HEADING editorial IN HERE
Summer 2012 I expect most of the membership have heard by now that John ‘Rocco’ Richardson, former AUK President, died recently at his home in Ruislip. Rocco was 74 years of age and in poor health for his last couple of years but still did his best to get out on his bike, complaining to the end that he couldn’t go fast enough! His funeral was attended by about 200 friends, relatives and cyclists from a wide variety of disciplines.
Contents Events News ............................................................................. 2 Correspondence/Book review .................................. 3 Obituaries .................................................................................. 4 Just a Minute............................................................................ 5 2011 … and hopefully beyond................................... 6 DIY 400k around Scotland ........................................ 10 Old Roads 300k – Honiton ......................................... 12 From both sides now – Mull it over..................... 15 London Edinburgh London news........................ 16 South Gloucs and Coast and back....................... 17 Reflections on a first SR .............................................. 18 JOGLE: the easy way....................................................... 22 JOGLE: the hard way....................................................... 23 Remembering Rocco....................................................... 26 The National 400: 1982-2012..................................... 30 Failure at Mille Alba helpers’ ride ...................... 36 Peaks and troughs ........................................................... 37 Pedalling for primates ................................................. 37 Around the world in 92 days.................................... 38 Coast to coast ...................................................................... 40 Living with a Garmin...................................................... 42 Easter Arrows........................................................................ 43 Short and sharp: the Widdop 50.......................... 44 Alaska’s Big Wild Ride .................................................. 46 Chris’s 300 .............................................................................. 48 Feeding the 500 ................................................................. 50 The Old 240 ............................................................................ 52 You are invited to a party .......................................... 57 Audax Calendar ................................................................ 60 Front cover: Rosa Britton, Steve Robertson, Jenny Harbour riding The Crown Grimpeur 100 in Kent. Photo by David Townsend. Next edition of Arrivée is in October. Please send your copy to Maggie (address on right) by September 14th
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On page 26 you will find many tributes paid to Rocco in his memory and as Paul Whitehead fondly says ‘You will be missed, you old git’ a sentiment echoed by many of his friends. There will be a 76k tribute ride from Ruislip on August 5th. ■ The response to my request in the last edition of Arrivée for more articles and photos has been very positive, with previous and new authors responding. Some articles have been forwarded to Maggie for the next magazine, so if your article didn’t make the cut this time, you’ll see it in the autumn mag. Thanks to everyone for responding, and please keep them coming. ■ In my last editorial I wrongly stated that John Spooner had designed the original AUK eagle logo, but Sheila has put me right and she quotes: I designed the Arrivée and medal eagle, using a now out-dated program. It was a redesign of the Windsor-ChesterWindsor 600 km eagle. This latter was carved by Len Phipps and was known as the Len Phipps Trophy, presumably now known simply as the AUK Eagle mentioned in Guideline 6. WCW took the eagle from the Roman emblem as the route followed the legion’s march northwards to Chester. The eagle was then used as the AUK emblem because the WCW was the first AUK event. It’s nice to get a bit of history corrected, thanks Sheila. ■ Enclosed with this edition is a booking form for the AUK Annual Reunion and AGM at Llandridnod Wells on November 16th-18th. Get your reservation in early and send the form to Pam Pilbeam as usual. Keep your wheels turning.
Arrivée is the free magazine of Audax United Kingdom – the long distance cyclists’ association which represents the Randonneurs Mondiaux in the UK. AUK membership is open to any cyclist, regardless of club or other affiliation, who is imbued with the spirit of long-distance cycling. Full details in the AUK Handbook. HOW TO CONTACT US Membership Enquiries: Mike Wigley (AUK Membership Secretary), Higher Grange Farm, Millcroft Lane, Delph OL3 5UX. Email: mike.wigley@Audax.uk.net Membership Application Form: www.aukweb.net/memform.phb or Ian Hobbs (New Members), 26 Naseby Road, Belper DE56 0ER. Email: ian.hobbs@Audax.uk.net Membership fees: Renewal: £14 or £56 for five years (price of four). New or lapsed members £19 (inc. £5 enrolment fee) or £61 for five years (price of four). Household member: £5 or £20 for five years (price of four). No enrolment fee for new household members. Life member’s Arrivée £9. ARRIVEE Extra current Arrivée copies, where available, are £3 (UK), £4 (EEC), £5 (non-EEC). Contact Mike Wigley (address above). Mudguard stickers four for £1. AUK cloth badges £2 (includes UK post. EEC add £1. Non-EEC add £2. Contact Mike Wigley (above). Contributions – articles, info, cartoons, photos, all welcome. Please read the contributors’ advice in the Handbook. Views expressed in Arrivée are not necessarily those of the Club. Produced by AUK: editing, typesetting, layout, design by Tim Wainwright. Printed and distributed: Headley Brothers Ltd, Ashford, Kent TN24 8HH. Distribution data from AUK membership team. TO ADVERTISE Advertising Manager: Tim Wainwright, 4a Brambledown Road, Sanderstead, South Croydon, Surrey CR2 0BL. E-mail: email@example.com Rates per issue: Full page A4 £268. Half-page landscape or portrait £134. Quarter-page £67. One-sixth page £45. One-twelfth page £23. Payment in advance. Businesses must be recommended by a member. We rely on good faith and Arrivée cannot be held responsible for advertisers’ misrepresentations or failure to supply goods or services. Members’ private sales, wants and events ads: free. PUBLICATIONS MANAGERS February Editor: Sheila Simpson, 33 Hawk Green Road, Marple SK6 7HR Tel: 0161 449 9309 Fax: 0709 237 4245 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org May and August Editor: Tim Wainwright, 4a Brambledown Road, Sanderstead, South Croydon, Surrey CR2 0BL. Tel: 020 8657 8179 E-mail: email@example.com November Editor: Maggie Lewis, 31 Headland Drive, Crosspool, Sheffield S10 5FX. Tel: 0114 266 6730 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Audax UK Long Distance Cyclists’ Association (Company Limited by Guarantee). Reg. Office: Timberly, South Street, Axminster, Devon EX13 5AD. To subscribe to the AUK e-mailing discussion list, send an e-mail to: email@example.com Copyright © 2012 Arrivée. Our WWW site: www.audax.uk.net AUK clothing can be purchased directly on-line at: www.impsport.com and click on Audax UK in the left hand panel.
Arrivée Summer 2012
Audax rides in Cheshire/North Wales
Sunday September 16 from Old Ma’s café near Tattenhall
The second time of running. Pistyll Packing Momma 200k Momma’s Mountain Views 130k and the introductory ride Momma’s Leafy Lanes 50k. Pistyll Packing Momma now rated as one of the 200ks to do before you die on YACF thread. Lovely hills, Pistyll Rhaeadr waterfall, Lake Vyrnwy and overall fantastic scenery throughout. Mommas Mountain Views – ‘It was a delight’ – ‘Wonderful’ – see brief report on p.35 of Arrivée 116.
1000k in Hungary BRM 1000 tour (Budapest-Szentgotthárd-Budapest)
Saturday October 20 from Corwen
We will visit the most important tourist centres of Hungary, for example Budapest, Esztergom, lake Balaton, Székesfehérvár, etc. We have also three shorter tours (BRM 200, 300 and 400) at the same time and partly at the same route. We invite you and your friends! More information: www.grandrandonneurs.hu
(replacing the Clwyd rides this year) The brand-new Barmouth Boulevard 200k. This ride takes you along the west side of Lake Bala and over the Trawsfynydd mountain road to Harlech. Then continue to Barmouth , the estuary bridge and Bird Rock road to Abergynolwyn. Then follows another mountain road from Corris to Mallwyd and the return route around Dolgellau, and the wooded east side of Lake Bala. Fantastic scenery on this ride – arguably the equal of Pistyll Packing Momma. Brenig Bach 100k. The return of a Graham Mills’ classic. Only available as a permanent the last few years, this ride is now returned to the calendar. A superb and challenging 100k ride with remote roads and stunning scenery. Bala Mini-bash 60k. A scenic, slightly hilly, introductory Audax ride which circumnavigates Lake Bala. 1,000m of climbing in total, so bring some low gears. Further details and entry forms for all these rides at www.audax.uk.net
Organisers' News It probably seems a long time away yet, but as we head towards the end of summer it’s time to start thinking about your events for 2013. In particular, we need any early season events (before March 1st) and all BRM events to be submitted by the end of September. Top Tip: As you submit your events into the planner, don’t panic if you haven’t got the option to pay the registration fee immediately. You can only register your events after your Regional Events Delegate has assigned the final event number (e.g. 13-745). John Hamilton
Discovering Shropshire (and Beyond)
Summer Darts to York
Saturday 29th September from Upton Magna, E of Shrewsbury Three undulating™ routes through Housman’s ‘blue remembered hills’ ‘That is the land of lost content, I see it shining plain, The happy highways where I went, and cannot come again.’
This year saw the return of the Summer Darts to York, an event for individuals and teams of less than 24 hours’ duration. There were two entries from individuals, stalwart Jim Hopper and Mike Wigley; there were no teams. Jim set his stall out to do 200 plus which he did, Mike aimed for 300k, and actually did a very creditable 296k in 15 hours, having had to cope with strong winds, rain and floods. There will be updated information on this event available before next year’s event. John Radford
A Shropshire Lad 80km
A shorter alternative to the Land of Lost Content, to the Victorian Farm at Acton Scott.
Discovering Shropshire (Land of Lost Content) 120km
Audax England jerseys
A scenic ride through the South Shropshire hills on quiet lanes with two great café controls at Ray’s Farm and Acton Scott. Fantastic views of stacked rolling hills, rising up through the haze like a school of whales and steep descents through wooded dells.
Rob McIvor is now taking orders for Audax England jerseys, with orders open until the end of September. There are longand short-sleeve summer jerseys, winter tops, wind jackets and gilets, all with the same red and white design. I’ll fix the exact prices in August, depending on where the Euro is at the time (as the jerseys are made in Germany) but it should be around £37 for SS jerseys, £40 for LS jerseys, £50 for winter tops, £45 for gilets, £48 for gilets with mesh back and about £60 for wind jackets. Interested? email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or give me a call on 07702 779098 and I’ll be able to advise you of the exact price. I’ll be advertising them on the YACF Audax board as usual, and taking payment in advance by cheque or Paypal.
Beyond Shropshire (Hafren) 200km
New route for 2012 beyond Shropshire into wild Welsh Wales (almost) to the source of the River Severn deep in Hafren Forest. Quiet lanes, great scenery and home-made soup and cakes to finish on all rides. Weather guaranteed! Full details in the Audax UK calendar. U.N.Dulates
Arrivée Summer 2012 AU
correspondence/book HEADING IN review HERE Encouraging long-distance riding
It was interesting to read Victoria Hufton’s letter in Arrivée 116, p.3, advising of the comments she has had from some AUK members about 100k events and in the same issue read of the concern about the declining numbers in longer distance events. While respecting that it’s a matter for her, as Victoria acknowledges that it’s the views of those individual members and not the organisation, I feel it a pity she couldn’t reflect on that a bit more. In eastern England there are many of us who ride the longer distances but also ride 100k events. I can’t think that other areas are different. Nevertheless the members who made those comments were out of order. One has to guess that they feel that the shorter distances go against what AUK is about and that ‘wimps’ events have been introduced for mercenary reasons. I suggest that AUK is also about the encouragement of long-distance cycling. There could be a contentious debate about what is the minimum distance to be defined as long-distance. I expect that most AUK members have their personal definition from their own capabilities. Some might say that the fact that many non-cyclists would define a 50k event as long distance is not relevant. It is in that it makes the point that AUK cannot be a club for introducing complete novices. However, to encourage ‘longer’ long-distance riding you have to encourage those who have discovered cycling but haven’t yet got that level of fitness but like the idea of challenging progressing themselves. I’m sure that some progress to the longer distances. At the same time there is concern in ‘management’ about decreasing numbers in longer distance events. By all means see what can be done to reverse it, but I wonder if some in ‘management’ also feel that AUK has drifted away from its prime objective. I’m not convinced that the introduction of shorter distances has encouraged ‘wimping out’. On the contrary, if some regard them as a first step they could be part of the solution. My experience is that any club or organisation involved with the promoting of hard, physical activity experiences highs and lows. Unless numbers are so bad that the existence of the longer distances is under threat, which hardly seems to be the case, I would say don’t worry too much. Aren’t some wanting a rest after PBP?
Respect to Audax riders
After reading in Arrivée 116, p.3, that a member had decided not to renew because people were referring to ‘100k events , as not worthwhile’ I was prompted to write in response. Each time
Tackle events as you wish
I was very disappointed to hear of Victoria Hufton's unpleasant experiences at the hands of audaxers in Arrivée 116. I haven't heard riders complaining about GPS use as ‘cheating’, or 100kms as ‘not worth starting’ myself, but Victoria's letter has ensured that I, for one, will in future be vocal in standing up for the right of riders to tackle events as they wish. We should all remember that there was a time when we couldn't even ride a bike.
my Arrivée drops through the letterbox, I am evermore amazed at the distances Audax riders cycle. Having started riding Audax approximately four years ago I have never managed more than the 130km Three Towers and Middle Earth, which was a fantastic ride two years ago in great, but, windy weather – I seem destined to ride 100k Audax forever. Great respect to those who regularly ride 200k, 300k Audax, extra respect to those who manage 600k the LEL and PBP. How do they do it? Looking at the photographs in Arrivée, its always interesting to see how ‘normal’ these people are, clearly, usually within an age range which is, slightly more or less than mine – must have ‘bottoms’ of leather! and be as fit as the proverbial butcher’s dog. How do they do it? Audax bikes are often not the lightest machines (but usually well designed), most carry some luggage in the form of barbags/saddlebags along with mudguards, wide rims and dynamo hubs – these bikes I know, can be more comfortable over greater distances than the lightweight carbon fibre race bike, but never the less, more weight to pull up the hills. A born-again cyclist (I used to race in the 60/70s) thanks to my son’s interest in MTBs, I am a regular rider and as I am semi-retired now, manage to get out several times a week and cycle 40+ miles (weather permitting), I often wonder what mileage most 200-300k riders do over the course of a week to build up to that distance? There is the time element, many rides I do are at 13–15 mph, which means commitment to many hours out to complete mediocre rides of say 45 miles, eg three hours plus and of course the changeable British weather, we seem to have more wet and windy days than nice calm dry ones – down in Somerset anyway! This will have an impact on rider’s ability to get enough miles in the legs to complete these long distances (I am not a fair weather rider but don’t like setting off in the rain!). Many riders I am sure are family people whose partners or children don’t always subscribe to cycle riding long distances or like being away from family on a too regular basis. I hope by the time this is published this summer, to complete a 100 mile event sometime in June, but this is dependent on the number of ‘long’ rides of 60-80 + miles myself and cycling buddy Mike can achieve before the event to give us the confidence to undertake the ride. However, the 100k Audax events are fantastic events, complete enjoyment, riding in areas I don’t normally get chance to ride regularly, meeting other people, great food at the finish and a realistic cost! I note the correspondent in the Spring Arrivée was not joining AUK again because people were poo-pooing
Arrivée Summer 2012
Cycling in the Hebrides Richard Barrett Published by Cicerone www.cicerone.co.uk Pb 116mm × 172mm 304pp £14.95
Cycle tourist, road runner and mountaineer, author Richard Barrett has written a very comprehensive and well illustrated book to help you plan a Scottish Isles touring holiday. From Islay in the south to Lewis in the north plus Arran and other islands in the Firth of Clyde, the guide details day rides, medium tours and longer tours (up to 744k). As with all Cicerone cycle touring books, the detailed routes and maps are based on OS maps, giving the reader a clear view of your selected tour, plus height profiles. Cycle hire and repair shops are listed, along with Youth Hostels and Bunkhouses, linked to each area the tour covers. A tip mentioned by the author: as a general rule, plan your route south to north to take advantage of the prevailing winds. Well produced and stuffed full of info about the islands, the book is a handy size for a jersey pocket or barbag and comes highly recommended for an island-hopping tour. Tim Wainwright the 100k events. I have never heard anything said about these and look forward to each and every one. Finally, respect to all Audax riders who complete the 200k+ events – I don’t think I will ever be able to join your ranks, but hey ho! I do enjoy reading about your adventures and as I ride my 100k I am reminded at the end that if it were a 200k I would only be half way! My legs ache at the thought of it – enjoy your rides, but here’s to 100k Audax events! Bring on more of them. Ian Booth
Peter Doidge 1955-2012 I wanted to write a little piece about my dad, Peter Doidge. I’ve written a bit about his life before he became a keen cyclist. But I’ve tried to keep it brief as cycling was clearly his passion and he achieved a great deal. And I’m sure this is the part in which you will be most interested. My dad Peter was born in 1955 and grew up in the village of Barley in Hertfordshire. He was the eldest of three children; followed by his brother Chris and sister Hillary. Dad went to primary school in Barley and secondary school in Royston, Hertfordshire. After leaving school at the age of 16 he completed an apprenticeship in engineering at CamGears in Hitchin. His wages earned him keep at my grandparent’s home, which he eventually left in his early twenties to go travelling. He travelled through much of Europe and Asia, reaching as far as Afganistan, then worked his way back through Europe making a simple living picking fruit. He met my mum, Marijke, in Holland where he was working in 1979. She decided to finish her studies early so that she could travel with my dad. They bought an old Citroen H van and set of together with the plans of travelling through Europe, but they fell in love with France and made a living picking peaches. My sister Melanie was born in Perpignan in the south of France in 1983, where they stayed for the next year or two, before moving to England in 1985. Mum and dad married in1985 and I was born the following year. Work took my dad and the family to Cincinnati in America for two years before we all returned once again to England. We all lived in Kilhams Green in Essex for 17 years. It was here dad found his love for cycling. At first he cycled to and from work in Saffron Walden in Essex on his 1980s racer and quickly became enthusiastic about cycling. He joined the CTC and bought a Dawes Galaxy, soon after starting Audax rides. At first he cycled the shorter 100 and 200km rides (one of which I rode with him at the age of 14, but quit before the finish as it came past our house!). In 1998 he completed the notoriously difficult Paris-Roubaix with my uncle Frans on the cobbles in the rain. Although I believe Frans might have sneaked a lift towards the end of the ride! Soon he found himself completing the longer 400km and 600km rides. He also organised two of his own ‘After the Harvest’ and ‘The Albion’. The Albion was a 600km ride which finished at our house; we set up our trailer tent in the back garden as a sort of refuge for exhausted cyclists. I can still remember the weary cyclists retiring to the tent for
Peter Doidge in Majorca.
a well earned lie down. He also completed Paris-Brest-Paris and some cyclo-sportif stages of ‘Le Tour’ with the support of my mum. He had two articles published in Arrivée, after riding solo the length of the Pyrenees (‘Pyrenean Plunge’) and the Alps from Geneva to Nice (‘Alpine Assault’). In recent years Peter stopped riding the longer Audax rides in favour of the shorter rides with which he had started, and his weekly Sunday ride with Bishop’s Stortford Cycling Club. He always cycled to and from work whatever the weather, and would always make time for an evening walk or cycle with my mum. In 2010 mum and dad moved to Devon for a change of lifestyle and to support my sister and their two grandchildren, Freya and Lily. He loved the Devonshire countryside for all the amazing cycling and walking it offered. On March 30th my dad was riding home from work on a sunny Friday afternoon when he had a bad fall. He injured his head badly and was air lifted to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth where he stayed in intensive care for the following week. He never woke from the coma in which he found himself and died of his injuries on Good Friday. We will all remember him as a great dad, granddad, husband, brother or friend. We all loved him very much and he will be sadly missed. His final resting place is Bidwell Wood near Rattery in Devon. Tim Doidge
At that time Chris was riding a recumbent bike, the only one in the section, and also an Orbit touring bike, finished in pink of all colours, which seemed to break down most Sundays. I remember an occasion that the whole transmission fell apart while crossing the river Exe in Exeter in the middle of all the traffic one Sunday afternoon. Chris encouraged me to ride my first 200 after only riding the odd 100k event, assuring me that I would find it quite easy. I didn’t, but he was there, riding with me at the finish making sure I got round in time. At the finish he mentioned that the National 400 starts in Bristol that year, come and join the Torbay team going up to ride it, nothing about trying a 300 first. That was Chris, always dispelling any fears you had about your capabilities, assuring you that you could do it and being there to help you along. Six of us rode the event that year, the best turnout on a 400 by Torbay section. After that I rode many 200 and 400 events with the section with Chris always encouraging new members to join us. Trips to France started to be discussed and on two cycling tours around Brittany, Chris organised the routes and booked all the accommodation for us. He also put together a 300k ride starting at midnight in Newton Abbot to cycle to London through the night and returning to Devon on the Sunday on the train: route, accommodation, and the train tickets all put in place for us by him. Chris filled about every post on committee with CTC Torbay in the last few years and was currently the Rides Co-ordinator putting together up to eight rides a month, sorting out all the destinations, coffee stops and ride leaders as well as putting the final touches to a 300k Audax going round Devon and Cornwall which members of the section rode in his memory. [You can read Kevin Presland’s account of the ride on p.44.] Our thoughts are with his wife, Cathy, his four daughters, Grace, Flory, Winnie and Frances. This year would have been their 30th wedding anniversary.
