Tom Pilcher

Audax ‘19
Tom Pilcher

What was your reason for wanting to ride the Trafalgar Way?

The chance to do my first 500km ride was too good an opportunity to turn down! Anticipation of what 20 hours or so would be like in the saddle made me think about the bike I was intending to ride it on as well, so in the end I bought a new one especially for longer distance challenges which I would like to do more of in future. RTTW was also a great opportunity to catch up with my mates George and Chris, who live near each other in SW London where I’m from but I now live in Cheshire. And finally - doing such a challenge enabled us to raise vital funds for a fantastic charity called Cyclists Fighting Cancer. Bringing in more than £4,000 felt like another achievement!

How would you sum up your ride of the Trafalgar Way to a friend?

Worth every pedal stroke! A gruelling route which will challenge every ounce of your cycling fitness, once you get to the flat part in the last 200kms even then small hills will still burn!

What was your most memorable part of the ride?

Too many - because we set off at 8pm from Falmouth we cycled over the moors in the dark and descended narrow lines in the pitch black, an epic way
to start such a ride!

Seeing the sun rise before Exeter was pretty special then having a bite to eat at West Bay with views later of Chesil Beach was spectacular. The sight of Salisbury cathedral was a welcome one too as we chugged along in the Saturday heat.

And finally the roll back into London - seen through pretty bleary eyes - was unforgettable!

What are your top 3 tips for anyone thinking of riding the Trafalgar Way?

Train hard and chuck in hills if you’re not happy climbing, consider buying a new bike for comfort over longer distances/ride a bike you know will be comfortable for a day in the saddle/look at a new and possibly wider saddle for comfort, practise eating and changing clothes while riding.

What are your top bits of equipment or kit you wouldn’t want to ride the Trafalgar Way without?

1) A head torch, vital for spotting hazards before you actually turn.

2) A cap in the event of rain.

3) gloves to give your hands some respite.

4) A top tube bag with checkpoints mounted on top - a nice little reminder of where future stops are.

What bike (make and model) and chainset / cassette set up did you ride the Trafalgar Way with (if available)?

Specialized 2020 Roubaix Expert

52-36/11-speed 11-34
(I usually ride a 53-39/11-28 and I enjoy climbing but having the extra gears with the extra weight, not to mention coping with all those steep ascents, was a godsend!)

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