Entered the Dirty Reiver? Don’t Panic!

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If you’ve entered the Dirty Reiver, maybe you’ve got your training plan all worked out and are full of good intentions. Or maybe you’re just a little bit worried about what you’ve done? Hannah and Amanda have both ridden the event before, so we’ve pulled together a round up of our past stories and learnings. We make the mistakes so you don’t have to.

I’d expected to be having a bit of a cry, blistered and bleeding in a least one spot, and entering the edges of delirium. I was getting tired, but I wasn’t really suffering in the talk-to-yourself-and-think-about-having-a-lie-down-in-a-ditch kind of a way.

Hannah, Cheating Suffering

I rode the full route in its second year, on an NS RAG+. My kit was well prepared, my body less so, but I made it round. Lessons learnt? Make sure your bottles and lights are well secured, have lots of layers for the change from morning frost to whatever comes later in the day, and go for a good puncture resistant set up. Here’s my write up:

I rode the event on the NS RAG+, something of a mountain biker’s gravel bike, and one that’s fun at play in the woods as well as grinding away on fire roads. Due to technical issues, the review is missing its pictures, but the words still stand.

If I were going to have cause to ride the Reiver again, I’d probably go for the Lauf Seigla. It’s designed exactly for this kind of riding – mile after mile of seated gravel riding, and on this you’d do it in relative comfort. I can’t say I’m in a hurry to ride the Reiver again though, if I was going to put myself through this kind of thing I think I’d rather do it somewhere with more scenery, or as an excuse to go to a place I’d not been to before.

Amanda picked up the challenge in 2021, and found herself well prepared, but unlucky on the day.

After several mild hallucinations of reaching the finish line and one about an ice cream truck serving dairy-free Mr. Whippy, I reach the final straight. My Garmin says 199.4km, I’m nearly there! A strong-looking, heavily tattooed man rides past me, stating it’s the hardest mile he’s ever ridden. I still have a mile of this ordeal? I begin to sob. 

Amanda, Riding The Pink Elephant

You can read the whole experience here:

She says: I’ve had two years to reflect on this, and I can honestly say I have thought about my experience a lot. I’ve done bigger rides, hillier rides and duller routes since then and a common theme for me is chanting over and over (in my head) ‘you got through the Dirty Reiver, you can get through this’. In a way, it made me more resilient when I need it the most, but it also taught me that I don’t ride bikes to test myself – I ride them for nice reasons such as scenery, socials and café destinations. I have sworn I would never ride the Dirty Reiver again, but I’ve got over that now. If I were to go again, I would reconsider my approach.

What I did last time:

  • Rode a Ragley Trig
  • Didn’t have a nutrition plan
  • Didn’t train beforehand
  • Didn’t have any self confidence

What I would change:

  • Ride XC bike for ~10 hour comfort
  • Set a timer on my Garmin to tell me to eat and drink
  • Do some endurance training, both mental and physical
  • Not put any pressure on myself to finish

If you want to chat about your plans for the Dirty Reiver this year, head on over to the Forum.

While you’re here…