With my last race of the season just three weeks away, and having had a few days off the bike whilst at a festival I felt I needed to do a big ride. I have been meaning to ride the South Downs Way since way marking parts of the route for a off-road triathlon back in july, the SDW is fabled among cyclists, running from Winchester to Eastbourne it is just under 100miles with nearly 3000metres of climbing, some people like to do it over two days, some people like to ride there and back non-stop, I thought doing it in a day was good for me.
Leaving Winchester at 8:30am the first few miles come easily, one minor nav error near a disputed part of the route and a minor puncture for my riding buddy we made good time to Queen Elizabeth country park, then Next to Cocking for the first tap, 35miles, topped up and feeling good we carried on, during the next section my hydration pack bladder started leaking, less than ideal! I made sure I topped up at every tap, this delayed our progress but needed to be safe!
From Amberly onwards the gradient starts to get tougher, riding my beloved single speed I cope well with hills, a few had me walking but felt it was better to preserve my legs. From Ditchling Beacon onwards we had broken the back of the ride, although I knew the worst hills were still to come! We pasted a few other riders, one had set of at 5:45am and looked to be suffering, we gave him some encouragement and left him on the next hill.
With energy rapidly running out we hit Alfriston and the last big climb of the day, it was great, chalky climb with brilliant views and a gradual gradient, after this it was a quick blast along the top near Beachy Head and down in Eastbourne.
It was a really great day and a classic ride, total ride time of 10hrs, total moving time of 8:45hrs, I'll be back next year now I know the route more organised and more prepared and set a better time, and nobody mention doing the DOUBLE!