Everyone knows that cycling around Brighton is the best (and quickest) way to get around.
So when you get to join over a thousand other cyclists to ride traffic-free, on closed roads ahead of the BM10k and Brighton Marathon runners as part of Brighton Marathon Weekend, it’s even better.
I’ve taken part in Brighton Marathon before – three times in fact – each with varying degrees of pain / euphoria. Last year, after dying on my arse in the heat of 2017 I couldn’t face the big one again so did the BM10k for the first time and loved being able to collect my medal after just 6.2 miles instead of the additional 20.
Catch up on my previous Brighton Marathon Weekends below:
AN EASY DECISION TO MAKE…
This year I was originally signed up to the marathon with Chris and was half going for a PB. I say ‘half’ as I realised my heart wasn’t really into it as we got deeper into the training. I loved the Sunday long runs with the RunBrighton crew but wasn’t nailing the all-important mid-week sessions because of work / life stuff / general lack of motivation getting in the way, and when I got to Brighton Half I wasn’t anywhere near the condition I needed to be.
So, instead of piling on the pressure for the remaining few weeks trying to force myself into it, I decided to listen to my heart and switch to the BM Ride so I could do what I really wanted to and get back on my bike(s) for the spring.
You gotta listen to what your soul wants, right? And 26.2 miles is a looooong way for a sufferfest if you’re not in shape. Unless you do it by bike, of course!
Brighton & Hove’s first closed-road sportive
The inaugural BM Ride is the latest addition to the Brighton Marathon Weekend, and offers cyclists of all abilities the opportunity to ride the (mostly flat) streets of Brighton & Hove, traffic free for 50km. Glorious!
The course starts and finishes on Hove Lawns and takes in all of the marathon route (and then some), to make up the 50km. It’s fast, flat and as it turns out, a hell of a lot of fun. It’s also our first ever road sportive, which I didn’t realise until the day before. Can you believe I’ve never taken part in an organised road sportive until now?!
Me and Chris have done the BHF off road London to Brighton a few years ago but apart from that our cycling event repertoire is surprisingly small. This definitely needs to be rectified in the lead up to this summer’s Ride London (send me your road sportive recommendations below)?
It was an early start, (7am!), and FREEZING cold, so we arrived to the Velo Village on Hove Lawns layered up to the eyeballs and cursing our inadequate choice of gloves whilst searching for coffee. An espresso later and quick stop at the Evans Cycles tent got us our free pre-ride bike checks before heading to drop baggage and sail straight into the loos (no queues!)
More than 1100 cyclists lined up in three waves along the prom (the no-cycling side, how exciting!), and a staggered start looped down to the Lagoon and back towards the pier before heading off to Preston Park, Lewes Road and an out-and-back to Ovingdean for a couple of welcome mini inclines.
As well as being cold it was actually pretty windy and tough when out on our own instead of in the shelter of other riders. Now I understand the benefits of drafting! We were pushing the pace and got a face full of headwind on the return of the Church Road and Power Station sections… then Chris got a puncture in his back wheel.
I felt pretty bad about this as it was actually my back wheel having swapped them a few weeks previous (the joys of having his ‘n’ hers bikes), but once we finally wrestled the wheel off (why are road tyres so godamn hard!!) he quickly changed the tube and we were on our way again for a 2:10 chip time finish (1.52 moving time).
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Absolutely loved the BM Ride ??♀️??♂️? Probably the fastest we’ll ever get to ride around Brighton – closed roads for the win! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Things learned: ✔️Need new tyres (ANOTHER puncture!) ✔️Tin foil on the feet works (thanks Nik!) ✔️30 miles on closed roads is FUN ✖️Trying to find a way home with bikes when the marathon is on is not ? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Well done to all my buddies riding, running, volunteering to put this mega carnival weekend on & thanks to my favourite @christoph_novelli_ for towing me round & sorting the puncture (#thisgirlcan but it’s deffo a blue job during events ?) ❤️ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ City is proper buzzing now with the marathon vibez. ??♀️??♂️?? What an amazing event this is, thank you @brightonmarathonweekend ?? ? . . . #BMRide #brightonmarathon #brightonmarathonweekend #brighton #instabrighton #brighton_ig #rideyourbike #cyclinglife #endorphins #fromwhereiride #theseroadsiride #enjoytheride #betterbybike #brightonmarathon2019 #fitgotreal
- Brilliantly organised event with route that didn’t interfere with the BM10k or marathon runners’ start. (I can confirm that the Brighton Marathon course is definitely easier by bike 😉 )
- Easy pack pickup at the Beach Race Village before event day – including an awesome goodie bag with a BM Ride casquette
- Well-stocked Velo Village with the priorities right: coffee, food, plenty of loos and no queues!
- Evans Cycles in the Velo Village and on course to fix any mechanicals
- Plenty of photographers to get the action shots
- Great medal!
(I’m nit-picking here, there wasn’t anything bad as such):
- Organisers took out a couple of sharp climbs in Ovingdean and Woodingdean which was a shame for us – but great for beginners and less experienced riders, and I guess necessary to keep the tight timings in check for the runners start.
- No aid station until past 30km for the ride. This wasn’t a problem for us but maybe beginners or less experienced riders might need fuel earlier on.
- Some out-and-back sections of the course (i.e. back from the Lagoon) were very narrow for bikes and caused everyone to ride slowly. Not sure how to change this as maybe the other side of the road needs to be clear for the runners by this point?
- My face, happily stuffing a delicious chilli dog into it post-ride
Watch the video below to see that in all its glory!)
The 2020 Brighton Marathon Weekend takes place on MY BIRTHDAY, 19th April 2020 (just sayin’). Visit the website for info and entries to the BM10k, Brighton Marathon and BM Ride.
Did you take part in the Brighton Marathon Weekend, either to run, ride or support?