The most important accessory I used on the ride was my Garmin 500 GPS cycle computer. This enabled me to plot my route and follow the directions that the computer gave me whilst also recording the usual stats such as distance, speed, heart rate etc. It has been great for both getting out on routes I wouldn’t normally use and also logging all my rides by uploading them to sites on the internet. It’s also been frustrating though when the thing goes wrong like it did on the second day of my LEJoG meaning I could only see the next course point and was unable to see how far I’d been or how long I’d got left. It’s also crashed at other times and I’ve ended up losing stats on parts of my ride which, while not particularly important, is still quite annoying. I think it struggles when you are following a long route with lots of directions in it. I’m told that upgrading the firmware should sort this problem although I have heard that this can actually make matters worse!
The ride was the first time I properly used energy and recovery drinks, normally I would just add some sugar to cordial and use that as an energy drink but this would have been impractical to carry in my luggage. I chose to use SIS Go (mainly as it worked out the cheapest of the brands!) during the ride which seemed to keep me going ok although it’s hard to say how much of a difference it would have made. After the ride I uses SIS Rego Night which, whilst tasting pretty disgusting, seemed to work well and leave my legs feeling much fresher in the morning than when I had been doing long back to back training rides without them. Learning to down the drink in one is advisable!
In terms of food I ate whatever was going. On the move I ate Soreen (comes in nice pocket shaped loaves!), home made flapjack, cereal bars and caramel shortcake. It’s hard to eat as much as you need to so I supplemented these with High 5 Energy Gels which are great when you need an instant energy hit but are relatively expensive for what they are. Off the bike on most days I had a three course breakfast of cereal, full English breakfast followed by toast and jam which set me up for the day nicely. During the day I would stop once or twice and take on either some sandwiches on wholemeal bread (I learned to avoid white bread pretty quickly) and/or pasta and at night I would have a large meal followed by desert if I had any room left in my stomach. According to my Garmin I was burning between 3,000 and 5,000 calories a day (although I’m not sure how accurate that is?) so I made every effort to eat as much as possible!