Chris Bennett 1957–2012
I first got to know Chris in the mid-90s when I joined the CTC and started cycling with the Torbay section as it was then known. Chris had come up from Cornwall in 1985 and was working as a Crown Prosecutor for the CPS in the Exeter courts and I found it amusing to learn that he was driving up to Exeter each day in a Reliant Robin threewheeler, a vehicle I considered a bit naff. Chris explained the mileage allowance he gets with such a vehicle and it overtook a police squad car going down Telegraph Hill the other day.
Chris Bennett on a club run crossing Exeter Bridge, Devon.
Arrivée Summer 2012 AU
HEADING INnews HERE
Just a Minute The meeting this time started on a sad note resulting from the very recent news that Rocco Richardson, a Vice-President of AUK and former chairman, had passed away. His funeral was very well attended with nearly 200 people from a variety of cycling disciplines, including a fair few Auks. Many positive thoughts have been posted on on-line forums and there are sure to be tributes in this and future issues. Most officials have experienced a routine quarter with many having little to report. John Hamilton advised there are 527 events planned – a similar figure to four years ago and he does not intend to stand for re-election at the next AGM because of time constraints. One of the team has volunteered to take the job on, but is likely to need mentoring at least for the initial period. The National 400 in Norfolk (we can now confirm) was a resounding success thanks to Sue and Keith’s hard work and in spite of some unhelpful weather during that weekend. Hopefully, this will become an annual event to encourage newer riders and several other areas will be canvassed to organise it in future years. This is partly to spread the load, but mainly to enable riders in different parts of the country to experience the best of Audax. Their (S&K) report shows that validations are proceeding entirely normally. The trial of instant validation at the end of some events has been very popular with organisers, but will remain an entirely voluntary alternative. A recent problem has emerged of riders on events with postal finishes submitting their Brevet cards unpunctually. There is no agreed limit – 48 hours is mentioned on some handouts, though 15 days is the regulatory limit for Perms – but whatever is stipulated in instructions to riders will in future be enforced.
Membership is now 4,500
Mike Wigley tells the number of members is now 4,500. The recent steep rise in postage charges will increase our costs in that area, but no subscription increase is currently envisaged. Some lapsed members are causing problems by quoting their Membership Nos. as if they were still current. The prefixes show as red on the start sheet and organisers should always query such items with MW for the current position. LEL arrangements are progressing well, Danial having resigned from the Publicity post to concentrate on this. (Ad for successor elsewhere here.) The website is now live (with foreign language versions as well) and is generating much interest. Controls are mainly booked, the route just needs a little tweaking, support vehicles are being banned from more of it, to avoid
congesting the areas and the cash flow forecast looks rosier, though much is still not yet certain. Much of the meeting was taken up with a revision of the Rules and Regulations, and a Strategic Review, both of which will be put to the AGM, once agreed. Sue and Keith showed samples of new badges incorporating the new logo which were favourably judged. They plan to sell them for £1 each, which is a significant price reduction. Also shown were some key rings for successful riders on their 400, using the same logo which also won approval. A very similar design will be used for the new set of medals, though the prices for those have not yet been finalised. Looking forward, to November, Ian Hennessey will be appealing for nominations from members for those four awards under the responsibility of the membership. I, too, should like to remind everyone to submit motions for discussion at the AGM by the end of September at the latest. Late submissions will be held over until the following AGM. Also, the usual plea at this time of year: the current season ends on September 30th, giving us more time than previously to get it all together for the Prize Presentation after the Dinner on Saturday November 17th. Even so, everyone will be grateful if orgs will send in their results as soon as possible. Equally, riders should submit their Brevet cards for completed Permanent rides without delay. Please also submit points claims for rides completed on fixed (to me) or even more niche machines, such as tandems, trikes and recumbents (to Allan). Failure to send these punctually may result in the award being presented to an incorrect rider. This request will also be repeated at the end of the season on the forum for those happier with that medium, but this is the last adequate print opportunity for the digital refuseniks. Summer this year still seems elusive, so best wishes for success, enjoyment and above all safety for the middle months of the season. As ever, full Minutes will be available from me on receipt of a sae or on the website in due course.
Roberts Audax Touring Bike. Reynolds 531 designer select. 61cm seat tube, 59cm top tube. Lamborghini British racing green. 700c Mavic on Campag. 27-speed. Shimano/Campag gears, etc. 3TTT, Turbo saddle. Frenchstyle mudguards. Carrier. £595. Tel: 0118 9586819 email rjphillips40@ yahoo.co.uk
Arrivée Summer 2012
AUK Publicity Manager To raise the profile of AUK’s randonneur events in line with our proposed strategic plan. Experience in working with the press and other cycling organisations is desirable. For further details, contact Ian Hennessey email@example.com
To a Friend When my bike and I arrived in Sheffield, knowing no one but the lab and boss, Sheila was the one who led our bike rides, out to Youlgreave, Buxton and Holme Moss. Then she moved away from here to Fishlake, left her teenage son to lodge with me, introduced me next to overnight rides: one hundred kilometres, two, then three. The four hundred kilometre ride up Swaledale, over Garsdale Head and back through York, that we did each May for four or five years, seemed the extreme of metabolic work for me. I went no further, but for Sheila that was just the launch to greater things, London-Edinburgh and back, and Paris seven times – her bike grew wings. I’ve only seen her picture in the bike mags and read her Christmas cards these last ten years; but Saturday in Hathersage Pool Café suddenly her long pale hair appeared. We set off up Sir William Hill to Bretton, remembering a route in ’eighty four, when sixty people set out from Eyam hostel on icy roads and tracks to Howden Moor and fifty six gave up before the finish, out of time or injured or just cold. But this time as we rolled along and chatted I realised even Sheila’s growing old. It was a brilliant ride out to the Roaches. We went on roads I’d never seen before, steep hills at Elton, Crowdicote and Monsal. It took me back to nineteen eighty four.
2011…and hopefully beyond Roger Hawney, Birkenhead Cycling Club
ell, the first day of 2011 started with the usual New Year resolutions, most of which were broken by the time the Christmas decorations came down on January 6th. I remember being told many moons ago that the best New Year’s resolution was not to make any – which seems to me to be the best solution. However, it is a time for reflection and mulling over ideas such as, ‘I must make a bit more effort this year and get my a*** into gear’. That thought is followed by a slothful shuffle into the garage to take a furtive glance at the bikes resting forlornly on their wall-hooks. It is only then that visions of warmer days spent awheel begin to formulate in my mind. Then the trudge back through the snow into the house to be revived with a mug of coffee by the fire, idly flicking through the latest copy of Arrivée. This sparks enthusiastic thoughts such as, ‘If they can do it, so can I’, accompanied with the added rider that I’ll possibly – no definitely ! – do something about it. I’ve already made the first step by having a caffeine boost. But the warmth of the fire pervades and I convince myself it would be safer to wait until all this snow and slush have cleared. Then follows another mug of coffee, this time with an infusion of brandy, plus one of the remaining
festive mince pies. Now, also taking on some carbos and sugars, I really am in training. For reasons I needn’t go into, I hadn’t turned a pedal for the past 22 months, so there was a lot of catching up to do. The situation was compounded by the fact that I was now aged 72 and believe me, as it transpired, a lay-off for this length of time in one’s seventies is a damn sight more difficult to overcome than at half that age. So a very gradual reintroduction ensued, with one or two 20/25 miles solo rides per week, later being supplemented by part of the Sunday club-run with the lads. ‘Lads’ in this context is comparative, as we are all in the 55-plus age range. Sitting on the back for a couple of hours, my cries of ‘Please be gentle with me boys’, usually attracted the retort, ‘Get your finger out you silly old ***’. This pattern continued for a couple of months and soon I felt, ‘this is good I’m feeling OK’. Perhaps I might add at this point that I am one of those fortunate creatures who, whatever I do or don’t do, have carried a weight hovering around the 10 stone since my teens. So, I thank my lucky stars that I don’t have that excess-weightshedding problem afflicting others when making a comeback. By the time March came round I was having more good days than bad. It was then that I found that a trip in
‘But the warmth of the fire pervades and I convince myself it would be safer to wait until all this snow and slush have cleared.’
my camper-van to France was beckoning, with the possible bonus of slightly warmer days. So in mid-March I upped and offed, with bikes on the back of the ’van, to the Cher valley where young relatives have had a campsite for the past ten years. During most of those ten years my wife and I have combined a March holiday with giving the owners a hand during their pre-season tidy-up, and/or another visit for the October shut-down. Now being on my own, I arrived there in mid-March and the usual ‘jobs list’ was presented with the rider, ‘we don’t expect you to do all of them’. Methinks, ‘fat chance, I’m in training’. It was already shorts weather, making it a pleasure to tackle a mixture of tasks interspersed with daily sorties on the bike in this quiet rural region – famed for its Touraine wines. If you’re interested, the site is situated a few hundred metres upstream from the famous Chenonceaux chateau and their website www.lemoulinfort.com is worth a browse. For many years I have been a subscriber to the monthly French magazine Cyclo Passion. Like many magazines, the content can become very ‘samey’ with equipment reviews, etc. I buy it primarily for the suggested day rides exploring different Départements, plus lists therein of forthcoming Cyclosportive and Cyclotouriste events, together with
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South side of the Izoard. Photo: Neil Goldsmith
overseas readers’ reports of recently completed events. On browsing said magazine I noticed in the listing a 95km Cyclotouriste event on Sunday 27th March starting near Blois, only 30km from Le Moulin Fort. I phoned the organiser and was informed of the HQ whereabouts and the start time of 08:00. Great, that will do fine as I find these tourist challenge rides are not as manic as Cyclosportive events – which tend to be a furious charge from the start, as though trying to outride a runaway train. The camp-site proprietor offered the use of his runabout car to drive to the start, thus saving me having to pack up the camper-van just for a day out. So during the Saturday evening I loaded my bike and kit into the car, set my alarm for 06:30 and hit the hay. Waking up at the appropriate time on a somewhat cloudy but warm and dry morning, I had breakfast and arrived at Orchaise, near Blois, at 07:30 to sign on in the village hall HQ. There were about 200 vehicles in the car park but didn’t appear to be that many riders milling around. It was of no concern because when I’ve ridden these events over the years, I’ve found that riders start off in little groups when they are ready to go, without waiting for an en masse type start. After signing on – with the usual mixture of surprise and inquisitiveness of a crazy anglais being in their midst – I prepared for the off. There was a choice of distances on offer and I elected the longest being 99km. At about five to eight I joined a small group of six or so riders just about to start and soon got into a good brisk pace (very) to the first well provided refreshment stop at 35km in Onzain. It was there that I realised I had left my route sheet at the HQ but was quickly provided with a spare. I was also reminded that this same refreshment stop was used on the return route and would close at 1pm. After about another 10km of riding with the same group, they informed me that they were only out for the short morning ride and my route took a right at the next junction, which was confirmed by the colour coded direction arrows on a fence post. So I now rode on my own for some time, alone with my thoughts and absorbing the rural springtime views of this pleasant rolling terrain. The route was hilly rather than mountainous north of the river Loire. On dropping down to the river, now in full flow after being replenished by its upper reaches snow-melt, a left turn was called for in the village of Nazelles. Several riders were just starting off from a café stop so I tagged along with them for a while, but as their pace was somewhat pedestrian, I pushed on ahead on my own. At the 30(ish)km to go mark I missed a sign, went 4km out of my way, so had to about-turn and retrace. Now there was only another
2km to the feed stop and a check of my watch showed 12:05, so plenty of time for some more fodder before the 1pm cut-off. On pulling into the feed station, I was somewhat surprised to see that it had been dismantled and vans were being loaded with all the usual food stop paraphernalia. ‘Bit quick off the mark’, thought I. However, some cake, fruit and drink was offered to me (now accompanied by another cycling couple) together with some unintelligible jocular banter – presumably at my expense. Replenished and with only 12km to the finish, I soon arrived at the HQ and was surprised to see the car park was almost devoid of cars. Also, although there were plenty of members of the organising V.C. Orchaise in evidence, there were very few riders wandering about. It was only on chatting to the Lady President of said club who told me that she was pleased in having over 300 riders, that the penny dropped why I hadn’t seen many of them out on the road. Yes, you’ve guessed it; I had forgotten to put my watch forward to summer time!! That obviously also explained the second food stop fiasco. Hey-ho, I put it down to an age thing. Anyway, all was not lost as the Lady President gathered her troops around her (about 50 club members), made a little speech about ‘our English guest’, presented me with a cup and invited me to join them as Guest of Honour at their annual club lunch which was just about to start. Wonderful ride, wonderful company, wonderful meal to round off a wonderful day. A further week passed consisting of bike rides, ticking off completed tasks on the campsite ‘jobs list’ and socialising with the family until the following weekend. A cyclosportive on Saturday 2nd April in the Sarthe region, starting not too far away at le Mans, attracted my attention. As it was a midday start, it gave me plenty of time to motor up there in the morning, get signed on and have a bit of a warm up ride. There was a choice of two distances of which I elected the shorter, being 105km. It was quite a high profile event with advertising banners, bunting, PA system, local dignitaries, closed roads to the town boundary, etc. The 158km event started at midday with about 250 riders and then 15 minutes later it was our turn for the off in fine, dry and warm conditions. As expected, the 400+ riders in my event started off like a bullet out of a gun. The first 10 or sokm were fortunately mainly flat lanes, enabling me to hang to all but the fastest wheels before the hilly part began. The line of racing men and women stretching ahead was rapidly gaining ground, but I was still surrounded by many riders of a more sedate ability. The encouragement of spectators to us lesser mortals, especially
Arrivée Summer 2012
‘I know,’ said I confidently, ‘I’m going to ride all the French Alpine climbs of this year’s Tour de France’.
on the major climbs at 38 and 72km, was a real boost. I always wear my Birkenhead CC kit when riding events and at the 25km to go mark I heard a shout from behind, ‘You’re a long way from Birkenhead’. It turned out that the deliverer of this utterance was a fellow competitor (considerably younger than I) who hailed originally from Surrey. In his youth he had attended Liverpool University and was au fait with my home town on the Wirral. We had a good chin-wag to the finish, whilst desperately trying to hang on to a fairly briskly pedalling bunch. It turned out that he married a French girl and had lived and worked in Normandy for over 20 years. So we rode over the line together placed 285 and 286 on scratch; and 39th for me in the 60+ age group. The usual postevent meal and prize presentation was a lively and boisterous affair. Back to Le Moulin Fort for another week and then in mid-April I turned my ’van wheels northbound for the return home. This included a detour to Normandy for a long-time intended visit to the Louison Bobet museum at St Méen [on the PBP route ed.] followed by a couple of days riding around the hinterland of the 1944 Overlord Beach Landings. Eight weeks later on June 13th I headed over the Channel once more. The intention was to drive down to Tuscany which we have only visited on six occasions, each being fly plus B&B mini-holidays and never having taken bikes. I was looking forward to exploring the region by bike and I’d also look out for some challenge rides in the area. After three days and 1,020 miles of driving I was still in Provence, and with being on my own a bit of boredom had set in. So, I called in to see some friends who had rented a cottage near Brignoles, Provence. It was whilst chatting to them that I revised my initial plan after considering an additional 400/500 miles and couple of days of driving would be necessary to reach the intended region. And I had yet to take my bike off the ’van. The question was obviously raised of what the alternative project should be. ‘I know,’ said I confidently, ‘I’m going to ride all the French Alpine climbs of this year’s Tour de France’. As soon as those words tumbled out I realised that I had made a commitment in front of witnesses, so there was no chance of having second thoughts. The few words of encouragement were on the lines of ‘… we always knew you were mad!’ Mind made up, I spent a couple of days cycling to acclimatise and then I started in earnest four days later. On checking the detailed TdeF route sheet, stages 16, 17, 18 and 19 contained the Alpine cols. I must add at this point that it wasn’t my intention to ride the full stage routes, merely to include the climbs on circuits or out and home rides. I suppose many
overseas readers, if in fact they are any still with me, will be muttering ‘wimp’!
