Thomas Stocker – 22h 00m 36s on the 14th of July 2022. After bivvying the double over night in April, Tom thought a sub 24h attempt was in order!
In Toms Words
After a year or so of lockdowns I was keen to have a little adventure. So, in April 2021 I rode the double on my gravel bike, bivvying for the night about 120 miles into the ride. That led me to entering the Great British Escapade 500km adventure race in September. To get some experience of riding when (very) tired I thought I’d have a crack at the double in July.
I opted for my MTB and started on Bury Hill as that was close to family in case I needed to bail. My plan was to set off in the evening, head to Eastbourne and get back to Bury Hill the next morning. I’d found the Eastbourne end tough when I rode it earlier in the year so wanted to get it done whilst fresh. A stranger accompanied me for a few miles near Ditchling Beacon, wishing me well as he headed home. I was a little jealous as I still had 170 odd miles ahead of me.
The night was warm, perfect for riding. I made it to Eastbourne in just under 6 hours, slightly longer than intended, spending too much time faffing about. As I departed Eastbourne I punctured, probably my first ever at midnight. It took a little while to plug and the tyre wouldn’t hold as much air as I wanted, but I got it running again and luckily it held out.
Riding through the night was probably my favourite part of the whole ride, no one about apart from sheep and cattle. Riding up to Chanctonbury Ring as the sun rose was a special moment and it spurred me onto Bury Hill which I crossed 12 hours into the ride.
By now I’d got the hang of minimising stoppages and it was head down to Winchester. I must have been getting tired as a lot of this leg is a bit of a blur. I made it to Winchester for 11am, swiftly turned the bike around and headed east again, a nice feeling that the next stop would be the end.
A few tunes on my phone to perk me up for the last climb of Upwaltham, the bumpy flint strewn trails giving me one last kicking. A massive sense of relief that it was nearly done and then, before I knew it, it was all over. I was loading my bike into my dad’s van and we were back at home having one of the best Chinese takeaways of my life.
19:07:19 moving time, 22:00:36 elapsed – room for improvement?