Number 114 Autumn 2011 the Long Distance Cyclists’ Association www.audax.uk.net
PBP 2011 Sonya and Colin Crawford - photo by Tim Wainwright
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 E-mail: mike.wigley@Audax.uk.net Membership application form www.aukweb.net/memform.phb or Ian Hobbs (New Members), 26 Naseby Road, Belper DE56 OER E-mail: ian.hobbs@Audax.uk.net Membership fees: Renewal: £14 or £56 for 5 years (price of 4) New or lapsed members: £19 (inc £5 enrolment fee) or £61 for 5 years (price of 4) Household members: £5 or £20 for 5 years (price of 4) - no enrolment fee for new household members Life members: £6 for Arrivée Contributions: articles, info, cartoons, photos, all welcome. Please read the contributors’ advice in the Handbook Photography: A limited number of grants are available to members for pre-approved travel to specified events for the purpose of providing photographs to be published with an Arrivée article. Payment on publication. Please apply to the AK board. Extra current Arrivée copies, if available, are £3(UK), £4(EEC), £5(non-EEC) from Mike Wigley, see above.
BP year.......again. I have to admit that this year I got quite addicted to following people online over several days, visualising the route, willing them on and wondering what their stories were. Armchair PBP!
Winter Editor: Sheila Simpson, 33 Hawk Green Road, Marple SK6 7HR Tel: 0161 449 9309 Fax: 0709 237 4245 E-mail: email@example.com Spring and Summer Editor: Tim Wainwright, 4a Brambledown Road, Sanderstead, South Croydon, Surrey CR2 0BL Tel: 020 8657 8179 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Autumn Editor: Maggie Lewis, 31 Headland Drive, Crosspool, Sheffield S10 5FX. Tel: 0114 266 6730 E-mail: email@example.com Views expressed in Arrivée are not necessarily those of the Club. Our WWW site: www.audax.uk.net To subscribe to the AUK e-mailing discussion list, address an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org Typesetting, Layout, Design and Scanning by Maggie Lewis Printed and distributed by Headley Brothers Ltd, The Invicta Press, Queens Road, Ashford, Kent TN24 8HH Copyright © 2011 Arrivée. Produced by AUK
Audax UK Long Distance Cyclists’ Association (Company Limited by Guarantee) Reg. Office: 10 Campion Rise, Tavistock, Devon PL19 9PU
Arrivée November 2011
Racecourse Centre in York from 25th to 27th November. The AGM agenda and officials’ reports are included in the magazine (pages 3 - 7). Knee, bike and weather permitting, I hope to see many of you there.
I can usually depend on plenty of contributions for Arrivée in PBP year, and this year is no exception. However, I think there is a good balance between PBP and non-PBP content: 11 non-PBP articles, only 5 PBP reports - but lots of absolutely superb photographs which give a good flavour of the event, thanks to the efforts of Tim Wainwright and Mark Green. I hope you enjoy them. AUK’s annual dinner, reunion weekend and AGM will be based once more at The
Don’t forget that we can only publish what you send us, so please continue to send in your ride reports, articles and photographs - in fact, anything you want to see in the magazine. Happy riding - and don’t forget to renew your membership! Maggie Please send all contributions for the next issue of Arrivée to Sheila by 15th December.
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Don’t throw your Membership Renewal Form away.
Contents Official News
Membership and Renewals
3 Towers and Middle Earth
Saddleworth - Bowland 200
Atlantic to Med
Hereward the Wake 300
PBP 2011 the softies’ way
West Buckland 206
Fron Bottom Gear to Top Gear
DN something or other
The Marple Grimpeurs
Cotswold Corker Perm
Sturmey Archer Cassette Brake
Debbie Ironside-Smith Ann Marshall
David Matthews Howell Schroeder Damon Peacock Arabella Maude Phil Magnus Francis Cooke Gernot Stenz
Front Cover: PBP 2011 Chris Marten and Andrew Neal (photo: Tim Wainwright)
JUST A MINUTE A virtually complete set of the committee bravely endured this year’s sunny day in Birmingham to keep Audax fully fettled. Following the decision to discontinue generally availability of insignia to riders at the end of events, Brevet cards are no longer to carry tick boxes to receive them with validated cards and the relevant regulation suitably amended. Most committee members have reported an unexceptional quarter though a dramatic slump in the number of completed rides post PBP has been noted. (Fears of restricted entries on that event were not actually realised.) The proposed National 400 arrangements are progressing well; all halls have been booked and negotiations with local bodies proceeding apace. Two Arrivées are available to read on-line on the website and more are to be added as time permits. It is planned to add issues only when they are no longer current and no change to the current mailing system is envisaged. LEL 2013 now has all controls booked and controllers for each of them, too. Tony Webster has been tasked with looking after the volunteers, which could probably cover anything, while Danial has been trying to imagine what could possibly go wrong and making arrangements to prevent it or minimising the fallout. He is also getting involved talking to local police forces and the like in counties through which the ride will pass. Additionally, he is contacting controllers individually to discuss the running of their control. Some are vastly experienced and need little help, while others are rather newer to the task, requiring more guidance.. Responses to the recent questionnaire in Arrivée were discussed as they offered several ideas for the future direction of AUK. The upgraded website had been well received and there were several suggestions to improve it further as the “on-line face” of AUK, noting that similar organisations seemed to target new members more aggressively. A group consisting of Danial, Sheila, Pete and Ian will get together to formulate a way forward which may involve paying for specialist expertise. A delegate will also be needed to take care of the site’s content as, it was emphasised, out of date information gives a worse impression even than none. Exit polls for riders and members, and a further survey are also under consideration.
It’s a fairly fond farewell to validation numbers as we know them. The current system allocates a sequential number which is more or less meaningless and therefore useless. The new ones will consist of the number of the ride, the membership number of the rider and, in the case of Perms, the date of the ride. As the records of validation has moved from hand written ledgers and stickers on cards to computerised files, this change will allow more of the benefits of automation to be used and is expected to start at the beginning of next season, though there will be no change to ACP stickers for BRM validated rides. Changing time limits for events to match those by ACP was a move discussed at some length, but the committee generally were not convinced of any pressing need for such a change. The awards in the gift of the committee were discussed and the deserving recipients will be presented with the awards at the post Dinner Prize giving. The AUK Insurance policy which seemed not to meet our needs any more has been replaced by a different one, which is fit for purpose. Roger Cortis negotiated this on behalf of the Board (many thanks, Roger) and a piece from him detailing the new scenario may be seen elsewhere in this issue. Of necessity, changes are required in the regulations and these will be proposed at the AGM. I hope your season has lived up to your hopes and expectations and look forward to renewing old friendships during the AGM weekend and seeing as many fellow cyclists as possible, not only to exchange news and gossip, but also – equally importantly – for you to contribute and vote at the AGM which is the best opportunity to tell the Board how you want your club and ours to progress, so the more, the better. Warmer weather than last year will be welcomed by all on Dinner and especially after-Dinner Darts. Keep your cycling safe and enjoyable. As ever, full Minutes will be available from me on receipt of a sae or on the website in due course.
Insurance Update To help with the complexities of insuring our rides and their supporting activities the Board prior to the recent August renewal date appointed a broker Perkins Slade to advise them. Perkins Slade has considerable expertise in the field of insuring sporting events and for cycling in particular they handle many sportives. As a result of Perkins Slade’s review of the market although our policies are still insured through RSA (Royal Sun Alliance) we are no longer direct clients of RSA. This change has led to a better understanding by RSA of AUK’s activities and with Perkins Slade’s advice to the Board we now have a greater understanding of the risks covered and are aware of some minor alterations in the cover provided by our policies. The current position is as follows: Employer’s Liability ur policy covers specifically “volunteers” in respect of our legal liability O for damages and legal costs arising out of death or bodily injury in the course of their employment with AUK Public and Product Liability over is extended to Directors, committee members, volunteers, affiliated C members, and temporary members, but only if they are a UK resident. Cover is provided against accidental bodily injury to third parties and their property, including member to member liability, arising out of insured activities. In addition cover is provided for liability for damage to leased, hired or borrowed premises. There is a £250 excess on this policy.
What does this mean in practical terms? Employer’s liability We now have certainty that volunteers have the same cover provided as if they were an employee. Public liability We have gained member to member cover for public liability claims We have clarified that all AUK approved rides ie such as calendar, DIY, perms and approved overseas rides are covered But – A temporary member has to be a resident in the United Kingdom to have the benefit of public liability cover on an AUK approved ride. This will impact on some of our riders – and this will require a clarifying amendment to our standard entry form There is one general point that members needs to be aware of when considering 3rd party insurance cover: Remember, if you’re involved in an accident, do not admit liability. This is a condition of our insurance. Try to remain calm and civil. If possible, collect the names and addresses of all witnesses. Take photos if you can. The insurance companies will sort out who’s liable.
Arrivée November 2011
Agenda for the Annual General Meeting 2011 to be held at The Racecourse Centre, York on the 26th November 2011 commencing at 2:00pm
1) TO RECORD THE NAMES OF THOSE PRESENT AT THIS MEETING. A list will be circulated around the hall. Please add your name to it and pass it to your neighbour. 2) TO RECORD APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE 3) TO APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THE LAST AGM as a true record of that meeting. (These were published in Arrivée edition Number 111.) 4) MATTERS ARISING from the last meeting. 5) TO CONSIDER OFFICERS’ REPORTS. Copies have either been printed in Arrivée or will be available at the meeting. 6) PROPOSAL: To amend Audax UK Regulation 9.3 to add a new award of Super Randonneur 2500 (SR25) consisting of 200, 300, 400, 600 and 1000 km events. RATIONALE: the current Randonneur awards do not recognise or reward riding events longer than 600 km. This award will recognise the growing number of 1000km+ events both domestically and internationally and provide an award beyond the traditional SR as incentive towards riding these longer events. Proposed: John Hamilton Seconded: Danial Webb 7) PROPOSAL: That Regulation 11.7 shall be changed as follows: “Insurance: Members who are ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom, including individuals who join as temporary members of Audax UK, shall have the benefit of public liability insurance, subject to an excess of £250, while riding AUK registered events and AUK shall arrange such public liability insurance cover.” RATIONALE: We now have a new and more robust insurance policy. The change came about as a result of a refusal to renew our previous policy on the grounds of its “unsuitability”. Previously we had imposed an excess, but we have had advice that the implementation of this was of doubtful legality. This amendment seeks to rectify that situation. The reason for imposing an excess is to discourage minor or vexatious claims which might lead to our current insurers increasing our premiums to unsustainable levels. Proposed: Ian Hennessey Seconded: Richard Phipps 8) PROPOSAL: That Regulation 10.2, which currently states: “the season for events is the 12 month period from 1 November to the following 31 October.” be amended to: “the season for events is the 12 month period from 1 October to the following 30 September.” This change to the Regulation shall be made immediately but shall apply from 2012 onwards. RATIONALE: The interval between the end of the season and the prize giving weekend is currently three weeks which is insufficient time for the records to be updated and the prizes to be allocated reliably. An extra month will allow the best chance of the results being fully updated before the trophies are engraved. Proposed: Pam Pilbeam Seconded: Richard Phipps 9) PROPOSAL: To modify regulation 6.1 (BRM Speeds & Distances) to remove the sentence “Where a rider’s finishing time is outside ACP or LRM limits but is within AUK limits a BR may be awarded and vice versa.” RATIONALE: A basic principle of Audax is setting the challenge in advance and then riding to it. Fallback BR validation for BRM events violates this principle. The standard for an event is published in advance and so the rider knows the appropriate time limit when they enter. Proposed: John Hamilton Seconded: Ian Hennessey
Arrivée November 2011
Official 10) PROPOSAL: to add a new style of event to AUK’s portfolio, as laid out below in proposed additional regulations:4.3 (iv) Audacious UK Imperial (AUKi), an event within the UK of not less than 100 miles and conforming to regulations [X] [X](i) As 5.1 to 5.5; 5.8 to 5.9; 5.11. [X](ii) Routes may be out-and-back or simple loops with appropriate controls to assure distance, or place-to-place measured by the shortest route. [X](ii) Distances: place-to-place events may be any distance above 100 miles. Other events shall be in multiples of 100 miles. [X](iii) Speed: AUKi events shall be subject to a minimum speed of 10mph. [X](iv) Awards: awards may be offered for distance ridden or number of events ridden, or a combination of these. RATIONALE: Noting that Audax Club Parisian offers events within France outside the scope of BRM regulations, this proposal reflects the idea that AUK could offer specifically British long-distance events. Proposed: Ian Hennessey
Seconded: Mike Wigley
11) ELECTION OF OFFICIALS. One post is falling vacant for which there is one candidate. All other members are standing for reelection and no competing nominations have been received. CHAIRMAN: Ian Hennessey, Proposer: Sarah Britton, Seconder: Pippa Wheeler. TREASURER: Linda Johnston, Proposer: Paul Rainbow, Seconder: Mary Doyle. SECRETARY: Richard Phipps, Proposer: Roger Philo, Seconder: David Hudson. BREVET CARD PRODUCTION: Pam Pilbeam, Proposer: Alan Rayner, Seconder: Roger Paddey. INTERNATIONAL EVENTS SECRETARY & LRM/ACP CORRESPONDENT: Peter Marshall, Proposer: George Hanna, Seconder: John Barkman. PERMANENT EVENTS SECRETARY: John Ward, Proposer: Alex Pattison, Seconder: Rich Forrest. PRESS SECRETARY: Danial Webb, Proposer: Martin Newstead, Seconder: Tony Hull. PUBLICATIONS MANAGER: Sheila Simpson, Proposer: Tim Wainwright, Seconder: Maggie Lewis. RECORDER: Allan Taylor, Proposer: Mike Wigley, Seconder: Steve Ginty. SYSTEMS MANAGER: Peter Coates, Proposer: Matt Haigh, Seconder: Chris Crookes. VALIDATIONS SECRETARY (job share): Susan Gatehouse & Keith Harrison, Proposer: Andrew Mills, Seconder: Bernard Webb. EVENTS SECRETARY: John Hamilton, Proposer: Lucy McTaggart, Seconder: Edwin Hargraves. MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY: Mike Wigley, Proposer: Chris Crookes, Seconder: Peter Bond. 12) ANY OTHER BUSINESS 13) DATE AND PLACE OF NEXT AGM: To be advised &/or discussed. 14) CLOSE OF MEETING.
Arrivée November 2011
Official Honorary Officials’ Reports 2010/11 Treasurer’s Report 2011
The Club’s finances remain in a satisfactory condition; therefore no increases in fees are deemed necessary at the present time. Following the filing of the 2010 corporation tax papers a refund was received from HMRC. The Credit Agricole account is no longer required and will be closed saving approx £30 per quarter. At the present time the loan to LEL 2013 is £6000 as shown on the accounts. This financial year has shown the benefit of the free banking negotiated with Lloyds TSB, at present there is £70k on deposit, the balance held in the current account. Linda Johnston
Membership Secretary’s Report 2010/11
We have a membership of 4845 (as of 29th September 2010) which is 8% up on last year (4410). Presumably at least some of you will have joined to take part in PBP – if that is you, I hope you enjoyed your qualifying rides as well as the main event itself, and that you continue to ride our events in 2012. I intend to include a question on the enrolment form asking where people heard about us, although I imagine that the most likely source of new members is word of mouth as well as from taking part in our events and liking what we offer. If so, thanks to all of you for spreading the word and for being such a friendly and welcoming crowd. Here is a break-down of the membership: main members: 3473 (71.7%) household members: 505 (10.4%) life members (taking Arrivee): 508 (10.5%) life members (free): 359 (7.4%) male: female:
K address: U overseas:
c ommuted: 1290 (26.6%) one year membership: 3555 (73.4%) a ge under 24: 77 (1.6%) age 25-44: 998 (20.6%) age 45-64: 2516 (51.9%) age 65-84: 1087 (22.5%) age over 85: 34 (0.7%) date of birth not given: 133 (2.7%) As always, I am grateful to my team of helpers, Ian Hobbs who sends out the “welcome packs” to all new members, while Don Black, Dave MacKenzie, Findlay Watt and Nik Windle process the postal renewals during November and December. With the bulk of renewals now taking place online, our work load is considerably reduced, and Dave and Nik are standing down after many years helping me and my predecessors. Thanks for your efforts over those years from Ray, Gerry and myself and a warm welcome to Peter Gawthorne, the new boy on the team. The end of December 2010 will see 3028 AUK Memberships expiring. If you are one of these I hope you decide to stay with us. If you renew your membership before the end of December, we’ll be able to include you on the mailing list to receive February Arrivée. Finally, can I appeal to everyone to keep their personal details up to date? I always have a small number of Arrivées returned to me marked “gone away”. You can review and change these at www.aukweb. net and clicking on Members then MyDetails. It’s also particularly important that we record your date of birth if you are approaching eligibility for Life Membership or you want to qualify for the various Veteran or Junior awards. Mike Wigley
Arrivée November 2011
General Secretary’s Report for 2011 Audax UK AGM This has been a steady year with mainly incremental improvements, though there has been a major change with our insurance. It was becoming apparent that the previous arrangements were no longer fit for purpose and we are now confident that our current policy is well suited to our activities and that we have appropriate cover. We should be grateful to Roger Cortis who patiently negotiated this and has written a piece for Arrivée (printed elsewhere in this issue.) He must have felt at times that he was in the eye of a perfect storm. This new policy will require some detail changes to the regulations as you will note on the AGM Agenda. There is just a single change of personnel at this stage. Nev Holgate is emigrating to the Antipodes, having been Recorder for exactly nine years. He has our thanks for all his hard work over that period and our best wishes for a long and enjoyable life over there. Elsewhere, the Fixed Wheel awards have been well supported, but, surprisingly, in view of this being a PBP year, ISR activity has been minimal. Safe Cycling, Richard Phipps
Chairman’s Report This year, my first in the chair, has not been without incident. There were several major events. After many years of sitting on the sidelines, despite being a foundermember of Les Randonneurs Mondiaux, we now have Keith Benton elected as LRM vice-president for a four year term. He is therefore effectively president in waiting. This year as the date of expiry of our insurance policy loomed, our insurers refused to renew it, saying it was unsuited to our activities. This was perhaps not surprising as the policy had been in place for a good number of years, during which our membership has grown substantially, as has the number of events. Several members worked hard to find an alternative, and we now have a more robust policy in place at a very modest increase in cost. It was, of course, a Paris-Brest-Paris year, and among the 340 UK cyclists taking part was Jim Hopper, riding his eighth. We lost one of our most eminent members, Pat Kenny, in a road accident. You will doubtless have seen the many obituaries and tributes to him. I never cease to be amazed at the huge amount of unpaid work many members put into running this organisation. Most are not committee members, and often receive little public acknowledgement of their services. They all deserve our thanks, and I hope they inspire others to put something back in to the club. If you can’t do anything else, come along to the AGM and use your vote. Ian Hennessey
Publications Manager AGM report
Arrivée magazine has gone digital. We now have a link to copies of Arrivée on the front page of our website - as I write, these are just February and May 2011. The pdf files are uploaded to issuu.com, a free digital publishing site, which offers Arrivée to a wider audience. For this reason, only past issues are uploaded, after the next issue has been distributed in print. We have had no shortness of articles this year, though we continue to beg contributors to illustrate articles wherever possible and also to send as much information as possible with photos. Our priority is to publish meaningful articles and illustrations rather than unrelated material. Following board discussion, AUK is now no longer paying for cover photos or batches of 6 or more photos published in Arrivée. Instead, grants are available for proven photo contributors to travel to and from approved events for the purpose of providing the magazine with a good variety of photos illustrating all aspects of an event. Application should be made to the Board. Our grateful thanks go to the contributors, plus Headley Brothers for printing and distribution, Mike Wigley for the membership digital address file and Pete Coates for sourcing and uploading to the digital publishers. Sheila Simpson
Official Honorary Officials’ Reports 2010/11 (continued) Recorder’s Report
Event Secretary’s Annual Report 2011
As many of you will have gathered I am standing down from the position of Recorder at this AGM.
My first year as Events Secretary has largely been spent in getting up to speed with the intricacies of the system and ensuring the business of the Events Team is kept running as normal in what has been a busy year for events.
A brief resume........ It was in 1999 that Bernard Mawson, the then Validation Secretary, appealed for help, with what was becoming a very onerous and labour intensive task. Not only was he validating results, he was also recording as well, in all, this was taking him up 25 hours per week. I started, unofficially, by helping him with some of the time consuming jobs and in 2002 the official position of Recorder was created. Eventually Bernard retired from being Validation secretary to be succeeded by Keith and Sue.
The Events Team has calendared a total of 559 events for the 2010/11 season, a slight increase on last year. The breakdown of these is shown below, with 2010 and 2007 (the last PBP year) shown for comparison:
2007 2010 2011
The Recording process this year ran quite smoothly despite the flurry of increased activity in May and June, sending BRM events over to Paris to be homologated for PBP.
The system of recording is becoming more streamlined year by year due to the excellent work done by the previous and present systems managers Francis Cooke and Pete Coates. Quite a number of requests are being received from new members requesting that rides done prior to joining be added to their record which reflects on a healthy membership.
An appreciation is due to Francis for standing in on my behalf during the early part of the year while I was on vacation in New Zealand. I wish my successor well and I will be available to offer help as and when required. Neville Holgate
Systems Manager Report 2010/2011 Season On the whole the Audax UK systems have been running reliably for the whole season. Any questions / problems sent my way have usually being resolved reasonably quickly. We did have a bad few days in August. A hardware fault caused the server to pack up. The main reason for the delay in restoring the server was down to problems getting in touch with the support engineers. As a result of the problems experienced, a second server is being set up. This has a separate domain name, and is located at a different hosting company. This second server will become a backup which will also be useful for testing development changes. Should our main server fail again, we will be able to quickly swap to use the backup one if there is no sign of the main one returning. There has been continued development of the various systems over the last season, including: •
A revamp of the main website. Which in general went down well with everyone.
Online entry now updates the start list automatically.
Online entry made available to non members.
e have now started putting Arrivee up on the web. Currently W we’re putting up the one before the last published version.
Collection and recording of registration fees for events.
Plans for next season include •
Complete the building of the ‘backup server’.
Make the website a bit more ‘alive’. i.e have more interesting content, which is updated more regularly too.
Move the event planner used by organisers into the same format as the main web site. Pete Coates 29th September 2011
As expected the longer events have shown an increase in numbers over both last year and 2007, allowing plenty of choice for those aiming for a Super Randonneur and/or PBP. The Events Team itself continues to change. This year we say goodbye to Lucy McTaggart who will be concentrating on her coaching work. In her place we welcome Tony Greenwood. Lucy’s departure and Tony’s arrival has also seen a significant re-organisation in the regional boundaries to better distribute the events amongst the team. The turnover has not been confined to the Events Team either. 2011 has seen a number of organisers stepping down. Fortunately there’s been an equal number of willing new organisers stepping forward to take on their events and come up with new ones of their own. Particular mention must be made here of Dave Pountney who is retiring after 26 years of organising The Elenith (and slightly less of the Kidderminster Killer). Fortunately both classic events have new homes for 2012. Looking forward to 2012 we have the return of the National 400, being resurrected for 16th/17th June by Sue Gatehouse and Keith Harrison. The following weekend also sees the Mille Alba 1000km. John Hamilton
Audax UK Press Secretary Report Thanks to the efforts of riders across the country, writing reports and taking photos, we’ve been able to secure regular coverage in the national cycling press. Some local newspapers have also started to take notice of events and riders in their area. We’ve also begun to cover some of the many blogs, tweets and photosets that riders post of their adventures. Both Cycling Active and Cycling Plus magazines have run features on audaxing this year. In particular, Cycling Active has covered our events regularly, as well as publishing a calendar of our 100km rides. After a suggestion at last year’s AGM, we secured articles in a few local newspapers about riders taking part in this year’s Paris Brest Paris. Some of the reporters we spoke to were very interested in what we do, and we hope they’ll cover some of our local events in 2012. The internet makes it easy to share ride reports, photos and movies from events and rides. Using Twitter and Facebook, we’ve been able to share more of this great material with others. If you keep a blog of your riding, or are a keen photographer, then why not have it published in Arrivée or another magazine? We’re always looking for material to share with our members and other cyclists, and we can help you get published. If you’re interested, drop me a line at audax@danialwebb. com Danial Webb
Arrivée November 2011
Arrivée November 2011
Membership Membership Renewal: Yes, it’s that time of year again. With
this edition of Arrivée you should have received your Renewal Form, so just make sure you didn’t throw it in the bin! If your membership number has a prefix of “F” then your membership expires at the end of December 2011. You will receive no further copies of Arrivée and you may have no insurance cover when riding AUK events in 2012 unless you renew your membership.
Current Membership Rates: One Year: £14 (until Dec 2012) Commuted: £56 (until Dec 2016) (i.e. 5 years for the price of 4) Life Members: free (but to receive all editions of Arrivée send £9 to cover costs) Overseas Members: please add £4 postal surcharge (£20 for 5 years) to the above. Household: £5 (or £20 for 5 years)
How to renew: •
Online: perhaps the easiest way to renew, using either PayPal or your credit or debit card. Go to www.aukweb.net/renewal, input your user-id and password, and follow the on-screen instructions. By Post: You can still pay by cheque made payable to “Audax United Kingdom”. Send the bottom section of the renewal form with your payment to the delegate named on the form but please do NOT staple your cheque to the form. Standing Order: If you have arranged to send your membership fee by Standing Order you need do nothing. (It might be a good idea to check with your bank that the amount is correct as there are still some SOs paying out-of-date fees). To set up a new Standing Order, please download the form at at www.aukweb. net/ forms/AUK_SO_form.pdf and send to your bank (not AUK!). Please note that payments must be made by January 5th. Direct Debit: Unfortunately our bank does not allow Direct Debits. In Person: I will be at the AGM in November and will be happy to accept cash and cheques from you immediately after the meeting closes.
Household Membership: For Household memberships, all
correspondence is sent to the main member’s address. To add to or change Household members, please send full details of additions or changes and the appropriate fee to the Membership Delegate named on your form. NB Household members must have same membership expiry date as the main member. To add household members outside renewal time, please contact the New Members Delegate email@example.com
Life Membership: We offer Life Membership to those who are
aged 65 or more at 1st January and have been a continuous member of Audax UK for more than 10 years. Life Membership is free but has all the benefits of fully paid-up membership. Life Members receive the Autumn edition of Arrivée free of charge. Life Members can also elect to receive all 4 issues of Arrivée and Handbook by paying £9 to help cover costs - see the renewal form.
Deadline for Renewals: Please let us have your renewal by
31st December to give us time to include you on the mailing list for February Arrivée. If you miss this deadline we may charge you the enrolment fee of £5 to cover the extra costs incurred. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or Mike Wigley Higher Grange Farm Millcroft Lane Delph OL3 5UX. Please include your membership number if you know it.
Have I already renewed? You can easily check if your membership is still current by going to the Gateway (see box). If you see the phrase “Your AUK Membership has expired” or “Your AUK Membership is valid until the end of 2011” then you will need to take some action.
Check your personal details. Use the Gateway (see box) or
correct your renewal form before returning it. Please make sure we have your current postal address. Information on Date of Birth, Sex, Club and CTC Club is optional but is used in the calculation of award categories, while we also use your Date of Birth to calculate eligibility to Life Membership.
Rob McIvor, author of the Hereward the Wake report on page 16, at the start of PBP 2011. He is modelling the Audax England jersey (see page 16) photo: Tim Wainwright
The Membership Gateway: Go to www.aukweb.net and click on Members then My Details from the left side bar. You will need your user-id (your 4 digit membership number) and password - and there’s even a forgotten password facility if you need it! From here you can check the status of your membership and review, or even change, your personal details. Commuted Membership: Take advantage of our special offer: 5 years membership for the price of 4!
Overseas members: Overseas members pay an additional charge of £4 for postage. The most secure method of payment is perhaps using the Online Renewal system, or you can send us payment by cheque or cash (at your own risk) in Pounds Sterling. To pay by bank transfer, please contact mike.wigley@Audax.uk.net
PBP 2011 Cardiff Byways await the start photo: Mark Green Arrivée November 2011
Events Audax UK Organisers’ Newsletter Events Team
As mentioned in the last newsletter, Lucy McTaggart is leaving the Events Team, and in her place we say hello to Tony Greenwood. To coincide with this the current regions are being re-jigged to better even out the workload amongst the team. The new regions and their Event Delegates are shown below:
plenty of things you can do as an organiser to increase everyone’s chances of having a successful, enjoyable and safe event. • Plan your route carefully to take into account possible weather and road conditions. You may wish to consider an alternative route using more major roads for all or part (e.g. the start and or finish sections which will be ridden early/late in the day when conditions are at their coldest) of your event for use if conditions are bad. Keep your costs (and hence entry fees) low by using commercial • controls. This minimises your risk in the event of a high DNS rate, and reduces pressure on riders to start. • Remember it’s not just your riders but also yourself and your helpers. Will you be able to get safely to the start and anywhere else you’re needed? Make fallback arrangements in case you can’t. Again, a basic event and commercial controls can make things easier for you here. • Consider creating a permanent version of your route. Offer this as a free alternative to riders who decide not to ride on the day. • Remind riders that it is THEIR responsibility to assess the conditions and decide whether to ride or not. They should not assume that conditions are safe because you haven’t cancelled the event. • Keep a list of email addresses for your entrants. If conditions are bad, E-mail your entrants beforehand advising them of the likely conditions. You may recommend that they don’t ride, but remind them it’s their decision, remembering that it’s not just the actual riding, but also getting to and from the start. • If we have a repeat of the weather of the last two years and it really isn’t safe to ride then you may be faced with the decision to cancel your event. Rather than just cancelling outright offer your riders to join you on a suitable later date for a group permanent ride (either a ready-made perm version of the event or under DIY rules). The Events Team will be looking at your Risk Assessment for evidence that you have considered the increased risks associated with organising winter events and put in place appropriate measures.
From 1st November, remember when calculating your fees to take into account the £7 registration fee you’ve already paid. This should be deducted from the cost of your Brevet Cards.
By the time you read this the Events Planner should be updated to show your new Events Team representative.
A reminder for those of you who organise your events on behalf of your local CTC group. You must make sure that your events are registered with CTC – registration with AUK does not automatically register your event with CTC. And if you’re a new organiser, you also need to make sure that you are registered as an organiser with CTC. Contact your local CTC group secretary for details.
Winter Event Tips
Although it’s only September as I write this winter will soon be here. Hopefully the conditions of the past two years won’t be repeated again, but even in a “normal” winter riding a bicycle is a potentially more hazardous activity than in the summertime. Audax UK’s policy is one of individual responsibility – the onus is on the rider to decide if they wish to participate or not. But there are still
Arrivée November 2011
LEL Report Danial Webb
he London Edinburgh London team has had a quiet few months, with some us riding Paris Brest Paris and the rest of us making the most of the summer weather.
Paris Brest Paris We had a stall during registration at this year’s Paris Brest Paris, which allowed us to soak up the atmosphere at the start of this great event. We gave out thousands of leaflets to riders and their friends, and caught up with lots of riders from the 2009 London Edinburgh London. Many thanks to Jean-Gualbert Faburel and the Paris Brest Paris team for providing us with a stall. We will bring the stand to the AGM and reunion dinner in York in November, where we’ll also be giving out some photographs from the 2009 event. Route and controls We have now agreed all the controls along the route, and recruited controllers for all of them. We’ve also met with a food hygiene consultant, who will work with our controllers to help them plan the safe use of our controls’ professional kitchens. Now that we have the final control in place, we have finished initial routing. We’ve had a steady trickle of riders trying the London Edinburgh London DIY, which is generating very useful and comprehensive feedback. If you’re going to the Audax UK AGM in York this November, and you plan to ride there, then the DIY might provide you with a ready-made route. The route passes close to York, and everyone who enters has the chance to win free entry to London Edinburgh London in 2013. For more information, contact John Hamilton at email@example.com. Paris Brest Paris demonstrates the value of a well-signposted route. We have no intention of signposting all of London Edinburgh London, but there might be value for covering intricate sections. If we do this, then we’ll need permission from the local council. As it is we’re talking to all the local and police authorities along the route, to let them know what we’re up to. As well as giving us permission for signs, they are a useful source of advice, with a lot of local knowledge about the roads we’d like to use. In London, Gary MacGowan is liaising with Royal Parks and the Metropolitan Police about our London start. Although we’ve now got our team of controllers, we still need people to help out at controls. In particular, if you’ve any experience of working in a professional kitchen, we’d be grateful for any help you can offer. If you’d like to find out more, drop me a line at danial@ londonedinburghlondon.com.
