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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

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Old 03-16-09, 06:39 AM   #1
hughstew
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Plan for London-Edinburgh-London.

A couple of friends and I have entered the London-Edinburgh-London event in July this year. 875 miles in 116 hours 40 minutes (we may well need those crucial 40 minutes!). We've all done plenty of long rides before, but nothing on quite this scale.

At the moment the plan is to start pedalling at 6:00am each day, ride until about 9:00pm (with 2 or 3 hours for breaks). This means we can eat, sleep and wash in reasonable comfort every night. If we average 15 mph we should make the distance. Assez simple n'est pas.

Does this sort of plan make sense, or will we find our average speed dropping, and we'll need to spend many more hours in the saddle. If you have experience of this sort of thing please lend me the benefit of your experience and wisdom.
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Old 03-16-09, 09:20 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by hughstew View Post
At the moment the plan is to start pedalling at 6:00am each day, ride until about 9:00pm (with 2 or 3 hours for breaks). This means we can eat, sleep and wash in reasonable comfort every night. If we average 15 mph we should make the distance. Assez simple n'est pas.
A couple of things:

In my experience (just 1200k and a few 600ks), the average speed that you'll have on the first day will not be the average speed that you will have on the second or third day. Even 8 hours of sleep cannot fully repair the strain of 15 hours of cycling; so expect that your average speed will be something more like 15 mph on day one, 14 mph on day two, 12 mph on day three, etc.

Secondly, your body knows time, not distance. Spending 116 total hours to ride a bicycle for 875 miles is a greater toll on your body than spending 84 hours. It might appear that spending 8 hours to sleep in between riding days is a blessing, but it might be less strenuous for you to just suck up the sleep deprivation and finish earlier, and save the real rest for the end.

Have they posted the control schedule for the rides? Keep in mind that even if you are physically capable of covering the distance with 8 hours of sleep every day, the control schedule requires you to arrive at certain points of the route by certain times. Keep this in mind when planning your sleep stops and your riding days. It's possible that you can arrive at control point 4 at 9 pm, wake at 6am and realize that control point 5 closes at 8am and is still 80 miles away.
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Old 03-16-09, 11:48 AM   #3
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The best laid plans ....
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Old 03-16-09, 01:45 PM   #4
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That seems to be a good plan, there are a big discussion about the LEL at www.yacf.co.uk.

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Old 03-16-09, 03:27 PM   #5
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I rode LEL in 2005. Most riders' approach is 300 km per day with the last day 200 km. The only problem with this strategy is that you will be competing with a lot of riders for a limited number of beds. I'm not sure if those particular checkpoints have the most beds available (only some checkpoints are youth hostels).

After 4 x 1200 and 1 x 1400, my first day is usually fast, the second slow and usually the third and later are in between. YMMV. My riding average is usually 22-23 kph averaged over the length of these events.

The slower minimum average speed of LEL (constant last time, not a fast first 600 then slower) allows more sleep, a significant proportion of riders virtually avoid night riding altogether.
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Old 03-17-09, 09:30 AM   #6
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Thanks for the advice. I'll check out the control point opening times. That www.yacf.co.uk board looks like a gold mine of information.
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