Climbing 13,000 feet and riding 100 miles on a mountain bike... in a day.
The South Downs Way is a long distance footpath and bridleway running along the South Downs in southern England. It is one of 15 National Trails in England and Wales. The trail runs for 160 km (100 mi) from Winchester in Hampshire to Eastbourne in East Sussex, with about 4,150 m (13,620 ft) of ascent and descent. That's the equivalent of climbing Ben Nevis 10 times in a day.
Teaming up with my colleague and friend Rich Rutter, we stayed in a Bed and Breakfast in Winchester the night before. Then, at the crack of dawn, we embarked on an 11 hour journey across the UK's newest National Park. The weather started badly (rain, haze and fog) before giving way to beautiful sun and gentle wind.
My terrible (and time-consuming) muscle cramps notwithstanding, the ride was great. No flats, one minor mechanical fault (my front mech cable pulled through - an easy fix) and a hell of a lot of memories.
All images below are courtesy of Rich Rutter