Arrivee 121 August 2013
Quarterly magazine from Audax UK. The long distance cycling organisation in the UK.
Arrivée AU Number 121 Summer 2013 DAX UK the Long Distance Cyclists’ Association www.audax.uk.net HEADING editorial IN HERE Summer 2013 After several years of intense planning by Danial Webb and his incredible organising team, LEL finally hit the road with 996 starters from the 1,100 entries. I can't imagine the stress involved in organising AUK's largest ever event, just organising a 200k for 100 riders involves a lot of work as many organisers have found out, so I hope you will all join me Contents Events News and Correspondence........................ 4 AUK News.................................................................................... 5 A tribute to Jack Eason ................................................... 6 600k around Devon and Cornwall...................... 10 Robert Lepertel .................................................................. 16 Dave's Doddle........................................................................ 17 Coast to coast 600 pictures....................................... 18 Hailstorms and hallucinations .............................. 20 Auks in action ....................................................................... 21 The Cumbrian 200............................................................. 22 The Red Rose ride.............................................................. 24 Girls on tour............................................................................ 28 300k around Mallorca .................................................... 31 Coast and back 100k ...................................................... 32 London–Edinburgh–London – first pictures .33 Getting L–E–L in my sights ....................................... 38 The road to hell is paved............................................ 40 Yr Elenydd............................................................................... 44 Audax rides from Corwen........................................... 50 Tale of two bridges............................................................ 51 The Ditchling Devil........................................................... 52 The London Ditchling Devil review .................. 54 Book reviews ........................................................................ 58 Audax crossword .............................................................. 59 Delightful Dales ................................................................ 60 Audax Calendar ................................................................. 62 Front cover: Louise Rigby climbing Mont Ventoux for the brevet Club des Cinglès du Mont-Ventoux Next edition of Arrivée is in October. Please send your copy to Peter (address on right) by September 13th PLEASE MENTION ARRIVEE WHEN REPLYING TO OUR ADVERTISERS Keith Benton –London–Edinburgh–London Photo: Tim Wainwright in congratulating Danial, his organising committee and all the hundreds of helpers up and down the country who voluntarily contributed their time, effort and skills to ensure the success of the event. Whether there will be another LEL on this scale remains to be seen. Danial is taking a well earned rest and contemplating whether he wants to devote so much of his life to a further LEL and is looking for further assistance for future events. Around 200 riders were DNF for one reason or another, retiring to lick their wounds and hopefully replan their strategies for future long distance events. ■ On a very sad sequel to LEL, AUK's John Radford, organiser and Easter Arrows coordinator, and Huddersfield CTC's President, was mown down by a motorist, air-lifted to Leeds hospital with serious head injuries and is now in a coma. Our best wishes to John for a complete and speedy recovery comes from all his friends and colleagues in AUK. John is pictured on the LEL photos on p.66. ■ Our annual dinner and AGM weekend is planned for 15-17 November at the four-star Holiday Inn in York. The booking form is printed on the back of the address sheet with this Arrivée. Send completed forms to Pam Pilbeam by 1 November. ■ Jack Eason, one of AUK's most easily recognised and popular riders, has passed away. I've known Jack for many years and ridden quite a few kilometres with him. He was a genuinely lovely man with a permanent twinkle in his eyes and a friendly word for everyone. A fitting tribute has been paid to him by his friends on pages 6-8. Tim Keep your wheels turning. Arrivée is the free magazine of Audax United Kingdom – the long distance cyclists’ association which represents the Randonneurs Mondiaux in the UK. AUK membership is open to any cyclist, regardless of club or other affiliation, who is imbued with the spirit of long-distance cycling. Full details in the AUK Handbook. HOW TO CONTACT US Membership Enquiries: Mike Wigley (AUK Membership Secretary), Higher Grange Farm, Millcroft Lane, Delph OL3 5UX. Email: mike.wigley@Audax.uk.net Membership Application Form: www.aukweb.net/memform.phb or Ian Hobbs (New Members), 26 Naseby Road, Belper DE56 0ER. Email: ian.hobbs@Audax.uk.net Membership fees: Renewal: £14 or £56 for five years. New or lapsed members £19 (inc. £5 enrolment fee) or £61 for five years. Household members: £5 or £20 for five years. No enrolment fee for new household members. Life member’s Arrivée £9 or £45 for five years. ARRIVEE Extra current Arrivée copies, where available, are £3 (UK), £4 (EEC), £5 (non-EEC). Contact Mike Wigley (address above). Mudguard stickers four for £1. AUK cloth badges £2 (includes UK post. EEC add £1. Non-EEC add £2. Contact Mike Wigley (above). Contributions – articles, info, cartoons, photos, all welcome. Please read the contributors’ advice in the Handbook. Views expressed in Arrivée are not necessarily those of the Club. Produced by AUK: editing, typesetting, layout, design by Tim Wainwright. Printed and distributed: Headley Brothers Ltd, Ashford, Kent TN24 8HH. Distribution data from AUK membership team. TO ADVERTISE Advertising Manager: Tim Wainwright, 4a Brambledown Road, Sanderstead, South Croydon, Surrey CR2 0BL. E-mail: email@example.com Rates per issue: Full page A4 £268. Half-page landscape or portrait £134. Quarter-page £67. One-sixth page £45. One-twelfth page £23. Payment in advance. Businesses must be recommended by a member. We rely on good faith and Arrivée cannot be held responsible for advertisers’ misrepresentations or failure to supply goods or services. Members’ private sales, wants and events ads: free. PUBLICATIONS MANAGERS February Editor: Sheila Simpson, 33 Hawk Green Road, Marple SK6 7HR Tel: 0161 449 9309 Fax: 0709 237 4245 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org May and August Editor: Tim Wainwright, 4a Brambledown Road, Sanderstead, South Croydon, Surrey CR2 0BL. Tel: 020 8657 8179 E-mail: email@example.com November Editor: Peter Moir, 2 Peel Close, Ducklington, Witney, Oxfordshire OX29 7YB. Tel: 01993 704913 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Audax UK Long Distance Cyclists’ Association (Company Limited by Guarantee). Reg. Office: Timberly, South Street, Axminster, Devon EX13 5AD. To subscribe to the AUK e-mailing discussion list, send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright © 2013 Arrivée. Our WWW site: www.audax.uk.net AUK clothing can be purchased directly on-line at: www.impsport.com and click on Audax UK in the left hand panel. www.audax.uk.netArrivée Summer 2013 No. 121 3 AU DAX UK events news/correspondence HEADING auk INnews HERE Chester and North Wales CTC/Audax rides from Tattenhall Sunday September 15th These three rides start from Old Ma’s Coffee Shop near Tattenhall, approximately 10k SE of Chester. Plenty of free car parking available for those who need it ‘Pistyll Packing Momma’ 200k heads out to Chirk and then visits Pistyll Rhaeadr waterfall which at 240ft is one of the wonders of North Wales. The ride then continues to Lake Vyrnwy and Bala before returning to Cheshire via the Shelf and Hope Mountain. Third year of running for this event, that has received rave reviews for the quality of the route and mountain scenery ‘Momma’s Mountain Views’ 130k follows the same route to Chirk before heading over to Llangollen with superb views of the Berwyn mountains. Next comes The Panorama before an ascent of the Old Horseshoe Pass to Ponderosa café on the summit. From here the ride joins ‘Pistyll Packing Momma’ above the Shelf near Llanarmon-yn-lal and shares the same finish. This ride is recommended in Andrew Cornwell’s Guide to Cycling 2013. ‘Momma’s Leafy Lanes’ 50k gives a pleasant, undulating ride through the local lanes. Designed as an introduction to Audax riding and not too demanding an excursion into the Cheshire countryside. Further information and entry details available at www. audax.uk.net directly by using Paypal or by post. Closing date September 11th – no entries on start line. Just a Minute Explore the Amber Valley Pystyll Rhaeadr Letter to the Editor Dear Editor 'Turkeys voting for Christmas' Reading the Minutes for the Board meeting of last June, published on the website, I was saddened to see the resolution to start the next AGM at 4pm. The message from the Board is clear – 'we do not expect, or intend, this meeting to last more than two hours'. This is a pitifully short time to allocate, given that it is the one and only opportunity in a year, for members to have any say in the future directions of AUK. The more so since this particular meeting is certain to have time spent on an LEL retrospective. Any other proposed items seem destined to be squeezed and guillotined. The Board