Left: Col du Lautaret.
A nice gentle introduction. Having camped overnight near Serres, I motored to Veynes which would be that stage’s sprint town, to start my ride. The 17km warm-up to Gap was easy and on leaving the outskirts due north the gradients, up to 10 per cent on several hairpins, soon started followed by a more gradual climb to top the Col de Bayard at 1,248m. An easy drop preceded a right turn off the now fairly busy N75 on to quieter lanes. The next climb was the slightly higher cat. two Col de Manse topping out at 1,268m. After a brief stop the return to my starting point was uneventful; except in Gap I had a difference of opinion with a car driver regarding priority a give-way sign. He won, not that he was right but because he had a better knowledge of French than I! Trip: 62km.
Stage 18 (part)
Not so gentle. To ease on motoring miles, I chose to explore stages 17 and 18 in reverse order. Also, for the same reason order, I tackled one of the stage 18 Hors Categorie climbs from the French rather than the Italian side. I checked into the Chateau Queyras municipal campsite for a few days and made my plans. At this stage I might add that during the whole of my three-week stay in France the weather was ideal; warm (too hot for some!), dry and mainly calm. There were only two wet days and these were both during long motoring spells. Next day I tackled the H/C Col Agnel at 2,744m being the highest of this year’s TdeF cols. The race will climb it from the east – starting at Casteldefino at 1,200m, ie, 1,544m of ascent in 22km. My effort started at the campsite at 1,365m giving a 1,379m climb in 23km. The gently rising 3km introduction to Ville-Vieille was rudely interrupted by a right turn where the work really started. Once a comfortable rhythm is adopted one can take notice of the surroundings, and this Parc Nature du Queyras is really magnificent to explore, whether on two wheels or two feet. At the 12km mark warning signs of road works were encountered on the approach to the tiny village of Fontgillade. There wasn’t any evidence of work being conducted, but the results were easily visible. The whole width of the narrow carriageway, plus pavements, had been excavated by about six inches and the only evidence of the original road level was raised iron inspection covers and grids. No cones, no tapes, no paint blobs, no workmen; thank heavens I first approached it on the ascent rather than descent! Then the confines of the narrow valley were gradually left behind, the gradient steepened and the views became more
expansive with a sparkling mountain stream (the Aigue Agnelle) down to the right. The only problem with expansive views is that the snaking and steepening road becomes disconcertingly more visible. Never mind, only another 11km to go. But what’s that way up ahead – am I hallucinating ? No it is snow banked up on the roadsides. A rider draws up alongside and we pass the time of day for a couple of minutes. Being a local he encouraged (?) me by reckoning that this was the harder side of the climb. Wishing me ‘bonne route’ and ‘bon chance’ he shot off at a silly speed. So it was push, push and push a bit more until at last the summit was visible via a black tarmac strip etched in the contrastingly white snow. About a kilometre from the summit my brief riding companion was now coming towards me on his dare devil descent and had the courage to raise one hand of his bars with a shout of ‘allez-y’. The summit was the national frontier in the form of a sharp crest from where the view down the Italian side was magnificent. There weren’t any other cyclists up there and only a few carborne tourists, one of whom obliged by taking my photo. A drink, a banana and donning of windproof were my precursor to a magnificent descent, aided by the good visibility and a lack of any traffic. I remembered to brake hard on approaching the village with the lack of any meaningful road surface. This time there was evidence of ‘men at work’. A very satisfying ride. Trip: 46km: 2hr.22min up: 36 mins down. Back to the campsite for a shower, lunch and R & R. At 3pm the time was right for my next challenge – the H/C Col d’Izoard, 2,360m, 1,043m ascent in 14.5km. It was still perfect weather with the temperature in the late 20’s when I rolled out. A gentle 3km flat run to the right turn signposted Briançon . The road kicked up immediately and wound through a couple of hamlets until the village of Arvieux. Here it levelled once more for a 3km stretch, bounded by a wide, flat strip of pastureland and crops. I was passed by a couple of cycling groups and a sprinkling of traffic. A bizarre sight then came into view. A stocky whitehaired old man, probably in his eighties, dressed in running shorts and Italian colours vest was walking on the road pushing a fully laden child’s pushchair. Was he a man of the road – was he a
My 2006 bike used for the sorties served me well. A Kuota Khama frame, forks and seatpin – built up by my local dealer with the following equipment: Campag Centaur groupset; BBB bars, stem, saddle and bottle cages; Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels: Vredestein Fortezza tyres; compact chainset 34/50 with 13/29 10 speed cassette. No problems at all with the bike or gearing – although I was revving pretty fast on some of the descents! Wish my lungs and legs were as efficient.
hiker who preferred not to use a rucksack – was he intending to walk over the col to Briançon ? All these unanswered questions diverted my mind from the task ahead. At the head of this compact valley, the wall of a seemingly impregnable mountain hove into view. This is the forewarning that the climb starts in earnest. And it did. The steep switchbacked climb was a struggle and the sound of my panting was drowned when from the valley below came the throaty roar of high-powered engines. Moments later two Porches and a Renault came screaming past, leaving plenty of rubber on the hairpins. At last I reached the first step (and stop) signalling the barren phenomenon of la Casse Déserte. The road through this giant scree slope marked the loss of some of the height already gained, followed by the final 2.6km stiff climb kicking up to the second summit of my day. Trip: 35km : 1hr.35min up : 27 min down The next morning I packed up and motored over the Col d’Izoard to Briançon . Found the campsite used on a previous trip to this area, set myself up and generally loafed about for the rest of the afternoon. Next day I back-pedalled, so as to speak, to tackle the previous stage.
The main climbs of this stage were: cat. 3 La Chausée, Briançon ; cat, 2 Col de Montgenévre 1,860m in 12km; cat 1 Col de Sestrière 2,035m in 11km. The testing start is getting out of Briançon when faced with the ‘Chaussée’ – a 1km straight and steep ramp (10 per cent) in the town centre. This links the lower town up to the old enclosed city, cathedral and castle. In my attempt to appear to the locals as being a ‘real’ cyclist, my breathing was reminiscent of an old steam engine. Once clear of the medieval walls the early slopes of the Montgenévre were not that daunting. In fact, the whole climb is reasonably comfortable, with an average gradient of 6.2 per cent for its 11km length, except for a couple of steeper sections on the Z bends. Unusually, the 1,860m. summit of this col is in the high street of the town bearing the same name. The town (or overgrown village) caters for winter sports enthusiasts, witnessed by the usual ski lifts, hotels, sports shops and cafés. Also there is an 18-hole golf course looking in pristine condition, plus club house and hotel. All looking a little out of place at this height. After passing the unmanned Franco/ Italian border post, the road descended for 9km making for a fast 510m drop. The only tricky bits en route being two dimly lit tunnels, which are quite daunting when coming out of bright sunlight at speed. Then the pleasant village of Cesana Torinese, where I resisted a stop as I’d
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overseas Left: Colle Sestriere. Right: Col du Galibier.
never get going again and the next col starts immediately on crossing the river. The first few kilometres of the 11km climb starts in the dappled shade of broadleafed woodland before opening up to a wide vista. The average gradient for the 700m altitude gain feels a lot steeper than the stated 6.3 per cent. Am I getting weaker? Very little traffic and only a few bikies about. At last the summit is reached and once again the high point marker is in the centre of the busy little town of Sestriere. A drink and snack fortified me for the return journey by retracing my wheel marks. The difference this time being one climb and two descents, rather than vice versa on the outward ride. Trip: 71km : 1730m climbing.
doubt to be ready for the Tour stage finish next month. The descent was exhilarating to put it mildly. Trip: 65km Climb from Monetier 1hr 58min – descent 28min.
Stage 18 (again)
Next day was the Col du Lautaret 2,058m, plus the stage 18 finish – cat H/C Col de Galibier 2,645m. Again so lucky with the warm, sunny and calm weather. Rolled along the 11km valley to le Monetierles-Bains where the official climb starts. The first 14km is, for the most part, a gentle rise of 563m to reach the saddle summit of the Lauteret. The views are magnificent with the snow-capped peaks being continuously reshaped by the glaciers of the Massif des Ecrins – a geographer’s delight. The view westwards down the Romanche valley is claimed to rate amongst the finest in France. Enough of this day-dreaming, there’s still a lot of work to be done. A few photos taken of the alpine wild flowers overlooking the road just climbed were followed by a sharp click back into the pedals. The next 587mts height gain in 7.5km was an absolute delight. The atmosphere was enhanced by many other cyclists, both ascending and descending. There were also a few boy racers in cars and on motor bikes, but they were all most courteous to us who prefer leg power to horse power. Why is it that in the UK, many drivers prefer to exercise their horns rather than patience and courtesy? The last few steep switch-backs are a real struggle and the professional photographer didn’t have to run very fast to place his business card in my jersey pocket! The car park at the summit was buzzing with groups of cyclists congratulating each other and cheering on those who were nearing the summit from both sides. Again there was evidence of road resurfacing being carried out on the final kilometre, no
‘The view westwards down the Romanche valley is claimed to rate amongst the finest in France.’
That evening (Saturday) I left Briançon and motored over to Bourg d’Oisans. I was aware that the high profile ‘La Vaujany’ Cyclosportive was to be held on the next day – Sunday, so I decided to have the day off and be a spectator. The tourist office supplied me with the route details and after studying same, I decided to ‘wild-camp’ overnight at the summit of the Col d’Ornon climb to view the action the next day. This is a tough 173km event with 3,850m of climbing and my vantage point was after 98km and plenty of climbing covered. After the drop down to the Bourg d’Oisans the riders remaining challenges were the Alpe d’Huez climb, Col de Sarenne climb, descent back down to the Romanche valley, and a final 13km climb to Vaujany at 1,414m – where some were arriving after 11 hours of riding. There were several hundred riders and as I enthusiastically cheered them on, I received many greetings from UK riders. If any readers of this article were riding that day – many congratulations. Compared to their efforts, mine was an easy ride the next day by merely riding up and down Alpe d’Huez. The wonderful weather continued and I looked forward to the challenge of tackling this epic climb. I cannot add to the many written words about how racers, plus lesser mortals, have fared on these 21 hairpins. Suffice to say that I masochistically enjoyed every minute of it. As a point of interest it took me 1hr.39min. to get up and the record is 37min. by Pantani. Well, the minutes are similar ! That afternoon I motored over the Col de la Croix de Fer, staying at the top for a meal before dropping down to the Maurienne valley. The campsite in St Jean de Maurienne is very cycling orientated. The reception has one wall displaying hundreds of trade-team bidons going back decades. The camp emplacement bays are all labelled with a board bearing the name of famous cols in the area.
Arrivée Summer 2012
Also there is a lockup for bikes (skis in the winter), plus bike washing and maintenance areas. A ‘must’ if you are camping in that area. The next day would be my final big effort to finish off Stage 19 by climbing the Col du Telegraph 1,570m followed by the Col du Galibier 2,645m. The latter for the second time within a few days, but this time from the northern side. The day dawned even warmer, so I made a mid-morning start along the valley road to St Michel where the climbing started abruptly on turning right in the town. The first few kilometres through the trees were passed at a reasonable pace and I estimated the temperature was about 25° C. Once out of the trees a UK rider caught and rode along with me for a while and he informed me that it was actually 32° and could get even warmer. Just as well I had two 750ml bottles on board. The cafés at the top of the Telegraph were heaving with cyclists to give a wonderful atmosphere, but I wasn’t tempted to stop as it was too soon and I may never get going again. It was fresher on the false flat and drop down to Valloire, where the final 17km to the Galibier summit started gently enough. The really hard part started with 8km to go and then for most of the time you can see the buildings near final goal tantalisingly beckoning. However, these buildings are not at the summit, merely at the tunnel entrance. There the roads kicks left and with last ounces of effort the final severely steep ramp, a few hundred metres long, is surmounted. The elation at the summit was well worth the 33 tough kilometres from St Michel. The descent back to Valloire was brilliant, but the climb up to the Telegraph was much harder than I expected and at one point I was sorely tempted to stop and have a breather. But that would be cheating. Trip: 91km 34km and 2180mts climbing So my project was completed. At the tender age of 72 I had managed every French Alpine col of the 2011 Tour de France. Now I could look forward to how they should be ridden, when watching the goggle-box in July to see the pros. tackling them at astronomical speeds. Plans for 2012? The TdeF climbs in the Pyrenees look tempting. N
DIY 400k around Scotland Nicolas Ketley
aving completed my first SR series in 2011, thoughts turned to the 2012 season and how to celebrate (in Audax terms) turning 50. Most of my Audax riding has been local to home (East London), with occasional forays into Wales for ‘monuments’ like the Bryan Chapman, and Irish Mail. Both Andrew Seager, my regular Audax partner, and I have family cycle-toured in Scotland, but I’d never done a Scottish Audax ride (though Andrew did the Daylight 600 many years ago). So we decided it needed to be Scotland ... Nothing Calendar-wise seemed to fit the bill. I looked at Graeme Wyllie’s Permanents, but really wanted to do a 400, so started planning a DIY-by-GPS on Autoroute. Between us, Andrew and I knew many of the roads around Mull, Ardnamurchan and Oban, but how to string them together? The route needed as many ferries as time would allow, some of our ‘favourite’ roads, some new sections which looked appetising on the map … and an overnight traverse of Rannoch Moor ! So this is what we came up with:
‘Then to the highlight of the route: crossing Rannoch Moor at 2:30 in the morning.’
indicated a Lochailort start would work best, but it would be ‘very DIY’, with no prospect of overnight garages/ supermarkets, and little opportunity to shelter/warm up if the weather was ‘adverse’. So we agreed to change our regular bag configuration, with Andrew adding a bar-bag and me swapping rack-top for two small panniers, to allow overnight provisions and extra layers to be carried; we also each took a Camelbak to ensure hydration through the night. We negotiated time-off from domestic duties over June half-term, booked trains and hotel, and entered the ride with Alex Pattison, who offered useful local advice. As summer failed to arrive, the true (potential) enormity of the challenge began to sink in – was this too audacious? Only time would tell! Having taken the sleeper from Euston to Glasgow (hoping we had put the bikes in the Glasgow not Edinburgh wagon), we nipped across to Queen St station for breakfast, then the long scenic ride to Lochailort via Fort William on the West Highland line, which takes just as long as a regular London to Glasgow service. Arriving at lunchtime, we checked in and then headed off along the coast road towards Mallaig with fabulous views of
A careful look at likely ride times for the various sections, CalMac ferry timetables and supermarket opening hours
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randonnee the Small Isles and Skye. A blustery wind and a couple of heavy showers were a reminder of what might lie in store tomorrow. Friday dawned dry but very blustery, and we enjoyed a NE tailwind on the first stage to Kilchoan. We blagged a coffee at the hotel (still serving guests’ breakfast) and topped up rations at the shop, reaching the first ferry with 25 minutes to spare. ‘Down-time’ for the first half of the ride was going to have to be limited to the ferry trips only so as to keep inside time limits. Arriving at Tobermory, we were straight off on the tightest stage – four hours before the next ferry departure, with a projected ride time of 3hrs 12mins, and the ‘lumpiest’ section of the whole route. But the sun was out, the wind had dropped and we made good progress round the NW of Mull via the sands of Calgary, and Ulva ferry. We passed on a coffee at Salen, pushing on to Fishnish with enough time in hand to order bacon rolls and chips for the crossing. The road from Lochaline goes up, up, up but traffic was generally light (and very polite) and the weather remained good. I’d previously kept left on the A-road to Strontian at the top of the climb from Lochailort, but to reach Corran ferry we chose the Kingairloch B-road which was a gem. After a few miles the road started a dive to the sea-loch below, a narrow twisting ribbon of tarmac disappearing into the trees; Andrew very quickly dropped me on the descent! Payback time arrived after Kingairloch for the remainder of the B-road loop towards Ardgour, in the form of a very poorly surfaced sandwich road and a NE headwind, but the Corran ferry was on the slip-way boarding as we pulled up! Result ... At this point we were still under half-way round, and about 15 minutes inside the time-limit, but the ferries were done – now for the bridges. The road to Oban follows the coast crossing various sea-lochs as in undulates gently south. So our headwind was now behind us and we sailed over the bridges crossing Loch Leven and Loch Creran. 10km outside Oban we reached the Connel Bridge over the Falls of Lorn, where the tide runs across shallow rocks creating spectacular eddies at the right stage of the tide, and stopped to admire the turmoil below. We had pulled back sufficient time for a Co-Op shop for night provisions and a fish and chip supper on the quayside, with one of those quintessentially Audax conversations: ‘Have you come far?’ ‘150 miles’. ‘I hope you haven’t got too much further to go tonight’ ‘Another 100 miles!’ While we ate our fish supper we repacked bags for the night stages and
put on warmer layers and reflectives, then we were off to the fourth bridge, Bridge of Orchy, way up in the hills. The main road was quiet and we climbed imperceptibly for the next two and a half hours, crossing the Pass of Brander and the Ben Cruachan power station, partly on wet roads though we had still had no rain. Turning off the main road up Glen Orchy we found it difficult to decide if the road was climbing or falling at times, as it wound its way through the trees. It was dark by now, or as dark as it gets in Scotland at this time of year; really only an hour of proper dark we reckoned. By the top of Glen Orchy at 1:30am the moon was up and the sky ahead to the north was clearing. We stopped by the hotel to eat pasta salads and fruit, joking about what a passing police car might have had to say! Then to the highlight of the route: crossing Rannoch Moor at 2:30 in the morning. I had driven across once, and read much about it; Andrew had ridden across amidst heavy Saturday afternoon traffic on the Daylight 600, so we hoped this would be different. The West Highland line leaves the road just before the Moor starts, and I had noticed a bridge shortly before the climb starts up to the Black Mountain, marking the southern edge of Rannoch Moor. As we approached this bridge, the first of many small groups of deer startled us by passing across the road – I’m not sure who was more shocked! The night was still warm with little or no wind, but progress was slow, not least as we made frequent stops to take in the panorama of lakes, marsh and shadowmountains lit by the near-full moon, and looking back this section was really quite timeless and breathtaking. At the northern edge of the Moor, the road plunges down to the sea through Glen Coe. It was light enough by now to pick up pace, and get well-chilled through by the bottom; but we soon warmed up on the run up to Fort William, the road busy with supermarket delivery trucks. We reached the town just before 6am, in time for a coffee at Macdonalds to wake us up before the final stage back to Lochailort. Heading west, there was enough wind to help us along, but not enough to keep the midges at bay; when I needed a loo-stop after 10 miles, Andrew sensibly opted to continue on, as the wee-buggers pounced out of nowhere. The first 12 miles were flat along the edge on Loch Eil, with the railway between us and the loch. But we had one last climb up through Glenfinnan from the monument and viaduct, before a glorious section where we coxed-andboxed with the railway line, twisting and undulating back to Lochailort, 26hrs 30mins after we had left. Only one resident was up yet for breakfast,
Arrivée Summer 2012
‘…the road plunges down to the sea through Glen Coe.’
