Newsletter - 2009 Archive

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News from Ken about LEL 2009...

Hillier, Wetter, Colder & Fierce Winds
by Ken Bonner

Hi, Eric!

Remember PBP 2007? Wettest, coldest 1200k most folks had ever ridden!

Well, the English out-did the French on this one. The 2009 edition of London-Edinburgh-London was even more extreme! Hillier, wetter, colder and fierce winds (particularly on a 'mountain' called Yad Moss which we had the pleasure of riding in both directions). At mid-day, the temperature was about 10 degrees C, with fierce head and side winds driving the rain like pelets of hail. It was difficult to make headway and stay on the road!

I had several goals: ride faster than my 88h 40m 2001 LEL; and if the weather condtions were good, to finish in the 72-75 hour range. I managed to arrive at Edinburgh (714k) in just under 36 hours; and until about the1200k mark was about the 25th fastest rider. The last 200k was a bit of a slog ... more rain, hills and innumerable turns (the folks who had loaded their GPS with the course were like greased lightning when navigating with the GPS. Just keep the little dot on the green line! I rode with a few of those folks and it was great, no dealing with wrong mileages or roads (lanes) without names!

I met up with an Irish rider I had ridden with in the 2001 LEL; and then in the lst 200k, met up with an English rider with whom I had finkished the 2001 LEL. We decided to create a tradition, and finished the 2009 LEL together. I thought I was hearing some sheep b-a-a-a-ing as I passed a farm, but it was the English rider and his friend who had stopped to purchase some food from the farm store. The pork pie the English rider purchased for me was declicious!

Other than at the start, I did not see Jim Fidler or Mark Ford, so I do not know how they have made out. There was so much rain in Scotland that the route was cut off for a while due to flooding. The organizers provided the approx. 100 riders stranded in Scotland with an exra 2 hours to finish LEL. I thought maybe life rafts would have been more in order:-). On the plus side, Edinburgh was sunny ... and they make great triffle!

I had planned to sleep at the control just after the turnaround at Edinburgh, but it turned out to be standing room only! At 1 a.m., riders were arriving from the turnaround, and riders were arriving from the south. People were lying in the hallways, washrooms, windowsills, tables, etc. Some poor person had the derailleur hanger break about 6 miles from this Control. I can just imagine ther eagerness to get to the control for food, warmth and a dry bed. They would have received the food and the warmth, but no warm bed!

A couple of riders rode into the back of parked cars. Top tube, down tube both pretzled (one was broken), but both riders miraculously did not receive serious injuries.

Oh, I forgot, I met Sophie Matter again at LEL. She used a GPS loaded with the route instructions. She is now as convert to GPS navigation ... except, she crashed into a SIR rider with whom she was riding. She was looking at her GPS and did not notice that he had stopped!

One last comment ... I had forgotten how rough the roads are ... all the riders have nicely tenderized rumps!

Gotta go now to get some sleep and hopefully recover in time for the Granite Anvil 1200.

Oh, by the way, I finished in 86 h 00 m.

Cheers ... Ken

Ride dates: July 26-31, 2009


July 31, 2009