Monday 21 May 2012

The South Downs Triple - Why?

Why? This is a question I've been asked many times recently.  Its a massive 300 miles and I'll be riding for around 36 hours - Why?

The short answer is, why not? Everyone else seems to stop at 24 hours, why not go further?

The longer answer is, if you have a limit you will work to that limit.  However if you remove the limiting factor, how much further can you go?  I did a similar thing when I succeeded on the South Downs Double.  Previously I only rode about 30 miles each weekend and had never ridden more than 100 miles in one go.  At the time of planning, only 4 top riders had managed a sub 24 hour South Downs Double, with a 50% failure rate.  To do a 200 mile ride appeared ridiculous, but it was awesome!

Very few people have ridden for more than 24 hours and I've not been able to reach the podium in any major race, my highest placing is 6th at Exposure 24 last year.  I therefore set out to create my own podium on a course that I love to ride.

Yes, there are extra risks with riding into the unknown, so I sought the expertise of top 24 hour athletes to coach me and incorporated a medical team into the support crew.

The South Downs Triple has never been attempted before.  Many have tried the South Downs Double where only 13 have achieved a sub 24 hour time.  Last year there was only a 25% success rate for the Double, it's a tough cookie.  As Rory Hitchins once said, "It's not the ride there that counts, but the ride back."

To conquer the South Downs Triple will set a new league for the history of the South Downs Way.  Let's make history!

Other Updates

I am delighted that ForGoodness Shakes are supplying their recovery drinks, as I will need a number  for the ride and to recover afterwards.  Recovering from a 24 hour ride takes a few weeks, so it will be longer for this 36 hour challenge.

Please do take a moment to sponsor me.  It is wonderful that two charities can benefit from my ride; the British HeartFoundation and St Marys Community Building Project in Reigate.

Over the last few weeks physio Anne Dickins has been working on my dynamic core stability. This strengthens and balances all the muscles which work specifically for cycling. The purpose of me doing dynamic core for cycling is to make me more efficient and comfortable on my bike. It will also make sure all the power I produce goes to the pedals. 

In endurance events, it is really important to have a body which works properly as a small problem or pain will just get amplified over time. It will also prevent wasting energy on muscles working when they shouldn't. With Anne's assistance, I should be able to keep going for the 300 miles without 'too much' pain.

Tuesday 15 May 2012

South Downs Triple - Preparation Update

A 24 hour race takes some organising to get everything ready, the South Downs Double was quite a challenge as the support crew needed to travel between each of the arranged check points.   The South Downs Triple is another ball game in a different league. 

Completing 300 miles in one hit is a monumental challenge, where I am aiming for a sub 36 hour time.  Riding for 36 hours puts far more strain on your body than a 24 hour event.  I am privileged to have a top support crew from the AQR racing team where they have raced at European and World class events.  I also have an Olympic level sports doctor and physiotherapist who are working at the 2012 Games.

Having ridden the SDW many times raising money for charity, it is only appropriate that there are some beneficiaries from my ride.  This time there are two charities;

The British Heart Foundation who provide research and support for those with heart disease.  They also regularly organise the SDW 100 mile Randonnee, which I have ridden many times.

St Mary's Church in Reigate who are building a new community centre to serve the Church and the local community. Click here to donate to St Marys Community Building Project
Many thanks to USE for providing the Exposure Lights to see me through the night.  In a race environment the course is checked in advance and other riders help to keep it clear, on the SDW there are often hidden obstacles and wildlife to contend with during the night.  The Exposure 6 Pack with its 1800 Lumens will bring some daylight to the darkness, and hopefully disperse the sheep.

Training is going well with some long rides on the SDW to refresh myself of the route.  A few gates have been replaced where the SDW markers are missing, this preparation will reduce any navigational errors.  There has also been a change to the route at the Eastbourne end.   It is now and extra mile, or an extra 3 miles for me, where the bridleway and footpath sections finish at the same place.  Previously there was a nice ring to finishing at Paradise Drive.  Dukes Drive doesn't sound quite the same.

Everything else is sorting it self out, while I wait for a decent weather window in June.