The SDW – just how hard to do in a day

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  • The SDW – just how hard to do in a day
  • Splash-man
    Member

    Nothing more to add really but seeing as this is my backyard I wanted to post !

    My choice of bike when I did it in day was a very short travel FS, a Kona HeiHei. Enough spring to take the bumps away but still very light climbing.
    I trained by working up to 60 mile sections of various sections of the SDW so when it came to the event day I didn’t need to worry about route finding.

    Watch out for the chalk in the wet. Slippery as teflon.
    Watch out for the flint in the wet and the dry. Can rip tyres very easily

    Enjoy it 🙂

    Splash-man
    Member

    Only time I’ve made it up Amberley Mount without dabbing was on a bivi ride with a couple of kilos in a bar bag!

    I always hate that hill. I remember my HRM screaming at me one day but I managed to clear it.

    Painey
    Member

    I thought the hill after Amberley was worse. Washington is it? It seemed to keep going on and on!

    DrP
    Member

    Try it mid winter, in the pissing rain, on a singlespeed!! Then you learn to hate it!!

    DrP

    rickonwheels
    Member

    I found it hard enough over 2 days!

    The ground was dry, no significant wind, on a light xc 26er hardtail. I’d done a few off-road training rides of about 35 miles, and figured we’d be in the pub by lunchtime on the first day, but I wasn’t expecting quite that much climbing…

    Premier Icon Wally
    Subscriber

    Last two years BHF rider. It’s great.
    1) Travel light, I mean extremely light. One back pack of tools and a tube of NUUN salty tablets plus bottle.
    2) Be in the 5am start group.
    3) Tubeless
    4) 100mm carbon full suss worked well.
    5) Let everyone race ahead, take music and chill.
    6) Eat proper food 7am at Queen’s Park.

    You might be 1/4 in distance wise in 2 hours but you are definitely not 1/4 in!

    Enjoy, great event, great atmosphere.
    First year 14 hours, second year 10. Go steady and stop little.

    Premier Icon nedrapier
    Subscriber

    Try it mid winter, in the pissing rain, on a singlespeed!! Then you learn to hate it!!

    DrP

    Shan’t! 😀 I prefer to remember it sunny. 8)

    Nibbling on Minley Manor. That’s going to be sunny, right?

    Premier Icon nedrapier
    Subscriber

    I thought the hill after Amberley was worse. Washington is it?

    To be honest, that might be the one I’m thinking of!

    DrP
    Member

    Amberly is tougher from the foot to the top… pretty straight.
    Washington, after the A24 is much longer but way more ‘doable’.

    DrP

    Splash-man
    Member

    I thought the hill after Amberley was worse. Washington is it? It seemed to keep going on and on!

    Known locally as Cardiac Hill, but in my mind easier than Amberley.
    Much more fun coming down, especially when there are no walkers about !

    shermer75
    Member

    I’m guessing the perfect bike would look something like this:

    Premier Icon cobrakai
    Subscriber

    Did it in 2016 and signed up for this year.

    I worked up to 100 off road miles a week over 3 months.

    Whyte T130s

    Stopped for 5 min every hour and ate a scotch egg, nuts, energy bar, golden Virginia rollie.

    Get a bell. Gets the walkers out the way.

    Invest in a tough side wall tyre set up. I didnt and had to bodge it. The flint is bad.

    I’m local to the start so knew how bad it can be when wet or dry.

    Be in the first 5am group.

    Vasaline your bits.

    Sun cream.

    No shame in walking up towards the end.

    It’s great. Loved it.

    Wife’s meeting me at the end then attempting a night out in Brighton with friends…….

    four
    Member

    Did it last year in 2,5 days, it’s a hard ride and I’d say don’t under estimate it. We are looking to do it in two days this year.

    If the wind is against you it’s not easy – day 2 for us was all day wind in face and I was shattered.

    BUT I’m 99% roadie and dint do a lot of off road.

    Dorset_Knob
    Member

    If you’re using a support crew, get them to make sure the clutch on their vehicle doesn’t break ten minutes after you’ve started your ride, meaning you have to make do with two water bottles and a tangerine for the next 100 miles.

    milfordvet
    Member

    Best fast summer tyres?

