Iconic London - Edinburgh - London in 5 days ... by Charlotte Lawson...

My aborted attempt at LEL sadly finished at Brampton (Yorkshire) on Tuesday (Aug 9th) afternoon. I had a great time (mostly, I think) and wanted to give a huge shout out to the army of volunteers who made it happen. What happened?!

Prep was hampered by a dodgy Dynamo, which Adrian managed to fix (thank you!), then the trains decided not to play and superstar Carmen took me to registration and on to my B&B, I hoped my troubles were over.


After a good start (Sun Aug 7th at 11am) I got to St Ives control and saw my ride buddy Norman who was volunteering. The Fens remained uneventful and although others were complaining of a headwind it was single figures so I was rejoicing! I started riding with two mamils somewhere not too far from Boston but they soon sped off. Also, a very nice chap who I hope finished (mostly nice because he didn’t mansplain! Or tell me my no strategy strategy was not a strategy). Anyhow, made it to Boston feeling pretty good and so got out as quickly as possible to keep moving. As I was leaving one of the two mamils was throwing up in a bin. I wish him no ill and I hope he was ok and got home safely. I’d guess ate too many gels and not enough water… I ended up spending four hours riding from Boston to Louth with the other of the two mamils - a total mansplainer. I know way too much about his prostate now! I kept thinking that eventually he’d get bored of my slow pace and push on but he didn’t until about three seconds before I fell off (turning into a junction on a downhill - think I hit some gravel - the enemy of tiny Brompton wheels) and then he did not come back to look for me. He did look sheepish when I arrived at the control a few min later dripping with blood, also commenting that he did feel quite relaxed and able to keep going. I stopped to get patched up. At the time I thought my brain made my body take a dive for the team! 

Got patched up and decided my knee (already dodgy) felt a bit sore so decided to rest and regroup. Didn’t feel too bad when I woke up and although my back felt a bit sore, I didn’t think too much of it. Made pretty good progress to the Humber Bridge and the control at Hessle. Fished stuff out of my drop bag and set off towards Malton. My back started really niggling at this point so I took paracetamol and carried on. Stopped for an ice lolly and chocolate to cheer myself up…By the time I got to Malton I felt quite broken so decided to shower and rest and see how I felt. Lay down but couldn’t settle (the voices in my head were conflicting!) so got dressed and headed out. Prostate Mamil2 was there and said he was scratching. The volunteer said to stop at the Coop in Helmsley as that was the last civilisation until Barnard Castle. Good advice! Had a quick stop and a lovely chat with some folks on holiday (who thought we were all barmy) and then headed out into the receding light… the North Yorkshire moors were pretty atmospheric in the pitch black (!), most definitely type 2 fun on tiny Tinkerbell wheels! It started to get pretty cold so I stopped to add more layers.

My back was pinging so I walked up several hills as I did not want to stop in the middle of nowhere. As I left the moors I saw signs to Brampton, and I entertained the idea of diverting that way (especially as I missed a turn) but after a mile or so got myself back on track and then a few miles further on saw alien lights in the distance. This turned out to be the first secret control. A very welcome cup of tea and flapjack later and back out into the night. There was a big diversion into Barnard Castle, which apparently was much worse than the original route (it was certainly windy), managing to pull in before daylight. My back was hurting so I decided to rest for four hours although I didn’t really have time in hand, to see if this would alleviate it. It did not. A few miles after leaving Barnard Castle I saw a little café open so I stopped for a second breakfast, took a diclofenac and carried on. After a very brutal climb on which my breathing packed up (due to the diclofenac - it’s happened before) and descents of 16-20%  (which on a fully loaded Brompton was possibly more terrifying in daylight!). I stopped at the additional feed station at St Johns Chapel. I had a quick pit stop and tried to move on but on the first climb my back said no thank you indeed (!) so I turned around back to St Johns Chapel and dropped out. The volunteers there were lovely and located a minibus that could drive myself and another rider to Brampton. The driver even waited for me to collect my drop bag before driving me to the station. Three trains and a group of singing Geordie girls later and I finally got home at midnight. 

I managed to get an emergency appointment with Magic Hands Krishna at Lakeside Osteopathy on Thursday morning, and then headed down to the Finish Line at Loughton to volunteer, which was tiring but tremendous!

A huge thank you again to all the volunteers who work so hard to make this happen and to the finishers.



I may not have finished (completed 381 miles) but I’ve raised £2000+ for Parkinson’s UK. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!! "


Event pictures can be seen here