The LEL is emerging as the one of the toughest biking challenges of the world where a big Indian contingent is expected to participate. LEL or London–Edinburgh–London is a randonnée bicycle event of 1400KMS between London (England) and Edinburgh (Scotland) to be completed in 100 hrs. It’s the flagship event of Audax UK and is considered as the toughest cycling event in the United Kingdom both because of the terrain and extreme weather conditions. LEL started in 1989 and it’s held every four years and 2017 is going to be the eighth edition. We at CRANK caught up with four athletes diligently preparing to know about their preparations and hopes.
Thiruvengadam Ashok is a passionate test engineer, and is the founder of STAG Software. He got hooked to long distance cycling in 2011 and then running in 2013. The tryst with brevets and Super Randonneuring (SR) reached the crescendo in 2015 when he completed the PBP, a 1200km tour of the French countryside. “At 250km to the end, when it looked like an 84hour finish, I thought it was shame not to enjoy the brilliant French countryside. I slowed down, sang loudly, slept on the open field under the gorgeous sun and finished in 87h “.
He also enjoys running Ultras and has done two 24h runs and one 100KM run and a few FMs (3:49PB) and numerous HMs (1:45PB).
His training plan doesn’t follow any strict regimen instead he experiments with upping the challenge continuously, and mixing it up with long distance running. He plans to complete one set of SR rides, one official 1000km brevet as part of training and hopes to do a few all night rides with a couple of hill rides thrown in. The idea of LEL stuck to him while he was driving the route on his car, and like they say there has been no looking back and he is looking forward to the challenge this July
Mayank Tripathi, a 28 year young, Marketing Manager at True Elements is an LEL aspirant this year. He is a podium winner in a variety of local races and is a seasoned Super Randonneur and was 8th ranked in General Classification at Tour of Nilgiris 2015. He is currently focusing on long distance cycling of 400 and 600 kms to improve his endurance and also practicing to ride in nights to train in near-similar conditions. LEL for him “is an opportunity to meet and interact with riders from all over the world”, and he is looking forward to completing the ride in a respectable time!
Sharavani’s first experience on the cycle was in 2008, when she took to it to counter her growing walking disability, but not until 2015 did she find her calling. Once she started riding regularly with the local club and also solo, she discovered the thrill of endurance biking. She signed up for the TFN in both 2015 & 2016 and completed it successfully never letting her health come in between. TFN in the first year left her charged up so much that closed 2016 with 11000 + kms and also completed the challenging Manali-Leh cycling tour of 575 kms and now she is also a SR.
LEL came naturally into scheme of things to help her satiate the desire to seek more endurance challenges – “a new country, an international event, the toughest tour….sounded like the right mix to take me to the next level in cycling. I am really looking forward to another life changing experience”
Her training plan is very simple and tough, what further makes her more determined is her desire to overcome the physical disability. She rides 4 times a week and trains with a coach Ironman Deepak Raj. The training includes intervals, tempo and endurance rides, both indoors and outdoors. This is supplemented with Yoga for flexibility and core thrice a week and work out with the physiotherapist for strength training, glutes, core etc. In the summer months there is swimming and trips to the hills for elevation training. She also hopes to do another SR before the main event
Nimish Makadia a 44 YO fitness trainer and a qualified cycling coach, who was also a professional cricketer took to cycling in 2011. He has successfully completed the TFN, Desert 500 Challenge and a few SR’s. He wanted to do PBP, but missed the opportunity and now he is all out training to complete the LEL
CRANK wishes all of the very best in their LEL endeavor and a crisp salute to all endurance athletes who are flying the Indian flag high at global events.