apparently regards AUK’s AGM as a marginal event, and give no incentive for anyone to make the effort to attend. Non-attendee voting was discussed and rejected at AGMs in 1986, 2001 and 2006 – the 'turkeys voting for Christmas' effect – it really is now time for AUK to look at other possible forms of self-government. Francis Cooke 4 Arrivée Summer 2013 No. 121 AU DAX UK Saturday 7th September 2013 Two beautiful and challenging routes from Sheffield CTC. 100km and 160 km. This is the second year we have run these audaxes and can guarantee a great day's cycling with excellent refreshments at the end. £5 for AUK and CTC members. GPS tracks on the Audax calendar. AAA News DIY by GPS with AAA points Yes, you can get AAA points for DIY by GPS perms. When you submit the tracklog to the organiser for validation, just ask for it to be forwarded to me for assessment. The AAA points will be added after the ride has appeared on your Results page, normally after a day or two. But occasionally it can take two weeks or more, especially during the holiday season, which now I’m retired lasts from January to December :-) New AAA Century award As if there weren’t enough AAAwards already, here is yet another one for AAAficionados to aim for. The original Audax Altitude Award, the 3xAAA and 3x3 AAA will continue as now, and you can take as long as you like over them. From the 2014 season onwards, there will be an additional, new AAA Century award for obtaining 100 AAA points. The difference with the Century award is that all the AAA points must be obtained in one season. It will be a tough challenge for experienced riders, and I wouldn’t expect to hand out more than three or four awards each year. For those who don’t have the time or the inclination to aim for the AAA Century award, there will also be an AAA Quarter Century award for obtaining 25 AAA points in a season, and an AAA Half Century award for obtaining 50 points in a season. Cloth badges will be made available in due course, and there will be a new Roll of Honour on the AAA website and in the AUK Handbook. So for those of you looking for a new challenge in the coming season, here is something for you to aim for. OnwAAArds and UpwAAArds. The AAA Man Here is a Paris Brest which would be nice to lick. Photo by Chris Rutter Chris Rutter, Ultra Randonneur, receives the Morris Shield from Reading CTC for amassing over 9,000 miles in 2012. The shield was presented to Reading CTC by UR Brian Morris when he stepped down from the role of President, Reading CTC. www.audax.uk.net A s most of the delegates were familiar with the layout of Birmingham New Street train station, it was clearly time for a rebuild to keep everyone confused, but we managed the navigation in true Auk fashion. Membership is at an all-time high at 5,211 thanks probably to a LEL spin-off. Mike has tried to get something back from Royal Mail, for its failure to deliver a previous issue to certain postcodes, but without any success. The new stickers for bikes/mudguards are being distributed to organisers to make them available at rides and there should be a sticker for a car window enclosed with this magazine. Peter Moir is the new Arrivée editor succeeding Maggie Lewis, so please join me in welcoming him and helping as much as possible. Part of that, to make his job easier in view of the difficulties last year (none of which were the fault of AUK) will be to mail the AGM Agenda separately to give as much notice of planned business as possible. The National 400 is probably going to be based at the CTC York Show – we are hopeful it will happen in 2014 – and VC167 under Nigel Hall have volunteered to organise the ride. AUK medals and badges are now shown on the website and can be purchased on-line which has led to a surge in sales. Peter Thompson has volunteered to take on the increasingly important role of Publicity Officer to increase awareness of Audax which we hope will lead to larger fields. He has some good ideas and we wish him every success in that role. Pam Pilbeam, on the other hand, will not be continuing as Brevet Card Secretary. She has fulfilled that demanding and time-consuming task for many years now and we are grateful for all her good work. This change is an opportunity for us to research whether there are better or easier ways to produce the cards as there have been many advances in digital print technology. Pam is still keeping her roles as Trophy Custodian and organiser of the AGM weekend; on that latter front, no booking has yet been finalised as York appears to be rather pricey. Some ways to mitigate the cost were discussed but nothing was decided in the absence of firm figures. Due to popular demand, the AGM itself has been moved to a 4pm start to allow members more time riding in the area. The committee meeting, normally just before, it will now be held on the Friday evening enabling those members to participate in the ride (if that doesn’t jinx the weather, I don’t know what will!). Rod Dalitz, a member of AUK and OCD (Ordre de Cols Durs), a cyclo-mountain climbing club, has proposed that we amalgamate the two clubs as that one is declining, but is a natural addition to schemes like our AAA. The basics have been agreed and we hope for a progress report at our next meeting and also the AGM. The hope is that our members will enjoy the additional challenge and that a regular contribution in Arrivée will revive interest in this part of our sport. There has been little activity on the strategic plan pending updated details but organisers will be pleased to know the extra fee for BRM validation is to be dropped from the start of next season. Also with more frequent use of on-line entry and card validation at the end of an event, organisers can choose how many envelopes they want with their entries. Our website has been updated, but the feeling is that a wholesale revamp of our ‘face’ to the world is needed and Danial will be taking that on, once his current workload has eased. Now is the time with another of my hats on, to remind everyone interested to send your FWC points claims to me, and all ‘niche’ machine palmares to Allan as soon as possible after the end of the season on 30th September to count for the annual awards. This appeal will be repeated on a couple of forums, but this is the last opportunity for those not on the Internet Once again, best wishes for your cycling to be safe and enjoyable and best wishes to all involved with LEL which may be just a memory when you see this. It promises to be the largest and best yet. As ever, full Minutes will be available from me on receipt of a sae or on the website in due course. Richard AUK Publicity Peter Thompson has volunteered for the post of Press and Publicity Officer for Audax UK, and has accordingly been co-opted onto the Board. Peter’s role will, amongst other things, encompass the promotion of Audax UK; assisting with the production of compelling content for the Audax UK website; commissioning articles and images for publication; negotiating with magazines, newspapers and online media to publish articles about Audax UK; and developing Audax UK’s presence at shows and other appropriate events. After a long career in nursing in both the military and NHS, Peter will shortly commence training as a journalist, and hopes to bring the skills and experience gained from this to benefit Audax UK. Ideas and suggestions on how to raise the general profile of audax are welcomed – e-mail: ThompsonPW@aol. com. Peter is looking forward to working with you all. WANTED AUK Systems Manager The systems manager develops and maintains the IT systems needed by AUK. The role includes: • Arranging hosting and backup of AUK’s website. • Provision and maintenance of web based systems for AUK. • Making use of IT to reduce the amount of work required to run AUK. This role would suit someone with an IT project management background who can recruit and manage the resources (volunteers or paid services) necessary to develop and maintain IT systems. The current Systems Manager is happy to be one of these volunteers, and provide whatever support the new Systems Manager would find useful. The role requires at least a couple of hours a week, as well as attending four Audax UK board meetings a year. The current systems are written in PHP using MySql, and hosted using Apache running on Linux. For more information about the current systems, or the role, please contact Pete Coates (email@example.com). Nominations please Now is the time to take a few moments to think about the season and the other people around you on the Audax events you have ridden. Have they done anything really special which you think ought to be recognised? This might be an inspiring ride or it could be a really well organised event or even a team member at a control who was so helpful that you that it made your ride and you would like to show your thanks. There are five AUK trophies awarded from nominations by members to: 1) The person who has served AUK best. (Norman Booth Trophy) 2 + 3) The cyclists (one each for men and women) who have achieved the most meritorious cycling performance in the year. (Paul Castle and Ladies’ Merit) 4) The person(s) considered the most meritorious organisers in the year 5) The person(s) considered the most meritorious helpers on AUK events during the year (This award is also open to non-members) Making a nomination is really easy: just a short e-mail, letter or postcard to Ian Hennessey (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the hero’s name and a short explanation why you think they deserve the award. Please do it now before you forget, to give the committee time to make their choice and arrange for the winners to notified so they can attend the Dinner, to collect their trophy in person. Ian is hoping to be overwhelmed with names! www.audax.uk.netArrivée Summer 2013 No. 121 5 AU DAX UK jack eason – a tribute jack eason – a tribute A tribute to Jack Eason – an AUK legend Main article by Steve Abraham with additional anecdotes by fellow Auks All photos by Tim Wainwright, unless otherwise stated My father and I used to talk about sightings of ‘that old man on the green bike with a radio and bunch of flowers on his handlebars.’ I was about 12 then. I never knew who he was and neither Jack or I had ever heard of AUK. This was about 1986. I joined the CTC at 14 and started doing the reliability rides and club runs. J ack never rode club runs but he used to do the reliability rides in the slowest time, because he didn’t like to rush and just went for the fun of it. Jack was a regular at the clubroom but I was never allowed to go, because it was midweek and I was at school. He never really knew about AUK, but began riding Audax with the CTC National 400s and always rode to and from those events, usually overnight. It was about that time when my father died. I’d just left school and I was going to the clubroom and hearing some of his tales, which were very often ‘embellished.’ He was always one for telling a good story and adding in a 6 Riding the National 400 , 2005. Photo: Ken Ascroft Arrivée Summer 2013 No. 121 AU DAX UK few extras. He’d been doing Audax-style riding before he knew about AUK. He used to do a tour of Scotland once a year and usually rode up non-stop from home. He rode through the night to a CTC National 400 in Scotland before he had heard of AUK and took the A68. He was riding through the night up the A68 and feeling tired, noticed that he’d been riding a while and it wasn’t very easy, so he stopped and checked his bike. He spun his wheels to make sure his brakes weren’t rubbing. It was when he rode home on that road in daylight that he realised how hilly it was. He also hallucinated on that ride, imagining that the road was coiling itself up behind him. He did the same for a CTC National 400 in Devon. Riding home afterwards across Dartmoor at night in the rain he punctured, so decided to walk until he could find a street light to mend his puncture. He walked for a long time in the rain wearing his cape and finally gave up on finding a www.audax.uk.net street light, so sat down and snuggled up under his cape out of the rain to mend his puncture. The next thing he knew, the birds were singing and it was daylight. He mended his puncture then carried on home. As a young and keen cyclist with a taste for long distances, I was told about AUK at the end of 1991 and joined straight away, then got stuck into Audaxing in 1992. Jack got wind of the rides I was doing and asked me about AUK, so I told him how to join and he joined in 1993 and the rest I suppose is history. He ditched the flowers and very soon the radio for Audax rides, though he did get a pocket radio with headphones in the late 90s. His original radio had a small speaker on his handlebars. We rode a lot of miles together and have shared many bus shelters where he often had a puff on his pipe, especially 1993 to 1998, when I moved to Milton Keynes. He never puffed his pipe while he cycled. It was in those years that I rode thousands of miles with Jack. AUK records show that he never rode an SR in his first year but I do know that he went straight into a 600 in his first season. We rode the Daylight 600 in Scotland together that year, which Jack always returned to do as it was his favourite 600. Great scenery and very easy navigation as well as being a well run event. Jack had changed from some old guy I used to see now and then when I rode my bike to someone who was a regular at the CTC clubroom but did his own thing and I never really spoke to, to someone I used to chat with every week at the clubroom about Audax. We were often hanging around outside the door still talking after everyone had gone home after we’d been kicked out. Jack went on to do more and more. He never really bothered with the trophies he won. ‘They only give me this [veteran’s] trophy because I’m an old man.’ Though after I took the points award in 1996 he did say that he’d like to get the ‘Big Boys’ trophy,’ which he did in 2002. Another thing worth mentioning is the number of miles Jack used to cycle. His bicycles, all the same colour green, were his only transport unless he caught a train or on rare occasions cadged a lift, though he often preferred to cycle to and from events, often overnight. A typical year for Jack in the mid-1990s would be 22,000 miles. I did ask him about joining the 300,000 mile club but he wasn’t interested in becoming a member. He told me that he’d easily done double that at the very least. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had the highest mileage in the UK, certainly a top five contender as a safe bet. It’s because of that why I am not a member of the 300,000 mile club too. Jack was a very big influence on my long distance cycling from when I really got into it. I learnt from Jack that following conventional methods isn’t always the best way of doing things. He was very aware of how marketing influenced what cycling equipment people used. Jack seemed to stick with what he knew worked for him and only took on board new ideas after a lot of thought and consideration. He wore clothing from Marks and Spencers. The jogging bottoms or shorts for summer weren’t really much different to what people wore prelycra and that was a time when people generally cycled further than they do now. He came from an age before lycra and saw it more as fashion than of significant practical benefit. If you really got to know what cycle components Jack used and what he wore, then you’d see a very well thought out, tried and tested system that worked very well for his needs. He did use Ever Ready lights but being a radio engineer for British Aerospace, knew how to turn them into reliable lights that seldom let him down. He passed on a few tips to me how to keep my Ever Readys working too and I ended up making my own home brew lighting systems before cycle lights became better than I could make. Jack knew that other people thought that his bike and clothing made things more difficult for him and he never bothered trying to argue about it. He found it much more fun to play along. 1996 was the first time any Brit had ridden the Boston-Montreal-Boston 1200km ride in the USA. There were nine Brits in total, but flying the flag of English eccentricity was Mark Brooking on his trike, me on my fixed wheel and Jack. Event organiser Jennifer Wise thought that Jack and I wouldn’t finish the event. At the finish of the ride Jack had a crowd of Americans around him and he was in his element. They were all asking questions about how he did it and eventually it got around to his clothing and his non-lycra shorts. ‘Oh yes, I got these in the war,’ said Jack ‘What, ’nam?’, ‘Oh no, second world war.’ They all seemed to believe him and Jack maintained a straight face. He also Above: Aged 79, riding LEL 2005. Below: Signing on in 2004 Sicilia No-Stop 1000. L to R: Chris Wilby, Mark Brooking, Ray Kelly, Jack, Karl Hrouda, John Davies. told me that he tried to smoke his pipe at the finish to wind them up but he just didn’t want it. Jack became a regular at BMB after that year. Jack always used to ride steady and not stop at controls, especially cafés, so he was always leapfrogging people. Cafés were expensive and cost a lot of time, though he would often have a sit-down feed on 400k or longer rides if there was a good café. He never saw the logic in paying £1 for a small glass of milk or cola when he could buy several glassfuls from the shop next door and not have to wait for it and had the same view about food, though he would stop for a hot drink on cold nights. He carried his food in his saddlebag, usually two litres of cola too and sometimes some milk. He often ate from his barbag on the move and sometimes stopped in shops now and then if he fancied something he wasn’t carrying. Jack was also fond of getting a good group together, especially at night. He often ended up waiting for people at controls who were tiring so that he could keep the group together. Sometimes www.audax.uk.netArrivée Summer 2013 No. 121 7 AU DAX UK jack eason – a tribute he’d help people on events too, where he helped them ride nice and steady they would do the navigating. He really enjoyed getting in a good group that worked together well and rode at the same pace. One thing that must be said about Jack was that he was always cheerful and had a very good and often dry sense of humour. He had a set of jokes he liked to use on people. One of his, when someone commented that he was old, was to tell them he had a pacemaker fitted. After their reaction, he went on to say that he turned it up when he had to go up hills. He was good at keeping a straight face and often laughed about it several miles down the road and sometimes for a few weeks afterwards if it was a good reaction. Of course his most famous joke was when someone asked how he was. ‘Strugglin’,’ often said with a twinkle in his eye. He sometimes played practical jokes too. One of my favourite was when a salesperson did a demo at our CTC clubroom for movement detection alarms and how they could be used for cycle security. Jack turned up at the clubroom and parked his bike as usual and the demo began. Throughout the demo, Jack came up with simple practical solutions to any problems the salesperson came up with that his gadget could overcome, which often raised a laugh. As the demo went on, the salesperson asked for a bike to show how it could be used. Jack immediately volunteered his bike, pointed it out and told him to help himself. Someone went to fetch Jack’s bike and an alarm went off. ‘One pound fifty!’ Jack said, ‘I made that this afternoon with one pound fifty pence worth of stuff from Maplins!’ Everyone was laughing and the salesman had egg on his face trying to sell something at well over £30. After the demo the salesman had a small crowd but Jack had a much bigger crowd. That tale really does demonstrate the way I saw Jack. No need for elaborate new expensive ideas with big price tags when there is often a a much cheaper and better solution with just a little thought put in. All done with great humour and in good spirits. Jack will probably be mostly remembered for the big rides he did. Randonneur of the Millennium, his ISRs, all those 1200km rides abroad, his AUK vet’s awards and so on. But he also used to like to do ‘the silly rides’ for the DATC, just as a bit of fun. Those were the 100km rough stuff events and the like which he only did for fun. Typically, Jack never used an expensive mountain bike for just a few miles of cycling when he could walk the tricky parts. He used his old equipment on his rough stuff bike, only aiming to finish in time, though he often finished before people on their expensive mountain bikes. He also enjoyed using his bike for transport and just pootling along, racking up the miles just getting about. 8 Arrivée Summer 2013 No. 121 AU DAX UK jack eason – a tribute One thing that did strike me as a shame was that good lights and GPS came too late for Jack. His eyesight wasn’t too good, which was why he often went off route. He really needed his glasses to read his routesheet with, so usually navigated by memory of the route or just remembering the names of the next villages and following road signs. Just as diode lights started getting very good Jack became too slow for AUK time limits. He often used to ride with people and help them round events so that they could navigate for him. Easy navigation was one of many reasons he liked events in Wales and Scotland. He was a lifelong cyclist since he was in the RAF in WW2, though if what he told me is true, he never did any active service because the war ended soon after he was stationed. For Jack, the war was good. ‘They taught me to fly aeroplanes for free, then they stationed me and the war ended. We had a big party, came home and had another big party and that was it for me.’ He did have interests outside of cycling. He liked jazz, rock’n’roll and at CTC club dinners would be on the dance floor all night. He also liked tinkering with electrical stuff and repairing things, he had his allotment where he spent a lot of time and was also a radio ham. Jack was never one for keeping in touch. He never had a phone and used payphones if he ever needed to phone someone, so nobody could phone him up. The last time I saw him was January 2007 or thereabouts on a Willesden 200k Audax. I don’t feel sad that Jack has gone. He told me himself that he wouldn’t want to be in a bad way at the end of his life. My grandfather died at the age Jack was riding 1200km events regularly and Jack had done a lot more before that. We all have to go sometime and Jack had a good and long life. He’d never have wanted people to feel sad about him dying. I’m lucky to have known him and I hope that I’ve passed on some of that good fortune to anyone reading this. RIP Jack 25.10.1925-2013 David Matthews I first met Jack on the Cotswold Corker in February or March late 1990s. He had ridden to the start (I believe about 50 miles from home) and was noticeable for a huge sheet of plywood stuck up at the back of his bike carrying three early led lights. He rode steadily round whilst munching bits of food from his barbag, thus saving time at controls. At the finish of this early season hilly ride, Jack signed off and rode on home. How it should be done! RIP Jack. Richard Evans I first met Jack at Teethgrinder’s [Steve Abraham ed] house in June 2003, the year www.audax.uk.net I started all this nonsense in order to do PBP. TG had organised the ‘Easy PB 600’ PBP qualifier, and I’d phoned him to ask if the hall would be open for a kip before the start. No, he said, but I’d be welcome to stay at his place ... then added that Jack Eason would also be staying over. I detected a warning note in TG’s voice and wondered why he might be trying to dissuade me; he had probably assumed that I knew Jack, just like everyone else did. And that Jack snored. I didn’t get much sleep the night before my first 600! I leapfrogged him on many rides, only to arrive at the the next control where he’d be standing outside puffing his pipe and asking what had taken me so long. I’d ask how he’d been going ... struggling as always. I’ve never seen anyone struggle with such little effort. He told me that the best bit about PBP was riding to Paris – he inspired me to do that in 2003 and it really was a lovely extended prologue with the overnight ferry, hotel in Evreux, and finally all piling into the Purple Hedgehog at Trappes. Happy days. RIP Jack. Geoff Cleaver I met Jack on the Kennett Valley Run in the early 2000s, and we leapfrogged most of the day with me catching him up when he was sat on a gate, etc, smoking his pipe. I finally got to the arrivée with about 40 minutes in hand, Jack arrived 10/20 minutes later and when told the time said ‘D***** I had time to fill my pipe again’. RIP Jack and many thanks for the inspiration. Phil Magnus I was a complete novice on Rocco's freezing cold 200 PBP qualifier in 2003. Kept on catching and overtaking, or being overtaken by this older gentleman on a green bike with flat handlebars. Think that he was accompanied by Mark Green on this ride. Anyway, it was a tough intro for me, had to stop at a service station and buy new socks to keep my tootsies warm. At the arrivée on a garage forecourt, Jack was holding court and explaining his mental tactics for dealing with 200s, 400s and 600s. When he had finished talking, he calmly lit his pipe, and chucked the match onto the forecourt. Subsequently bumped into him and Karl [Hrouda] on several long brevets, his participation was always a great source of comfort. Wobbly Jack was an inspiration to me in my early Audax days. He (and his pipe!) were much missed when he stopped riding. When asked what he used to do for a living he'd always reply ‘burglar’. A line that I've shamelessly stolen for myself on more than one occasion. Richard Phipps I hope he went in the way he would have wanted. A great character and it is possible that the stories he told and others told about him are all true. I recall the exasperation of the organiser of BostonMontreal-Boston when Jack applied to ride it for the third time and he supplied a photo for identification as requested. It was of JE, aged three, sitting on his trike in the back garden. He added a note: ‘I'm a bit older now and I've got a big boy's bike!’ It has been a privilege to have known him and I hope he can continue in his unique way, wherever he is. Tom Deakins I first met a recently retired Jack at a 'Hilly 30' early season reliability ride that I organised for Hertfordshire DA. I'd managed to devise a relentlessly undulating course in North Herts/NW Essex (riders of my events may see a pattern emerging) and it was a very blowy March day, too. None of the two-hour riders were back in time and a good few on the 2½ hour schedule were timed out too. Jack got back with a minute or two to spare, then set off on a 20-mile ride home, having of course ridden to the start too. When he rode LEL 2001, I was helping at the Harlow control and this convinced me that ordinary mortals could do this ultra long distance lark. He signed on at the start as 'Jeffrey Archer', if I recall correctly. (This being just after J.A. was sent down to Ford Open Prison.) He got me round my first 600. Calmly smoked his pipe while waiting for me and a few other strugglers to finish our curry at a Sainsbury's café, despite being not far off the time limit. As I got fitter and faster, a lot of that 'leapfrogging' went on: 'how come Jack's ahead again!' Dave Minter 2005 South Coast 1000. A former Arrivée front cover photo by Cliff Shakespeare. The longest time I chatted to him was during the 2003 PBP prologue (for the free T-shirt and all). He would probably have finished that PBP if, when asked his name after a crash, he'd not answered ‘Napoleon Bonaparte’. French medical folk don't understand that sort of humour and instantly pulled his card as being obviously concussed! Judith Swallow Like lots of the 'old hands', Jack was a big part of my randonneuring. Lots of memories spring to mind, particularly Jack emptying one of the men's dorms with his snoring on a pre-Christmas dinner ride that I regularly organised to Ivinghoe Youth Hostel and he and Karl Hrouda, his partner in crime, 'enjoying' the Sicily No-Stop 1000 and finishing a day late but having had a great time. [He joked to me ‘I thought it was going to be flat!’. Editor]. He was the only rider I know who kept a piece of Karrimat cut to fit the bottom of his Carradice saddle bag, so that if he wanted to sleep in comfort at a suitable bus shelter, he could rescue the Karrimat to sit on and slip on his yellow cape to keep warm, fuelled of course by his pipe. Whenever you asked him how he was going, 'Struggling' was the reply. Like hell he was! A great bike rider and enthusiastic allotment holder, who was strictly to be called Jack, not Granddad. Hopefully he's enjoying the everlasting 200km rando up in the sky with those other AUK legends such as Mr Potts, Mr Jennings, Mr Richardson and Mr Lewis. Jack’s daughter Suzanne Opposite page: 1. For many years, Jack was a regular on the early season North-West Passage 200, usually riding through the night to get there. Facing Jack is Chris Crossland. Unknown photographer. 