    Continental Race King 2.2 rear/ X King Protection 2.4 front – my current set up on the Swift I’ll likely be taking?

    Schwalbe Snakeskin Racing Ralphs…even Thunder Burts?

    Reinforced Maxxis Ikon’s?

    Any found by locals to work better than others and not cut up?

    Anybody riding around 29+? Too much weight up the hills?

    I’m over the other side in the New Forest and 2.1 Thunder Burts are all that’s needed but its all soft ground and fire roads. Plan on doing it this summer…

    Premier Icon nedrapier
    Subscriber

    I’ve never had an issue with flints. Maybe I’m just lucky, but personally I wouldn’t be swapping out a fast tyre for a reinforced tyre because of the flints.

    Used cx speeds, tunder burts, RaceKings, X King RaceSport, SB6, fire XC Pro. Had punctures pre-tubeless days, but not sidewall cuts.

    philjunior
    Member

    Not quite – I did it sub 9 hours on my rigid SS, which was perfect (for me!). Though it’s an XC bike, i run fairly large vol tyres (Bonty XR4 2.4 front, Geax sag 2.2 rear at the time..now a 2.2 XR3 rear).
    Front sus would be ‘nice’. FS is not needed, but is fine if you have it.

    I’ve ridden about (ish..?) half of it, from winch to Worthing, on a CX bike.
    That had 32C tyres with tubes, up to something like 55psi.. Was fun, but not comfortable.

    I did it somewhat slower (taking the view that finishing was more important than going fast). I had fairly uncomfortable hands (might have just been a feature in the gloves, I got a blister on each hand in exactly the same place, think there was a seam or something on the gloves I was wearing). I did finish in the dark (this was expected), but about 1h ahead of our schedule (using trains to the start and from the finish).

    If I did it again, I’d consider fs rather than the ht I did it on last time
    (but might go HT again as I find it comfier for my spine in that it makes me move about on the bike more), wouldn’t really want to do it on a cross or gravel bike much as I’m sure it would be possible. There are no huge boulder fields but plenty of lumpy bits that are not ideal in the dry with no suspension. I’d also try and go a bit faster than I did last time.

    The West Highland Way has almost identical stats but I would say is considerably harder. That’s not to say the SDW is easy though, it really depends on what you call fit etc. and whether you want to do it in under 24 hrs in intense pain at the end or comfortably spin along it in under 10.

    For the record I was riding about 5000 or 6000 miles that year, had done a 6h pairs race the day before last, and was about 13.5 stone or so. Didn’t do any specific preparation.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I haven’t done this but I’ve done a few longuns including the Ridgway double.

    Few suggestions if you want to be efficient:

    1) Don’t worry too much about being as close as possible to the longest day. The weather in July is statistically drier and you don’t lose much daylight.

    2) What JoB said – don’t stop, and don’t expect to stop. When you need to refuel, stop, grab what you need and get back on the bike asap. Even small stops add up to many hours wasted.

    3) Plan your stops and know exactly where you are going and what you’re buying. On my ride I pored over maps and explored likely towns with street view, so that when I came to the places I knew exactly where I was going to find the shop.

    4) Nice tyres helped me. I went on the site from that guy who tests tyres and decided Ralphs would help – and he was right. Bike felt really fast.

    5) Relax. Take it really steady especially at first, and don’t fret about time. Just be confident you’re safe, in control and all you have to do is sit there and spin and eventually you’ll get there.

    6) Even in summer (especially if doing in June) it can be surprisingly chilly at 5am.

    whitestone
    Member

    You can compare the SDW with other long distance rides on selfsupported.net, from the fastest times it would appear to be among the easier. The time for the SDW there is for the double!

    dovebiker
    Member

    Ridden the SDW a couple of times on my rigid 29+ including a double – I’m not a big rider. Extra effort needed on the hills to keep them rolling, but the bigger footprint and grip means you can keep going when others on regular bikes are walking e.g. Amberley. Best was on an overnighter where you’re hitting speeds faster than your headlight throw – I was able to drop my mates riding regular MTBs on the descents as they minced their way down as they were getting bounced around on the babyhead loose flints.

    jackrussell
    Member

    I did this ride a couple of years ago with a friend who new the way fairly well but we still managed a wrong turn somewhere around Brighton which added an extra climb to the day! One of the best days ever on bike though.
    I’d like to do it again this year and have thought of buying a GPS so that I have something to follow. What one would anyone recommend for MTB’ing and the SDW in particular?