Danial Webb photo: Mark Green
FIXED FOCUS This is the point in the season when most riders are reviewing all the high and low points of their year before easing off to concentrate on other pursuits while the weather is less appealing. There has been continued strong interest in the FWC, with strong sales of those cards, even if some high profile fixers have been having a sabbatical this season. As normal, a full list of fixed points achieved and claimed will appear in the Handbook, but for the moment we are saluting and celebrating fixed exploits which have traditionally not appeared there. Inevitably, time constraints mean this piece is written before the end of the season, but next year will hopefully see an improvement in that regard. Firstly, there was a lot of fuss about some ride or other in France and this was completed by fifteen fixers, listed below. If there any others, who have been omitted, please let me know for an addendum. As ever, a SR Series to qualify for that ride was required which ideally would have meant a Super Fixed Wheeler award, as attempting PBP on fixed without suitable previous acclimatisation would have been more than brave. Those audacious anciens who are doubtless feeling as if they are living up to that description are: Rob Bullyment
Phil Chadwick Fairweather
Justin Jones should have been well used to his fixie as he had already completed 3 x 600KM rides which, with PBP, make him a Hyper Fixed Wheeler (not an actual award, so only personal kudos,) Apart from those gallant guys what else do we have to report? Well, Werner Wiethege has also completed a SFW the usual way (relatively speaking, that is.) and in the same season is going for a second by collecting 20 AAA points. This is certainly the less travelled route and may indeed be the first time it has been done. However, another guy has this claim, too: Marcus Yeo, who, having tired of the boring old bog-standard points championship decided to use his holiday by cycling round Britain with his Brevet card for a DIY Perm called unsurprisingly “The Marcus Yeo Extravaganza.” He travelled 3,400KM and gained 43¼ AAA points in the process (= 77¼ FWC points!) He used a 48T chainwheel with a choice of 18 or 19T sprockets which probably meant approximately 620,000 crank revolutions over the course of the event, but it probably seemed more at the time. Certainly an inspirational ride and we are looking forward to the ride report in a future Arrivée. Congratulations are due to him and all the guys mentioned above. Moving on, please let me know your fixed points totals as soon as possible after the end of the season, otherwise the trophies may be awarded to the wrong member. If there are any queries on that score, do let me know so we can get it sorted as soon as possible. For now, I trust your season went well and wish you an even better 2012.
Richard Phipps Fixed Gear Fascist
Arrivée November 2011
Your Letters SatMap Active 10 I’ve been using a SatMap GPS for the last three years, so was interested to see what Matthew Haigh thought of it (Arrivee 112). I came to Audax from Cycle Touring & Family cycling, so a map has always been with me on rides, long or short. I was therefore attracted to the OS mapping on the SatMap; I have no experience of Garmin or similar more traditional cycling GPS units. Some further comments to add to Matthew’s: Mounting – very robust; best fixed to bar rather than stem, so that you can angle “up” a bit (not flat) for better view of screen without straining forward. Batteries – has taken a while to perfect this; mine came with the rechargeable pack mentioned, but never used; I use Energiser Lithium Ultimate disposables, which are very easy to change even in the dark & wet. Key thing is to conserve energy: select “advanced power saving” mode, SatMap then “talks” to the satellites every 4 seconds, rather than
For Sale Pinarello Sestriere 58cm
every second; only disadvantage is that “Trail Up” feature is disabled (see below); also set screen time-off to around 30 seconds. I’ve done a long 300 (nearly 22 hrs) on a single set of 3 AA batteries; for 400s, I change somewhere near halfway. Routes – creating or loading a route is fiddly, as Matthew indicated, and cuts off the corners. More crucially, I found the route overlaid & obscured the detail of the map, which I didn’t like; so I use waypoints or “Points of Interest” as SatMap call them, putting one down after each junction along the route. Entering these manually takes about 20 minutes for a typical 200. Navigating is then easy (especially used in conjunction with route sheet) & it doesn’t matter too much that the map stays North Up rather than turning round as you change direction. It really comes into its own at night – if you’ve plotted the route, no need for headtorch & route sheet, just flick the screen on every so often & check against waypoints.
My unit initially predated the “red light” often, so I just turn the backlight down to 40% or so after dark to preserve night vision. GPX files for DIY – again took a bit of getting used to; before I set to “advanced power save” the files generated were huge, and crashed the memory somewhere between 200 & 250kms. SatMap saves tracks as ”.map” files, which are smoothed, but if you record a trail & save it, the unit generates a paired standard GPX file (only visible when you connect to your PC !), which I have been using for DIYby-GPS rides [thanks to Martin Malins for his patience while I got the hang of it !]. So, I wouldn’t now go anywhere without my SatMap, Calendar or Permanent alike. They also do an increasing range of European countries, and we used it in Brittany this summer. Nic Ketley
Idle and tight fisted!
Several Audax and CTC members in the South West recently completed the Paris-Brest-Paris, and congratulations to them all. But Steve Main from CTC Torbay had no idea how lucky he was to get around until he rode the short distance back to the hotel. After completing 1230 Km his handlebars snapped and gave way on the 5Km ride back to his hotel. Fortunately this happened at low speed and he was fine! Photos below of broken handlebars and Steve Main
This is the lazy way I know but probably the most effective. I have just got round the PBP my goal and total motivation for last and this year, and this was the point I promised myself I would say I had recovered. The Physios at the Huddersfield Royal Infirmary did a great job but it was a struggle to get them to let me ride my bike. They finally relented when I borrowed Pete Gifford’s recumbent trike, I could not fall out of that. It was the best move I made, thanks Pete. I got the ok for two wheels this January, the rest is history.
frame and fork, with additional spare fork (uncut steerer), blue with mudguard eyes with ITM headset, £400.00 ono.
The purpose of this letter is to thank all the Auks and cyclists who have wished me well through out 2010 and 2011, your visits both at home and the hospital did a lot to keep me sane and boost my morale, the scotch and beer helped as well! You sent me over 50 cards at the last count and there have been more since, some real crackers, all very much appreciated, and, I even had a sweat shirt telling the world that I did my own stunts!
contact: James 07772331225 (East Sussex) firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you all very much.
Lift Share Requested Semaine Federal 2012
John Radford, seen here on the right, with Dave Atkinson at the start of PBP 2011 photo: Mark Green
Deniece Davidson would like to share petrol costs to the above event. If you are interested please contact Deniece at: email@example.com Steve Main
Arrivée November 2011
Saddleworth - Bowland 200
his is one of Don Black’s calendar rides from Denshaw, near Oldham. It falls heavily into the “Hills-U-Like” category and 4.5 AAA climbing points in 200 kilometres is possibly all the ride report some people will need. For those of you with a taste for vertical adventure, I’ll try to put some flesh on the bones. I rode over the hill from Milnrow to the start at Denshaw community centre, to be greeted by Don and quite a few familiar faces. I almost always spend too much time chatting and this was no exception. By the time I’d remembered to fill my bottles, the field had left, except for Paul Butcher, who had waited for me. We climbed the first hill of the day immediately. This is, to me, one of the great Pennine crossings, from Denshaw over to Huddersfield, and is known as Nont Sarah’s, after an inn over on the Huddersfield descent. It starts gradually, past Dowry and New Year Bridge reservoirs, and twists and turns, without ever getting too steep for comfort. It’s a hill you can hold a conversation on and Paul and I talked about PBP (he’s doing it and I’m not) and I also chatted with Dave Lawrenson (fully-recovered from a fall on the Tan Hill 200) and John Radford, also recovered from a broken leg sustained on the ice in early 2010. As we passed the overhanging rocks known as Buckstones, Mike Wigley popped out like a troll to take pictures. Mike has recently finished LEJOG and is taking it easy. At the top of the climb we took the left fork for Ripponden and a great roll across the heathery moor down past Ringstones reservoir and the wonderfully steep Ripponden Bank. Turning right on to the Halifax road, I was already thinking about Butterworth Lane, a legendary feature of many of Don’s rides. It’s only got one up-arrow but I suspect that’s because OS ran out of ink – and it doesn’t half go on. I climbed that one with Paul, who seemed in good form and was pushing a bigger gear. Soon we were turning at the Church Stile pub and following the narrow lanes down to Luddenden Foot where we crossed the Calder valley and began the long, undulating climb above Crimsworth Dean. This is a great route, passing through small farming and weaving communities to come out at Pecket Well, which still has a fine mill and chimney. Here we joined the main road up from Hebden Bridge towards Keighley for the ascent of Cock Hill. This is a road which will be well-known to many northern riders, as it features in several of Chris Crossland’s rides, notably Spring Into The Dales. By now, I had started taking pictures myself and was comfortably at the back of the field. From the tricky turn at the phone-box on the fast descent towards Oxenhope, I settled in for the drag up to the Penistone Country Park. Then there is a glorious swoop down past Laithe reservoir, which I interrupted for a picture. A left turn takes you into Stanbury and past the Wuthering Heights pub. From there it is quite a stiff pull up past Ponden and Watersheddles reservoirs to The Herders,
Laithe Reservoir, Stanbury some of the staggering scenery on Friday morning on the road to Aulla
Peter Bond which still displays the sign but is no longer serving. There is a shooting range very close to the road here, which is a bit unnerving for first-timers, as it operates on a Sunday morning. At this point we are just above Wycoller, which, (like everywhere else round there,) claims to feature in a Bronte novel. At Laneshaw Bridge, there’s a quick left and right at the Emmott Arms and another little climb and swoop down to the road across The Herders Arms Elslack Moor from Colne to Skipton. This is an old, old road, originally a pack-trail or green lane and, as I climbed past Black Lane Ends, I was beginning to get the first inklings of trouble. My legs felt solid, almost “full” and I admit I was actually feeling depressed, in a way that was
Black Lane Ends, Elslack Moor probably nothing to do with the ride. Still, the time allowance for the ride was generous enough, even for someone who can remember pack-trails, so I just told myself it would get better. And several hours later it did. For now, though, I was so wrapped up in putting one pedal-stroke after another that I almost overshot the longed-for left turn to Earby. Much relief was to be had on the descent, although you need your wits about you because it’s a twister and steep enough for ascending motorists to consider it an affront to their masculinity and drive accordingly. They are probably further frustrated by the speed bumps near the bottom – I know I was! In Earby, I saw John pop into the shop for provisions. I found out later, as we rode together, that he’d left his bottles in the car, something I imagine we’ve all done from time to time. The next section is a very welcome flattish approach to the Dales. The riding is easy and I was able to admire the wild flowers that have been such a feature of spring and summer rides this year. Apart from the fields full of buttercups and the red sorrel, the verges were studded with the yellow trefoil, blue and pink geraniums, and ox-eye daisies. In places, the deep blue tufted vetch had climbed six feet up the hedges
Arrivée November 2011
Randonnées and there was the yellow meadow vetch and red campion in profusion. Elsewhere on the ride I saw the purple betony and even orchids. And so many towering purple foxgloves, they almost formed plantations. I mention all this in one place but try and keep these visions in your mind’s eye because they provided balm to the suffering soul throughout the ride. At Thornton-in-Craven we turned off the Skipton road and, after passing the church of St Mary, in its beautiful setting, we made another turn for West Marton. We also do this bit on Spring Into The Dales, when there is usually a procession of desperate sportivistes gurning away in the opposite direction! Today, I had it to myself, as I paused to take a picture of the long series of houses and coach arches that form Marton Hall down below the road on the left. Soon I was taking a left fork, leaving the Spring Into The Dales route, which keeps right for Gargrave. At Nappa, I joined the A682 for the run to Long Preston, familiar from the February North-West Passage ride, run by West Pennine RC. After a brief stop to put my rain top on, as a thunderstorm gloomed across our path, I followed John into the yard of The Maypole in Long Preston, just in time to see the main group finish off most of the food
The Maypole, Long Preston
Farm and foxgloves
and tea provided by the landlord, himself an ancien de PBP. More tea was provided and there were still some excellent cheese scones to be had, before John and I set out for the next stage, to Bentham. Soon, we had magnificent views of Ingleborough and Whernside, which were to stay with us in one projection or another for several hours. I rolled past Rathmell and Eldroth, still feeling very lumpen but soaking up the wild flower-jewelled verges and thrilling, as always, to the call of the curlew. I passed a field where hay was being baled into black plastic in a graphic display of agricultural technology. Somewhere on the way I picked up a folding tyre from the road, just in case it was from one of our riders, though I didn’t hold out much hope, as this is a very popular cycling territory. At Keasden, I intersected one of the famed Bowland crossings: that from Stocks Reservoir over Bowland Knotts. Then, at High Bentham, a glimpse of what we had come for as the road over Tatham Fell beckoned to our left. However, we were to come at it from the west, via Low Gill, so first I pushed on to Low Bentham and the information check at The Punchbowl. Here, I came across Robert, who had been very unlucky: he’d overshot the route and gone several miles out of his way to Wennington and back. It was on this detour that he’d picked up a puncture and a couple of gashes in his tyre. He’d got one tyre “boot” from Brian and I was able to provide another and help get the repairs effected. Once he’d got the wheel back on, I set off, telling Robert I would take it steady until he caught me and I could then ride behind
The rocky road to High Bentham Arrivée November 2011
Bob Bialek at Low Bentham 13
Randonnées him in case there was more trouble. Robert is a much stronger rider than I am, and I needed to keep pegging away, to be sure of the time allowance and, more importantly, of getting to the café at Slaidburn before it closed! The crossing of Tatham and Lythe Fells (they should name a syrup after them) is a wonderfully lonely and atmospheric business. On this ride we go via Low Gill, trusting the routesheet and ignoring the signposts that have been deliberately mis-aligned by the local scrotes. There are such wonderful views from the junction onto the pass itself that I stopped to gaze and take more pictures. I wasn’t tired, honest. Actually, I was beginning to feel a lot better by now and found the climb to the summit at Cross Of Greet much easier than I had expected from my previous traverse a couple of years ago. In fact, I’d done this crossing in the other direction only two weeks previously on the Tan Hill 200, so now I had the full set for the season. The plunge down the Hodder Valley to Slaidburn is marvellously laid out before you as you cross the inevitable summit cattle-grid. The view takes in Stocks reservoir and has been captured on a postcard of the Lancashire Cycleway, which I’ve had on my workstation since that earlier ride. I stopped to take a matching picture and coasted down the narrow tarmac strip, braking regularly to avoid the nonchalant sheep, who, with the heather and bilberries, are the true possessors of this wilderness. By now, Pendle Hill is visible in the distance and an initiate might be lulled into thinking that the worst is over. Not so. In AAA terms, Pendle means points, whichever way you tackle it. But before then there is quite a kick up again, through the woods before the final descent into Slaidburn and the control at the Riverbank Café. This is an excellent watering hole and attracts many cyclists on other outings. Indeed, I had a rather bizarre experience this time, occasioned by my new YACF-designed unofficial Audax England shirt. I was queueing to order my meal when I felt a tap on the shoulder and a woman of much the same age as myself enquired, with a smile, “Long-distance cycling – how far?” and, before I could reply, jerked a thumb at her embarrassed companion and continued, “He did 504 in a day!” I felt so much better now that my puny efforts had been put into perspective, and, resisting the temptation to retort, “anyone can ride on the flat,” (in fact I was full of admiration and told him so,) I collected my plate and joined John Radford and Brian Childs at a table outside. I’d barely started the food, when Robert turned up, to my relief. When he set off, before I was finished, I was glad that should he have another mishap, then I should find him and be able to help. As it turned out, he had no more problems and although I did encounter him a couple of times, everything went fine for him. The climb round the hairpin out of Slaidburn has no chevrons on the map, which, I feel sure is an oversight. But by this stage in the journey, I was beginning to think that just getting on the bike was worthy of points. After a meal and stiffening up, the ride to Grindleton and Chatburn and on to Downham is a bit of a searcher but the wonderful hedgerows made 14
it much easier, as did the knowledge that the real fun would start in Downham. There are two road crossings of Pendle Hill. The westerly one, which occasionally hosts the national hill-climb championships, I’d done on the Tan Hill 200. The easterly one from Downham only has single chevrons (several of them), so that’s all right, then. As it turned out, this was ok, too. If you can manage to do it without falling off, a look over to the left will reward you with yet another glimpse of the by now-distant Ingleborough. A right at the crossroads, followed by a bit more climbing brought me to the hair-raising descent into Barley, a village which looks really well set up for walkers and photographers and drinkers. And so to Newchurch.
Slaidburn, here I come!
Climbing out of Downham
The worst is yet to come
Those of you who like to study the map before you do a hilly ride will know what I mean when I refer to a location that is in the back of your mind all the way round; sometimes obscured by other distractions but never completely gone. On this ride it is the climb out of Newchurch-in-Pendle. In the 17th century, Newchurch was the epicentre of a witchhunt which resulted in the deaths of many women. Newchurch has been ghoulishly cashing in on the business ever since. The Hill is the witches’ revenge. It’s got a double arrow and you just don’t need it at this stage in the ride. But are we not men? Actually, we were as it happened, since there had been no female starters. I had made sure not to use my lowest gear thus far, just to have a psychological boost for this climb. Whether that was the trick or not, I don’t know, but I got up! After a satisfying coast down to Fence and a bridge crossing of the rather impressive gorge containing the M65, I was shaken out of my Newchurch-complacency by the almost interminable grind of the climb up past Nelson golf course to the pubs on the crossroads at Haggate. This was a bit of a penance at this stage in the ride, at least for me, and John Radford was wiping the sweat from his eyes as he came past. At the pubs I resisted the temptation to carry straight on down towards Worsthorne and made myself eat a couple of sandwiches. I knew I wasn’t finished with climbing yet. I was glad I’d taken the opportunity to sharpen myself up, because the potholes Don had warned us about were more like quarries as I flew down from Haggate. It’s still very scenic (in all senses) to Worsthorne and on to the main road through the Cliviger gorge to Todmorden. This is a road that is used on many of the Audax rides in the north-west and it is a blessed relief after you have been climbing all day. The snub noses of the crags on Thieveley Scout are impressive and the whole ascent to the railway bridge and the drop for about four miles to Todmorden feel quite foreign, if you try to imagine seeing it all for the first time. From Todmorden, the road follows the canal along the valley to Littleborough, where the route jinks left and right to Hollingworth lake, which was looking serene in the evening light while the motorway traffic moved silently across the
Arrivée November 2011
magnificent Rakewood viaduct across the Longdendale valley. Beyond the lake, I used my local knowledge to avoid an irritating miniroundabout in Smithy Bridge and came out higher up Wildhouse Lane and so on to Milnrow. The swoop down Kiln Lane passes my house but it would be some time before I was actually in the door. From Milnrow, the route is pretty suburban, though not busy on a Sunday, and I was soon at the foot of the final climb, turning left just before Shaw. This climb up to Grains Bar would be the last straw, if it weren’t for the knowledge that there is a fine but technical descent down to Delph to come. The twisting ascent takes you past The Black Ladd, yet another economically threatened pub. Until recently it was The Black Boy and used to have an inn sign that reflected that. There may have been real history behind that, I don’t know. Now it seems to have been re-named after an imaginary race-horse. Either way, I was glad to reach it and to cross the Oldham road and start down to the last information control at the Co-op in Delph. John caught me on the descent, having popped into a shop in Todmorden and we rode the last miles together. Even the finish is slightly uphill as you climb out of Delph back to the community centre in Denshaw. Robert had arrived just before us and Brian a little later. Everyone was accounted for with time to spare. We tucked into the excellent baps Don had provided and downed copious amounts of tea. A cursory look at the finish list showed that Paul had finished long ago and is obviously in great form for the French ride. Some had got round in a little over ten hours, which is impressive riding. But I was well satisfied with my outing: I had set off leadenlegged, kept pegging away, had a lot of chats and the odd incident, made time to take photographs and still finished well within the allowance. A wonderful day out that had provided a test for the body and a feast for the mind. This ride is definitely challenging but the compensations for the effort are huge in terms of landscape, fowl and flower. And the slower you are, the more of it you get! Thanks to Don and all my companions on the way!
Arrivée November 2011
I am sure we all like money, but how about this – our own AUK spondoolicks!
Has John Hamilton got another job?
This is a genuine bill of exchange but would require a brevet in Antarctica (the past two winters have been good training) to be able to buy anything with it. It is printed on plastic, like Australian notes, so will not go soggy in your jersey pocket. Julian Dyson
GREAT AUK 15
Hereward the Wake 300
hat food springs to mind when you think about fuelling up at the start of a typical 300km Audax? Porridge? Piles of toast with Marmite? A fry-up? None of these would be surprising, but what would you say to a chicken jalfrezi, rice, some poppadums and several vegetable side dishes, all washed down with a pint of Kingfisher beer?
From here, the ride continues north-west on virtually flat terrain toward Ramsey at 115km. It uses main roads for this stretch but in the early hours of Saturday morning a little grupetto comprising Roger Cortis, Jane Swain, Peter Faulks and I found them deserted and ideal for sociable group riding or for playing at chain gangs (which we did rather badly, with Roger constantly having to call me back when on the front!).
Well, maybe not for the typical 300, which starts at some uncivilised hour in a chilly car park, but Tom Deakins’ Hereward The Wake 300 is not typical. For starters, it begins on a Friday, at 9pm, and it’s the only Audax I’ve encountered that also includes the option of a pre-ride curry at an award-winning restaurant two minutes’ ride from the start. It’s certainly a sociable start to a ride and you can imagine all the jokes about drafting that were shared over the food.
For this first event, Tom had set up a control in a car park just off the main street and he and his son were cheerily dispensing hot drinks and snacks. Clearly, offering that service may limit the size of future events. It would be possible to replace this with an info control, but that would mean a night ride of 132 km with very few food options as the next control, at Newport Pagnell is 78km further.
Tom had originally envisaged the route as a permanent but decided to try it as a calendar event instead, with the evening start being an added attraction for those preparing for PBP a few weeks later. Some 35 took part in this inaugural event and, judging from the positive comments at the end, many would be back if Tom decided to repeat it next year. It begins at Great Dunmow in Essex, not far from the M11 and easily reached by train to nearby Bishops Stortford. From the car park start it quickly leaves the town and takes lightly-trafficked country lanes out through the picture-postcard village of Finchingfield – which you can still reach before dark -and north into Suffolk, passing close to Haverhill and Newmarket. The terrain is gentle, with no noticeable hills. The first control, at 61km, is at the famous Red Lodge Café, on the old A11. This is legendary in east Anglian cycling circles and has featured as a control on countless Audaxes. At the time of this one, in July, it had recently changed hands and the new owners and staff were still getting to grips with the need to turn food orders around quickly but they seemed welcoming so it’s to be hoped that the café can hold on to its former appeal.
Audax England Jerseys Some readers may have spotted new Audax England Jerseys appearing on events over the summer. These were originally produced on a short run made-toorder basis and now orders are being taken for a second run. The jerseys are produced by Owayo and feature a full zip and 3 rear pockets. They come in long and short sleeves, summer and winter weight and, as a new addition, as a gilet with the option of a mesh back. Basic prices are £37 for short sleeve summer weight jerseys, £40 for long sleeves, £51 for winter weight jerseys and £45 for gilets. However, there are additional costs for extra large sizes and mesh backs for the gilets. If you are interested in ordering, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for full details. Orders are being taken until November 12th for delivery before Christmas.
That stretch is very enjoyable. We passed through quintessentially English villages under cover of darkness and hared along flat country lanes as owls swooped across the adjacent fields and occasionally across our path. It gets a little more rolling as you approach Newport Pagnell, where the control can be either at the M1 service station or in the town itself, but again there are no serious hills. Arriving at the services before 6am means that the food options are very limited, but the Starbucks opens at 6 and it doesn’t take them long to get the coffee brewing. We raided the pastries and muffins and cursed the air conditioning units, which were blustering into life over our heads. This was still preferable to arriving at the control earlier, which means your choice is limited to whatever is available in the newsagent. The town itself is, not surprisingly, completely shut at that time. The next leg, 79km to Grantchester features the only noticeable hill of the ride, at Millbrook. I should say, though, that I rode the whole route with a mechanical problem that rendered my inner chainring inaccessible and was still able to climb this hill without effort – and I am not a good climber. The stage passes through Gamlingay, triggering fond memories for LEL riders, and approaches Cambridge from the west, gently rising to reveal some inspiring views across rolling English farmland, before turning south into Grantchester, and sailing past Lord Archer’s front door. The control is at the welcoming Orchard Tea Rooms where delicious cakes may be consumed in the grounds. The tea rooms don’t open until 09.30, providing a very good excuse to take this ride at a steady pace (for those fast enough have a choice). Traffic gets a little heavier for a while on the final leg down through Duxford and Saffron Waldon before the route turns back onto small roads past Audley End House and on to Thaxted. A couple of small sharp hills are thrown in for fun but, again, none are too challenging. Finally, it’s past the tea shops and tourist traps of Thaxted and a fast 10km or so down the B-road to Great Dunmow where, for this year at least, the final control was in Tom’s back garden with drinks and bacon rolls being served up for all. Navigation throughout the ride was easy. Tom’s route sheet doesn’t show distances other than between the controls but there was never a point when it was not completely clear where to go. The terrain would make it a perfect first 300 or perhaps one for a newbie fixed rider (I plan to ride it fixed next time, if it is repeated) and the 9pm start means that for the majority of the route there is barely any traffic. Whether it could support a significantly larger field is open to question but if Tom does decide to repeat it I would suggest getting your entry in early, just in case!
Arrivée November 2011
Flitchbikes 100 & 200 4th June 2011
photos by Tom Deakins
Start of 200 outside Great Dunmow parish church. Riders include: Yoshiji Sekido (Anerley BC), Paul Brown (Verulam CC), Richard Phipps (Charlotteville CC), Dave Minter (Dave CC!), Mick Bates (Norfolk CTC), Martin Hilbers (Cambridgeshire CTC)
Andy Terry leaving the start, assistant controller Dan Deakins looks on
Arnie Russell (Ciclos Uno) climbs Chapel Hill, Haslingfield, a genuine 1:10 in Cambridgeshire! ArrivĂŠe November 2011
Mick Bates, on fixed, successfully negotiates Sutton Ford
Al fresco control in Potton, Judith Swallow (Team Quest / West London CTC) and Dave Minter
100 km start, Honor Wood (Malden & District CC) at the front
Chris Riley (Forty Plus CC/ Essex CTC) climbs Chapel Hill, Barrington Church beyond
Riders descending, on the return leg 17
West Buckland 206 km Audax - 17th July 2011 “Somewhere or T’other”
nly last year I was . . . . frustrated . . . . by an arthroscopy, and wondered if my knee would ever cope with cycling again. I got back on the bike in March and was enjoying a cosy coffee potty ride (well, it’s only natural). Chatting to Tom, who, for the record, was only 68 at the time, who mentioned that he had entered the “Nello” Force Century Ride and thought I should do it too! All the way home I thought “I couldn’t cycle that far - not ready yet” but arriving home I switched on the PC and entered there and then before I could change my mind - it was the kick up the backside I needed and something to focus on again. I trained hard. And it was good. And on the next day, I trained some more. The knee held up well over the 100 miles. After completing that I thought what next? The ride had initiated this niggling desire to go for 200 km (which I had been wanting to do for some time). So I spoke to my mentor, Pippa Wheeler. She said that the West Buckland was her first 200km, and that it would be an ideal first one for me, too. Next hurdle was to find some willing victims to do the ride with. Not difficult, although Shaun had just got back from Paris and was obdurate, Liam, my neighbour, was looking for another long excursion after the Force ride, and Ian Lindsay from the CTC was also up for the challenge. The Three Musketeers were on! The day dawned grey and overcast, with heavy rains forecast. Since I was the designated driver I couldn’t back out, so I gritted my teeth, and picked up the boys - who, of course, had absolutely no excuse if I was doing it, and we arrived at the hall in West Buckland before Dave had even opened up - talk about keen or stupid! After a cup of tea and watching other people turn up we were given the ok to go at 7.58 am and 14 of us set out to brave the Somerset weather. Battling bravely against gale force winds, rain and sleet (well it did hurt me) in our faces, we fought our way down to the seafront at Blue Anchor where we watched cars being washed by the waves crashing over the road. Thoughts of “aren’t I wet enough already” went through my head as, bedraggled & cold, I dodged the waves to get to the first control at Driftwood Cafe.
After a hot drink, and food, we set off to climb the hill up to Weddon X, warming us up with a hint of sun, but the wind was still fighting us. Next stop, information control at Snapbox X (65 km) where it was time to down some jelly babies, and hungry Ian to count down the miles till lunch. We were going really well - until we hit Bradford (only 1.5 miles to lunch) and one of Ian’s chain links came apart. Whilst Ian was busy we had photo opportunities and texted loved ones to say we were still alive. On the road again, and Ian realized he was stuck in granny gear as his gear cable had broken, he soldiered on to lunch back at the hall. Now this was a huge mental challenge - looking at the car that could take me home, to a warm bath, and a glass of wine, and dinner, and knowing we had another 107 km to go . . . . Dave and friend supported Ian and assisted him in mending his cables whilst Liam and I tucked into lunch, ready for part 2! Out of control and up the hill, I didn’t feel too good, towards Lowton, baked beans was a bad idea (no it wasn’t, I needed the food) so seeing two other people walking was just the excuse I needed, it would have been anti-social not to. At the top we were off again, with a good downhill stretch into Yarcombe for the next information control, then onto the Tea rooms at Colyton for the next, where Linda was rushed off her feet - not! On the way to this control Ian had his next technical hitch when his cleat broke and his shoe kept popping out, almost tipping him off his bike each time. The clouds came back as we headed to Axmouth, so the coats were back on and I began to have gear trouble. Liam was crossing his fingers that he wasn’t going to be next! But his trouble was not technical, ha ha! Liam hit “the wall” on Seaford seafront and had to force down a couple of energy gels to get himself going again. My turn was close behind, at Beer, where Yorkie bars and pasties were consumed, and we set off towards Honiton, into, guess what, a head wind again! Arrived at Honiton petrol station to get a receipt looking very cold and bedraggled where the assistant kindly asked “ridden far?” only 100 miles by then (quiet whoop!). Shivering and thinking “why?” we set off again to the next information control at Feniton, during which
I was moaning all the way about my gears and thinking I would dearly like to throw my bike into a skip! (Only kidding, darling bike!) After that Ian led us home as he knew the way and, counting down the miles, we had a sudden burst of speed, and a song in our hearts, dreaming about bubble baths and hot chocolate! I have never been so happy to see a village hall in my life! We arrived back very wet, dirty and tired - but elated at a job well done. 206 km, back by 8.15 pm, average of 13.1 mph, with all the hills and weather. Very happy to have completed my first 200km ride, as Dave says “this won’t be your last!” A huge thank you to both of my cycling buddies who kept me smiling through the wind and rain and a big thank you to Dave and Alma for a wonderful spread and a very warm welcome home at the end of a long day! Words of wisdom from the mentor, Pippa Wheeler: “You can always cycle the same distance again - Fact. Now, how about a 400k?” Maybe not right now, thanks, Pippa!
Arrivée November 2011
view down Stelvio south
From Bottom Gear to Top Gear....
n a perfect Summer morning, with great anticipation and excitement I pumped tyres, checked brakes and grabbed my tail light, then set forth with a few others from the perfectly situated, extremely bike-friendly Hotel Funivia in Bormio to climb the Passo dello Stelvio which, at 2758m, is the 2nd highest paved mountain pass in the Alps (if you don’t count the impressive but artificially elevated Cime de la Bonette, which in any case is not a pass but officially a ‘loop’). My fellow cyclists were stronger than me and, as I settled into my rhythm in bottom gear, I was soon on my own. The ancient, pretty, ski town quickly dropped away… as I pedalled on round a right hand bend and out of the trees, the enormity of my task became immediately apparent! As far as the eye could see, the wide, tempting road twisted back and forth up an imposing grey, rocky valley – for me, the scene ahead seemed more imposing than beautiful, but it was truly awesome… As someone once described it: “15miles of asphalt spaghetti, draped on an alp”… It’s a steady 22k climb up Stelvio, average gradient 7% and total ascent 1543m, with a short steep section in the middle and a sting in the tail for the last 2k… The road surface is adequate but the several tunnels up from Bormio are not ¬– bumpy, bendy and unlit – I was eternally grateful of my little tail light, without which I’d be virtually invisible to the droves of motorcycles and convoys of sports cars coming up behind me, driven mostly by Germans or Brits, the latter clearly intent on killing themselves (and anyone else on the road) by driving too fast, too close and too wide… As someone once said: “If you go over the edge here you’d have time to phone the insurance company”…
Arrivée November 2011
I pushed on leaving the rugged, grey valley behind, and eventually noticed the hairpins were numbered (but only the really tight ones!) 26, 25, 24… Crikey! There seemed so many, and SO far apart… 23 still to go… will I ever make it to the top?
‘15 miles of asphalt spaghetti, draped on an alp....’
