London-Edinburgh-London 1400km

23rd - 28th July 2005

LONDON-EDINBURGH-LONDON

 

London Edinburgh London is AUKs premier event which has been run every four years since 1989.

At 1400kms it  is 200kms longer than Paris Brest Paris, and some would say more demanding, because of the extra distance and the hilly ( and possibly cold) northern section.

The 2005 event saw 276 starters from two separate starts, one at Thorne (95) the other at Lee Valley (181). Four continents were represented with riders from the usual European countries, plus the USA, Canada, South Africa, Australia and more unusually Japan, Hungary, Israel and Russia.

I was a Thorne starter and this is my account of five days in July.........

 

 

 

In the beginning

I don't remember when I started to think about riding the 2005 LEL, but it had been at least  4 years, ever since I failed to enter the 2001 edition!

In the interim, PBP had been and gone, and my longest ride was still a mere 600k.

In March 2004 I decided to work on the Randoneur Round the Year award run by Peak Audax. This entailed riding a 200k (at least) for 12 consecutive calendar months.

One year later, quite a bit fitter and a bit lighter, LEL was looming on the horizon. I decided that 2005 was going to be the year that I pushed the boat out and attempted something a bit more demanding than a 600k. Initially I held back on sending off the  application form, hoping to get an SR under my belt before I made the final decision. With several 200s a 300 and a 400 completed I took the plunge and wrote out the cheque and sent off my entry the week before my first planned 600k of the year, the Bryan Chapman. I was committed. Everything now was geared towards the start on 23rd July 2005. Training in earnest had to start!

Training

I'm not a training type of person!

Ideal training would be riding to the pub, having a few pints of real ale and cycling home!

I checked out the LEL FAQ and took Simon Doughty's advice and planned a series of rides which would hopefully see me through to July when I would be fit for the ride.

I planned to ride two SR series before the event and added in a few other rides to maintain my fitness level.

In the end, the year running up to LEL consisted of the following Audax rides.

This was complemented with daily commuting and club runs which amounted to about 150 miles per week on top of these events.

 

 Date

 Event

 Distance

 10/07/2004 National 400 400 Kms
  07/08/2004 Dr Foster's Summer Saunter 202 Kms
  12/09/2004 Kidderminster Killer 201 Kms
  03/10/2004 Falling Leaves 101 Kms
  16/10/2004Across the Cotswolds 209 Kms
  06/11/2004 Upper Thames 200 211 Kms
  12/12/2004 Severn Bridge High Loop Permanent 200 Kms
  03/01/2005 Midlands Vale 200 permanent 200 Kms
  05/02/2005 Marlborough Connection 200 Kms
  12/02/2005 Cotswold Corker 106 Kms
  19/03/2005 Cheltenham Flyer 204 Kms
  26/03/2005 Clwydian 205 Kms
  09/04/2005 Elenith 303 Kms
  30/04/2005 Brevet Cymru 401 Kms
  08/05/2005 Billy Waggledagger's Long One 201 Kms
  21/05/2005 Bryan Chapman Memorial 617 Kms
  12/06/2005 Cotswold Connection 201 kms
  18/06/2005 Worcester and S Cotswold 300 302 Kms
 02/07/ 2005 Droitwich 600 606 Kms
  09/07/2005 National 400 408 Kms
  17/07/2005 Club 100 in 8 100 miles

 

 

Friday 22nd July 2005

My last club run was on Sunday 17th July where we rode a very hot 100 miles in about 6 hours. So now the training was complete, everything was packed and ready to go, it was just a question of getting to Thorne for the start in the morning. After a nightmare of a journey, sitting stationary on the A42 for what seemed like an eternity, I arrived at the Thorne Rugby Club, early evening, to be welcomed by Peter Coulson who directed me to my parking spot. Registration by Bernard Mawson was quick and painless, so armed with my goody bag and frame numbers I set off to prepare the bike for the morning. I noticed a few tents already pitched on the rugby field, and decided (after a quick look and smell in the gym) that I would do likewise and camp outside for the night. After erecting the tent it was soon time for the pasta party. This was a great event made even better by the bar opening and serving a decent pint of real ale. Damon Peacock was showing the beginnings of his LEL video, just to give us a taster of what lay ahead - pictures of him and Heather Swift skiing at Yad Moss! All too soon it was getting late and I turned into my tent for a good nights rest. In retrospect this was not such a good idea. I found sleep difficult to come by, through excitement, and the awful smell emanating from the meat processing plant across the way. I wished I had just stayed in the gym after all!

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