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South Downs Way questions

AllezAllezAllezAllezAllezAllez Posts: 207
edited March 2014 in Routes
Does anyone know how rocky the SDW is? I have the choice of using my full sus mountain bike or cyclocross bike. Ideally I'd like to use my cross bike.

Has anyone ridden the SDW in one day? My mate wants to ride it in one day. I do a reasonable amount of riding, but 100 miles off road sounds a hard work.

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  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    It's not rocky and plenty of people have done it. Not my idea of fun though.
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  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    Not rocky at all, chalk and clay. Grim in the wet, fast in the dry.

    One of those things that's perpetually on my 'to do' list - doing it in a day.
  • Not rocky at all as njee20 states it is mostly chalk and clay.

    I attempted the South Downs Way in the past (West to East) and made it 65miles before bailing. People other than us soft Southerners would probably disagree but I found it a lot hillier and tougher than expected and I ride on and around the downs on the road and on my MTB.

    I have upped the amount of riding and training I do and plan to do the full distance this summer with a friend and feel optimistic this time.

    I tried it on a Epic the first time round but will attempt it on my Stumpy this year. Cross bike may be a bit tough as it does get very rutted in places.
  • I've done the SDW in a day (13 hours). Its chalky and no rocks and a few rutty bits. Avoid if its wet since the slime on top of the chalk sticks to every thing. I did it on a 29er hardtail and that was perfect. A cross bike would be fine if you can climb the big hills near Eastbourne, and your arms are OK on a rigid. I was down to my lowest 24/36 gear on these hills. Eat a little bit regularly (20mins to 30mins) from the start. Know where the taps are and you don't need to carry much water. I did it in June last year and did apart from good basic fitness I did 3 long rides before hand, longest was 65miles.
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  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Ridden it quite a few times west to east as I do it with a few friends as a mid-summer ritual - a CX bike is a good 2 hours faster provided you have the strength to get up the hills. When dry in summer, the chalk is smooth and fast - in winter or in the wet it is a slippy, claggy slog. There are some loose stoney sections with fist-sized flints. My fastest ride was on a singlespeed CX - rode all the way but my legs were shredded by the end. Looking to do a mid-summer night ride this year for a change.
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  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    a CX bike is a good 2 hours faster provided you have the strength to get up the hills

    Bollocks it is. Two hours faster than what? None of the fastest times have ever been on a CX bike.
  • Allez,
    I did it on a super hot, dry day on a hard tail, there are some rutty, flinty bits, even so Cyclocross would be a great call on a dry day...if you can stay loose for 10 hours of riding! I'd not done a ride over 4hrs for 20 years and it was hard. 10hrs riding, 12+hrs total.
    Some crucial things..
    1 Nutrition...things you can stomach all day
    2 Taps
    3 Determination
    4 Start early
    5 Don't do it unless it's dry
    6 Sudo (and sun) cream
    7 GPS or some sort of route planning...you don't want a wrong turn and end up adding 4 miles and 400+ft to your ride
    It was a huge challenge for me and I'll do it again prob 21st July, good luck when you do it, enjoy the views!!
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    njee20 wrote:
    a CX bike is a good 2 hours faster provided you have the strength to get up the hills

    **** it is. Two hours faster than what? None of the fastest times have ever been on a CX bike.

    I've ridden it a few time with guys of similar fitness riding MTBs - compared the actual riding times at the end of the day. I race MTB and CX and can compare my lap times on my local training loops which also happen to be a popular enduro race series.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    So you're saying Tim Dunford would have done it in 5 hours on a 'cross bike?

    It'll depend hugely on a number of factors, for some people a cross bike will be quicker, but a) you can't put a number on it, and b) it will depend on what your MTB is.

    Not sure of the relevance of enduro courses, are you suggesting 'cross bikes are quicker than MTBs for things like Brass Monkeys, which I assume you're talking about? Weird no one told any of the fast competitors! Then again George Budd came 2nd in the last one on a fat bike, does that make fat bikes quicker than CX bikes?
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