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At 4am this morning after my umpteenth visit to the bog with the squits I wasn’t sure I’d be able to ride but after some Imodium I got stuck in.
In a camp with 200 people eating, sleeping, washing and the rest bugs spread and a number of riders are having problems.

The ride today was the toughest and longest I have ever done. The final distance was 146 miles due to a route change. To say the weather has been changeable would be an understatement. We had sun rain hail and strong winds.
Over Glenco ski resort I was in first gear having to pedal down hill into the wind.

I didn’t know how I would get on so I started first start at 6am as I didn’t want to hold up my usual gang of 4. Rode the first 95 solo which on reflection wasn’t that smart as I didn’t have any wheels to sit on.

Lochs very pretty. Cycled the way alongside loch Lomond.

In another B&B tonight trying to get myself fully recovered. Sarah should have been a travel agent.

Report by Rick Perkins

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This blog is now finished as the event is now well past.

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Thanks again for supporting me in the LEJOG J

regards,

Rick

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LEJOG Photo Album

Here is a selection of the event photographers images:

http://www.flickr.com//photos/24334505@N03/sets/72157627006992491/show/

They give a good overview of the event.

Thanks again for the sponsorship; the final total including GiftAid was £4295.68

Regards,

Rick

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Hints and Tips for next years #end2end #LEJOG Riders

Whilst the challenge is fresh in my mind I thought I’d write some hints & tips which may be helpful to others who are planning to tackle the LEJOG.

The challenge is so much more than the distance …

A 100 mile Sportive is a tough challenge and many people, I think, took on the AMR LEJOG as a challenge to string together 9 of these … I probably did that …

But … on a one day event you turn up; you have a good view of the conditions bash out 100 miles; eat well then return to your nice warm house; and probably don’t ride the next day.

The LEJOG is a tough multi-day event with uncomfortable living conditions and unpredictable weather; and regardless of the weather (or your condition) the schedule remains the same so if the weather turns nasty you just have to get on with it.

120 miles in the sun with a favourable tail winds is easy … 146 miles with rain, sleet, hail & 30mph headwinds is a tough day in the saddle. That was our Day 7 which included a fair bit of climbing too.

So … tip #1 is to prepare yourself by training in all weathers; skipping a session because it’s tipping down with rain isn’t going to help because on the event nothing stops for the weather. Most people on this year’s ride were under dressed (ie. They got cold) on many days. I wished I had taken a full set of Gore-Tex touring waterproofs; my slinky racey waterproof cape was not man enough and in the end I resorted to riding for 3 days in the coat I had brought for the evenings. Also training in the rain will soon teach you what kit you need/want.

So; get some good waterproofs and get a decent sized saddle bag and carry them all the way; the extra 500g and the ugly look to your bike is well worth it when the weather turns.

Tip 2; train and ride in groups so you get back in good time. This is very much a personal issue but the faster riders had an easier trip. Our group was typically one of the first back so we had hot showers, massages, early dinner & more time to get the camping sorted which meant more rest. Often this was all done before some of the slower riders got in … and often they had cold showers. The slower riders have a tougher challenge.; because on top of all the other points they get less rest before the start of the next day.

Tip 3; take your own meds … the event medic was excellent but they can’t carry a full pharmacy for 150 riders; I caught “the bug” on day 6 and had to beg/borrow Imodium; bring plenty of your own and anything else you may need. Lots of other riders were consuming anti-inflammatory and pain killers for various issues; Achilles and knee problems seemed to be the top of the list; see you doctor before the event if need be but take what you think you may need.

Tip 4; avoid the bugs … with all those people eating, sleeping, washing and the other body movements in one small camp means bugs spread. Be extra careful about washing hands etc to try and keep the spread of bugs to a minimum. I did all this and still caught the bug … refer to tip 3

Tip 5; mudguards; with so many slick carbon road bikes around it is no surprise that probably only a handful of people had mudguards. You can get mudguards that fit race bikes such as SKS race blades and Crud Road Racers; I wish I had taken mine and I wished others had done so too … as we grovelled into Moffat in strong headwinds and rain in our chaingang of 4 we were each getting a complete hosing off the wheel in front … we’d have been far smarter to fit these lightweight guards. They weigh nothing but look a bit crap which is probably why no-one uses them on these events … vanity is a high price to pay when it’s lashing it down. http://www.crudproducts.com/products/roadracer/image

Tip 5; make sure your kit bag and day sack are waterproof. Bags get left around in piles at camps and lunch stops and if it’s wet they will get wet and so your dry evening clothes get wet. I used Harken sailing bags which were excellent. http://www.harkenuk.co.uk/wetdry-bag-145-p.asp

Tip 6; Bike computers; I used a Garmin 705 and it was excellent for following the route; the route was very well marked but this was a helpful aid. Make sure you know how to use your gadgets before the first day, the Garmins are good but not perhaps as user friendly as you may hope.

Tip 7; keep in touch whilst on the road; with all the various social media options it’s easy to keep in touch with those at home during the event and you may find it an inspiration in those dark moments. At 4am on day 7 whilst pearched on the bog with the squits I feared I wouldn’t be able to move 100m from a bog let alone ride 146 miles starting at 6am … but the thought of having to report to my sponsors on this blog that I had quit due to the squits drove me on … AMR layed of a full bank of plug sockets each day so charging up your phone and GPS was not a problem.