but they made us very welcome, if incredulous as to ‘why’ anyone would want to cycle 400km at a stretch. The true enormity of how lucky we had been came later, as rain splashed against the Virgin Pendolino windows through the Lake District later that day, and we listened to rain lashing our rooves throughout the following night … and then the news of flooding near Aberystwyth and along the South Coast. A ride of more than 24 hours on the West Coast of Scotland, and no rain at all. The problem now is how to top this ride in the future! N
Old Roads 300k – Honiton Words: Chuffy Simmonds. Photos: Dave Atkinson
I have spent the last two hours staring at the rear of a man with a flashing red biscuit on his saddlebag. It is bitterly cold. The hills are getting longer by the minute. I’ve been circling the drain for 10 of the last 16 hours and have spent almost the entire day praying for a poo. Welcome to the Old Roads 300k, this is my tale.
aving carb loaded on homemade carbonara the evening before, had a very early night and eaten two Müller Rice for breakfast I’m feeling confident that my ride prep is good and I’m going to be set for the day, despite the 6am start. However, something isn’t quite right. I don’t know about your preride routine but mine always involves a brief sit down, preferably with a copy of Arrivée to hand. Today, nothing is happening. The train is most definitely not pulling out of the station… The field is select but I recognise a few familiar faces. Julian (Nonsteeler) is there on fixed and I feel a momentary pang of guilt for having not offered him a lift to the start. Then, of course, he is both younger and half my weight, so perhaps the 25 mile penalty will just serve to even things up. My ride companion for the day is Big Dave Atkinson from Road.CC. We don’t have a plan as such but we’re wearing matching Road.CC tops and socks so riding together is pretty much
obligatory. It’s going to be like the Duo Normand but with extra cake. After paying a fruitless visit to the Tourist Information Centre loo it’s back outside for the start. My preference would be for a flowery speech, sweet maidens in traditional costume carrying elaborately plaited bread and a 21-gun salute, but Mr Hennessey is organising and favours a more low key approach. If memory serves we were dispatched with the glorious and inspiring phrase ‘you might as well go then’. Mind you, on the Glastonbury 100 miler it was ‘go on then, bugger off’. Being a small bunch we set off en-bloc and settle into a fastish pace out of Honiton. Come the first hill and Pete Marshall drops off the front, back through the pack and that’s the last we see of him until the finish. Apparently he carried on until Barnstaple and then hacked back. Nothing in the legs, so he just did 200k. Hardcore… The sun is up but it’s still cold, so I’m muffled in legwarmers, vest, merino
jersey, woolly jacket, long gloves and waterproof. After a few miles things are starting to warm up, so I stop to lose the waterproof. It’s the start of the world’s longest, slowest and least alluring striptease culminating in Dave and I de-vesting by a roadsign on the A361. Had it got any warmer I’d have been down to bare cycling shoes and a thong by the end, but happily it doesn’t and I don’t, which is why I’m here to write this instead of being banged up on a charge of impersonating Mr Hummerstone. The road to the first control is long and cruel, a steady grind up the old A30. Having been physically pushed up this road on a recent club run I know that it can be a right leg sapper and has a nasty false flat that pushes you into trying harder than is wise. The swoosh down from Sticklepath is a hoot though and we get to the Little Red Rooster café in good spirits. A bacon butty later I venture upstairs to see if things are happening. Nope. The train is still in the station but now has an extra carriage. Great…
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The leg from Okehampton to Barnstaple is where things start to get lumpy. This is proper deepest, darkest Devon. Narrow lanes, perfumed with the malty smell of mature silage and lumpier than an unmade bed. I’m not feeling at all great and don’t like to suffer in silence. Fortunately Dave is a parent, so the stream of childish grumbles from behind just flow round him, like floodwater round a great big rock. ‘I’m knackered. My legs don’t work. I need a poo. Dad, are we there yet?’, etc. The headwind isn’t helping and it doesn’t let up until we get to Barnstaple. Nor do I. At the station café we bump into Julian and a few others who are ahead of us on the road. They finish their snacks and head off while we settle down to refill bottles, have a coffee and visit the loo, again, to no avail. Ian arrives and comments that we’re going well. ‘Like a sack of spuds’ is my rather churlish reply.
Bright and sunny
Thi ngs improve with the eastbound leg. The road from Barny to South Molton through Swimbridge is glorious, swoopy, almost traffic-free and with a stately castle type-thing at Stags Head. It’s bright, sunny and rather lovely so we put on a bit of pace, taking turns at the front and generally enjoying ourselves. Even the wind is being less of a pain, coming from the left instead of head-on. Passing through South Molton we endure a brief scurry along the A361 before stopping to remove vests and reapply suncream. It’s getting hot and I’m grateful for my stash of electrolyte drink as without it I’d be cramping like a camp bed with broken springs. Remounting, we enjoy the endless descent to the A396 before riding through Bampton. Again, the roads are almost completely empty, just
sheep and deer eyeing us suspiciously from the fields. Crowded island? Not round these parts. We’re heading for Wiveliscombe and I’m starting to feel properly ropey again. Realising that I’ve not eaten much, partly because I don’t want to chance it with things being a bit static in the bowel dept and partly because I’m an idiot who should know better, I break open a packet of Jaffa cakes and shove one in. It’s delicious, I’m obviously starving and cram in another and then another, all of them grabbed from the Carradice as we ride along. Within a mile I’ve eaten the whole packet. The elastic snaps and suddenly Dave is up the road while I’m pedalling octagons in a sugar coma. I have to stop for a breather, all the while trying not to think about the hill up ahead. It’s as grim as my imagination can make it but eventually we roll over the top and drop into Wivvy. Surprisingly we don’t seem to have lost all that much time, because there in the square is Julian having his lunch. I’m in a pretty desperate state by now, so Dave and I adjourn to the White Hart for beer and a sit down. While Dave bodges his phone and portable charger together using the magic of zip-ties I investigate the facilities. Still nothing. I’m getting pretty stressed now and consider packing at Taunton. Nothing I eat is being absorbed so it’s essentially like riding through a very long, drawn out bonk. Cheery barman asks where we’re going (Cheddar) and gives us the traditional response of the committed non-cyclist – ‘What? How far? Cor blimey!’ etc. It’s a ritual that never seems to change. Still, he’s friendly, lets us eat our Co-Op pasta meals in the pub and fills our bottles. I drop the lid of mine on a spot just below a pigeon roost. I don’t
Arrivée Summer 2012
‘Narrow lanes, perfumed with the malty smell of mature silage and lumpier than an unmade bed.’
care, right now I’d welcome a dose of botulism. Now, regulars on the Dunkery Dash and other rides in these parts will recognise the name of Cothelstone Hill and shudder. It’s a real brute and I’m absolutely dreading it. No surprise, I have to deploy the 24in. gear as soon as we hit the lower slopes, while Dave winches himself slowly upwards. While I do the walk of shame I give myself a bit of a talking to. Once we clear the Alpe D’Cothelstone we’ve got the Levels to come and they’re flat, so things have to get better, don’t they? Amazingly they do, somewhere just before Bridgwater the Jaffa cakes finally kick in and we’re flying. Track sprinting in an unsuitable gear away from roundabouts, head down on the dual carriageway and full gas onto the A39. It’s around here that we come across Ian’s favourite instruction – SO @ T. I’m intrigued, what does the puckish little scamp have in mind? I want a magic hedge that parts when the faithful ride into it at speed. What I get is that old staple, R@T (actually straight on). Oh Ian, you wag. Heading into Cheddar we pass several other riders on their way back, which is heartening. Control in Cheddar is a busy pub which is heaving with people who would be more likely to appreciate the
randonnee The temperature plummeted too. It was proper cold, my 200k bonk had taken its toll and I was having to climb off on anything steeper than a speed hump. Dave was still going strong and the glowing red eye of Sauron hanging on his spanky tweed Barley at least kept him in sight and gave me a reference point as I schlepped up yet another modest incline. The hill out of Yarcombe was the real heartbreaker. It’s very long but with a gentle, almost Alpine gradient. I walked the whole damn thing. I found the Snickers flapjack I’d bought earlier. It was the nicest thing I’d ever eaten and I almost cried because I didn’t have another. From the top we had an almost clear run into Honiton along the A30. According to the routesheet the Devon Desgrange had planned one final deviation, just one waffer theen hill but we looked up the road, muttered ‘not bloody likely’ and carried on to the finish. We weren’t the only ones. Pippa Wheeler, PBP ancienne and general audax heroine, did exactly the same, so we’re in good company and feel no shame. Honiton is a small town famous for lace and tearooms, so the crowds of excitable young people in unsuitable clothing spilling out of a noisy bar are a bit of a shock. At the control Ian is dispensing wisdom, like a lycraed Yoda, Pete Marshall is relaxing after his gentle stroll, Jamie (Vorsprung) Andrews is checking cards and yes, that man Mr. Julian is again ahead of us and looking unreasonably fresh. Another young chap is also there, tired after his first 300k. Not bad seeing as he later tells me that he’d barely had any sleep and had driven up from Liskeard in the morning. Curt and manly greetings duly exchanged I staggered into the kitchen where the glorious figure of my wife (Baggy) was heating soup and bracing herself to tend to the broken piece of human wreckage that she’d married. I’m still not quite sure why I do these rides, but the sheer relief of collapsing into a warm embrace and being welcomed back is probably one of the better reasons. Thanks to Big Dave for offering me the shelter of his mighty arse for most of the ride and putting up with my whining. The pictures are his too. Ian H for organising. Jamie (and of course Baggy) for manning the finish. I’m told there will be a special Exeter Wheelers SR Series badge. I just need to finish the Kernow & South West 600, the Avalon Sunrise 400 and the Valley of the Rocks 200. What could be easier? Incidentally, having been offered a lift back to Exeter Mr Julian politely declines and rides home instead. That’s a mere 60-odd kilometres that he’s added to his day. I wonder what the barman at the White Hart would make of that? N
exhaust on a Citroen Saxo than the fine lugwork on a vintage steel frame, so Dave and I down pints of Pepsi before heading off. We also cross the path of incoming riders and exchange cheery waves. Despite being strung out like pearls on a cheap necklace there’s a definite sense that we are all together on the road. It’s all very pleasant. Leaving Cheddar we’re expecting to be blown across the Levels by a mighty tailwind. After all, it only seems fair after battering our way into it on the road north. Ah ha, so wrong and so presumptuous! The capricious mistral that blows across the Levels had switched direction while I stared at another toilet wall so it’s a side/ headwind again. We criss-cross various bits of the Exmouth Exodus route, salute Glastonbury Tor as it pops up in the distance and pass through the village of Muchelney, which is stuffed to the gills with beautiful stone houses and abbey buildings. It’s a glorious place, although the flooded fields just beyond are a reminder that the Levels are land reclaimed from Nature. One day she might just decide to take them back. The Nutty Nuns 200k passes along these roads and a fortnight ago the hardy few who turned out on the foulest day of the year found themselves bottom bracket-deep in floodwater. I DNSed. Lightweight. And so onward to the final control at Ilminster. By now it was starting to chill down, our burst of post-Bridgwater pace had tailed off and the light was going, so the sight of a Costa machine in the garage was very welcome. The mocha was sickly sweet and utterly disgusting. God it felt good. The young lady at the counter was friendly too, which always helps, even if her opening words were ‘Are you doing that mad ride?’ I grunted in the affirmative and apologised for being incapable of saying much more. As we drank our coffee I watched a car pull up. A greasy little tick with a rockabilly haircut stepped out, turned to the passenger in the back and growled ‘stay there’. The passenger in the back (and there was no-one in the front seat) was a young woman. It all seemed very sordid and charmless. I briefly considered flinging the rear door open and crying ‘flee, flee to a better life my lovely!’ while Dave sat on the greasy tick’s head but the moment passed, I pocketed my Snickers flapjack, Dave lit up his fiery Blackburn Deth Beacon and off we went into the night. For most of the last 200-odd kilometres we’d been on pretty good roads. Roads that you could pick out on a road atlas. That changed as soon as we dropped off the A358 and wandered like weary sheep on trackless lanes that meandered up, up, and ever up onto the high ground of the Blackdowns.
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an organiser’s tale
From both sides now – Mull It Over Graeme Wyllie
rrivée is full of ride reports, including a lovely write up from Dean Clementson on Mull It Over, the 300km ride in April 2011. Damon Peacock also assembled a mini film of the event too which can be found here http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=QdlUNP8MjNY. Here’s the story of what went on beforehand and behind the scenes on the event itself. I’d first organised rides in the north-west of Scotland in 2009 when a weekend of four audax events took place out of Ballachulish, well kent as a control on the Daylight 600. My first choice as an HQ that weekend had been Oban, but the dates had clashed with a music festival so I felt that I had unfinished business. Although my home is in Edinburgh I’m familiar with Lochaber as my in-laws live in Fort William. Its also a perfect stopping place on the Twilight, apart from the fact that they live at the top of a dirty great hill! 2011 presented the perfect opportunity to put on a longer event as a qualifier for PBP and in the end I settled on a 300km route which combined the existing Port Navigation 200km with the bits of the Daylight between Lochailort and Ballachulish Bridge. My first challenge was securing an HQ. The venue which I’d hoped to use in 2009 was available and although I’d never clapped eyes on it, it had been used a few years ago by Duncan Peet and a brief conversation with Alex Pattison, who had taken part in those events, confirmed that it was fit for purpose. The date (9th April 2011) effectively chose itself as it had to fit snugly into PBP qualifying and the school Easter holidays. Entries started coming in as soon as the event was on the calendar some six months in advance and it soon became apparent that the numbers were potentially going to present a challenge for CalMac as the event uses two of their ferry crossings. I’d originally anticipated a field of about 30 and reckoned that I might not need notify the ferry company but I soon realised that the number of entrants meant that engagement with CalMac was going to be required. I’m glad I did as they could not have been more helpful in advance of the event and on the day itself. Putting an extra water container on the deck of the Fishnish–Lochaline crossing for riders bottles was very much appreciated on a warm day. In the interim I set about organising the controls at Lochaline and Glenfinnan. Jean’s harbourside café was an obvious choice but making contact with Jean herself proved tricky but in the end an old fashioned letter did the trick. She called me and said she’d be delighted to cater for 50 cyclists and even offered me my breakfast for free (a highly valued perk!). The Princes House Hotel in Glenfinnan was more easily sourced as the lovely Ina was already familiar with audax riders. On the day of the event my alarm rang just before at 5am at my in-laws house in Fort William and I was soon making my way down to Oban on deserted roads, although I had to stop for the deer which always seem to be on this road. I checked and double checked my pack of stuff (brevet cards, signs and the key for the event HQ which my mother-in-law had kindly collected a day or so before). While I thought I’d arrived in Oban in plenty time there was a minor panic in distributing brevet cards as the ferry staff wanted riders on the boat exceptionally well in advance. I’d originally planned on joining riders on the ferry but changed plan when I chose to head to Lochaline personally to stamp cards and I also had quite a lot of shopping to do at the local supermarket. I spoke briefly to the cleaner who had just arrived at HQ and
then visited the supermarket where I stocked up for the evening’s provisions (lentils, stock, rolls, butter, tea bags, milk, coffee, sugar and beer). After dropping the provisions off at HQ I headed to Lochaline in plenty time (so I thought) and sat in the sunshine enjoying my free breakfast. I was just contemplating a snooze when Jean, the café owner, told me that a small number of cyclists were on a ferry service even earlier than I had believed possible. The CalMac staff on the ferry had called her to indicate the number of cyclists on board and she had the grill ready. The field would be more spread out than I’d anticipated but the early arrivals at Lochaline meant that I had to call the hotel at Glenfinnan to let them know that the first riders would be around an hour earlier than previously notified. More arrived on the next ferry and while the sun shone and riders enjoyed a feed, there was the opportunity to sort out a few brevet card issues and watched on while Elgin CC fixed a puncture as a team after we’d all recovered from the fright of an exploding tyre. The final batch of riders arrived on the ferry in very relaxed mode and seemed to be enjoying themselves more than everybody else. Some time after the last riders had left, Neil McDade came forlornly back down the hill – he’d had rotten luck with his rear mech and was effectively on a single speed. After a brief discussion he chose to retrace to Fishnish by ferry and then ride the direct route to Craignure for the ferry back to Oban, almost an hour on two ferries but just six miles of riding. Neil would recover and completed his qualifiers and secure a place at PBP, the majority of which we rode together and was most enjoyable.
Heading for Fort William
I followed riders by car as far as Strontian where I headed for Fort William to pick up my son who was very excited about helping at the finish and getting to stay up all night. When we arrived back in Oban we were met outside the HQ by Allison Pattison who had volunteered to help, so the three of us proceeded to get organised for riders arriving at the finish. My wife, who had been stamping cards at Glenfinnan, was keeping me up to date with the progress of riders so we had a fair idea of when the first finishers would be back in Oban. She also informed me that my younger daughter had been offered a summer job at the Princes House Hotel which she may yet take up. Unfortunately a couple more riders had packed between Lochaline and Glenfinnan but everybody was accounted for safely which was my main concern. Dave Bickerstaffe pitched up to help along with Melissa and Neil McDade joined us in the hall to confirm his safe return to Oban the quick way. We chatted through his mechanical and how
Arrivée Summer 2012
he was going to fix it, which I must admit was beyond my ken but Neil seemed to know what he was about. It was very quiet but not for long. The first finishers arrived looking fresh about 10pm including Gourock’s own answer to Shaggy (Robert McCready) and Phil Kelman from Deeside among the vanguard. The soup kitchen had been waiting for this moment and swung into action. Riders soon started appearing and most seemed to be enjoying the offer of a cold beer too and hung about for a blether. I find that the finish of a 300km event to be the most sociable, what with many riders not heading home immediately, but still alert enough to swap stories. Thankfully the hall had a happy buzz. It was great to see some new faces too among the usual suspects and those who were completing their first 300 too. The Elgin boys finished together as per normal and had recruited an honorary member in Lindsay Clayton on the stretch into the finish. Those not sleeping in the hall started to drift away and soon enough I was counting down the number of riders still out on the road. The final posse arrived together within the final hour but again appeared to be the cheeriest. Myself and Damon who had arrived earlier enjoyed a final beer while Heather chatted us through how her ride had gone. She had been helping some other riders towards the back of the field, a role she would carry out again with distinction on the Portmahomack 400 a few weeks later. Shortly after the last riders came in, Robert McCready stirred from his sleep and grabbed breakfast before heading off (on his bike) for home in Gourock some 75 miles away. I washed up the last of the dishes and when I looked at my watch for the final time it was just before 5am, exactly 24 hours from when my day had started. I crept into the small side room of HQ where my son had long been asleep and conked out immediately. By the time I’d woken up, a few riders had finished breakfast and were tidying up the hall which was appreciated. It wasn’t too long before myself and young Tom were outside the hall chatting with Damon who finished his filming and we had a brief chat. On our drive back to Fort William we passed Al Sutton riding back to Elgin. I had felt tired until then! The stars of the event were the weather and scenery. I had been nervous about the late start for a 300 and the fact that a qualifier would feature ferry crossings which might have gone wrong and potentially disrupted qualifying schedules for PBP. While I had a ‘plan B’ route up my sleeve thankfully nothing bad happened and all 51 finishers came home well in time. For those who didn’t, please come back and try again next time. N
London Edinburgh London News
t’s less than a year until the next London Edinburgh London, so the team have really started to ramp up the preparations. The route is almost complete, and we’re working with local authorities to make sure your ride to Edinburgh and back is as smooth as possible. Our chief controllers have started to get ready to welcome you at our controls, and work is underway to build the rider entry, registration and tracking systems that will manage the event.
