (see the people name checked in the link below) and they’d know who was telling porkies.
As you say, he set a new record last week – 17 hours 45 minutes.
I’d say conditions were near perfect this week, tbh.bigyinnFree Member
Conditions will be good all week, dry, slight breeze and sunshine.
I may be able to borrow a GPS from my brother in law and to be honest I think I would want one given the stories I’ve read over the past couple of days that people got lost in various locations. I don’t cope well with getting lost and last Sunday was no exception!!! Also don’t think endomondo would be up to the task let alone my iphone battery.
I’m more concerned about completing it rather than the 24 hours but it’s also the solitude that will get to me although I will no doubt talk to randoms on the trail as per usual except after dark when I will be talking to the darkness showing I’m not afraid of it… ermhazeiiFree Member
wwaswas is spot on, conditions up there are as good it gets right now!
Being a bit involved and all, basically a reasonable degree of evidence is accepted for a sub-24hour claim. GPS logs are the gold standard, but pics showing the time at start, turn, and finish are pretty reasonable, pref. backed up with a bit of notification beforehand. It’s not mandatory or anything like that – it’s a personal challenge after all! Obviously record attempts and rides like Josh Ibbett’s get a fair bit more scrutiny. Rory@Upgrade is the arbiter, but it’s not like it’s an ‘official’ event – just one, long, hard ride for the personal challenge of it.
As for the dark bit, that’s always fun! Some like to get it over at the beginning, others like to leave it to the end (the imagination tends to take off after 16 hours in the saddle, so all depends how weird you want the night section to be 🙂 ).
Also worth noting that while a lot of the riders have been local, quite a few have been from further afield. Obviously racers who have done it tend to know each other from events, but otherwise it’s been a pretty wide-ranging cross-section of riders.
Graham: You’d be far from the first vet! If anything, vet’s have the edge in the experience and endurance needed (I was 48 when I did it, and fairly sure by no means the oldest) which made Josh’s ride all the more impressive. Young ‘uns these days….
One last thing: the SDD website records the people who made it (or came honourably close). At least as many again try it, and have bad luck, hit bad conditions, or just find they’re not (yet) ready for it.avdave2Full Member
Who gives a dam whether anyone believes you or not. Unless your going to try and claim a record why would you need to prove what time you did it in. If you do achieve it you really won’t care what anyone else thinks you’ll just feel really good about having done it.
I don’t really see the 24 hour thing being all that important either now that it has been done in less than 18. 24 hours was just an obvious marker for the first riders to aim at. And if 24 hours is going to be a target surely it should be within a single day starting at midnight. It doesn’t matter how quick you do it if it’s over 2 days you haven’t done it in a day.
If you do the double no matter how long it takes you you’ll have achieved something you’ll be proud of for the rest of your life.
I’m not too worried about doing it in 24 hours and think I may have some troubles unless I can educate myself to eat when required and not when Im close to collapse. If I do it I would like some kind evidence as I would do it for charity. I’ll be doing it one way before the year is out so will be getting an idea of the route as that is my primary concern without a GPS.
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