South Downs Way in a day
Thanks. I know some of it mainly Winchester across beyond Cocking and then some of the Brighton end. So comfy with the surfaces etc. Just wondering how it feels to ride that distance in one hit.
A chance has come up to do it for charity but it’s about 7 weeks away. Normal riding is typically 2-3 hours at a time. I’ve really wanted some kind of challenge to force me to push myself a bit physically this year but don’t want to be a liability by biting off a lot more than i can chew!
I’m sensing it might be an aspirations exceeding fitness scenario!Posted 10 months agosockpuppetSubscriber
I’ve done it, while I was quite fit (for me); there’s a lot in the ‘mental challenge rather than physical’ cliche
That said, try some longer rides first (longer than your 2-3 hours) mostly to make sure you have your position and contact points sorted.
More importantly (to help with the mental side) it really helped me to know I had made escape route plans. I didn’t need them, but I found them a support rather than a tempting bail-out!
Good info on water stops easily found, go off easy for a couple of hours and see how you get on. Good luck!Posted 10 months agoRubber_BuccaneerSubscriber
It is tougher than anyone north of Watford thinks, just check the elevation 😯 the peaks may not be high but there is a lot of up and down (not as much fun as in and out). If you really want to do it you will manage and maybe feel it was an epic. Personally I think its about the most tedious riding you could do on the South Downs but I can accept others see it differentlyPosted 10 months agoqwertyMember
how it feels to ride that distance
Also think of how it’ll feel to ascend 14000′ and ride a century!
I’m hoping to attempt it mid July. If I succeed I’ll bathe in the fact that some loons turn round & ride back and one loon does even that twice!!!!
Pace, food, drink and just ride 10 miles 10 times over Mint Sauces landscape 😉Posted 10 months agoscaredypantsSubscriber
I did it when not very fit and on a pretty unsuitable bike (heavy long travel bike, big heavy tyres). It was also very muddy up to about QECP after a night of pissing rain.
I’m sure the strong cross/tail wind helped quite a lot but even so I can’t remember the last 15 miles or so really at all (until we crested the last hill) and I was asleep in my mate’s car within about 2 minutes of getting in – it’s the only time I’ve ever slept while in a car
SO, hard but doable (oh, and I’d have bailed at the devil’s dyke if I hadn’t got a supply of sudocrem with me)Posted 10 months ago
No lifting needed, but lots of stopping. You may get lucky with a few walkers holding gates.
It’s definitely doable, going west-east the last two hills are the toughest, and they are tough, keep something back! You can always walk a bit.
Know where the taps are – I wrote the distances on a piece of paper on my top tube which worked and recorded locations on my Garmin. Knowing the distances broke things up a bit, I never thought about more than the next 2 taps.
Sort your fuelling out, you will categorically need to eat and need to know what works for you. I did it essentially solely on gels and bottles of High5, but that would ruin a lot of people.
I want to do it twice more – once to not make mistakes and go faster and once slower to enjoy the views!Posted 10 months agotheotherjonvSubscriber
only done it over two days, although it is on my to-do list as well.
Most of what needs saying has been said but my 2p (and this is a very rough and inaccurate approx but good enough for a ‘get me through it’ effort)
Do a FTP test of some sort – even a 20 min max effort time trial to get your average heart rate over that period and multiply that by 95% = your FTP (close enough for this)
From that find your endurance zone, where your body switches from using carbs and fat for energy to where it eats stored glycogen. As a calc, that’ll be about 90-93% of your FTP and given you want to err on caution I’d use 90%
So assume like me your FTP HR is about 155; my endurance zone goes up to about 140. This is the number you want to exceed as little as possible, so on the flats you don’t push any harder than this, and on the hills you try to go above it as little as possible and for as short as possible. Every time you go above it, the man with the hammer comes a step closer.
If you do that and keep eating and drinking, that should get you home.
The other one from my experience of a 12hr solo is the kit itself, and if you haven’t done rides over say 4 hours that’s a bit unknown. Try at least a couple of long ones, because finding your willy goes excrutiatingly numb after 6 hours (I did) is not one for the day. Also I adjusted my position – moved spacers to raise bars and removed peak on helmet so I didn’t have to look up as much – made a huge difference to lower back and neck pain, and while the handling was compromised (front end lighter) that was insignificant in comparison, eg: there are no super steep can’t keep the front wheel down climbs anyway.Posted 10 months ago
It’s completely doable, but tough.
You’ll be 70 miles in with the realisation “I’ve still 30 miles to go”.
30 miles is still quite far!
I agree with the ‘tap distance on top tube’.. It breaks it up mentally, and helps have aims.
I’ve got plans, but am getting in a tiz over what bag/bum bag will carry enough food and clothing etc..
The gates get tedious, no doubt..
It is a right of passage though, and not too many people can actually achieve it in a day, so go for it!
DrPPosted 10 months agobobloMember
I posted here last week asking about tyres after doing it at the weekend over two days. The main theme missing from the above is mechanical.
You’ll bleed time if you get as many punctures as I did. They were split equally between pinch and ‘normal’. So high volume tyres with a breaker strip, tubeless if you can and take plenty of tubes and patches as backup. Even so, downhill mebbies go a bit slower to ultimately go faster by avoiding snake bites. The going was very firm (concrete) for us which may or may not be typical – ask a local.
We were riding gnarr bikes though not 6″ full suss 😉Posted 10 months ago
Pockets DrP, pockets!
FWIW I taped gels to my top tube, and had one every 10 miles. I did have a cheese roll in my pocket, which I ate halfway because the bulk was annoying me, but really didn’t fancy. Tubes and multi tool on seat tube. Pre-measured bags of high5 in pockets. Bottle on bike. Job jobbed.Posted 10 months ago
yeah, I kinda get the pockets idea..but once you’ve stuffed your pockets, and your back is bulging like a lipoma covered camel, you may as well have some sort of bag…no??
