Ciclo Team Racing and their LEL brevet

2Go Activewear is proud to have custom kitted Team Ciclo on their LEL (London-Edinburgh-London) brevet. Spanning a 1441 km distance, LEL is one of Britain’s toughest endurance challenges, with participants given five days to complete it. While LEL boasts of scenic countryside views, it also presents the riders with tough climbs and unpredictable weather.

This year, LEL had 1500 entrants representing 55 different countries. Unfortunately, frequent rains and headwinds proved difficult even for the experienced international riders. Many called it quits or were simply unable to make it in time to the assigned control points. The fact that a team of four Indians unaccustomed to this weather and terrain successfully completed LEL is highly commendable. Out of the 59 Indian participants, only 10 completed it and 4 of the 10 were from Team Ciclo, making this quite special!

Bachi, Ashish and Gautham layering up

Gautham Narne considers the team’s completion a unique achievement, as riders usually set their own pace over long distances.  He says that many participants were solo or in twos and it was rare to see a team riding together the entire route. However, Team Ciclo experienced this journey literally as a team from start to finish, pushing each other along the way.

According to Gautham, the highlights of LEL were seeing the beautiful English countryside on two wheels. He also found the organization of the event extremely professional. Essential services such as food, assigned sleeping places, first aid and bike fixing were meticulously planned out. At stops such as Barnard, a physiotherapist was available.

At one of the control points where riders can eat and rest

The major downside faced was the weather. In any outdoor sport, dealing with four seasons in one day and having to layer and unlayer calls for tremendous patience and mental toughness. Overall, apart from a couple of small falls and a rim crack, the team, fortunately, faced no major setbacks or mechanical failures. However, there was one instance of getting lost on the last day at an unearthly 2 am, which was a bit unnerving. The team found themselves knocking on people’s doors to try and find their way back!

Gautham says that one of the learnings from this is that very hi-tech GPS devices are not always reliable in situations where time and distance are pushing every resource to the limit. A more basic device could have helped them. He recalls an American named Jerry Springer who cut up the route into papers and decided to undertake LEL without any technology – a bit extreme but an interesting challenge addition!

Ciclo Team’s LEL accomplishment is incomplete without understanding the preparations and the backing of the fantastic support crew. In terms of training, Gautham shared his systematic routine. Close to the race month, he rode 100 km daily for two weeks. Once a week he did strength exercises. A week before LEL he undertook around 7 rides partially along the LEL route, covering 50 -100 km distances at a time.

The team with their support crew

A major takeaway has been that lack of preparation in any form hurts – be it in training or in equipment. Gautham and Bachi believe that familiarity with the route and the likely weather can make a lot of difference to the outcome. Under preparedness is what hurt many Indians who were unable to complete this brevet.

Team Ciclo firmly believes that they would not have completed this journey without their support crew comprising of Kasi, Titta, Xavier and Luka. At every point they ensured the team managed their time efficiently and encouraged them to keep fighting on when energy levels and spirits were flagging.

This year the team took 116 hours to finish LEL. Bachi Pullela would like to go back in four years and complete it within 100 hours.  With great preparation and a unique team bond, we hope for a sub 100 hour finish from Team Ciclo in 2021!