An Ode To Adventure Racing
For city types, being ‘off grid’ means turning off the smartphone; for survivalists, it’s a tin-foil helmet; for dedicated Pearson customer, John Hull, it’s the Pan Celtic endurance adventure race.
Our Off Grid gravel bike has captivated many of those seeking the ultimate all-rounder, performance-driven machine. It’s versatility has allowed adventure goers the opportunity of experiencing the rugged off-road trails whilst still keeping up with their cycle buddies on the roads. This was found by dedicated Pearson customer, John Hull, when he decided to take on the Pan Celtic endurance adventure race on one of our Off-Grid’s in July.
Pearson 1860 caught up with John about his race, his experience and his ultimate love for the Off-Grid.
The Pan Celtic race is a self-supported adventure race around the Celtic Nations. Following the very best and off-beat cycling routes each nation has to offer, the race places emphasis on cultural identity and historic locations unique to Celtic heritage. July’s race was the second in a series of five races, having been postponed from 2020 due to some global pandemic.
The 853 mile route, clocking up over 64,000 feet of climbing, aimed to stretch even the most seasoned of adventure cyclists. Starting down in Maker Heights in Cornwall, riders hugged the Cornish coast before passing through England’s Celtic Corridor and crossing over into Wales. After criss-crossing through the rugged Welsh landscape, cyclists finished their race up in Llandudno with a victory lap of the Great Omre before crossing the line.
John finished his race in 6 days, 11 hours and 45 minutes!
THE TECH SPECS
Groupset: Shimano GRX 800 11-42T
Tyres: 28 mm Continental Gatorskins
Bikepacking kit: The odd collection of Apidura, Alpkit & Restrap bike bags along with a bivvy bag, tool kit, spares & Chamois cream!
The total weight of the bag complete with food and snacks was approximately 16 kg.
1860: Have you done any similar bike-packing before?
JH: " I have done a bit of touring before just out of my own interest, but my first organised event was actually the Pan Celtic Race back in 2019. This year's race was the second race of a five year series having been postponed in 2020."
1860: What made you choose our Off-Grid for your challenge?
JH: "The Off-Grid came highly recommended by a friend and it just felt like the right all round choice - plus, I love the threaded bottom bracket (a bit nerdy but true). Overall, the bike performed really well in all conditions. I think the stand out for me was the comfort of the ride and its stability going downhill."
1860: What were your highs and lows?
JH: "Highs were definitely the unexpected support from friends along the way following me on the GPS tracker. Friends came along at Cornwall, the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol and a friend in the Valleys to hand me an ice cream!
The lowest point was definitely hiding under a bivvy in a bus shelter to get out of the rain, just South of Aberystwyth."
1860: What was one thing you wished you packed or packed more of?
JH: "It was wetter and colder than anticipated, so next time I would take a warmer sleeping bag."
1860: What was the first thing that went through your mind as you crossed the line?
JH: "Have I made it for last orders?"
1860: What’s next?!
JH: "I'm not sure, however I've just read about a mixed-terrain, 300 mile ride from Turin to Nice on old military Stradas - which sounds like an adventure!"
Congratulations, John, on your achievement! If you want to put your gravel bike to the test, adventure riding at Pearson does not stop there. We’re approaching our Autumn Edition of our Inside Out Gravel Ride series.