2. Sicilia No Stop 1000 with Willesden clubmates Pete Turnbull, Karl Hrouda and John Davies 3. Receiving the Jack Eason International Trophy, 2002. 4. With Liz Creese at Willesden CC prizegiving dinner. I would like to thank everyone for the lovely tributes written about my father. It has been a great comfort to read them all. My father was always himself and behaved true to form throughout his illness and indeed was the Jack you all knew till the very end. He, as the family do, would have loved the idea of a Jack Eason memorial ride, for all the riders new to long distance cycling and strugglin’, the experienced ones trying to become super randonneurs, and those who already are and do it just for a giggle. Perhaps my brothers and I could join you on the first Jack Eason memorial ride. That famous shed-green bike – not pea green, was not just one bike, but several – all clones of each other. There was the everyday bike, the best bike, the off-road bike, the mountain bike, the long distance bike and the summer bike and of course the winter bike. Thank you again, I know my father would have been proud to read about himself in this way. www.audax.uk.netArrivée Summer 2013 No. 121 9 AU DAX UK randonnee randonnee Organiser Ian Hennessey ready to send the riders off. 600k around Devon and Cornwall Toughening up for LEL All photos by the author Phil Whitehurst ‘It is a tough, but enjoyable ride.’ This is what Marcus Jackson-Baker said about the Kernow and SW 600. This was to be my first 600, as part of my LEL 2013 build-up. I’d successfully completed my first 400, the Severn Across, on May 11th. It was now a few weeks later. T alk had had turned to the 600s everyone was doing. Whether it was Facebook or YACF; thread after thread appeared about upcoming 400s and 600s. In mid-May the Bryan Chapman 600 took place, and after reading rider accounts, and hearing about the superb weather, my anticipation around my first 600 was building. Some wondered whether the KSW 600 was a good choice for a first 600. It has over 8,000m of ascent/descent, and broken up by lots of smaller hills, so you can’t get into a rhythm. Like my other build- up rides, I’d booked it back in January, after getting a place on LEL. At the time many other 600 events were 10 Arrivée Summer 2013 No. 121 AU DAX UK not yet in the AUK calendar, and the KSW 600 fitted perfectly into my diary. It was chosen mostly because of its location, I liked the idea of riding never far from the coast, and because of the date. I also thought a 600 by June was realistic starting from a 200 base in January. Is 8,000m of ascent/descent a lot in 600km? When I booked I didn’t give it much thought. I seem to remember the choice of 600s that potentially fitted in the diary were the BCM and KSW, both had this climbing figure. So I figured that was just the numbers that 600km came with and thought nothing more of it. Did it intimidate me? Well not really, as it was all a bit abstract, when measured against a distance I’d never ridden. When mountain biking I’ll often exceed 1,000m in 50km, so measured against that, it would be a bit easier The weekend of Saturday June 1st approached, and I had both the Friday and Monday booked off work. I decided to head down Thursday night, and had chosen the Holiday Inn Express, 'It has over 8,000m of ascent/ descent, and broken up by lots of smaller hills, so you can’t get into a rhythm.' off junction 29 of the M5. I’d chosen it because it was about 1.5km from the start, at Whipton Community Hall. I’d offered a lift to anyone who wanted one, but had no takers. The drive down went well, and I was allocated a ground floor room, in a quiet section of the hotel. I wheeled the bike, in and put it by the window. I slept well that night, and dreamt that my car had been stolen and turned into a work of art in some unknown town centre. No idea what portents that signified. On Friday I decided to head into Exeter town centre. This was easy as the hotel is opposite the park and ride. The sun was out, a light wind blew, and I spent the day as a tourist. Many years ago, I’d visited Exeter, as a prospective student, as one of my five UCAS Universities. In the end I’d chosen York, but still had fond memories of Exeter. In fact, I’d passed through before, on the way to Dartmoor for a bit of walking or letter boxing (geo caching before GPS came along). Anyway I had www.audax.uk.net a fine day following the Exeter medieval trail, including a visit to the Cathedral. I finished off my time in the city centre with a fine pint of ale and lasagne and chips. I decided to walk back to my hotel and try and find Whipton Community Hall. I didn’t have the route sheet or address with me, but I had picked up a cycling map in the city. I easily found Whipton, then the community centre, and then walked back to the hotel along a cycle track I’d seen on the map. Not far at all, and it’d be easy to remember in the morning. Once back at my room I checked the bike, and gave the chain a little oil. I loaded up the saddlebag with my rations, jelly babies, jelly tots, some chocolate and chewy bars. I doubled checked my arm warmers were there after forgetting them for my first 400. I then went over to a pub that is right next door. Here I had something to eat and a couple of cokes. I also spoke with my wife, on the phone, before returning to the hotel. I mentioned to the hotel receptionist that I’d be leaving around 5am and would any breakfast be available? He answered yes; he’d make sure something was available. Bonus! Back at my room I filled up my water bottles and placed them in the cages. I then got my cycling kit out for the morning, bib shorts, jersey, buff, helmet, shoes, socks, gloves, sunglasses. I decided to save faff in the morning I’d put my other stuff in the car. So I put my cycling kit on and packed the rest of my stuff and placed it in the car boot. Returning to my room, I got out of my cycling kit, and slid between the sheets, I read for a while before lights out, and slept like a log. I woke to the sound of a cockerel, a very nice alarm on my phone. Sliding out from between the warm sheets I sleepily stepped into the shower. Out of the shower, towel dry and cycling kit on. I headed down to breakfast. There were cereals available, fruit and natural yoghurt, bread for toast and spreads and jams, plus tea and orange juice. Perfect for 5am, the hotel receptionist had done well, always worth asking. The day was dawning as predicted. It was going to be a hot, sunny weekend. I retrieved my bike, and a few bits and pieces from my room and checked out. Bit and pieces dropped off at car, I pedalled along to the start, at Whipton Community Hall. It’s always a special time, when most are asleep, and this was no exception, lovely time of day. Arriving at the hall, a few were setting up their bikes by their cars. I parked the bike near the entrance and headed in. Ian Hennessey wasn’t quite set up yet, but his able helper was serving tea. I had a couple of green tea bags in a jersey pocket. They were meant to have gone back in the packet and in the car, but I’d forgotten. Out came the green tea bags for my cup of tea and why not? I chatted with a fellow audaxer I’d ridden a section of the Severn Across 400 (three weeks earlier). Others arrived, we picked up our brevet cards and soon enough it was time for the off. There was still no sign of the nerves I’d expected ahead of my first 600. All was calm, as I waited for Ian to send us on our way. I think the unstated nature of audax that helps. No big send offs, no blaring music, or ‘motivational stuff’ that you find on more commercial cycling events. ‘Well I guess it’s now 6am, and you guys had better be off’ (or words to that effect) was how Ian calmly started my first 600. Like I said, understated, and I like it that way. GPS on, I wheeled my bike down to road. Again, it didn’t have a satellite lock, but I set off with the group anyway. The group headed off, and Ivan introduced himself, recognising me from my buff in my Facebook profile picture. We’d been discussing the ride the week before. Always nice to meet those you first have conversations with online. Before long I found myself on the front of the group as we headed towards the city centre. We were going along at a nice pace. At some traffic lights only two of us got through with me on front. At a turning my GPS was playing catch up and I went left instead of right. The guy behind shouted right, but by the time my brain registered it, it was too late. I slowed and then turned round, to see the group disappearing right. I was still in a high gear and by the time I’d got in the right gear, a gap had opened up. The gap gradually grew bigger, and it was no good, I was wasting energy trying to get reattached. I decided to drop down to my natural pace. I was in my own gap we all find ourselves in, not fast enough to catch the group ahead, not slow enough to get caught behind. The first leg heads west to Bude. Before long you find yourself on the A3072, and it takes you all the way there. Navigation is easy. You can just enjoy the sensation of moving through a landscape bathed in a thousand shortening shadows. Gradually I found myself gaining on others; I passed some with punctures, and some I