After a while I stopped taking note and, thankfully, reached the summit I’d been so focused on for the last 2hrs – Hurrah! (the view back down the valley is stunning)… I rounded the corner triumphantly only to discover, much to my surprise, that the climb continued – still another 4k to go and almost 300m to climb… Oh no! I finally arrived at the summit proper and located the others who, by now, are suitably refreshed and dressed for the descent back to the hotel… I, on the other hand, had different ideas! Not content with an out-and-back 50k ride, the day was still young and my plan was to drop down the other side of Stelvio, head N to Glorenza then SW to Santa Maria, S over the Passo Umbrail (which joins the Stelvio descent near the top) and finally back down to Bormio… The others think I’m totally mad so we say our ciao’s and once again I’m on my own, apart from the Moto Guzzi’s and Ferrari’s that is! My chosen route is in fact Pat Cherry’s Ibex 3 Permanent which, at 103k with 3150m ascent, will earn me a valuable 3.25 AAA points and a coveted Gold Medal! I’m prepared with my brevet which I duly get stamped in the café, then head off past the last souvenir shop to start my descent. But I’m stopped in my tracks, not by yet another Porsche 19
Overseas convoy but by the amazing, breathtaking view… Feels like I am really on top of the world and, not only that, I can see the road descending every inch of the way to the distant wooded valley below, never seen so many hairpins before… As someone once said “There’s no other way to say it – this is a magnificent piece of roadbuilding”… I zipped up my gilet and set off down the hill…
ppasso dello stelvio 2758m
All I can think is “WOW! WOW! WOW!” and “I’m SO glad I checked my brakes!” The turns are steep, tight, fast and furious… and numbered! Can’t swear to it but I’m pretty sure that bend no.22 comes up after only 5k from the top… Swish swish swish… Quite different to my ascent, the road is narrow and surface ropey but exhilaration more than makes up for it! Thankfully there’s less traffic and I can use as much of the road as I need… Swish swish swish… I love cycling in the Alps but had never come across anything like this before! On and on, down and down for 26k… how fantastic is that! 32, 33, 34… when will the hairpins ever end… 46, 47, 48… still they clock up! I wondered how my fellow cyclists were getting on down the other side with its dark, twisty tunnels… ”Eat your heart out” I thought… Eventually as the road began to straighten out, I eased off the brakes and gathered speed… even more fun! Slowly it dawned on me that I had a route to follow, mustn’t get too carried away, had a turning to look out for etc, (I’m notorious for getting lost) so I pulled up in a lay-by to consult my map. Crikey! Never noticed all those double chevrons before! I counted 25 in total – 15 up and 10 down all round the route… How could I have missed those? Good job though, otherwise I may have never set off! Next thing I knew, another guy screeched to a halt behind me to take off his gilet… good idea I thought! He was Dutch, we struck up a conversation (as you do) – he knew the route I was intending and said in his best English “the Umbrail is great but you realise the road is not all tarmac?” Huh? I thought… what exactly do you mean?? My routesheet says nothing about unmade roads… Undeterred, the Dutchman and I set off, did a bit more swish swish swishing then parted ways… Happily, I found my left turn at Prato allo Stelvio and got my brevet stamped but kept wondering what on earth the Dutchman meant… Oh well, whatever… I took comfort in the knowledge that in the past I cycled over the Colle delle Finestre from the north, and told myself if I could cycle over that I could cycle over anything! By now the midday sun was in full swing and I wondered how my fellow cyclists were getting on, probably enjoying a nice cool 20
beer on the terrace… Not jealous at all, I pressed on following my route then spotted signs saying ‘Tubre: Pass Open’… Hang on! Another pass? My routesheet says nothing about another pass… Maybe I should mention at this point, a minor complication is that although I’m in Italy, the local tongue is Austrian and, not only that, all the signposts (and my map) are in both languages… And I don’t really speak Italian or Austrian… Basically, I don’t have a clue what’s going on… It was getting seriously hot and I was running low on water… Kept my eyes open for village fountains… “Eeek!” I thought… “It’s not the same as looking for ‘potable’ in France – what the hell do I look for in Italy? Even if I find a fountain, will it be potable?? How would I know??” Finding shade was an even harder task… Simply put, there was NONE, and no more villages for a while on my route either! I began to overheat…
… all of a sudden I hit a stretch of road with slightly misdirected field sprinklers on – fantastic!
Then it all started to happen! After Prato, in the flat of the valley the heat was stifling… all of a sudden I hit a stretch of road with slightly mis-directed field sprinklers on – fantastic! I dearly hoped it was water they were spraying… at least it was cool! I didn’t care and took my time… Next, refreshed by the sprinklers, I picked up speed and impressively overtook a tractor (YES!!) but he caught me up again when I took a wrong turn at Glorenza… damn! And still no sign of a village fountain… Then, a convoy of four absolutely immaculate, identical cars passed me – Zoom Zoom Zoom Zoom!… all sleek and shiny, the same beautiful navy blue Merc with distinctive tail lights and Belgian plates… “How weird!” I thought… “Maybe a secret test drive?” Since then, think I’ve correctly identified it as the Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake, available 2012! Sure is pretty! Mmmm… Back to reality, luckily for me the Tubre Pass came and went without too much extra climbing (now that I check the map I can see only three double chevrons on that stretch!), then all of a sudden I realised I was about to cross the border into Switzerland! Eeek! I’d completely forgotten… What if they don’t let me through! I hadn’t thought to bring my passport… well you don’t, do you! I certainly didn’t want to be turned back… As I approached, I could see the Swiss border post was fully manned with strutting officials and a long queue of cars... Eeek! I crept up the inside, hoping they wouldn’t notice me, perhaps still mesmerized by the dazzling Belgian Mercs… Thankfully, I snuck through with a smile and a feeble wave… YES!!! My euphoria was short-lived… In the very next village, my chain came off then roadworks (plus determined Swiss official) dictated that I cycle over fresh, hot tarmac – fortunately I had learned from past experience and carefully checked both tyres, removing all impediments stuck to the extra-tacky soft rubber before carrying on… Intense heat and dehydration now impossible to ignore, I had no choice but to divert up a side road through some trees which offered the only decent shade for miles around… Oh bliss! I cooled off for a few minutes then pushed on again and, much to my delight, less than 2k further on spotted a village fountain… At this point I didn’t care much if it was potable or not so I drank well, doused myself and filled up my two bottles…
Arrivée November 2011
Overseas Overseas Much refreshed, I set off towards Santa Maria where, frankly, I was lucky to find anywhere open at lunchtime (eating/drinking establishment or otherwise) and got my brevet stamped by an Austrian-only speaking concierge. 50m further on, the next left went straight into what seemed like a vertical climb! Eeek! If truth be told, despite a steady 20k climb since Prato, the 13k average 8.5% 1126m ascent of Passo Umbrail from Santa Maria did not seem hard, mostly because it was into a stiff breeze and therefore so much cooler… About 6k in I hit the unmade road to which the Dutchman had alluded – it was shaley but ride-able and, luckily, the gradient was not too steep. After another 4k the tarmac returned but so did the gradient (the most vicious yet with six more double chevrons in 3k)… I knew it was coming so stoked up with my last half banana and sallied forth, only to be greeted by yet another “Wish-I-had-a Ferrari” convoy, displaying the by now familiar, embarrassingly British traits and a plume of dust… Not for the first time that day I feared for my safety, wondering if and how anyone would locate me, should I disappear over the edge on this desolate pass…
Passo Umbrail 2503m
By now it was significantly cooler (and windier) as I struggled up to the Umbrail summit, firmly back in bottom gear… Thankfully the roads were much quieter now and I continued on my way, with majestic, mountain cattle and graceful, soaring eagles as my only companions… The Passo Umbrail is another border post between Switzerland and Italy but this time at the summit there was absolutely no sign of life! Determined to capture proof of my intrepid passage over the legendary Umbrail, I propped my trusty little bike against the altitude sign and took a snap… Bizarrely, a car drew up and some chap emerged brandishing a flask, offering me a cup of lukewarm Arabic coffee (unsweetened, he warned me) which I gratefully accepted. Reciprocal picture-taking done, and super-fuelled with super-strong, lip-puckering Arabic caffeine, I started my descent to Bormio… After 3k, with some surprise I rejoined the Stelvio descent at bend 12 – I’d forgotten this was the route home, then comforted myself that, despite my ambitious 50k diversion and by now feeling quite cold, I had not missed out on experiencing the descent my fellow cyclists had enjoyed earlier that day. Comparing the two descents of Stelvio, I know which I think was more fun… there’s much more swish swish swish on the north side and infinitely more bump, bend, dark on the south… and traffic… I reckon the north side must be the harder climb too, but will save that for another day! As for today, some final swishing on the fantastically smooth, new tarmac for the last 5k back down the valley makes an enjoyable end to an unforgettable, exhilarating ride… Pat Cherry’s Ibex 3 is simply magnificent, starting out from Bormio to Passo dello Stelvio which is described as “the cherry on top of the cake” by Clarkson, Hammond and May when they voted for their greatest driving road in the world… how fitting is that! Thanks Pat!
view up Stelvio south
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Arrivée November 2011
In praise of..... the Marple Grimpeurs Chris Keeling-Roberts
or my attempt at a double AAARTY
t is about half past ten on a Sunday morning in July. The rain is pouring down, there is a strong side wind, visibility is reduced to about 20 metres by the Cheshire hill fog, and on this rather difficult descent down into Kettleshulme my brakes are being fairly ineffective due to the amount of water on the road. I have another 160 kilometres to ride, but I could take a right turn over familiar roads and be home in half an hour. It is an option I consider, if only briefly, but I decide to carry on. Maybe, just maybe, today I will become a proper Audax rider. I am not sure when I first got the idea of attempting a “double AAARTY”, but I suppose the idea crossed my mind when I was able to complete two Permanent Marple Grimpeurs in October 2010. I should have done a Calendar ride in September, when I had entered Autumn in the Peak, but when I woke up that morning there was thick, low cloud over Cobden Edge and heavy rain was falling. It did not look as though the weather was going to improve in the foreseeable future so, not being a proper Audax rider, I went back to bed. The last weekend in September I did the Tour of Britain Stoke ride for the Prostate Cancer Charity. This was the same route as Stage Two of the Tour of Britain, with King of the Mountains points available at Ramshorn, Hollingsclough Moor and Gun Hill, but obviously no AAA points. So I started in October. October 2010 Dark Peak Grimpeur Although rather poor at the beginning, the weather improved towards the middle of the month and, no longer being in full time employment, I was able to choose my days. I started with one of my favourite rides, The Dark Peak Grimpeur. To me, the Dark Peak breaks down into three sections. The first is through Glossop and up Holme Moss from the south side, the middle part is from Langsett, over Strines to Ladybower, and the final section is up Mam Nick before dropping down to Chinley. Holme Moss is probably tougher from the north, and this is the side that is used for the famous Hill Climb. From the south, it is more of a long drag. It starts easily enough, off the Woodhead Road, even with a little downhill, but then ramps up for a few hundred metres before settling down to a steady 8%. You are out in the open here, wild and uncompromising moorland, Heyden Brook a long way down on your left, Black Hill on the horizon and only the sheep and birds to keep you company. A quiet road, no wagons and only the occasional car or speeding motorbike. The television mast on the summit looks down on you rather disdainfully and shows you how far you have to go. There may be a following wind, if you are lucky. Today was meant to be warm and sunny, but it actually turned out to be quite cool and the hill fog was down on the top, which meant a cold descent into Holmfirth. Hill climbers were ascending as I dropped down, and despite the amount of effort they were putting in, they were looking uncomfortably cold in their skin tight lycra. After Holmfirth, there is another climb over Hade Edge, which warmed me up a bit. Then some recovery time in the Bank View Café at Langsett, which has to provide the best egg and bacon muffins anywhere in the world. Wonderful. Goyt Peak Super Grimpeur Three days later, the weather was still good and I felt fit enough to do the Goyt Peak Super Grimpeur. A Super Grimpeur is tough; I think the name gives it away. Over 3,000 metres of climb in just over 100 km means there is not much riding on the flat. There are some very tough climbs. My definition of a very tough climb is one that I start thinking about long before I get to it, and once at the bottom, I am not sure whether I will be able to get to the top without getting off and walking. There are three of these on the Goyt Peak. And then there is another, a fourth, which is Hors Categorie, which I know I have to walk up. You have done 60 kms of the ride before you reach the first of the very tough climbs. This takes you through Macclesfield Forest starting from the Leather Smithy Inn. It is only 2.3 km long and gains 170 metres in height. From the pub, there is a fairly gentle start at about 7%. Open fields on your left, dense coniferous woodland on your right. It then 22
The author climbing out of Combs (photo by Mike Wigley) eases off a bit, no problem so far. After that first kilometre, things get difficult. The road ramps up in front of you, reaching a maximum of over 20%. The trees are on your left now as well, closing in on you threateningly, and the road narrows with steep grassy banks. Every pedal stroke becomes an effort, and you just hope that no large 4x4 comes downhill at you, because you know that there is just not enough room for it to get past, and dismounting now will mean walking the rest of the way. After about 700 metres of hopelessly slow ziggyzagging, the gradient eases a bit, the trees on the left give way to open fields, and relief is at hand. A quick descent down to the Stanley Arms, and there are only three very tough climbs left. November 2010 Mid Peak Grimpeur There was a lot of snow and ice about this month, but there were some days when it was at least dry, and the roads were definitely rideable. The Mid Peak starts with a short, stiff climb out of Marple Bridge, then through Charlesworth to Glossop to reach the A57, the main Manchester to Sheffield road, known as the Snake Pass. It seems a little foolhardy to include such a long section of major road on an Audax ride, but there is never a great deal of traffic going over the Snake, which makes it surprisingly quiet, and enjoyable. It is a well engineered road, with a height gain of 330 metres achieved by a long gradual climb, with a uniform gradient of about 7%. You can establish a steady rhythm in the same gear and keep a good pace. The summit is 5.5 kilometres from the end of the houses in Glossop, which sits below you in the hollow as you climb up onto the open moorland. It can be warm and welcoming up here in summer, but in November it was rather wild and exposed. At the summit you cross the Pennine Way, no walkers today, and then once over the top, there is a long exhilarating descent towards the “Dam Buster” reservoirs at Ladybower. The ride continues with a rather more arduous climb up onto Stannage Edge before the first café stop in Hathersage. Monyash Peak Grimpeur The first significant climb on the Monyash Peak is the Brickworks Climb. It should really be called Backstonedale, but gets it name, surprisingly enough, from the Old Brickworks near the start, close to Pott Shrigley. It is only 3 km and climbs 150 metres at an average of 5.5%. Fifteen minutes should see you over the top. The gradient is fairly gentle to start with, past a small collection of houses and then the tiny industrial estate where the Brickworks are located. The climb ramps up a little bit at an S bend, and then eases off onto a longish straight which gives you Arrivée November 2011
Populaires an opportunity to look around you and appreciate your surroundings. All of a sudden you have left leafy, rural Cheshire behind you and have now reached the Peak District. There are expanses of open moorland here, on either side, with sheep grazing and bracken covered slopes. A sharp bend to the right at Backstonedale Farm, where the slope increases to the maximum of 12%, and then the road passes more farm buildings to reach the summit. On this November day there was a staggering view. Clear blue sky, bright sunshine and sharply defined hills in the distance; Windgather Rocks, Cats Tor and the ridge to Shining Tor, and even the perfect isosceles triangle of Shutlingsloe on the horizon, watching over Macclesfield Forest. Down in the valley, there was fluffy cotton wool cloud obscuring everything, but seeming to invite you down into it. Of course, the harsh reality is that once there, you are enveloped by freezing fog, visibility is reduced to virtually nothing, and you wish you were up on the top again. December 2010 Dark Peak Grimpeur I chose a cool, dry day, one of only a few this month, for another ride over the Dark Peak. The section from Langsett to Ladybower is what I consider the Middle Third. As far as distance is concerned, it is nothing like a third, but when you ride it, it does have its own character, which is very different from the rest of the ride. Look on the OS map and you can see that this section is called Mortimer Road. Apparently, it is named after Hans Winthrop Mortimer, who thought that by putting money into developing this route as a Turnpike Road in the late 18th century, he would make his fortune. Anyone who has ridden this route would have to think that he was at least one cog short of a full cassette. The gradient profile is a classic “saw tooth”, with four steep descents followed by four steep climbs. At the bottom of every descent, there is a sharp hairpin bend. Riding the route on tarmac is technical enough, but what on earth it must have been like for a Coach and Four, in bad weather on a muddy track, beggars belief. Needless to say, by the time that Mortimer had completed his road, there was another, more easterly route, without the climbs and hairpins. This proved more popular, and Mortimer was ruined. Going from north to south is probably easier than the reverse, but either way keeps your attention the whole time. You need to keep concentrating, especially for each hairpin, and make sure you are in your lowest gear for the climb which comes immediately afterwards. You tend to keep a mental note of how many you have done, and how many there are left. Once you get to the Strines Inn, you have done most of the work, though there is still an exposed uphill section, where the chances are you are riding into a headwind across the moor. Once through Strines, there is a little jink past Ladybower, through Aston and on to Edale. The Penny Pot café here is a very welcoming stop, with a good pot of tea and excellent cake. Unfortunately, this being a Tuesday in December, it was shut, so I had to nip into The Rambler Inn for a quick pint of shandy and a packet of peanuts. Refreshing, but not quite the same. West Peak Grimpeur For someone who is not a proper Audax rider, the weather in December was not really conducive to long distance cycling and I was beginning to think that I would have to be content with just the one ride. However, at the end of the month, there was a brief improvement. I thought that New Year’s Eve was a rather odd day to do a ride, but it was obviously my last chance, so why not? On the West Peak there is another steep climb out of Macclesfield Forest, this time to the east. This runs almost parallel to the other climb on the Goyt Peak, but is a few hundred metres south. It is very similar but not quite as steep, and does not feel quite as enclosed. It still requires a little bit of ziggy-zaggy near the top but there is not the doubt hanging over you that you won’t make it. The first café stop is at Meerbrook, where the service tends to be a bit slow, but there is a very full menu. There was a small group of walkers on the table next to me who were having the Full English, with eggs, bacon, mushrooms, beans and the rest. I felt very envious and thought I had made a mistake with my choice of fruit scone and a pot of tea.
Arrivée November 2011
The top of the Mam Nick climb, Dark Peak Grimpeur Half an hour later, on the steep climb out of Thorncliffe up to the Mermaid, I was convinced that I had made the right decision. The Mermaid has quite a reputation, and although you don’t start right at the beginning, you have really been climbing since Meerbrook, albeit only rather gently. At Thorncliffe there is a sharp left hand turn at a T-junction, where you lose any momentum you might have had, as you hit the hardest part of the climb where the gradient is about 15%. It eases off a little bit, but there is a steady 13-14% gradient for nearly 2 kilometres. This is hard work. Over on the left there are great views of Hen Cloud and the Roaches, gritstone outcrops on the western edge of the Staffordshire Peak, excellent walking and running country. However, you tend to concentrate on the tarmac ahead of you, perhaps trying to gain on any rider ahead of you on a Calendar ride, but generally slipping further behind. On this New Year’s Eve there was not anyone in front of me to focus on, and only the occasional car or motorbike coming past. Once at the summit, there is the relief of gentle downhill to the Mermaid itself, once a pub but now holiday cottages, before the right turn and a long exhilarating descent to Warslow. January 2011 Hopey New Year I treated myself to a new bike for Christmas, a Sabbath Silk Route. This is more of an Audax bike, with a triple ring at the front, a more relaxed riding position, winter tyres and mudguards. It has that rather unassuming look that only Titanium can give, and feels a bit more solid on descents, especially when there’s a side wind. I had only done one short 20 km ride on it before I decided to ride it on the first Calendar event of the year from Bradwell. Hopey New Year is not a Marple Grimpeur, and has a different feel to it. You need to be a bit circumspect about putting on any hilly ride in the Peak in January, and David Darricott allows for this by using a few more main roads, which are less likely to be affected by snow and ice. We were lucky with the weather, dry and not too cold. The start is relatively flat out to the first control at Ashbourne, before a long climb up the A523 to the Windy Ridge Café. There were a lot of riders here, and a bit of a wait for beans on toast, so it gave me an opportunity to talk to Peter Bond. Peter is a bit like me, someone who has done more in the way of fell running before starting to ride seriously, fairly late in life. I told him that I had only bought a bike three years ago, and was unaware of Audax until an orienteering friend of mine had suggested that I might enjoy some of the rides from Marple. “Ah, but did he warn you how addictive it can be?” Peter asked me. I had to confess that he hadn’t. The new bike is heavier than my Bianchi, and with the increased rolling resistance it does take longer to do a hilly 100 km. However, it did handle very well on the long, swooping descent down into Bradwell at the end of the ride. It was starting to get dark now, and certainly rather chilly with perhaps just a little ice forming on the road. After a very welcome bowl of soup, I cycled back to Hope Station and got the train 23
Populaires to Marple. White Peak Grimpeur A week later, the weather was fairly settled and although it was a bit windy at times, I found a good enough day to ride the White Peak. This has perhaps the most vicious start of any of the Marple rides, with four significant climbs coming one after the other. Right at the start there is the long drag up Longhurst Lane, a slight variation on the Calendar event. After a steep descent down Briargrove into Thornsett, there is another stiff climb up under Lantern Pike, before dropping down into Hayfield, and immediately starting another climb up to Peep O’ Day on the Glossop to Chapel road. There is then a long, fast descent down to Chinley before the hardest of the climbs, up through Wash to Rushup Edge. This is a narrow little road, often with a lot of grit and gravel on the surface and a bit of grass growing down the middle. There are three chevrons on the OS map in quick succession, and although the gradient does ease from time to time to allow you to recover, I generally spend a fair bit of time out of the saddle. Rather less today with the triple ring. The gradient eases considerably once the main road from Chapel is reached, and the views of Rushup Edge open out. By the time I get to turn off down the Pennine Cycleway, I have been cycling for the best part of an hour and a quarter to cover 20km. Slow going indeed. The riding does get easier after this, with a beautiful, but rather short, section through Perry Dale, before reaching Tideswell. There is still the climb of Monsall Head to do before a well earned stop at Hobb’s Café, which does a wonderfully spicy toasted tea cake. February 2011 Goyt Peak Super Grimpeur After a few days holiday in the Lakes without either bike, I came back to do Goyt Peak Super Grimpeur again. I think I must have entered this by mistake, as I wasn’t sure I was strong enough to tackle it again. It took me a long time to get round, with nearly seven hours of actual cycling. Once you are through Macclesfield Forest, there is a short climb from the Stanley Arms before you cross the Cat and Fiddle road and drop down to Lamaload Reservoir. This is a very steep descent, with a couple of nearly blind bends and a rather uneven road surface. You can almost hear the brake blocks wearing down and it’s always a relief to negotiate it successfully. Then there is the ascent of Pym Chair, the second very tough climb. Short but brutal. It starts after another short, steep descent from Nab End, where the road crosses Todd Brook. 500 metres of 10% gets you to Jenkin Chapel, a tiny stone building. Nothing too bad so far. The road flattens for an instant as you turn sharp right around the chapel and see most of the rest of the climb ahead of you. 1200 metres of fairly unremitting 13 or 14%. Two chevrons on the OS map. It seems to ease a little before the only hairpin, but then the last 500 metres seem to take for ever. A bit of ziggy-zaggy required, and certainly take the wrong side of the road on the outside of the bend, or you won’t get round. Great views of the Cats Tor – Shining Tor ridge over on your right go unnoticed as you concentrate on the road ahead of you, and keeping your pedals turning. Sheer relief at the top. Now you can look around a little as you start the exhilarating descent down under Windgather Rocks. Dark Peak Grimpeur Near the end of the month the weather was good enough for the Dark Peak again. There was building work in progress at Bank View café, but business as usual. Again, the egg and bacon muffin was unbelievably good, almost sufficient to justify the ride by itself. The National Trust Penny Pot Café in Edale was shut, so I decided on a pint of shandy in The Rambler Inn before tackling Mam Nick. I am not sure whether the rest at the bottom of Mam Nick is a good thing or not. It certainly gives your legs a little time to recover, but at the same time you tend to spend too long thinking about the climb ahead of you, and perhaps exaggerating it in your own mind. After the village of Barber Booth, a sharp left hand bend brings you to the bottom of the climb. A long stretch to start with of 10% before the first gentle left hander, after which the gradient eases off a little. Another gentle left hander before a right hander introduces a section of 16%. I need to get out of the saddle now and then to keep the momentum going, and even do a little ziggy-zagging. The reward, on a good day, is wonderful views eastwards down the Hope Valley, with 24
The summit of the Jenkin Chapel - Pym Chair climb, Goyt Peak Super Grimpeur the Kinder massive on your left, and the Great Ridge of Mam Tor to Win Hill ahead of you and to the right. There may be a following wind. After a gentle S bend, the gradient ramps up to 17%, before the last double horseshoe and the summit. You go over the top very quickly, through the narrow gap, a short descent to the junction, and then after a gentle uphill along the back of Rushup Edge, a quick descent towards Chapel. Nearly home now. March 2011 Stannage Surprise At the start of March there was an opportunity for a calendar event in the Peak, not a Marple Grimpeur, but a very similar event, with some of the same climbs. The forecast was meant to be good, but unfortunately the moment you started climbing out of Hathersage up towards the Gliding Club at Abney, you were into the mist and visibility from then on was generally very poor. To be on the safe side, I rode with lights on all day. Most of the climb on this event seems to come right at the end. This final ascent starts off close to the reservoirs at Ladybower, by Lydgate Farm, and initially is the same as on the Mid Peak, underneath Bamford Edge up Bole Hill. This is steep to start with, but then eases up and there is even a downhill section under Stanage Edge. Once Hook’s Car Park is reached the routes diverge and instead of descending into Hathersage, you turn left and continue the climb up to Burbage Moor. This seems to go on forever, perhaps because generally the summit is in sight from some distance away. On a fine day, there are cars parked by the side of the road, and walkers making their way up Higger Tor, but today the whole area seemed deserted. Of course, the limited visibility added to that impression, and by now there was heavy rain being swept into my face. Once over the top, the descent into Ringing Low was hardly any better, the wind and rain slowing progress. Back on the main Hathersage – Sheffield road, the “Surprise View” after which the event takes its name, was unfortunately not in evidence, obscured by the hill fog. At least by now the wind was behind me. Monyash Grimpeur Six days later, I had the opportunity to ride round the Monyash Grimpeur again. I was running this as a Calendar Event over Easter, and thought I should check the route details and warn people at the café stops. Once through Whaley Bridge, there is the short sharp climb out of Combs. Combs itself is a lovely little village, sheltering in the lee of Combs Edge, and boasting a wonderful pub, The Beehive. After a long walk round the Edge, there is nothing better than sitting outside the pub in the evening sunshine, retracing your route on the map, gazing at the view and supping a pint or two. Today, however, there is no time to stop at the pub, but instead I take the climb up to Castle Naze. This is a narrow road, with a rough gravelly surface, and no opportunity to squeeze past any white van coming down. It starts off not too steep, a sharp left hand bend, then a short straight up to a steep hairpin. It’s about 15% here, and I only just Arrivée November 2011
Populaires manage to keep pedalling. There is a short stretch of tarmac off to the right which leads to a farmhouse, and occasionally I use this get my breath back and some of the lactic acid out of my legs, before returning to finish the climb. I was planning on doing that on the Calendar Event last year, but unfortunately Mike Wigley was there with his camera, and I just had to keep going and try and manage a smile. Once over the top by Castle Naze, where you might see the occasional rock climber, there is a rough descent before a further sharp climb, although this is not nearly as challenging as the original one. Then drop down to Dove Holes, cross the A6, and move on to Tideswell and Monsal Dale. The climb up to Monsal Head is used as a Hill Climb, and has a bit of a reputation, but in reality is nothing very much and is over quite quickly. The café at the top has been mentioned before! To be continued…
Trevil Travail photos by Tony Pember
Arrivée November 2011
Clare Greenwood 25
Cotswolds Corker Perm 5th January 2011 (look back at winter, on a sunny spring day)
cycled the Cotswold Corker Permanent in April 2011, it was a warm, sunny day, winds were light, and I was on my summer machine. How easy it seemed, with the elements on my side. I have been riding this event for my AAA RRTY for the last 12 months. Whilst cycling along, I thought of my winter rides, and one in particular. My account of the ride follows. I set out yesterday morning to attempt my Corker perm ride for January. I turned around halfway up Sudley Hill as it was sheet ice, and had a coffee in Winchcombe before returning home. After watching the weather reports last night, ice did not seem to be the problem for today. So off I set again leaving Bishop Cleeve at 9.20am after queuing in the post office for my card to be stamped. I have tried unsuccessfully to go around this ride using post office stamps as proof of passage; there always seem a post office closed or stamp not working. Anyway, it seemed relative mild and no ice on the roads. Things were going well although I was getting buffeted by the very strong wind and this was hampering my average speed. On descending into Northleach a hailstorm hit me and my face felt like 100 needles were trying their best to get into my skin. The prison café was a welcome relief and I had a coffee with beans on toast followed by cake which was very
I arrived at 4pm and it was still light, 6hrs and 40mins after I left Bishops Cleeve. A quick fill in of my card, a photocopy at the library, into the post office and then into Tesco for a coffee before the final leg home. Strange as this may seem, I rather enjoyed my day. At last I had the complete set of post office stamps and that’s a first. Tomorrow is bike cleaning and if the weather is fit, cycle out to meet the CTC for coffee.
photos Tim Wainwright & Mark Green
Arabella Maude & Mark Brooking
much needed. I had decided this would be my only stop. I was now kitted in my Bryan Chapman 600 gear (overshoes, waterproof trousers/ jacket/gloves, and full balaclava) and for some time the ride felt like the descent of Pen-y-pass a couple of years ago. By Bisley the rain was easing, and I always feel I have cracked the ride when I reach there. The next section to Andoversford was rather mucky in places, and from there it is one of my favourite lanes before returning to Winchcombe and the climb up Cleeve Hill.
AUKS on Roc Trevezel
Arrivée November 2011
Review of Sturmey Archer Cassette Brake Chris Wilby
Rims cost a lot of money and if you do a lot of cycling they often have to be replaced. It’s difficult to always know when exactly to replace them as you want to get as many miles as you can, but if you misjudge the time to replace they can fail when you are riding, usually when braking, it would be one brake too far. Also as the rim wears the brake pads need adjustments to allow for the wear of pad and metal. Rim wear is most severe in wet weather and brakes are also noisy from grit wearing between rim and pad. Some cyclists keep a winter bike with hub or disc brakes for the winter months to keep down costs. To have long lasting rims braking must be applied somewhere else other than the rims. This is done using discs, drum or roller brakes. The most commonly seen are discs, mainly on mountain bikes, but many road bikes are being seen with these fitted. It’s not surprising considering the cost of rims. For discs to be used the frame needs to be built with mountings for the discs on the rear stays and front forks. Using hub braking does not require special mounts on the rear stays or forks. Drums are often used on tandems due to their sustained braking on descents. They will get hot but not on the rims where tyres can be damaged due to excessive heat. Sturmey Archer have manufactured hub brakes for years, often included with a hub gear. More recently, Sturmey Archer have developed a hub brake for gear cassette fitting so that cyclists can use their full range of gears from a derailler system instead of an internal geared hub. The rear brake hub cassette has complimented my front hub brake combined dynamo unit so I now have a full rim wear-less bike. The experience of using a hub brake is more reliable (there is virtually no maintenance) and can be sustained down long descents without worry of collapsing brake pads or rim heating up enough to blow the tyres. They do get hot but all the heat is not on the rim. The only downsides to the drum brake are the greater difficulty of removing the rear wheel due to a bolt that has to be removed and also the additional weight. To avoid rim wear you can use disc brakes or these drum brakes. A disc system is lighter by 200g (approx) but this may be equivalent to the extra supports on the rear stays for the disc. Arrivée November 2011
Weight of Hope mono hub = 335g Diacomp caliper brakes = 190g Total = 525g Weight of new hub brake = 995g Difference = 470gms or M252 Deore hub 449gms Avid BB5 MTB 160mm 2011 disc brake = 335g Total = 784g Difference = 211g plus weight of braze-ons for the disc. Problems • Harder to remove wheel – extra nut to undo • Supplied as bolted threaded shaft stronger without quick release. • Weight – adds 1lb. • 36 spokes only Benefits • All-weather braking • Silent braking • Zero maintenance – pads last the life of the bike • No rim wear • No rim heat on descents
So. PBP2011. How was it for me? Paul Stewart
’d signed on for PBP with rather mixed feelings. All the reports were that it wasn’t a great route but I should go ‘for the atmosphere’. This appeal rather passed me by as I like great routes but can do without great crowds and ‘atmosphere’. Hype and hoopla simply turn me off, a layer of stress I can do without. That was definitely the case in 2007. I’d had a great 2006 and was looking forward to an even better 2007 but it was not to be. My frame broke 350km into my 600km qualifier, The Brian Chapman Memorial, which was a great disappointment, so I borrowed a friend’s tourer for The Beast from the East the following weekend. This was the first time I had ridden a geared bike in 18 months – I normally ride fixed – and I eventually packed at 450km, chasing the clock, fed up and knowing I was headed towards a major storm front. My last opportunity to qualify was another Welsh ride (Two Transporter Bridges), and I climbed off after the 150km feed stop that wasn’t, feeling tired and unmotivated. Shooing my ride companions down the road I settled for a verge side nap and then headed for the nearest train station and home, feeling a massive weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I was free; I didn’t have to go to Paris after all. Roll on four years and it’s 2011. I’m on another good year, so it’s time to get the monkey off my back and sign on for PBP, if only to stop people telling me, “I had to ride PBP” “for the atmosphere”. By the time August came round I had two Welsh 600s under my belt and finished off my preparation with a three day 600km outing in Wales & Shropshire based around the Heart of Wales 300km. Not exactly what the training manual recommended but what the heck, I just ride my bike. After a tough weekend I generally need some time off to recharge and remotivate, and consequentially I’d hardly touched my bike prior to setting out for Paris ten days later. My plan was to ride down to Newhaven to catch the overnight ferry to Dieppe then roll down to Paris in one hop on a AUK 200km ‘GPS DIY’ Perm. I figured there would be plenty of time to recover whilst hanging around for registration. The joke was that it was only 170km to Paris so I made up the distance with a loop round the forest area south of Guyancourt. I had not reckoned on this including some stiff climbs, and I arrived at my lodgings feeling a tadge glassy eyed and thinking ‘if I feel like this after 200km…’ I was staying with a local family in Guyancourt, arranged via the accommodation exchange on the PBP website and had a lift home with clubmate Jonny Gray, all of which was a great success. I had considered riding home but this was my first outing over 600km and I didn’t know what sort of shape I’d be in; sometimes discretion is the better part of valour. But I get ahead of myself, because I fell at the first hurdle by accepting a lift down to Newhaven from Garry Broad. Partly because my mind wasn’t right to ride down – it was A Level results day and I was focused on my daughter who missed her grades but within a couple of hours had a place at a good university through Clearing (hurrah!), and partly because it was bucketing down with rain when I was due to leave. So, collapse of stout party. On the ferry were a dozen of so cyclists of which half were Paris bound; including AUKs Marcus Jackson Baker (who shamed me by riding down from West London through the rain), ‘Welsh’ Bryan from Swansea (with full camping kit) and Willesden C.C. legend, Mike ‘The Bike’ Ellison. After an uneventful crossing which garnered a couple of hours fitful sleep on the floor underneath the reclining chairs, we were decanted into France. Mike was on a two day ride schedule and elected to wait at the ferry terminal until dawn, so it was just the four of us that set off into the dark. Dawn came and we breakfasted at a general store, then split into two groups, Marcus and I pushing on whilst Garry and Bryan took things more sedately. Before setting off, I ‘turned my wheel round’, changing my gearing from 70” to 78”, instantly giving me another couple of km/hr; I needed it to keep up with Marcus who was to finish PBP in 76 hrs (chapeau!). As I was ‘on a ride’ I lead the way, following a GPS track provided by Steve Abrahams who was leading a group down over two days; I wondered if we would catch them up, some chance! The route was
‘rolling flat’ though it seemed we were riding across a series of high plateaus, as every now and then we dropped into a river valley only to climb out again. We made good time to our lunch stop at Vernon (Steve’s sleep stop), where we crossed the Seine and rode out along the main road which tracked the river. After a while I realized I had missed a turn off the main road which climbed up the hill to our right; the upside was my GPS hinted that if we continued along the main road for a while we might miss the hill completely, so that is what we did. Inevitably things went pear shaped as we – I – got confused looking for the road that would take us back on route and we ended up on a motorway access road (“Direction Peage”) which crossed over the road we were looking for. Cue traditional scramble down the embankment!
