|Mike D. heading towards Scotland|
As one of the thirteen US riders who participated in London-Edinburgh-London in 2009, I've been asked with increasing frequency whether I'd recommend this next edition to others. In a word, YES! Run, don't walk, to the LEL website to learn more about the registration and preparation process for 2013. You will not regret it.
Completing LEL is one of my greatest achievements on or off the bike. In 2009, my third year of randonneuring, I'd never ridden an event over 600K. At 1400K, LEL was a significant step forward, but the slightly more generous time allowances, general camaraderie and outstanding level of event support made the ride seem remarkably manageable. Sure, there were some hills involved and several sections were fairly grueling, but overall the ride was a blast. Below is a short segment of the official LEL 2009 film by the irrepressible British rando-filmmaker Damon P to give you a little flavor of the magic. You can see me at 1:30 wearing a black jersey climbing Yad Moss.
How does one prepare for LEL? 1) Ride lots of miles, 2) Buy quality rain gear, 3) Ride more miles and 4) Set up your bike for comfort. The most challenging aspect of my ride involved travel logistics. Getting to LEL is not harder than most other events, but I had never flown with a bicycle before, nor had I traveled by public transit in a foreign city while schlepping a 50 lb. bike case. For those of you experienced with these joys, it will not be a problem.
There is no better, more cost-effective or enjoyable way to see Britain. If it were not for the cost of airfare and incidentals, I'd sign on again. All randonneurs should ride this event once in their careers. I'll be riding a domestic 1200K in 2013 and saving my nickels for PBP 2015. To learn more about my experiences on LEL 2009, read my ride report.
Any questions? Just post them below in the comments section.
Up next: honing my goals for 2013.