Preparing for a 600km event

Bryan Chapman Memorial - 600km Bicycle Ride

In seven days from now, I'll be riding the Bryan Chapman Memorial 600km audax.  This will be my first attempt at BCM and as usual I'm trying to be as prepared as possible.  Having taken the route sheet and instructions, I've spent time walking through the route using online tools such as bikehike and googlemaps.  Street view on google is a great way of looking at the control points in advance to make sure I'm familiar with them and I'm not going to waste time searching for the official checkpoint.

Distance (km)
Latest time at 15kph
Likely time at 22kph
5 (to sleep)
00:00 (add 5hrs)

Saturday morning, 6am start... getting from the Travel Lodge to Chepstow

Here is the start point in Chepstow, the Community Centre

Stage one is 72km long and I hope to cover this by 9am-ish

Control and Honey Cafe

Stage two is 82km long and I hope to cover this by about 1pm

Which will bring me to the Nant Yr Arian Visitors Centre Control

The third stage is 70km long and I hope to have completed it by 4:30pm

The control is the Kings Youth Hostel which I will be back at again after the next two stages

The fourth stage is 89km long and I hope to be at Menai Bridge between 8pm and 9pm.  This is the furthest north and west the route goes before heading back to Chepstow.

The big climb is passing Snowdon

And finding the Scout Hut in Menai Bridge should be easier now I know where it is

When the I leave Menai Bridge I'm heading back to the Kings Youth Hostel and try to grab 2 hours sleep, I am hoping to be back at the Youth Hostel by midnight, covering stage five's 83km

Back at the Youth Hostel for a rest.  The busiest period is usually between 1am and 2am, if I can I'd like to be just ahead of that.  The latest I can arrive is 8:24am on Sunday - but obviously I get no sleep then!

Sunday morning; stage six, fresh legs and 65km - if I can set off by 5am I can be here by 8am.

The Control I'm looking for is a community centre in Aberhafesp

Stage seven is 80km long and I hope to arrive in Weobley in time for lunch

There are a couple of "Easy to Miss" sections which I've captured below:
The "Dovecot" - surely not easy to miss!

The turning opposite "The Forge"

Arriving in the control town of Weobley and the cute bus-shelter at the fork in the road.

The final stage, eight, is now ahead with only 78km to get back to Chepstow and a latest arrival time of 23:16 - personally I hope to be back by teatime, between 4pm and 6pm would be nice.

Getting back to Chepstow; I hope to be fresh enough from a reasonable couple of hours sleep and a gentle pace so that I can enjoy a beer or two with some of the other finishers.  I will then go back to the Travel Lodge for a proper night's sleep before I head home.  The whole route looks absolutely fabulous, plenty of long gentle climbs and some sweeping descents.

In preparation I know I'll need:

In terms of preparing the bicycle, I'll be servicing it this weekend.  One thing that was bothering me was whether the rims on my wheels are okay, they feel a bit worn.  So I did some research into the wear marks for Rigida Sputnik rims and I found this (pictures posted on several internet forums and reproduced several times, but if this is your photo and you want recognition please let me know):

Rigida Rims, with wear indicator and reinforcement:

Compared with cheaper rims - no reinforcement.

I have checked my Rigida rims and I'm happy that I've not worn through to the indicator yet, and that when I do the rims will not burst like some cheap rims can.

Final checks:

I will probably potter around the bike, (a Spa Cycles Tourer) all week checking, fixing, adjusting... I don't really like setting off on long distance rides without being prepared.

So finally, here is the route for next Saturday and the profile.  I'm praying for strength in my knees, joy in my heart and wonderful weather.  I plan to come back and post photographs afterwards.

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