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!
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.
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.
Take a small bottle of chain lube. 20 hrs of a squeaky chain might drive you insane.
Eat if hungry, eat if not; just make sure you eat at least once an hour.
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.
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.
Set your gps to display your average speed including stops if you’re aiming for a particular finish time.
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.
Take plenty of easily accessed snacks, if they’re a faff to get hold of you’ll not bother and run on empty.
Check the map twice, turn once. Don’t waste time/energy getting lost.
That rock in the middle of the track at 3am is likely to be a cow.
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.
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.
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.
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.