This jolly jape was compounded when Marcus found he had acquired a puncture whilst carrying his bike down, so we had another hiatus whilst he fixed that. Full marks to Marcus for staying cheerful through all this, though I noticed he paid a bit more attention to his own GPS thereafter! Once back on route we pushed on to the outskirts of Guyancourt and I went on to complete my excursion and find my lodgings. Next day was registration day. I nearly failed the bike check by failing to have any batteries in my front battery light (Doh!). Happily my dynamo was deemed good enough and I was waved through. The whole registration process was very slick and I was ‘done’ inside half and hour. Arrivée November 2011
PBP The whole place was buzzing and there were lots of people to chat with. Eventually Jo Wood, Rod Dalitz, Matt Chambers, Matt Haigh and I went off for a picnic in a local park which was très jolie.
I had a good feed. The food at the controls wasn’t great and seemed expensive to me. I think this is due to the lack of a ‘Tesco/Price Cutter’ culture in France. In the UK we are used to cheap food being available more or less everywhere from local stores. In France it seems that excepting large towns with supermarkets, food comes from specialized butchers, bakers, tabacs, etc., so people are used to paying more, and doubtless there is some rounding to the nearest Euro. What’s for sure is that if UK controls charged £2 for a mug of tea there would be a riot, and 1.50EUR for a can of coke just seemed wrong. Still, 1EUR for soup and a roll was a bargain. Next stop was Fougere where I ran into Lindsay Clayton, Peter Turnball and Els Vermeulen. Finding the restaurant had a 30 minute I deployed my best linguistic skills and led the way to the cafeteria in the LeClerc supermarket five minutes along the route. We had a very pleasant lunch and I felt in good form, though I could feel my knees glowering under the table. Happily nothing actually hurt and I was still ‘good to go’. After our meal I headed off to get some tuck for my saddlebag and as I queued to pay saw my companions heading off. Harrumph! Back on the road I set to chase them down and covered the 54km stage in under two hours. I call this, ‘The Lindsay Effect’!
The following day was ride day. I hung around in my lodgings until after lunch then headed off to see what there was to see. I chatted with Phil Chadwick and other AUKs at the start banner where the 80hr Vedettes were assembling for their 4pm depart – Phil was on the 84hr Randonneur start on Monday morning – then went in search of the restaurant for my pre-event meal and the ‘Audax England’ group shot. Some foreigners insisted on joining us for the photo.
Afterwards, those who hadn’t eaten did and we hung around the square killing time. I was with the 90hr Touristes who would start from 6pm in groups of 500, and was aiming to be away around 8~8:30. When we reached the stadium I inspected the queue and waved to assorted AUKs, then sat on the bleachers until things started moving, chatting with Steve Poulton and others who were assembling for the 9pm free start. Then, finally, sometime around 8:30, we were off. The first 15km whizzed by as we streamed along perfect tarmac and through red lights before settling into the ride as we left town for the rolling countryside. I was still on my 78” gear but making good time so stuck with it. The first food control was at Mortagne-Au-Perche, 140km away, a long hop but concerns about water were dispelled when we encountered groups of spectators who filled our bottles. Fabtastic. I was mostly on my own for this stage but rode for a while with Seattle Randonneur Chris Heg who was interested in the AUK system of GPS DIY Perms, and later with a group of Slovenians. That was one of my high points of the event actually. They were running a double pace line and hacking along at 35~40km/hr. It felt pretty good, sitting in the bunch, streaming effortlessly through the night. I don’t get many opportunities to ride like this in the UK, but the long rolling flat roads suited my fixed gear perfectly and meant I could just slot in. Eventually I had to let them go as I couldn’t quite match the group when it splintered and reformed on long descents. Montagne was bursting when I got there but the queue moved and
Arrivée November 2011
Aware I was rather dallying at controls I bounced the next stop – Tinteniac – to push on to Loudeac. Along the way I came across Mark Brooking and Arabella Maude who were riding a Tandem Trike giving a masterclass in ‘Bus Shelter Sleeping Techniques, Audaxers for the use of’. After attacking a descent I was halfway up the following hill when I thought, no, I’ve got to go back and record this. Mark is such a gentleman, offering Arabella the top bunk.
I arrived in Loudeac as night fell. This had been a long haul, pushing on against a rising road and headwind. By now I’d been on the road for 26 hours, awake for 38, and the strain was starting to tell. After checking in I came over all emotional whilst walking round to the cafeteria and leant against a wall for a quick sob. As it happens, another rider later volunteered a similar experience, which just goes to show; ‘we do these things not because they are easy’. In the cafeteria I found Simon Proven and Lara Day who were just about to head on, and Matt Chambers who I was to ride with off and on from here on. I had been planning to sleep at Loudeac but it felt too early to stop, so Matt and I pushed on to Carhaix, buoyed by the passing of the rain which had started as I reached Loudeac. The road started to kick upwards and I stalled on a climb which rather forced me to turn my wheel back to 70”. I regrouped with Matt at a tented coffee stop at the top of the climb then lost him again on the descent; all part of the fun of riding fixed. All the while a great electric storm rumbled in the distance and lit the night air. It was only later that it started to rain, but I was happy enough, riding in shorts and mitts with my eVent jacket over a short sleeve jersey. Sitting in with the next groupetto, I rolled through the sleep control at St. Nicolas du Pelem which proved a mistake as sleep deprivation started to kick in soon after, causing me to stop every few kilometres. This was worrying as up till now whilst I’d rather dallied at controls I’d managed to keep the bike moving reasonably well on the road. 29
PBP Carhaix was a zoo, full of exhausted riders queuing for food, and I became terribly confused as to how long I had to get to Brest. I was convinced we had only 40 hours to get to Brest, which for me meant arriving at noon, which left me 8 hours to ride the remaining 85km; easy, except if my speed continued to fall I would be in danger of missing the cut. Steve Abrahams and Liam Fitzgerald assured me I had until 2~3pm which was what my ride schedule said though I didn’t understood why. Taking their word for it I grabbed an hour’s sleep under a table before leaving with Liam who was looking really rough in a rugged sort of way (nothing like a buff round a stubbly neck for that hombre look), grateful for his company at this crucial stage. Matt appeared soon after and we rode out together, which was good. I was more than happy to sit in whilst they led the way, chatting.
Rogue’s Crêpe Stall about 20km on. Whilst we paid due ....minding my homage to Paul’s crêpes, Sophie Matter passed on her own business, slumped “Type Hollandaise” heavy upright bike. Back on the over the bars, a voice called road with Matt I wondered when/if we would catch out asking if I was OK. her. It was not until the long wooded climb before “Just tired”, I called back. Villaines Au Juhal that she came back into view. My 70” gear sure loved that stretch of road and I gradually “My name is Michele, grab pulled away to ride on my own for a while until I my wheel” said the voice. caught up with an Assos clad German racing whippet Knowing a lifeline when I (whose name I didn’t get, très annoying). He was a see – hear - it, that’s what I real nice guy – as was everybody I met in fact – and did, and made the effort to we chatted as we finished the climb and rolled onto ride myself awake. Chatting Villaines, which had pulled out all the stops for a real race carnival atmosphere. to my new friend, I said this was my first 1200. “Mine I left Villaines as dusk fell with Daniel Webb, Alex Greenbank and Julian Williams and other AUKs too”, she commiserated, thinking I’d ‘sit in’ but found myself off the front and “though I did a 3000 last working to reel in the next group which turned out to year. Not Audax though”. I be Jim Gresty, Judith Swallow and Edwin Hargraves was riding with RAAM rider (on trike). It was a joy to slot in beside Jim, as Judith Michele Santihano, 3rd and Edwin maintained a fast steady pace along with Woman home in 2010..... a running commentary on anything and everything.¹
The mood leaving Carhaix was cheerful yet rather subdued; everybody seemed to be steeling themselves for the final push to Brest. At dawn we found ourselves climbing the Roc Trévezel, a gert big long hill shrouded in the densest fog I’ve ever ridden in. It wasn’t especially steep but I began to fall behind and then stop every few minutes. Whilst minding my own business, slumped over the bars, a voice called out asking if I was OK. “Just tired”, I called back. “My name is Michele, grab my wheel” said the voice. Knowing a lifeline when I see – hear - it, that’s what I did, and made the effort to ride myself awake. Chatting to my new friend, I said this was my first 1200. “Mine too”, she commiserated, “though I did a 3000 last year. Not Audax though”. I was riding with RAAM rider Michele Santihano, 3rd Woman home in 2010 and owner of a fantasy bucket list of palmarès from other endurance sports. Awsum. After a while we passed Matt and Liam who had pulled over to wait for me in the fog (good for them, though that didn’t stop me cheerfully calling out as we passed, “Well, I’m not waiting for you!”). Once over the top of the Roc, I lost Michele into the fog and regrouped with Matt and Liam to mooch down to Sizun for coffee and pastries.
The run-in to Brest was a bit of a grind and once over the bridge we had to navigate the docklands and then flog upwards through the morning traffic to the centre of town. It was all a bit much really. Finally we reached the control and the job was done. Well, half done, but now the pressure was off; whilst it had taken almost 40 hours to get to Brest we had more than 50 to get back. So a coffee and ham roll and then for me a short sleep on the mats stacked along a wall. I’m not sure how long I was out but when I came to Matt and Liam had pushed on to be replaced by Mark and Arabella who wrapped a space blanket around me; I obviously gave the impression I needed a little TLC though I felt well enough. The space blanket felt good though, like wearing an electric blanket. After a while we set to leave but it took a while for me to find my bike and get back to the sortie, and by then they had pushed on (their tandem trike parks itself where it wants). I eventually caught them at Sizun having a snack under a marquee, joining them for a while before wandering into the local Pharmacie for some antiseptic cream as I was starting to feel a little tender. I next ran into Matt, Mark & Arabella at Fougere where I learnt of Paul 30
We joined the throng at the store in Saint Remey Du Val serving coffee and pastries and then pushed on, but after a while I fell off my perch and let them go. Ah well. Still I was miles along the road, and I pushed on, working through groups of riders to Mortagne.
Mortagne was bursting when I arrived, the cafeteria full of riders eating and sleeping wherever. I met Peter Turnbull at the door and we split duties in the bar and food queue. After eating I curled up beside a wall for an hours sleep, then it was back into the night. The countryside was flattening out now and I pushed on hard, eager to make Dreux, the last control. Dawn had an ethereal feel as the road was full of cyclists pushing on quietly. Nearly done now.
At Dreux I regrouped with Matt and we pootled along together towards Paris, relaxed now the ride was ‘morally over’, counting riders faffing about by the roadside. Sleeping riders didn’t count but anybody mucking about with saddle bags or stopped for no valid reason did. We got up to about 25, half what I predicted. I added a couple of faff stops of my own to make busy with some cream, and started to feel grateful we were on the last stage. We stopped to admire a herd of horses galloping about a field, looking magnificent in the morning sunshine, and later a baby black boar trotting up and down a country road next to a wood, clearly a bit confused by all the cyclists on the road. Along the way we passed and were overtaken and then passed again Simon and Lara who were dawdling in search of that elusive 88.55+ finish which would qualify them for a Adrian Hands Société jersey. Then it was the final run in to the finish to the adulation of the cheering crowds (!), check in and, err, that’s it really. Boof, finished, done, go home. I hung around for a while to claim my free boisson then pushed off to my lodgings to clean up and get some sleep before supper. I was simply too tired to hang around and chat. On the way out I met Mark Hummerstone who had been on the 80hr start and finished the day before. I am not worthy. My time was 89:05, so I can have a Adrian Hands jersey if I want, but what the heck, who cares about the time; my goal was simply to get round. Job done. Thinking back, the thing that strikes me most is how fast the week passed. It was a full on experience from start to finish which in
Arrivée November 2011
Dan Howard & Simon Tibbets
retrospect passed in a flash, so much so that once passed Brest I was having to remind myself to look around and savor the ride because soon it would be over. The atmosphere was pretty cool too, from the buzz created by the size and international nature of the event to the thousands of French helpers and supporters at the controls and roadside. Later, when I told my wife about my week, she said, “It was quite a big deal, wasn’t it.” “Yes”, I agreed, “It was.” I was riding a Pearson Touche fixed wheel bike with 44x15/17 on 25mm Continental GP 4 Seasons tyres and drop handlebars. I had a SON dynohub with Solidlights DB2 lights and carried my gear in a Carradice Camper saddlebag on SQR mount (about 5kg including saddlebag). Overall, I had circa 6 hours sleep, mostly on the floor at controls which seemed comfy enough at the time. No punctures. About two hours light rain and two hours dense morning fog. Winds were generally light and temperatures moderate to warm. Too warm for legwarmers even at night, I wore my eVent jacket over a short sleeved jersey for long periods, especially on the return. I had a complete change of clothes with me but only changed my shorts. Another change would have been nice. Next time I’ll take two pairs or do the wear and wash thing, or maybe just ride faster. Keeping my overshoes on and not changing my socks was a mistake. When I finally took my shoes off they ponged and my feet were starting to melt (lovely) but this didn’t affect my ride. Generally I finished in good form apart from some mild soreness in my left achilles and a little road buzz in my left hand.
1 Judith said, “I was much improved” and that she was “quite impressed” (I could keep up). That’s the AUK equivalent of a knighthood, that is!
PBP photos from Tim Wainwright
Space blanket at Brest
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Three Towers and Middle Earth 125K Audax Sunday 14th August 2011
125K of riding around the lanes of south Somerset and parts of the Somerset levels. Not too many hills in that part of the county and the levels have the flattest roads in the west country. The ride should be a walk in the park, an easy day’s ride. Or was it.........? The start was in the Community Centre in North Petherton just off the M5 and about 45 had turned up for the ride. CTC Devon have ten members supporting the event. John Thacker, Mike Steer and Chris Burton from Exeter. Derek and Ursula Gibbings, Chris and Jackie Whatley, Lee Atkinson, Anna Reffel and myself from the Torbay section. While driving up from Torbay I decided that I wouldn’t join the quick group at the start to charge all the way for the first 25k with just the rear wheel of the rider in front to concentrate on as we travel along the flat lanes to Langport. Without really seeing any of the scenery. Well you know what happens, As we go out of the start at 8.30 I find myself tucked behind a group, hanging onto a back wheel and if the speed drops below 20 mph we must be going up a hill. This goes on beside the canals, through minor villages and past Othery tower, the first of the three towers. After Langport I take a different approach to the ride by dropping off the back and continue at a more steady pace to Somerton, mostly main road with a couple of short climbs which you don’t need to get into the small ring to get over. The route then takes us through some minor roads around West Charlton and onto Sparkford for the first control at Haynes Motor Museum. 42K covered and not a hill to write home about. Stopped here before on other Audaxes and the way other riders are tucking in suggests that the route is going to change to a more hilly format. Leaving the control, roads start with some climbs and in the far distance we started to see a tower on the top of a group of hills. This would be Alfred’s Tower in the Stourhead Estate and the second tower on the event. Lanes start to become a bit steeper as we start the climb up to the tower. At first short and not too steep but things change as we get nearer to the top and the gradient turns to 1 in 5 . Now thinking that I should have had that extra Weetabix for breakfast - it would have got me over the top but must admit to walking the last few yards. Finally make the top and sort out the answer for the card then it’s along the top of the hill to the Hunting Lodge then join the roads taking you to Bruton. Two towers down, one to go. Coming out of Bruton after working out their one way system the road goes on a long, long way to find a ‘T’ junction to take us to the second control in Ditcheat. It’s one of those roads that seems to go on forever and you think you’ve missed the turn, but as it’s a ‘T’ junction you’re looking for I suppose you can’t miss one of those. Quite a lot of riders in the control when I arrive tucking into tea and cakes, I didn’t stop too long as with 80K covered I like to get on with the remaining 45 to the finish. Route has been changed from previous years. Instead of going over to Glastonbury for the third tower you view it from a distance while climbing over Walton hill and joining the main roads the other side of Street. This saves you having to ride in the heavy Sunday traffic through Glastonbury and Street. 32
Joining the A39 at the Piper’s Inn then turning onto to A361 heading for Barrowbridge. Roads fairly flat now but a bit of a head wind has picked up. Every village you come to you think is Barrowbridge, but No, you press on to the next one, would be helpful if the organisers gave us some indication as to how far it is from the Inn and the village. Finally arriving in the village, going over the bridge and turning right to follow the roads we used coming out from the start to get back to North Petherton just after three. Some were coming in a bit late, it seems they missed the turn in Barrowbridge and travelled several miles out of their way, including a friend of mine who used to teach map reading !!!. Nice ride with sunny, rain free weather and I suppose that hill up to Alfreds Tower wasn’t too bad when you thought about it. Hope you put the ride on again next year and I’ll see if we can get a few more to come up from Devon.
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Populaires John Thacker
Three Towers and Middle Earth photos: Geoff Sharpe
photos by Tim Wainwright and Mark Green
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PBP 2011 photos by Tim Wainwright and Mark Green Richard Berry
PBP 2011 Pavel Zarovskiy
Robert McCready & Ewen Riddell
photos by Tim Wainwright and Mark Green Stephen Main
view down the Aspin east side
Atlantic to Med across the Pyrenees
iding from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea across the spine of the Pyrenees, crossing the legendary cols of the Tour de France, must be one of the most perfect lines and inspiring challenges in cycling. The best known traverse is the “Raid Pyrennean” which allows 100 hours (4 days 4 hours) to make the crossing in either direction. Distance is 720km (450miles) with at least 11000m (36000 ft) ascent over the prescribed climbs. The route across the Pyrenees also lends itself to a terrific cyclotourist experience which generally takes a couple of weeks to complete, carrying panniers as ballast. My personal introduction to the Pyrenean cols came when I stayed with a small group of other (previously unknown) cyclists at the cycling holiday centre Pyractif near Bagneres-De- Luchon, in late September 2009. This holiday was arranged to celebrate my new freedom from work as I had recently become a state pensioner. The visit gave me the opportunity to ride local cols such as the Peyresourde and also gave me a taste of supported riding (ie all my heavy warm gear for the descent was taken to the col summit in a van, to save effort on the ascent) on the E side of the Col de Tourmalet. Whilst very much enjoying the experience of riding in a group, I soon came to realise that whilst I could still get up the cols it took me a fair bit longer than the other, younger and fitter riders. My long held wish to attempt the “Raid” was looking somewhat overambitious in the light of this experience. Holiday hosts Pyractif organise a range of Pyrennean cycling experiences, among them a supported “Raid Pyrennean” and two alternatives. I immediately dispensed with any thoughts of the Prostrength extra hard traverse! but thought I might have a chance of completing the more relaxed 5 ½ day coast to coast raid. The latter is described in the Pyractif brochure as “The classic C2C just relaxes the pace a little and takes you on a pure riders’ route rather than the prescribed itinerary and check points of the Raid. The stages remain challenging and all the most iconic climbs such as Tourmalet, Aubisque Aspin etc still feature.” After some considerable thought, and no little trepidation, I asked Chris Balfour, Pyractif ride leader, if he thought the C2C was a possibility for me. Chris replied that it would be no problem as he staggers the leaving times of the various groups each day to accommodate the 36
speeds of different riders. This technique allows for all the riders to summit the cols and finish the day’s ride at similar times. His method of organising ride times had worked well on my first visit so based on this experience and putting my trust in Chris, I signed up to ride the C2C in June 2011. Training for the C2C started in January and 5 months later I arrived in France a few days prior to the main ride in order to acclimatise. During the first couple of days I rode the Hospice de France 1385m (very steep at 12%+ for the last 4km) in poor weather and next day the Col du Portillon 1320m from Spain to France in improving conditions. . On Saturday June 18 we drove east to Biarritz to meet the other riders--making up a group of 20 from variously England, Scotland, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Next morning we all cycled to a beach 5km SW of Biarritz and the start of 5 1/2 days hard riding.
Day 1 Biarritz to Gurmencon (160km; 1900m height gain; main col the Osquich 500m+). The group set off from the beach
at a frantic pace as the headbangers established the international pecking order at the front. The more sedate riders stayed in touch just as well as their breathing and legs allowed. Weather was good all day as we progressed along beautiful country roads giving tantalising glimpses of the big mountains ahead. By the time we reached the small town of Gurmencon, the capability of different riders within the bunch was well established. As I was riding more slowly than most of the group, it became clear that the best way for me to get through each day’s journey was to start early, meet the assembled group at pre-designated cols or cafe stops and then leave early to gain some extra riding time. This is a recipe for getting very tired due to the limited recovery time available at each stop, but it did keep me in touch with the other riders at key points on the route. Chris had prepared detailed maps showing the key villages, cols and food stops on the route for each day. These maps enabled me to follow the route just like an Audax event back home, whenever I became separated from the other riders.
Day 2 Gurmencon to Argeles-Gazost (95km; 1850m height gain; main cols Aubisque1709m and Suolor1474m). This
day normally includes the Col de Marie Blanque 1035m on the C2C tour, but the col is not on the official Raid. Consequently, I decided to circumvent this col by riding through the woods on the south side and
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Overseas Overseas make up some time on the faster riders in our group. This made for a beautiful ride over a couple of minor cols which allowed me to get a head start over the other riders onto the Col d’Aubisque 1709m. This col is a monster rising up 1200m above Lauruns with a maximum gradient of 10%. The weather remained dry and not too hot as I gradually paced myself up to the summit cafe. Chris’s staggered start system was working well as I arrived at the summit before most of the group rode in. From the summit of the Aubisque there is a descent onto a superb balcony road which arrives at the Col du Soulor after 10km of stunning views and a short final climb. From the Soulor I enjoyed a 20k descent to our hotel in Argeles-Gazost for a much deserved shower, beer, meal and sleep.
Day 3 Argeles-Gazost to Bertren (130k; 2000m height gain; main cols Tourmalet 2115 and Aspin 1755m). This day
felt like the “big one” crossing two of the most iconic cols in Tour de France history. A couple of the English lads had really suffered on the Aubisque the previous day, so they joined me for an early start. The road from Argeles-Gazost rises gently for 18km to Luz St Sauveur from whence the col rises over a further 18km and 1450m ascent with a maximum gradient of 9.5%. I just ground away at the pedals, enjoyed some great views, until eventually I finished the climb over two hours later up some really steep bends to the summit cafe. There was little time to dwell at the chilly summit as we put on warm jackets for the long 17km descent to Ste Marie de Campan. I was getting really hungry by this time and the local cafe in Ste Marie looked very inviting. However, our itinerary required a sharp right turn and a further 8km of gentle ascent to the lunch stop at Payolle in the shadow of the Col d’Aspin. I reached the cafe just in time before the dreaded bonk arrived. The ride up to the cafe was enlivened by spotting Fabian Cancellara and Leopard Trek team car speeding down towards Campan whilst he was training for the forthcoming Tour de France. After a very brief lunch stop, we wound up the hairpins to the summit of the Col d’Aspin. This was one of the few occasions when I had company all the way as Dave (not me---another much younger version) was still suffering from his efforts on the Aubisque the previous day and was in no mood for speed. Once over the Aubisque we had a super descent to Arreau, then rode along the delightful D26 to stay overnight at Pyractif HQ in Bertren. Towards the last 10km of this ride the weather, which had been dry up to this point, started to look ominous and then rained on us for a while as we passed the heritage monastery of St Bertrand-de Comminges close to the finish. Not a good omen for the next day!
Day 4 Over half way!!! Bertren to Tarrascon (130km; 1300m height gained; main col---Col de Port 1250m). The usual
route heads out over the Col de Portet d’Aspet 1069m to St Girons after 60km. However, as I had ridden this col previously, I opted to take a flanking route to the north along the Garonne river. This ride was uneventful except for the heavy rainstorm that caused me to shelter in a barn for 15 minutes. Amazingly, this storm avoided the other riders in the mountains who all arrived dry at our al fresco picnic site by the river in St Girons. From St Girons the route heads out west through Massat to climb the Col de Port for 12km and 620m with a maximum gradient of 8%. The drizzle and mist had closed in by now leaving a memory of endless slopes and hairpins to the summit. Once over the col, it was a relief to cape up and descend 18km to our hotel in Tarascon.
DM on the Tourmalet Day 3 underclothing as available from the support van and then put the sodden clothing back on top. We were too cold to care how we looked and fortunately there is a high level of tolerance for cyclists in France which meant the cafe owner didn’t look too concerned about the dripping wet chairs and floor we left in our wake. The weather gradually improved after Belcaire as we descended for 35km through a series of dramatic gorges to the small town of Axat. This town marks the start of our last big climb---22km and 1100m ascent with a maximum gradient of 9% up the Col de Jau. There are more steep gorges after Axat before a left turn leads you back up into the mist, rain and cold for a long, long way. I had my only accident of the trip on this col when my Look pedal refused to release as I slowed for a brief stop on a steep part of the climb. As a consequence I fell off backwards still attached to the bike, banging my backside and elbow. It transpired later that a small piece of grit had jammed in the pedal release mechanism, causing me to crash. Fortunately my injuries were painful rather than serious, so I remounted and continued on my way up to the summit. The weather on the col was horrendous with strong winds, driving rain and a really low temperature. I moved straight onto the 26km descent to Prades to escape from the awful conditions as soon as possible. The descent of the Col de Jau gives an escape route from the big mountains towards the Mediterranean sea and warmer climate. As I descended the slopes, the weather gradually improved until the final 10km of descent, with great views into spectacular gorges on the right, was completed in bright sunshine. As I came to the hotel in Prades at the end of this long descent, I finally allowed myself to think “I might actually achieve this ride. Wow!”
Day 6 Prades to Argele sur Mer (70km; 200m height gain; NO COLS!) The sun came out and it was a party mood ride to the
sea. We stopped for a cafe break in Thuir where a sign fell out of a tree
Champagne at the Med Day 6 (note broken spoke in rear wheel)
Day 5 Tarascon to Prades (120km; 2100m height gain; Main cols Route des Corniches, Col de Marmare 613m and Col de Jau 1506m) A fabulous ride today---so much better than the normal “Raid” route. We climbed out of Tarascon up to the Route de Corniches which gives great views down to Ax-les Thermes in the valley far below. The route then leads up the Col de Marmare whence the weather started to turn. As the rain came on, the temperature suddenly dropped and we shivered our way over the summit and down to a cafe stop at Belcaire. The cafe provided a much needed safe haven from the ever worsening conditions. The owner and the locals looked bemused as 20 bedraggled cyclists stripped off sodden gear, put on as much extra
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Overseas on Chris’s head and we cured Charlie’s knee pains with ice from a wine bucket. The pace increased after the cafe, as you might expect. In one of the small villages a lady stepped backwards into the narrow main road from an alleyway whilst talking to someone---right into my front wheel. Very nearly a crash as she apologised profusely for not looking. As I entered the outskirts of Argele sur Mer there was a loud bang from my 24 spoke rear wheel as a spoke pulled itself out of the rim. Thank goodness that didn’t happen earlier! At last, there was the beach at Port Argeles, the Mediterranean and Chris and Helen from Pyractif waiting with a glass of champagne to celebrate. What could I do but walk into the sea in my cycling kit quaffing champagne at the end of an incredible adventure. Many thanks to Pyractif for their excellent support and organisation---and to the other 19 cyclists in our group for their constant good humour, mutual support and companionship.
PBP Photos Tim Wainwright took a lot of pictures of the event which he’s selling for £3 each to help cover his travel and expenses. They can be viewed at https://picasaweb.google.com/ canonman999. If you want one, please contact Tim with the exact file name as listed under Photo Information on the right hand panel on the Picas page, when the photo is expanded, to ensure the correct image is sent, eg MG_5156. Contact Tim at: twain@blueyonder. co.uk
Postscript; we spent the next night at the
walled city of Carcassone where we had just a few beers and an excellent celebration dinner before going our separate ways. I still had a few days to spend with Pyractif before returning home to UK. First thing was to buy new wheels as I didn’t fancy Pyrennean descents on dodgy spokes. The next Sunday, two days after the C2C, I rode up the Plad’adet 1680m—(16km; height gain 870m; maximum gradient 10% from the base at St Lary-Soulan) starting from the village of Sarrancolin 20km to the south. This ride was memorable for the heat; temperature was 41C at the base of the col and rose to 47C (117F) during the climb. There was no shade until some trees gave limited shelter 4 km from the summit. I managed the ascent by stopping every 2k to cool off and by diving into the cool water pools at the village of Soulan half way up. When I got back to St Lary-Soulan with the temperature still in the mid 30s and virtually no food or water left, I was alarmed to find that all cafes, shops and garages had shut as it was now Sunday afternoon. I still had 50km to ride back to Pyractif base at Bertren which was almost inconceivable without more food & water. As I descended the valley I was getting ever more concerned over my return ride as every possible food outlet was shut. Finally, my last chance for sustenance turned up trumps as the cafe in Sarrancolin had remained open. I consumed a stale sandwich (no, don’t apologise) and filled my water bottle before returning once again on the D26 to Bertren after one of my hottest and deeply tiring rides ever. But for the resilience built up over the C2C, I believe this ride would have been impossible for me in such difficult conditions. Back in the UK, I am hoping to use this new level of fitness on some good, hilly rides--once I have got the tiredness out of my system.
DM July 2011
Georgina Harper Arrivée November 2011
Mr Pickwick goes to Hay 200
PBP photos by Tim Wainwright and Mark Green
ArrivĂŠe November 2011 Matthew Marvell
Andrew Sinclair & Steve Bateman
photos by Tim Wainwright and Mark Green
Ian Weatherill & Brett Hill
ArrivĂŠe November 2011
photos by Tim Wainwright and Mark Green
ArrivĂŠe November 2011 Denise Noha
Ian Sutcliffe & Chris Marten
Mike and Howell tackle PBP 2011 the softies’ way Howell Schroeder
n the early morning of Saturday June 5th 2010 Howell was rolling round the early miles of the Invicta 600 when he came up on someone riding at about the same speed, wearing an orange Veerhaven jersey. Howell introduced himself and Mike (for it was he) replied that it was very nice to be greeted, but in Mike’s experience such introductions were inevitably followed about five minutes later by mechanicals or other problems that cut short the incipient relationship. In the early hours of August 25th 2011 these two protagonists rolled back into Paris together, having completed in between the Invicta 300, 400 and 600, and the Cymru 1000. So it was a long five minutes!
We digress. We needed a plan for the PBP that would get us around without foregoing creature comforts. Here it is, in essence, based on 25km/hour on the first day and 20 km /hour thereafter.