shared the road with. Quite small groups formed, where it is more usual to ride side by side; socialising, rather than any larger group style drafting. The route was gently undulating, and it was quite possible to ride along in the big ring for long periods, and I did. This first section passed relatively quickly, and before long I found myself descending to Bude. A nor-westerly had been blowing against me on this leg, but I’m getting used to headwinds, and it didn’t really bother me. I just got on the drops and kept pedalling away. My brother-in-law lives in Bude, and I had entertained the idea of meeting up. But this was my first 600, and decided I’d focus on moving forward this time, as I could get easily distracted and lose time with family. I did to say to Ian I’d offer to help at the morning Bude control next year, and that offer still holds (as I can combine it with a long weekend to visit family). Rolling along the sea front into Bude, the signs appeared to the car park with the café control at the far end. It was perfectly situated, overlooking the beach, with blue skies above. A fine location. All but the very fastest riders were sat outside enjoying a second breakfast in the sun. Popping inside I got my card signed by Ian (was he going to man every control?) and ordered the full breakfast plus a coke. I also got my water bottles filled by the patient staff. Returning outside I enjoyed the warmth of the sun, my coke, and the banter whilst waiting for my breakfast. A picture by the sea www.audax.uk.netArrivée Summer 2013 No. 121 11 AU DAX UK randonnee front, and then breakfast. A quick toilet stop and then it was time to be off again. A few were lingering at the café, but I was keen to be off. KSW track section 2 loaded onto GPS. A turn right, back down the sea front and then right again. Ian had prepared some good advice in the KSW 600 notes. I remember it being mentioned that the next section to Looe was very hilly, and the advice was not to worry about losing time, which you would. Before long I found myself on quiet, narrow back roads. These are my favourite type of road, never having been one who likes to go direct from A to B. I like to get from A to B via C to Z. There was just the right amount of gravel in the middle, neither too much nor too little. I could see a rider ahead, and a rider was behind. The choppy hills, as described by Ian had started, with climbing, followed by descending, followed by climbing, with little in the way of flat in between. This has the effect of creating an elastic connection between riders. The rider ahead stretches away, as you climb and they descend, the rider behind gains as you climb and they descend and so on. I christened it ‘elastic company’ and there was to be a lot of this later on in the ride. randonnee I think it’s in the nature of audax. You simply can’t ride to exactly the same pace with someone for long distances, well certainly not with someone you’ve ridden a lot with before. Heading south to Looe, the wind was now on my back, and heat of the day was beginning to make itself felt. I stopped to put on my P20 all-day sun oil. Alas I’d forgotten it and would have to get some suncream later. This allowed the rider front and back to disappear into the lanes. The roads continued to rise and fall, the gravel increased and decreased as I made steady progress to Looe. The signs mostly mentioned Launceston and Bodmin and who hasn’t heard of Bodmin moor? I knew the climbing would just increase as this section went on. Eventually Liskeard appeared more and more on the signs. Out onto a B road and more speed increased on the improved surface. I hadn’t seen any other riders since those early lanes. I knew some were ahead and some behind and the gap probably wasn’t that many minutes. I could see a significant area of hill ahead, and on top was a tall transmitter. Down a fast hill, a sharp turn left where I had to rapidly scrub speed, and then a rapid upshift On board the Fowey ferry. 12 Arrivée Summer 2013 No. 121 AU DAX UK through the of gears to head up the long climb. As I span away a fellow audaxer on fixed, with a beard and red top passed me. I’m seeing a pattern of blokes with beards and red tops passing me on longer audaxes J Out of the saddle onwards and upward he headed. I’d decided at the start that I’d spin the uphill and push the downhill and flats; to save the legs. I’m a great believer in doing your own ride, at your own pace. I find it tiring going faster than my natural pace, and I find it tiring going slower than my natural pace. That isn’t to say my pace doesn’t vary, but it does it when I want it to, and when my body and mind says it want to. I crested the top of the hill, and it was the highest for a long way. The views were stunning and I just knew I was going to enjoy the descent. Unfortunately my GPS decided to have a 1 or 2 second lag as I was descending and I took a turn I should not have done. It was a long drag to climb back up the hill and get back on the right road. Once back on the right road, it was a glorious descent and I hit 87km/h before I decided an application of brake might be warranted ahead of a bend I could see ahead. From here on I was on a fast road to Looe, and the traffic kind of agreed with it. Fortunately about six miles out of Looe the route left the fast route onto a gravelly back lane, with high banks, with shade, plus the East Looe River. I met a girl walking down here, with a small daypack, who agreed it was a lovely spot to be. Climbing out of this lovely valley I found myself back on the main road from Liskeard to Looe. The traffic was busy, like any touristy place, but the cars were polite. As a close on Looe, the road joined the Looe River and ran alongside as it neared the sea, the road was fast and flat. Once again I engaged my big cog, and spun my way along, all the while enjoying the views across the widening river. I arrived at the end of my GPS track. I had in my mind that it was a Methodist hall, but after getting my card out I realised the control was Kelly’s chip shop and café. I could see a few of the others scattered about the place. After the solitude of the route from Bude, it was a bit of a shock to be surrounded by all the day trippers and tourists. It was like I’d entered another world. Indeed, I had. I popped into Kelly’s and got them to sign and write the time in my brevet card. Being busy, and being mindful of Ian’s comment about losing time, I decided to head out of Looe and get something at the first garage I saw. It was the middle of the day now, and the temperature had climbed to around 20°C. I should have bought some suncream whilst I could, but I didn’t and I’d pay later. Being down at sea level, there is only one way to go, up. Up I went on the main www.audax.uk.net road west out of Looe, a couple of the others on the audax passed me, out of their saddles as I followed my spinning strategy, staying firmly sat upon my saddle. Up ahead, as the hill began to level off, I could see a garage. A sign pointed right to the Fowey ferry, but I ignored it, I need to refill my water bottles and get some more food. The garage wasn’t busy, and it proved a good strategy for getting my food and drink quickly. Just beyond the garage was a sunny grassy bank, recently cut. I sat on the bank for 15 minutes or so eating and drinking and enjoying the sun. I set off in the direction I’d been heading and my GPS beeped, off route. I turned round and headed past the garage, watching the GPS count down the metres back to the route. The figure then started going up. I turned round again, tried a road, and then turned again and again. Eventually I went down a single track road that had the beginnings of an allotment growing down the centre. Originally I’d discounted it, but I should have known. If a road is unsuitable for motors, 90 per cent of the time an audax route will head down it. The road really was narrow, but incredibly I encountered quite a few cars try to navigate it. The first car came the opposite way. They stopped just ahead of a passing place, and refused to reverse the 10 feet back, forcing me to wheel my bike through the nettles. I thanked them for their consideration or words to that effect! The second occasion I was climbing a hill, as the road rose and fell. There was nowhere for me to go, so they just had to wait till I’d crested the hill and found the entrance to a field where I could let them pass. Then a Mini, then a German registered car, then another, etc. They all looked lost, blindly following sat navs but I guess they were heading for the Fowey foot passenger ferry. Despite the cars and the nature of the lane, I decided to put a bit of speed on for the descents. This worked well and I managed to gradually make up for the ascending. Popping out onto a wider road, I could see the sea to my left, and the road become more undulating/ less hilly. I flew along here, still with cars passing. Before long I passed a car park beyond which only locals and pedestrians/cyclists were allowed. It was a steep descent and I hurtled down it, warning the pedestrians ahead. Glad I wasn’t trying to cycle up it, it must have been over 20 per cent in places. As I neared the harbour a couple stepped out with a pram, fortunately they heard my shouts, as the brakes were slowing me down, but how quickly I’d be able to stop I wasn’t sure. At the bottom, I followed the signs, thinking the ferry has left. Fortunately I spied the ferry, smaller than I imagined, and full of fellow KSW 600 audaxers. Picking up the bike, I ran down the harbour steps and clambered onto the ferry. Shortly after I’d got on board, the ferry left, I was just in time. There were eight of us on board, and I recognise my fellow riders I’d seen at various stages so far. Like I said earlier, elastic company. The trip across was short, but pleasurable, a mini highlight. Climbing up from sea level, the gradient was steep, some initially walking, and some slowly turning the cranks. Despite the reunion on the boat, we were strung out in a surprisingly short period of time. Before long I found myself on my own again. It surprises some, how riders, with what seems strikingly similar average speeds on paper, separate out on the stages of Audax. I’ve got used to this, and knew that we’d all be within 20-30 minutes of each other by Penzance. The next section towards St Austell had some busy A roads, and I’m not a fan of A roads. On these sections I just ‘Controls can have an amazing effect on you. It’s almost like they reset you, put some fresh batteries in, and send you on your way.’ Eight bikes on the ferry. get on the drops, take advantage of the speed they often offer, and look forward to when the GPS track diverges form the line of the road. In St Austell one of the roads had a sign saying it was closed, but like all cyclists, I continued on, in the belief I could get through. I could. Eventually I started to climb up into some hills, on the kind of lanes I like. They were quiet, they meandered, the offered continued interest, the views opened out. I saw a transmitter, and knew that was the highest point, and that I’d probably be passing it. I did. The views really opened out and I could see the land falling away to the sea. There was then some fast and fantastic descending. I spun those pedals for all my worth, making a judgement between rate of descent, and safety. A bit of the A30, then through the villages, out onto the main road into Penzance. My GPS lagging a little again, I missed a turning and made a steep ascent up some cobbles from the sea front to the road with the control, a Methodist church. Controls can have an amazing effect on you. It’s almost like they reset you, put some fresh batteries in, and send you on your way. Chuffy (YACF name) was there in support, doling out tea, bowls of pasta, crumble and custard, orange juice and sandwiches. That may sound like a random order of things, but the order you eat things doesn’t conform to the three-course meal of a restaurant. Sure enough, many of the others from the Fowey boat were there. One by one they got going, as I continued to take on calories. Eventually it was just me and Alan Parkinson. Alan was a cheery soul, and he was good and getting me out of that control a bit quicker than I would have done on my own. I think he was keen for someone to cycle with. There were a number behind us, somewhere out there, each riding their own audax. By now I was heartily sick of my hydration flavourings, and before we left, I asked Chuffy if he could fill my water bottles with sugared water. I’d also got sick of my jelly babies, something I thought would never happen. But there are things you will only find out on longer distances. As we were heading into the night stage I replaced my prescription sunglasses with my normal ones, and put on my waterproof top (a short sleeved Gore active shell), plus leg and arm warmers. Lack of suncream and a blazing sun all day had burnt my arms, legs, and a bit of my nose. I wasn’t suffering from the cold, as the heat of the day radiated back out, but I knew when the sun disappeared it would be a cold night. We headed out together on the main road, at one point the GPS track branch left and we went straight. When this happens you have the choice of turning round and getting back on course or www.audax.uk.netArrivée Summer 2013 No. 121 13 AU DAX UK randonnee continuing in the belief that the road you are on and the route will converge once more. They did about a mile further on. Alan rode a little ahead of me, then we’d ride side by side, then he’d ride behind and we’d swap. I got the impression Alan wanted to rider a little faster. After leaving Penzance and further down the road, we caught another rider. Briefly riding as a three, they were ascending the hills faster. Following my spin up the hills and attack the descents strategy, their lights blinked off into the distance. The km ticked by, with Alan’s and his ride companions lights side by side. Never too far away, never too close. Further on one of them needed to get batteries for the lights, and I passed them. Later on they would pass me again. We passed through a few built-up areas, but before long we were in the dark countryside. We were on an A road, but because of the time of night, it was quiet, with just the odd speeding car, in the darkness. The road climbed and fell in a regular almost hypnotic fashion. In fact so hypnotic and so little navigation to do, that I was falling asleep. The lights of Alan and the other rider, about 400m ahead, added to the effect. I’d just passed a rider when I began to feel really sleepy. Just before a roundabout I pulled over, sat on the verge, and pulled out a bag of jelly tots. As I was sat there, a car pulled up, and they asked if I was all right. I explained 14 Arrivée Summer 2013 No. 121 AU DAX UK randonnee that I was just getting some sugar on board and was fine. I thought it was really nice that someone had stopped to check at that time of night. I later found out it was Chuffy, but I’d been so sleepy I hadn’t noticed. I probably sat there for 15 minutes or so, intermittently dozing and eating my tots and drinking the water. It seemed to do the trick, and once more I set off into the darkness. By now I was in a gap, with neither lights ahead or behind. As I neared Newquay my GPS warned of low battery. I switched on my other GPS before the first one ran out of juice. I only have two GPS’s because the first one was very buggy when I first had it, and would crash on anything over 50 miles. So I bought a different make and model, which has been excellent. But I hadn’t sold or got rid of the old unit, and a certain well known GPS manufacturer had actually fixed the crash bug in the meantime. Together they give my 30 hours of nav, before I need to worry too much about charging. The signs for Perranporth, St Mawgan and Newquay came down to single digit numbers. I used to holiday in Treggurian as a child, on our summer camping holiday. With childhood memories floating around I entered the outskirts of Newquay, where we need to get a receipt. Seeing a garage on the right with a cashpoint, I did a balance enquiry. The receipt didn’t say Newquay on it, but some other name, probably a sub- ‘The moors bucked and twisted trying to throw me off. Every final decent turned into just one more hill.’ district. I hoped Ian would recognise it, as Newquay. Continuing on, I turned right and saw five or six of the others gathered outside a Tesco Metro. I pedalled on, but found a bench on the outskirts, where I could resist. I sat down for another rest, and had something to eat and drink. During this time Alan and a few of the others from the Metro passed me. After Newquay the route climbed up onto the moors, the stars were out, wisps of fog were forming, and it was a beautiful sight. I caught another rider along here and we cycled together for a while. I’ve no idea how long we rode and chatted on those high moorland sections. Time seems suspend, when riding a long audax at night. Relativity indeed Eventually he stopped for toilet break and I pushed on. I now had my second wind (or was it my third or fourth?), and was flying along enjoying the solitude and the world of night time audaxing. The moors bucked and twisted trying to throw me off. Every final decent turned into just one more hill. What goes down must go up. I could see what I thought were the lights of Bude far in the distance, but they were a long time coming. Eventually that final descent was the actual final descent and I found myself speeding through Bude to the control. I arrived at the same time as another rider, and we rolled our bikes into the hall. The same group of Fowey were in attendance eating, drinking and discussing the last stages. Both Chuffy and Ian were in the hall, having just as long a day as the riders. Brevet updated, receipts collected, it was time for food. Beans on toast and a cup of tea, some juice. I had time in hand, so elected to use some of it to sleep. I spent 30 minutes eating when I arrived, then headed off for my 2.5 hours of sleep. Ian offered up a chair or the floor in a room. I elected for a chair and fell asleep under a light sheet/covering. I awoke, and sleepily headed back to the main hall where Chuffy was serving up full English and lashing of tea (yes please). I think porridge was also on offer but I don’t like too much sitting on my stomach before exercise. Despite the fact a few had woken before me, after 30 minutes I was ready to go. My bike has USB charging from the dynamo, with a cache battery. I’d put the GPS on charge before sleeping. Setting off, one of my GPS was on full charge, after three hours. I set off ahead of the others. It was a cool but clear morning, the sun still low in the sky. The jacket and arm and leg warmers were back in the saddlebag. It felt wonderfully fresh, and the cooling effect on my sunburnt arms and legs was welcome. I started off a little slow, still waking up, as I climbed out of Bude. Soon I found out two things, the 2.5 www.audax.uk.net hours of sleep had done outstanding things for me physically and mentally, and I was on a really good road surface. I hadn’t had any real mental lows the previous day, and physically I’d just got sleepy at a time