This year the London Edinburgh London 1400km audax will run again
Here’s my ride of it, day by day, from 2005
Entries open on the official LEL website for the 2013 London Edinburgh London on
5 January 2013 between 01:00 and 03:00 Friday the 4th at 10pm.
The day before
I travelled up to London on the train. Getting across London was tricky but the bit up the Lee Valley Canal path was v nice. Unfortunately this is part of London that has changed out of all recognition during the Olympics.
The base for 2005 was the Lee Valley YHA
Pasta Party had rather small platefulls of pasta. Glad I had fish n chips on the way!
I borrowed a track pump and pumped up my tyres much harder than usual.
I was Wearing my then new “Tour de France” Kraftwerk jersey
We set out from Cheshunt railway station at 8.15am. Sean Quiggley (another rider from Devon) was in the same
batch but I didn’t see him again until MUCH later.
Before the first control I went off course twice, in fact once in the first mile Thanks to this I was able to overtake Jack Easton twice!
Howard Waller ( the 62 hour first finisher ) over took me so fast I didn’t have a chance to jump on his wheel.
Travelled with “Cambridge” ( Nick Jackson ) for a while.
Travelled with “Hatman” Steve and group for a while.
Got on the back of a fast group (35k+) on the way to Thurby. Fell off the back when the chain fell onto the small chainring but this helped my average speed no end!
The flat stuff on the way to Thorne into a headwind was tough. I was on the back of a group being pulled by Al Sutton but even 30k seemed like too fast. I was hanging on with grim determination, as if I lost the group it would be even worse on my own.
Got to the Thorne control approx 9:30pm, just getting dark.
I Left Thorne with Judith Swallows group, about 10-ish I guess. As it got later and dimmer had a sleep attack brought on by their rear lights. Dropped back. Felt better. Did intervals until I caught up. The lights hyponised me again. Stopped for caffeine tablets.
Couldn’t find a turning on the route sheet. Found it. Travelled with someone else for a while. Dynamo light packed up.
Met Al Sutton again. We took a detour, but not a large one. Hit first lot of real hills at Castle Howard
Made it to Hovingham control at 1:30am. No floor mats, blankets or sleeping space. I attempted to sleep for a few hours but the noise in the hall and the lack of comfort meant this was pretty much a waste of time.
Distance done on day one: 388km
I put on my official LEL jersey. Hovingham was the bag drop so I had a change of clothes.
After a night of 4/5 hours lying on a floor drifting in and out of consciousness ( not good sleep ) I wasn’t feeling on top form.
I cleaned the bike chain and changed dynamo bulb. However, I didn’t notice that I hadn’t tightened up the bolt holding on the light…
Left Hovingham with American Glenn and the Italian group. Immediately dropped them on sharp hills. Caught by
Dutch/German/Nordic fast group. Bit too fast! Lost them at misturn on a roundabout. Bad patch. Made it to Eppleby control feeling bad. Had a one hour sleep. Pressed on to Langdon Beck. The dynamo light fitting fell off and I’d lost a bolt. Fixed it as best I could at the roadside.
I remember overtaking the “bullet car” (a Velomobile) at Mickleton.
Controlled at Langdon Beck and ate 2 platefuls of beans and eggs
Stopped and talked to David Johnston who had started at Thorne and was going the other way. He said mountains to Edinburgh were cold at night. I was alread wearing my extra base layer and it was the middle of the day!
Climbed Yad Moss. Stopped at Alston control for
cup of tea. Pretty hammered. Pressed on to Cannonbie. Took “scenic” route instead of A road – not good. Met northern bloke about my age with beard. He knew area. We agreed we’d both take A Road back. Got to Cannonbie approx 9:30pm Had lots of food and a shower. Had a good nights sleep
207km only today…
Got up at 4am, out at bike at 4:30am. The dynamo light fitting was still too wobbly. After wasting time trying to fix it properly I bodged it up with tape. Left at 5. Headed across the mountains to Edinburgh. Caught up with plenty of people but mostly recumbents and other end markers :) Saw Sean Quiggly coming BACK from Edinburgh.
Met up with American Woody and Scottish bloke just before Interleithen. Saw plenty of other people coming back from Edinburgh including American Glenn. At this point I was feeling like I wasn’t making good progress.
Lost Woody and the Scots bloke on the descent near the snow gates.
A nice mechanic at Dalkeith fixed dynamo light properly which meant I now had a proper light for the next night.
Set off back to Cannobie with Woody and Scottish bloke but had a rough patch so let them go on.
Even though felt bad, time back was 1 hour faster than time out due to tailwind
Got to Cannobie. Bought some psp22 packets. I used to use this energy drink mix then and I had run out.
Pressed on to Alston. Met up with “Hatman” Steve again.
I was so tired I was hearing voices and talking to them! Took caffeine but made me feel like I was running on empty. Then…I thought I had it bad…Steve’s ankle got so chronic he couldn’t start when he stalled on hill. I had to stick with him at a very slow pace.
Limped into Alston at 1:30am. Sleep in a proper bed for the first time.
303km today, including a there and back over the mountains on the scots borders.
Out at 6am, pushed bike up cobbles in Alston and then climbed Yad Moss at a good pace. Dropped Steve, didn’t see him again until the end.
Didn’t stop at Langdon Beck. Wrong turn at Mickleton. Switched back into dirty shorts at Hovingham :P but supplies of flapjack and magic powder from bag drop welcomed. Rode with Philip from Redhill, Philip punctured. Two up
time trial style riding with Philip. Steve Abrahams was serving food at Thorne! 15 minute sleep. Left Thorne without helmet. Left Thorne again.
Travelled with Dutch group ( Herman/Ben) got sleep attacks again from looking at lights. Dropped back, took caffine.
Passed Rampton high security mental hospital
Went well until started getting sleep attacks on boring A road. Sang “there was an old woman who swallowed a fly” to stay awake. Caught Dutch group again on climb into Lincoln. Sung them “there was an old woman who swallowed a fly”
Nice bed at Lincoln.
Left before 6am with Dutch group. Long tedious ride across flatlands.
Lost Dutch group before Thurlby. Had a loverly curry at Thurlby.
Laughed at some triathletes in their silly pants. I expect they wondered why a bunch of dirty knackered looking people had race numbers on their
touring bikes. Incidently, I looked up likely mid week triathlon events when I got home and I believe this was an armed services one.
Ankle / Achilles started to play up even more. It had been nasty since the mountains.
On into headwind rough patch in Cambridgeshire.
Bought Ibrophen Gel at Gamblingay, slapped it on and continued.
Started to rain, which was good as it kept me awake. Took a wrong turn in the horrible lanes in Hertfordshire and did an extra 7km. Dutch boys caught me
Finished at 9pm with Dutch group. Had a beer.
233km + 7km for getting lost.