In those long five minutes we had plenty of time to think about how to tackle the PBP in 2011. Being too old and soft and fond of sleep to do the catnaps on control floors thing, we resolved to address some of our weaknesses. These were:
Tuesday: Do the leg into Brest and begin the return, getting as far as Tinteniac, about 880km, before diverting slightly off route to a hotel at Combourg
Howell: climbing, descending, on-bike eating and drinking, mechanical knowledge, ability to follow route instructions of any sort or to work out left and right on the Garmin Mike: none A rigorous two-year training programme failed to address any of Howell’s weaknesses save becoming able to eat a banana while veering wildly from one side of the road to the other but not (usually) falling off. Readers need to appreciate that we have two riders here with different cycling backgrounds, but one objective. The objective so perfectly summarised at Dreux at 11pm by an American on the 3rd night. More on that later. Howell joined AUK over ten years ago and the intention of riding PBP gradually took shape in his mind, as a ‘must get round to doing that at some point’. This suddenly accelerated in 2009 when he noticed in browsing the forums that he was already above the average age of participants; so it was 2011 or probably never! He set himself a specific goal, devised a strenuous training schedule, put his life on hold, and achieved it. Mike on the other hand, just rode his bike as he does year in and year out, sharing rides with many PBP veterans, especially Tom Jackson and Garry King, watching, listening, learning and increasing his long ride frequency with a double RRtY and double SR. Mike, clearly more experienced, suggested back in November 2010 that winter miles count double and that a bit of cross-training (core stability and all that ) was a good idea. This led to the only serious mis-match, as Howell took Mike’s advice and Mike ignored it. When the riding partnership resumed on the Invicta 300 in April Howell had been riding 250 miles a week, whereas Mike clearly hadn’t. A salt-stained, glazed over Mike caused some concern to shoppers that Saturday afternoon in Edenbridge High Street as he lay comatosed on a wooden bench. This is audax after all. Special rules apply and this behaviour is perfectly acceptable.
Our plan: Saturday: get to hotel, drop bags, go to bike check, sign on, eat as much as possible Sunday: take it easy, eat as much as possible, go down to the start about 1600 and try to get away before 2000 Monday: Sleep at hotel at Carhaix, some 530km into the ride
Wednesday: Ride to Dreux, at 1165 km only some 65km before the finish, and decide either to push on or pause for a couple of hours sleep before completing the ride according to our schedule in some 86-87 hours. What could be difficult about this?
Embarrassment 1: Getting to the start Mike had cheerfully informed Howell before the start that his days with paper maps were over and that he had now converted to electronic navigation and loaded all the additional routes we needed. So we collected our bikes from the luggage van at the Gare du Nord and set out on the 30 km to the hotel. Unfortunately Mike’s Garmin had no street map, only an arrow pointing in the direction it wanted us to go. Also apparently possessed of a keen sense of humour, it favoured pointing us the wrong way down one-way streets and then changing its mind. To cut a long and harrowing story short, after 20km Mike stopped in a suburban street remarkable only for being utterly featureless and announced that we were within 50 metres of our destination. Now Howell had booked the hotel and knew it was in the middle of a forested natural park, not a suburban street. Inquiries were made of a passing French cyclist, who suggested that we went to Versailles and then followed signs to St Quentin (where the start was) and found our way from there. Good plan. We found Versailles easily enough and picked up the route to St Quentin, the only slight downside being that we also found ourselves on the Boulevard Peripherique with passing cars hooting us and not in a supportive manner. Somehow we managed to get off the road without being arrested or flattened and in due course found the hotel and the start.
Embarrassment 2: excesses of butter Come the Sunday of the start, and keen to avoid undercarriage issues, Howell had rubbed prodigious quantities of chamois butter into his shorts and onto his person, apparently more than the shorts could
Howell and Mike on the first day Mike at the start 42
Arrivée November 2011
PBP km with cleavage fantasies. Our mood was further lightened when we noticed that one of the riders was going round with his dog in a pannier on the front. The rider looked relaxed and in good condition and we convinced ourselves that the most likely explanation was that he was in fact carrying Transformerdog, that once out of sight round the corner converted into a team of huskies. We were going strongly on Tuesday, again very much buoyed by the support of the crowds; when we reached Sizun there were still plenty of riders outbound, and we decided we could take time off to clear the shelves of one of the local patisseries. The whole place was thronged with riders coming and going, a great sight.
Embarrassment 4: getting dropped by a group you have just organised
Howell readily absorb. Let’s put it this way, everything he sat on was left shinier, and patrons of our favoured pasta restaurant will probably be proofed against saddle sores for years to come. Separating rider from shorts at the end of each day was less like taking off an item of clothing than it was to removing long-adhered and reluctant wallpaper.
Embarrassment 3: avoiding cramp We should explain that Mike takes pills to avoid cramp, but finds that they do have one downside. During the first stage Howell was in a shop reloading with food when Mike had a very extended and noisy attack of flatulence just as a Danish group of riders was trying to remount and set off. The hilarity that ensued caused them to career all over the road and several nearly fell off. It might have been my imagination but Danish riders for the rest of the ride seemed particularly keen to ride ahead of us. Monday is rather a blur. As we got into Brittany the terrain became less rolling and more lumpy, and though there are no serious hills Howell’s morale was beginning to drop. Howell likes his sleep and does not cope well when deprived of it. Mike was springing ahead on the slightest incline, and Howell feared for the next couple of days; if this was as good as he was going to feel, the remainder of the ride was going to feel long indeed. It being an out-and-back route, before we reached Carhaix the first riders were already coming in the opposite direction. The first group was about 40 strong, locked together behind the lead car, going like the clappers, a great sight and a real morale boost. We got to Carhaix just after 2130 on the Monday, signed in, ate as much as we could, again, found our hotel and had a blissful 6 hours sleep.
Tuesday To Howell’s surprise, he woke feeling great and ready to go. His legs, which felt as if they had taken the day off on Monday, had arrived. We got some breakfast down us, and then set off into the dark and drizzle to cover the remaining 90 km to the half-way point at Brest. This was actually quite a hilly stage through the heaths and forests, but we were going well and since we could not see beyond 50 metres ahead we had no way of anticipating how long the climbs were. Mike took a taxi ride with a large group and a French pair invited Howell to work with them so we reached Brest in good order just after 1000. Since despite all that rigorous training neither Mike nor Howell are great on-bike eaters, so we settled into the usual routine of soup, spag bol (it will be years before Howell can eat that again) and rice pudding. Howell texted his wife to say we were leaving but mis-typed to say ‘Just cleaving brest’; there was much hilarity as we failed to decide whether he had finally revealed his inner axe murderer or whether he was whiling away the
Arrivée November 2011
We were rolling well, over the hilly sections and in good time, and reached Loudeac just after 1900 with some 90km to our hotel stop. At this point Howell was seized by a desire to make these km easier and organised a group for a bit of through-and-off, reasoning that bunch riding saves a lot of effort. Good plan, wrong choice of bunch. We had been working with a young French guy, Mike found someone from VC167, who tend to be a hard lot, and not long after we got going a giant Swede joined us. This all had tremendous advantages; we were rocketing into the evening light and then into the night, doing a pretty steady 40km/hour on the flat, of which there was a lot. The fact that we were passing other tiring riders as if they were standing still lifted morale and so it continued for some two hours until the truth sank in that Howell was the weak link in this particular chain. Our three recruits were all working towards the 84-hour limit and the French guy particularly regarded slowing for hills as inherently demeaning, so for two hours or so Howell clung on by his fingernails until with some 20km to go the elastic stretched and stretched and then snapped. Mike rocketed on into the night, Howell rode on peacefully and alone to the control at Tinteniac; we then made our way to our hotel, which was a few km off the route, and got there about midnight.
Wednesday and a bit of Thursday Our hotel was in Combourg, underneath the chateau and overlooking the lake, a very beautiful situation. So we had a good night’s rest, enjoyed croissants looking at the tranquil water and got rolling at 0800. Mike announced himself to be feeling ‘on fire’ and though Howell was not feeling as strong as the day before, he was still going better than on the first day. For a while we fell in with a large American group before dropping them on a climb, and recruited another young Frenchman to help us before he left us as we stopped at yet another patisserie. We reached Dreux at 2300, with 65km to the finish. We were still undecided about whether to press on or to rest, as we had by now a lot of time in hand. As we were sitting eating, an American opposite said ‘you look like you are going to go out now and finish this sucker up’ and so it was decided. It occurred to us that with a bit of effort we could get in within 80 hours, so we rode through-and-off again, mostly on our own. By this point we were riding steadily rather than quickly but it felt fast because almost everyone else was riding slowly. As the finish neared we eased up and eventually came in at just after 0230 on Thursday morning, 79 hours 45 minutes after we set off, pleased and in Howell’s case quite relieved to be back, as he was beginning to worry that his body might go on strike if asked to do very much more. We chatted for a bit, met up with Tom Jackson, crashed out for a couple of hours on the floor and then went to applaud the riders still coming in before heading back to our lovely B&B.
Reflections As has been said many times, PBP is an amazing event. The attitude of the population makes it. As Mike put it, you ride feeling that the whole of France is willing you on. The controls at Loudeac and Tinteniac are more like festivals and in every village there are knots of people applauding at all times of day and night. Many householders put out refreshments, cakes, drinks and fruit, with mattresses or loungers for those riders that want to crash out. The route is extremely well signed throughout and at all the junctions with any possibility of error there are people to direct you and wave you through any traffic. The organisation of the controls was extremely good and the attitude of the helpers exemplary, from the teams of cooks at 0300 in the 43
PBP For those thinking of doing it If you can do a 600 in reasonably good order you can do the PBP. Though it is of course longer, the condition of the roads, good signage, the friendly terrain and above all the supportive atmosphere all make it easier. Our six pieces of advice are: 1. Ride your own PBP. Get experience of longer rides, work out how you and your body react, and plan accordingly. Drink when you are thirsty, when you’re not and in between. Eat everything. 2. Begin preparation a long way out. Howell’s body adapts very slowly to a training load and he certainly found that ‘winter miles count double’, as Mike so wisely pointed out! Develop your mental attitude as well as your physical. Self belief and refusal to quit are useful attributes. Knowing that your partner is utterly committed to getting round is a great boost in the inevitable ‘so why am I doing this?’ moments. Refer to your partner any supportive texts from spouses such as ‘remember you don’t have to prove anything’!
Mike and Tom Jackson survey the human debris
morning doling out vast quantities of food with great cheerfulness and good humour to the teams standing at cross roads with head torches to make sure the riders did not go off route, and the motorbikes constantly cruising up and down the road to offer assistance if needed. We have never before experienced being so caught up in an atmosphere where the efforts of thousands of people are being devoted to making you succeed. We were also very fortunate in both the weather and the road surfaces. The roads are very smooth so that you can maintain a good speed at night. Though there were two heavy showers, on both occasions we were under an awning guzzling a Breton sausage galette. The attitude of French drivers is also a pleasant revelation after the UK. Most give plenty of room, appear to have boundless patience, even the tractor driver whom Mike raced up one of the hills, and many of the motorists offer cheering encouragement as they go by.
3. Set yourself a schedule. We would never expected to have ridden 530k on the first day, but we did with relative ease. We slept for 6 hours and this left two manageable 350k days with another 6 hour sleep between them. We were always ahead of the schedule after the first day and this was another morale boost. 4. Join a club that will offer experience of bunch riding; there is a time to ride alone or with a mate, and there are also times to gain the benefits from sheltering in a bunch. 5. Ensure your riding colleague is fluent in French and German and can organise chain gangs on demand. A couple of the faster French riders we found were very accommodating with their speed and this knocked off several fast kilometres at a time, giving us more rest time and Mike a much-needed opportunity to stretch his legs! 6. Don’t take it too seriously. If it isn’t enjoyable why do it?
Finally On our way into central Paris the following day, got lost again, and ended up crossing the Seine at the bridge by the Eiffel tower. Howell still had his race numbers on the bike and two groups of passers-by broke into spontaneous applause. Life does not get much better.
Seeing the other riders come in was very moving. A few more or less willed themselves over the finish line exhausted, others rolled in smiling and content, many delighted, revving the crowd and punching the air; the French women riders, true to the stereotype, often looked as if they had spent the last three hours in the beauty parlour rather than on the road from Dreux. One of the few comments we caught in all the civic speeches at the beginning referred to the ride as a ‘Monument du Sport’. We dismissed that at the time as French grandiloquence, but were wrong to do so. Before we left the B&B we discussed with one of the other guests whether we were champions or idiots, in the end agreeing that we were passionate about the sport; and that’s what it is, for a few days you have thousands of people, riders, organisers, helpers and spectators, ordinary people coming together and united by a passion for the sport of cycling. Coming from a non-competitive AUK background the whole “race” concept was a bit foreign to Mike. Having seen the timed results, we have asked ourselves if we should have aimed for a “good time”, instead of having a good time. Most of the people we have ridden with over the years shot sub-72 hour times. Howell troubles himself with this question until the memories of the patisseries recurs (about ten nanoseconds) while Mike reminds himself of hot showers, soft bed with sheets and croissants overlooking the lake, and that there is of course always another year ….
PBP 2011 photos: Tim Wainwright
Damage assessment Neither of us had any mechanicals, not even a puncture. Howell ended up with a numb toe and a slightly sore ankle, while Mike confessed to being slightly fatigued. 44
Arrivée November 2011
photos by Tim Wainwright and Mark Green
ArrivĂŠe November 2011
PBP 2011 I
warned everyone about a flood of PBP stories in the last issue of Arrivée, so I’ve got to write one I suppose. The typical PBP rider is a 52 year old man. I’m one of those and I can tell you that life isn’t usually a lot of fun for us. I watched a BBC4 documentary about postcards and the people who collect them recently. That’s the sort of thing that 52 year old men do, watch BBC4 and collect postcards. Pipes and slippers have gone out of fashion of late, but we are the people of the shed, tinkering in comfy obscurity, and meeting our chums for a weekly pint of foaming real ale in the local pub. Some of us fight against the dying of the light, and usually get a pitying reaction to our mid mid-life crisis. The best we can hope for is to club together with other like-minded souls and indulge in a hobby which gets us a mild ribbing from those around us. So it is with Audax, we assemble in our village halls. We debate the relative merits of Shimano and Campagnolo. Then we do our rides, during which we might be pelted with eggs, or we might not. On the way round we eat pasties while seated on service station floors or we eat teacakes in cafes in faded seaside towns, while drinking tea together, in the afternoon of our lives. We’re not all 52 year old men, but that’s the background hum and the wallpaper. The further away from a middle aged bloke on a steel framed lightweight tourer you are, the more interest you will generate. My films are populated with those exceptions, largely because the last thing that a 52 year old bloke on a bike wants to see is another 52 year old bloke on a bike. He likes to see a distant view of himself, climbing convincingly enough to suggest someone much younger, but that’s difficult to do for all the 52 year old blokes and they’re usually fairly happy with scenery and a much younger female subject. The average PBP participant therefore is patronised for his eccentric hobby. On the road he’s invisible at best, and at worst he’s the target for low-level verbal abuse and physical assault. That’s discounting the usual hazards of being on the road at all. At PBP you obviously get all the fellow feeling that you’d get at a postcard-collecting event, if you collected postcards. That buzz of being with folk who share your pastime. It’s a bonus that they’re often in pretty good physical shape, so the sight of them in Lycra is generally not too upsetting, and in many cases is deeply appealing. The registration phase has all the components of the first week at college, making friends, hanging out, drinking beer, listening to bands you’ve never heard of, settling in to your accommodation, socialising with the rest of the corridor. Unlike a University the final exams begin the day after you register. This PBP they introduced a system of ‘free starts’ where you turn up and ride, this does enable you to witness the stilt-walkers, medieval strolling players, clowns and performance artists that the French like to have at public events. But only as a slightly distanced spectator. For the full effect it’s best to have eaten a meal three times larger 46
Taiwanese riders at check in
Rider from mainland China
Sophie Matter in her final outfit
than you normally would and queue for a few hours under the baking sun, deprived of water, before you are exposed to the entertainment. The French have an inbuilt advantage at this stage, they are bred to withstand a barrage of speeches from all and sundry, they can understand what’s being said by the Mayor of Loudeac, Tinteniac or wherever and they expect to see jugglers dressed as Ali Baba, because that’s what being French is about. The tape finally drops and you’re on the road with what seems like four hundred other 52 year old white blokes in Lycra and a hundred assorted cyclists from every corner of the world. One much discussed chap brought 10 young women with him, they’d qualified from among the 4,000 employees in his chain of hairdressing salons in the Phillipines. David Charlton is not only the sponsor of ‘Team David’s Salon’, but also runs an ‘English Pub’ in Manila. His story made many feel they’d taken a wrong turning somewhere in their own lives. TV cycling commentators always emphasise that it’s safest at the front of a big group, so I headed there, spotting the tiny 24 year old girl from Moscow I’d chatted to, she looked all of 12, and had a handy domestique to shepherd her to a space just behind the motorcycle escort and lead car. Everyone you pass seems to turn and cheer and shout ‘Bon Courage’ or some other words of encouragement, they must have done this for the five groups of riders that have already been through. Our 52 year old blokes find this amazing, and wonder how long there will be anyone to take this unusual amount of interest in them. Soon there are family groups beside the road dispensing water, soft drinks, coffee and biscuits, young children have been allowed to stay up way beyond their bedtime and applaud excitedly, farmers stand beside their cars at the end of tracks in the middle of nowhere. This goes on for the next three and a half days. Complete strangers cheer, provide free refreshments at 4am, stage parties involving whole villages and generally appreciate the appreciationdeprived. TV film crews pass on their motorbikes, at Brest there are newspapers pinned up which herald the arrival of the first riders the day before, and there are still people cheering at the side of the road. Arrivée November 2011
Sophie Matter’s bike
Aldo Mangione at a wayside refreshment stop Aldo Mangione on his Swiss Army bike, 84 hours 10 mins All this attention acts as a drug, counteracting the effects of what is a real challenge after all. The calls of ‘Bon Courage’ are heartfelt, because ‘C’est dur- It is hard’, and hardest for those suffering at the back. The Bretons seem to have a special sympathy for the stragglers. The wayside shrines, chapels and calvaries make me feel like a pilgrim with a personal cross to bear, rather than an athlete in a contest with others. The greatest emotional support is given freely to those closest to the edge. It’s a very Catholic idea, and can be overwhelming to the wholly materialistic. A number of riders commented on being close to tears at the reception from the crowds at Villaines. At the heart of long distance cycling is a sense of self-denial, you mustn’t listen to the inner voice that’s shouting ‘Stop’. Having a continuous thin ribbon of supporters encouraging you to carry on is disconcerting and it can spoil you for the reality of the everyday, egg-hurling, world. I suppose one way to avoid the come-down is to isolate PBP within a special bubble of its own. I wonder if that’s what motivates those who do it on unusual machines. The amount of public attention they command must make the euphoric effects of the attention that we 52 year old blokes feel seem pretty tame. Drew Buck commented that riders were constantly coming up to him, knowing his name and the details of his 2007 ride. I feel partly responsible for that, having made a short film about him. I was making a film again this year, which is what a lot of this metaphysical musing is about. I don’t know what the film is about until I know what PBP is about. For a grumpy 52 year old like me it’s about faith in humanity redeemed. That might strike a chord with that big section of riders who are much like me. But it’s also about a communion with a rising generation of new riders, one which is as likely to come from China, Taiwan, Russia, Brazil or India as from anywhere nearer my home. This game is about long distances after all. I wonder what the next PBP will be like? I’ll be a 56 year old bloke, will that be the biggest group?
Arrivée November 2011
Resident and participant in Lassay
Tetsuo Yamaguchi at Illifaut
Drew Buck on his original 1900 bicycle. See details on left. photos: Mark Green
ArrivĂŠe November 2011
photos by Tim Wainwright and Mark Green
Simon Tibbets & Dan Howard
Alexandre Rendu ArrivĂŠe November 2011
DN something or other ... the ones that got away
“The noble art of losing face, will one day save the human race.” (UN weapons inspector Hans Blix)
ou know that there are various methods of going wrong with a route sheet? There’s the ‘miss out an instruction’ method, or the ‘do an instruction twice’ method, or the ‘fold the route sheet so as to hide an instruction’ method. Not to mention the farther out options such as ‘use a random instruction’, ‘this is up hill, it must be the right way’, ‘there’s a cyclist ahead of me who went this way’. I’ve even heard of a ‘just keep going until you should have conrolled by now, and control at the next shop/ATM you see’ method (hint: this method can be obviated by carrying and using a map).. Well, Vera Sloe has found some methods for a DN something or so.
Method 1: Pretend you’re out of time Decide that lots of AAA points and an overgeared (? - too many gears that are too long, anyway) bike are a good combination. Cycle to the start as a way of making sure you aren’t too daisy-fresh for these uppity bits. Let everyone drop you on the first slight slope. Get an episode of SVT (or its friend) and walk up the next slope. Go down the other side and up again. Repeat. Everyone who passed you will now pass you again because they went the wrong way back there and you didn’t. Get a p******e. Everyone else who hasn’t passed you again appears. One of them stops to help. Keep going. With less of steepness, and some company, things get a bit better, besides which the next climb is long and steady. There are still 15 mins in hand as you leave the control at the top and the next bit is down hill. It starts raining. Another hiss of escaping air. As you only have 1 spare tube (it’s only 100km etc.) a repair is required. Send company on ahead and repair/replace as necessary. Continue up next hill. By now everyone else has long gone past. Hill is so slow that you decide you _must_ have missed the turning at the top to take you down to the next control and up again so just keep on (it’s up - it must be the right way innit?. Decide you _must_ be out of time by now. Divert straight to 2nd next control (on the route back to HQ) and collect a selection of spare inners (just need patching) out of the bin whist ‘fessing up to great feebleness. Spot erstwhile company in good time and good cheer, celebrate. Cycle away again, back the way you came, and meet friend for comforting choccy bun’n’stuff before training home. Get off 2 stops early to cycle the rest of the way in an attempt to silence voices in your head crying out about pathetic feebleness. (2 months later) Vow never to pretend you’re out of time again, to ensure said voices of feebleness never ever return as they have only just about shut up. Your success rate on 100s has dropped from 100% to 50%.
Method 2: Act of mechanical FAIL Leave bright’n’early from départ with your helping person hat on, so’s you can check people through the first control. Fortunately there’s two of you (OK, the other one was actually someone else, let’s call him Charlie). Bimble along at a merrie pace. Start going DOWN. Crank up gears, still no resistance, and again, still no resistance. The truth dawns that you’ve won a 2-way freewheel. Simultaneously flag down Charlie and remind self of previous heard of incidents of the like. Decide you don’t fancy the zip tie to the spokes option and ring The Organiser to say that though you have failed in my duty to be checkpoint Vera, checkpoint Charlie is still up and pedalling. Agree to hot foot it towards the lunch control and be collected to help there. It’s great as you get to see everybody for longer than you ever do at the start (and up until you are dropt on the first hint of a slope). Also manage to divine which 2 people that you’ve never met before have place for an extra bike+person and can provide a lift from the arrivée to a station. Your success rate on 100s is now at an all-time low of 33%. Shop replaces dead freewheel cassette for nothing as it’s only done xxx km (you did know at the time as you’d measured by ‘completed audaxes since you first built the bike’ method). You come back the following year and do a route check at 12.5kph with 50
a view from Ditchling Beacon and a large helping or so of roadside blackberries thrown in. This gets the success rate on 100s back to 50%.
Method 3: Be ill Eat some dodgy food and get lost on the way to the départ. This will ensure that you don’t eat anything before setting off again and therefore make it the whole 35km to the first control before feeling like death warmed up. You will therefore decide that food is not an option, and go for a herbal tea. They are not the right sort of herbs. You continue and realise you now have a headwind. You decide to abandon and detour to the next station. You rejoice that there are only 45 mins to wait in the chill, plenty of time to tell the organiser - it’s not raining and after all, the train after the one you are waiting for isn’t for a further 3 hours. You get in a train full of footy fans and look so pathetic the guard decides that your ticket is OK even though it isn’t. Wait 55 mins for an onwards connection. Go home and collapse. Your success rate on 100s is now down to 40%.
Method 4: actually be out of time Vera confesses: “I’ve never tried this one (yet). I had a near run thing on one ride though in which were featured some Hills. Having been dropt on the first one (as per) I then didn’t get any faster, I crawled up another hill, laboured up the next, winched myself up the third, limped up the ith, dragged myself up the jth, walked up the kth (well, it was the devil’s staircase), grovelled up the lth. (Ed: I think you’ll see the theme here.) suffice it to say that I was well down the field by the time I reached the seaside. Set off with COMPANY! who decides upon 40 winks. Now his method of finishing out of time was thus: take of glasses. have snooze. wake up. forget to perch glasses on end of nose. set off. notice bluriness and deduce lack of glasses. return to look for glasses, bearing in mind that without glasses all patches of grass look the same etc. (he did find them eventually and rode on to finish 2 hours outside time - suspect he had a more relaxed finish than Vera did). Anyway, Vera’s method of using up more time was to discover a hurtingness of feet &so swapped the posh cycling shoes for her much beloved and now falling to bits desert boots for the rest of the journey. At about 100 miles it’s the longest she’s lasted in them (since relegated to commuting only to wear them out). Darkness descends. Vera ascends (slowly). By and by the penultimate control hoves in sight, still (just about) in time limits. The ladies there are amusing “all you lot wander in here and start looking at the food. Then, only then, do you come over to get stampt. Not like the earlier ones who rush in, get stampt and rush out again all in a panic about times.” How true. Vera staggers outside, replete with something cakey and something else less cakey and probably some coffee too. (She is on her) Last Leg. There is a HILL. there is a red light further up the hill. She winches and winches and passes the red light (audax randonneurus), she winches some more and gives up and walks, or rather paces up the hill (probably similar speed to riding). Leaps back on the bike to stay ahead of fellow rider (competitive? Vera?). Made it back with -n minutes to spare and grovel mightily that she doesn’t want a BRM, BR (brrrrr) will do. Grovelling accepted. “
Arrivée November 2011
Randonnées Method 5: Act of weather You start RRTY between 1 and 31 January (even though this year January has fifty-mumble days in it.) All goes swimmingly for 10 months and you get to November. Rather than doing an ECE 100k+100k you decide merely to lay the ghost of the ride featured in the “be ill” method, thus saving your 200kms for later in the month. The last weekend in the month, to be precise. On which weekend sno is announced. Never mind, it’s all oop north. You decide to be sensible and work out mitigations for risk of coldness, clothes-wise and bailout wise. You set off for station dressed in: woolly jersey # 1, woolly jersey #2, a couple more layers and a waterproof. Then woolly socks (hand knitted) and woolly tights (minus feet) plus trousers, shoes and overshoes. You are toasty warm except for your thighs, but all is not lost as erstwhile companion (who didn’t want to ‘try anything, once’ and is training the whole way) turns up wearing scarf as thighwarmer. You follow suit. You start the ride 10pm on a snowy November evening (you are very wise, aren’t you). There is no snow, little traffic but some headwind. Oh well. You proceed to next village up the road and see local youth resplendent in beer overcoats (well, you did state the ride started 10pm). You keep going, marvelling at how bustling is said village compared to your last visit around 8am on a sunny summer morning. Somewhere after the village a tyre gets squishy. You stop and change it by the light of the silvery moon, the moon, the moon, by the light of the silvery moon. By the time you’ve finished, it’s snowing, albeit very lightly, those large flakes. Your hands and the rest of you are still toasty warm, hurrah for ski gloves and woolly clothes. You keep going, the snow gets heavier; more, thicker snowflakes, very pretty to be sure, but ... they start to cause a problem because you’re heading into the snow and therefore there’s light reflected back from all these extra snowflakes rather than lighting your way. So it’s a bit dazzling, though not impossible. The snow gets thicker on the ground but being nice and fresh it’s not really an obstruction, just you are a bit circumspect going around corners (not that there are many on my lovely main road route, it’s nice and empty too). At one point a car slowed down and waited for you to draw alongside with window wound down. “Ca va?” you yell, having noticed the french numberplate. He asks in english “are you all right?” You say “fine thanks, I’m actually pretty warm etc..” On he goes. Very thoughtful of him though. For a while you diverge from the main road, for a short cut from the A15 to the A17. Instantly the snow is deeper and brand new - no-one venturing out to flatten it for you, unlike the main roads. Streetlights mean you’re less dazzled by my lights reflecting off the snow though. Corners are an adventure and so is finding signage under that white stuff. For once you’re glad to be back on the main road with the occasional passing vehicle and (perhaps) some grit/salt somewhere under all that snow. Some time later you pause opposite the well lit gateway of a something and notice that every horizontal surface of the bike (chain stays etc) has an inch or so of snow upon it. Rather pretty you think. (photo not available) You reach Newark, 80km in to the ride. It took you 5 hours, what with the wind and snow. At 3:15am and you know that the ride is going to get colder and icier and that you’d be going slower, plus you hadn’t even stopped yet for the control. Thus there was a likelihood of you not making it on time to factor in. You slink into the HotelChain Inn and sit in the lobby for a couple of hours while you wait for the MuckDonal’s to open. There you try to drink a filthy coffee. Then you go to the station ... you still wonder whether you’d have made it or not. Feedback suggests it would have been throughly nasty and that you most probably did the right thing by abandoning.
Method 6: Act of mechanical ineptitude Once upon a time you built a wheel. Said wheel is entirely nothing to do with the mechanical ineptitude, except that someone laughed at it due to the nice slack spoke tension (it goes with the lightly torqued everything else). So, the length from the BB centre to the semi-horizontal dropouts is such that a new chain needs to have n+1 pairs of links. Once the chain has stretched then the chain gets a bit slack and there is no way to tauten it without removing that extra pair of links. Which you didn’t do. Because you decided that in fact the problem was that the cheese chainring needed replacing, and that you would wait until you had
Arrivée November 2011
bought the spare chainring to save then lengthening (as you expected) the chain again. The result being that every 100km or so the chain would skip off and make little sawing motions against the rear spokes, with the eventual inevitable sawing-right-through-ness. Of six spokes. Out of 9 driveside outer ones. Here endeth the journey. You limp into Naarch to find that (i) the town was heaving but (ii) there were no more trains, even at the early hour of 11:15pm. So you limped back to ride HQ and sulked mightily. Fortunately no-one was able to lend you a wheel as most likely you’d have sawn off their spokes too. You got the train the next morning instead and fortunately were able to walk through the skyride (oh the shame of cycling through it, what a snob art thou). Upon purchase of spare spokes the repair took about 30 mins. You cheer up when the brake cable dies 70km into the next week as that meant you’d never have finished the ride even without the washingline chain. You now carry 3 spare spokes and a spare brake cable to go with your nipple key. So far none has been required.
Method 7: Forget to obtain proof of passage (DIY) Plan a route for a, not your, first 300. Find a warm day in February to check the route. Set off with a tailwind. Pass cousin’s house but don’t stop as you are on a mission and don’t yet have a reasonable time buffer. Get to the first control and find some food. Find a bench to sit on. Yak away to elderly chap also sitting on bench and hear about how his neighbours are so good etc., compare notes. Set off again once food all eaten. Go nearly past friend’s house but don’t stop as you are on a mission and on account of above mentioned yakking still don’t have a reasonable time buffer. You start thinking forward to next control as it’s now only 30km away. Uneasy feeling steals into your brain about the previous control. You are in so much suspense that you stop and check your wallet. No receipt from the first control. You laugh like a drain and have a sit down. After notifying the DIY organiser you ring your friend in case she is in and you can pop around for a cup of tea. She isn’t, so you decide to go to Ely instead, there are trains home from there. Eschew the via Sutton-in-the-isle option as you know it involves a slight slope (aka mountain if you are a flatlander). Go via Haddenham. This also has a slight slope and has dubbed itself ‘highest point in the Fens’ or somesuch. Oh well, it was a nice day out at least and you would have boringly gone to work otherwise.
Method 8: Double booking aka domestic/childcare crisis You can claim innocence on this one, it’s all Vera’s fault. Ongoing ‘health problems’ of children’s dad and you’d already used my Aunt-visits-thechildren option that year. Funnily enough, Aunt then moved to the West Country before the year was out. So that was the end of that particular ride.
Method 9: Stupidity Fail to realise that 2nd class stamp does not a swift reply make and plan to do something else on the grounds that entry has gone astray.
Method 10: Forgetfulness A variant of the ‘read the wrong line on the route sheet’ method - this is the ‘read the wrong date off the calendar’ method. My friend swears by it as a way of avoiding “important” domestic tasks.
Method 11: Fail to reach the start of the ride Or act of $DEITY. Or something. Turn up at the station just in time for the train. It’s raining and the train is running late (wrong type of rain you suppose), but the train did arrive after about 15 minutes. You loaded up the bike and yourself and wait. And wait. And wait. Eventually there was an announcement that the train was staying put for the forseeable. There was flooding further down the line. Mindful of needing to get a through connection you get off the train, retrieve your bike and ask for a refund. You try the next year, getting an earlier train to arrive in plenty of time for a nosh-up in Londonton on the way through.
Method 12: Act of Somebody Else Fortunately both Vera and I have avoided this one. But I do know various unfortunates who have been bitten by the options of i- spend too long helping/shepherding someone and run out of time, iisuccumb to someone else’s FAIL on the staying upright etc.
