London Edinburgh London, anyone?

Organising a chain gang? Entering a Sportive/Audax?
dakkar
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London Edinburgh London, anyone?

Postby dakkar » Sun Nov 18, 2012 20:45 pm

For some reason I have this thought in my head that LEL would be a good idea. Anybody else suffering slight mental illness and thinking about attempting this event? I have never ridden a distance like this before and in such a short period of time so I would be interested in hearing from anybody who has done this event previously, or anybody going to try this and how you might go about training for such an event.

At the moment I have hardly any idea about how you would set about tackling such an event, apart from building up on long rides over the weekend to eventually setting off on a ride on Friday evening and not stopping until late Sunday night.

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Re: London Edinburgh London, anyone?

Postby Pigtail » Mon Nov 19, 2012 06:50 am

I'm finding myself strangely drawn to this. I'm getting a strange mixture of bafflement and annoyance about how it will screw up our holiday dates from those around me.

I don't have a clue how to prepare for it, but working on distance over the winter is the plan. I'm trying to do a metric century every week at the moment, and I'm doing 100 miles on the 9th of December. I've also signed up for the snow roads 300km audax next year.

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Re: London Edinburgh London, anyone?

Postby dakkar » Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:30 pm

Sounds like a good plan and that you are well on the way to giving this event a good bash. I too have problems with receiving any acquiescence form my nearest and dearest. I trained for a major event this summer, nowhere near the length of LEL and that caused understandable opposition for the amount of time I was giving/neglecting to take part. Guess I need to improve my negotiation skills to be allowed to put in the hours this event is going to need, if I am to take it seriously and is there any other way to take this event but seriously.

Also I'm about to be in the very lucky position of being in the market for a new bike. So I have the pleasant dilemma of choosing comfortable and light carbon over comfortable and perhaps more versatile and durable steel for the event. Must say I'm heading towards carbon.

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marcusjb
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Re: London Edinburgh London, anyone?

Postby marcusjb » Mon Nov 19, 2012 16:23 pm

Good to see more people interested in the challenge of LEL.

I'm riding it as one of this season's challenges.

I went from being okay fitness-wise and riding my first 200km Audax in October 2010 to riding PBP in the following August - so my learning curve will be fairly similar to the one you'll be about to head into!

The best way to build up to it is to ride a few 200km events over this winter (at least once a month) to get into the whole Audax way of doing things. The most important thing as you step up in distances is comfort and a bike that you might think is really comfy may start to give you issues once you're spending many hours in the saddle. So, you need to think about which bits hurt at the end of each ride, and then work out how to overcome that.

As you do more rides, you'll start to realise that whilst it is a physical challenge, and fitness is important, it comes second to mental fortitude - keeping positive and keeping going is the key. Overcome challenges and move on. You have to know that you will complete the ride, no matter what. Never, ever, get sucked into looking at your routesheet or GPS and looking at the 'km to go' figure - it can be very demoralising if you're on a long ride, you're hurting, and seeing '250km to go' (or whatever). The only distance that matters to you on a ride is the distance between controls. All Audax really is, is a series of 50-80km bike rides with a cup of tea and a cake in between them. So all you need to care about for distance is the distance for the next control. That breaks it all down into manageable chunks - you know that you're going to be on the road for 3 hours (let's say) and that's all. Don't think beyond that and the mind will stay on form. Obviously, this becomes even more important on something like LEL where the distance to the end will be a very long way up until the last day really (though hitting the turnaround point always gives you a massive boost! But it's still 700km from there!).

Also, as you do events over winter, you will learn how to look after yourself in terms of eating and drinking. Long-distance cycling is a real assault on your digestive system - it is hard to get enough calories into your body compared to what you will burn. It is not uncommon for your digestive system to go on strike - you will see Audaxers who will be in desperate need of calories sat in front of a lovely bowl of pasta or whatever, but completely incapable of eating it (they'll take several minutes per spoonful) - we've all been there. It is also not uncommon to find that something really doesn't work for you (the common one for many people being a fried breakfast, which will often make a reappearance 10 kilometres down the road!). Basically, what I am saying is that there's a very good chance that as you learn how to eat and drink for distance cycling, there's a really good chance that you'll spend sometime at the side of the road throwing up. (I'm a great advert for Audax yes??).

As well as learning to eat and drink properly, riding over winter will teach you how to minimise your time faffing about. You can be as fit and fast as you like - but if you mess about at controls, you'll waste many, many hours on something like LEL. As you approach each control on an Audax, you need to be very clear in your mind about what you're needing to do and have a list in your head ("I need to fix that xyz on the bike", "I'm going to take off my jacket for the next stage", "I need a dump"). Simple things like remembering to take the bottles off your bike when you arrive at a control (there's nothing worse than being ready to set off, walking to your bike, having to take the bottles back into the control and get them filled - that's 5 minutes gone - 18 controls on LEL - an hour and a half wasted!).

