LEL Route Plan

Well, the start draws ever-closer and I get ever more nervous.  Have I packed enough “stuff”?  Will my legs hold out? Will my bike hold out? Will I cope with limited sleep?  Anyway, in order to try to bring some semblance of control to the many variables we have a broad ride plan.  I’ve described it here in this post.

Day 1 – Loughton to Thirsk

  • Planned mileage – 249m
  • Planned ascent – 5,435ft

Ade's Road Cycling Blog Ade's Road Cycling Blog

The grand depart from Loughton.  We are part of the 6am wave of some 70 riders leaving London and heading north.  The route snakes to the west of Cambridge, and East of Huntingdon and Peterborough, past Boston at lunchtime and into Lincolnshire until we cross the Humber Bridge and skirt the suburbs of Hull.  If we are on schedule we might cross the Humber around twilight, which might make for an interesting view, before we push on past York and ride the final 50 miles or so with lights on, targeting an arrival in Thirsk at sometime just after midnight.  It’s a long day, but it is relatively flat, so if the wind is kind we should make good progress.  Hopefully we’ll get at least 4 good hours sleep.

Day 2 –Thirsk to Edinburgh

  • Planned mileage – 189m
  • Planned ascent – 6,782ft

Ade's Road Cycling Blog Ade's Road Cycling Blog

We plan to be on the road around 6-30am, and we head north-west from Thirsk, diagonally across towards Carlisle.  This section has the biggest climb on the ride – the ascent of Yad Moss.  It isn’t particularly steep, but is a bit relentless, meaning we will essentially be going upwards for around 40km.  The flip-side of that is that we’ll then enjoy a similar distance descending.  We’ll pass through Longtown and Gretna (as I did in 2010 when riding LEJOG and again in 2011 riding to Stirling) and then Lockerbie and Moffat between 5pm and 6pm.  We then follow the River Tweed valley for a while on the A701, heading into Edinburgh and hoping to arrive before 10pm.  The target again is a good 4 or 5 hours sleep.

Day 3 Edinburgh to Thirsk

  • Planned mileage – 184m
  • Planned ascent – 7,836ft

Ade's Road Cycling Blog Ade's Road Cycling Blog

The biggest day in terms of ascent, it still remains relatively flat given the distance travelled.  Setting off before 4am, we follow a different route until Longtown, when we essentially retrace the northern route back to London.  To get to Longtown we head down to the east of Peebles, through Innerleithen and through the Ettrick Forest Park to Langholm and Canonbie.  We hope to be back in England between 10am and 11am.  We retrace our steps to Thirsk hoping to arrive in early evening, where we have a B&B booked to get a full night’s sleep.  Ideally, we will be checking in there before 9pm, allowing at least a good 8 hours sleep before hitting the road again at 7am the following morning.

Day 4 Thirsk to St Ives

  • Planned mileage – 187m
  • Planned ascent – 3,655ft

Ade's Road Cycling Blog Ade's Road Cycling Blog

Given the prevailing wind in the UK, it’s likely that we will now face a headwind for the rest of the ride, so thankfully the main hills are behind us at this point.  And, if we have set off at 7am, it means we have time in the bag should it be a bit of a struggle (which it will be by now, I’m sure!)  We should see lunch at Market Rasen, tea at Kirton and arrival at St Ives by 9pm hopefully.  That leaves us with 118km to the finish.

Day 5 St Ives to Loughton

  • Planned mileage – 74m
  • Planned ascent – 2,145ft

Ade's Road Cycling Blog Ade's Road Cycling Blog

If we get 4 or 5 hours sleep, we’ll be back on the road around 3am.  The plan then would be to arrive back at the start in time for breakfast at 9am.  That gives us around 16 hours in hand to deal with poor weather, mechanicals or any other issue.

Of course, it may all go horribly wrong at any point, so let’s see what actually happens!  Wish me luck!


  1. AndrewGills · July 25, 2013

    Have an awesome ride. Looks seriously epic 😉


  2. Paul · July 25, 2013

    You absolute nutjob!


  3. AndrewGills · July 29, 2013

    Go you good thing Ade! Looks like you are at sleep stop in Thirsk. Great going.


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