Vera Sloe 51
000 odd participants line up for the 17th Paris-Brest-Paris. Into which black hole has the time disappeared since the last renewal four years ago ? How quickly have the hours, minutes and seconds sped by as I have fretted over the bike, the tyres, what clothes to take with, what tools to carry and all the other paraphernalia associated with cycling 1230kms in a maximum time of 90 hours. But I have an ace up my sleeve. As an ‘ancien’ deux fois, I know that my morale will never drop due to the uplifting support of the French people who will line the route, and the camaraderie and bonds with other riders that will be formed en route. Nevertheless, there is an edgy, nervous tension as we queue for the 21.00 start. Small talk reveals lurking fears and worries. Many are recording the occasion on digital cameras. A fellow rider has an incredibly loose spoke in his rear wheel which I manage to tighten up and true before we pass through the start line. And then we are off at 21.20, into the gloaming. Mourijn, Emma and the Sudells are cheering like crazy as we approach the first roundabout. A great send off. But within 200 metres I have managed to unship my chain and get it stuck in the crank. To compound matters, I manage to break my map holder whilst dismounting from the bike. Oh Shame! Soothing words from Philip Sudell bring calm to bear on the situation, and within seconds the chain is back on the chainrings and we are chasing down the pack. For the next 10 kms as the route takes us out of Paris’s magnetic field, we are clapped and cheered by roadside spectators and by others on flyovers and bridges. A group of about 30 has formed, the pace is steady, but after all these months of waiting and training, it is hard to be conservative. We ramp it up a notch and head out into the dimly lit villages on the edge of town. Montigny, Trappes, Elancourt and Jouars come and go. Small groups of onlookers in each town shout “ Bon courage!” and “ Bon route!”. As we are submerged into proper darkness, the only sounds that can be heard are the musical strains of bicycle chains and rubber on tarmac. Montfort L’Amaury and the old Norman town of Gambais whizz by. The red lights of an earlier group can be spied in the distance. The leaders up the pace a touch and soon we are upon our prey. A bigger group forms, more villages are passed through, only to be re-visited in three days. Just after Gambais, a steep little hill smashes our group to smithereens just as it has done to the waves of riders that have come this way on this, the first day of Paris-Brest-Paris 2011. And within a thousand breaths we are far out into the countryside, on our quest. Carefully laid plans have already been discarded. Groups come and go. The thrill of riding up to a peleton, sitting in on their coat tails for a brief respite, and then feeling good enough to march straight on to the next throng of red lights, is a thrill that is hard to resist on a bike. The body feels no pain, the logical mind is sedated with endorphins. To be “in the zone” is a wondrous experience. Just where does the brash energy and raw power come from? What is it for? How long will it last? Maybe it is the fruits of all the training and preparation, or maybe it is just blind panic! Who gives a care? Just use it and enjoy it. After a couple of hours, some fellow riders have become recognisable. There’s the slim Contador look alike on a road bike with hub gear. He’s riding in uneven bursts, sometimes off the front and sometimes fading back. A big bald-headed guy with a Carradice bag has been powering along near the front and a sportive type cyclist with minimal gear has been sitting in third or fourth wheel for quite a few kilometres. We catch a huge group of riders and I hook up again with Aussie Paul McCrossin. This is his first PBP, but he’s a very strong boy and having a whale of a time. There must be one hundred randonneurs at this party, carving their way through the darkness. Suddenly on swift right hand downhill bend, one of the bikes goes down. The rider sits up quickly and is attended to by a couple of colleagues, but it looked bad. Several of the Phillipino girls from Davids Salon are in this group. Perhaps the group is too big, and a few of us press on and pull away after Tremblay-les-Villages. The next few kms to Chateauneuf-enThymerais are reasonably flat and open. Once again there is a large 52
PBP 2011 Phil Magnus photo Mark Green group about 800m ahead. We seem to be catching them rapidly, a bit too rapidly actually, they have stopped for a group piss! Must be a French club team. We have nearly completed 90kms in just over 3 hours. My water bottles are nearly empty, and the cool night air lapping gently against bare arms and legs suggests that additional clothing will be required. The Sports Bar in Chateauneuf is closed. However its neon lights still illuminate the main street. But it is never closed to us randonneurs, the proprietors are only too happy to re-fill our bottles, sell us coffee and look after us every four years. A few minutes off the bike to gear up, eat up and stretch out. Another big group comes along, can’t miss this one! Paul and brother Mark are in this posse, as we set off towards Senonches through the French cornfields. I’m feeling really sleepy as the congregation plods on. The fact is that they are just too slow! They miss a left turn and suddenly we are a smaller group, galvanised into wakefulness by having to do a bit more work. After Senonches we hit the hills on the way to Longny-au-Perche. It’s tough going after the flatlands, Paul and Mark are really quite strong, and their steady pace on the hills overhauls many other riders. I hang onto them for dear life and finally begin to find some climbing legs. Don’t want to burn out though and settle down to keep my own pace. Some tough little pulls after Longny, and then the lights of the fortress town of Mortagne, at 140kms, can be seen twinkling in the distance like the tassles on a lap dancer’s titties. Mortagne is our first proper food and water control, though it is not necessary to get the card stamped. It’s pretty crowded and we have covered the distance in just over 5 hours. It’s now 2.35 a.m. I planned a 15 minute stop. Now things have changed, as my riding partner Philip Sudell does not arrive until 3.10. He’s not feeling too good and it’s important that Paul and Mark get on with their ride, so they spilt. Philip needs time, but we’ve sacrificed quite a lot at this early stage, even though we have caught riders who started 90 minutes ahead of us. We leave Mortagne at 3.50, but it’s soon clear that Philip is struggling with tiredness. After 24kms we crash out for a 25 minute sleep near a roundabout at Mamers. A little refreshed we tackle the hilly drags beyond Mamers. Ideally we would have been here 2 hours ago, but we are a two man team we will face the vicissitudes of the ride in tandem. That’s all well and good, but I am dying for a coffee, and the café at Fresnay -sur-Sarthe beckons. Ploughing on steadily we reach the long straight road leading up the rise to the sharp right hand turn to Villaines. The café sits on the corner, and the coffee tastes good. Briefly Arrivée November 2011
PBP out of the bubble that is PBP, we can sit and watch the exertions of our brethren. Most look bushed after a night on the road, and some come to join us for breakfast. I pay the bill and tell the owner that we’ll be back at 10p.m on Wednesday. It’s a rolling profile to Villaines-la-Juhel at 221kms. The pain in my knee disappears when I pedal and comes back when I freewheel. How strange is that? Easy to cure though…..just keep pedalling! I am not a particularly strong cyclist, but enjoy a really good spell into the control and arrive there a few minutes before Philip. Even at 8.20 in the morning, there is a good crowd and a great reception. We are honoured by the townspeople. It dispels our tiredness and lifts our spirits. All the volunteers are cheerful and positive. They are on our side. Another breakfast, attention to personal hygiene and clothing modifications taken care of, and we are on our way traversing more rolling terrain. There’s a good climb awaiting us at Hardanges, and many riders attack it rather too soon. It leads to the dangerous crossroads at Le Ribay followed by the bumpy surface and hilly road to Charchigne. It starts to rain and we dodge into a bar in Lassay-lesChateau for more coffee and a chinwag with LEL organiser Danial, and fixed gear hero Alex. On with the waterproofs and out into the weather. It has become a pretty grim experience now. Even the mayor of Gorron has taken shelter. At Levare there is a makeshift gazebo at the top of a windy and wet hill. Two young girls are handing out terrific tasting coffee and biscuits from their temporary sanctuary. Selfless and cheerful, they embody the supporters’ spirit of PBP. Sufficiently re-fuelled on the high octane caffeine, Philip and I make relentless progress despite the poor conditions. We hit the control at Fougeres at 13.20. Not a bad ride considering we had a couple of stops on the way. But the stops add lustre to the whole adventure. It’s not just about the cycling! The control at Fougeres has a good canteen, offering a varied menu. So, it was tuna and rice, and turkey casserole and rice, followed by rice pudding…..oh, and absolutely loads to drink. Yes, it’s not just about the cycling. The windows have steamed up and it’s not going to be easy to brave the elements, especially after the punishment my stomach has just taken. The next leg to Tinteniac is a short one of only 55kms. The first half is spent sedately burning fat, and the second half includes some serious pursuit cycling with the San Francisco kids. A second lunch at 5 o’clock follows, or is it tea? We are joined by Manuel and Sylvia from Costa Rica. It’s a swiftish turnaround and we are back on the road to Loudeac. The climb to Becherel beckons. The sun belatedly burns off the rainclouds, and we are blessed with a perfect late summer’s afternoon. The town of Medreac looms at the top of another Breton hill, then a descent to Quedillac, where we are surprised by a secret control. This exists to ensure that participants stick to the given route. A brief stop to take in yet more fluids and we set sail for St. Meen -le-Grand where the local cycling club have a permanently manned tent in front of the town hall. Philip and I stop for a kebab and chips. Old habits die hard. I love cycling, it’s true. But boy do I like eating! The food is good and it will allow us to ‘bounce’ the big control at Loudeac in 40kms time. It’s a steady climb to Meneac and then a scintillating 40km per hour 10km descent to Trinite-la-Pohoet, followed by…. a climb up to Plumieux and a long drag into the breeze adjacent to the flashing red lights of the wind turbines. On the way we are passed by the lead group as they return from Brest. They have covered an amazing 800kms in 28 hours. At La Cheze the sky blackens like a coating of fresh tarmacadam. The world has been turned upside down. Philip makes a good call and we don waterproofs just before the mother of all electrical storms strikes in surround sound and 3D. It teems down with just 15kms until the safe haven of Loudeac. It is 10 O’clock at night. The reception at Loudeac is truly magnificent. I feel like I have won the Tour de France, such is the ovation of the crowd. Bike parking has to be taken seriously. It would be so easy to lose one’s steed amongst the hundreds stood here. Outside cooking stalls are sprinkled about the control. The aroma of barbecued meat hangs in
Arrivée November 2011
the air mixed in with other smells more associated with long distance cycling and the great unwashed. Cards stamped, yoghurts devoured, Perrier imbibed and water bottles topped up, we depart at around 22.30 for the next big control, Carhaix Plougeur. We leave behind a cauldron of fatigue. There is an emptiness as we ride through the narrow gauntlet of metal barriers which form the entrance and exit to the control, but streetside we are once again buoyed by the exhortations of the locals as we speed off towards the small village of Treve. I have never seen this leg in daylight, so no different this time. It’s a lumpy ride. The narrow lanes and tiny villages suggest a deeply rural area. The course requires some navigational skills on the way to enchantingly named Uzel. A long, long climb ensues, maybe 6kms, and steepening on the approach to the town of Merleac. The townsfolk here have mimicked the traditional tented bar at St. Martin du Pre, and we settle down to some potage and coffee. The drizzle is persistent and a constant line of cyclists on the return leg from Carhaix make the ride a tiring one. Philip and I are beginning to ride erratically so we find a wet, grassy verge and settle down for some shuteye. This is becoming a tough stretch and we need to make use of the extra control at St. Nicholas du Pelem. Our arrival there in heavy rain is an eyeopener. There are hundreds of bikes here. Obviously many riders have re-evaluated their plans because of the weather. A quick coffee later and we are back on the bikes and riding westwards in the deluge. Phil and I are going pretty strongly compared to the riders around us, of whom there are admittedly not too many. We criss-cross atmospheric narrow lanes next to giant wind turbines shrouded in mist. The rain abates as we smash on to Carhaix. On the outskirts of the town we manage to lose our way and spend a good few minutes retracing our pedal strokes. Finally we control at 03.30. Some 525kms into the ride in 30 hours at an average speed of 24.6 kms per hour moving speed. Dick Mason has parked the camper van nearby and after a meal of pasta bake, we squeeze in for a 3 hour kip and kit change. Dick wakes us up all too soon. We devour more high carb, low fat brekkie and set off just as it gets light. The next part of the ride takes in some sweet Breton forest near Huelgoat, and is generally but gently uphill all the way to the route’s highest point at Roc de Trevezel. After some phoney wars, a massive group forms on the climb, towed along by Club Loudeac. It is cool and quite misty with poor visibility, there is safety in numbers. On the descent to Sizun we are filmed by an official photographer leaning out of a Citroen Picasso in the middle of the bunch. Well, it made the cold plummet a tad more exciting. Hope they got the ‘Rapha’ logo after shelling out all that dosh! Now I like the town of Sizun very much indeed. Why? You ask. The reason is that it is situated about 55kms from Carhaix on the outward leg, so it is a very good place to stop for a coffee. There is a good choice of establishments. The townsfolk are neither too apathetic nor too excited to see us. It is as if PBP comes through here every week. It’s a relaxed atmosphere. You are nearly at Brest, nearly half way, or you are on the way back from Brest, so just over half way. I could live in Sizun, it’s my kind of town. ( I left my sun hat there in 2003 and rode 14kms back to retrieve it. Felt great to revisit the town.) Anyway, a Slovakian train was departing and it seemed impolite not to board. They most kindly dragged us all the way to Brest without too much fuss, and on the way we picked up some Yacf ‘faces’. I would like to point out that I thanked them profusely for their untiring work, and that I couldn’t have got to the front if I had had an electric motor. They were fantastic. Lots of cyclists stopped to take photos from and of the splendid bridge which sits astride the Celtic Sea. Ian Oliver and I ploughed on. We have photos from previous editions, taken in sunshine no less! Having arrived in Brest, the control must be nearby, yes? No! We endured a circuitous tour of the docks, trying to guess which magnificent artifice has been requisitioned for our benefit. Over railway tracks, into strongish breeze. Surely we must be nearly there?! Pressing on, a sign saying 3000 metres. But not indicating that it is all uphill. Oh Sisyphus, the long distance randonneur shares your pain. Finally we arrive at the half way mark. A shower, taken quickly, but affording such 53
PBP an energising boost, is first on the cards. Then food and drink and the usual faffing about with kit.
in the morning and these guys are on a three hour shift, they lift my spirits.
And very soon, Philip and I are returning to Paris. A big moment indeed. It is about midday on Tuesday, a mere 38 hours after our departure from Guyancourt. A large group made up mostly of Americans negotiate the rolling roads via Landernau back to Carhaix via sweet Sizun. There is plenty of climbing on this leg, but we’re swinging along nicely heading for the creperie in town.
And now on to Tinteniac via Quedillac. It’s about 45kms. I am passed by a couple of riders and I can’t hold their wheels. They are really shifting, but they don’t really pull away. So I follow their rear lights for a couple of hours, missing out on the sleep stop at Quedillac and trailing them up the hill to the telephone mast at Becherel.
And sure enough, we arrive at the restaurant. I devour two galettes like a hungry animal. Philip is more restrained, more human. But I have had a shower, so I smell better! The climb of the Roc beckons. It has warmed up, the low mist has been burned off. There are great views to the North as the craggy ridge bears down on us. A crowd has gathered at the summit. This is a showman’s opportunity, so I give it some welly. “Il est fort!” shouts a man. “Comme electrique!” adds his partner. And 100 metres on I die a death. It’s a proper rollercoaster road to Carhaix. I confess to not feeling quite as magnificent as I had hoped, nor quite up to the standard of 2007, when I ripped the heart out of this road, (must work on the modesty angle). Therefore with about 15kms to go I found a grassy enclave and crashed out in the warm sunshine. Bliss! Must have been out for about 20 minutes, and it was a little difficult to get going. Nevertheless, I arrived at the control at Carhaix about twenty minutes behind Big Phil, who was ready to leave. I made a most rapid turnaround, but Mr. Sudell was on his way. After about 2 kms I could see a big group about 800metres in front of me. It seemed to be worth making the effort to “get on” to this peleton, so I pushed very hard up the hill to Le Moustoir. Contact made, Club Loudeac ferried us about 45kms to the town of Corlay, where they stopped for a club rest stop. On the way we passed Big Phil who had taken time out to star in a television interview with a local station. Now it was only 10kms to the tented bar at St. Martin des Pres. A party had been underway since the first riders had come through early on Tuesday morning. For me, it was an important part of the whole ride to stop here and join in with the locals. And there was food! There was a super atmosphere in the tent. Singing, dancing, eating and drinking, all the while riders passing by and being cheered on their way. What a privilege to witness this outpouring of support. Big Phil arrives and enjoys the craic, and soon we were speeding towards Loudeac, taking a measure of revenge against these roads which had tortured us on the previous night. The scenery was quite beautiful in the twilight with some panoramic vistas to both North and South. As night fell I pulled clear of our little company and raced to the control. What an exhilarating feeling to be able to produce such power after such a long way. There are loads of people clustered on the street near the town. They lifted me, and I was not going to disappoint them. I stormed to the finish of the stage as if all the teams of the Tour de France were chasing me down. It’s not a race, but it is a race! Where can an average 52 year man riding a bike get such a wonderful reception? And why not make the most of it? Thank you Loudeac, I love you. A careful bike park, an efficient ‘bounce’ at the control and, reunited with TV star Philip Sudell, we depart and head off into the night. A brief note regarding the massive control that is Loudeac. Having eaten between controls, we can limit our time actually spent at the control. It is all too easy to waste precious time queuing, chatting and generally faffing about. In a way it is a shame to miss out on some of the dramas that are being played out, but we are good enough at passing time without the added distractions at the controls. I team up briefly with a Spanish rider who is under the impression that Loudeac was the last control of the entire ride. Erm, no! There are still six more including the finish. Once again, it ain’t flat. We are about 5 kms from Meneac when Phil decides to have a nap. I’m not at all sleepy, so we decide to split up temporarily. Once again, and most fortunately, I feel really strong and crack on to the secret control at Illifault. Some undulating lanes ensue, and then comes the charming little town of St. Meen-le- Grand, where earlier we had partaken of a superb kebab. Three guys are manning the tent right in front of the Mairie. They invite me in for coffee and we have a most interesting conversation about the ride, and about their club’s contribution to the event. It’s about 1 o’clock 54
There’s a calmness in the air. My heart is beating rhythmically, my breathing is regular, my legs are pumping like pistons, but there is no pain, no feeling of abnormal effort. It feels like being in a cocoon of perfect physical effort, a bubble of exertion that just won’t burst. I can still see the pair of lights about 500m ahead on the long straight road to Tinteniac after the descent from Becherel. I can’t catch them, but they have really helped me to press on over the ribbon of tarmac that connects us. It’s 3 a.m when I sign in at the big T. Dick has parked the van nearby, and Mark and Nicki Evans, registered to Philip, have brought their van on the way back from hols. Dick has cooked a wonderful pasta Bolognese and we all have a chat. Mark and Nicki are concerned for Philip, but I know that he will be absolutely fine, and he duly turns up an hour later. Meanwhile, I have three hours sleep in the van with Mr. Aspinall, a 70 year old legend. He’s only little and doesn’t take up too much space! In the morning, Nicki most kindly cooks us some super scrambled eggs, and Dick berates us for wasting time and messing up his spreadsheets! He loves us really. Just as we are about to depart, Philip performs a successful gear service on his wonderful titanium Enigma. Next stop, Fougeres, a mere 55kms. Before long we have stopped for coffee and morning ablutions at a café with wonderful facilities for this purpose. What a civilised pair we are! Soon we have made our way to the front of a group and selflessly drag them along for many kms. I really enjoy this section and a Frenchman most generously rides up and compliments us on our group riding. However a fast Danish train speeds by and, well to be honest, the temptation is just too great to resist. The reality is that they were just a bit too quick for yours truly, but they did drag me up to Doug Aspinall, and he and the two Phils arrived at Fougeres at 10.30. about 2 ½ hours for 55kms including a coffee stop. Not bad going. Fougeres has a great canteen serving good food, we availed ourselves of its culinary delights and I made use of the always empty disabled loo (not at the same time!). I cannot now recollect further happenings at this stop so will swiftly move on. The weather was quite fine with the promise of slight tailwind for the next stage. Phil and I set off together, but this was going to be my Queen stage. Very soon I cut loose and joined the Loudeac Club peleton for a short while, but the sap had risen and I decided to go it alone on this rolling terrain. A terrific passage followed, a world where there was no pain, only speed. The sort of speed that caused one American to cry out “Wow! It’s the Paris Express”, as I scythed through the packs of riders. All the way from Laignelet to Charchigne about 60kms in total, the juice was turned on. I am sure that no one passed me on this stretch. Where it comes from, who knows, but I rejoice when it happens. I just wish that I could bottle it and sell it. All good things come to an end though, and by Charchigne I had to ease off. Fortunately, that good fellow and modern day Pickwickian character, Patrick Field, had parked up his recumbent outside a bar. He very kindly treated me to a Perrier, and we made merry with some local middle aged ladies, but only on the topic of PBP, I hasten to add, if my wife manages to read this far. At this point a fellow member from my local gym, Julian Cole, joined us, and another chap whose name I didn’t catch, but who looked in good nick for a 70 year old. But I digress. A big group came by, Julian soon caught them, Patrick had long departed and I was a little tardy in setting off. Eventually I managed to catch them near the top of the climb at Hardanges, and we had a most sociable ride into Villaines. Wonderful Villaines. It was about 3.30 p.m. We approached a funnel of people, a vortex of sound, a warmth radiated off the crowd. They cheered us as if we were their sons and daughters returning unscathed
Arrivée November 2011
PBP from war in foreign parts. It was absolutely electric. The next few minutes were not to be rushed . We were separated by barriers, but the spectators were clearly interested in protocol. I was a complete tart, milking every observation by producing more and more stuff from my bag, which elicited Gallic comment s from the observers . I felt like I had won another stage of the Tour. Now Villaines had a very interesting Men’s or more correctly Homme’s shower room. For a mere 3 euros one could hire a towel and some soap and share the Men’s shower room with half a dozen fully clothed women. Maybe their French was poor, or ‘Homme’ actually translates as ‘Woman’ , but it was an interesting situation after some 900 odd kms on the bike. Maybe not the fastest randonneur, but certainly one of the cleanest, I set off with Philip for the antepenultimate control at Mortagne-au –Perche. The road immediately pitched through small valleys and pivoted over great bulges in the land, all the way to the Super-U just outside the sharp left turn at Fresnay. We stocked up with more nourishment and were joined by some friendly Danes. I was also looking forward to re-visiting the café situated on the sharp left hand turn. It was a fine, warm evening and we spent 15 more minutes watching the riders pass by and exchanging banter with the locals (English get everywhere!). Finally we set off towards the next biggish town of Mamers, via the dangerous crossroads at La Hutte. I was keen to grab onto a group up ahead, but was disappointed to discover that the pace was quite pedestrian, so I set off alone for the next 20kms. Descending into Mamers town centre at about 8 p.m, I suddenly felt very sleepy and espied a comfy looking concrete bench on the left hand trottoir. Having removed shoes, gloves, gilet but maintaining GB modesty at all times. I lay down on the hard but snug surface. A young woman approached and asked me into her house, “ Thank G-d! I thought, the hallucinations have started at last.” She explained that her father had once upon a time completed PBP and would like to have a chat. Unfortunately, I had only planned a 15 minute snooze and could not factor in a French conversation into the break as I was barely compos mentis at the time. Regretfully, I declined the most kind invitation and noted that the mother or mother-in-law was clocking everything from the balcony. No offence was taken and within 0.1 second I was comatose. Awakening precisely 15 minutes later, I proceeded to put on all items of clothing which had previously been disrobed. Mounting the bike I blew a kiss to the mother/mother-in-law (it never does any harm) who had been selflessly watching my unsecured kit whilst I slept. Sweet solicitude, unasked for but given so freely. It’s what makes PBP so supremely great and makes us so humble. Now it was with some regret that I left Mamers, for on the one hand there seemed to be a party tent set up near the centre, and on the other hand I knew that the next 24kms were quite brutal. However , the weather was kind and my spirits were good. It wasn’t the road that gave me problems, but my right eye was dying to have a nap all on its own, which was proving to be an impediment, as I can’t really see out of my left eye. Therefore I apologise to all inhabitants within 5kms south and west of Mortagne, who may have heard me madly shouting, “Keep the F-ck open!” as I careered up and down the hills. Oh, and what a cruel climb up to the town itself. We didn’t really deserve such a test, but some of the effort was allayed but the sight of a quite beautiful Norman town set upon a verdant hillside. Even the entrance to the control is up a very steep ramp. My eye had a mind of its own, so I donned sunglasses just in case an official suggest I make a visit to the medical room. I do confess to feeling mildly disorientated at this time, but put it down to tiredness and promptly found a cushy clear space on the lino floor. After about 15 minutes prime sleep, I awoke starving hungry and dying of thirst. This was soon remedied by stuffing two delectable jambon baguettes, lovingly coated with unsalted butter into the bottomless pit which was formerly my stomach. This solid feast was washed down with tea, coffee, Perrier and Coca Cola in no particular order. I am not too fussy at this stage of proceedings. It was about 9.30 in the evening, and out of the blue, Paul and Mark
Arrivée November 2011
appeared, closely followed by Philip Sudell. The Musketeers were together again! What happened next, I cannot remember, but perhaps Philip and I set off before the Aussie brothers. It was chilly, and very dark. We chanced upon a pair of cyclists in difficulties and we able to offer some assistance in replacing a spoke and truing a rear wheel. Good deed done, we set about conquering the hills thereabouts. And my, there are some stinkers! Eventually and none too quickly, we arrived at Longny-au- Perche . I had another quick nap for about 2 minutes before being joined by Philip. Another incline out of the village finally sapped the strength in my legs, and we plodded on through the night. After about 10kms, at Marchainville, I just had to have a lie down on the wet grass under a tree. It was probably precisely the spot where the villagers exercise their dogs, so I was careful! Philip continued with the ramshackle group. After about 20 minutes I awoke to the dulcet and familiar twang of Australian accents passing by on the road. A quick re-mount and I chased down Mark and Paul, and admit to being very happy to see them. We ambled onwards towards La Ferte-Vidame (are not these names evocative and so French?). Mark suggested that we raise the pace, so I put on a steady burst for a few kms, feeling quite smug , with the two boys tucked in behind me. All of a sudden, young Paul decides that we should be racing, not randonneuring, and the next 30 odd kms becomes a post midnight tear-up. We overtake everybody including a couple of strong looking riders, who are going well. Philip Sudell latches on, and on the outskirts of Dreux, our next control, through the flatlands without a breath of wind, the big man proceeds to set a fast tempo which has me and Mark on the edge. The approach to Dreux is almost as circuitous as the one to Brest, but finally we drop down to the safe haven to be met by Mr. Mason who is settling very nicely into the role of ubersupporter. The van is parked in a large car park and as it is a warm night, I elect to sleep al fresco on a lounger while Doug and Philip reside inside. The atmosphere is chilled and unpressured. We could press on to Paris, only 65kms away, and arrive at 6 in the morning, but the forecast is for a fine day, and we will enjoy a leisurely ride to the finish with plenty of time in hand. After another shower and final change of kit, our grupetto, minus Doug who is doing his own thing, set off for the final leg. It’s a chatty, relaxed band of brothers. There are some hills, but we no longer really notice them. The landscape is pleasant, it’s hard to imagine that we are so close to a major capital city. We pass through Gambais and stop for a lovely coffee, watching the riders pass by and engaging in surreal chitchat with neighbouring tables. Finally we regroup at a roundabout about 5kms from the finish. There is one last slight hiccup as Phil misses a green light and we draw away, but as we approach the finish we spread out across the road and the biggest cheers come from the Sudells and the Magnus’ based in the centre of the roundabout. A truly fantastic reception after an unforgettable odyssey. It’s not quite finished. After riding 10kms back to the campsite!! We were treated to a feast of a breakfast by Jo and Mourijn. In the evening we enjoyed the company of Dick, Mark, Paul, Phil Nelson (54 1/2hour ride) and our families for another banquet. It was as wonderful a reward as could be imagined. Some facts and figures: 1243kms ridden 86 hours 18 minutes 53.16 hours on the bike 33 hours and 2 minutes off bike 23.38kms per hour average on bike Amount eaten.-----Phenomenal Amount slept….. approximately 9 hours. 3 showers taken. Approx start weight.
Approx end weight
Weight in February 2011 88.5 kilos 55
selected highs and lows from the Twittersphere during PBP
1. Getting there ...
August 15th maverick_47 (Martin Berry) - Spent the day fettling the bike. It’s ready for PBP now. Not sure I am. August 16th david_mccraw - Bring on Sunday night - this bike will wear out if I have much longer to fuss over it! August 17th SirWobbly - Final night of faffing around before setting off to Paris for PBP. And I still need to do a LOT of faffing! August 18th TandemThings (Joth and Emma) - Sun is up and we’re almost half way through the cycling for the day! Vernon tonight then Paris tomorrow. Hummers - Am in Evreux with Danu, Postie, Plodder and Priddy plus Jim Hopper, Jstone, Mark and Jim from Derby Mercury, Edwin, AndyH, MattC and Denise. Great ride down, good weather. maverick_47 - In Travelodge outside Canterbury. Getting ferry first thing tomorrow, should be in SQY early afternoon. August 19th a.m. M_a_t_t_H - Heading for Le Tunnel now. pbp2011 here we come! John_Spooner - Lots of riders out on the route this morning as i was riding in from Nogent le roi. Now at temp campsite. Warm and sunny. Auk_Halloween (Ian Reid) - Bike gone ahead so time for a coffee and a breakfast muffin before catching the Eurostar. Already seen 4 other PBP hopefuls, mu ... August 19th p.m. marcusjb - Anyone got any pointers as to whether I am likely to find a person with a soldering iron at registration (or nearby)? Auk_Halloween - A Paris avec mon velo. Il est tres chaud :-) JimLoganPA (Jim Logan) - @marcusjb: soldering iron? I have a handheld one at the Holiday Inn Express. M_a_t_t_H - Sitting in Huttopia drinking “beer “ out of silly little bottles. All ready for a 10am bike check tomorrow.
