Wednesday 15 June 2011

London to Brighton 300 DIY by GPS

I made a couple of mistakes on this ride, but with hindsight, I might have done myself a favour.

The ride was London to Brighton along the east and south coast: 310km shortest distance, 350km ridden, 3100m climbing.

One of the mistakes was making this DIY hugely over distance.  I though I'd be OK.  I was going to use my racing bike, no mudguards, no saddle bag, only one bottle etc.  The route is flat-ish.  Validation was going to be by GPS, so no wasting time at control points.  Everything was in my favour, I even had some Science in Sports goodies provided by Ealing Bike Hub.

Unfortunately, these advantages were completely offset by me turning into a tourist rather than behaving like an audaxer.  I was loving the ride, by the coast, miles and miles of it.   I told myself to relax and enjoy myself.  I was on rehabilitation after the BCM.  There were plenty of sites of interest, but why did I have to take not just one photo of something, but several, at different angles, with different light settings, looking around, oh .... look over there, snap, snap.  Those minutes add up.

Best angle?
Margate Turner Gallery
The other mistake, was to overshoot a couple of landmarks in Ramsgate.   I turned back to the first, and it was a complete waste of miles and time.  The Belgian Cafe, I would not recommend as a Belgian cafe.  You can buy 'a pint of Leffe' for sure (not that Belgians would order 'pints' of Leffe).  But the decor, which was a collage of retro-posters, did not have one cycling related image.  A waitress dropped a tray.  I guess it happens.  However, the expletives used following the drop stood out in being non-Flemish / non-French .  The cakes, the typically Belgian carrot cake and lemon meringue pie (I think not!), were not presented in individual portions.  I was disappointed and not in a good mood any more (can you tell?).

The headwind started to play its part and I began to realise I no longer had a time buffer.  Inspired by my personal best on last Wednesday's 10 mile time trial and being on my racer, I was going to start pushing it a bit more.  I did long steady state stretches and I did interval type stretches.  And so, this ride might very well have become a very good PBP training ride.  All this effort against the headwind took its toll though, because when I reached Battle I was ready to pack it in (second time this year!).  Only because of encouraging tweets did I decide to carry on - thank you to my regular followers, dkhan400 and SirWobbly.  If I lost my good mood in Ramsgate,  I was now angry!  Angry for allowing the word 'packing' to enter my head, and angry for having lost even more time whilst visiting Battle train station!  I asked for directions to the train station, and the lady said 'it's a long way, it's about a mile away'.  But that wasn't enough to bring my sense of humour back.  My 30-odd miles 'pending' were a reality.

We now have the perfect PBP training ingredients: tired from the early start, tired from pushing too hard, tired from the headwind, demoralised from having done the required 300kms, but having to do the over distance kms, running out of water, getting cold, getting lost, getting very sleepy.  Now go, go and do your time trial bit, you are going to have to, if you want to finish in time!

Fortunately, I had the Science in Sports goodies, they were very handy.  Both the rehydrating powder sachets and the energy bars suited me.  Before I read their tagline, I thought to 'make them part of my ritual'.  It is the detail that makes the difference.  The energy bar wrappers tell you clearly where to 'tear down'.  And when you do tear down, the packet tears open, and all the way.  Ah! Don't laugh!  I have used sachets of drink powder before, got them in New Zealand.  Thought they would be perfect.  When I came to use them on an audax, I could not get one of them to open.  I got to know Ealing Bike Hub on one of their bike maintenance courses.  It is a perfect setup for learning about bikes whatever level you are at.

I had decided that a 600 was not necessary this weekend (had been eyeing up the Invicta 600, but only with one eye).  The cycling forums' consensus seems to be that long distance rides are no longer required at this stage of PBP preparation, but shorter rides working on speed are more beneficial.  So in conclusion, I think I did myself a favour by organising an overdistance ride, and getting myself into time limit trouble.  It meant I had to ride hard.  If  I can do 350 in 21 hours, call it 300 in 20 hours, then I can do 1200 in 80 hours (all else being equal). That is 10 full hours left for sleep!  I'm beginning to look forward to PBP again.  For a while I was looking forward to it being over.

The day after this ride was PBP registration day. You're pre-registration is completed by adding records of your qualifying rides. What a milestone!

I want to go back to Margate, Broadstairs and Deal.  And another visit to Rye is already in the calendar (scallop festival).  It is a shame I couldn't stop there, but again with hindsight, having more leisure time will be a good thing.

Photos of the ride are on the slideshow till the next ride or here: Clicky

Other thoughts:
  • Learning about Cinque Ports
  • Thank you to friends in Brighton for providing sleep over
  • Last picture taken in Dover, tells a story
  • Seeing the FNRttC Whitstable route in daylight
  • Learning about GPS, tracks, routes, waypoints, tracklogs ...
Tribute to FNRttC Whitstable


Anonymous said...

Zeer interessant verslag. Blij dat je na al de tegenheden toch nog genoten hebt van je fietsrit. Ik heb er misschien ook een beetje schuld aan dat ik zoveel aanstipte wat je kon bezoeken! Think of the bright side!
Dank om je ervaringen met ons te delen,en wat de belgian café betreft drink maar een triple leffe in "the homeland" !!!
Meim en peip xxx

Kris said...

Bij ons heet " wielertoerisme": op een koersfiets rijden tot je aan je café bent, dus geen stops voor bezienswaardigheden, de Belgen weten toch maar half dat die er zijn (haha)
Je hebt een goede combinatie gemaakt en een eerlijk verslag.
Dit was nodig om opnieuw op PBP te focussen .
Je weet het, het thuisfront sleurt je desnoods over de eindmeet!:)

Mandy said...

Wow you are such a busy bee! Great pictures of Kent coastal towns, there are definitely some interesting places to visit. I haven't explored around there for years, count me in, well the leisurely version anyway, not sure 300kms in 20 hrs is my cup of tea. Rob & i managed about 55 miles over 3 days in the Cotswolds last week, we could have done allot more but we are just so nosey, so much to see & do & then there's cake! I am about to start the hunt for the Birthday Road Bike, yay! Take care, looking forward to Dent! Mandy xxx Ps. Well done amazing lady ;-)