A Lazy Randonneur’s Version of LEL

Ride report by David McCaw:

A Lazy Randonneur / long-distance cyclist (David McCaw) completes London-Edinburgh-London (LEL) -1400 km randonnée- LEL is a timed 20 stage event, but not a race. On July 25th – two Ottawa Randonneurs (Peter Grant and I) headed north from Loughton (Northeast London) with 1000 riders to Scotland. My goals were 1) to ride mostly during the day 2) finish before nightfall on August 1 and 3) do not get lost. The ride took 107 hours 50 min ( ~65 hours riding, ~ 22.5 hours sleeping , & ~20 hours of eating / stopping ) of the 116 hours 40 min allowed for 1419 km. I will call myself the lazy randonneur, since all I do is pedal, drink, eat and sleep. It was a great ride /route and I succeeded in meeting all my LEL goals.

I saw lots of sheep in Scotland on the hills and roads. The sheep were noisy (baa, baa ..); perhaps they didn’t like my wool jersey. I had two of them, of which the Woolistic was the best with RANDONNEURS CANADA in front and CANADA in back) I loved riding in Scotland, since the roads were paved, quiet, nice climbs and descents. One of the best stops / controls was at Traquair – they offered cakes, porridge and whisky. The weather can change quickly, especially in the hills, we had some rain, but missed the major rainfall going into Edinburgh on Monday night in which the road was covered in ponds of water.

This was the best ride I ever had for sleep. We were always able to stay in the top third of the group and had a bed (air mattress, 2 x blankets, 2 ear plugs) waiting for us in the gym / room at the middle school. The 1st day we cycled ~ 400 km and arrived in Thirsk after midnight. I over slept to 05:18 and we had breakfast and rode another ~300 km to Edinburgh to arrive just before midnight. Then we got into a pattern of waking at 4 and leaving at 5 am. The next 3 days were day light riding with more sleep (arriving at ~ 20:26, 22h and 18h after riding ~230, 286, 200 km). It was a great time of the year to cycle, since it was light to almost 11 pm in Edinburgh and the sun was rising near 04h30.

Randonneur riding is slow, although it is a very cost effective way ($350 CDN with meals / beds included) to see the England /Scotland up close. It also gave me opportunity to speak with so many other people from 33 countries. I enjoyed riding behind the tandems; brits – VC167 – captained by Chris and French riders – Alain and Sylvie. We also rode with the Germans, Irish, Russians, Danes, Swedes, South Africans, Americans, Italians and others. I was very impressed with the fixed gear British riders doing 17% ascents / descents in Yorkshire area Probably one of our best stops was at the The Queens Head Littlebury Essex with 22 km to go before the 2nd last control. It was almost 34 C, my bike just experienced chainsuck (chain dropped between small chainring and chainstay, but I managed to pull it out), the Italian rider was yelling free beer (not, public house), Peter and I stopped and the two French tandem riders) were enjoying the pub. It was a great time to cool off and enjoy different Ales and chips.

In summary, thanks to LEL organization (http://londonedinburghlondon.com/) lead by Daniel Webb. I have completed 9 randonnées /brevet over 1200 km and this had to be one of the best experiences for me and I will certainly love to ride the course again in 2017. Additional thanks to goes to my spouse /nutritional coach – Michèle Owen, riding partner Peter Grant (organizing the accommodations / taxi, GPS/ file setup to keep us on route), John Zahab (Strength coach of http://www.continuumfitness.ca) to resolve upper body issues, Paula Burchat (http://balanceandmotion.ca ) for massages and advice to rest more before event, Tall Tree Cycles http://www.talltreecycles.ca/ to make changes to my Trek bike, Mary Patterson of http://bike2body.ca/ for bike fit, and to all the randonneurs I rode with, a special thanks to the kind volunteers and others that have encouraged my participation in these long distance cycling events.

My Next Long Ride – Randonneur Ontario Granite Anvil 1218 km randonnée from Aug. 22 to 25

Photos: https://www.facebook.com/david.mccaw.969/media_set?set=a.10201709423439295.1073741828.1291552134&type=3

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