Thanks for all the advice. I finished LEJOG on Saturday (31st March) In 8 days which was my target so I'm happy with this time. It was also the anniversary of the incredibly inspiring ultra-distance cyclist Mike Hall's tragic death when hit by a car 5000km into the Indian Pacific race. He would easily average 250 miles a day so that puts my modest attempt into perspective!
I posted my planned route at the start of this thread, but changed it throughout, so have posted the actual routes i took below, with a couple of notes in case of interest to anyone else planning it. I have more detailed notes on the sections so if anyone wants more advice feel free to hit me up.
Day 0: Took train from London to Penzance
- Cycled to Lands End. Got cold and wet.
- Stayed in Lands End Hotel £70 was quite pricey but wanted a good start.
Day 1: Lands End to Okehampton.https://www.strava.com/activities/1469651733/
- 170km, 2.7km ascent
- Tough first day. Narrow windy roads meant having to brake down the descents which is never fun. Not helped by relentless cold rain. Biggest gradient was 25%!
- Stayed in Betty Cottles Inn £35 through Booking.com. Reasonable pub food.
Day 2: Okehampton to Thornbury https://www.strava.com/activities/1471869392
- 187km, 1.7km ascent
- Much easier roads. Better speed. And sun came out! Had a friend join for half a day which was great
- Got my folks to pick me up and drop me off in Thornbury (they live 40 mins away) so chance to wash and dry all kit and have a big meal
Day 3: Thornbury to Whitchurch https://www.strava.com/activities/1473406710
- 201km, 1,3km acent
- Trouble with phone not charging meant a lengthy stop in Gloucester getting it fixed (I had no maps so it was integral!)
- Fast A roads, slight tail wind and mostly dry day enabled me to make up some time and push out a good distance
- Stayed in wonderful B&B 104 Wrexham Rd - £40 I think. Very lovely lady runs it. Highly recommend. Good pub down the road for a big meal.
Day 4: Whitchurch to Cumbria https://www.strava.com/activities/1475237245
- 164km, 1.2km ascent
- Didn't take the most inspiring route but crosswinds were sapping so I went for ease over interest
- Made terrible mistake of washing my bike shoes and not drying them properly...
- Stayed at County Hotel - £40 I think. Functional. Should have stayed in hostel for some company.
Day 5: Kendal to Abbington https://www.strava.com/activities/1477022371
- 169km, 1.6km ascent
- Great climb up to Sharp, lovely scenery.
- Incredibly cold -2 all morning. Painfully cold hands and feet. Not helped by starting with wet shoes!
- Stayed in Days Inn service station. Reasonable. Food options basic at service station.
Day 6: Abbington to Tynedum https://www.strava.com/activities/1478566545
- 158km, 1km ascent
- Beautiful route. But really struggled with the cold again.
- Disused railway line from Glasgow was lovely way to get to Loch Lomond. Around there road surfaces are not good though.
- Had planned to stay at Bridge of Orchy for the distance but hotel was £180 so took great advice from CyclerUK and stayed in By The Way Hostel £25. Great place. Fully equipped. Enjoyed some company though needless to say I was only cyclist.
Day 7: Tynedrum to Inverness https://www.strava.com/activities/1480440436
- 189km, 1.4km acent
- Even more stunning route but really tough ride from Fort William into direct 12mph north easterly all afternoon
- Had planned to go on past Inverness but back pains prevented me
- Stayed in Inverness YHA - £20. I really didn't quality for the Y in the YHA at this place.
Day 8. Inverness to John O'Groats https://www.strava.com/activities/1482268573
- 195km, 1.7km ascent (I think it was more like 2km+)
- Worried I wouldn't make it to JOG so set off at 5.45. Crazy cold at that time.
- Called a 'prick' for slowing another motorist at 7am on a bridge battling a massive cross wind. Thanks
- Was fortunately tipped off about the climb out of Helmsdale just before getting there, otherwise would have been dispiriting
- Brutal head winds all afternoon along the coast. Then they magically disappeared, sun came out and able to time trial into JOG for 7pm.
Cycled to Wick, took train to Inverness, got flight back to Heathrow
- Made mistake of not booking bike on 1 train out of Wick. They only take 2. Fortunately it was OK as basically there are no cyclists at this time of year! Anyone else should make sure they book in advance.
- Stunning train ride down south when able to really enjoy the wild scenery.
- Had arranged for cardboard box and packaging from a LBS but had nightmares about baggage handlers so used John O'Groats transport to courier bike to London - £77
- BA was £17.50 with Avios. Train was c. £180. No decision to be made there.
Other posts I can write about if anyone's interested as they're all things I certainly spent some time thinking about:
- What kit did you have, what was good, bad and what would you differently?
- Would you recommend doing LEJOG vs JOGLE?
- What's best for navigation: G Maps, Strava, Ride with GPS etc?
- Do I need a Garmin or just use my mobile?
- What are your tips to stay motivated on 12+ hour rides? (I've also done 4k mile Transamerica)
- How do I get enough calories when I can't eat gluten?
And the post I'd love to read from someone else:
- How do I keep my feet and hands warm when it's cold? I've no idea - would love to know!!