2. Registration ...
Saturday 20th a.m. roamingsloth - F1 hotel feels like an open prison. Walls are very thin. I get the feeling that not all the guests are here to ride their bikes maverick_47 - front mech has terminally expired. Anyone in SQY know where I might get a new one this morning? M_a_t_t_H - All registered and ready to roll. Hope it’s a bit cooler on the ride! Saturday p.m. Auk_Halloween - bike checked, got the jersey and the yellow vest, if it wasn’t for the empty brevet card I could go home now ;-) maverick_47 - OK bodged a cheap 8 spd mtb mech to work on mid & outer. It’ll do for 1 ride. maverick_47 - all registered and sorted. Great to meet so many people I’ve met on different rides in UK and abroad. oranjh (Howard Waller) - After all those pages & pages of discussion on yacf reflective vests, I barely had to wave mine at the marshal to pass the bike check! SirWobbly - Have just watched the weather on TV. Bad news chaps - rain on the way. Maybe heavy on Monday. Oh bugger. marcusjb - Oh oh. Here comes the rain! Just woken up by massive thunderclaps. Pissing it down now. Hopefully it will pass! Sunday a.m. swarm_catcher That explains the fireworks in my dream. @SirWobbly: Woken by flashes of lightning and the sound of thunder alexgreenbank (Alex Greenbank) RT @rob_mcivor Audax England jersey photo 4pm outside Restaurant les Quadrants. Pass the word as I can’t figure out hashtags! M_a_t_t_H - Impressive lightning last night. Felt sorry for the campers! Hopefully it’ll be a bit cooler today for marcusjb - Fire alarm at hotel. Groovy. End of lie in AJB2603 (Adam Bell) @marcusjb: - are you sure it wasn’t a REALLY loud alarm clock. Nuncio2 (Simon Spooner) Chillin’ at the camp site. Avoiding unnecessary fettling. 56
Sunday (day 1) p.m. kieronyates (Kieron Yates) Bike weighs about 1/2 a ton now fully packed. Guess taking a table lamp isn’t really necessary marcusjb - Very humid, little spot of rain on way to g’court. Going to be wet later by the looks of it. Oh great. Great atmosphere though alexgreenbank - Milling around avoiding the sun and trying to keep hydrated (i.e. avoiding beer), toasty warm. Off for food at about 3pm. laid_back_rich (Richard Evans) just ate last supper, now nervous wait to start at 4pm M_a_t_t_H - Queuing for the 80hr start. Luckily in the tunnel ATM - it’s hot out. Auk_Halloween - sociable pre-ride meal and team photo. Finding shade to stay cool B-) marcusjb - First 80 hour riders got away after waiting in sun for about an hour, poor souls. Broken down car on route = delays. TandemThings - Now in the starting pens with hundreds of other Tandems! Been interviewed for local radio. Now to wait around for 45mins. TandemThings - Look who just pulled up next to us on the start line! Drew buck.. John_Spooner - Tewdric has elbowed his way to the very front rank of 6 o’clock starters alexgreenbank - Queuing at the start, prob 7:30pm off. Warm in the afternoon sun but bearable. really looking forward to this now. roamingsloth - Near the back of the 90hr queue. Not what I had planned! John_Spooner - Just seen all the 90 hour depts. Also just seen an irish lad racing back to his digs because he’d left his chip behind John_Spooner - A lovely night for a bike ride - warm, clear sky and a slight breeze. Kip for me now then up at 3 for a start at 5. oranjh - Hit the deck 60k. Scraped knee, elbow. Had a bad patch after but rolled ok last hour. Onward! Monday (day 2) a.m. SirWobbly - 12.10 Mortagne 140 km I think. Brautiful night for riding & not too many hills. M_a_t_t_H - At villaines 222km. Eating pastries and drinking coffee. Ahead of schedule :-) Auk_Halloween - 140k, 02.00. Barmy, balmy ride! Cicadas, owls and a red light snake splitting the night. alexgreenbank - Was off at 8pm. Mortagne, 144km, ok but feel a bit rough, hoping food, stop and sunrise will get me back to normal. John_Spooner - Still at SQY waiting for the civilised 84 hour start cnarborough (Chris Narborough) Queueing up to get cards stamped now. Looks like we’ll be off in 20 mins or so. marcusjb - 1st proper control at 221km. Made it in about 10.5hrs. Feeling ok despite feeling a little dozy an hour or so ago. M_a_t_t_H - Arrived Fougeres about 30mins ago:-) having another slap up feed. jwoLondon (Jo Wood) At Villains, unfortunately feeling a bit rough not being able to stomach food. Did a proper Audax sleep in a field on way here. oranjh - Barreled into tintac with a fast bunch of brits laid_back_rich - am half way to brest soup + lasagne 4 brkfst mmm alexgreenbank - Villaines-La-Juhel at 221km, feeling much better now if a bit weary from no sleep. 91km to next control after breakfast. SirWobbly - At Fougeres, 10am. 310km. Trying to find food/drink that doesn ‘t involve huge queue. oranjh - John warnock out @ Fougie, his rear wheel disintegrated :-/ Monday p.m. Auk_Halloween - 310k at 11.30. Overcast and cool with a few spots of rain. Very pretty rolling section, stopped for coffee at flower strewn weir. jwoLondon - Fougeres-feeling much better after 90km and two large bowls of hot choc. A bit wet but much easier to ride through than last night. TandemThings - Almost one third done! At the secret control. Not so.secret now I guess... :-) maverick_47 - at Tinteniac 1.05pm 364km done. In yet another queue
Arrivée November 2011
ed Francis Cooke
for food M_a_t_t_H - Loudeac. Front mech still playing up :-( M_a_t_t_H - Rode with IanH for a while up to about 20km from Loudeac until I had to drop off and tweak the mechanical. The Hummercian was here. roamingsloth - Nearly fell asleep at the wheel a few times last night. Had to quaff the proplus. Saw a few people lying next to the road alexgreenbank - Fougères at 310km, rain for most of section but warm enough for no rain jacket. Chicken and chips boshed, avoiding beer. roamingsloth - Hand down the front of my shorts applying chamois cream & sudocrem in front of 20 spectators. I left my shame out on the road cnarborough - Villaines now, 221km in 9 hours. Wet and thundery but going well. Bit windy. marcusjb - Secret control reached (about 400km). Cake and coke to celebrate one third distance! It’s getting very hot again as well! John_Spooner - Villaines 221 hail rain lightning etc. Everything going swimmingly. simonproven (Simon Proven) Tintineac. 365km, about 1h behind schedule. Sun is out. Sleep stop by midnight? jwoLondon - At the first “secret” control. Je propose...flan. oranjh - Brest 25h , in the rush hour :-/ SirWobbly - Loudeac, 450km, 18:10. Struggling @ present. Nothing I eat is turning into energy. Plus bad indegestion all day. laid_back_rich - 525k done, all gd, mustnt grumble, we do this 4 fun jwoLondon - Quoting for food in Loudiac with storms threatening outside. TandemThings - Auto update: Carhaix, 525km. nearly half way! (+/15m)... John_Spooner - Fougeres 310 Biblical storm now . Not many riders on the road at the tail end of the 84 hour group #audaxuk oranjh - Over the roc trevezel twice in one day. Bit wet cnarborough - Tinteniac, 364km in just under 17hours (I think). Weather still shocking! M_a_t_t_H - Arrived in Brest :-) very wet over roc, but dry now. Almost no bike parking left and the hot food restaurant is shut :-( Auk_Halloween - 23.00, 450k. Strange section punctuated by frequent flashes of lightening. Sheltered into a barn from one spectacular downpour. ...
Tuesday (day 3) a.m. SirWobbly - Grabbed about half an hours sleep. Woke to find torrential rain still & an inch water on the floor. oranjh - Hiding in a barn with Martin M, massive thunderstorm! SirWobbly - That was horrible. Off to Brest. No time to lose. jwoLondon - No room at the inn at Cathaix. Failing to attempt to dry after epic thunderstorms between Ludiac and Carhaix. maverick_47 - 23.25 at Charhaix 526km. Last 30km in thunderstorm. Now for some sleep if there are beds left. John_Spooner - Quedillac and nothing but good honest rain. #audaxuk Auk_Halloween - 525k, 03.40. Warm and damp. Headlights picking out Breton bats aerial antics. Slightly disconcerting to see streams of riders o ... roamingsloth - 5hrs sleep on a wooden bench at Brest. Legs feel like lead. That “hill” will sort them out! oranjh - Tough leg 2 loudeac done. Damp, many lights coming the other way cnarborough - Made it to Loudeac for a sleep. Later than planned, the weather stayed terrible overnight. More rain and thunder! david_mccraw - Well, on the bright side, only 600km to go. Also the downside. Legs feel good for about 6km at a push. TandemThings - That stage didn’t quite go to plan (plan was to take it easy), so we got to Brest before sunrise :-). Half way... alexgreenbank - Just leaving Carhaix, 93km to Brest, target 3pm (2pm UK time). Dozies took effect on last leg, 40min nap in a shed. oranjh - Tintenac. Change of shorts! marcusjb - Brest! 37.25 hrs. Fastest 2,3,4&600 on way. Now for the real challenge marcusjb - Caught drew buck coming down off le roc on that 110 year old bike. Terrifying sight! especially in that mist this morning
Arrivée November 2011
PBP 2011 Lucy and Dick McTaggart photo Tim Wainwright jwoLondon - At Brest having fed and had the best shower evva complete with fluffy towels. Was a real pea super out of Carhaix over le roc. SirWobbly - Still in Brest. Asked for 2 hours sleep luckully I woke up anyway after 3 hours. Grrr... cnarborough - Now in Carhaix. 525km, 29.5 hours. Weather improving - it’s just damp rather than pissing down. 4 hours and we’re half way...
Tuesday p.m. alexgreenbank - Sizon, stopped for food only for glasses to snap in half and an arm fell off. Bodged a fix with tape, classy. TandemThings - Back at Carhaix for lunch, about to head onward. All thoughts are on the next sleep roamingsloth - Loudeac, all ok. There’s an Italian rider with one leg doing an impressive pace. Watched him grinding up a hill. Superhuman! cnarborough - Just been over THE ROC. Barely noticed it - what’s all the fuss about? Pizza for lunch in Sizun now, yum. --- --- --Jaded (from yacf ) Greenbank’s arm has fallen off! He’s bodged it with tape. RossBD (yacf ) :thumbsup: Anything less would not be in the Audax spirit. He’ll probably come up with a better bodge involving zip ties later on. --- --- --mattmarvell (Matt Marvell) - 703km , i’ve seen a man taking his dog on the ride with him marcusjb - Dogs on bikes fans - this chap is doing all of PBP apparently! jwoLondon - Having my first coffee in four years in preparation for the next stages today - Car-Ld, Ld-Tn. --- --- --rogerzilla (yacf ) jwo is on the drugs already. adamski (yacf ) I’ve had a text from Mal Volio: Quote: Shocking. 20 hours of lightening, thunder & biblically torrential rain. I’ve never seen anything like it. Considering he rode PBP 2007 then this must be pretty bad. simonproven (yacf ) Worse than anything in 2007. adamski (yacf ) What you doing on the forum, you should be riding. --- --- --maverick_47 - back at Carhaix 705km done. Bit of a nightmare over to Brest in the dark and mist Auk_Halloween - 16.00, 700k. Weather more benign, party atmosphere at Sizun where stopped for more food. alexgreenbank - Sizun at 655km for a shandy and some food, will be pushing on to Carhaix and then Loudeac tonight. Ugh, but in much better spirits. SirWobbly - At Carhaix (700km) feeling much better than I did yesterday 57
PBP Twitterlog despite the weather coming over the Roc Trevesel. M_a_t_t_H - Tinteniac 868km. Getting a bit soggy now, but no waterproofs yet. laid_back_rich - half way bk 2 paris, eaten abt 20 dinrs since sun but cant do a twosy SirWobbly - At St Nick Du P (735km) with Drew Buck. Drew says “will have arse problems”. Rain imminent but setting off anyway. Auk_Halloween - 20.40, 780k. Sunshine on leaving Carhaix, lots of tough little climbs followed by swooping downhills cnarborough - And now I’ve been back over the rock. It’s brilliant with a tailwind! 703km done, 41 hours so far. jwoLondon - At “secret” control. Body has finally worked out how to turn croissants, pasta, grated carrot & creme caramel into pure kms. marcusjb - High point of evening was arriving at secret control followed by the triplet playing van halen on their stereo system! Wednesday (day 4) a.m. simonproven (Simon Proven) - Loudeac 782km. Lara very tired and having a cat nap. Press on or sleep here? jwoLondon - Kipping in Tinteniac in my favourite spot under a table in the restaurant. Doctor is currently full. roamingsloth - Villanes J 1009km 02:30. Stopped to get 1.5hrs quick sleep. Beds full, so on floor. Just saw rider hit traffic island. Be careful! alexgreenbank - Loudeac, bed, more later, need sleep. oranjh - Arrivee, 58h. Promptly fell asleep as soon as i’d sat down! cnarborough - Ah, bed time. Looks like I might get 2 1/2 hours tonight; luxury. 450km to do, 37h40m to do it in. Sounds good! Auk_Halloween - 01.00, 840k. Shower, sleep, breakfast and getting ready to hit the road again at 05.30, lots of baggy eyes around! roamingsloth - Italian rider at Mortange-a-P trying to get his friends who are passed out on the floor to carry on riding. SirWobbly - Spent a lot longer at Loudeac than planned (dinner+breakfast+sleep) So much for bouncing the controls to Paris M_a_t_t_H - Sitting in a pavement cafe eating pastries, drinking coffee and watching lots of tired riders roll past. RT @Fidgetbuzz (Roger Cortis): - Trapped nerve lower back nasty. Going 2 b a struggle. d’uh! Bugger! Hang in there old man. Auk_Halloween - 09.20, 920k :-) bounced Tinteniac and sped onto Fougere in the growing daylight. SirWobbly - 9am Tinteniac 867km. Beautiful morning, riding well, chatting to lots of confused Americans. Now having a beer for breakfast :-) Wednesday p.m. marcusjb - Welcome at villaines is amazing. Kids clammering to carry your food tray for you is very sweet and, to be honest, needed! cnarborough - Tinteniac, 867km 54 hours. It’s sunny at last! Going well, but stomach feels a bit dodgy. maverick_47 - Sat outside cafe in sun with drink - chilling. 250km to go and 24hrs left. In touring mode now John_Spooner - Tinteniac. Hot. Lunching with LRM vice-president. RT @Fidgetbuzz: Some horse pills have dulled pain. swarm_catcher - At Fougeres. Two long legs coming up. And still smiling :) jwoLondon - Just jumped the huge food queue at Villaines where riders are treated like royalty. Will have a little snooze before nxt stg. alexgreenbank - Aiming for to find a field/bus stop tonight for a quick kip, somewhere between Mortagne and Dreux for an easier finish. Auk_Halloween - 14.30, 1009k. Sun and locals out to play, horns, whistles, roadside crepes and high fives. Party in full swing at Villaines. M_a_t_t_H - Dreux. 69km to go:-) stopped for a coffee and a mudguard mechanical on Andy’s bike, but still on track. marcusjb - Sadly a sub 75 is just beyond my legs, it is tight. I will be happy with a 76/7 for first attempt! JudithSwallow - having a wonderful time chasing green numbers with a back wind. Seen lots of familiar faces inc the double pylon and it’s master John_Spooner - Fougeres starting to mix with 90 hour riders and experience small queues at controls. It’s almost like PBP. TandemThings - Sitting in Montagne au Perches with a mid afternoon snack. 140km to go. Joth’s ankle is hurting, Emma’s are feeling fine ... roamingsloth - Done! 65hrs. 17 cans of coke & 1 beer. Not sure if my mind & my knee will ever recover. laid_back_rich - fnshd 71 hours now drinking beer w auks all gd 58
david_mccraw - 80km in 5h30 with exploding knees. Mortagne. Still 7.5h ahead of the chop and 17h to get the last 140k in the bag. M_a_t_t_H - Finished! . (Anyone want to buy a bike?) SirWobbly - Half way between Villaines and Mortange. Endless rolling hills and sarcastic Aussies jwoLondon - Munching in Dreux after negotiating the plains with Edinburgh Fixed and misc. Europeans. Sleep now before bimble in tomorrow. Auk_Halloween - 23.15, 1165k. Coffee, chocolate warm clothes, Paris here we come!
Thursday (day 5) marcusjb - Best bike ride EVER. Finish in 76hr15. One of best experiences of my life (except meeting cass of course!) chuffed to bits. In bits TandemThings - Auto update: THE END. SirWobbly - Panic set in so I decided not to doze. Set off @ 1am falling asleep on the bike. Monumental effort got me to Dreux @ 4a? maverick_47 - at Dreux 3hrs riding left to the finish. Top cake here had 4 so far may go back 4 more. Auk_Halloween - . I have a sore a*r* , aching muscles, puffy skin and bloodshot eyes but hey I’ve just done PBP in under 80hrs in good weather Nuncio2 - I’ve finished with Ian. Nuncio2 - That last tweet was not (just) a relationship status change. alexgreenbank - Dreux at 1165km, tough night but legs still strong. 65km to go into Paris, not taking any chances so going soon. 45min more sleep. maverick_47 - Finished 09.10 drama when I put the rear changer into the wheel with 50km to go! vorsprungbike (Jamie Andrews) - Morning after the night before, drinking coffee and talking PBP with Ianh & @tandemthings alexgreenbank - Done. 87:53. Broken. Beer. RT @Fidgetbuzz: FINISHED. 89.25 <<hurrah and congrats simonproven - Finished in 89h05. marcusjb - Rather overwhelmed at being in a hotel room, it doesn’t smell awful, there’s a real bed and I don’t have to be in and out in 30mins --- --- --Jaded (yacf ) simonp says finished in 89:05 No mention of Feline - really hope she is the same!! TimO (yacf ) The tracking says she got in after 89h06, so pretty much the same as simonp. Feline (yacf ) Yep we rode it all mostly together and came in just past 89 hrs, my fault bcz I wanted the Adrian Hands 89+ hours club psychedelic jersey so we wasted s bunch of time sleeping in the grass this morning on the way in from Dreux ! Thanks so much everyone for all your support, and especially Simonp without whom I don’t think I could have done it :)
PBP 2011 AUKs at start photo Tim Wainwright Arrivée November 2011
Gernot gets Bernd on Osterdorf 300k
n the second half of March and into April 2011, I had some extremely busy weeks at the office. I tried to survive until the weekend each time, longing to get out on my personal redemption machine ... but then spring progresses and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Snow melts, flowers blossom and the German brevet series starts again. On the same weekend as another epic Elenith (I read in horror that it might have been the last one actually), I got into the car in the very early morning and made the trip from Munich to Osterdorf for yet another Bavarian 300. Osterdorf is a small hamlet above the Altmühl river valley some 40km south of Nuremberg. A very small hamlet indeed, the streets there do not even have names. Nevertheless, it is the capital of German audaxing as from here Karl and Heidi Weimann organise the most popular series in Germany with rides ranging from 200km to 1200km. Rides around this time of year can be a bit troublesome, as some five years ago I started to get hayfever and it has grown worse every year since. But never mind, I had my Livocab ready. The weather was cold but sunny and a record bunch of more than 160 riders set out at eight in the morning. The early brevets always attract the kind of rider I do not really trust, so I tried to get right to the front of the bunch to stay out of trouble. As we raced the first descent into Pappenheim and up again on the southern side of the valley I found myself in the lead group, and just barely managing to keep up. South of Pappenheim the terrain is very hilly right up to the north bank of the Danube. Once across the river and the following short plain, the landscape undulates gently towards the lakelands west of Munich. We were extremely fast for the first 80km but our group of six seemed to settle into place. We reached the first control in Aichach before it officially opened, so they did not have the sausages ready yet. By that time I had found out why we were so quick: Bernd Paul (winner of last year’s Race Around Ireland) was in the lead all of the time. Riding with this guy is just amazing. He always stays in front and never wants to take turns. And he does so at an amazing pace. It can be very strenuous just to keep his rear wheel and more than once I wished I had not opted for a compact crank. However, he is so bent towards speed that his navigation sometimes suffers and you can team up easily with him by just yelling ‘right’, ‘left’ and ‘straight on’ from behind. Very fast, very efficient but also very stressful. And Bernd Paul does not like long stops. So no sausages in Aichach, just a brief gulp of
Arrivée November 2011
juice and off we were again. We sped south again, slightly aided by the wind and rushed through the second control at Mammendorf. Up and down, the kilometres went by fast and at 12:40 we had reached the turning point at the Andechs abbey control, on a hill above the Ammersee. I was nearly dropped on the long climb before Andechs and just barely able to fight my way back to the group. The abbey is home to a brewery and a famous beer garden which the clearer minded of the riders paid a suitable visit to. But not us, of course. Just another brief refill of the bottles and off we went again, northwards this time more or less into the wind. That was the time when
holding on to Bernd’s rear wheel really paid off. We were not quite as fast as before but still made good progress. I had settled into my role of clinging to the end of the group and shouting ‘Stop! We are wrong!’ every once in a while. Knowing the route from the years before, I did not count the remaining kilometres but instead counted down the number of serious climbs where I would be in danger of losing the group. Finally, after the fifth control at the Neuburg McDonalds just before we recrossed the Danube for the last 30 or so hilly klicks, the strength of my companions wore off and there seemed to be some kind of a ceasefire. Four of us reached the finish together (one had fallen by the wayside on the climb before Kühbach) in a fairly relaxed manner. We were the first ones back which meant that once more food was not ready for us. My wife Petra had joined me to the start to take some pictures. When we set off she drove down to Andechs and went for a ride to the control to picture the arriving randonneurs, most fairly relaxed and in proper beer garden mood. I wondered if it might have been a better idea to get inside that beer garden myself, but as this is a PBP year, I have to work on my strategy for that ride. The fast approach worked well this time so as a result I will try a similar again on the 400. Food-wise I might be out of luck again, but I need to train stress riding for the first leg of PBP. And with no beer gardens on the 400, that should make it easier. Big thanks again to Bernd and Karl and Heidi Weimann – http://www.brevet1200.de/ look for ARA Nordbayern. Or www.randonneure.de [only in German] and Jörg Kurzke’s Youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/ derrandonneur
photos: Gernot Stenz 59
AUK Calendar CALENDAR KEY & EXAMPLES: Line 1: Line 2: Line 3:
Distance in km Date Start place, with nearest town if necessary Name of event. Start time Day of the week Classification: BRM Brevet de Randonneurs Mondiaux BR Brevet AUK BP Brevet Populaire [PBP] PBP qualifier AA1½ Audax Altitude 1½ (NB no points does not imply no hills) [xxxxm] metres of ascent (NB zero implies info not available) Entry Fee - cheques made out to organiser YH Youth Hostel at/near start A(1) free/cheap accommodation 1 night C camping at or near the start B basic - no halls/beds etc F some free food &/or drink on ride BD Baggage Drop L Left luggage facilities at start DIY own route and controls, cards by post P free or cheap parking at start R free/cheap refreshment at start/finish T toilets at start S showers M Mudguards required Z sleeping facilities en route X some basic controls (eg service stations) 175 entries close at 175 riders (14/4) entries close 14th April also on 9 & 11 alternative start dates 15-30 min-max average overall speeds Organising club Organiser’s phone number ROA 1,000 Randonnée Organiser Award 1,000 points Organiser’s name and address
05 Nov Sat
Cholsey, E of Didcot Upper Thames BR 214km 1943m £5.00 L P R T M 15-30kph Reading DA 01491 651 284 email@example.com Phil Dyson, 25 Papist Way Cholsey Wallingford Oxon OX10 9LL
03 Dec Sat
Tongwynlais, NW Cardiff Monmouthshire Meander BR 204km £7.50 YH L P R T 50 15-25kph Cardiff Byways CC firstname.lastname@example.org Tony Pember, 9 Donald Street Nelson Treharris CF46 6EB
200 05 Nov 07:00 Sat ROA 2000
Coryton, NW Cardiff Transporter 200 BR 202km £8.00 YH L P R T 50 15-30kph Cardiff Byways CC 02920 341768 email@example.com Richard Evans, 73 Conway Road Cardiff CF11 9NW
04 Dec Sun
Carharrack, Cornwall Ed’s Mince Pie & Mulled Wine 50 BP £3.50 F L P R T (85) 10-25kph Audax Kernow 01326 373421 Eddie Angell, 14 Belhay Penryn Cornwall TR10 8DF
200 05 Nov 08:00 Sat ROA 10000
Galashiels Guy Fawkes Buddhist Retreat BR £3.00 BXDIY 15-30kph Audax Ecosse 01896 758 181 firstname.lastname@example.org Lucy McTaggart, 30 Victoria St. Galashiels Scottish Borders TD1 1HL
100 10 Dec 09:00 Sat ROA 5000
Hellesdon, nr Norwich The Norfolk Nips - 2 BP £5 LPRT 15-30kph NorfolknGood Audax email@example.com Keith Harrison, 11 Heather Avenue Hellesdon Norwich NR6 6LU
12 Nov Sat
Alfreton, NW of Nottingham To the Races BP £4.50 L P R T 14-28kph Alfreton CTC firstname.lastname@example.org Ian Hobbs, 26 Naseby Road Openwoodgate Belper DE56 0ER
200 10 Dec 07:30 Sat ROA 10000
Tewkesbury Kings, Castles, Priests & Churches. BR 202km 2550m AAA1.75 [1800m] £4.00 f l p r t nm 100 (27/10) 15-30kph BlackSheep CC 01684 292 390 email@example.com Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ
12 Nov Sat
Catherington, near Portsmouth Whitchurch Winter Wind-down 100 BP £4.00 F L P R T 15-30kph Hantspol CC firstname.lastname@example.org Jonathan Ellis, 42 Wessex Road Waterlooville Hampshire PO8 0HS
200 11 Dec 08:00 Sun
Hailsham, E Sussex BR £8.00 P F (30/11) 250 15-30kph
12 Nov Sat
Coryton, NW Cardiff The Glamorgan Glamour (Back Across Rhondda) BP 2050m AAA2 £7 YH L P R T 12.5-25kph Cardiff Byways CC 029 20843496 email@example.com Ian Blake, 7 Walnut Tree Close Radyr Cardiff CF15 8SX
100 11 Dec 09:00 Sun ROA 25000
Hailsham, E Sussex Mince Pie & Stollen 100 BP 108km 1000m £7 F P (30/11) 250 13-30kph David Hudson David Hudson, 151 Middle Road Shoreham by Sea West Sussex BN43 6LG
100 12 Nov 09:00 Sat ROA 5000
Hellesdon, nr Norwich The Norfolk Nips - 1 BP £5 LPRT 15-30kph NorfolknGood Audax firstname.lastname@example.org Keith Harrison, 11 Heather Avenue Hellesdon Norwich NR6 6LU
200 18 Dec 09:00 Sun ROA 10000
Bredbury, Stockport Winter Solstice BR 201km 700m £4 P R T 60 (14/12) 15-30kph Peak Audax 01457 870 421 mike@PeakAudax.co.uk Mike Wigley, Higher Grange Fm Millcroft Lane Delph Saddleworth OL3 5UX
100 18 Dec 09:00 Sun ROA 25000
Newlands Corner, Surrey The Mince Pie 100 BP £7.00 P T R (500) 13-30kph David Hudson Dave Hudson, 151 Middle Road Shoreham-by-Sea BN43 6LG
200 13 Nov Cheadle, Stockport 08:00 Sun BR 210km 800m £5.00 P R T M 60 (26/10) 15-30kph 160 08:30
Supremo’s Stollen 200
13 Nov Sun
Cheadle, Stockport Cheshire Safari BP 570m £5.00 P R T M 60 (21/10) 12.5-25kph Peak Audax Peter Hammond, 3 Dorac Ave Heald Green Cheadle Stockport Cheshire SK8 3NZ
07 Jan Sat
Bradwell, nr Hope, Peak District Hopey New Year BP 104km 1750m AAA1.75 £5.00 YH C P R T 100 (01/01) 10-30kph Peak Audax 01433 621 531 email@example.com David Darricott, 9 Gore Lane Bradwell Hope Valley Derbyshire S33 9HT
200 19 Nov 07:00 Sat ROA 10000
Tewkesbury Mr. Pickwick’s Cyrch Cymru BR 208km 2200m £4.50 c f p r t nm 100 (12/11) 15-25kph BlackSheep CC 01684 292 390 firstname.lastname@example.org Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ
07 Jan Sat
Oxford BR 206km 2000m £4.00 YH P X 15-30kph Pat Hurt Pat Hurt, 10 Newbury Road Lambourn RG17 7LL
200 25 Nov Anywhere Fri BR £4.00 Hotel at finish 14.3-30kph 200 27 Nov Sun ROA 25000
York After Dinner Dart BR £3.00 Hotel at start 14.3-30kph AUK 0161 449 9309 email@example.com Sheila Simpson, 33 Hawk Green Road Hawk Green Marple SK6 7HR
200 27 Nov Billingshurst, W Sussex 08:00 Sun BR £8.00 P F (16/11) 250 14.4-30kph
The OVEN help us 200
100 27 Nov 09:00 Sun ROA 25000
Billingshurst, W Sussex The OVEN help us 100 BP 107km 1250m [1050m] £8.00 F P (16/11) 250 12-30kph David Hudson Dave Hudson, 151 Middle Road Shoreham-by-Sea BN43 6LG
03 Dec Sat
Great Kingshill, High Wycombe The South Bucks Winter Warmer BR 207km 1290m £5.00 F L P R T X 100 15-30kph S. Bucks DA Terry Lister, 4 Abbey Walk Great Missenden Bucks HP16 0AY
