West Highland Way in a day.
I’m going to be attempting this in June as a sponsored fundraiser. It’s to get some cycling provision for adults with Aspergers – for the charity I work for so it’s all bike related. Just want to buy the service a few bikes really.
I’ve read some fantastic blogs by people who have completed this challenge but would appreciate any tips or thoughts on the ride and preparation for it. I’ve ridden everything from Tyndrum north (I’ll be doing it south to north) and am aware of the difficult section before Inveranan. I’ll probably scout that out in a few weeks time.
I’m planning on starting in the wee hours (maybe 2am) to get the best daylight hours where I need them. Has anybody done this and worked out how to get a proper restful sleep beforehand?
I’ve got some ambitious ideas for big training rides to get me up to the challenge of distance plus huge total ascent (anyone have an accurate figure for that – what I’ve seen from a little googling sounds terrifying) terrain, weather and a long, long time in the saddle.
I’m trying to make up a support team from my cycling work colleagues and find a few folk to ride some sections with me to jolly me along but not exactly had a great response from initial requests.
All in all, I’m pretty excited about doing this. Thoughts?Posted 5 years agoNobeerinthefridgeSubscriber
I think you’d really want gears later on, defo. I’m thinking of trying this later on in the year too, there are a few of us doing it over a couple of days in April, for a few reasons – testing out my bivvy gear, and scoping it out for a 24 hour attempt.
I’m used to staying up for 24 hrs at a time due to years of shift work, but just not cycling for all that time!. As you say, it’s a hell of a lot of climbing as well, lots of long gradual slogs, and even more short, steep ones to grind you down.Posted 5 years agoAlasdairMcMember
If you’re doing it in June – avoid the Caledonian Challenge weekend. There’s only so many times you can respond cheerily to people asking you for a lift.
I made the mistake on my ride of having plans the day beforehand, however the power naps en route really helped. If I didn’t have any plans I would have just stayed up until early morning and then crash out for as long as I could. This would mean that at the start of the ride I’d only be four hours awake as opposed to about 12.
As soon as the sun starts coming up you’ll wake up anyway. It’s amazing how rejuvenating the early light is.
I’d recommend 1×9 over singlespeed as there are some slogs of climbs that gears will help on, especially towards the end when you’re really knackered!Posted 5 years agomonkeyharrisMember
It’s a good day out. We did it three years ago, and we were very lucky with the weather. We set off at first light, which worked well – it began to get dark as we left the loch side, and we were at a steady pace with decent stops. The biggest problem is eating and drinking enough. Seriously, practise that with whatever you are going to have on the day. And single speed? I think you might be glad of the granny ring out of Kinlochleven for a start..Posted 5 years ago
I must dig out the article I wrote.b rMember
I’ve also wondered about singlespeed, currently 1×9.
You’ll be wishing you’ve gears in the latter stages…
While you’ll be pushing up the Devils Staircase whatever you ride, the climb out of Kinlochleven will be bloody hard work along with the final sections into Glen Nevis.
I met three guys on my way back from FW, they’d ridden up from Glasgow that day – apparently got off a late train and just rode from the station.Posted 5 years ago
Funny you should mention those bars… they were kind of comfy but I’m giving them back very soon. I’ll be riding down your way for some endurance conditioning when the weather is a little better. Might be a tad more ambitious than last time.
I’m thinking a Friday in June. I had been thinking about the first week but looking at the calendar there’s a date that’s screaming out at me. June 21st – the longest day. I’ve always wanted to do something special on that day. The WHW race is on the Saturday 22nd and Caledonian Challenge is the preceding weekend.Posted 5 years ago
Friday would be good because many of the folk who might be supporting me will not be working the next day.pebblebeachMember
I’m very interested in this as I’ve set myself a challange of running the west highland way in a day before I turn 5. So going from pretty much non-runner now to endurance runner in four and a bit years.
I do have a lot of people doubting that its possible though but plenty do it so I know I can.Posted 5 years agotheblackmountMember
>I’m planning on starting in the wee hours (maybe 2am) to get the best daylight hours where I need them. Has anybody done this and worked out how to get a proper restful sleep beforehand?<
Few beers and half a bottle of wine. Worked for me 😉
2 is early though – your body is definitely crying sleep at that point. Besides mid-summers day or thereabouts it doesn’t really get dark so worst case scenario a DX torch on your lid is going to get you to FW.
What do you need support for? If you break it down you’re probably never more than 5 miles from help / food etc and this is one big ride where you can afford to strip things down because you can replenish en route. I’ve read some of the blogs on the WHW and I can’t believe some of the kit some folk load themselves up with. That’s all weight sapping your progress…Posted 5 years agob rMember
Support, unless its friendly ‘partners’ who want to do their bit and/or they’re the way home from FW seems a bit of overkill. As others have said there are plenty of places (in the 2nd half where you’ll need it) – e.g. Bridge of Orchy, Kingshouse and Kinlochleven, and all are ‘outdoor’ friendly.Posted 5 years ago
Yeah, support is largely just folk riding with me and encouraging me onwards on the latter sections but it would be nice to have some spare bits (spare bike?) in a car somewhere along with lots of food that I don’t have to stop at shops for. The exception will be stopping for a fish supper at Real Food Cafe in Tyndrum. It’s one of the highlights of the trip.
A 2am start will give me the best of the daylight in the later stages and means that I might get to Fort William before last orders are called. 🙂
And I’ll have to do every little bit of the Way, even though I know there’s a nice easy road climb taking the sting out of the climb from Kinlochleven. I couldn’t feel good about taking the sponsorship pennies if I didn’t now, could I?Posted 5 years agocake eaterMember
Did this six years ago south to north with a midnight start straight off the train. Arrived 19 hours later in fort bill. Such a memorable ride and hope to do again one day. Main refuelling was done at the green welly with just snacks and water for the remainder of the ride. Don’t think the orange patriot will be the bike of choice next time though!Posted 5 years agoDaisy_DukeMember
Do it. Did it last year in around 16hrs. Started at 3:30am which wasn’t fun. If was doing it again I’d rather start later and finish later. Good fun to watch the sun come up over Lomond from Conic Hill. The slog up from Kinlochleven hurt but riding through the forest and into Fort William is well worth the effort. It was a brilliant day out.Posted 4 years ago
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