Thursday, 11 June 2009

London - Edinburgh - London

As some of you know I've entered the 1400km Audax bike ride from London to Edinburgh and back.
It's a ride held every 4 years and this is the 6th running of the event.
There is a time limit of 116hrs and 40mins to complete the ride, this means that with an 8am start on the Sunday I have to be back by 5am on the Friday morning. It works out at about 300km (180miles) a day.
There are 600 riders from 30 countries (some from as far as Australia) that have entered so should be a really good ride.
As I write this it's only 43 days away!! To say I'm slightly worried about it is an understatement.
Well I suppose worried is the wrong word, but as I've still not managed to finish a 600km ride so far this year it's getting very close and the time is disappearing fast.

Audax rides over here are run by Audax UK and range from 50km calendar rides.
These are organised rides with route sheets that take you on a scenic loop (hills usually included) via cafes, village halls and garages. You also get a card which you get stamped/collect receipts or answer questions on it to prove you've been to all the places on the route.
Then there are permanent rides from 50km again up to rides like the 3315km Great triangle taking in all 4 corners of the UK.
All rides over 200km get points (2 for a 200km, 3 for a 300km etc') and at the end of the season you can see how far behind the points champion you are.
Last year I got 35 points. The top point scorer so far is Steve Abraham, he racked up 405 in the 2007 season. But he just likes a challenge!!

Be careful though they are very addictive, I started on a 100km event 4 years ago.
I now often find myself sat on a garage forecourt at 2am eating a cold pasty with a bottle of flavoured milk to wash it down. When not riding I often sit at home on the computer trying to work out 200km/300km/600km routes that go via these 24hr cafes and garages to then go out and ride. The joys of long distance cycling!!

If you want to read more about them or join in they are great fun (if a little challenging at times!!) take a look at the Audax and cyclosportive pages over on yACF.
It is a great cycling forum full of friendly people that will help you out and answer any questions you have bike related or not.

Oh well, back to the on-line route mapping. Now working on a ride that goes up to Scunthorpe and down through the fens of east anglia.


Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Another DNF!!

I was looking forward to last weekends ride after entering it well in advance, getting cheap train tickets and a cheap room at a travel lodge.
After finishing work on Friday morning I managed to get a few hours sleep before my train up to Stockport at 11.50. Arriving at the station with ages to spare and an uneventful journey got me there in under 2hrs.
As I had time to spare I rode along the A6 to roughly where the ride started the next morning and made my way to the Travel lodge so that I knew the route in the morning.
After a McD meal I managed to get another couple of hours sleep before Ben arrived to take the spare bed for the night. Forums are great for getting others to share the costs of rooms for events like this. Pizza was consumed and it was off for an early night in preparation of the early start.

Alarm went at 04.30, coffee was made and it was out the door at 5. We got to the start with just enough time to say hello to the other riders, collect brevet cards and join the back of the bunch as the group left.
It was raining, not too bad but enough to dampen. The start of the ride took us along lovely lanes around Jodrell bank (past the radio telescope) and across the Cheshire plain to Wem where it was a stop for a full breakfast and coffee to try and warm up as we were all soaked through.
Onwards through Church Stretton (still raining) to top up on supplies ready for the hills that started not long after.
First hard slog came as we left Knighton and it was up and down all the way to Builth Wells. 210km covered and 10 hrs of rain so far.
The next bit I was looking forward to in a funny way as I'd heard so much about the Elan Valley but had not as yet ridden it.

So it was away again (still raining) and just up the road I went to change gear and the cable snapped!! Bugger!!
Managed (eventually) to botch it by pulling spare cable through the changer and tying a knot in it. It worked just but I wasn't going to trust it to get me over the hills to Aberystyth in the dodgy weather as if it had broken again it would have left me stranded in the middle of nowhere cold and wet.

So as I got to Rhyader a few miles up the road I stopped at a pub and got a room with breakfast for £25. After a shower and dry clothes I spent the rest of the evening drinking cider.
This seemed a better way to spend my birthday than atop a welsh hill in the rain.
It was still raining outside.

Next morning it was up at 8 for a huge breakfast and out into the rain again for the 50km ride to Newtown to get the train home.

Total riding for the weekend was 280km and out of the 17hrs on the road it must have rained for 16 of them. Others that completed the ride said they had it for 27 out of 34 and a headwind for the last few. An epic weekend for the ones that did complete it.

Now it's a weekend off from long rides as the next one is the 30 mile FSoTM ride hope to see some of you along.

Oh did I mention the rain!!

Monday, 1 June 2009

I want one of those, and one of those, and .....,

Bacchetta carbon aero.
WAW velomobile
Tri sled Avatar velomobile
Velokraft Nocom
Zockra Kouign Amann
Last one is also a Nocom but with a rear fairing fitted.

Choices, choices.
Just need to find the money now!!
Will have to sell the kids or my body! probably get more for the kids. Lol