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Great Britain gets its own 5,000 km-plus ultracycling race, called Baa Baa Bikepack

Race starts in Chester in June 2018 and will take in 70 of Britain's hardest climbs...

Great Britain will next year get its own ultracycling race for unsupported riders – and clocking in at more than 5,000 kilometres and with more than 60 kilometres of climbing the unsupported event, called the Baa Baa Bikepack race, could be a cracker.

It begins in Chester on 29 June 2018 and follows a clockwise route up to the north of Scotland, back down through the east of England and along the south coast into Devon and Cornwall, then into Wales and, via the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia, back to the start.

Along the way it will visit three capital cities – Edinburgh, London and Cardiff – and riders will also have to tackle 70 of Great Britain’s 200 toughest climbs, listed here together with more details of the route.

Ascents tackled include the Hardknott Pass, Honister Pass, Glen Coe, Bealach Na Ba, the Buttertubs Pass, Ditchling Beacon, Zig Zag Hill, Gold Hill, Haytor Vale, Cheddar Gorge, Caerphilly Mountain, The Tumble, Gospel Pass and The Devil's Staircase.

According to organisers, “We expect the winner to finish the course in about 12-13 days, sleeping wherever and whenever they can.”

There’s a bit of a twist when it comes to the route, however, which takes in 12 National Parks.

“The course also has 100 miles off road across the South Downs Trail which adds an extra element to the ride as bike selection will not favour a TT or fast road setup,” they say.

Already, 30 riders have signed up since the event was announced last week, including entrants from the United States, South Africa and Turkey, and organisers say that “a lot of the initial interest [is] coming from Transcontinental Race and Trans America Race competitors.”

There is also a shorter event, named The Shandy Drinkers, on a 3,200 kilometre course that misses out Scotland for those who may be pushed for time.

As well as individuals, both events are also open to people riding as a pair, who will be allowed to draft one another.

Find out more here: www.bikepack.cc.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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12 comments

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tritecommentbot | 7 years ago
1 like

This is interesting. Indian Pacific Wheel Race, 5,300 kms. Durianrider and maybe Cycling Maven (not sure if that's true yet) are having a go at it. Rare that anyone does anything like this and attempts video uploads along the way.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V53f5hVOb10

 

18th March

https://www.indianpacificwheelrace.com

 

If you compare the routes.. I think the UK one might actually be harder. Especially once you factor in our changing weather. 

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tritecommentbot | 7 years ago
3 likes

I thought the shandy drinker thing was class laugh Clearly massively ironic yet paradoxically apt considering the 3200 km ride is the easier effort! 

 

That said, yes I guess some guys will want to tell people they were doing a hardcore event and the name might be a bit bruising on the ego.

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peted76 | 7 years ago
2 likes

Really pleased to see this, should showcase some of the awesome riding we have here. Good idea finacially and timing wise too what with it being cheaper for tourism here at the moment  1

However I'm not sure the finishers of the 3200km event would appreciate being labelled shandy drinkers it's a bit derisive, considering it's 2.5x the distance of LEJOG and all, I'd say in drinking terms the 3.2k eventee's could be named 'whiskey drinker' and the 5k'ers be called 'Turpentine drinker' or possibly 'glue sniffer' in the characteristic essence showcasing some of the best Britain has to offer.

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Sharpie | 7 years ago
0 likes

The off road section can't be any worse than the Strada dell'Assietta in the 2015 TCR. That was a few hours of hell on a road bike!

http://www.dangerousroads.org/europe/italy/285-the-assietta-road-italy.html

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Allotmentlad replied to Sharpie | 7 years ago
0 likes
Sharpie wrote:

The off road section can't be any worse than the Strada dell'Assietta in the 2015 TCR. That was a few hours of hell on a road bike!

http://www.dangerousroads.org/europe/italy/285-the-assietta-road-italy.html

7 hour nightmare, fell off 5 times. You doing this one?

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Grahamd | 7 years ago
0 likes

Really good idea and great article with the links. Bit too much for me! 

