RIDE REPORT: Miles for Smiles Charity Ride

What a massive weekend. Over 300 miles (or over 500km if you’re metrically inclined), 10,000kcal consumed and over 20 hours in the saddle. Thankfully, we did manage to raise a frankly awesome £8000 for charity as a result!

We set off on Saturday morning towards Wales, riding via Cannock Chase and Telford, before stopping for the night in Ludlow. Sunday’s ride included 87 miles of the finest Welsh roads (and the Long Mynd!) before heading back to Ludlow followed by 110 miles back home on Monday. It was a long, 900TSS weekend!

The reason we set off for such a long trek was to raise money for Compassion UK so that we could help disadvantaged families in Brazil get access to dental care that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to. Last year we raised an astonishing £8000 of a £2000 target and I’m pleased to say we’ve currently raised £8500 of a £2500 target. If we can bump that up to £12000 we will have been able to raise the whole sum required to send a team of dentists over by ourselves!

It’s mainly for that reason that I’m not too upset about the lack of ability to sit comfortably on a saddle at the moment…

The main issue over the course of the weekend was keeping on top of fluid intake with average temperatures in the mid 20s and 7 hour days in the saddle. I used plenty of sunscreen to keep on top of the chance of burning (having done that in the past…) and used copious amounts of Skratch Labs in my bottles. I much prefer to eat my calories and drink electrolytes , and being Paleo it can sometimes be hard to find drinks that cater for this. Skratch however tastes good, doesn’t have loads of chemicals in it and doesn’t cost the earth either – I’d recommend checking out the taster bottles you can buy here.

Food wise I tended to stick to flapjack (not Paleo, but I can stomach it for short periods), beef chili for lunches, ham and cheese and I generally went for a can of cold Diet Coke at stops for the coldness! This type of energy expenditure means giving up some aspects of the Paleo diet and concentrating on getting calories in, but I’ve found that gluten just doesn’t agree with me so oats can be useful way of stocking up. I also included beef jerky as a back pocket snack in order to keep eating some protein throughout the day.

The final day was the hardest in terms of food, I took a couple of Huma gels with me to keep energy levels from dipping too much – it’s surprisingly hard to keep on top of calories with this much riding – you just don’t feel super hungry!

In terms of the riding, juts keeping chatting was the name of the game, its surprising how quickly the miles disappear with good conversation.

Two recommendations if you fancy doing the same route though:
1. Use Assos Repair Gel. It works miracles.
2. The Long Mynd is really steep. A 36 small chainring and 12-25 cassette won’t get you up unless you can hold 400W for 8 minutes. Trust me, I know.

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