Plus…despite my lack of body mass…I eat like machine on the bike! I seriously need to carry more than 10 gels! 10 baguettes perhaps!!
This was the food I took then:
I’m a bit hungrier now!
DrPPosted 10 months agoYakSubscriber
Hmmm, that’s a lot of food. I did last years gravel dash ( same distance, a bit less climbing) on 2 bags jelly beans, 8 rice bars, 1 banana and 3 of slices of cake. I used a rucksac, but reckon it would all fit into a bar-fixed feed bag like an alpkit stem cell.
Edit – blog check and quantities are updated. No it wouldn’t all fit into a stem cell. 2 stem cells then!Posted 10 months agodeadkennySubscriber
Yeah, seen a tap along the SDW and thought was a good idea should I ever decide to do it. Good advice to make note of where they are.
Half the distance can take me 10hrs though, but I find a lot of the time is scenic stops taking photos, long lunch rest, or getting distracted by singletrack and exploring. Focusing on just sticking to the route and getting on with it would be tricky.
BHF event in July has the 100 mile option, and allows about 16 hours to do it.Posted 10 months ago
BHF event in July has the 100 mile option, and allows about 16 hours to do it.
I’ll be there 🙂
Then hopefully riding it back the day after 🙂Posted 10 months agojambalayaSubscriber
I have never ridden it, not yet its on my to-do list. As I am fairly local I will probably start with an attempt to ride it in two days. Having ridden and walked various parts of it I would say little seems flat its all up or down and the surfaces change quite a bit, flinty chalk, claggy ckay/mud, gravel tracks. It’s generally well sign posted but a tired mind plays games so a gpx will be useful. My only navigation tip is just outside Winchester after crossing the bridge ignore bike signs and follow footpath (cut thriugh hedge) to avoid pointkess diversion along road and save 30-40m of climbing. West-East is usual direction so the prevailing wind is at your back.
Taps are easy to miss, the one at qecp is by the cafe
Good luck and let us know how it goesPosted 10 months ago
That was for 1 way DrP
That was just the train to Winch… (yes, that was one way!)
Some people can ride on a whiff of 7up – I need an hourly feast!!
Hey, it works for me. Now I’ve got my fuelling strategy for the enduro (XC) sorted I’m doing much better.
TBH, I’ll prob take a lumbar camelback with a bottle in the bag (I prefer bottles for XC rides) and one on the frame, and then food etc in the bag.
I’ve al alpkit top tube bag, which I may take too…
DrPPosted 10 months agopahoehoeMember
Its equivalent to a big day in the alps in my experience, so with correct equipment, pacing and fueling, easily attainable for a keen cyclist IMHO. I did it on a whim when i was 20, with little training, too much pizza and beer the night before in Winch and a pint of cider and pub lunch in Amberley. Needless to say by the last climb I was ruined! It took us about 13 hours I recall including the pub lunch. My mate was running yellow Wildgrippers for some stupid reason so he punctured twice. My trusty fire xc’s got a gash but no punctures(with tubes)
If I were to do it again I would do it over 2-3 days and instead of blasting past nice single track on what becomes a slightly monotonous SDW, i’d stop off at QECP, Stoughton, Whiteways, Steyning, Stanmer to break it up.Posted 10 months agodovebikerMember
You’re going well if you can riding it in an elapsed time of under 12 hours – 10 hours riding and 2 hours for water / food / gates other unscheduled stops.Posted 10 months ago
Best to avoid the weekends around midsummer because there are quite a few ‘events’.
Cocking to Amberley section is often the bit were many find they’ve over-estimated their capabilities. Navigation isn’t difficult but having a GPS makes it a lot easier as there are a couple of not clearly signed points.
If riding in a group – don’t ride with anyone with tubes! I’ve done a few overnighters – heavy dew, sheep poo and no mudguards will guarantee you won’t be making friends on the train home.
Worth checking the weather – one ride in July involved 20-30mph headwinds and average temperature of 11 degrees
It’s in the wooden fenced bin area, IIRC. Well hidden!
Yep, it is. There’s a new one at Exton Farm (IIRC) now too, previously the first one was QECP, which was actually quite a long way in, albeit a fast bit. A couple of the taps aren’t that logical, one towards the end isn’t actually on the route, you have to deviate slightly. This was the guide I used, I saved them all as waypoints on my Garmin.
You’re going well if you can riding it in an elapsed time of under 12 hours – 10 hours riding and 2 hours for water / food / gates other unscheduled stops.
I stopped for less than 30 minutes cumulatively when I did it, definitely easier to just plod on I’d say, eat whilst riding etc. No matter how much better you think you’ll feel after a break it’s always easier to just keep going IMO.Posted 10 months agotonyg2003Subscriber
I’ve done it 4 times. It’s a tough day out but not as full on as something like an Alpine road century with altitude.
Good ground conditions, a tailwind, no stopping much (apart from damn gates) and eating regularly help a lot.
I’m planning to ride it a couple of times this summer in my LEJOG preparations.Posted 10 months agorobcolliverMember
Sundays ride was 12,200′ of up (Eastbourne to Winch) and just over 100 miles – it includes a bit of backtracking to assist with punctures of other riders from the club.
The trails were in great shape, even after a downpour the chalk was fine to ride on and the only plae we felt it was best to walk was up from the wishing well towards the Harting hill carpark.
One of the lads was on his first SDW and he started to flag around Warnford but he stayed focused, ate loads and got it done. He set his aim on this about 8 weeks back, so it proves anybody with a spot of application will be fine out there!
I found camping out in Friston forest the night before the ride was much more fun than getting a hotel room in Eastbourne.Posted 10 months ago
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