Once the days start getting longer, you should really think about moving on in distance and get a 300km done in April(ish), 400 in May(ish) and 600 in June(ish) - doing a Super Randonneur series will be the best preperation possible for a long event. Each step will challenge you, but give you masses of confidence (hopefully!) before you take the next step. If you've done a few 200s, a 300 is just a really long day out (with a bit of night riding at the end - just like the winter 200s you've already done - so nothing scary there), a 400 is the first full day and night of riding (but you've already done lots of night-time riding, so again, nothing you've not done before) and then a 600 is (usually) around 350-400km, a sleep and then a 200 the next day. The progression an SR gives you is really the perfect way to prepare.

LEL, or other long events, is what you want to make of it (if you are super-racy and want to aim for a really good time - ignore what I am saying and I am afraid I can't give you masses of experienced advice!) - for most people it will be around 350km of riding with a sleep of 4-6 hours between each 'ride'. So once you've done an SR, there's not a huge benefit in riding lots of 600s, other than gaining more experience. All of the riding I mentioned above, and the period between your 600 and LEL, will be supplemented by much shorter riding during the week and each weekend you're not riding a long event. You don't need to do lots of long rides - in fact, the slower pace of longer rides won't get you as fit as a series of shorter, faster rides (nice little 50-100km rides where you really push yourself, or do hill repeats etc.).

Dakkar - you don't mention where you're based? Pigtail - Audax Ecosse will look after you - they run some magnificent events (I rode their amazing 1000km event this summer and it was some of the best cycling I have ever done - though you do have some monster hills up there (many of which, you'll be tackling on the Snow Roads!)).

In terms of machines, there's no such thing as the perfect Audax bike - you'll see everything from very high end carbon bling, to the weird and wonderful fully faired recumbents, to bikes that look like they were rescued from a skip (and may well have done). Clearly, your 'style' of riding will in some ways dictate your choice of steed (if you're very racey and looking at a 70 hour performance, you're less likely to ride a steel fast tourer). The only thing that really matters about the bike is whether it is comfortable enough for you to spend 4-5 days of your life pedalling it for every single minute that you are not eating or sleeping. Unless you're hard as nails or you are really driven to set a record-breaking time, the vast majority of decisions must come down on the side of comfort over weight etc. - whilst this doesn't have to mean a steel tourer with mudguards, it will usually mean fatter tyres than an out-and-out racing bike (28mm being a very common size which offers a large comfort increase over 23s with a reasonably small speed penalty). A more upright position is the usual thing. Mudguards are common (and virtually essential if you want to have company on the ride if it rains). Finally, you do need to carry some stuff. How much is down to you - you will see people with a tiny saddle bag and just a thin rain jacket - and that's great, but obviously carries some risks); you'll see people with 2 panniers looking like they're off touring for a month. I err on the side of caution and ride with a Carradice Barley with a few spares/tools, bit of bonk rations, rain jacket and usually an extra layer and longs for if it gets colder at night etc.

Anyway - a few uncoordinated thoughts for you (and anyone else considering LEL). Really the key is start riding Audax events over winter to learn how it all works, then build distances into summer, and you'll be set for LEL in July.

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Philip Whiteman
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Re: London Edinburgh London, anyone?

Postby Philip Whiteman » Tue Nov 20, 2012 09:12 am

My cheque book is at the ready, so are my sedatives.
Organiser of The Kidderminster Killer and Clee audaxes. 25 July 2015. To enter http://www.beaconrcc.org.uk/audax/

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Grill
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Re: London Edinburgh London, anyone?

Postby Grill » Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:10 am

I'm doing the LEL next year. Fitness-wise I'll be fine as I'm still getting in 1000 miles a month and doing the 200km audaxs. I'll be testing me resistance to saddle sores with the Bryan Chapman Memorial 600k and 24hr TT as well as doing a few 300k and 400k audaxes.

Just a warm-up for the RAAM in a few years! ;)
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Pigtail
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Re: London Edinburgh London, anyone?

Postby Pigtail » Tue Nov 20, 2012 19:50 pm

Great post Marcus - thanks very much.

That's a lot to be going on with!

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marcusjb
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Re: London Edinburgh London, anyone?

Postby marcusjb » Tue Nov 20, 2012 20:07 pm

Pigtail wrote:Great post Marcus - thanks very much.

That's a lot to be going on with!


Takes longer to read than riding LEL! :D

nammynake
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Re: London Edinburgh London, anyone?

