Last year’s GBduro took the self-supported element of ultra-endurance races to a whole new level. With COVID-19 in full swing, the organizers decided to challenge participants with a new set of rules that made for a completely self-sufficient race. No resupply, no support, and riders had to carry all of their food for the entire journey.
Discussing the reasoning behind the decision, Ed Wolstenholme from The Racing Collective explained, “The move to self-sufficient riding produces less waste while cycling and finally addresses the eye-watering amounts of plastic waste that go straight in the bin during conventional ultracycling events.” The organizers also imposed a no-fly rule on their event. In an effort to push demand for low-carbon travel commensurate with the climate crisis, riders had to get to and from the event without flying. Like last year, the 2021 edition of GBduro will be a #noflyride. The event organizers chose to institute and keep this rule because “…having the burden of riders’ carbon emissions from flights on our conscience didn’t sit right with us.” While this year’s GBduro won’t impose the same self-sufficient challenge, but riders are still required to follow strict leave no trace principles.
The GBduro anything but a walk on the park, and is often described as “a scrappy rolling picnic through Britain’s ever changing landscapes.” The event is split into four stages of varying distances and elevation. Each stage starts at 8 a.m. sharp, and riders have three days to complete each one, except for the final stage, which must be completed in 1.66 days. At the end of each stage, riders will regroup, gather themselves, shares stories with each other, and prepare for the next leg of the journey.
The route runs the length of Britain, following the GB Divide route between Land’s End to John O’Groats. It embraces a true “all-road” approach that uses singletrack, road, gravel, and everything in between—making for a challenging mix of terrain, steep climbs, and technical descents. Lachlan Morton was the first to finish the event in 2019 completing the four timed stages in 4 days, 15 hours, 44 minutes (with a total elapsed time of 6 days and 13 hours), and is the current GBDURO record holder.
Stage 1 will be the grand depart from beginning at Land’s End to checkpoint 1 in Ysbyty Cynfyn (not a spelling mistake…) in mid-Wales. To ease riders in, they will tackle one of the longer stages at 635km in length with 11,700m of ascent.
Ysbyty Cynfyn to checkpoint 2 at Garrigill is pretty much smack bang in the middle of the UK. “The easy stage” is shorter and flatter at only 460km long with only 6,700m of climbing.
Leaving England behind, from Garrigill, riders will enter the wild North for the first time, finishing at checkpoint 3 at Fort Augustus on the shores of Loch Ness. It’s 485km this time and another 6,700m of vert. By now, even the mountain goats will start complaining.
By now, riders have almost reached the top of the hill. The shortest of the 4 stages at 380km, sees the riders leave the Bonny Bonny Banks heading for the sprint finish at John O’Groats. A mere 4,400m of climbing will finish off those hardy enough to make it this far.
Although Lachlan Morton isn’t headlining the event this year, there are quite a few interesting riders to watch…
Last year, our friend Josh Ibbett finished in first place with a time of 7 days, 17 hours, 44 minutes. Josh won’t be riding this year, but there are some familiar names to watch out for, including Lee Craigie, Angus Young, Naomi Freireich, Philippa Battye, and Mark Beaumont, just to name a few. There are currently 33 riders registered for the solo division and 11 riding in pairs. Use the Tracker link below to follow along starting at 8 a.m. (GMT+1) on August 14th (that’s 3 a.m. EST).
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