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tritecommentbot | 7 years ago
2 likes

Sounds amazing, about time we had something like this! Need to take a look at this trail, bit of a spanner in the works if it's rough and requires nobblies. Hopefully wouldn't. Guess riders can make tyre swaps on a rest anyway.

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LarryDavidJr replied to tritecommentbot | 7 years ago
0 likes
unconstituted wrote:

Sounds amazing, about time we had something like this! Need to take a look at this trail, bit of a spanner in the works if it's rough and requires nobblies. Hopefully wouldn't. Guess riders can make tyre swaps on a rest anyway.

Doesn't so much require knobblies (as long as its dry) but nice wide bouncy tyres as otherwise you will be shaken to bits on a lot of the SDW at any sort of speed.  Its bumpy!  If you can get some 40mm cross tyres in there that would be a good idea!

SDW starts just before my house (in that direction) which is handy  3

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PpPete replied to LarryDavidJr | 7 years ago
0 likes
LarryDavidJr wrote:

Doesn't so much require knobblies (as long as its dry) but nice wide bouncy tyres as otherwise you will be shaken to bits on a lot of the SDW at any sort of speed.  Its bumpy!  If you can get some 40mm cross tyres in there that would be a good idea!

SDW starts just before my house (in that direction) which is handy  3

I beg to disagree - the chalk can be slippery at any time, even when it's dry.  Done it on 32mm knobblies, and it is bumpy - but anything resembling slicks, however wide, would be a recipe for nmerous offs.

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LarryDavidJr replied to PpPete | 7 years ago
0 likes
PpPete wrote:
LarryDavidJr wrote:

Doesn't so much require knobblies (as long as its dry) but nice wide bouncy tyres as otherwise you will be shaken to bits on a lot of the SDW at any sort of speed.  Its bumpy!  If you can get some 40mm cross tyres in there that would be a good idea!

SDW starts just before my house (in that direction) which is handy  3

I beg to disagree - the chalk can be slippery at any time, even when it's dry.  Done it on 32mm knobblies, and it is bumpy - but anything resembling slicks, however wide, would be a recipe for nmerous offs.

I also beg to disagree  3 .  "knobblies" help to dig in and therefore provide traction on soft surfaces.  Chalk aint soft enough, even when wet for the knobbles to help.  They might 'catch' a bit more on irregular surfaces but the impact on that is minimal. 

Go wider, however, and the wider you go the lower pressure you can run and then the wider tyre can deform more over the obstacles, which provides better grip, which is what you really want  (you probably already know all this).

I ride the eastern 1/3 or so often when dry (ish), on both a CX bike with 32mm lightly knobbled tyres and an MTB (no suspension) with smoother but much fatter XC tyres.  The MTB's wider but smoother tyres are more stable every time, especially when going downhill (and theres a fair bit of that on the downs as we both know!).  Is some of it down to the different position on an MTB?  Possibly.  But I don't think it's the major factor.

I'm putting some 40's on the cross bike for the very purpose of making it a better ride across the downs, so I'll come back and let you know!

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psling replied to tritecommentbot | 7 years ago
0 likes
unconstituted wrote:

Sounds amazing, about time we had something like this! Need to take a look at this trail, bit of a spanner in the works if it's rough and requires nobblies. Hopefully wouldn't. Guess riders can make tyre swaps on a rest anyway.

I haven't read up on this event yet but if it's "unsupported" then you'd need to carry your change of tyres with you...

Avatar
wycombewheeler replied to psling | 7 years ago
0 likes
psling wrote:
unconstituted wrote:

Sounds amazing, about time we had something like this! Need to take a look at this trail, bit of a spanner in the works if it's rough and requires nobblies. Hopefully wouldn't. Guess riders can make tyre swaps on a rest anyway.

I haven't read up on this event yet but if it's "unsupported" then you'd need to carry your change of tyres with you...

commercially available facilities are normally allowed, so you could buy some new knobblies at the start of the sdw and refit your slicks at the  end, ditching the knobblies. Pricey but viable

But popping into your house to swap tyres would not be allowed, as any repair/rest/refreshment stops you use must be available to all competitors.

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