Highland Trail 550 - 2020

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whitestone
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Re: Highland Trail 550 - 2020

Post by whitestone » Sat Nov 23, 2019 9:27 pm

garydavies44 wrote: ↑
Sat Nov 23, 2019 7:53 pm
Hi all. I did the BB200 this year and loved it. Now want to give HT550 a crack in 2020.

How do I go about entering it? No guidance is provided on the website.

Thanks
Gary
As Chew says, send Alan an email, ideally with links to things like Strava activities or race results. Here's my application list for 2018 as an example

=====
Previous rides were:

Yorkshire Dales 300 (2015) https://www.strava.com/activities/335029417
Yorkshire Dales 300 (2016) https://www.strava.com/activities/621749093
BB200 2016 (the soft one) https://www.strava.com/activities/739914226

This year I've done the following.

Rovaniemi 150, came 10th https://www.rovaniemi150.com/results/2017/rov150-2017/ - https://www.strava.com/activities/873793266 A race rather than an ITT in the arctic.

TransCambrian Way ITT - https://www.strava.com/activities/922457268 Done solo over a couple of very wet days

Jenn Ride - 3rd back - https://www.strava.com/activities/998908115 Not a true ITT but used it as a shakedown and practice for the HT550.

HT550
Day 1 - https://www.strava.com/activities/1017775653
Day 2 - https://www.strava.com/activities/1017775677
Day 3 - https://www.strava.com/activities/1017775673
Day 4 - https://www.strava.com/activities/1017775723
Day 5 - https://www.strava.com/activities/1017775757

YD300, 6th back in a PB - https://www.strava.com/activities/1063981308

YD200 - https://www.strava.com/activities/1154127620
=====

That makes it easy for Alan to check you've done what you've said you've done.

Of course you can do it (the HT550) as an ITT, ideally so you don't interfere with the group start - the week before is popular as you get back to see the group start.
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Re: Highland Trail 550 - 2020

Post by htrider » Sun Nov 24, 2019 8:16 pm

Email sent.... looking forward to the new route actually. Better get some long ride in I 'spose

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K1100T
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Re: Highland Trail 550 - 2020

Post by K1100T » Sun Nov 24, 2019 11:45 pm

What do people consider the must do routes to prove your competency...?
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Re: Highland Trail 550 - 2020

Post by Richpips » Mon Nov 25, 2019 12:11 am

K1100T wrote: ↑
Sun Nov 24, 2019 11:45 pm
What do people consider the must do routes to prove your competency...?
Hi Bob, the easiest in, is to ITT part or all of it.

Anything that shows you can do hard long days whatever your background will count though.

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Re: Highland Trail 550 - 2020

Post by htrider » Mon Nov 25, 2019 6:01 pm

Stu's Big bear 500 would be a good shout in terms of overall hardness and crap weather (Based on Mike Clarkes write up of this the other year, I've not done it). The YD300 will give you a flavour of lots of very big climbs, albeit on relatively easy terrain; and the Cairngorms Loop is a good intro into Scottish remoteness.

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Re: Highland Trail 550 - 2020

Post by whitestone » Mon Nov 25, 2019 10:37 pm

K1100T wrote: ↑
Sun Nov 24, 2019 11:45 pm
What do people consider the must do routes to prove your competency...?
Alan used to have a "list" but these days there's lots of options. From the UK: Cairngorms Loop; BB200/300; YD300; Borders 350; Big Bear; Lakeland Loop; central and northern loops of the HT550 itself.

From abroad: any of the "divide" routes that have sprung up; Silk Road Race; Colorado Trail Race; Arizona Trail Race, Iditarod Trail.

The YD300 is probably equivalent to the riding heading north to Oykel Bridge but with about 50% more climbing.

