Looking back at Mille Alba 2012, looking forward to LEL 2013

Now that Mille Alba‘s over I’ve been thinking back over what did and didn’t work on that ride, and what I want to change or do better for London-Edinburgh-London next year.

Saddle – Worked for most parts, but I think I need one that tapers in quicker. Main rear end parts appear fine, but I’ve got some small rubbed spots on the inner thigh that I’m basing this one on. So this is definitely some I’ll be swapping out before LEL, though probably after a 600 at the end of July to give me time to break it in. Debating between a Brooks (which seem very popular), or a thinner version of my current San Marco.

Bike – I would like something with a sligthly longer top tube as the current one feels a bit cramped. And I would like a slightly ‘suppler’ frame (steel or titanium probably), but this is all dependant on money. I don’t feel as though this is a make or break issue though, so if I can I will, if not no problems.

Lighting –  My main front light, a B&M Ixon is starting to play up (appears to be a switch issue), but when it works it was fine. But riding with people with dynohubs and Cyos has made me jealous of the amount and quality of light they were enjoying. So if money becomes available this is where it’ll go before spending on the frame. Will also mean I don’t have to lug around USB battery backs for the GPS as well.

Luggage – Carradice Barley worked well as normal, again with a dry bag toe-strapped on top to hold a full mountain weigth waterproof in case of the predicted weather. Will try to cut down the amount of crap I carry, as I’m sure I didn’t used everything in there. May add a small top tube bag or bar bag to make eating on the go easier, I can reach jersey pockets (unless wearing waterproof), but everything ends up bruised or bashed, or there isn’t enough in there.

Navigation – The Garmin worked well most of the time. Powering it had a few interesting moments, though I think that’s down to my new TeckNet battery being slightly too intelligent and cutting power once the unit’s charged. If I get a dynohub it’s a shoe in for LEL, if not I might consider an Etrex or something that takes AAs. Will be getting a routesheet holder though as it helps out when the OSM map isn’t 100% clear enough. Resetting the tracks every 250km helped as well.

Footwear – On days 2+3 I started suffering from pretty bad hot foot, having to take time off the bike to take shoes off rub my feet. 2 weeks on and I still have some slight numbness in certain spots. Pretty certain this is down to shoes that aren’t particularly stiff and not having a decent insole. So an urgent purchase is a new pair of much stiffer shoes with a good footbed, or a chance to put a good quality one inside.

Fitness – not too shabby if I do say so. My main problem is the very steep hilly sections, which take me a long time to get up and then a fair while to recover from. Thankfully having riddent a bit of LEL it isn’t as steep as Mille Alba, the worst bit is probably the long drag over Yad Moss each way, though after 500km everything feels steeper :). Will just carry on with RRTY for the rest of the year, a few more AAA events and maybe throw some speed work over the winter to raise my average up a km/h or so.

Sleep – Reasonably surprised how I was function on about 7 hours sleep over the weekend. Don’t think that would necessarily scale up for another day or 2. But as I said above LEL should be more conducive to a higher moving average which gives more time for sleeping. I’ll also try to have rested better the fortnight beforehand.

So my priorities are:

  1. Shoes – will sort before the 3 coasts 600
  2. Light – Gone back for warranty replacement, hopefully back for the 600
  3. Saddle

And the rest will just follow hopefully.



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