South Downs double – should I?

7 04 2010

Well, this is a challenge that I have been aware of ever since a very good friend of mine asked me to join him in a childhood dream to ride the South Downs way during August 2008. The South Downs Way weaves it’s way for 100 miles from Winchester to Eastbourne and on that occasion we only made it to the 80 mile point before it got to dark and we had to pack it in. But we went back during May 2009, faffed less and finished in 12 hours.

South Downs at Dawn

What I became aware of when planning the ride in 2008, was that a small but growing number of people had ridden the South Downs Way double, which as the name suggests means ridding the 100 miles from Winchester to Eastbourne and then turning around and ridding the 100 miles back again all in under 24hours, and unsupported! The current record holder is Ian Leitch 18h 3m 12s. but everyone has their story which makes for inspiring reading.  South downs double articles – BIKEmagic

Now, it’s just an idea, as it’s been for two years, but I reckon I might just be able to do that in under 24 hours. My riding is going well this year, I know the route, I now have the experience to ride that distance unsupported and it looks like I may have the 1st bank holiday in May free with access to the car. The only real glitch in the plan is the bike, but I think the roadrat kitted out with 38c tires will be fine, if not ideal.

We shall see if I decide to do it, if not during May then maybe August?

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7 responses

8 04 2010
Simon

No because that would mean that you are actually mad!

(-;

S

9 04 2010
Rachel

And you’re a beacon of calm and sanity Simon? I seem to recall seeing you very tired and wet and chalky on the South Downs Way not so very long ago…

15 04 2010
redbikes

What a great challange!!

This is the sort of challange you need someone along in a car for. To hand you food / water at various points along the route and to pick you up if everything doesn’t go quite to plan.

16 04 2010
jamesrach

Redbikes, you might have a point about having some support but I’m less likely to throw in the towel when I’m really hurting if I have no choice but ride to the end to make it stop!

20 04 2010
rachgillies

James speaks from experience. The first time he and Simon tried it one way (pffft!) they bailed out because they had WAG support. Nothing to do with the torrential downpour mind. Since then I support James by staying away. 🙂

15 06 2010
Richard Sterry

The South Downs Double is a massive challenge, however if a reasonably fit cyclist REALLY puts their mind to it, it is possible. I proved this last year when I rose to the challenge and succeeded. To find out more, put my name in YouTube to see the presentations of my planning and the event itself.
I’m very happy to pass on ideas and tips if you decide to go for the Double.

Richard

15 06 2010
jamesrach

Thanks for that offer of support Richard. I remember reading your story last year. I still plan to do it and have penciled in a weekend during August, not sure which one yet, but hopefully mid August.

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