What do you really need to ride?

I am going to ride the South Downs Way so need to get some off road and SDW miles in. However, Saturday night I thought that I would not be able to ride. Panic! I couldn’t find my Garmin!  I searched all the usual places at the shop, went home, searched there, then went back to the shop and searched again.  I was desperate. Had it been nicked from my desk? What would happen to my riding? Would I ever be able to ride again?

Could you believe it? How can I be so reliant on technology? Surely all that I need is a bike and to pedal it? I wanted to get used to riding the South Downs Way but I also wanted to get a feel for what it would be like to average 10mph. That is why the Garmin would have been useful. I would have customised the screen to show average speed and something else. But I am not sure what else. Distance would be too depressing and I know where I am, heartbeat (why?), time of day – no, speed – what’ point. No, I’d set it to average speed and that is it.

I saw a lot of riders yesterday riding the SDW and hats off to them for their effort but I felt really sorry for them in the heat. They all seemed to have heavy bikes and be wearing black baggie shorts and jerseys. With 10,000 feet of climbing my aim is to keep it light and, in the heat, to keep it cool.

My tyres are Conti X-Kings Protections 740g but I’ll be fitting Maxxis Crossmark Exceptions 605g. I’ll save 135g per wheel! A saving in the most important place on a 29er. My bag is and Octane 18 one of the lightest that Camelbak do at 420g and in it I’ll carry a Foss tube, the mini-est of mini tools, a chain breaker, spare link, my nutrition and the most minimal of first aid. I’ll wear Endura MTR bibshorts, a light race jersey (probably one of the Northwave Evolution jerseys that are on offer as it is white) and a cooling base layer. If I can think of any other way to save weight then I will. Riders often talk about how light their bike is but then add weight to themselves defeating the object of buying light in the first place.

I struggled to get up a 5:15 so lost time before I even started so, with a deadline to be back for 11 I decided to try to ride ever faster to mimic the effects of riding for a long time. I really wish that I had ridden for longer. Having only just decided to ride the South Downs Way I have left it a bit late to train up for it. I think that the best thing that I can do is to stop the Tuesday evening punishment that I enjoy so much.

Here is the ride, I just set up my phone and put it in my bag – a bit of a battery eater. It started cool but finished really hot and I ran out of water crossing the Adur. I was shocked at how much I would need to drink on that short run back from there. I was on the Kinesis FF29.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Raymond says:

    Do you need to take a camel back? I always found that they made me very hot, because my back was covered. Also, they are such a faff to refill at the water stops and to get stuff out and you generally have to get off the bike to do it. Because the sdw has plenty of taps, 2 large bottles have always been enough for me.

    Good luck

    1. I like bottles but with a pack I drink more and can carry the essentials unencumbered. Whilst I don’t like back packs its better than having pockets stuffed or saddle bags. Its a small price to pay. Thanks for the luck.

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