Archive for October, 2009

No. 43 – 26/9/09 – DIY GG Leg1/2/3 of LEL09 and back 418Km

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

I don’t think it’s nostalgia. After all – I DNF the LEL09 so why would I want to do the route again?? My excuse is that I wanted to check how feasible it would be to do the first 200km or so of the route with a fixie!

Well, the conclusion is that going North is very doable. I did not have to walk even once. Going back, however, posed two challenging sections at the very last 10Km, which I could not climb (too steep) and had to walk a hundred meters or so in each case.

Judging from how knackered I was at the end of the 418 Km I can fully appreciate how difficult it would be to do the full length of the LEL on a fixie. While my timing was far from bad (I mastered it in about 26 hours and 50 minutes) that really leaves me with just 90 minutes or so ‘in hand’. That means that if I wanted to go the distance and achieve 600km I would certainly not be able to do it – I will be too tired and far too slow at the end of it.

Doing the LEL route yet again was kind of fun though. I know it quite well and spent a good time in the first half singing to myself and having a good time. I also made good progres (this time it was NOT a back wind!) and covered 210 Km in 12 hours – exceptionally good in my book! Coming back was an increasingly hard struggle, with tiredness and sleepiness and what not. At some stage I just felt soooo tired I had to stop and take a nap. The night was cold but I just didn’t care. I found a place in the field and just collapsed there and then. I did remember to look at the watch and memorised the time (03:10) so I could learn how long I was asleep for. I don’t know how long it took me to fall asleep (seemed like forever) but when I wole up I was really astonished to see that I spent just 15 minutes in horizontal position. So far I am consistent beyond belief – every time I go to sleep on the road doing an Audax ride I sleep excatly 15  minutes and I wake up without any crude artificial means (like an alarm clock of sorts).

It is pretty lonely out there, but from time to time I encounter people. Especially when I stop… So this time I was at a petrol station and it was like 22:00 or so and I was delighted that it was still open (they are not a 24 hours establishment). Upon purchasing some water the clerk asked politely ‘so, do you have far to go?’. Yeah, I replied casually. Quite far. All the way to London. He gave me an incredoulous look, ‘Seriously’ – I say nonchalantly and leave the store.

I guess doing the distance does give me some bragging rights – however limited. Sure – there are out there many hundreds of people that are so much stronger and faster (and certainly younger) than me, but there are many millions who would not even consider coverig such distances on a bike – so I can brag here and there.

Upon return (and after few days of recovery) I did some calculations to ascertian how much have I improved or deteriorated compared to my pre LEL long distance rides (which were done on my geared bike). Amazingly, I have improved! So a fixie certainly doesn’t seem to slow me down, but subjectively I feel that I was more tired at the end now than I was then – or I just forget how bad it was …