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Video: “One hell of a rollercoaster” – Matt Page on his 1,525km London-Edinburgh-London ride

“By far the hardest thing I’ve ever done” says ultracyclist who was first rider to finish event

“One hell of a rollercoaster” and “by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done” – that was ultracyclist and road.cc contributor Matt Page’s verdict on his epic London-Edinburgh-London ride last week that saw him finish as the first cyclist home in the 1,525km Audax event, which he completed in a time of 67 hours and 10 minutes.

Posting a video to YouTube shot from the saddle during his ride, Matt said: “The event is something I have wanted to do for years, and had entered pre-COVID and the event had been postponed a year for that reason.

“My personal aim was to push my body and see how I would react and cope over multiple days. I know my single-day endurance is good but I have not attempted a multi-day day event with limited sleep.

“A truly incredible experience, although it was certainly a tough few days on the bike.”

The event – a long-distance challenge for rider and bike alike, rather than a race – saw more than 1,000 riders head out from northeast London at 5am on Sunday 7 August with the route taking them north towards The Wash.

Riding with others over the flat opening 200km, Matt found himself alone at the front of the race by the time he’d gone over the Lincolnshire Wolds and he would stay there all the way up to the halfway point in Dunfermline before turning round  for the journey back down south.

By the time he was approaching Carlisle, the combined effects of the hills he’d been tackling through the north of England and the Scottish Borders, sleep deprivation and problems eating and drinking were starting to take their toll and Matt almost sacked off the ride to take a train home.

A power nap later and he was back on the bike and continuing his journey back to London, arriving a little after midnight on Wednesday morning after battling with “baking” heat and, in the Fens, “crazy” headwinds, as will as blisters on his hands – gloves are something Matt says he would use if he undertook the ride again, though he said his bike set-up was “perfect.”

> What do you need to ride London-Edinburgh-London? Matt Page’s bike and equipment for 1,500km self-supported classic

We’ve reported before on some of Matt’s mammoth rides, including polishing off the Rapha Festive 500 in 18 hours on Christmas Eve 2020, raising thousands of pounds in the process for the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young – you can read his blog about how he did it at the following link.

> Matt Page's Rapha Festive 500 in a day: how he did it

And earlier this year, Matt broke the Guinness World Record for the most castles visited in one day by bike – 67 in all, despite his attempt coming in a week in which the UK was battered by Storme Dudley and Eunice.

> Matt Page breaks world record for most castles visited in one week by bike

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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19 comments

Avatar
Bezzard74 | 1 year ago
2 likes

A mind blowing effort.
I volunteered this year at Debden, 1st 4 and last 2 days, and the smiles on riders faces as they arrived back were just as broad as the day we registered them.
I've decided to give it a go on 2025....🤦

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TheBillder | 1 year ago
3 likes

Glad it's not only me that finds the road south to Innerleithen a challenge (though it is a remarkable road, quite wild for such a short distance away from Edinburgh). Mind you, I generally don't have 800km on the clock before I start...

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John G | 1 year ago
5 likes

Chapeau Matt, a superb effort. Enjoyed watching your film. 

My LEL ride was “full value”, arriving at Debden an hour and 18 minutes before the cut-off. Experienced highs and lows too, the doubts and fatigue to the point of double vision and hallucinations. 10 minute power naps on the roadside sorts this out. Got fed-up with good food and got fed-up with crap food, the last day was fuelled by winegums and jellybeans.

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trisc replied to John G | 1 year ago
1 like

Impressive. Though I'm not a supporter of anyone using public roads with sleep deprivation, either driving or cycling.  Better choose an event like GBDuro so you can only be a menace to yourself rather than others.

There. I've said it.

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Matt Page replied to trisc | 1 year ago
2 likes

GBDuro also uses public roads.

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Matt Page replied to John G | 1 year ago
3 likes

Thank you John and a big well done for getting to Debden before the cut off. It might not have been hard compared to other sections, but from the final control to the finish seemed endlessly up and down and seemed to take ages.

There comes a time when you just need to get anything down to keep riding. My go-to was jelly babies and squashies. Plus far too much red bull and costa espresso from petrol stations.

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only1redders replied to Matt Page | 1 year ago
0 likes

Out of interest, what is actually the max speed/minimum time for LEL? 1525km / 67hrs puts you at 22.76km/h including breaks - is it the case that Audax sets a max ave speed at 20-25km/h?

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mark1a replied to only1redders | 1 year ago
0 likes
only1redders wrote:

Out of interest, what is actually the max speed/minimum time for LEL? 1525km / 67hrs puts you at 22.76km/h including breaks - is it the case that Audax sets a max ave speed at 20-25km/h?

30km/h for BRM events 

https://audax.uk/about-audax/classifications/

 

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MsG | 1 year ago
1 like

It's an audax *not* a race.

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mdavidford replied to MsG | 1 year ago
0 likes
MsG wrote:

It's an audax *not* a race.

Erm...

road.cc wrote:

The event – a long-distance challenge for rider and bike alike, rather than a race...

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boblo replied to mdavidford | 1 year ago
0 likes

.

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boblo replied to mdavidford | 1 year ago
1 like
mdavidford wrote:
MsG wrote:

It's an audax *not* a race.

Erm...

road.cc wrote:

The event – a long-distance challenge for rider and bike alike, rather than a race...

I was, ganna leave this be but since you've raised it

"Riding with others over the flat opening 200km, Matt found himself alone at the front of the race"

The very next sentence to the one quoted... As, everybody knows, a race is a race. An Audax, Grand Fondo, Sportive etc are not though they are often ridden by chancers who think they're in a race...

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mdavidford replied to boblo | 1 year ago
1 like

Fair enough - didn't notice that. Looks like none of us - the author included - are reading the whole article.

Not sure what Ganna's got to do with it though - doesn't really seem like his favoured kind of event.

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MsG replied to mdavidford | 1 year ago
1 like

I read further than you did though eh  3

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mdavidford replied to MsG | 1 year ago
1 like

Not as far as the following comments. 

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MsG replied to boblo | 1 year ago
0 likes

Quite.

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MsG replied to mdavidford | 1 year ago
0 likes

Erm..

The very next paragraph says

"Riding with others over the flat opening 200km, Matt found himself alone at the front of the race by the time he’d gone over the Lincolnshire Wolds and he would stay there all the way up to the halfway point in Dunfermline before turning round  for the journey back down south."

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Flâneur | 1 year ago
3 likes

Brilliant! While Matt was obviously out to set a fast time, I watched his kit check as well and was impressed with what spares he carried (tubes despite running tubeless/CO2/pump/spare lights/spare GPS). He was definitely going to finish and not just abandon if something went wrong.

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andystow | 1 year ago
2 likes

Nicely done!

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