    Premier Icon andyg1966
    Subscriber

    I’m guessing the perfect bike would look something like this:

    Calling robcolliver …

    He is skiing at the moment, he has done more legs of the SDW than anyone here, so listen to what he says.

    Think is planning a leisurely double this year.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    He is skiing at the moment, he has done more legs of the SDW than anyone here, so listen to what he says.

    He tends to turn around at the end and ride back, and wears his bibs outside his other clothing, so I’m not honestly sure his advice is any better than anyone else’s here.

    And the ‘If you can do a road century , you can do the SDWIAD’ is balls.
    I can ususally knock out road centurys in 6 – 7 hours . My best time on the SDW is 12.20. So not in any way comparable . Use road milage for training, find a mahooosive hill and ride up and down for hours as training .

    Forgetting the BHF day I have always done it on a Fri. Less walkers so less agro , you can blast every decent knowing no one is going to do something dumb as you arrive.

    Its tough , physically and mentally. Carrying enough and not too much or too little is tricky. Pacing yourself is also tricky .

    Always start early
    Carry some spare undercarriage lube
    Stop every 20 miles but only breifly. Beware extended rests at Truleigh Hill YHA.
    Use a 750ml bottle and small back pack.

    markwsf
    Member

    I did it several years ago on my On One whippet with absolute minimal kit – was a hard day but a great experience.

    I can cross a guy about half way pushing his panniers up heavily laden bike DOWN a hill. Stopped to ask it he was OK – he replied he was doing it over 4 days, hence the baggage – his brakes wouldn’t hold him on the downhills so he has to push downhill. He was properly miserable and wondering why he was bothering. Made me feel so much better about my ride!

    spooky_b329
    Member

    First attempt 10 years ago I failed (hurty knee and lack of commitment), second attempt last year, I finished it! I did it on a 5.75″ XC orientated susser, pace was slow and I walked a fair few hills. My moving time was 13hrs!

    My wife supported us and met us about 4 times to supply food (and freshly cooked hot pizza at one point – campervan win!) which really helped. We had one long section with no meet and that was a push.

    Its a long day/evening in the saddle if you are not racing fit, plus we got up at 2am to drive there for a 6am start.

    https://www.relive.cc/view/1121035290

    DrP
    Member

    If anyone wants a base about halfway, PM me and you can hang out at my gaff/park in my drive etc!!!

    DrP

    Premier Icon sockpuppet
    Subscriber

    If a road century is genuinely not a problem, and you’ve done some properly long rides then you’ll be fine, but is hard

    If a 100 Miles on road takes a bit of recovery, or you’re not used to 12 hrs on the bike it’ll be tough

    I’m hoping to try the double later this year.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    I do think cycling is one of those things that if you pace yourself and keep fuelled you can keep going, and in that respect ‘if you can do a century you’ll be fine’ holds water; I don’t think anyone’s actually suggesting the level of effort required is comparable.

    That’s as opposed to, for example, running, where jumping from a 10k to a marathon would be pure idiocy and likely to end horrendously, I think a long bike ride is much easier without any ‘dedicated’ training.

    The first proper long ride I ever did I’d never done more than about 80 miles (on the road), and decided off the bat to go and ride all three of the original CyB trails twice, 96 miles and 17000ft of climbing I recall. Was tired after 4 hours, but it never really got any worse, just plodded on.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    My problem is that I rarely do rides longer than 2.5 hours.

    If I try my legs go “Nope, that’s your lot for the day” after 152 minutes.

    I think it is easier to step up distance on a bike but extra time in the saddle needs working up to.

    whitestone
    Member

    @wwaswas – try dropping the intensity, the trick to going for long rides is keeping the pace down (unless you are a serious athlete), you should be able to hold a conversation easily.

