24 hours to Ludlow

Twilkes

Guru
Happy new year to you Audaxers.

My big ride for this year is going to be ‘see how far you can get in 24 hours’. It’s not really an Audax but probably fits best in this forum because it’s not a race or a tour or a sportive ride.

Starting in Glasgow, I’ll be heading south and have planned a route that hits 300 miles at Ludlow. If I get that far or further, great, otherwise I have a minimum of 250 miles that I want to reach. I’ve ridden a lot of the roads before, and am fine on A-roads with traffic although if there is a quieter alternative that is not much longer or hillier then I would probably go that way.

I’ll be doing it close to the full moon before the first May bank holiday, probably Wednesday 6th May, plus or minus two weeks depending on weather. Heading south, the key thing will be waiting for a northerly wind; I’ve spent five hours in a headwind before, I’m not about to voluntarily spend 24 hours in one!

I played around with a route heading north, but beyond 200 miles there would be a lot of hills around, it would be dark so the scenery would be wasted, and I would likely end up miles from civilisation if anything went wrong. Whereas going south, I get to cycle through Scotland and the Lakes while the sun is up, and then reasonably flat and straight during the dark, with more amenities and abort-points with nearby public transport.

If you have any questions, either because you’re curious or because you want to make sure I’m not going to get into An Awful Lot Of Bother (AALOB) then please ask away – there are lots of things I’ve thought about, but probably a lot of things I’ve not thought about because I didn’t know to think about them.

I’ll add occasional updates but the main thing for posting here is to make sure I actually do it!
 
Location
N Somerset
I'm liking the sound of this, if you make Bristol I'll put the kettle on, good luck!
 

Ajax Bay

Guru
Location
East Devon
A gang of four of us from our Wednesday evening 'ride to a (different each week) pub' group rode the Easter Arrow last year: from Taunton to York (456km when the 24 hours clicked over). There will be teams from Glasgow (I would think) riding 24 hours to York this Good Friday.
I did about 300 miles in the first 24 hours of PBP and reached Carhaix an hour later. Had grabbed 2 sleeps of an hour each en route.
@Cranky Knee Girl - though generous, the attraction of Bristol is limited by its position: from Ludlow it's an extra 120km over and above the 480+km the OP will have already ridden.
 
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OP
Twilkes

Twilkes

Guru
Okay, so I’ve been commuting 5 miles twice a day for over a year, and more recently doing 20-30 mile rides every few weekends, but decided to take a full day to do something longer – from Glasgow to Lennoxtown then over the Rest And Be Thankful and back via Helensburgh, with a few detours to keep it interesting and bump it up to 100 miles/160km. It’s not a flat route by any means, and the surface from Balloch to Tarbet is abysmal so I used up more energy than I’d have liked on that part of the ride. There was a road closure so I had to double back a bit but that cut out one of the big climbs so in the end I was thankful for that!

I managed 100 miles in around 8 hours, so bang on 300 miles/24 hours pace. But amongst a couple of 5 minute breaks I took 45 minutes for lunch (stopped at a pub which was nice but unnecessary) and half an hour fixing a puncture, could have done it quicker but wasn’t rushing and wanted to get it done right, so I could probably cut down on faffing time. But but I definitely felt like I’d ridden 100 miles by the end of it, which could have been the big (or rather steep) hills, but was more likely pushing a little too hard at times and not eating enough. I need to think back to school trips where you would eat your lunch just after you’ve left the car park, as I’m realising that food takes a while to kick in so need to eat more of it earlier.

In terms of logistics:

I have a little handlebar bag which is useful for food on the go, but the zip can be awkward to open and close while moving. I had a pocket on the back of my jersey but didn’t use it, mainly because the food I took was a bit awkward to handle, especially with gloves on – raisins in a little plastic pot with a lid, crumbly scones and a bag of pretzels, really just whatever I had in the house. I’ve previously had chunks of flapjack in a jersey pocket but wasn’t quite prepared food-wise for this ride. The next ride I’ll make some peanut butter and jam toasties, or something like hot cross buns – I definitely need sugar to ride so I need a balance of straight carbs with something sweet, either on their own doesn’t work for me. Any tips on good food-on-the-move welcome!

I have a Topeak Backloader saddle bag which is great – it seems to swing a lot when I push it by hand but I don’t remember noticing any pendulum effect while actually riding. It’s 6 litres but easily big enough to keep tools, some food, an extra water bottle, a fresh jersey etc if I pack it well. If it’s not full it can be rolled down and secured with straps so it’s quite flexible.

My bike setup was actually pretty good, only got a little back ache in the last ten miles – I like low drops for 20mph+ and big downhills, but I could do with raising them a little to be more upright when climbing on the tops. My saddle was okay once I got my shorts in the right position, and my feet were fine, no pain or blisters at all.

Could I have gone around another two times? No. Could I have carried on further? Yes, but at the moment I’m not sure how much further, possibly could do another 100 miles but probably not at the same pace, and not with any steep climbs. With this ride I was still focused on a set distance and doing it in a good time, which pushes me a little too hard sometimes, so the next ride I’ll pick a flatter route and do it at a sustainable pace and see how I feel at the end of it. I’m going to struggle to get more than 8 hours ride time without cashing in a lot of spousal credit though. :smile:

I’m sure this is stuff most of you have been through multiple times but it’s a learning curve for me – any guidance appreciated!
 