03 Dec Sat
Tamworth Tinsel and Lanes BR 211km 2060m £5.00 P R T 60 15-30kph Tamworth C.C. firstname.lastname@example.org Clive Handy, 20 Brancaster Close Amington Tamworth Staffs B77 3QD
The Poor Student 07887 87 61 62
200 07 Jan 07:00 Sat ROA 10000
Tewkesbury Mr. Pickwick’s January Sale BR 201km 1900m £1.0 c fp r t nm 100 (31/12) 15-25kph BlackSheep CC email@example.com Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ
100 08 Jan 09:30 Sun ROA 5000
Kings Worthy, Winchester BP 108km 1235m £5.00 L F P R T M 140 14-28kph South Hampshire CTC Sue Coles, 7 Ruffield Close Winchester SO22 5JL
08 Jan Sun
Thorne Good bye Xmas Yorkshire Pud BP 103km £3 PRT 15-30kph Huddersfield CTC John Radford, 11 Westfield Avenue Meltham Holmfirth W Yorkshire HD9 5PY
21 Jan Sat
Chalfont St Peter The Willy Warmer BR 213km £6 L P R T M 75 15-30kph Willesden CC firstname.lastname@example.org Paul Stewart, 25 Devonshire Gardens Chiswick London W4 3TN
21 Jan Sat
Hailsham Hills and Mills BP 104km 1850m AAA1.75 £10.00 R F P 200 16 /01/12 14-25kph Andy Seviour Andy Seviour, 13 Blacksmiths Copse Hailsham East Sussex BN27 3XB
Watership Down email@example.com
Arrivée November 2011
AUK Calendar 100 21 Jan 09:00 Sat ROA 5000
Hellesdon, nr Norwich The Norfolk Nips - 3 BP £5 LPRT 15-30kph NorfolknGood Audax firstname.lastname@example.org Keith Harrison, 11 Heather Avenue Hellesdon Norwich NR6 6LU
200 22 Jan 08:00 Sun
Cheadle, Stockport BR 201km 800m £5 P R T 80 (13/1) 15-30kph
A Mere Two Hundred
200 03 Mar Henham, Saffron Walden The Shaftesbury Spring 200 08:00 Sat BR 203km 1856m [1700m] £5.00 L P R S T 15-30kph
22 Jan Sun
Cheadle, Stockport BP 155km 600m £5.00 P R T 60 (13/1) 15-25kph Peak Audax David Colley, 5 Huncoat Avenue Stockport SK4 5HN
A Mere Century
150 03 Mar Henham, Saffron Walden The Shaftesbury Spring 150 09:00 Sat BP 157km 1393m [1380m] £5.00 L P R S T 15-30kph
28 Jan Sat
Cardiff Dr. Foster’s Winter Warmer BR 201km £5.00 YH L P R T 15-30kph Cardiff Byways CC email@example.com Tony Pember, 9 Donald Street Nelson Treharris CF46 6EB
29 Jan Sun
Ashton Keynes, Cirencester Windrush Winter Warm-up BP 108km 650m £5.00 LFPRT (23/1) 14-25kph Corinium CC firstname.lastname@example.org Peter Stevens, Stable Flat, West Crudwell Malmesbury Wilts SN16 9EF
100 29 Jan 09:00 Sun ROA 25000
Newlands Cor (Guildford), Surrey El Supremo’s Tea & Biscuits 100k BP 103km [2040m] £ONLY £1.00 F P T (18/01) 500 15-30kph David Hudson David Hudson, 151 Middle Road Shoreham by Sea West Sussex BN43 6LG
05 Feb Sun
Chippenham Flapjack BP 104km £6.00 F P R T M 15-24kph Chip. & Dist. Whs. 01225 708449 Eric Fletcher, 174 Littleworth Lane Whitley Melksham Wiltshire SN12 8RE
100 05 Feb 09:00 Sun ROA 25000
Pease Pottage, W Sussex Cheese Toastie 100 BP £7.50 P T F (25/1) 500 15-30kph David Hudson Dave Hudson, 151 Middle Road Shoreham-by-Sea BN43 6LG
100 11 Feb 09:00 Sat Updated
Dial Post, West Sussex Worthing Winter Warmer BP £5.00 F P R T 200 (29/01) 15-30kph Worthing Excelsior CC 01903 240 280 Mick Irons, 36 Phrosso Road Worthing West Sussex BN11 5SL
12 Feb Sun
Bedford Burford Bumble BR 210km £5.00 L P R T 15-30kph CTC Bedfordshire email@example.com Jackie Popland, 48 Haylands Way Bedford MK41 9BU
100 12 Feb 08:30 Sun ROA 1000
Leicester Rutland and Beyond BP 102km 1290m £4.00 F L P R S T 100 12-30kph Leic. Forest CC firstname.lastname@example.org Kim Suffolk, 73 Colby Road Thurmaston Leicester LE4 8LG
Hailsham Mad Jack’s- John Seviour Memorial BP 2450m AAA2.5 £10 R F P 200 (13/2/12) 14-25kph Andy Seviour Andy Seviour, 13 Blacksmiths Copse Hailsham East Sussex BN27 3XB
18 Feb Sat
120 18 Feb 09:00 Sat
Hartlebury, S of Kidderminster BP 123km £5.00 P R T 100 15-30kph
Hartlebury, S of Kidderminster Sunrise Express BP 123km £5.00 P R T 100 15-30kph Beacon RCC 01562 731606 email@example.com Philip Whiteman, 2 Drayton Terr Drayton Belbroughton Stourbridge DY9 0BW
18 Feb Sat
200 18 Feb 08:00 Sat
Rochdale BR £6.00 R T P 15-30kph
120 18 Feb 09:00 Sat ROA 5000
Rochdale mini-North-West Passage BP £5,00 R T P 10-20kph W. Pennine RC 01706 372 447 Noel Healey, 95 Shore Mount Littleborough Lancs OL15 8EW
200 25 Feb 07:30 Sat
Grazeley, S of Reading BR 207km 1763m £6.50 L P R T 15-30kph
25 Feb Sat
Grazeley, S of Reading The Kennet Valley 100 BP 895m £6.00 L P R T 12-30kph AUK firstname.lastname@example.org Mick Simmons, 84 Kidmore Road Caversham Reading RG4 7NA
100 25 Feb 09:00 Sat
Henham, S of Saffron Walden Victoria C. C. - Brazier’s Run BP 106km £5.00 A(1) L P R S T (21/2) 15-30kph
Henham, S of Saffron Walden Victoria C. C. - Brazier’s Run BP £4.50 A(1) L P R S T (21/2) 10-25kph Victoria CC Christine Yareham, 3 Haileswood Cl, Elsenham Bishops Stortford CM22 6EN
25 Feb Sat
200 26 Feb 08:00 Sun
Cheadle, Stockport BR 201km 750m £6.00 P R T80(10/02) 15-30kph
Arrivée November 2011
The Kennet Valley Run
26 Feb Sun
Cheadle, Stockport Radway BP 153km 450m £5.00 P R T 50 (11/2) 15-25kph Peak Audax 0161 792 9074 email@example.com Norbert Gajda, 46 Moor Lane Salford M7 3PZ
100 03 Mar Henham, Saffron Walden The Shaftesbury Spring 100 10:00 Sat BP 109km 958m [940m] £5.00 L P R S T 15-30kph 53 03 Mar 11:00 Sat ROA 5000
Henham, Saffron Walden The Shaftesbury Spring 50 BP 500m £5.00 L P R S T 15-30kph Shaftesbury CC 01245 421 088 firstname.lastname@example.org Richard Parrotte, 23 Mayfield Road Writtle Chelmsford CM1 3EJ
200 03 Mar 07:00 Sat ROA 10000
Tewkesbury Mr. Pickwick’s March Madness BR 209km 2600m AAA1.75 [1700m] £4.00 c f p r nm t 100 (27/2) 15-25kph BlackSheep CC 01684 292 390 email@example.com Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ
04 Mar Sun
Exeter Mad March Coasts and Quantocks BR 201km 2725m AAA1.5 [1500m] £7.00 YH F P R T X 15-30kph Exeter Whs 01404 841553 firstname.lastname@example.org Pippa Wheeler, Rull Barn Payhembury Honiton Devon EX14 3JQ
04 Mar Sun
Exeter Mad March Exeter Excursion BP 106km £7.00 YH F P R T 10-25kph Exeter Whs 01404 841553 email@example.com Pippa Wheeler, Rull Barn Payhembury Honiton Devon EX14 3JQ
200 04 Mar Newlands Cor (Guildford), Surrey 08:00 Sun BR 208km [1985m] £7.50 F P T (500) 15-30kph
100 04 Mar 09:00 Sun ROA 25000
Newlands Cor (Nr Guildfor, ,Surrey Uppertea100 BP 106km [1100m] £7.50 F P T 500 13-30kph David Hudson David Hudson, 151 Middle Road Shoreham by Sea West Sussex BN43 6LG
04 Mar Sun
Rosewell, S of Edinburgh Dave Harris Memorial BR 201km 2900m AAA3 £10.00 F L P R T 50 (17/2) 15-30kph Audax Ecosse 0131 339 3709 Sonya Crawford, 24 Craigmount Terrace Edinburgh EH12 8BW
100 10 Mar 09:00 Sat ROA 5000
Alfreton, NW of Nottingham Three Fields BP 104km 1270m £4.50 L P R T 100 12-30kph AlfretonCTC firstname.lastname@example.org Tom Fox, 180 Nottingham Road Alfreton Derbyshire DE55 7FP
200 10 Mar Ugley, S of Saffron Walden 08:30 Sat BR 202km £5 A(2) L P R S T 75 15-30kph 100 10 Mar 10:30 Sat Updated ROA 5000
Up the Uts
Ugley, S of Saffron Walden Up the Uts BP 102km £5.00 A(2) L P R S T 75 15-30kph Squadra UVE 01245 467683 Terry Anderson, 1 Claypits Road Boreham Chelmsford Essex CM3 3BZ
200 11 Mar Great Kingshill, High Wycombe The Chiltern Hills Brevet 08:00 Sun BR 206km 1570m [1660m] £5.00 F L P R T 150 15-30kph 100 09:00
11 Mar Sun
Great Kingshill, High Wycombe The Chilterns Spring Populaire BP 104km 980m £4.00 F L T 100 12-24kph S. Bucks DA 01494865372 Terry Lister, 4 Abbey Walk Great Missenden Bucks HP16 0AY
100 11 Mar Otford, Sevenoaks Kent Invicta Grimpeur 100 09:30 Sun BP 1700m AAA1.75 £5.00 YH F L P R T 12-25kph 50 10:00
11 Mar Sun
Otford, Sevenoaks Kent Invicta Hilly 50 BP 850m AAA0.75 £4.00 YH F L P R T 12-25kph West Kent DA email@example.com Patrick McMaster, 207 Colyer Road Northfleet Kent DA11 8AT
200 17 Mar 08:00 Sat ROA 10000
Denmead, N of Portsmouth Denmead SR Series 200k BRM 202km £3.50 PTX 15-30kph Communicare Pam Pilbeam, The Nest Hambledon Road Denmead Hants PO7 6QF
110 17 Mar 09:00 Sat ROA 1000
Hathersage, Derbyshire Spring in the Peak: Roaches Revenge BP 117km 2600m AAA2.5 £5 YH C P R T (60) 13-25kph Peak Audax 07805 100988 firstname.lastname@example.org Oliver Wright, Townhead Farm 345 Baslow Road Sheffield S17 4AD
100 17 Mar 09:00 Sat ROA 1000
Hathersage, Derbyshire Spring in the Peak: Monyash Monster BP 103km 2180m AAA2.25 [2600m] £5 YH C P R T (60) 13-25kph Peak Audax 07805 100988 email@example.com Oliver Wright, Townhead Farm 345 Baslow Road Sheffield S17 4AD
AUK Calendar 200 17 Mar Hellesdon, nr Norwich 08:00 Sat BR £6 LPRT 15-30kph
The Old Squit
200 14 Apr 08:00 Sat
Pease Pottage, W Sussex BR £7.50 P F T 500 15-30kph
100 17 Mar 09:00 Sat ROA 5000
Hellesdon, nr Norwich The Norfolk Mardle BP £5 LPRTS 15-30kph NorfolknGood Audax firstname.lastname@example.org Keith Harrison, 11 Heather Avenue Hellesdon Norwich NR6 6LU
100 14 Apr 09:00 Sat ROA 25000
Pease Pottage, W. Sussex Cheese Toastie 100 BP 108km 1150m £8.00 P F T 500 13-30kph David Hudson Dave Hudson, 151 Middle Road Shoreham-by-Sea BN43 6LG
24 Mar Sat
Oxford The Dean BR 307km 4000m AAA4 £3.50 YH B P X 15-30kph Norton Wheelers email@example.com Andrew Rodgers, 8 Grange Gardens Todwick Sheffield S Yorkshire S26 1JR
14 Apr Sat
Reepham and Cherry Willin, nr Lincoln Lincoln Imp BP 109km 200m £5.00 P R F L T 10-30kph Lincs. DA Andrew Townhill, 80 Rudgard Avenue Cherrry Willingham Lincoln LN3 4JG
25 Mar Sun
Golden Green,Tonbridge Man of Kent 200 BRM 207km 1425m £6 F,L,P,R,T, (100), (19/03) 15-30kph San Fairy Ann CC firstname.lastname@example.org David Winslade, 3 Albany Close Tonbridge Kent TN9 2EY
300 14 Apr 06:00 Sat ROA 10000
Upton Magna, E of Shrewsbury Yr Elenydd BRM 305km 4950m AAA5 £10.00 A(2) C F L P R T (100) 15-25kph CTC Shropshire email@example.com John Hamilton, 22 Oaks Crescent Wellington Telford TF1 2HF
25 Mar Sun
Lanchester, near Durham Killhope Grimpeur BP 103km 1800m AAA1.75 £6.00 L P R T 60 (16/3) 13-26kph Houghton Cycling Club 0191 584 3040 firstname.lastname@example.org Joe Applegarth, 7 Market Cr New Herrington Houghton-le-Spring DH4 7AP
100 15 Apr 09:00 Sun
Falmouth BP 103km £3.50 F L P R S T 12-25kph
200 25 Mar 08:00 Sun Updated ROA 25000
Poynton, S of Stockport Chirk BRM £6.00 F P 15-30kph Peak Audax email@example.com Sheila Simpson, 33 Hawk Green Road Hawk Green Marple Cheshire SK6 7HR
Falmouth A Bunny Hop BP £3.50 F L P R S T 8-20kph Falmouth Whs. Adrian Hitchman , 4 Poplar Terrace Flushing Falmouth Cornwall TR11 5TL
15 Apr Sun
Cheese Toastie 200
A Cornish 100
110 15 Apr 09:00 Sun
Hebden Bridge BP 2350m AAA2.25 £4.00 L R T YH 12-24kph
110 25 Mar Stevenage Stevenage Start of Summertime Specials 10:30 Sun BP 115km £4.00 P R T 150 12.5-25kph
53 15 Apr 10:00 Sun ROA 10000
Hebden Bridge Leap into the Aire BP 1325m AAA1.25 £3.50 L R T YH 8-20kph W. Yorks DA 01422 832 853 firstname.lastname@example.org Chris Crossland, 14 Stanley St. West Sowerby Bridge W. Yorks HX6 1EF
Stevenage Stevenage Start of Summertime Specials BP £3.00 P R T 150 12.5-25kph Herts DA 01438 356 584 email@example.com Paul Boielle, 71 Lonsdale Road Stevenage SG1 5DD
300 21 Apr 06:00 Sat ROA 5000
Cirencester Heart of England 300 BR 307km 2800m £6.00 A(2) L P R T 100 15-30kph Corinium CC 01285 659 515 firstname.lastname@example.org Peter Holden, 39 Querns Lane Cirencester Glos GL7 1RL
100 31 Mar Lydham, N of Bishops Castle Long Mynd 100k 09:00 Sat BP 1906m AAA2 [1880m] £5.00 YH A(1) C F L P R S T 60 12-25kph
300 21 Apr 07:00 Sat ROA 10000
Denmead Denmead SR Series BRM £3.50 X T P 15-30kph Communicare 02392 267095 Pam Pilbeam, The Nest Hambledon Road Denmead Hants PO7 6QF
28 Apr Sat
Messingham, nr Scunthorpe Mansgate 100 BP 711m £5 CPRT 15-30kph Ancholme Leisure Centre 01724 345402 Stuart Greenaway, 74 Chiltern Cr Scunthorpe North Lincolnshire DN17 1TJ
28 Apr Sat
Preston Heartbeat 400 BRM 404km £3 P X 15-30kph Burnley Sportiv email@example.com Andy Corless, 31 Castlerigg Drive Ightenhill Burnley Lancashire BB12 8AT
200 25 Mar Stevenage Stevenage Start of Summertime Specials 08:15 Sun BRM 210km £5.00 P R T 150 15-30kph
25 Mar Sun
31 Mar Sat
Lydham, N of Bishops Castle Long Mynd 50k BP 974m AAA1.25 [1190m] £4.00 YH A(1) C F L P R T 60 12-25kph CTC Shropshire firstname.lastname@example.org Andrew Seabourne, 29 Union Street Bishops Castle SY9 5DF
100 01 Apr 09:00 Sun
Polegate (Nr Hailsham), E Sussex BP £8.00 F P T (500) 15-25kph
100 01 Apr 09:00 Sun ROA 25000
Polegate Nr Hailsham, E Sussex Tour of the Sussex Hills 100 BP 103km 1800m AAA1.75 £8.00 F P T (500) 14-25kph David Hudson David Hudson, 151 Middle Road Shoreham by Sea West Sussex BN43 6LG
01 Apr Sun
Trowell, Nottingham Charnwood in the Spring BP 103km 950m £4.00 L P R T 100 12.5-30kph Notts DA 0115 932 9978 Mark Chambers, 62 Queens Ave Hallam Fields Ilkeston Derbyshire DE7 4DJ
06 Apr Fri
Anywhere Easter Flêches to York BR £10.00 Fee per Team. 360km+ 22nd also 15-30kph W. Yorks DA John Radford, 11 Westfield Avenue Meltham Holmfirth W Yorkshire HD9 5PY
07 Apr Sat
Chalfont St Peter 3Down BRM £7.50 L P R T 15-30kph Willesden CC email@example.com Ian Oliver, 68 St Dunstans Avenue London W3 6QJ
07 Apr Sat
Huntingdon Double Dutch BR £3 X 15-30kph East Grinstead CC 01342 314 437 malinseastg@tiscali dot co dot uk Martin Malins, 64 Blount Avenue East Grinstead West Sussex RH19 IJW
200 07 Apr 08:00 Sat ROA 10000
Tewkesbury Sam Weller’s April Foolery BR 204km 2500m AAA1.75 £4.00 c f p r nm t 100 (19/2) 15-25kph BlackSheep CC 01684 292 390 firstname.lastname@example.org Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ
200 08 Apr 08:00 Sun
Malin Bridge, Sheffield BR 202km 3500m £5.00 L P R T 15-30kph
08 Apr Sun
Malin Bridge, Sheffield The Sheffrec Mini Monty BP 109km 1800m £5.00 L P R T 12-25kph Sheffrec CC 07787 502298 email@example.com Henry Foxhall, 111 Whitehouse Lane Sheffield S6 2UY
300 14 Apr 06:30 Sat ROA 25000
Billingshurst, W Sussex Billingshurst-Stockbridge Tea Bag 300 BR 306km 3760m £4.00 F P X 500 14.4-30kph David Hudson David Hudson, 151 Middle Road Shoreham by Sea West Sussex BN43 6LG
For those who dont do hills 100
The Sheffrec Full Monty
Spring into the Dales
200 29 Apr 08:00 Sun
High Ham, SW of Street BR 201km £6.50 F L P R T 15-30kph
High Ham, SW of Street The Merry Monk BP 105km £6.00 F L P R T 12.5-25kph Bristol DA 01823 690 038 firstname.lastname@example.org Mark Lilly, Applehayes Main Road Middlezoy Bridgwater TA7 0PB
29 Apr Sun
The Nutty Nuns
200 29 Apr 08:00 Sun
Lymington BR 204km £6.00 C L P R T 100 (7/5) 15-30kph
New Forest Excursion
160 29 Apr 08:00 Sun
Lymington BP £6 C L P R T 100 (7/5) 15-30kph
100 29 Apr 10:00 Sun ROA 5000
Lymington New Forest Day Out BP 104km [2m] £6.00 C L P R T 100 (3/5) 10-20kph W J Ward 01590 671 205 email@example.com John Ward, 34 Avenue Road Lymington Hants SO41 9GJ
200 29 Apr 08:00 Sun
Meopham, nr Gravesend BR 1756m [2400m] £6.00 P R T 15-30kph
Hop Garden 200km
160 29 Apr 08:30 Sun
Meopham, nr Gravesend BP 1756m [2200m] £6.00 P R T 15-30kph
Hop Garden Century Ride
100 29 Apr 09:00 Sun ROA 4000
Meopham, nr Gravesend Hop Garden 100km BP £6.00 P R T 10-30kph Gravesend CTC 01474 815 213 firstname.lastname@example.org Tom Jackson, 19 Denesway Meopham Kent DA13 0EA
29 Apr Sun
Northmoor, W of Oxford The Harlequin Hack BP 600m £5.00 YH C F L P R S T 100 15-30kph Harlequins CC Ken Knight, Jordan Cottage Picklescott Church Stretton Shropshire SY6 6NR
29 Apr Sun
Woodham Mortimer, Chelmsford Witham Westerley BR 202km £6.00 L P R T 100 15-30kph Witham CC 07752 305 476 email@example.com Ed Nevard, 83 London Road Kelvedon Essex CO5 9AU
New Forest Century
Arrivée November 2011
AUK Calendar 160 29 Apr 08:30 Sun
Woodham Mortimer, Chelmsford BP £5.00 F L P R T 15-30kph
29 Apr Sun
Woodham Mortimer, Chelmsford Witham Wander BP 106km £4.00 F L P R T 15-30kph Witham CC 07752 305 476 firstname.lastname@example.org Ed Nevard, 83 London Road Kelvedon Essex CO5 9AU
300 05 May 06:00 Sat ROA 2000
Alfreton, NW of Nottingham Everybody Rides to Skeggy! BR 302km 1141m £7.00 L R P T X 100 15-30kph Alfreton CTC 01 773 828 737 email@example.com Ian Horne, 32 Ashop Road Belper Derbys. DE56 0DP
400 05 May 06:00 Sat ROA 10000
Chepstow Brevet Cymru BRM 401km 4900m AAA2.25 [2300m] £9:00 c f l p r t nm z 100 15-30kph BlackSheep CC 01684 292 390 firstname.lastname@example.org Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ
400 05 May Pease Pottage, W Sussex Pease Pottage-Marlborough Tea Bag 400 07:00 Sat BR 412km £4.00 FPTX (500) 14.4-30kph 200 05 May 08:00 Sat ROA 25000
Pease Pottage, W Sussex Cheese Toastie 200 BR £7.50 P T F (500) 15-30kph David Hudson Dave Hudson, 151 Middle Road Shoreham-by-Sea BN43 6LG
100 05 May 09:00 Sat ROA 25000
Pease Pottage, W Sussex Cheese Toastie 100 BP £7.50 F P T (500) 15-30kph David Hudson Dave Hudson, 151 Middle Road Shoreham-by-Sea BN43 6LG
400 12 May 06:00 Sat ROA 5000
Chalfont St Peter Severn Across BRM 407km 3500m £5.00 YH L P R T 70 15-30kph Willesden CC 01753 663 242 email@example.com Chris Beynon, Little Mead Fulmer Common Road Iver Bucks SL0 0NP
400 12 May 7.:00 Sat ROA 10000
Denmead Denmead SR Series BRM £3.50 P T X 15-30kph Communicare 02392 267095 Pam Pilbeam, The Nest Hambledon Road Denmead Hants PO7 6QF
300 12 May 06:00 Sat ROA 10000
Honiton Old Roads 300 BRM 3400m £8.00 LPRT 15-30kph Exeter Whs 01404 46993 firstname.lastname@example.org Ian Hennessey, 8 Nap View Awliscombe Honiton EX14 3PL
Broken Cross, nr Macclesfield World’s End BR 210km [1970m] £7.00 F L P R T 14.3-25kph Peak Audax email@example.com John Perrin, 20 Princes Way Macclesfield Cheshire SK11 8UB
13 May Sun
200 13 May Elstead, Godalming 08:00 Sun BR 201km 2210m £4.50 F L P R T 15-30kph 150 13 May Elstead, Godalming 08:30 Sun BP 152km £4.00 F L P R T 12.5-30kph 110 09:00
13 May Sun
The 31st. Stonehenge 200 The 15th Danebury 150
Elstead, Godalming The Sixth Elstead 100 BP 115km £3.50 F L P R T 12.5-30kph West Surrey DA firstname.lastname@example.org Nicholas Davison, The Bield Mill Copse Road Fernhurst West Sussex GU27 3DN
200 13 May Galashiels Moffat Toffee Reinvented 08:00 Sun BR 202km 2900m AAA3 [2300m] £10.00 L P R S T 15-30kph 100 13 May 09:00 Sun New Event ROA 10000
Galashiels Broughton and Back BP £5.00 LPRTS 12-30kph Audax Ecosse 01896 758 181 email@example.com Lucy McTaggart, 30 Victoria St. Galashiels Scottish Borders TD1 1HL
13 May Sun
Meltham HD9 4NP, SW of Huddersfield Butty’s Brid Trip BR 310km 2000m £4.00 X P NM 15-30kph Huddersfield CTC John Radford, 11 Westfield Avenue Meltham Holmfirth W Yorkshire HD9 5PY
600 19 May 06:00 Sat ROA 10000
Chepstow Bryan Chapman Memorial (Classic) BRM 619km 8300m AAA8.25 £17.5 BD C F L P R S T Z (4/5) 15-30kph BlackSheep CC 01684 292 390 firstname.lastname@example.org Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ
400 19 May 11:00 Sat ROA 25000
Great Bedwyn (Nr Marlboro, Wilts Great Bedwyn -Hay Tea bag 400 BR 3255m £4.00 FX (15/5) 500 14.4-30kph David Hudson Dave Hudson, 151 Middle Road Shoreham-by-Sea BN43 6LG
600 19 May Midhurst, W Sussex Midhurst - Hay Tea bag 600 06:30 Sat BR 606km 6322m [6372m] £4.00 FPTX 500 14.4-30kph 200 19 May Whitchurch, Hants 08:30 Sat BR £7.50 P F 500 15-30kph
Arrivée November 2011
Whitchurch Cheese Toastie 200
100 19 May 09:00 Sat ROA 25000
Whitchurch, Hants Whitchurch Cheese Toastie 100 BP £7.50 P F 500 15-30kph David Hudson Dave Hudson, 151 Middle Road Shoreham-by-Sea BN43 6LG
600 26 May 06:00 Sat ROA 10000
Exeter Kernow and Southwest 600 BRM 8200m AAA8.25 £12.00 YH L F R Z 30 15-25kph Exeter Whs 01404 46993 email@example.com Ian Hennessey, 8 Nap View Awliscombe Honiton EX14 3PL
27 May Sun
Padiham, Lancashire Tan Hill 200 BRM 206km 4500m AAA4.5 £5 F L P R S T 15-30kph Burnley Sportiv firstname.lastname@example.org Andy Corless, 31 Castlerigg Drive Ightenhill Burnley Lancashire BB12 8AT
600 02 Jun 6.:00 Sat ROA 25000
Denmead Denmead SR Series BRM £7.00 P T C R 15-30kph Communicare 02392 267095 Pam Pilbeam, The Nest Hambledon Road Denmead Hants PO7 6QF
300 02 Jun 06:00 Sat
Kirriemuir BR 4800m AAA4.75 £10.00 A(2) C F L P R T S 15-25kph
02 Jun Sat
Kirriemuir A Potter for Tea BP £5.00 A(1) C L P R T S 12-25kph Angus Bike Chain email@example.com Alex Pattison, 1 Angle Park Crescent Kirriemuir Angus DD8 4TJ
02 Jun Sat
Pendleton, Lancashire Pendle 600 BRM 609km 9000m AAA9 [7800m] £5 A(2) F L P R T Z 15-30kph Burnley Sportiv firstname.lastname@example.org Andy Corless, 31 Castlerigg Drive Ightenhill Burnley Lancashire BB12 8AT
100 02 Jun 09:30 Sat ROA 10000
Tewkesbury The Silk Run BP 800m £3.50 P, T, 23/5 12.5-25kph BlackSheep CC email@example.com Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ
06 Jun Wed
Chapel-en-le-Frith The Old Lead Miners Trail BP 2350m AAA2.25 £5.00 P R T S 60 12.5-25kph Peak Audax davecatlow@PeakAudax.co.uk David Catlow, 9 Friars Close Rainow Macclesfield SK10 5UQ
400 09 Jun 14:30 Sat ROA 5000
Alfreton, NW of Nottingham Moors and Wolds 400 BRM 404km 2425m £8.00 P R T X 15-30kph Alfreton CTC 01773 833 593 firstname.lastname@example.org Tom Fox, 180 Nottingham Road Alfreton Derbyshire DE55 7FP
200 09 Jun 08:00 Sat
Honiton Valley of the Rocks 200 BRM 205km 3900m AAA4 £6.00 L P R T 40 15-30kph
150 10 Jun 8::30 Sun ROA 10000
Honiton Glastonbury 100 Miler BP 157km 1440m £6.00 f p r t 14.3-30kph Exeter Wheelers 01404 46993 email@example.com Ian Hennessey, 8 Nap View Awliscombe Honiton EX14 3PL
400 16 Jun 09:00 Sat Updated ROA 5000
Hempnall, Norfolk The Audax UK National 400 BR £20 A(1) C F L P R T (200) 15-30kph NorfolknGood audax firstname.lastname@example.org Keith Harrison, 11 Heather Avenue Hellesdon Norwich NR6 6LU
22 Jun Fri
Clayhidon, near Taunton Avalon Sunrise 400 BRM 407km 3300m £10 flprtc 15-30kph Exeter Whs Jamie Andrews, Cemetry Lodge Uffculme Devon EX15 3DP
22 Jun Fri
Fordell Firs, nr Inverkeithing Mille Alba BRM £100 A C F L P R T  13.3-25kph Audax Ecosse email@example.com Graeme Wyllie, 16 Corstorphine House Avenue Edinburgh EH12 7AD
300 23 Jun 06:00 Sat ROA 25000
Hazel Grove, Stockport Summer Solstice BR £5 P 15-30kph Peak Audax firstname.lastname@example.org Sheila Simpson, 33 Hawk Green Road Hawk Green Marple Cheshire SK6 7HR
200 23 Jun 08:00 Sat ROA 10000
Tewkesbury Mr. Pickwick’s High Summer Meander BR 215km 2500m £4..5 c f l p r t nm 100 (12/6) 15-25kph BlackSheep CC 01684 292 390 email@example.com Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ
200 24 Jun 08:30 Sun
Chelmsford BR 210km £5.00 F L P R T 15-30kph
Chelmsford BP £5.00 F L P R T 12-25kph Essex DA Brian Taylor, 45 Fairfield Rise Billericay CM12 9NP
24 Jun Sun
The Snow Roads
01277 657 867
200 24 Jun 08:00 Sun
Kings Worthy, Winchester BR £5.00 L P R T 15-30kph
100 24 Jun 09:00 Sun ROA 5000
Kings Worthy, Winchester BP £5.00 L P R T 14-28kph South Hampshire CTC Sue Coles, 7 Ruffield Close Winchester SO22 5JL
Bildeston, Suffolk Bildeston Lanes BP 104km £5.00 L P R T S 15-30kph CC Sudbury firstname.lastname@example.org Robin Weaver, 14 Chapel Street Bildeston Ipswich Suffolk IP7 7EP
200 01 Jul 08:00 Sun
Milton, Abingdon BR 210km £5 R T P L 1/7 15-30kph
200 02 Sep 07:45 Sun
Lymington New Forest On and Off Shore BR 202km £17.00 L P R T 100 (3/9) Ferry 15-30kph
Milton, Abingdon BP £5 R T P L 1/7 15-30kph Didcot Phoenix CC Ian Middleton, 4 Isis Close Abingdon OX14 3TA
150 02 Sep 07:45 Sun
Lymington New Forest and Isle of Wight Century BP £17.00 L P R T 100 (30/8) Ferry 15-30kph
100 02 Sep 10:00 Sun ROA 5000
Lymington New Forest and Coast BP 102km £6.00 C L P R T 100 (3/9) 10-20kph John Ward 01590 671 205 email@example.com John Ward, 34 Avenue Road Lymington Hants SO41 9GJ
200 08 Sep 08:00 Sat ROA 10000
Tewkesbury Mr. Pickwick goes to Hay in a day BR 205km 1900m £4:50 c f l p r t nm 100 (27/8) 15-25kph BlackSheep CC 01684 292 390 firstname.lastname@example.org Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ
09 Sep Sun
Brigg The Summer Knows BP 767m £5 L P R T S NM 15-30kph Ancholme Leisure Centre Stuart Greenaway, 74 Chiltern Cr Scunthorpe North Lincolnshire DN17 1TJ
110 09 Sep 09:00 Sun
Connor Downs, NE of Hayle Golowjy ha Bal 116 BP 116km 1825m AAA1.75 £5.00 C L P R T 75 12-30kph
30 Jun Sat
01 Jul Sun
25 Aug Sat
Mildenhall Cycling Rally Mildenhall Rally Brevet BP 103km £5.00 CPTS (16/8) 15-30kph Suffolk CTC email@example.com Dennis Kell, 9 Pheasant Rise Copdock Ipswich Suffolk IP8 3LF
200 26 Aug Edenbridge, Kent Around Weald Expedition 08:30 Sun BR 215km 3250m AAA3.25 £5 R T P (80) 12/8 15-30kph 26 Aug Edenbridge, Kent Kidds Toys Sun BP 2000m AAA2 £5 R T P (50) 12/8 12-30kph Redhill CC firstname.lastname@example.org William Weir, Flat 8 Burlington Court 158 Station Road Redhill Surrey RH1 1JE
200 08 Jul 08:00 Sun
Denshaw, NE of Oldham Manchester Loop BR 3400m AAA3.5 [4400m] £5.00 P R S T 40 14.3-30kph
170 08 Jul 08:30 Sun
Denshaw, NE of Oldham BP 3550m AAA3.5 [2900m] £5.00 P R S T 40 12.5-25kph
08 Jul Sun
Denshaw, NE of Oldham Edale Hilly BP 2500m AAA2.75 £5.00 F P R S T 10-20kph Peak Audax 0161 330 0671 email@example.com Don Black, 102 Downshaw Road Ashton-under-Lyne Lancs. OL7 9QP
110 11 Jul 09:00 Wed ROA 5000
Alfreton In Memory of Tommy BP 115km 1050m £4.00 L P R T 12-30kph Alfreton CTC 01773 833 593 firstname.lastname@example.org Tom Fox, 180 Nottingham Road Alfreton Derbyshire DE55 7FP
14 Jul Sat
Portinscale, Keswick Jubilee Challenge BR 3600m [3m] £5.00 C F P R T S NM 15-30kph Sunderland City Council Dave Sharpe, 3 Elizabeth Street Seaham County Durham SR7 7TP
52 09 Sep 10:00 Sun ROA 4000
Connor Downs, NE of Hayle Golowjy ha Bal 52k BP 863m AAA0.75 £5.00 C L P R T 50 8-20kph Audax Kernow email@example.com Peter Hansen, Corner Cottage 7 Prosper Hill Gwithian Cornwall TR27 5BW
14 Jul Sat
Trowell, Nottingham The Cheshire Cat BR 206km 3630m AAA3.75 £5.00 L P R T 80 15-30kph Notts DA 0115 932 9978 Mark Chambers, 62 Queens Ave Hallam Fields Ilkeston Derbyshire DE7 4DJ
160 15 Sep 08:00 Sat
Husbands Bosworth BP 1675m £5.00 LPRT 15-30kph
Welland Wonder 160
Tewkesbury Mr. Pickwick Takes Flight BR 206km 1800m [2700m] £4.00 c f p r nm t 100 (30/1) 15-25kph BlackSheep CC 01684 292 390 firstname.lastname@example.org Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ
Husbands Bosworth BP 116km 1350m £5.00 LPRT 12-24kph
Welland Wonder 100
200 21 Jul 08:00 Sat ROA 10000
110 15 Sep 08:30 Sat
200 22 Jul 08:00 Sun
Fairburn, SE of Leeds Brimham Rocks 200 BR 203km 2160m AAA1.5 [1500m] £5.00 L P R T 15-30kph
15 Sep Sat
Husbands Bosworth Welland Wonder 50 BP 525m £5.00 LPRT 12-24kph Welland Valley CC 01858545376 Mike Vybiral, Logan Cottage East Langton Market Harborough Leics LE16 7TF
22 Jul Sun
Fairburn, SE of Leeds Wetherby 100 BP 518m £4.50 L P R T 50 10-20kph Huddersfield CTC 01484 851 480 John Radford, 11 Westfield Avenue Meltham Huddersfield HD9 5PY
100 06 Oct 09:00 Sat ROA 4000
Bristol Tasty Cheddar BP 101km £4.00 P YH 12.5-30kph Bristol DA 0117 925 5217 email@example.com Joe Prosser, 8 Portland Court Cumberland Close Bristol BS1 6XB
600 28 Jul 06:00 Sat
Mytholmroyd, W. of Halifax The 3 Coasts 600 BRM 607km 5611m AAA1.75 [1631m] £10.00 A(3) L P R T Z YH 15-30kph
100 07 Oct 09:00 Sun
Hebden Bridge BP 2555m AAA2.5 £4.00 L R T YH 12-24kph
600 28 Jul 06:00 Sat
Mytholmroyd The East & West Coasts 600 BRM 605km 4380m [5380m] £10.00 A(3) L P R T Z YH 15-30kph
50 07 Oct 10:00 Sun ROA 10000
Hebden Bridge Mellow Fruitfulness BP 1200m AAA1.25 £3.50 L R T YH 8-20kph W. Yorks DA 01422 832 853 firstname.lastname@example.org Chris Crossland, 14 Stanley St. West Sowerby Bridge W. Yorks HX6 1EF
200 29 Jul 08:30 Sun ROA 10000
Mytholmroyd, W. of Halifax The Good Companions BR 2697m AAA1.75 [1631m] £5.00 A(2) L P R T YH 15-30kph W. Yorks DA 01422 832 853 email@example.com Chris Crossland, 14 Stanley St. West Sowerby Bridge W. Yorks HX6 1EF
11 Aug Sat
Bedford Rutland Ramble BR 210km £6 L P R T 15-30kph CTC Bedfordshire firstname.lastname@example.org Jackie Popland, 48 Haylands Way Bedford MK41 9BU
300 11 Aug 06:00 Sat ROA 10000
Tewkesbury A Rough Diamond BRM 301km 2500m [3450m] £6:50 c f l p r t nm 100 (31/7) 15-25kph BlackSheep CC 01684 292 390 email@example.com Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ
Marple West Peak Grimpeur BP 103km 2400m AAA2.5 £5.00 P R T 60 (16/8) 12.5-25kph Peak Audax davecatlow@PeakAudax.co.uk David Catlow, 9 Friars Close Rainow Macclesfield SK10 5UQ
22 Aug Wed
57 25 Aug Mildenhall Cycle Rally 10:00 Sat BP £5.00 CPTS 16/8 15-30kph
Mildenhall Rally Brief Brevet
200 25 Aug Mildenhall Cycling Rally 08:30 Sat BR 203km £5.00 CPTS (16/8) 15-30kph
Mildenhall Rally Randonnee
Season of Mists
Arrivée November 2011
PBP 2011 PBP 2011
Julian Weller and Ian Hennessey - photo by Mark Green
AUKs including Denise Hurst, Judith Swallow and Dave Minter - photo by Tim Wainwright
PBP 2011 Brian and Paul Gilliver - photo by Tim Wainwright