    If your legs are seizing up after that sort of time then I’d look at hydration and nutrition followed by bike setup.

    mike_p
    Member

    IMHO 5-6hrs doing 100 miles on road is nothing at all like 12hrs off road. My rule of thumb is off-road miles count 3x on-road miles in terms of effort, esp. on a fairly lumpy route like SDW.

    four
    Member

    I’m starting to think about doing the BHF in a day event.

    When I did the SDW over 2,5 days last year it was on my Orange Four – would this be too much bike for the day ride and would I be wise to look at getting a different bike?

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    My rule of thumb is off-road miles count 3x on-road miles in terms of effort, esp. on a fairly lumpy route like SDW.

    Whilst I’d say that’s a gross overestimate; 1 off road km = 1 Road mile seems pretty reasonable. So the SDW is like a hilly 160 mile road ride. That’s not the same as saying “if you can ride a road century comparatively comfortably, then you’ll be fine”, which I do agree with.

    markwsf
    Member

    The “keeping the pace down” etc approach is pretty hard on the SDW west to east as the climbs in the last portion are pretty steep and long. Crawling home just isn’t an option!

    hopoplu
    Member

    I done the BHF last year and planning to do it again this year. Was a good day out, it is a tough one but the views etc are great. The Gates can be a pain and some of the walkers are proper grumpy!

    I started with 2 bottles but lost one rattling down a hill about halfway so just filled up the remaining one at every stop. I also had a top tube bag that was loaded with peanut M&Ms and salted peanuts that I was grabbing a handful of when I could see a hill looming. Which seemed to work well..

    I was on a 650b xc FS and other than a puncture at 85miles and the chain running a bit dry it was spot on. My total moving time was just under 9hrs so it was plenty quick enough. A 29er may be better overall but the FS was a godsend dealing with the bumps.

    Good luck!!

    robcolliver
    Member

    Hey, that was a piccie of my bike! It was taken during my SDWx4 ride a couple of years back.
    There is loads of good advice here about the difficulty/toughness of the ride, so I would simply say “the will to prepare outweighs the will to win” so modify this quote and just do the saddle time on the bike you are going to use.
    There was a fair amount of comparing road bike saddle time/miles to mtb saddle time/miles. If its an off road event with a need for a pace and effort changes, where is the advantage of doing steady road time?

    Start off slow, expect to get slower and use tyres and bike setup that will last – I have messed about with lighter, better rolling tyres and gone back to SB8’s for the SDW.
    Go and learn the route if possible or get a gps loaded so there is no navigating needed – I run a line on the screen with no background maps so it is immediately obvious if you are off route.

    Finally, eat early, eat often.

    Finally finally, remember to look around – it is some of the best country in the country.

    Premier Icon adsh
    Subscriber

    Things I learnt when I did Amberley to Eastbourne and back in a day.

    Bike position – bearable for 6hrs is not good for 10-12

    It is not possible to ride
    it all in Z2 the hills will have you at threshold

    Don’t descend unless you KNOW you are on course

    Be unfashionable and have a hugely low gear for late in the day

    Eat and drink a lot but only stuff you have already trained with.

    2) What JoB said – don’t stop, and don’t expect to stop. When you need to refuel, stop, grab what you need and get back on the bike asap. Even small stops add up to many hours wasted.

    I’m confused why you think hours stopped are hours wasted. Your approach sounds positively unpleasant to me. One of the highlights of the WHW for me was eating loads of reasonably nice food.

    Fair enough, if you’re going for a podium, then push on. But if you’re just out to enjoy a long ride then get the pies in

    On a similar length ride I ate:

    coffee
    scone and jam
    two cheese, ham and picked onion sandwiches
    2 chocolate pancakes
    honey roast cashews/peanuts
    jelly babies
    toasted pitta bread
    Baton de Berger Salami
    tin of Soup
    Squeezy fruit purees
    1 litre Apple Juice
    1 litre grape juice
    4 cans of Pepsi
    1 can of Irn Bru
    8 bananas
    Packet of fig rolls
    2 Ambrosia rice pudding
    couple of slices of smoked ham
    packet of wine gums
    lots of water
    oh and a boiled egg

    Gnome gnome

    TEAM EatMore

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