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Ajax Bay

Guru
Location
East Devon
I definitely felt like I’d ridden 100 miles by the end of it, which could have been the big (or rather steep) hills . . .
I have a little handlebar bag which is useful for food on the go, but the zip can be awkward to open and close while moving.
Starting in Glasgow, I’ll be heading south and have planned a route that hits 300 miles at Ludlow.
1) Hills make a significant difference to speed made good, especially beyond 100km. Your route south will be far more benign.
2) Try running a soft pencil along the inside and outside of the zip teeth. Carbon (graphite) is a good lubricant.
3) For May, consider starting late evening, getting the // M74 done by dawn, and then have the light of day for England.
This is a route being shared (as a guess) for the End-to-end 1400+km audax running at the end of July:
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/31764424?beta=false
In reverse from km 950-450, you may find it useful:
Adapted to Ludlow to Glasgow:
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/31795706?beta=false
Personally:
a) You can get off the A6 after Carlisle, exit on the racecourse road (due south) and take flat roads though Hutton End to Penrith.
b) I'd come off the A6 at Penrith and head towards the Eden valley and then ride through Tebay and all the way down the Lune valley to Lancaster and then stay a little west on the A588 (vice A6): https://ridewithgps.com/routes/31795808?beta=false It's 10km further and a bit more climb, but worth it.
I rode both those lines on my end-to-end.
HTH
 
OP
Twilkes

Twilkes

Guru
1) Hills make a significant difference to speed made good, especially beyond 100km. Your route south will be far more benign.
2) Try running a soft pencil along the inside and outside of the zip teeth. Carbon (graphite) is a good lubricant.
3) For May, consider starting late evening, getting the // M74 done by dawn, and then have the light of day for England.
This is a route being shared (as a guess) for the End-to-end 1400+km audax running at the end of July:
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/31764424?beta=false
In reverse from km 950-450, you may find it useful:
Adapted to Ludlow to Glasgow:
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/31795706?beta=false
Personally:
a) You can get off the A6 after Carlisle, exit on the racecourse road (due south) and take flat roads though Hutton End to Penrith.
b) I'd come off the A6 at Penrith and head towards the Eden valley and then ride through Tebay and all the way down the Lune valley to Lancaster and then stay a little west on the A588 (vice A6): https://ridewithgps.com/routes/31795808?beta=false It's 10km further and a bit more climb, but worth it.
I rode both those lines on my end-to-end.
HTH
Thanks, I’ll have a look at those routes.

I’ve thought carefully about a start time, and I think I’d rather do Scotland and the Lakes in the daytime while I’m fresh, and south of Preston at night when there is much less traffic around. I’m also not sure about starting later in the day as the sleep debt will be greater – I could try a night ride one weekend to see how it goes but it’s not something I’ve ever done before. I realise that some folk do it without problem though.
 

Dogtrousers

Kilometre nibbler
A fine challenge. Good luck with it.
 
OP
Twilkes

Twilkes

Guru
Okay I'm getting there with prep, but in terms of longer-than-normal training rides, the longest I'm going to manage will be probably one 12-hour ride, so anything beyond that will be an unknown, although I expect my legs not to be the problem, more fuelling.

I'll have five 20-minute meal stops, at Abington, Carlisle, Kendal, Preston and Whitchurch, but after 12+ hours how likely am I going to want to eat? In an ideal world it would be six 4-hour riding sessions, each one the same as the last, with some yummy hot food at the end of it, but I've read that appetite can do funny things after that long in the saddle and getting food in you can be a challenge.

Any tips?
 
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Ajax Bay

Guru
Location
East Devon
Worth forcing yourself to complete some two plus hour rides in the dark so that everything's sorted, and not just a 5 mile commute in the darkness in winter. Getting out before dawn twilight is a good way to ride that: back in time for breakfast, 100+km done.
Sunset
Sunrise
Full moon
We rode an 'Arrow' (small group ride) last Easter (20 Apr). Stopped every 80km or so and ate each time. I allowed 40 minutes, we didn't hang around but never got on our way in less than 30 minutes (eg McD). I might have been 5 minutes faster alone. You must eat, both on the move (include savoury as well as sweet) and regularly (not frequently) eat when stopped. You'll find that Abington (64km) is likely too early to stop and eat: you won't be hungry - 20 minutes would be wasted: maybe 10 outside a shop. I'd suggest eating at Lockerbie (117km) as the first sit down and eat. An alternative is Gretna Services which can be accessed efficiently from the B7076 ( about 142km, Right, no sign). I would target Kendal (~234km from an 8am start) for evening fish and chips (Stramongate but no doubt there are better ones). If you don't eat in the 5-12 hour period, quite likely you'll then find you don't want to eat at 15 hours when you NEED to. Research where you can get quick food: maybe there's a convenient 'Spoons that you hope to pass about 10pm (? Lancaster (270km)). And then overnight - somewhere near the Mersey?

Eating during a long ride needs to be practised so if you are going to get a 12 hour ride in, make sure you plan a route which allows you to practise the eating bit as well. And stop and eat, even if you don't NEED to.
Kit: No need for 'spare water bottle' assuming you have two in cages. No need for a spare top. Maybe spare pair of socks offers best 'comfort dividend' for weight/volume. You'll likely need the space for leg and arm warmers, overshoes and jacket.
HTH
 
OP
Twilkes

Twilkes

Guru
Thanks for this - I did a test ride to Abington (looping back via Thankerton and Strathaven) and I would be ready to top up with a pot of rice at least, so maybe I can keep that one to 10 minutes. Then I have the downhill to Carlisle, headwind not withstanding, and food there would get me over Shap to Kendal for dinner. I sometimes eat more in a day in the office than I would on a bike so I'm going to err on the side of caution! And pacing it in terms of meals is suddenly making it seem easier.

Hadn't thought of a pre-dawn ride, that would be logistically easier than an evening dark ride for me so will do that.
 
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