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If you’ve never ridden a long distance ITT before and are considering entering the BB 200, you’ll need to be prepared to ascend a very steep and often painful learning curve … to help get you through the night here’s a selection of tips from previous finishers.




Training, do some! I’d done a 10 & 24hr Solo and the SDW in a day in the run up to BB200, it was far harder than those!

Johnny Storm

If you’re a slowpoke, make sure you have both the gear & the food to be out for a long time –  the fast guys will/can carry waaaay less, so don’t rely on their kit lists!
Roy Brooks

Training and fitness will only get you so far, a large proportion of it is in your head.
Chris Reeves

Remember, you’ll soon forget the suffering required to finish but you’ll have your BB200 badge forever.
Norm

If you’re riding with mates make sure you agree what your expectations and arrangements will be if you find yourselves riding at a different pace or someone has to drop out.

Johnny Storm

Ride in shoes that are also good to push in – you’ll be doing a lot of walking (probably in wet shoes & a packed bike is going to be way heavier than when you normally ride it too!).
Roy Brooks

Your body is capable of far more than you think it is. You will have low moments be it feeling tired, your knees hurting or your wrists aching. The important thing is to keep your head from doubting your body. The low point will pass so just keep peddling as you WILL get through it.
Neil Cocklin

A cocktail of paracetamol, Ibuprofen and Pro-plus will get you through most things and can be used as a food supplement!
Norm


The thought in the final 5 hours was that it’s easier to just keep riding following the gps arrow blindly rather than try to work out how to bail – especially when you’re brain isn’t working.

Chris Reeves

Take a small bottle of chain lube. 20 hrs of a squeaky chain might drive you insane.

Johnny Storm

Eat if hungry, eat if not; just make sure you eat at least once an hour.
Neil Cocklin


Whatever your time expectations, add 20% to be realistic.
Gabriel Mak

Learn how to fix your bike, then learn how to fix it at 3.00am in the rain on a mountain side when all you want to do is go to sleep or be sick!
Norm

Combine stopping activates as much as possible. Opening gates, refilling water, getting some food out, checking a map, putting waterproof on… taking it off. Never do one thing, do several together so you stop less often.   
Neil Cocklin


Do use a GPS – it is a time trial & faffing with maps slows you down.
Roy Brooks

It’s often just as quick to walk a really steep climb as try to grind a granny gear. You can give your peddling legs a rest and it’s often a more efficient use of energy.
Neil Cocklin


Expect it to be bloody hard.
Gabriel Mak

Set your gps to display your average speed including stops if you’re aiming for a particular finish time.

Johnny Storm

Carry a backup light.
Roy Brooks


If you’re a newbie to the event (like I was), I found that a ridiculous amount of planning the ride helped me, from hours of sunset/sunrise, hours of battery needed for GPS and lights, backup maps etc. etc. and having a full size route plan drawn up with likely pace and water/food points if required. Whilst anything can happen on the actual ride, knowing that I’d done as much prep as possible meant I could not worry about it on the ride and just get on with it – I let the plans change then.

Chris Reeves

Expect wet feet (merino socks and fast draining shoes are good).
Gabriel Mak

Think about resupply, what’s the last shop you’ll pass during opening hours?
Johnny Storm

Bringing high calorie food is good, but remember salts/electrolytes. I didn’t last year, and would have failed if it weren’t for a fellow rider having marmite cashews.
Gabriel Mak

To finish first … first you have to finish. Start at a comfortable pace and keep going. No point blowing up after 5 hours.
Chew


Do at least one night ride before you do a BB 200.

Roy Brooks

Take plenty of easily accessed snacks, if they’re a faff to get hold of you’ll not bother and run on empty.

Johnny Storm

Check the map twice, turn once. Don’t waste time/energy getting lost.

Chew

That rock in the middle of the track at 3am is likely to be a cow.

Johnny Storm

If you want to finish faster, stop less. Sounds obvious, but these 5 mins here and there soon add up to an hour or so.
Chew

If you can’t pedal, push…  It’s still moving forward.
Simon Darby

Don’t be tempted to stop at the pub, keep riding. Its warm and they have beer but your legs won’t thank you for it afterwards. 

Chew

Keep pedalling, keep pedalling…  Every turn of the cranks is progress… You are always reducing the distance to the finish.

Simon Darby

If you want to finish in under 24 hours make sure that stopping will be as uncomfortable as possible … take a summer sleeping bag and no sleeping mat.
Norm

You don’t have to have all the “gear” to take part. The most important piece of equipment is your attitude. I entered BB200 2013 having only done the WRT before. I had no idea if I could ride over 100 miles in 24 hours (or at all)! Fact is, I did it, and did it better than I ever thought I would or could … Have a go you might surprise yourself.

Simon Darby

And the last words of wisdom go to Greenmug … although I would advise a little caution if you don’t think you’re the fastest of riders ;o)


I was a newbie last year and I arrived at this bike-packing event expecting an overnight camp and equipped with enough food and water to see me through the course. It turns out my camping equipment weighed more than some people’s whole bike setup. I carried and returned to the car over 1KG of food. So my advise is to carry only what is absolutely necessary. Mandtory kit, things that will keep you alive and food that you know you will eat after 20 hours of hard effort. If you can survive without it, you probably don’t need to pack it. Think of the BB200 as a bike-not-packing event.

Ian Nightingale

A big thank you to everyone who took the time and trouble to submit their tips … I’m sorry you had to relive it all over again! 


Mike Davis has written an article about last years BB 200 … you can find it in the June (issue 30) issue of Outdoor Fitness Magazine.

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