Two weeks ago I rode 1,441km (896 miles) from the outskirts of London to the outskirts of Edinburgh and back, as part of the LEL audax which takes place every four years. These are the five things I learned along the way:
- You can’t do it alone (but you won’t have to) Although I set off alone, I had the unwavering support of my wife, my family and a great bunch of friends and club-buddies who were cheering me on via text message and social media. I also was helped immeasurably by the many lovely people I rode with along the way, only some of whom I’ve managed to remember in this blog. And of course, the event volunteers who at every control made sure that I and all the other riders were safe, fed, somewhat rested, etc etc. THANK-YOU ALL SO MUCH!
- An hour’s sleep really can make all the difference It’s amazing how you can feel like you can’t go on and then, after just a short time resting, you’re ready to go again
- Faffing is what will make you fail I actually think I did quite well in the faffing stakes, in that I didn’t faff too much. But there were definitely still times when ten…fifteen…twenty minutes went missing because I wasn’t being organised. In the last ten miles before a scheduled stop I need to mentally plan what I need to take off my bike when I stop, how long I plan to stop for and the order of things I need to do during that stop
- Even small changes to your set-up can cost you dear Deciding to tape over the small tear on my saddle the day before the event led to a saddle sore which by the time I finished was basically a several inches wide open wound. It’s only just now healing, nearly two weeks after the event. Where possibly, don’t make any changes that haven’t been bedded in over shorter distances.
- It’s the wind that will destroy you I already know this from previous events, but I learnt it all over again on LEL. From now on I only want to do rides in places with no turbulence!