andygates: (Default)
Just want to get this down before I forget; thinking about LEJOG compared to other adventure holidays, where the natural tendency is to go all-out at the start (Crossfit WOD for breakfast?) and only the hardcore (Nastia!) are still going by the end with the rest subsiding into beer and Wii Bowling.

LEJOG was quantitatively different because it had an un-blaggable endpoint.  Even if, say, a tri-themed camp training camp were to have an actual proper race at the end, it's still blaggable.  A sightseeing tour would be, too; by the end of it, bad weather would tick the tearoom box more than the clifftop one.  But a point-to-point tour can't be blagged: you allow a degree of slack because it's not a route march, but the only way to get where you want to go is to keep on riding, every day, munching up that mandatory itinerary. 

In fact, the itinerary becomes the Prime Directive.  Do what you like to have fun along the way, but you have to make the miles.  Pretty soon I learned that an early start was essential unless I wanted to finish very late; no lie-ins on this holiday!  Shopping, pubs, bike parts, food all change their priority from "best choice" to "first acceptable choice" because there's just no time to mither around all day comparing the titanium to the carbon widget or looking for organic hand-rolled dolmades when there's a can of Sutherland chilli in the Spar.  This sounds grim, but actually, it was kind of okay; in fact it was liberating: buy food, get wheel, find campsite.  The option-paralysis that sometimes hits me ("this pub has better beer" "its a bit crowded" "how about this one" "dingy" "lets go back to the first one" "argh!") isn't allowed: it breaches the Prime Directive: Get the miles in.

I'm wondering whether it is applicable elsewhere, because I rather enjoyed it. 

Mind you, I enjoy the slack adventure stuff too: there the Prime Directive is to have fun; the adventuring is the secondary objective, the vector for the fun to be had, and as such it is changeable (and since hanging out with a beer and a bad movie is fun too, easily changed).
andygates: (Default)
Next year, I'm forty and my do-it-all bike is ten (even though he's a bit like Trigger's broom now).  I know sixty is the new forty, but it's an excuse for a midlife crisis ride and in the UK,  that means Land's End to John O'Groats.  I quite hope to do it with friends, for chunks of the ride at least, if any of them can stand me wittering on for that length of time. 

LEJOG is 880 miles, give or take, and I'll probably take it easy over three weeks with a rest day or two, tentatively in May as that's the bike's birthday; basically, in the nice months because wintry Scotland is as grim as a grim thing.  I will be camping: this is one of those take-your-home-with-you gigs, because it makes me smile (the camp-over after Dunwich still makes me smile despite the Night Of The Earwigs). 

After talking around, I'm going to go uphill.  Coming from wild-and-lovely to crowded-and-familiar is what you do after an expedition, not during it. Plus I'll have a tailwind.

Read more... )
andygates: (Default)
Wah! I can't afford to go up to Scotland and goof around with [livejournal.com profile] ravenbait and Frood because, ambassador, with this credit crunch you are really spoiling us.  Especially with the scalping prices of Easter train tix, and let's face it if I flew up I may as well stop posting those cute polar bear pictures.

But I still have a huge wodge of use-it-or-lose it leave booked, and all the toys I foolishly spend my loot on, and Devon is achingly pretty.  So: lemons to lemonade.

Time to make good on something I've been meaning to do since forever: some bike camping.  An extended coast-to-coast, maybe: head up to the North Coast, tool along to about Bude, then hack over the moors to Plymouth and a pre-booked train ticket costing (ironically) less than a fiver.  Tent, family pack of Mars bars, let the wiki map fairies do the heavy route lifting and leave the cat on the nom-o-matic for a few days.

What could possibly go wrong? :)
andygates: (hellboy)
I'm on hodilay and off on a Bicycle Epic this weekend.  First, a little camping in Surrey, then the Exmouth Exodus

The camping's an excuse to roll out my apocalypse Bug-Out Bag and see if it's up to snuff.  It is, for sure, up to snuff - well over snuff, I fear, so much that with the tent and bits it all ends up in the trailer.  There's a BOB in my Bob, bub.  The ride will be forty or so miles each way, with zombie-apocalypse themed amusements overnight.  Memo to self, next time find an archery-friendly campsite and bring the twanging sticks.

Then up to Bristol by train for the Exodus, a 100-mile overnight ride.  First of the season.  Luckily I get to dump the trailer in the tea-van before the off, but even so, I've learned from experience that these overnight centuries are not to be taken lightly: disrespect them and they spank you; respect them and they're fun.

180 miles in 48 hours, half heavily loaded, half overnight.  Call it a round two hundred with station-shuttling.  It's daunting, in a good way.  I'm just glad I just bought some chamois cream.

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