Thank you for taking the time to read my posts and sending me encouragement.
Well after all the training and organisation before the adventure and actually completing the adventure itself it’s now time to try and reflect on what went well and what didn’t go quite so well.
I rode 943 miles over 9 days and 1.5 hrs. Pedalling for a total of 77hrs and 6 mins with the longest daily distance of 114 miles and longest time in the saddle of 9hrs and 4 mins.
Before the event: My main aim was to do the distance, unsupported apart from using B&B’s/hostels (to charge phone, GPS etc). I read and posted to forums in particular to bikeradar and CTC which were very useful as well as reading loads of blogs where I picked up handy hints. I estimated I should be able to do approx 100 miles per day and aimed my training around the 80 miles mark but always ensuring I put big hills in, which really did pay dividends because I never climbed one hill on the journey which was anywhere near as tough as my training hills :-) I only booked my outward train ticket to Penzance (1st class for £58), pre ride night accommodation at Land’s End and 1st Night accommodation at Okehampton but had lists of numbers to contact the day before for the following nights accommodation – all this worked perfectly and I was never without suitable accommodation on a night. I got the bike fully serviced 3 weeks before the event. I weighed most of my gear to try and cut down on weight as much as possible – this became an obsession.
For the ride itself: I used one large pannier and a large bar bag. I had bought a Garmin Edge 800 GPS with routes I pre-plotted (which worked a dream, no getting lost in cities like I read in other reports) using bikeroutetoaster. I bought a road atlas which I also highlighted my route on, cut out the pages I needed and laminated (for backup) as well as the daily route profiles laminated. I made the decision to start as early as possible (7-8) each day to ensure I had no problem getting to destinations by the end of the day. I had bought the followmee app for my iphone which plotted on a map on my blog where I was within 10 mins. I took a netbook with me so I could charge appliances from (USB), update my blog, upload camera photos and upload the days stats from my Garmin. I washed my spare set of cycling clothes every night ready for the day after next( I took a net bag as my shorts pad wasn’t always fully dry the next morning so I strapped it to top of rack and it turned it into a good drying day).
Positives: The planning and the general enthusiasm, the blog, the GPS, the pre-ride bike service, the day Dumbarton to Fort William via Loch Lomond – stunning scenery, the people I met along the way, THE FINISH :-) :-) :-) :-)
Negatives: Day 2 when my bottom bracket went until a LBS replaced it for me :-( The day Gretna to Dumbarton – no scenery and conditions of roads meant teeth chattering slow progress for 100 miles, oh and 3 punctures in first 18 miles :-( – in hindsight I should’ve headed to Dumfries then headed north
What didn’t I use: Ibuleve Gel (for knees), headache tablets, Assos chamois creme
What could I not do without: GPS, stacks of hilly training miles, encouragement of friends, Netbook
I’ve updated my accommodation section with reviews.
If you want to sit back and enjoy a video of the photos checkout this Animoto Video
You may well wonder what next years personal challenge will be? I’m thinking…
This will be my last blog posting but if you have any queries about your planned trip or anything specific about mine then please don’t hesitate to get in touch via the contact me.
Thanks Once Again