Check out our new website!
Our new website is live. It has loads of useful information, including details about the route and controls, and news about the central London prologue. There’s also a FAQ page which will answer a lot of your questions, such as where we plan to deliver bag drops and rules about support vehicles. You can find it at www.londonedinburghlondon. com. We’ve now started to build all the ‘back office’ components, which we hope will make entry and registration nice and smooth. Having seen the incredible organisation at Paris Brest Paris last year, we’ve got a tough act to follow.
The route is nearly ready
Thanks to the sterling efforts of John Hamilton and Don Black, the route is almost ready. Compared to 2009, this route is perhaps a little bit hillier. By taking a more eastern route through Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire, you’ll get to enjoy the Lincolnshire Wolds north of Market Rasen. There are marvellous views across the Lincolnshire Plains and the Humber Bridge, which you’ll cross twice. If the weather’s anything like 2009, and the Humber Bridge is closed, we’ve got another route ready that doesn’t add any extra distance. Our next job is to write the last few bits that lead from the route to the controls. The London Edinburgh London DIY competition has been very useful in getting feedback from riders, and we’ll announce the winner in the next edition of Arrivée.
All about the start
Many of you have asked about the start of London Edinburgh London. Here’s how we think it will work. As in 2009, you’ll need to register the day before. There, we’ll give you your brevet card, a goody bag and any jerseys you’ve ordered, and take your bag if you ordered a bag drop. You’ll start between 08:00 and 10:30.
We will allocate you a start time when you enter. You won’t be able to choose your start time, but you will be able to start with your friends if you tell us who they are when you enter. We will set riders off in groups every fifteen minutes, and your allocated start time will determine your deadline to get to controls and back to London at the end. You won’t be able to start earlier than your allocated time, but you will be able to start later. You won’t get any extra time if you do though. If you’re taking part in the central London prologue, you’ll start from outside Buckingham Palace (we hope) at 06:00. This will give you plenty of time to get to Loughton for the main start, as the prologue’s only about 20km long. You can find out more at www. londonedinburghlondon.com.
way, register your interest by going to www. londonedinburghlondon.com and selecting ‘volunteer’. See you in 2013!
The London Edinburgh London team
The London Edinburgh London team (and Alwyn) look forward to seeing you in 2013! London Edinburgh London route.
Ready to enter?
Excellent! Entries will open on January 5, and we’ll announce the entry fee in the next Arrivée. It’s going to be a bit more than £200, but certainly under £250. We’re limiting the event to 750 riders, which we think will be more than enough. If we get a few more than this, we’ll squeeze you all in no problem. If, however, the event is oversubscribed, then it will be first come, first served. We guarantee all volunteers from 2009 the opportunity to enter. If you helped us last time, be sure to let us know when you enter.
London Edinburgh London distance table.
Volunteer for London Edinburgh London
If you can’t ride, but still want to be part of the action, then why not help out at one of the controls? You get all the excitement of the event, but without having to pedal 900 miles. You can help out for a day, or for the whole event if you prefer. Being a volunteer is lots of fun. Many of our volunteers have been taking part for over 20 years and have already signed up to take part next year. We’ll pay your travel to get to your control, and feed you as well as we’ll feed the riders. You’ll also get a cool t-shirt to keep, and the kudos of being part of one of the world’s greatest cycling adventures. In particular, our control at St Ives needs a chief controller. This will be our first control, heading north, and our last major control on the way back. Because of its location on the route, it would be ideal for a job-share if you were only able to help for part of the event. If you’re interested in helping in any
Arrivée Summer 2012 AU
South Gloucs and Coast and Back Ribble Blue
Coast and Back
his event is in its second year of running, starting out from Kentisbeare near Cullompton, Devon. I missed the ride last year, being away in France but as it’s not too far from home thought I’d give it a go and with only 1,400 metres of climbing shouldn’t be too hard, or so I thought. Out of the start at 9.00 with about 30 others for a flat run along the old A38 and across the M5 heading for Wiveliscombe. Going well until I go down a farm lane to cross the railway and things don’t appear right at the back after just 10k. I suppose I shouldn’t complain, that tyre has been on the back for a couple of years now and I haven’t had a puncture on an event since the beginning of last year. Changing the tube while all the others go by, you know the feeling, but getting back into the ride following the Great Western canal for a time then a series of small climbs to Wiveliscombe. 30k covered and time to get the coat off and have a drink. The weather’s not exactly sunny at the moment, a bit overcast with a bit of a breeze which can’t make up its mind which way to blow, but getting warmer and it’s staying dry. Series of climbs with a long pull up to Elworthy Cross on the B3224 then it’s over the top to enjoy the views of the Quantock hills in the distance, followed by a long drop into Stogumber where I’m met by a couple of riders who appear unsure of the route. They explain that they’re on the 100 ride and is it straight on? Well, that’s the way I’m going, so they tag along over the hills for a few miles but when we get out to the A358 main road there’s no mention of it on their route instructions. It transpires that they’re on the 100 mile event, not the shorter 116k ride which I’m riding. Anyway, it appears they should have turned back in Stogumber but if they go down the A358 they will join up after a not-too-long detour, or at least that’s what it told them. Along to the coast up to West Quantoxhead for an info control then down into the town of Watchet. This was followed by a steep climb up over Cleeve hill to drop down to the coast again and the control at Blue Anchor Rail station for a cuppa, a cake and a talk with some other riders who were admiring a steam engine which had just pulled into the station from Minehead. Back along the sea front and turning inland to encounter most of the 1,400 metres of climbing advertised on this ride. Going around the edge of the Brendon and Quantock hills to climb through Monksilver and up to Elworthy Cross again. Turning left and with the wind on my back now I managed to
pick up time after all those previous ups and downs to arrive at Bishops Lydeard station control where I’m met by the organiser, Roy Russell. Roy said there’s still a number out there to come in including a couple of riders who phoned in that they were lost in Taunton of all places. The last 20k along the lanes through Halse with its 1930s old road sign and onto Wellington with an more acceptable climbs over Sampford Moor to cycle enjoy the kind of roads I prefer, no steep hills and devoid of all but the odd bit of farm traffic to arrive in Uffculme and the finish at Cold Harbour Mill.
South Gloucester 100
good choice of roads up to the North Somerset coast and back with a few more hills than expected but rewarded with some stunning views of the Quantock and Brendon hills and sleepy picturesque villages. Another reason to ride this event is for those members with an interest in steam railways as the route follows parts of the West Somerset Steam Railway and visits three of its stations. After missing out on the Merry Monk event at the end of April due to torrential rain and high winds on the day I noticed this event in the calendar. A 100k event cycling around south Gloucester and taking in part of the Cotswolds. This seemed worth the drive up to north Bristol. Starting out at 9.30 a hundred plus riders left to cross the M5 to join familiar lanes through Tytherington and Wickwar to the first info control at the end of Inglestone Common. The turn for Hillesley was a bit tricky, the hedge needs cutting so that you can see the sign, but no trouble finding the turns after that before starting up the picturesque Kilcott valley. A narrow lane up through the valley with a stream at the side, properties dotted up on the hillside and the sun on your back, what more could you ask for. All this comes at a price though, at the end of the valley there’s a steep, long climb up through the woods coming out onto the A46 to go through Leighterton and into the town of Tetbury for the control at the Dolphins Hall. I followed other riders out of Tetbury as not sure if I was on the right road and fortunate to notice a group take the left to Crudwell; several missed the turn and got involved in long detours. Info control in the village of Oaksey was easy to find, several had parked their bikes at the point
Arrivée Summer 2012
and gone into the shop there while others were recording the name of the road on their card. Flat lanes for a time now cycling around the source of the river Thames area through Poole Keynes and Coates before descending a 1-in-10 hill to the Daneway Inn, the halfway control. Only had a short stop here, the problem with this control is that you have to ride back up the hill and if you sit down for too long making yourself nice and comfortable, it’s very hard to get the legs going again to immediately climb a hill – I’m sure we all have experienced this from time to time. Struggling to the top and then taking to some very rural lanes. I thought Devon road surfaces were bad, but some of these lanes had holes big and deep enough to bury a large screen TV in, let alone wreck your front wheel. Through several farm estate roads and into what was described on the route sheet as ‘the valley where time stood still’. Well, it certainly looks as if nothing much has changed since the fifties except the road surface in places which had added a few more pot holes, but reminds you how life was back in the fifties with old farm buildings and houses that seemed to lack a few mod cons. The control at the Hunters Hall Inn came up at 80k, a quick cuppa and off towards Wotton-under-Edge and the long downhill into the town. Unfortunately the road had been recently resurfaced and the council had laid a dressing of loose chippings on the top. The end result was that you had to descend very carefully all the way down trying to avoid the piles of chippings that were at the side of the road so not to run into them and come off. Got myself a bit lost in the town, route sheet said follow the B4058 to Charfield, but the only road I could find was the B4060. Called in to the local filling station where the attendant kindly explained to me that the B4060 will become the B4058 over the next hill and go all the way to Charfield. That was a relief, don’t like getting lost near the end of the ride and having to ride extra miles to get back on route. Charfield and Cromhall came up then it was turning after a short climb and going through Tytherington again to follow the outward route back to the finish. Very picturesque area to cycle through, the organisers had certainly found some of the best lanes in the area and with a warm, sunny day, although a bit blustery at times, it was worth the drive up from Devon to do the ride. N
super randonneur series
Reflections on a first SR Martin Croxford
’ve been riding Audaxes since 2006 – but until last year no further than 200k events. This year I completed my first SR series (200, 300, 400 and 600k), and it was far less of a step-up and far more enjoyable than I was expecting. This article shares my experiences, and I hope will encourage others to consider attempting the longer distances. I’ve been cycle commuting a few miles a day for around 25 years, with the occasional longer ride. In 2003 I rode the 140-mile coast-to-coast (Whitehaven to Sunderland) over three days as a charity ride with two friends. On a training ride for the coast-to-coast I met a work colleague riding a club run with the Bath CC, which I promptly joined and soon found myself riding 100k each Sunday morning.
Malmesbury Mash 200
In 2006 I started Audaxing as preparation for L’Etape Du Tour in the French Alps. I rode a couple of 100s to get used to how Audax worked, then took the plunge with my first 200, the Malmesbury Mash from Cardiff. I made all the classic mistakes – I went faster than I was used to in attempting to keep up with the bunch, rather than riding at my own pace, and didn’t eat enough. By the half-way stage I was exhausted, and the 40k back to Bath held more appeal than the 100 back to Cardiff. But after a very long café stop in Malmesbury (including a very large meal) I had a strong ride back to Cardiff. I still remember the feeling of exhilaration in the final few miles back through Caerphilly, with the sun low in the sky behind the castle, and felt an enormous sense of achievement at my longest daily distance. I rode other 200s as preparation for L’Etape, but found that each was an event in itself, not merely a training ride for something else. I loved travelling to different start points, often early in the morning (the best time of the day), following new routes and visiting new places which would be difficult to find without the local knowledge of the organiser, meeting new people, and spending the whole day out on the bike. The Dorset Coast, (Down with) The British and the Nutty Nuns were favourites that year and have become regulars (I’m the only rider to have completed every one of Mark Lilly’s Nutty Nuns, my own small piece of Audax history). In the following years I usually had a so-called ‘big’ event to aim for – La Marmotte, the Fred Whitton, the Dave Lloyd – and continued riding
200s and some early season 100s both as preparation and as events in their own right. But anything more than 200k still seemed out of reach. In 2011 I signed-up for the Raid Pyrenean (Atlantic to Mediterranean in 100 hours) and decided I needed to stretch myself further in the preparation. The Tour of Wessex, a three-day ‘staged’ sportive, gave me a first experience of riding backto-back tough days (I was bemused at the number of people who decided not to start or finish the third day simply because it was raining). Then a friend, who was aiming to qualify for PBP after being out of regular Audax for a while, asked if I was interested in joining him on the Heart of England 300, and I found it easy to say ‘yes’.
Heart of England 300
The Heart of England was a new experience in many ways. I slept overnight in the hall at the start in Cirencester to avoid a very early drive from Bath, and met people who had cycled from various parts of the country, and who planned to cycle back after the finish. There were names I recognised from Arrivée and from the Handbook, giving a feeling of being amongst Audax royalty. There was a real buzz at 5am as people were getting up and sorted, and then just after the 6am start as we started the ride through the Cotswolds a very red, perfectly round sun rose above the horizon, heralding what proved to be a fabulous day of summer heat, but in early spring. The distances between the controls were greater than I was used to, but I avoided the mistakes from my first 200 by riding at my own pace and making sure I ate proper food, and not just the sandwiches and snacks which are my usual 200 fare. I’d fitted lights since I was expecting some dark final kilometres, but didn’t really need them as I got back into Cirencester at just before 8pm, soon after another perfect sun dipped below the horizon. I was slightly disappointed as I’d been looking forward to some night riding, but was pleased to have completed my first 300 in under 14 hours. It was a brilliant day out: perfect weather, fantastic route, some great company on the road, and I felt about the same as after a tough 200. Suddenly a 400 seemed very do-able. I was unsure about my plans for 2012. The Raid Pyrenean in 2011 had been my best cycling experience to-date, and I liked the idea of a Raid Alpine or Raid Corsica. But the Raid (and the Tour of Wessex) had taken a dent out of holiday I would
‘It was a brilliant day out: perfect weather, fantastic route, some great company on the road…’
normally have spent with family, and there was also the cost. Also the idea of doing an SR series was now taking hold, although a 600 still felt like a huge step, even if a 400 felt do-able. Looking at the event calendar the Brevet Cymru 400 was well positioned around other commitments, and the Chepstow start was close to home in Bath. So I decided to enter, then think about a 600 depending on how it went. But the only 600 I’ve ever really considered is the Bryan Chapman – an epic route, lots of climbing (which I like), start close to home, and I’ve heard only good things about it. It was two weeks after the Brevet Cymru, but with a closing date before the Brevet so I wouldn’t be able to wait until after the 400 before deciding. My entry for the Bryan Chapman duly went in as well.
I’d intended to do the Heart of England again for the 300, but the dates didn’t work, so I went for the Denmead 300 instead. The start was at the house of Pam and Dave Pilbeam (Pam being the organiser), actually their garage, which was filled with the biggest array of bikes, wheels and other cycling paraphernalia which I’ve ever seen (outside of a bike shop, and there may even be some bike shops that have less!). Pam pointed out some of her favourite bikes, and then it was time to go. It was a cold April morning and I’d slightly underdone the clothing, but quickly warmed up. I was surprised that there were so few of us – about ten riders – someone suggested it was perhaps because it was not a PBP year. We were soon into the New Forest, where I’d spent the Easter weekend with my family. It felt strange to be cycling again through the village where we had stayed, and along some roads where we had all cycled. The New Forest is a beautiful place to cycle – with horses, donkeys and sheep wandering around free (many houses have their own cattle grids). The route went along the coast to Milford-on-Sea to the control at the Needles Café (presumably named after the fantastic view of the Isle of Wight rock formation of the same name), and then north-west up to Blandford Forum and then back towards Salisbury. With the ride being earlier in the year and with a slightly later start than the Heart, this time I got my taste of night riding. Three of us rode together for the final 50k or so, getting back into Denmead in just about 14 hours. After dropping off the brevet card at the Pilbeam’s I visited one
Arrivée Summer 2012 AU
super randonneur series of the local pubs for a meal before driving back to Bath. I was getting some strange looks from the clientele (which seemed be mainly young women wearing very high heels and little else), and realised I looked a bit of a state in my grubby cycling tights, scruffy jumper, warm woolly hat and sandals with socks. But it had been a great day on the bike, and I didn’t care.