Postby nammynake » Tue Nov 20, 2012 21:16 pm

A very informative post marcusjb. My longest ride to date is the 112 miles Fred Whitton. A mere toddler in comparison with some of the distances your mention! I would like to complete a 200 mile ride next year - sounds like a nice round number, no other reason!

dakkar
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Re: London Edinburgh London, anyone?

Postby dakkar » Wed Nov 21, 2012 20:44 pm

MarcusJB Thank you for taking the time to write that wonderful account of what needs to be done to tackle the event. Feel its possible now, not easy but then that's the point, but possible.

Cheers!

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marcusjb
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Re: London Edinburgh London, anyone?

Postby marcusjb » Fri Nov 23, 2012 08:38 am

dakkar wrote:MarcusJB Thank you for taking the time to write that wonderful account of what needs to be done to tackle the event. Feel its possible now, not easy but then that's the point, but possible.

Cheers!


No problems. Just some random thoughts.

A good book to read is Simon doughty's long distance cycling handbook.

What region are you based in? May be able to point you in the direction of some good events to get your miles in.

dakkar
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Re: London Edinburgh London, anyone?

Postby dakkar » Fri Nov 23, 2012 22:26 pm

Thanks for recommendation of Simon Doughty's book I will see if I can get it on my Kindle. I also enjoyed reading your account of PBP. Given that you rode it on your Condor Fratello I think you will be well placed to give an assessment about it. It's a bike I am very interested in since I saw it at the cycle show this year, so what do you make of it, was it a good handling and comfortable bike for the long distance?

Cheers

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marcusjb
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Re: London Edinburgh London, anyone?

Postby marcusjb » Sat Nov 24, 2012 07:43 am

Once you start riding a few events, you will see quite a few fratellos (especially in the south east). I think that speaks volumes about how suitable a bike it is for distance riding.

It really is a lovely frame - very very comfy and stable. I run it with full mudguards and 28mm tyres (for comfort) and it is perfect, but I could easily strip off the guards and pop on some lighter wheels and it is still plenty nippy enough for faster riding. It isn't the lightest frame out there, but as I said above, virtually every decision on choosing a bike for distance riding comes down on the side of comfort over speed/weight.

Condor are great to deal with - but you are best going in on a weekday if possible (they are so busy at the weekend), but their service is brilliant.

Great bike - wouldn't change it for anything currently.

dakkar
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Re: London Edinburgh London, anyone?

Postby dakkar » Sun Nov 25, 2012 18:29 pm

Thanks for the review of your Fratello and posting it marcusjb. I'm even more tempted now. I have narraowed the choice down to ethier the Condor Fratello of the Trek Domane 4.3 both a similar price and both very comfortable long distance endurance bikes, both can take a 28 mm tyre. The condor probably more practical with options for a rack as well, the Trek lighter and that bit faster. Need to give them both a test ride.

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Re: London Edinburgh London, anyone?

Postby vorsprung » Fri Jan 04, 2013 10:09 am

Entries for the 2013 London - Edinburgh - London 1400km audax open tomorrow.

My blog here https://audaxing.wordpress.com/2013/01/ ... gh-london/ has an account of how it went for me in 2005, in case anyone is curious about how these rides work

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marcusjb
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Re: London Edinburgh London, anyone?

Postby marcusjb » Fri Jan 04, 2013 10:37 am

Great heads up Vorsprung.

Entries will be here - http://www.londonedinburghlondon.com/enter - and will go live sometime in the early morning tonight (sometime around 1am until 3am) - so don't wait up, but enter in the morning.

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Grill
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Re: London Edinburgh London, anyone?

Postby Grill » Fri Jan 04, 2013 11:17 am

I'll be entering first thing tomorrow. Going to be an interesting few weeks.

July 20/21 24hr TT
July 28/Aug 2 LEL
Aug 4 50 mile TT
Aug 11 WCA 100 mile TT

Let's hope I have the legs!
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marcusjb
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Re: London Edinburgh London, anyone?

Postby marcusjb » Fri Jan 04, 2013 11:29 am

Grill wrote:I'll be entering first thing tomorrow. Going to be an interesting few weeks.

July 20/21 24hr TT
July 28/Aug 2 LEL
Aug 4 50 mile TT
Aug 11 WCA 100 mile TT

Let's hope I have the legs!


Indeed!

I have a strong desire to do the 24 at some point, but this is not going to be the year for it for me! Next year.

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Grill
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Re: London Edinburgh London, anyone?

Postby Grill » Fri Jan 04, 2013 11:41 am

Do the Worlds 24 in November. Lovely weather, flat as a pancake course, and it's in California. I might be a bit more excited for it than the LEL ;)
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Re: London Edinburgh London, anyone?

Postby vorsprung » Fri Jan 04, 2013 15:31 pm

update: the AUK LEL team now say that entries open at 10pm tonight ( friday the 4th )


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