It's one of those thing where you sort of know what you've done matches up to what's expected. The more recent a ride/race/event the better. Even with a "good CV" there's no guarantee you'll get a place on the group start, it ends up a mixture of veterans, newbies, men, women, UK and foreign riders.
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Re: Highland Trail 550 - 2020

Post by K1100T » Tue Nov 26, 2019 12:11 am

Thanks for the suggestions, plenty to think about for the future.
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Re: Highland Trail 550 - 2020

Post by padonbike » Tue Nov 26, 2019 9:54 am

K1100T wrote: ↑
Sun Nov 24, 2019 11:45 pm
What do people consider the must do routes to prove your competency...?
If you need to ask .... :|

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Re: Highland Trail 550 - 2020

Post by ScotRoutes » Tue Nov 26, 2019 11:04 am

It's not just competency. Consider that you are now "competing" with a world-class field for a restricted number of places and ask yourself where you rank amongst them. However, I thought Alan kept back a few Wild Card slots so maybe there's a chance you'd get a place by sheer luck πŸ˜‰

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Re: Highland Trail 550 - 2020

Post by K1100T » Tue Nov 26, 2019 11:57 am

padonbike wrote: ↑
Tue Nov 26, 2019 9:54 am
K1100T wrote: ↑
Sun Nov 24, 2019 11:45 pm
What do people consider the must do routes to prove your competency...?
If you need to ask .... :|
True, but as I'm coming from a standing start, so to speak, it's nice to know what I should be looking at attempting first.
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Re: Highland Trail 550 - 2020

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Tue Nov 26, 2019 1:34 pm

it's nice to know what I should be looking at attempting first.
I'd suggest picking something which is truly multi-day. While there's some very tough things you can do in 24 hours, riding something that that's going to take 3-4 days will demonstrate the ability to take care of yourself rather than simply the ability to ride quickly.

Where abouts are you? ... thinking logistics.
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Re: Highland Trail 550 - 2020

Post by ScotRoutes » Tue Nov 26, 2019 1:40 pm

Good thread drift.

After doing the CL300 I was wondering what other ITTs would be similar or a bit more challenging without going all HT550. Some sort of top 5/top 10 of the UK ITTs.

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Re: Highland Trail 550 - 2020

Post by sean_iow » Tue Nov 26, 2019 1:56 pm

Bearbonesnorm wrote: ↑
Tue Nov 26, 2019 1:34 pm
I'd suggest picking something which is truly multi-day. While there's some very tough things you can do in 24 hours, riding something that that's going to take 3-4 days will demonstrate the ability to take care of yourself rather than simply the ability to ride quickly.
This ^ is good advice. When I put my first entry in I included a link to a 3 day ride I did, a South Downs Way Double starting at my house, so ended up 270 miles in 3 days, and I rode it in November in the rain. I included it to show Alan I could look after myself on a multi-day trip.

Most of the recognized ITT routes are only big day rides :wink: I don't even consider sleeping on anything up to say 250 miles. Your entry mainly needs to show to Alan that you're not going to be a liability. He'd like all of the starters to head off, follow the route, stick to the rules (and the ethics) and look after themselves and hopefully make it round, but equally also know when to scratch if that's the right decision. He doesn't want anyone pushing the SOS button because they've run out of jelly babies or had a puncture :lol: If he doesn't know you personally your entry needs to convince him you are a worthy edition to the starting line.

I don't think he's necessarily after the fastest 60 from the entry, if anything it wouldn't work if there were 60 starters all capable of finishing in under 4 days... there wouldn't be enough room at The Moorings if everyone arrived at once let alone in the Hydro Bothy :grin:
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Re: Highland Trail 550 - 2020

Post by Karl » Tue Nov 26, 2019 2:04 pm

Alan use to class the Lakeland 200 as an automatic qualifier so day (ish) rides can be a suitable method of proving your grit as it be (fitness is only part of it).

The Borders 350 has got to be up there as a route tough enough as a qualifier.

I think if you show Alan that you like challenging and pushing yourself he'll consider you for a place, Nick Bubb is proof of that!

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Re: Highland Trail 550 - 2020

Post by touch » Tue Nov 26, 2019 2:59 pm

Looks like there's an entry "fee" this year of a Β£50 donation to the John Muir Trust.
Image
Sounds like a good idea to me :-bd

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Re: Highland Trail 550 - 2020

Post by padonbike » Tue Nov 26, 2019 3:40 pm

K1100T wrote: ↑
Tue Nov 26, 2019 11:57 am
padonbike wrote: ↑
Tue Nov 26, 2019 9:54 am
K1100T wrote: ↑
Sun Nov 24, 2019 11:45 pm
What do people consider the must do routes to prove your competency...?
If you need to ask .... :|
True, but as I'm coming from a standing start, so to speak, it's nice to know what I should be looking at attempting first.
Well if you're coming from a standing start, give yourself 3 years. That's what it took me to psyche myself up to do it for the first time. :wink:

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Re: Highland Trail 550 - 2020

Post by K1100T » Tue Nov 26, 2019 4:28 pm

Bearbonesnorm wrote: ↑
Tue Nov 26, 2019 1:34 pm
Where abouts are you? ... thinking logistics.
I'm just outside Cambridge, my Brother lives near Catterick Garrison and my parents in Fife, near Dunfermline. So I have a number of easily accessible starting points.

