South Downs way, end-to-end, TBC

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  • No idea. Just fancied having a go myself at some point.

  • I'd say 10 hours is considered a good time for single if your trying to push yourself probably the equivalent of a 3 hour marathon for amateur runners. I've done the single 10+ times and my PB is 8:38 but that was all out and the last 40 or so miles i had a car looping round with food, drink and spares and a couple of mates riding with me pacing and getting the gates. The double is a totally different beast i attempted it once and got it all wrong needing medical attention and having to stop at Devils Dyke on the way back after less than 17 hours. The single can either be a really nice big day out or absolutely miserable depending on your approach to it as much as your fitness.

  • Ten hours is beast mode

    Double is something else entirely.

  • Good to know, cheers. Our recent one way 'attempt' was pretty miserable, falling on the hottest day of the year. Despite the nausea at 2/3 (never had sunstroke but that must have been what it was) it got me thinking about a fast single. Figured there's enough taps to do it with a minimal one bottle setup.

  • Also it's interesting to put it in terms of marathon times. There doesn't seem to be a cycling equivalent. Telling that Ian Leitch is also a handy runner (sub 2hr45?)

  • Ian leitch has run a 2:18 marathon and 15:35 for the SDW double I'm not sure on his single time but i knows it's well under 7 hours 🤯

  • I'd like to give this a rather more relaxed go - staying somewhere around the halfway mark (either camping or a B&B) over the course of a warm weekend.

  • This is the only thing I’d consider :)

  • Someone has run it in 14 hours if you fancy it 😉

  • The missus and I did the Chiltern Ridgeway like this and it was lots of fun.

  • I'm up for that

  • Also interested in this approach!

  • having ridden most of it in a day, honestly there are much better routes to ride on an mtb in the UK.
    it's quite good, but not legendary, ridgeway or transcambrian are a lot more interesting.
    it is accessible tho.

  • It's a beautiful part of the world, it's close, it's easy to get too. If you want to bail then there are well spaced points that will train you back to Londons famous London. All in all, it's got a lot going for it.

    Now, if we could just get the vaccination program sorted...

  • If anyones interested, the village shop in Cocking has closed down, so one less place to get snacks and supplies en route. Sadly this also seems to mean the end of Cocking Crunch, the legendary 50p cake slice made by the owners of the shop, a secret recipe that was once a subject on a radio 4 program i believe.

  • First section is rolling beautifully at the moment.­7272

  • Not in those shorts. Jesus Rob, really?

  • I’d much rather take a tent, though you’d probably choose less lairy shorts for this as those can probably be seen from space.

  • How doable is the SDW on 32c at the moment/generally??

  • Better now than it was a few months ago, but it would never be my tyre size of choice.

  • Coincidentally I rode the whole SDW over the weekend, wearing some tasteful #gravelspecific shorts. Was good. Mostly. As many people have suggested it's much more comfortable on a hardtail. But I don't have a working hardtail so did it on an overloaded gravel bike instead, taking enough food for the whole ride in order not to have to go off route. I've failed twice previously - many years ago when it rained non-stop and after crashing numerous times on slippery chalk decided it was wise to abandon. Then I tried again shortly after and broke my seatclamp and abandoned.

    This time conditions were more or less perfect - the ground's rock hard which is a bit more painful, but easier than thick mud. Weather was as good as could be hoped for - slight headwind (which is unusual for West>East), but dry and sunny without being too warm.

    Had a tedious Friday of angry chidcare, in the middle of which my rear tyre exploded off the rim covering my hallway in all my remaining sealant and buckling the wheel in the process (requiring a last minute rush to Balfes to buy more sealant). WIth this sort of resolved I woke up early Saturday and got a train to Winchester which arrived at 8.30. First 50km or so seemed really easy and I contemplated trying to do the whole thing in one go. Then it ceased being easy and realised this would be awful. Plus I wanted to get over my fear of solo bivvying. Having grown up near the South Downs I find the scenery less exciting than Wales, Scotland, etc. But having not got beyond Kent much in the last year it was a big improvement. After a long day of opening gates (I never want to see another gate again) I camped somewere above Fulking having done about 100km and was very glad of having a warm sleeping bag as soon as the sun went down.

    With only 50km-ish to go on Sunday I assumed I was in for an easy day, but I struggled with fatigue for the first few hours. My dad intercepted me at Firle Beacon and bought me a double espresso which instantly solved everything (I reluctantly turned down his offer to lend me his e-mtb for the rest of the ride). Made it to Eastbourne by lunchtime, had some slightly disappointing fish and chips, then decided to cycle back to my parents in Lewes to have a shower and get the train from there. Unfortuantely there's no way out of Eastbourne without a horrible long climb which I wasn't at all in the mood for. Then took one of my favourite 'gravel' tracks, the Firle old coach road. However it was really busy with Sunday walkers which made it less fun. Or possibly I was just tired.

    Anyway this is a terrible write up. To summarise - I did just short of 200km over the weekend, I had almost no mechanical issues - one rear puncture that looked like it wouldn't seal, but then did. Then nearly ripped valve core out putting more air in, but managed not to. Also my front thru-axle worked loose a couple of times which could have been disastrous. But wasn't.
    I'm pretty tired today but surprised I don't feel worse considering.

    I can't imagine how awful it is to do the whole thing in bad weather or doing there and back. I'd be tempted to try and do the whole thing in one go, but with a light hardtail and with minimal bagagge..

    Anyway, I haven't made an overlong video but did take some photos.

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  • Bits of it would be great.
    Lots of other bits of it would be horrible.

  • very nice. thanks for the write up

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South Downs way, end-to-end, TBC

Posted by Avatar for Dammit @Dammit