In Ollies words
I’ve decided to keep this one short and sweet.
The South Downs Way Double is actually the reason I decided to buy my mountain bike. That was over 3 years ago. It has always had me hooked since a good friend, Toby Leyland, introduced me to the idea. He completed the double back in 2020 on a mountain bike that is just 2 years younger than me (!).
I have done a lot of long rides over the last few years. But this one was a different beast. On the one hand, growing up in Winchester means that half feels like home roads, one of the best feelings there is when riding. On the other, the double is such a pure challenge; its out and back nature means there is no gaming it with a tailwind, the gradients mean there is nowhere to hide and there are multiple places to bail and pretend you never even tried in the first place.
This was actually my second attempt at the double. I first tried back in 2020 with a friend, Jamie, on a wet miserable day. We made it to Eastbourne and decided one way was enough. It’s good to fail sometimes, that experience taught me a lot that I’m grateful for.
I managed to suppress the idea of quitting this time I told myself “if I finish this time, I’ll never have to try it again”. I woke up the next day already thinking about when I’d like to do it again.