when I’d expect to be sleepy. But still, it was amazing how revived I felt. I soon found myself in my highest gear, cranking along at speed, loving road, the scenery, the peacefulness, and the cool of the morning. Alan caught me, clearly also having a good session along to Hatherleigh. We caught another rider, and then I cranked some more and moved ahead a while, before slowing, and we reformed. Beyond Hatherleigh the hills returned, and we once more joined the lanes. Alan moved ahead here, and the other rider fell back. I loved the next section, short sharp climbs, longer descents, rinse and repeat. All but deserted, but for the odd local. Later on, as we neared Tiverton, more cyclists appeared. Before the big descent to Tiverton I heard one say ‘I’m glad to have climbed that hill in one go’. I silently chuckled inside, thinking back to all the hills I’d ascended so far. I was so enjoying the fast descent to Tiverton I missed a turn, and zoomed out the GPS map screen, so I could navigate back to the route. Out of Tiverton I could see the M5, but the leg to Taunton Dean Services went on for ever, twisting and turning in the lanes. I hadn’t eaten since Bude, and so stopped to have some more jelly tots. As I was doing this Alan caught up, and said only 30 minutes now. I asked him the distance which he didn’t know. I was then a bit grumpy with him, and Alan rode on at that point, and said he’d see me at the services. Sorry Alan, I must have been having a sense of humour failure due to lack of eating. The lanes to the services gathered the gravel they could and spread it in my path, quiet and narrow lanes indeed. Whilst climbing one of the hilly lanes, I saw a ziplock bag with a card at the side. I stopped and picked it up, it was indeed a brevet card. Finally I crossed the M5, turned left and you see the services through the hedge, but no way through, till the service road at the end. I saw Alan’s bike, but didn’t find Alan. Entering the cafeteria I got pasty beans and chips plus a coke. The guy at the till was the world’s slowest. The couple in front were signing up to the loyalty scheme. They were the world’s slowest customers. I gave them my stare which said, calories; my body needs these calories, NOW! It didn’t work. When he did eventually serve me, he operated the till as though he’d never seen it before, silently mouthing the items on my plate to himself. Did I want to sign up to their loyalty scheme? Nooooooo. A couple of other riders came in during this time and I watch as they had the actually same problem. Leaving I got some lemon juice for the bottles, and grabbed a can of Red Bull to gulp down. Initially the lanes weaved within sight, but more sound, of the M5, before making a definite turn in the direction of Yeovil, the next control. I entered the Somerset levels, least I think it was, as it was very flat and the road turned in right angles for a while. I passed through Shepton Curry and thought of drunken Indian curry nights for a while. It was whilst in these lanes, with a 3-4 foot high bank, that I encountered a deer coming towards me. I was cranking along in my highest gear and our closing approach speed was rapid. The deer continued bounding towards me. At the last minute the deer jumped over the bank and I breathed a sigh of relief, only to see another 20 metres further on. The deer jumped from side to side, between the banks; I put my brakes on, but there was nowhere to go. With the deer making a last jump to the right, I leant left, and the deer crashed into my right hand. It was quite a weight, but fortunately it was a glance, and somehow I wobbled but stayed on the bike. My hand was bruised, and hurt like hell, but I’d live. The section to Yeovil was a short one, and before long after a few small hills, and a horrible section of the A303 (slow down cars and don’t pass so close), I found myself on the descent to Yeovil. Yet again, I was enjoying the downhill and missed a turning, ending up in Yeovil industrial estate. I zoomed the GPS map out, and figured the BP station control would be on a roundabout. After a few false turns I eventually found the BP station on the outskirts. Alan and a few of the others were here. I offered up the brevet card, but it didn’t belong to any there, so back in my jersey pocket it went. I bought some drinks and snacks and got a receipt. A few of us, sat or stood outside the petrol station consuming our purchases. The next section was along a busy road, the A30, with lots of weekend traffic. Having said that they were fairly patient drivers, and I didn’t get the revving of engines and intolerant beeps you sometimes do. Eventually we left the A30 and entered the Blackdown hills. I saw signs to Lyme Regis. Lyme Regis is in Dorset, and hadn’t been on my list of counties for this ride. I should have expected it on a ride of this length. They rose and fell though the Blackdown. The climbs were different to previously and tended to be long drags and long descents, or at least that’s my memory of them. The roads were also shady, a welcome relief, but it looked like the roots were under the road surface, and it was the roughest of the entire ride. By this time I’d allowed myself to think about the remaining distance. There really wasn’t that far to go in the scheme ‘Do not think about punctures near the end of a ride folks!’ of things, I was still up on time, and I was going well. I just had to get a receipt at Seaton, on the coast, then another 34km to Exeter and the finish. So what did I think about, punctures! I don’t know why I thought about them but I did. I know that punctures are normally quick to fix, but sometimes they can kill your time. So what happened? Shortly before Seaton, my rear punctured on a descent. I found quite a few flints in the tyre, and it consumed a few minutes. I then rode for no more than five minutes and the front went! More time lost. Do not think about punctures near the end of a ride folks! Joining the A3052 to Exeter the surface was smooth, and the gradient flattish. I sped along before turning left for the descent to Seaton. Arriving at where I thought was Seaton, I realised it was Axmouth. I could also see an estuary, and didn’t fancy climbing back up the hill to the main road, to get to Seaton. I asked as local if I could carry on and get to Seaton as didn’t fancy climbing the hill again. He said you could, but I’d be climbing hills whichever way I went. If only he knew. Crossing the estuary on the bridge, I saw Tesco’s to the right, and the garage was open. So I popped there, and got a chicken mayo sandwich and a couple of bottles of Ribena, Sitting at the side of the garage, in the shade, I hungrily ate my purchase. Riding on through Seaton, I saw some of the others at cafés in the main part. The next section was a series of delightful climbs on those wonderful back country lanes. I was relishing the last bit, and knew that barring mechanicals I was going to finish my first 600 in time. Why I was thinking about mechanicals I don’t know, thinking about punctures hadn’t done me any good. Eventually Exeter appeared, and despite the distance already covered, it gave me a new spring, and I cranked up the gears to bundle along. I reached a bit of Exeter where I knew the way to Whipton Community Hall. I switched the GPS to trip computer display and watched in satisfaction as the remaining distance dropped below 1km and the metres counted down. 800m, 400m, 200m, all the time my speed increased. With one final effort I rode up to the community hall door and got off the bike. I was elated I’d finished my first 600. Not only had I finished it, I’d enjoyed the scenery, the riding, the hills, the elastic company, the volunteers helping at the controls, the visits to different coasts, the night time star gazing sessions. Not only that, but I’d finished it in good form, with no real lows to speak of. It also had great significance for me, finally I felt ready for LEL at the end of July. After brevet card and receipt handover to Ian it was time for some tea and light snack. I’d also handed over www.audax.uk.netArrivée Summer 2013 No. 121 15 AU DAX UK randonnee the brevet card I’d found, at which Ian said, ah there was a rider who’d lost his card, but he has left for the train. Alan and the elastic company were there, we’d all finished within 30 minutes of each other after all that distance. After a few reflections, more tea, and Alan complimenting me on my choice of tyre, after hearing about my two punctures; it was time to return to my hotel. Before leaving: a photo of my sunburnt self at the finish with mucky face (from fixing the punctures). Back on the bike, the bit back to the hotel took no more than 15 minutes or so, and passed at my most relaxing pace for the last two days. I picked up my bag from my car, and walked my bike into reception. I was on the first floor, but they had a lift, so that was fine. One receptionist came out to congratulate me, as I’d spoken to him at when I’d left at 5am the previous day. Once in the room, I stripped the clothes, from my body, removed helmet and sunglasses and entered the shower. The dust and salt layers washed away from my body. I let the water run down over my naked form, cleansing me. It was wonderful. I applied some moisturiser to my sunburn then dried off. I’d intended to go back out for a beer to celebrate but I was too tired. I rang the wife, to let her know I’d successfully finished, and was safely at the hotel. I then posted the photo of my sunburnt finished self at the finish to Facebook. I had a choice of firm or soft pillow, I opted for the latter. I crawled between the sheets, and sle