2016 Bryan Chapman Memorial (BCM) 600k

2016-08-19: I never got around to writing about this ride but here are some notes I’d made way back when. May as well post them and get rid of the draft email sitting around…

BCM 600k

Started out bit late and didn’t really ride hard enough to catch any fast groups.

Finish: 33.5 hours – 8hr stop time! Must improve, but easy to waste time at controls. Sleep stop was total waste of time, for example.

Sleep kit I tried was still far too cold to be useful – Hunka bivvy, silk liner, PHD down jacket not good enough in -3degC!

Later on Sunday morning I tried sleeping on grass in sun – maybe dozed off, not sure but felt a little better afterwards.

Rough mental patch from post-Kings YHA sleep attempt all the way into next day – need to sort head out! Probably better when competing because then I’m more focused on trying to win and not just trundling along.

Start – Fruit Pastelles bag
Honey Cafe @ ~70k – Beans on toast x 3, Coffee cake, Coffee
Llanidloes control at ~140k – Scone w/ j&c, some other cake, cappuccino, refill bottles

Stopped with Paul in some village – 2 Mars Bars, fruit pastelles? coke?
Kings1 – soup, cous cous mains, fruit salad, instant coffee and squash?
Menais Bridge @ ~300k – Whatever they were offering (mains, rice pud & pineapple) plus cake slice, Soreen pieces, biscuit, coffee, grabbed two rolls (cheese and ham&cheese?) and flapjack piece to carry during long night stage back to Kings.
Kings 2nd – soup, spicy cous cous mains, cake? instant coffee and squash?

Tried to sleep in bivvy outside, failed, just laid shivering

Newtown garage – egg & cress sandwich, 2 x apple turnovers, cappuccino.

2nd Cafe – chocolate cake, cappuccino

Cappuccino at train station cafe, needed toilet

Finished with large Soreen malt loaf, share pack fruit pastelles, Pepsi from service station.

Think I got through 8 or 10 bags of premixed 500ml Torq, 2-3 gels, 1 Torq bar.

Side-mount cages need to be swapped so I can use left hand.
Sunglasses would’ve been good and using sunscreen smart idea.

Need lower gears to make some steeper climbs less work (had 39/28T)

Comments on YACF:
I wondered why I didn’t see you. Though with my pace, it was equally likely you’d left at 6am and I never caught up with you. Hope it gets better soon.

Funny how I’d ‘planned’ to sleep and would’ve been better off if I kept moving instead of freezing in a bivvy and for once in my life I didn’t have a navigation issue (a Garmin device worked for over 24hrs – I know, I should buy a lottery ticket!) using your route. Is that irony? :)

If it wasn’t for another bloke I might’ve missed the Llanidloes? control at 160k. I write the control distances down on a cheat sheet so wasn’t planning on stopping until then but it appeared at ~140k. I think that was the only weirdness.

I think I rode past Aberhasefp. I was so slow it would’ve been open when I went past too. Next time…

I had a good day on day one – loved the scenery Wales had to offer and was surprised it was so warm. Would love to take the missus and explore the prettier bits a little more. Rode along chatting with a guy who wasn’t on the ride until Kings where he split to a B&B in the town.
After trying and failing to get any sleep in a bivvy at Kings (to the guys that asked it said -3degC on the Garmin) I went a bit down hill mentally and just kind of grovelled along for hours and hours feeling sorry for myself. Thought about bivvying again now the sun was out but in the end just laid down on a grassy corner somewhere and ‘reset’. That and some food helped for a while and then the sads came back later and I tried it again outside a pub and a female cyclist (not on BCM) asked if I was ok! We had a bit of a chat and rather than moving inside the pub fence I decided I should just ride. So thanks whoever you were, you cheered me up and got me home that much quicker.
After a final refill of food and drink at some service station I had a fast finish. Ended up pretty pink as I didn’t bother to put on any sunscreen. Weird event for me since I wasn’t racing and it was more of a test for TCR, I couldn’t quite get my head in the right place – since I was adding in sleep stops and I wasn’t pushing hard I just kept dwelling on stuff or getting annoyed when people passed me and I wasn’t keeping up and dumb stuff like that instead of enjoying the ride I was getting angry with myself for not competing! It’s not a race you idiot! Nevermind, I’m feeling better about the whole experience with some hindsight :)
Got some more good info about what works and what doesn’t so next long training ride, whatever it is, should go that much better. Things like Compact cranksets and putting my side-entry bottle cages on the other way around.. :)

Thanks to the organisers and the volunteers. Thanks to other riders who I shared a brief comments with about the cold or my crack cocaine or just a “got everything you need” or whatever.

I tend to do the opposite and do things like maths around the distance remaining – so say it was 50k to go, I’d divide by 2 and that’s 25kph and as it ticked over I’d keep dividing. It gives me something to do and makes the distance to go smaller too. I think I’ll give your method a go. I used to do that in races some times – tape up the computer and ride on feel. Probably easier to do during an audax when it doesn’t matter if you slack off. I’ll add that into my bag of tricks for next long one. Cheers.

I’m sure I was warmer in the bivvy this time with the extra kit compared to last time although it was colder outside if the Garmin is to be believed (-3 vs. 0). I probably should’ve grabbed some cardboard or something from inside the hostel to use as a ground pad but I’m kind of trying to start minimal and add stuff until I can actually sleep. Kind of like trying to fly by jumping off a building first and then adding wings on the second attempt…

Cheers. I wasn’t really looking for a bivvy spot I just used the YHA because if it went badly (it did) I could go back inside have a coffee and leave.
In hindsight I wasn’t tired enough and probably should’ve left Kings after a feed and found a corner in a field somewhere.
I carried my sleeping bag around but didn’t use it because by the time I’d got the bivvy set up I didn’t want to get out and rearrange everything.
Next time I think I’ll try my sleeping bag cover (not bivvy) and sleeping bag along with a sleeping pad of some sort and maybe leave the silk liner and jacket at home.

I’m struggling to find a compact sleeping pad. I don’t like the idea of those crazy light cut-out ones and I think even chopped down, the yoga mat I have will be cumbersome.