Tip 8; Make sure your bike is sorted and you have plenty of spares tubes. I was lucky I had no punctures (I rode on Veloflex Masters); others had many punctures and some went through a couple of tyres; luck of the draw really but bring spares.

Tip 9; Don’t bother taking much clothing for the evenings … pack all you cycling kit and a few evening bits.

Tip 10; Have a GOOD sleeping bag; many people got very cold during the nights; I was OK but I still slept with clothes on inside the bag.

Tip 11; Look after your backside … Assos chamois cream by day Sudocream by night …

Tip 12; don’t plan much the week you get back; you will be tired; I had entered a time trial on the Thursday evening on our return; I did it but I was slow … plus the planned 3 day sailing championship that started on the Friday didn’t happen … you will need a bit of recovery time.

So in summary I wished I had prepared better for the bad weather and had taken winter kit as well; I guess with a early season “heatwave” in the south east perhaps I had been lulled into a false outlook for the weather; we were pretty unlucky in Scotland but then perhaps some of those conditions were typical. If you prepare for bad weather and it’s sunny then you have a result.

All in all and excellent event; tougher than I anticipated mainly due to my naivety over the weather, usually if the weather is bad at home I defer the ride to another day … what I needed was more experience of riding in bad weather; then I would have known exactly what kit I needed for riding 100 miles in heavy rain …

Hopefully these tips will be useful to others; if you have any tips of your own that I have not covered please leave them a comments below ….

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Thank you very much to all my sponsors … and some numbers

Well this is the final post (probably) and the last thing to say is thank you to all the people that sponsored me.

The primary objective of this event was to raise money for Action Medical Research – the leading UK-wide medical research charity dedicated to helping babies and children.
For almost 60 years AMR have contributed to some of the most significant medical breakthroughs in recent history beginning with the polio vaccine which has eradicated new cases of the disease in the UK.
Today, AMR continue to find and fund the very best medical research to help stop the suffering of babies and children caused by disease and disability.

Most of you who sponsored me are parents and you can no doubt appreciate the work that AMR do.

I have raised a current total of £3,512.73 and a further £660.45 through the government’s Gift Aid Scheme

A massive thank you again; I can assure you it was no “cake walk” to earn your sponsorship money …

If you have yet to get around to pushing the button to sponsor here is the link: http://www.action.org.uk/sponsor/rickperkins

Here are a few other less important stats to the amount raised …

· 968 = total miles cycled over the 9 days

· 12,301m climbed

· Total ride time 58 hours 19 minutes giving an average speed of 16.6mph; our best average was on day 4 where we did 107 miles at an average of 19.5mph

· 4kgs of body weight lost (almost 9lbs in old money)

· Over 70 energy bars and gels munched down

· 47.6mph was my max speed down a hill on the first day

· 7 Imodiun tables consumed L

· Many new friends made J

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Riding partners

When you sign up for something like the LEJOG you wonder who you will meet along the way.

It is a long way to cycle and I was very much hoping not to do it solo and so it was great to meet all the fellow riders on the Action Medical Research event.

On the first day I set off late, on my own, to settle into my own pace and just before lunch I had hooked up with John & Trev and started riding as a 3 sharing the work at the front. Then by the time we had reached Okehampton we had also connected with a few others including Paul & Jonathan.

Over the next 8 days the 5 of us cycled together in a chain-gang sharing the work at the front of the line and the encouragement when someone was flagging.

When you cycle in a group you rely on the others for your safety (pointing out road hazards), support and speed. Taking turns on the front of the line allows the line to progress much faster than a solo rider as the person on the front makes an extra effort whilst the rest ride in tight formation in the slipstream. This requires both trust and pacing … over the 9 days this group of total strangers quickly gelled into a well oiled team riding in close proximity. Our best effort was on day 4 when we polished off 107 miles at an average speed of 19.5mph.

Pounding upwind into Moffat on the long straight roads or through Glenco with winds laced with heavy rain & hail, without the cover of the other riders we’d have been much slower.

We often added extra workers to our group and in the photo attached there are 6 riders which are (from the front); Jonathan, Paul, Dermot Murnaghan, me, John plus another guy getting a free ride …

By the end of the ride between us we had collective fatigue issues, achilles’ and knee problems and over the miles we had each been carried a bit by the others and often the group had eased up the pace to stay together to help the suffering individual. The only person who seemed impervious to the wear & tear was John who just seemed to get stronger as the event progressed.

But the riding is just part of the adventure and the time spent chatting at the re-fuel points and over dinner it was just as important to have good company; thanks guys I enjoyed riding with you all.

Photo 1 : Bristol to Shrewsbury (Day 3) From the front :- Jonathan, Paul, Dermot, Rick, John and a wheel sucker …

Photo 2 : Refuel on Day 9 From the left :- Trev, Rick, Jonathan, Paul, John & Dermot

Photo 2a : Refuel on Day 9 From the left :- Jonathan, Trev, John & Paul

Photo 3 : John O’Groats From the left :- John, Paul, Rick & Jonathan

Photo 4 : Dinner

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