Ride Report - Josh Ibbett - GBDuro2020
Gravel Union On
24 August 2020
Shimano Gravel Alliance rider Josh Ibbett recently won the 2020 edition of the GBDuro event. GBDuro is an ultra-long distance self-supported bikepacking event which runs in the UK from Land’s End to John O’Groats with a mix of on-road and off-road sections. It was first run in 2019 and was won in impressive style by EFRacing’s Lachlan Morton
For 2020 the world was a very different place. The obvious change was the arrival of Covid19. Initially the organisers considered cancelling the event outright, but in the end, they decided on some major tweaks to the format, but for it to still go-ahead in 2020. The first change was to postpone it by a month (to take account of the relaxing of UK CV19 lockdown measures). Next, they changed the event from self-supported to self-sufficient – the organisers described this as meaning “riders will have to take all the food they’ll need with them to get from start to finish. The self-sufficient style of the event also does not permit riders to seek assistance from others, use of any buildings (commercial or otherwise), or disposal of non-biodegradable waste – the key test here is one of ‘no assistance from others’… if it relies on assistance from others, riders shouldn’t be doing it.”
The organiser’s final change was to make the event a #noflyride. The organisers explained their decision like this “Flying is incompatible with reducing our individual carbon emissions to a fair and sustainable level so we are drawing a line in the sand. As bikepackers, leave-no-trace ethics are part of our DNA; so are solving seemingly unsurpassable problems, and doing things that others (initially) think are crazy.”
In order to comply with the rule changes, racers had to carry everything they would need for the whole of the 2000km journey, which meant their bikes became real beasts of burden, rather than the more lightweight approach normally taken by many adventure racers. Josh’s bike and kit looked this.
Saturday 1st August 2020 saw 15 intrepid riders set off on their epic ride north. They were faced with mechanical problems, biblical storms, problems sourcing water/camping spots/loo spots, not to mention the enormity of the challenge of getting themselves and their bike from one end of the UK to the other in a fully self-sufficient manner. In the end only 6 riders went on to finish the event.
If you’d like to hear Josh’s story of the event itself, check out this brilliant podcast