What is it?
On the 31st July 2021 I will be taking part in the Great British Divide, it's a self-supported event (not race, so don't be surprised if my dot is at the back) over 2200km and 35000 metres of climbing starting near Canterbury and finishing in Applecross. Over 70% will be offroad. There is a predefined route supplied which you must follow - you can leave it to visit a shop or get your bike repaired but you must re-enter at the same point. The final checkpoint will close at 18:00 on Saturday the 14th August. You can obviously finish after that date, but there won't be anyone to welcome you and stamp your card.
The basic concept is, you need to carry all the supplies you will need and can only restock at shops that are available to everyone, so no team car, support crew or pre-defined food drops etc... You can use hotels/B&B's but obviously there are not many en route and probably not at the place or time you will need them, so sleeping on the side of the track at night will be predominantly the only option.
How to follow my progress?
I can't believe it isn't being televised! However, you can follow me (and all the other riders) via their GPS tracking in the form of a slow moving dot on a map. Here is a link to mine Michael Travers, you might notice one rider already on course... Paul. He got his holiday dates mixed up and has been allowed to start a week early! From other events I have followed it's surprisingly addictive to keep checking in to see how far people have got, when people are sleeping and for how long.
I have done quite a bit of research into training, components, pacing, food/drink and the route as well as testing all of the above and I am still quite nervous about it. I have done long rides and overnight events before, but nothing this long or extreme. There has to be a first time for everything! I have put in place as much as I can to get me through, but there is always the possibility of a mechanical, crash and of course - the British weather that can't always be planned for.
Training: I am happy with how it's going. I have been doing some 150km+ rides with a fully loaded bike and it's been good and I'm happy with the progress. I have also been mixing that up with shorter, harder rides, also fully kitted up.
Bike and Components: I will obviously be riding my Travers RUSSTi EVO but I will go over the bike and components in more detail in another post.
Pacing: I have done quite a few 100km+ rides to test out different pace scenarios and ways of riding, riding hard up the hill, different power outputs, speed etc... and 14-15 kph seems to be a comfortable day long pace when fully loaded (although this will obviously change in the mountains). I do have a Zwatt Powermeter which might be a little controversial in mountain biking, let alone Bikepacking but I have found it extremely useful as it's very easy to get carried away, especially at the start of an event and it can be quite hard to judge your effort when you have other riders around you and your heart rate is elevated due to nerves/excitement. All this, plus taking into account the bike is about triple its normal weight and your usual metrics go out of the window. Ideally I don't want to go over 200 Watts but obviously in certain situations I will have no choice where it's steep or pushing over the top of a hill might be more beneficial to allow me to keep the momentum up, rather than slow and grind/walk up the hill. 140-180 Watts will be my cruising range. My plan is to do 200 km a day, then see how it unfolds.
Food/Drink: This is a little bit of a grey area as although I can start with the ideal food/drink it's going to run out in the first 24hrs and so I will need to restock wherever I can find it. I have had a chat with Precision Hydration and they were really helpful. I will be taking some of their 1500 Effervescent Electrolyte tablets to help replace my salts. I expect to be burning 7-10,000 calories a day, an amount I will struggle to replace, so I have also spoken to Maurten and will be taking some of their 320 caf mix. As this is quite a heavy and bulky product, I plan to take just enough to get me out of situations where there are big gaps between shops or I run out of energy.
HAND BUILT TITANIUM FRAMES.