Brevet Cymru 400
The week before the Brevet Cymru I rode the Nutty Nuns in appalling weather – it rained all day, and was extremely windy. Of Mark Lilly’s 40 plus entries only about 10 started, but I think it was an entirely reasonable DNS day. If it hadn’t been riding the Brevet Cymru and Bryan Chapman I would have thought twice, but I was anticipating some bad weather on the two longer Wales rides and successfully completing the Nuns (and rather enjoying it) gave me confidence that whatever happened on the 400 and 600 I would be prepared. And so to the Brevet Cymru. I set the alarm for 4am to give me plenty of time for the 30-mile drive to Chepstow for the 6am start. I was feeling nervous on the drive until crossing the old Severn Bridge, where several riders were making their way to the start. For some reason seeing them made the nerves disappear, and now I couldn’t wait to get started. After a quick briefing from Mark Rigby, the organiser, we were off – the first 80k was on roads familiar from club runs and other Audaxes, and I didn’t really feel as though I was on a 400k until on less familiar roads after Hay-onWye. Everyone seemed to be overtaking me, but I always start slowly. My legs go through a familiar routine at the start of a ride – tightness in the thighs gives way to slight ache in the right knee gives way to slight ache below the left knee. After about 10k everything loosens up and I can step up the pace a bit. There are probably some warm-up exercises that would sort this, but steady spinning seems to do the trick. After Hay the route headed south and west for the first of two visits to Llandovery at 150k. The café control was heaving with bikers as well as cyclists and there was a long queue and wait for food. I was initially frustrated as I normally prefer not to hang around, but struck up a conversation with a chap who I rode with for most of the rest of the ride, and the 45 minute rest and well-filled jacket potato set me up well. The next 150k was very lumpy with some steep climbs on the run into New Quay. This was my favourite part of the route – it was great to top one particularly steep climb and see the sea in the distance, and the café at New Quay was quiet, with fast and efficient service. We were back in Llandovery, the 300k point, around 8.30pm as the sun was setting, and after some more food and some extra layers of clothing, set off into the dark. This was now uncharted territory for
me as my first ride over 300k, but at least the route-finding back to Chepstow was easy – A40 for 40 miles to Abervagenny, then pretty much the Gospel Pass Audax route back. I’d thought that the main road would be busy, but there was very little traffic. I’d also thought the road would be flat, but it actually climbed a lot up towards Brecon, so progress was initially slower than I expected. But a group of four or five of us had formed, the road surface was excellent and the miles seemed to pass quickly. Riding two-abreast our high-powered LED lights must have made us look like a car, and vehicles passing in both directions were courteous. I really enjoyed this part of the ride. There was some conversation at times, but mostly we rode in silence until the background sounds of tyres, chain and wind became hypnotic, and it was easy to zone out. The moon was dulled by clouds, and away from our pools of LED light the night was very black, but occasionally the clouds would part and mountains would become eerily visible in the dark. The final control was at Bwlch, just 40k from Chepstow, and we arrived at around midnight. I wanted to just get my card stamped and go, but my riding companions were keen for food so I decided to wait rather than set off again in the dark on my own. I was surprised that a couple of people were settling down for some sleep so close to the end, but hanging around I could feel my body wanting to shut down as well, and was keen to get going. We caught another small group going through Abergavenny and suddenly the pace lifted. Feeling strong I welcomed the extra speed, and the final climb after Usk seemed a lot easier than it had felt at the end of the 150k Go spel Pass a couple of months earlier. The descent back into Chepstow was exhilarating but seemed a lot longer in the dark, and without the effort of the fast riding and climbing I could feel sleep becoming more insistent. But finally I was back at HQ, around 2.30am. I learned a lot on the ride – the value of a decent break at the controls, the need for even more food than the 300, and the particular value of riding companions during the night. But I’d felt really good at the end, no undue aches and pains, and now I couldn’t wait for the Bryan Chapman in two weeks.
Bryan Chapman 600
With the Bryan Chapman starting at the same HQ and at the same time as the Brevet Cymru I had a strong feeling of déjà vu. Up at four, nervous on the drive, reassured by seeing riders on the Severn Bridge, recognising many riders from the Brevet, briefing from Mark Rigby (same organiser) who this time received warm but muffled applause from gloved hands as he announced this was his last of nine years running the event. The first
Arrivée Summer 2012
‘Riding two-abreast our highpowered LED lights must have made us look like a car, and vehicles passing in both directions were courteous.’
part of the ride was back the way we had come at the end of the 400 through some early damp mist, before turning north before Bwlch. After the first control at the wonderful Honey Café at Bronllys (fabulous cake) the route followed the main road up through Builth Wells (with huge traffic jams quickly passed) and Rhayader before a long climb took us to the 150k mark at the Nant Yr Arian visitor centre a few miles outside Aberystwyth. As with the same stage on the 400 there was a long queue for food, but this was fine: the rest and the conversation with other riders was welcome, with a chance to enjoy the views back down the valley we had climbed. The reward for the climb to the control was a fast 10k descent, followed by increasingly mountainous views and lumpy stuff, and a first glimpse of the sea off to the west. Cadair Idris, the highest peak in the area, came into view, shrouded in low cloud, then another fast descent into Dolgellau. The final lane into the Youth Hostel control was steep and twisty through the trees, and I engaged my granny gear for the first time. The Kings Youth Hostel is visited twice on the Bryan Chapman – first at 225k, then at 400k after a loop up to the Menai Bridge and back. After a big feed of pasta and apple pie provided by the wonderful supporters (more about this later) I set off for what proved to be the best Audax stage I have ridden. First was a short section of the Mawddach Trail, a disused railway line running along the river estuary from Dolgellau which I rode with my family a few years previously. The trail finishes by crossing the old wooden railway bridge across the river to Barmouth, and the tyres made a tremendous racket over bumpy and loose beams. The tide was out, and the exposed sands were glistening in late afternoon sunshine which had finally emerged from the white cloud. From Barmouth the road heads north towards Harlech, with the sea a constant companion to the left, and as with my ride through the New Forest a few weeks earlier it felt strange to be riding through places visited on a previous family holiday. I found myself speeding along this part of the route, probably a combination of the energy provided by the pasta and apple pie, a slight tailwind, and the joy of the ride – an open road with a beautiful vista of sea and distant North Wales mountains. Dodging tourists ambling on the roads in Harlech, and Ffestiniog railway lines angled hazardously across the road soon afterwards, I was soon in Beddgelert and then starting the best climb of the day, up the Llanberis pass to the Pen-Y-Pass Youth Hostel which marks the start of the Miners’ path up Snowdon. The climb was long and steady, reminiscent of ascents in the Alps and Pyrenees, with the surrounding mountains spectacular. The descent into Llanberis was fast and needed
HEADING super randonneur IN HERE series concentration, with the final kilometres up to the coast dominated by a gradually reddening sky in the distance. Then across Telford’s suspension bridge at Menai to the half-way point, and some very welcome hearty soup before the night ride back to Dolgellau. I find the psychology of ‘half way’ fascinating. No matter the distance, I always feel an injection of energy knowing that I am now heading home. No matter that it was nine o’clock Saturday evening, that I had been cycling since six in the morning, that I still had nearly 200 miles to go, I felt fantastic as I set off into the dark. Thinking back to how I felt at the end of the Denmead 300, there is no way I could have contemplated another 300k . But knowing that I was on a 600, and that I was now ‘half way’, made all the difference. The route back to Dolgellau was again via Beddgelert, but around the west side of Snowdon, a lot less lumpy than the ride up. The evening was mild and still, with no sign of the potential rain showers that had been forecast. The roads were very quiet – a long way ahead I could see two other riders – one with flashing red, one with constant red. Otherwise I was alone – with sounds from the bike and some occasional night creatures for company. I enjoyed the solitude, but was pleased to find that I was gradually catching the riders ahead. Soon after Beddgelert the route joined the main road, and I caught flashing red who was very good company for the 40k into Dolgellau. Much as I enjoy riding on my own and at my own pace, I’ve learned that riding with others is particularly important when cycling at night, and flashing red kept me focused and awake as we arrived back at King’s Youth Hostel at just after 1am. We saw riders leaving, having had one hour of sleep, but after 400k I was ready for a decent break. The supporters providing food and organisation at Kings were the same as those I’d met earlier (and were also there in the morning providing breakfast). Apparently all cyclists themselves, they were fantastic – an event like this would not be possible without them (and of course those providing support at all of the other controls). I felt both humble and very grateful, and resolved to provide such support myself one day. After food I was shown to a bed in one of the dorms; now desperately tired I shed clothes and sleep came quickly. I awoke at 4.30am, and dozed for 15 minutes enjoying the sound of the stream and the dawn chorus outside. I was pleased to have clean, fresh clothes to wear – I’d carried all my gear in my saddlebag, eschewing the ‘bag drop’ at Kings mainly in case I needed stuff while on the road, but partly also because it somehow didn’t feel quite right to have stuff carried for me. I was pleased to find that my legs did not feel too stiff, but less pleased to find that I found it difficult to eat very much. I’d
eaten my bonk rations on the ride down from Menai, so took some bread to replace them before setting off just before 5.30am. There were lots of riders setting off at about the same time, which was welcome. I was now very much in unknown territory, with a 220k ride ahead following 400k and three hours’ sleep, and it helped to know I was not alone. Pretty much immediately from the Youth Hostel the road veered up, and the climb continued for a good many kilometres up to Cross Foxes Inn and beyond. I was immensely relieved to find that my legs felt fresh, since this was a tough climb so early in the day. After a very welcome rest on the subsequent descent the route settled into relatively easy terrain as the mountains of North Wales gave way to the lowlands of mid-Wales, and I enjoyed the freshness, smells and sounds of early morning. However, I was starting to feel very hungry yet finding it difficult to swallow the bread, and started to crave chocolate milk shake. Now increasingly worried about running out of energy, most of the villages cycled through had a small shop, but all closed at this time of the morning. Finally I found a shop that had just opened early to sort out the papers. Chocolate milkshake (the thick, high calorie kind) has never tasted so good, and bonk rations also now restored I set off again with high spirits. The control at Aberhafesp was serving second breakfast, and now I had no problems wolfing down huge amounts of beans on toast and bacon butties. The penultimate stage featured a severely long climb out of Newtown – the kind that seems to go on for ages but without any obvious sign of a summit – and some short steep climbs up tiny lanes with grass growing in the middle (no Audax is complete without some of these). The final control was the village shop in Weobley, and a group of us picnicked on the small village green outside: it would have been easy to doze here in the sunshine for a couple of hours, however it was now just 80k to go and the road beckoned. My worst moment on the ride came after joining the main road to Chepstow – I was expecting a fairly flat run back apart from a final climb up to Chepstow from Tintern Abbey, and was disheartened to find more lumpy stuff before reaching Monmouth. The legs were now feeling very fatigued, and I was relieved to get to Monmouth. Shortly afterwards a young chap rode up (amazingly this was his third Audax, with only a 100 and a 200 under his belt – oh to be young again), and the value of riding companions again became clear since I suddenly felt refreshed as we rode the final kilometres together, arriving back at HQ late afternoon. My immediate feelings on getting back were practical – wanting to get back to Bath to see the family, shower, eat and sleep. I was surprised to find that there were only about 15 other riders back, and
most of them were still at the HQ chatting. I left quickly which I regretted afterwards, in particular didn’t get a chance to say a personal thank you to the organiser Mark Rigby. The sense of achievement didn’t really set in until the following day, which I had taken as a day off work to recover.
The challenge is as much mental as physical
‘I find the psychology of ‘half way’ fascinating. No matter the distance, I always feel an injection of energy knowing that I am now heading home.’
The Bryan Chapman was without doubt my best Audax experience. I enjoyed almost every moment (the small bonk scare and lumpy stuff into Monmouth being the exceptions), the 80k from Dolgellau to Menai is without doubt my favourite Audax stage, I recognise the good fortune with the weather, and I was pleased to find that I was physically (and mentally) more than capable of the ride. The support provided by the organisers and their helpers was humbling, and the companionship of (for me) virtual strangers brought together by the same mad ambition to cycle the length of Wales and back in under 40 hours was a joy. My long distance riding for 2012 finished with the Bryan Chapman, commitments to family and other interests now taking priority. However this SR has reset my ambitions – health allowing, I will definitely ride another SR, and PBP is now of serious interest for 2015, a fitting way to mark my 50th year. I’m still surprised at the relative ease of stepping up from regular 200k rides to an SR; I think that much of the challenge is mental rather than physical – if you really want to do these longer rides then the physical side will take care of itself if you’re a reasonably fit 200k rider. A word about equipment – my year-old titanium Van Nicholas Yukon remains the most comfortable bike I have ever ridden, helped by my five-year young Brooks saddle which has already given me thousands of miles of relatively painfree riding. New Magicshine high-power front and rear LED lights have proved themselves this year, although would be no good for PBP without carrying additional batteries (I reckon the 8.7Ah battery lasts around 8-10 hours). And a Carradice Pendle saddlebag has ample space for change of clothes, wet weather gear, bonk rations, spare tyre and the usual inners and tools. Finally a word of thanks to the various people I’ve met this year. I’ve avoided mentioning names of fellow riders since I am rubbish at remembering them and will only get them wrong. However, if you remember me (or if you don’t) thank you for your company, whether for a few minutes or many tens of kilometres, especially those of you that helped keep me alert and focused at night. A particular thank you to the organisers and their helpers, some of whom are named above; without your dedication and service none of these rides would be possible. N
Arrivée Summer 2012 AU
potter for tea â€“ photos by david martin Brian Williams
Gordon and Miriam Cox
Sonya Crawford and Lindsay Clayton
Gemma Neil and John Bremmer
JOGLE: The easy way Greg Melia
ohn O’Groats to Land’s End is a true test of bike riding and navigational prowess, which every self-respecting cycle-tourist has ridden at some point or another. It’s a test I’ve failed. Riding north from Land’s End in 2008, my co-rider/ girlfriend and I reached Edinburgh before the relationship and the ride took a simultaneous and abortive downturn: bye bye love, bye bye end-to-end. I didn’t want to do that again! You might well ask, why am I writing an article about a ride I quit? Hear me out, because I have a theory: cycling is for slackers, cheats and lazybones. The racing members of my club will almost certainly object, but I’m not just talking about Alberto’s funny steaks here. Let’s face it: most of us started cycling because it was quicker than walking and we could sit down while doing it. Taking the easy way out is cycling’s very raison d’être. With that in mind, surely it would be well within the spirit of the sport to invent a JOGLE route that could be done in a day and didn’t involve going to both ends of the country, or even leaving Yorkshire? Excellent! Jorvik – Otley – Gargrave – Leyburn – Eboracum was born. What did the Romans ever do for us? I’ll tell you: they gave York a name beginning with E, which was highly convenient for the purposes of this ride! All that remained was to turn it into a Joe Applegarth DIY 200km, so that I wouldn’t even be tempted to exceed 30kph. My heart fluttered when he told me I was under-distance, but the village of Easingwold saved the day, taking the route to a mere 201km and preserving the acronym. Perfect. Maundy Thursday brought Easter’s only good weather, with the added bonus that everyone else in the office was on holiday. Deciding that it was high time I did some skiving of my own, I pulled on my lycra in an unfeasibly fast time and headed for the hills. This was also the day of the Queen’s visit to York, so my ride out of town took me through barriers lined with cheering crowds, as if the start of my Grand Boucle was in fact the finish of a far more famous loop. I was probably 10 minutes ahead of Her Maj but the police officers didn’t seem to mind too much – at least I’ve avoided the Tower so far! The ride out through Wetherby to Otley was pretty unremarkable, the
I’d researched Park Rash the night before. Apparently it was ‘up there with Rosedale Chimney and Hardknott’.
highlight being the completely useless till receipt I was given in Greggs. The piece of pointless paper contained both the wrong location and the wrong time, so I was forced to buy even more food from a different shop – oh the hardship! The next leg to Gargrave was still a bash up the A65 but it did start to get a bit more scenic, in both the euphemistic and the serious senses. Lunch in Gargrave was at the Dalesman Café, which apparently has a bit of a reputation with cyclists; they certainly make a mean cheesy beans on toast. They also had a collection of vintage posters stuck on the walls, so I took the opportunity to acquire some wall décor: a sign saying ‘Don’t hate yourself in the morning: sleep till noon!’ The message fitted in with my lazy ethos for the day, but carting the extra weight around the rest of the ride could have really cramped my style. Thankfully they agreed to drop it off in York for me, so unencumbered I set out.
Wensleydale, Wharfedale, Coverdale
The route to Leyburn, while easy to draw on a map, was harder to cycle. This took me to Wensleydale through Wharfedale and Coverdale via Park Rash, which sounded painful even before I’d climbed it. Agitated by the name, I’d researched Park Rash the night before. Apparently it was ‘up there with Rosedale Chimney and Hardknott’. I approached the climb with trepidation, then grunted up the steep bit and emerged at the top a couple of minutes later. Easy! Lesson 1: don’t believe everything you read on the internet. Lesson 2: It’s not over until the fat lady sings. My new conquest turned out to be only the first of three steep sections in the main climb, not including a nasty after-shock on the descent. Climbing wasn’t helped by the amount of snow on the ground, which would have been OK on the flat, but which presented a much more serious problem to a cyclist zig-zagging all over the road in a painful grind up the 1-in-4 gradient. Towards the top of the second steep section, the inevitable happened: I used up the four inches of available road space, ran into a snowdrift and performed the slowest topple of my entire life. A car was revving up behind me so I quickly dragged my bike out of his way before remounting after the snow and continuing the climb.
This poses a question for the readers: can I tick the Rash off my ‘100 Greatest Climbs’ list or do I have to go back on a less snowy day to prove the point? The covering of snow certainly made for a scenic ride over the tops, showing off the high Dales at their bleak, powerful best – they seemed to be saying ‘come on if you’re hard enough, we don’t take cissies here, we’ve got no shelter for you’. Well, I’d made it up there and while the climb was no Hardknott, I reckon it’s more difficult than Rosedale: it’s not quite as steep but it does have three cruxes to Rosedale’s single big effort. The alternative route from Coverdale would have made for a long and draggy climb but it provided a fine, swooping descent as I got some speed on and left the snowy, rugged landscape to re-enter the gentler, warmer world of dry-stone walls and tumbling becks. If Park Rash had broken the back of the ride, there was still a long way to go to Leyburn and I was more than ready for another café by the time I climbed the nasty little hill into the town. ‘Lovely day for a ride, isn’t it?!’ remarked the lady who served me. ‘Yeah!’ I responded, and started telling her about the JOGLE concept … until I noticed her eyes glazing over as her head started an automatic nod. Perhaps – I theorized as she got my coffee – we need to identify two subspecies of the human race: homo cyclus and homo noncyclus; the two look the same when not dressed in lycra, but only one will understand you in a conversation like this. I spotted another Homo noncyclus in a pub in Easingwold, as I obtained a final recept before heading home. This time, the identification was easily performed by observation of his gut, and confirmed when he gave the typical bark of his kind: ‘Where have you been? … You must be bloody crackers!’ Personally, I think riding LEJOG in nine-and-a-bit hours is a pretty good deal, but what do I know? Crackers or just cyclus, it was only a short hop back to York – or should I say Eboracum – to complete my slacker’s tour. After showering in my own shower and eating food I didn’t have to buy from an overpriced campsite shop, I relaxed on the sofa and pondered where to put my new ‘Don’t hate yourself in the morning’ picture. Perhaps I should tell Gethin Butler that I’d beaten his record? Perhaps – if I could be bothered. N
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JOGLE: The hard way John Clemens The team Steve Parker (Sparker) Allround sportsman, completed Ironman in 2011, many marathons to his credit. This is his second E-to-E, first time was completed as a camping expedition with his 13-year-old son. John Clemens (JC) Lifetime cyclist, joined Chester RC in 1955 (don’t that age me), realised when living in the Lakes that competitively I was a better runner than cyclist. After many years of hills, and miles of tarmac the knees have given notice of quitting so I have returned to cycling, and in particular Audax. I say return as I had a brief foray into the sport before, completing a SR series in 1990.
still do not know where or when the idea for the trip first came to me, but it was probably as I was perusing the AUK website looking at permanent rides .There are three options a straight through ride in four days 20hrs, 7×200k per day, or 14×100k per day. I am getting on a bit so decided that the 7×200k option was just about do-able. As with many endurance events, planning was a huge part and I spent many hours on Google maps putting the route together, to conform to the minimum 200k per day format, and finish each day at suitable accommodation. Quite how Steve was dragged in is something else which has eluded my memory, but he remained keen throughout the winter and strangely(!) seemed to accept my role as planner. So by early April the route was approved: thanks go to Billy Weir for advice and support. B&Bs booked and an enormous number of train tickets with three trains from Stafford to Penzance, and three back from Thurso, with the bikes requiring two tickets for each stage.