The plan for this year was to start doing BAM, but a broken frame, and outdoor swimming, got in the way. The new plan is to start going longer next year and start BAM too. The Icknield Way runs about a mile from the house, and while it's a combo of on-road and bridleway/byway, I can link it with The Peddars Way and The Ridgeway to get a bit more distance.

There's no way I'd be physically able to do the HT550 as it stands, so a three year plan sounds like a good idea. Plus it would give me time to save up and by a suitable bike too.
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Re: Highland Trail 550 - 2020

Post by Karl » Tue Nov 26, 2019 11:08 pm

K1100T wrote: ↑
Tue Nov 26, 2019 4:28 pm
There's no way I'd be physically able to do the HT550 as it stands, so a three year plan sounds like a good idea. Plus it would give me time to save up and by a suitable bike too.
It's right to not underestimate the route but also don't underestimate what you can achieve. I went from no bikepacking to BB200 to the Highland Trail in under 12 months. Be systamatic, ride your bike and try your best.

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Re: Highland Trail 550 - 2020

Post by Pirahna » Wed Nov 27, 2019 2:17 am

To be honest, you don't need to be that fit to ride anything if you're just touring. All you need to do it sit on the saddle for a couple of hours each day, it's being able to to do it on consecutive days that's important. If it all gets too hard you can always walk for a while. That's my theory anyway and it seems to work for me.

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Re: Highland Trail 550 - 2020

Post by Mart » Wed Nov 27, 2019 10:42 am

K1100T wrote: The new plan is to start going longer next year and start BAM too. The Icknield Way I can link it with The Peddars Way and The Ridgeway to get a bit more distance.
I'd happily do this with you - ive done the ridgeway but always thought of linking these up to make longer
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Re: Highland Trail 550 - 2020

Post by Pirahna » Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:33 am

Mart wrote: ↑
Wed Nov 27, 2019 10:42 am
K1100T wrote: The new plan is to start going longer next year and start BAM too. The Icknield Way I can link it with The Peddars Way and The Ridgeway to get a bit more distance.
I'd happily do this with you - ive done the ridgeway but always thought of linking these up to make longer
Once you've reached the Wiltshire end of the Ridgeway you can ride mainly off road to the South Downs Way. From Eastbourne use a mix a tracks and road to link up with the North Downs way. There's a route using quiet roads and tracks from Gravesend back. From leaving Cambridge it's possible to put in a 500 mile loop.

Another option from the end of the Ridgeway is to carry on heading west using tracks, tow path and quiet roads past Bristol then it's mainly off road across north Somerset and Devon, down across Dartmoor to Plymouth then train back to London.

I'm in Bishops Stortford, if you need any GPX's for routes or help with route planning PM me.

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Re: Highland Trail 550 - 2020

Post by Alexinthepeaks » Wed Nov 27, 2019 3:29 pm

Just got the email - Im in! Oh crap! :-bd

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Re: Highland Trail 550 - 2020

Post by stevewaters » Wed Nov 27, 2019 4:30 pm

Me too ! (Not really a surprise because Alan said I had a guaranteed place after my ITT earlier this year but still a relief).
Alex - You'll love it - We'll have to get some "local" training done - with Karl too. :-bd

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Re: Highland Trail 550 - 2020

Post by Alexinthepeaks » Wed Nov 27, 2019 4:37 pm

100% Id be keen to pick your brains on what to expect too and strategy of course!
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Re: Highland Trail 550 - 2020

Post by htrider » Wed Nov 27, 2019 9:49 pm

touch wrote: ↑
Tue Nov 26, 2019 2:59 pm
Looks like there's an entry "fee" this year of a Β£50 donation to the John Muir Trust.
Image
Sounds like a good idea to me :-bd
Aye good shout there from Alan, I'm now a member of the JMT :-bd
Had a few dealings with them (well a couple of their rangers) in a previous life and they are a good organisation. Also, having shelled out 50 bar for the privilege of getting on the group start, I'm super motivated to a) turn up and b) get round

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