What was your reason for wanting to ride the Trafalgar Way?
My mate Chris Pass convinced me it would be fun. Don’t worry, revenge is best served cold.
How would you sum up your ride of the Trafalgar Way to a friend?
A brutal physical challenge, but brilliantly organised and incredibly rewarding. And fun (at times!)
What was your most memorable part of the ride?
Watching the sun come up on the ride to the start line, watching it go down again somewhere in Dorset, then watching it come up again in London. You don’t often get that all in a day’s ride!
What are your top 3 tips for anyone thinking of riding the Trafalgar Way?
- Accept that you will have bad patches. Twice I felt like quitting, I dropped down gear after gear and it made no difference. Just plod on, eat and drink properly and you will come out of them. I think my dips came when my body was also trying to digest the (essential and very tasty) hot meals. I just focused on holding the wheel in front of me (riding in a small group really helps). Each time, after 20 delirious miles I started feeling alive again and able to take my turn on the front.
- Train on hills, over big distances and include some night training. I did lots of 60-100 mile hilly rides, then worked up to three hilly rides of about 200 miles each. It wasn’t until the end of my last 210 mile ride that I really felt that completing the Trafalgar way in under 24 hours was actually possible. Training at night forces you to get all your kit set up properly (lights, gps, etc). And after training on lots of very hilly, rough twisty Cornish lanes and struggling to average 14mph, averaging 15.5mph on the ride itself seemed relatively easy.
- Get a professional bike fit well in advance of the ride. I didn’t know there were issues with my riding position until I started doing 200 mile rides and developed all sorts of aches and pains. I went to Scott Tomkinson at KernowPhysio and some subtle changes to cleat position, riding position and pedalling style made all the difference – a better investment than any bit of bike kit.
What are your top bits of equipment or kit you wouldn’t want to ride the Trafalgar Way without?
- A £14 portable power bank (Juice Squash Mini from Argos) in a plastic bag sealed with gaffa tape to keep it waterproof. It fully recharged my Garmin Edge 520 Plus on the go, and I finished the ride with the GPS still showing 100% battery.
- Enough mini sachets of chamois cream to re-apply at every feed stop (I used Chamois Butt’r). It didn’t eliminate the chaffed butt issues, but I hate to think how much worse it would have been without the cream! If I were to do it again, I’d also get the best quality bike shorts that money can buy.
- Tri-bars (for a change of riding position) and also for somewhere to attach lights (x2), GPS (x2), power bank and an easy access (home-made) bar bag for easy access to energy gels, energy bars, fruit, flapjacks etc
What bike (make and model) and chainset / cassette set up did you ride the Trafalgar Way with (if available)?
Cube Agree GTC Pro 50/34 12-30