I am so nervous, the thought of the physical challenge is bad but, how many cock-ups have I made in the logistics?
We are on the train all connections are good, the ride from Penzance to St Just YHA dry and sunny, only disappointment of the day, no pasties on the pub menu. Couple of pints and I am beginning to
relax as we return to the hostel for a good night’s kip.
May 3rd Land’s End to Crediton
The ride begins, the hostel warden stamps my brevet card, we set off for Land’s End with his good wishes ringing in our ears. Steve talks a hotel worker into taking the obligatory photo, the nitty gritty bit begins. A word here about navigation. I had written route sheets out Audax-style for each day using a combination of ‘mapometer’ and Google Earth, the later allowing me to look at junctions without moving from my laptop. Overall this worked well, the couple of errors I made en route were down to inattention on my part. Back to the first day: arriving at Helston, our first control town, felt really good but was tempered, however, by an off route visit to Redruth: doh! We knew this would be a tough day, and so it proved, hill after hill on our route through Truro, Liskeard, Tavistock and Okehampton. We had ideas that we could complete each stage, in between 10 and 12 hours. Okehampton was reached in 10½ hours, still 30k to do. I ring the B&B to tell them we are running late: ‘No problems, see you when you arrive’. This was a recurring theme throughout the trip with excellent service from all our overnights. Eventually we arrive at 8.40 pm only to find that the local pub stops serving food at nine. ‘No problem,’ says mine host, ‘Wetherspoons in Crediton serves until 10.00pm. I will give you a lift into town.’ Truly customer service above and beyond expectations. I drift off, wondering how my legs are going to feel tomorrow, hoping the brain will not tell them that this is just the first of seven doses of pain.
May 4th Crediton to Hereford
Another recurring theme was our inability to get underway by what we saw as the optimum time of 8am, so it was about 8.30 when we rolled out of Crediton. Leafy rural roads provide a pleasant start before joining the A38 at Taunton, then began a long, into the wind slog to Bristol, no navigation issues, however! I lived in Bristol for several years so we managed to slip through, and out to Aust without any problems, apart from my very close encounter with a large left hand drive lorry. Cycling across the Severn bridge is
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a great feeling whenever I do it, this time it seemed even more special marking a real step forward on our journey up country. Chepstow to Monmouth and beyond to Hereford were pleasantly tough. We arrived at the Premier Inn again quite late, but were quickly in our room complete with bikes, and eating our dinner An aside about Premier Inns: we used three, Hereford, Wigan and Inverness, in all cases the service was excellent and provided value for money accommodation. I heartily recommend them to all.
May 5th Hereford to Wigan
Friends Ros and Steve are travelling over from Stafford to provide us with a kit change at Wigan, so it would be good to arrive earlyish; not to be, I’m afraid. After about 30k of bowling along quiet roads I miss a left turn, sweep down a brilliant decent … too late I realise a blunder has occurred, stop, consult the back-up maps, left, left again, and right will put us back on track! Two snags: the second left is a long, long up hill, and the right could be any one of half a dozen lanes not marked on my road atlas maps. Somewhat chastened we arrive at Harry Tuffins in Church Stoke for a real cyclists’ refuel. More lanes lead us to Ellesmere and a chance encounter with an End-toEnd signpost. We press on through yet more lanes, which I should know as this is my regular stamping ground, by-pass Chester to pick up the A56 then the A49, a couple of calls to Ros ensure her we are on our way. We eventually arrive at 9.20, having put in 229k and a lot of faffing time. The Taybarn mega buffet and change of kit go down well, we say cheerio, and thanks to Ros and Steve after a far too quick meeting then settle in for the night.
May 6th Wigan to Langholm
We were pleasantly surprised by this stage, as ever getting through large towns such as Preston prove tricky. Luck was with us, escorted by a local out on his Sunday ride, we quickly leave the town on the A6. The crossing of Shap had loomed in our consciences for some time but it was overcome in the best weather since leaving Cornwall, the only time on the trip I bared my legs. A quick photo call on the Scottish border, on to Langholm for a great welcome from Alison and Tom, End-to-End veterans with a delightful home, extremely
diy 1400 comfortable bed and delicious breakfast. A further bonus was the local hostelry serving great food and a welcome pint.
May 7th Langholm to Perth
Tom was rather quizzical regarding our route for this day, but after a photo call we set off for Moffat. The initial kilometres were over delightful, if lumpy, lanes to the first tea stop at Moffat, on to Biggar and going well but the clouds were ominous. The roads now are fairly level, but crossing the Glasgow/Edinburgh corridor presents problems, avoiding main roads is tricky so we chose to go through Kincardine, crossing the Kincardine bridge in dull, rainy conditions, a last food stop, then off towards Perth. I suspect the route through Dunning is a great ride on a decent day, the incessant, cold rain takes its toll and we struggle into Perth, find the accommodation then, ‘problems’, the only local eatery is a chippie on the point of closing. A quick aside here, Steve has chosen to travel very light so his evening dress consists of beach shorts and flip flops, not too bad in a hotel but walking through Perth in driving rain on a cold evening it was a bizarre sight indeed!
May 8th Perth to Inverness
I had spent a fair amount of time looking at this stage during planning, but it still looked very tough, with two ski stations to go through. Fifty kilometres pass by then we start the long drag up to the Spittal of Glenshee, eventually passing the ugly metalwork that despoils ski hills in the summer, and zoom down to a hearty lunch in Braemar. A few flat klicks then we turn towards Lecht and Tomintoul. After many ups and downs we go through Cock Bridge where the tarmac wall in front of us proves too much, we simultaneously succumb to gravity and ‘take a walk’ – the only time in 1,500k. Cake and coffee in Tomintoul, last control at Carrbridge, a turn onto the A9, and we speed into Inverness for another comfy night courtesy of Premier Inns. As we come on to the A9 Steve has concerns about his back wheel, which is making a strange creaky noise, and the chain is slipping in some gears. After an inspection he says he is not comfortable carrying on without a professional opinion. The wonders of a Smartphone are employed, he finds a bike shop close to the hotel which should be open at nine.
May 9th Inverness to John O’Groats
After a some deliberation Steve convinces me to carry on solo, as repairs/ replacement may take some time. The hotel staff kindly copy the route sheet and I leave Steve looking for the shop before setting off on the A9 over the Black Isle. Strange to be on my own but I press on, nice lanes through Alness to
Tain, back on the A9 but it is very quiet, café stop in Brora, the signs say 44 miles to JoG but I know it is farther for me as I need to go through Thurso to ensure I do the 200k for the day. A text from Steve: he has a new wheel and is on his way. Intending to stick to the Wick version of the A9 will see him make up some time. I take the left fork version to hit a very unfriendly headwind. It is a real struggle to the Thurso Tesco, but once there buy some sandwiches, bananas and a milkshake, sit on the car park wall for my last enroute feed and take a quick call from Steve who is making great progress. I find it strangely difficult to leave that uncomfortable wall, to set off on the last lap. Once underway though I have the wind behind me so make good progress on the final 30k. It is about 8 o’clock so John O’Groats is shut, nobody about, even the gulls seem to have vacated the place. I contrive a few pics of bike and sign, even resort to a self-portrait with my mobile. Then Steve arrives which makes it so much better. We have a somewhat formal handshake, then he sets off across the car park to capture a young lady who charmingly agrees to take some photos. That’s it, pub is closed so no celebratory beer, ride 5k to the B&B, coffee and chocolate for me, ginger beer for Steve, then a well deserved sleep.
Leisurely breakfast, easy ride to Durness Head (northernmost point on the mainland), on to Thurso, a chance meeting with long-term friend and AUK Dave Baxendall who has been islandhopping with Mary Doyle and a group from Bristol CTC, overnight trains home, in Stone at 7 next morning, more sleep then a ring round to friends for a happy few beers. Overall, a great week on the bike, I plan to reverse the route next year but will probably opt for a gentle camping trip. N
Steve had a Ribble bike bought several years ago, and a bit like Trigger’s broom, has very little of the original bits left; he chose to travel very light using a large saddlebag. I had spent the winter putting together an Audax machine, based on a Hewitt frame (badged as a ‘Henry Burton’ our LBS), used a lightweight rack and two panniers. This provided me with excess space, and I certainly overdid the spare clothes especially as we were fairly lucky with the weather.
1 214 2 215 3 229 4 209 5 206 6 210 7 206
3,475m 2,297m 1,994m 1,790m 2,393m 2,784m 1,842m
Taw House, Crediton Premier Inn, Hereford Premier Inn, Wigan Langholm Perth Inverness Gills Bay
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farewell to rocco
Once you’d met Rocco, you’d never forget his engaging personality. Widely known throughout the cycling community with his connections to racing, time trialling, audaxing and AUK, and as a courier for Baxter’s holidays, he will be sadly missed. It’s always impressive to meet people with a lifelong passion. My enthusiasm for cycling waxes and wanes but whenever I returned Rocco was always there. Now, alas, only in spirit. I didn’t know Rocco in his heyday but I felt the lash of his tongue riding the track at Hillingdon. It didn’t take much effort to believe reports that he was a monster on the road. We’ve lost a great friend. Paul Stewart A big loss to Audax. Rocco was one of the old school and a real clubman. Always keen to get a good group together, preferably wearing Willesden colours, for a good tear up along a main road. Rocco was always in charge. You did your bit on the front. Rocco always made sure of that! He was never one for ‘messing about in the silly lanes’ and always liked a good blast down a ‘proper road.’ But yes, he was a great descender too! He only had one way of riding and that was fast. We’ll not mention the uphills. He did a lot for Liz Creese when she was points chasing. He rode a lot of events with her to keep her company and rode a considerable amount of kms himself. I wonder how she’d have done without Rocco? After Rocco stopped riding Audax events regularly, the number of Willesden club jerseys started to decline. Back in the day when Rocco was a regular, you’d almost never ride an event without at least one Willesden jersey being worn. In those days it was Willesden and Derby Mercury and there was often friendly banter between two influential giants in AUK, Rocco and Mick Potts, about their cycling clubs. Derby Mercury have faded considerably in AUK since then, but Willesden, even without Rocco riding, is still very much up there,
which I think is a legacy of Rocco and what he did in the late 1990s. Rocco almost turned Willesden CC into an institution for Audax cyclists, recruiting members from every corner of the country and always trying to keep up a good club spirit. He went to some effort at the last control of one PBP to have a peleton of Willesden jerseys ride over the finish together. He stooped to such lowly tactics as buying club members drinks to keep them in favour. All in the name of a good club spirit. I rode his 600k PBP qualifier in 2003. Just as I expected, a main road bash from London to Brecon and back, then a bash up to Deep Mill Diner café up the main road and back, to make up the distance. The control at Brecon was a garage which closed about half an hour before the AUK time limit. I always remember it saying on the routesheet, ‘Just get a move on.’ That’s just what he’d say. My thoughts go to Liz Creese. Steve Abraham I met Rocco a few times, including as a fairly new AUK helping out at Harlow on LEL 2001. He was a great enthusiast for our sport. Tom Deakins
At Fougeres, PBP 2003, Baxter’s Sporting Tours courier. A genial and knowledgable host for the Baxter tour on my first PBP in 2007. Graeme Wyllie I had the pleasure (?) of riding in ’Rocco’s Rocket’ for as many miles as I could keep up in the ‘95 PBP. A marvellous character with a permanent grin and a twinkle in his eye. Graham Brodie Sad news indeed, gave me some good advice when I was looking to complete 2k in y2k, no doubt getting some audaxes organised elsewhere. RIP. Sharon Elaine Clifford Very sad, a true inspiration. Allan Trueman
Photos courtesy of the late Jon Jennings, Judith Swallow, Francis Cooke, Keith Matthews, Tim Wainwright.
Rocco was one of Audax UK’s biggest characters. Everyone will miss him. Lucy McTaggart An inspiring personality. I had the chance to meet Rocco several times, both in London and in France. An inspiring personality who will be missed. Working in his team before LEL 2001 was great. Just like the way Rocco started helping at the 2009 LEL start. He never kept standing around when work had to be done. I was looking forward to meeting him again at the LEL start. Ivo Meisen
I don’t think I was ever fast enough to ride with Rocco, but I did once briefly latch on to the back of ‘Rocco’s Rocket’, the tightly-controlled group of mostly Willesden CC riders who flew round PBP enjoying a good night’s sleep every night. Nevertheless, I met him on many occasions, the last time being at Nev Chanin’s funeral, when he told me how ill he had been. His illustration of how ill he was was the time he had taken to ride 100 km. John Spooner I first remember Rocco when he took over as AUK’s chairman in the late 1980s, following the disputes of c. 1987, when the club needed a period of stability. He had his own somewhat unconventional style as chairman at the AGM. He didn’t try to hide his exasperation at times (eg mudguard debates). At the other end of the scale, when the toilets were found
Far left: High Bentham control on Fleet Moss 200. Left: Dorset Coast 200, 1991. Right: Nev and Rocco, AUK Annual Reunion.
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farewell to rocco to be blocked at the Potters Bar ‘London’ control on the 1993 LEL, it was Rocco who rolled up his sleeves and set about the task of unblocking them. Misery was only a façade and even then only really directed at hills. He was a top bloke. Finished one of his 600 qualifiers in 2003 and dropped the brevet card in at his house. He asked me in for dinner. Don’t think he ever realised the risk he was taking.... Phil Magnus A great man, he will be missed. I remember one of his route sheets arriving and being a hand written essay like a single paragraph with no separate lines. I last spoke to him at Peter Stubbs’s funeral, he was one of cyclings stalwarts that just did so much in the background A sad day. Steve Airey I met Rocco when I did the Raid Pyreneean with Baxters and he was tour leader, about 12 years ago, and subsequently got to know him since I joined Willesden CC. His grumpy exterior belied a man who could be very generous of his time and energy and warm-hearted. I was a cycling newbie when I did the Raid with a bike whose condition left a lot to be desired and he spent a lot of time helping me sort out its problems and teaching me to look after a bike better. Over the years he has done a tremendous amount for both Audax and the Willesden and he will be missed by many. Ian Oliver I joined AUK in 2003 to qualify for PBP. My first ride was a Rocco midweek special 200 from Ruislip in early February. The weather was disgusting and that plus three punctures and a broken derailleur meant I came in last in 13:23. I wrote the finish time on the card – big error – and handed it to Rocco’s finish helper, I think it was Ivo Meisen. I rode home and collapsed exhausted into bed after 260k at around 9pm. At 9.30pm the phone goes. It’s Rocco, asking if I need the ride as a PBP qualifier. He attempts to explain, to a semi-comatose newbie AUK, that the BRM time limit for PBP qualification is 13:20 … Yes, I was rather counting on it please. So he ‘corrects’
my brevet card and posts it off to Paris. I duly qualified. Had he not done that I probably would have given up. I’m now one ride away from 10 years of audaxing and my ultra-randonneur award. Thanks Rocco. Richard Evans The first time I met Rocco was also Adam’s first Audax – an Autumn Assortment 50k. I had no idea who he was at the start, but he joined the other six of us who did that ride. We did it as a group, including stopping for ages to help one of the riders who had a new bike with a dodgy tyre that wouldn’t fit on the rim properly. A great introduction to Audax for Adam, and he gave lots of encouragement to everyone on the ride. I obviously bumped into him on a quite a few occasions after that, and whilst I can’t claim to know him well I had a great respect and admiration for him. RIP, Rocco, and may the wind be always on your back. Matt Haigh Sad to hear the news but good to see so many positive anecdotes. I had the good fortune to meet Rocco on several of my jaunts west of London, the most notable for me was the first, on a Hilly Chilterns rides. At the top of a climb, while having my card stamped I, along with the other riders gathered, were treated to the sounds of someone grunting and swearing his way up the hill. The air was blue and somebody said, ‘Sounds like Rocco’ and in due course the man himself appeared, hot and bothered and complaining loudly, ‘I hate f***in’ hills …!’. He stopped at the control, paused and gathering himself, looked straight at me with a grin, ‘ … but I love goin’ down ‘em. Come on, there’s a good ‘un round here!’ I duly followed him down Kop Hill and received a masterclass in descending. Just by mimicking him I notched my fastest ever descent of 81kph and the seeds were sown; I love descending too. At the bottom we had matching grins as we rode together. A true character who I will always remember. Andy TaylorVebel
1992. Rocco and Nev watch Sheila ride past on a 24-hour TT.
‘Misery was only a façade and even then only really directed at hills.’
Without Rocco I’d have never ridden an audax. He and I rode there and back to my first ever event, the Paragon Potter Far left: Rocco, Liz Creese, Jon Jennings, Judith Swallow. PBP 1999. Left: Rocco trimming a local’s hedge at PBP, 1999.
