Early on the morning of Saturday 22nd June, Wightlink LCM-Systems rider Tim Wiggins travelled to Winchester to begin what would be his longest day in the saddle to date.
His challenge, with a group of fellow endurance cyclists, was to ride the length of the South Downs Way trail to Eastbourne. The historic bridleway that runs down the spine of the South Downs National Park totals 103 miles in length, all off-road, and with 3,690 metres of elevation, the route is a tough track. The climbing alone is equivalent to climbing from sea level to the top of the highest mountain in the Pyrenees one and a half times.
The ride took place in wet and blustery conditions, with a gale force cross-wind making for some challenging riding. The wet chalk trails also demanded constant concentration to keep the bike upright; proven by several falls that fellow riders took on the slippery descents, leading to their early retirement from the group.
Wiggins held his own however, and completed the trail in just over 10 hours of riding; including stops for mechanical repairs and food stops an elapsed time of 13.5 hours in the saddle. The day was undoubtedly one of the hardest that Wiggins has completed on the bike, but was highly satisfying; a long awaited personal achievement. Tim is looking forward to more endurance racing intermixed with his road racing calendar for the remainder of the year.