Having ridden Lands End to John O’ Groats at least once a year for the last 11 years as the ‘man in charge’ on several cycling events, last month Andy decided to take the challenge on himself purely for the fun of it! With Jacqui as support crew, and no real plans other than to take about a week getting from one end of the country to the other, the pair headed off mid-August to start the journey from Lands End.
“My initial ambitious plan had been to finish in 4-5, using main roads and following a very similar to the route the record-breakers use when completing this challenge. However, the bad weather during the first three days put paid to that idea. Zero visibility on the A30 on day one meant I reverted to the much quieter roads of my Ride Across Britain route through Cornwall and into Devon.
It was amazing to find out just how much of the RAB route is common to the record route in the North of the country – between the Lakes and Abington. I also discovered a great new route through the Cairngorms avoiding Glenshee and the Lecht – something I think a lot of RAB riders might be excited to hear about!
The official certificate tells me I completed the ride in 5 days and 10 hours. I rode for around 9 1/2 hours each day – starting at just gone 7am most days and finishing by 6pm, leaving plenty of time to refuel and hit the hay by 9.30pm. Here are the official stats:Day 1 – 161 miles – 10:51:38 riding time – 12,635 ft climbing
No punctures or mechanicals all trip unless you count accidentally discharging my Di2 battery in the back of the van overnight as the lever was left ‘on’ pressed against the van wall. Luckily I had my Beacon as a spare bike with similar gearing but no mudguards……!!
At no time did I feel stressed mentally or physically and felt that I rode within myself keeping a controlled pace all ride.
As we hadn’t planned stops beforehand that determined how far I rode but this actually worked to our advantage as there was no pressure to make a certain point each night.
If I do it again I would possibly do it in June with extra daylight and aim for an additional 20-30 miles a day which would make 5 days very much possible. A small group of say 4 similar ability riders working together would definitely work.”