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in 1997. Little did we know it at the time, that this wonderful day of riding, including the 150km audax on road bikes would lead to me meeting and become Jon Jennings’ life and tandem partner for six wonderful years and us riding PBP on the tandem in 1999. One memory from that ride was of Rocco glued to Jim Hopper’s trike axle on the return to Paris. We remonstrated with Rocco for taking help from the Derby Mercury, but didn’t remind him he had been caught for six hours! Rocco was a great person as well as an all-round cyclist. I can’t think of many forms of cycling he didn’t turn his hand to and wasn’t good at it. I’ll miss Rocco very much. I started cycling as a teenager with my Dad in the Marlboro AC. I got too quick for Dad and as a result over the years I acquired three fabulous cycling ‘Dads’. Rocco was the last of these, with John Swallow, Alan Emery and Neville Chanin all now cycling around the great cycling track in the sky. Judith Swallow My favourite memory of him is from a couple of years ago when he was, with several other members of the Willesden, up at Hillingdon circuit helping out with with a British Cycling ‘Go Ride’ event for kids. I ‘d turned up in the car with my kids, but no bike. Assorted members of the Willesden were riding round the track with the little ones to encourage them and stop them getting lost. Rocco did this for a while and then, spotting me lounging at the edge of the track threw me his bike, which was far too small for me, and told me to take a turn. So my first ever laps of Hillingdon (I’ve done hundreds since) were on Rocco’s bike. Jules Holden One of the saddest things I have heard for a while. A true character who was responsible for much of what makes Audax riding special. Liam FitzPatrick A truly great cyclist who was one of the best I ever cycled with, looked after us Portsmouth lads in the early days! I can still remember riding PBP in 1995 with him, some of the best cycling ever. You will be missed, you old git!! Paul Whitehead
farewell to rocco I watched Rocco’s rear wheel disappear in many Audaxes at the turn of the century and then on the 2002 Baxter Pyreneen Raid had the pleasure of meeting Rocco and Liz who guided us around. It was great fun watching him trying to keep his temper with the various disparate cyclists who would not behave as he wished. My abiding memory, however, will be his ride briefings where he highlighted, clearly another love of his life, where we would be passing funicular, single track, steam, recently restored or particularly interesting rail tracks oblivious to the eye rolling from the self-same group of disparate cyclists. Chris Bailey
I rode a number of times with Rocco in the 90s – he was always ‘le patron’ of the bunch! Hadn’t seen him since PBP 2003 when he was working as a guide on the Baxter bus and he rode the event. I seem to remember that after being passed several times by the guy on the scooter Rocco was going to ‘wrap the *%$’ing thing round his neck’ if he did it again! Mick Cant I first met Rocco near the end of PBP ‘99 when I was suffering acute knee pain and just turning the pedals, wondering if I’d ever get to Nogent le Roi. Rocco caught me up, lent me his wheel and told me that the pain I was feeling was temporary and could be defeated by ‘mind over body’, and he continued to make reassuring noises until he had me believing. Pretty soon, the pair of us were swapping turns on the front in a
AUK Reunion Dinner, post-PBP 2003.
I gladly received much advice and encouragement from Rocco in my early Willesden CC days. Particularly in 2003 when he and Liz were the guides on my Baxter’s PBP coach and Rocco also rode. I followed him to the start to learn a few tricks about getting away in the first 90-hr group. I don’t remember being on the end of any ‘tongue lashing’ so must have been a quick learner! Unfortunately I started audaxing too late to be part of the Willesden Rocket. They sound like great times! RIP. Paul Lucas
Photo: Tom Deakins
two-up time trial over the last 40km into Nogent. The pace was frantic at times, and we even managed to pick up a few passengers who got short shrift from Rocco once they’d had a nice rest and tried to escape from us – fat chance! ‘Get on that bugger’s wheel – make him do some work!’ He restored my tired body and spirit with his timely Paul McKenna impression, and I’ll always be grateful. A la prochaine Rocco, RIP. Don Hutchinson
David Kerry, Royston Lane, Flitch 200
A few months ago, Liz and Rocco came to my abode (by bus; the 114 passes close to both homes and Liz’s knee’s [had] been rather poor following a joint replacement) to borrow or return my projector. David was away for a few days and I was home alone. They did all my washing-up and swept the floor for me. Great people! Helen Vecht I’ll miss dear old Rocco. First met him in ‘79 (yes – he ran a control at his house for a very wet 300 from Bicester) then got to know him and Liz far better from ‘87 onwards. Most meetings were in Committee but quite a few when I stayed with Liz or visited for dinner at Helen Vecht’s place (one bus all the way!) He was fast: if I remember correctly, he rode as an amateur in the Tour of Britain; at the age of 56 did 256 miles in a 12hr – the day after getting back from the PBP! and, at about 60, did a two for a hundred. Peter Coulson N
Photo: Tom Deakins
I first rode with Rocco on the mid-week training rides from Pat Rohan’s bike shop at Rayners Lane [West London]. There were some serious racers but Rocco, who was already knocking on, never missed a turn (unlike me). He was responsible for my brief audax career. Because we were helping on Liz’s 300km event Rocco and me got to do the event together on the preceeding Thursday. We did bit and bit all the way round and hardly said a word but I swear I could feel the camaraderie of the road. Don’t forget that Rocco was a classy roadman in his day. His win in the Lady Margaret Grand Prix is the stuff of legend. Just turned up my result sheet for the 1956 ‘Oats’ Tour of Britain. Rocco didn’t cover himself in glory but in his defence he would have been very young for such a killer race. On the third stage (Morcambe to Rhyl) he finished with my late clubmate Bill Bradley 2hr 15min behind the stage winner! Bill retired that night with a bad knee but Rocco battled on to win the Lanterne Rouge ten hours down on the overall winner and 2½ hours behind the penultimate finisher. No doubt this experience scarred him for life and caused his well known aversion to hills. Ray Green
Sue Grey, Royston Lane, Flitch 200
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AUKS IN ACTION – photos by john Perrin and ian sparrow Chris Cottom, World’s End 200
Joe Jord, World’s End 200
Marcus Yeo, World’s End 200
Paul Taylor, World’s End 200
Peter Forster, World’s End 200
Steve Gloster, World’s End 200
Avalon Sunrise 200
Avalon Sunrise 200
The National 400: 1982–2012 Richard Thomas
t is 30 years since the first National 400* so it is fitting that this year Audax UK, courtesy of organisers Keith Harrison and Sue Gatehouse and NorfolknGood audax, have resurrected this event from the ‘ashes’ of the CTC rides, which ran every year from 1982 to 2005. They were started by Keith Matthews, who for many years also ran the ‘infamous’ Dorset Coast 200km (I have a mudguard sticker that reads ‘I cycled the Dorset Coast 1991 and lived’). However, I digress! Back to the plot. As a young man in the early 1960s, I tended to be attracted to longer rides, being just a ‘middle marker’ over the shorter distance time trials. Even so, the longest ride I achieved was 150 miles from Bishops Castle to Edgware (North London) with Bob Kynaston and Ian Berry, after a CTC Edgware Section Easter Tour. I stopped cycling in 1965 and did not start riding again until 1980, when I returned to what I knew, which was racing against the clock. However, when I read in the CTC magazine about this new event in 1982, over a distance of 400km (how many miles is that I wondered), I was more than interested. A combination of family commitments and procrastination meant I missed the opportunity to ride the inaugural event, hence I was determined to ride in 1983. So began my long association with this event, riding every one up to and including 2005, except for 2001, when the lure of a trip to France to see the Tour in the Alps proved too strong. Until 1988 I did not ride any other Audax events apart from the National 400. That year I ventured to do a ‘short’ ride, a 200km, being the Dorset Coast. May as well start with a challenge. I joined Audax UK in 1990 and did my first SR series in 1991, choosing the Bryan Chapman as my 600km ride, Same comment as above. Hence I thought it may stir a few
memories for those like-minded souls who have ridden these National 400s over the years, as I recall below my recollections and experiences of riding them.
23 July 1983 Godalming
Promoted by the CTC under AUK Regulations I had no idea what I was letting myself in for, but a couple of 100-mile time trials in early July set me up for the ride. I only had one bike, a red ‘Don Farrell’ circa 1963 with a five-speed block (14 to 26) and 52/42 rings. It even had Mafac centre pull brakes and 27 inch Weinmann HPs, not 700C as is now the norm. The saddle was an unpadded plastic Unitor-Nitor. I carried my stuff in a 1960s ‘Chossy’ saddle bag. I had a single bottle cage and an aluminium pump which fitted onto pegs, not a frame-fit. The route sheet was one side of A4, and comprised a mixture of A roads, B roads and minor roads. There was less traffic in those days 30 years ago! I duly arrived for the start at Charterhouse School, Godalming, for the 14:00 start. We were sent off at 10 minute intervals, with me leaving at 14:10 (much to my chagrin this was not taken into account at the end of the ride!). Once we were off I became concerned at the rather pedestrian pace of the
leader of the group I found myself riding with. I recall he was wearing light brown corduroy shorts. I thought we would struggle to get round in the time allowed unless we speeded up. So, being a young whippersnapper and a racing man to boot, I went by and sped off to the first control, where I was lucky to meet up with the lads from the Worthing Excelsior, amongst whom was ‘El Supremo’ Dave Hudson. I approached them in my Eastbourne Rovers jersey and tentatively asked them whether I could ride with them. They were very welcoming and we rode the rest of the event together, gaining a reputation for fast riding and long stops at each control. Towards the end of the ride we were pulled over by a police car for riding two abreast up a hill. We were all tired by then and I recall that some of the group were squaring up for an argument but sense prevailed, we acknowledged our ‘misdemeanour’, which the police accepted, and we rode on. The penultimate control was at Washington, and soon after that, Dave and some of the group stopped for an ice cream, so Don Lock, another Worthing rider and I rode on uphill (a sting in the tail) to the finish at Godalming. At the end, Don suggested I consider riding a 12-hour time trial as I finished quite strongly (I duly rode the Sussex 12hr in 1984) and well within the time limit. Needless to say I was now hooked on these longer rides. In those days, with a young family and not much money, I remember finishing the ride with just enough money for a cup of tea and a penny change!
30 June 1984 Lincoln
Organised by Lincs DA and Viking Section CTC My sister lived in Sudbrooke, a village just outside Lincoln, so I arranged to stay with her the night before the event. This was only my second Audax event. It was a 10am start, from the Galilee Porch of Lincoln Cathedral. We were ‘flagged off’ by the Dean of the Cathedral, and sped downhill and out of town on a following westerly wind (which blew us all the way to the turn at Great Yarmouth). I got into a fast moving group. Again, as last year, the route sheet was one piece of single sided A4. I remember well the first control at the Farm café on the A17 at Fleet Hargate. The weather was quite hot and I developed a ‘dehydration’ headache which was dispelled by a
*1982 CTC National 400. Photo of the start at Godalming (Charterhouse School) (right) Keith Matthews dug out some information on this and it is published in Arrivée No.102 (November 2008) p.6, ‘Your letters’. Many familiar names in the list, with times (not published at the time but for ACP verification purposes)! The Worthing Excelsior gang repeated the ride in 1983. Roger Smith also rode the inaugural event.
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randonnees very large fizzy aspirin given to me by another rider at the second outward bound control at Castle Acre Village hall. We arrived at the extremity of the ride, the third control at the Elstow Restaurant on the seafront at Great Yarmouth at 6:30pm, half the ride done in under nine hours, for a fish and chip supper, before turning into the wind and a ride back to the next control in Norwich. It was up a steep hill to the control in a house, quite a challenge considering the number of riders. We were going so quickly that the penultimate control in Heckington was in a caravan as the hall had yet to open at 5am. I remember going ahead of the group with one other rider to ‘race’ to the finish at Lincoln Racecourse Grandstand. I did the 407km of the ride in my best ever time. I probably never will beat it as age and routes on more minor roads these days would preclude it. Anyway it is not a race! The nearest I have come to that time was on the Humber Bridge 400 in 2009.
29 June 1985 Chippenham
Organised by Chippenham Wheelers CC I had been telling some of my work colleagues about these rides and this year three of us ventured down for the ride. We started from Chippenham Technical College and the report in the CTC magazine later that year shows a photo at the start, with not a helmet in sight, how things have changed! 118 ‘hard-riders’ (as per the report) had a police escort out of town, which went off at 30 mph with the bunch staying with it! Early on in the ride one of my work colleagues inadvertently collided with an ice cream van travelling in the opposite direction and eventually had to retire due to his injuries. Another spill that afternoon occurred near to the top of Cheddar Gorge, where two riders had decided to go off the front to avoid the mass descent of the gorge, had then touched wheels and hit the deck! I was beginning to think the ride was jinxed. The route was a mixture of A and B roads with only a few minor roads. From Cheddar we headed to Upton, Bournemouth and Christchurch, roads used by the 1983 ride. At the Overton Control in the early hours I was there at the same time as Roger Smith (Festival RC), who was riding with a friend of his. I recalled us both riding the Sussex CA 12-hour in 1984, with finishing with similar distances. This chance meeting led to a long friendship between us and to us riding several of these National 400s together. A long leg to the penultimate control, a café at Burford, where we had a ‘full English’ breakfast, which had to be booked in advance, for the princely sum of £2. The final leg was all on A roads, and at the finish I reckoned we had done about 270 miles, taking exactly the same time as the 1983 ride! The organiser simply replied that ‘the mileometers (precomputer age) were not that accurate!’
28 June 1986 Truro, Cornwall
Organised by the Kernow CC and Cornwall CTC This was an epic! I arranged for a group of us to ride this event, reviving the 1983 connection to the Worthing Excelsior and also inviting Roger to join us. So our group were Dave Hudson, Don Lock, Tony Palmer, Roger Smith, and me. This time I was riding my Condor track bike, converted to gears by a gear hanger fitted into the rear facing track ends. I had written off the Don Farrell frame on the back of a car in February 1986, so I had replaced that with a new Roberts time trial bike, which was unsuitable for Audax riding as I could not fit mudguards (younger readers may not know that mudguards were compulsory in those far off times). Tony, Roger and I met at a pub in Brighton and drove down the day before, staying overnight at a guest house in Tintagel. We then drove to the start in Truro, to check in at the HQ, being the Truro Sixth Form Centre at the top of a hill. We were to return uphill there several times as the course comprised three loops. The start was at Truro Cathedral, and we were sent off by the Lord Bishop of Truro, following the police escort out of town. Needless to say it was hilly, we completed the first loop of 134km in daylight before heading off into the night and over Bodmin moor, in a thunderstorm. We sheltered under one of the overbridges. The climbing was proving challenging. Thankfully, there was a café control at 207km which provided a much needed stop for refuelling in the midst of the night. By the time we returned to central control we had 332km under our wheels so the final loop down to Helston and St Keverne (Telstar Café control) and back to Truro was merely a formality. Unfortunately Dave Hudson had some mechanical trouble and was unable to complete the final loop, much to his disappointment. Roger ‘won’ the final prime to the arrivée. 408km in an hour longer than the previous year, reflecting the severity of the route.
25 July 1987 Godalming
Promoted by the CTC under ACP Regulations I got the impression that this was a ‘stop gap’ event, perhaps no one had volunteered to organise that year, so Keith Matthews ran it again from Godalming with a couple of route variations from the 1983 event. Roger and I rode it with his father, Alec. We all got round in good time, and being not too tired, finished with a celebratory pint in a local pub.
23 July 1988 Oxford
Organised by Oxfordshire DA Ted Friend organised this and was it a tough one and 416km to boot! with a
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‘The start was at Truro Cathedral, and we were sent off by the Lord Bishop of Truro, following the police escort out of town.’
maximum time of 27hrs 44 mins. Full length mudguards required! He sent us into the Black Mountains and rumour had it that riders were abandoning all over the place. By this time I had acquired a frame from Ribble Cycles and had a six-speed block, new 700c wheels and Shimano 600 side-pull brakes with hidden cables (first used on the aforementioned Dorset Coast 200km the day after I built it up). Roger’s father Alec had entered on the back of the relatively benign ride the year before and found this event quite the opposite. We did try and ride together but eventually Roger and I plugged on alone. I recall crossing the old Severn Bridge in quite a strong wind, so you had to lean on the wind but remember to straighten up at the towers otherwise you might fall over. Another dodgy moment was just making one intermediate control in time before it ran out. Ted was there and said that as the ride was so hard he was ignoring the intermediate control closing times as long as we got to the finish in time. So much for our wasted energy doing a two-up TT to get to that control! This was by far the hardest ride so far reflected by our time, some four hours longer than our ‘norm’.
22 July 1989 Chester
Organised by the Weaver Valley CC and Chester and N. Wales DA My Mum was now living in Cherry Willingham, near Lincoln, so Roger and I drove there the day before the event then onto Chester for the start, arriving in the nick of time. We did not have time for lunch! The first leg of 67km to Macclesfield (on the Cheshire Cycleway) was very fast and we arrived at the control 20 minutes before it opened so went in for some food, meeting John Seviour [Andy’s father. Ed] and Dave Kiernan there, both of whom did the inaugural ‘EL’ that year (they also did the 1993 event). It was hot, in fact the hottest day of the year, as we continued on the Cycleway towards the Overton Control at 152km. We broke into this long leg with a café stop at Whitchurch with 20km to go. The next 85km section to Dolgellau would take us into the night and we were at Bala around midnight. A checkpoint was here so I took the opportunity to lie down on the roadside for a few minutes’ rest. Back on the bike we had a long drag out of Bala and we were mindful of the FFCT slogan Les petits braquets faites les grandes randonnées. Arriving in Dolgellau at about 1am, young ladies were still out on the streets in their micro skirts, crop tops and high heels (well it was the 1980s). This perked us up a bit! At the control we decided to do the 30km loop to Towyn before having a short sleep on our return. We subsequently left Dolgellau as dawn broke, riding past Bala
randonnees lake and onto breakfast at Bryneglwys at 295km. Only 100km to go as we left at around 8am. The sun now warmed us as we headed back to the Cheshire plain, with 50km of this leg being particularly tough before we picked up the Cheshire Cycleway to the finish. 402km in just over our ‘norm’ time. We celebrated with a shandy and a doze before driving back south.
14 July 1990 Writtle, Essex
Organised by Essex DA At this time I was still only riding three Audax events a year, due to work commitments. I remember very little of this ride, apart from the thick mist in the early hours of Sunday morning which engulfed the control at the Godric CC clubhouse at Bungay (216km) when we arrived at 20 minutes after midnight. Roger and I did have a bit of shuteye there before venturing onwards to Mildenhall, a leg of 77km, arriving just after dawn at 5:10am. The final two legs took us south to Ugley before the 44km return to Chelmsford. A full account is provided by Trevor Roberts in the August/September 1990 edition of the CTC magazine (if anyone still has a copy!), it was his first randonnée.
13 July 1991 Lincoln
Organised by Lincolnshire DA This was the final qualifying event for my first SR series and I was ill! Roger Smith and I had driven up the night before to stay at my Mum’s house and I woke on the Saturday morning with my digestive system in turmoil. By midday I managed to pull myself together enough to ride to the start for 2pm. 178 riders (out of 217 entries) started the event, flagged away from the Galilee Porch of Lincoln Cathedral by the Very Reverend Brandon Jackson, an ex-time triallist. I recall we sped out of Lincoln and I really did not want to go so hard early on, as I needed time to settle into the ride. The weather held together until the first control when the heavens opened and we were engulfed in torrential rain and an electric storm. This continued into the next stage, where we missed by just five minutes a whirlwind which caused damage to a house (bent TV aerial and roof tiles dislodged). By the time we got to the control at Trusthorpe Village hall at 215km I was the 29th rider through, 70 minutes after it opened. However, Roger had a split tyre about three miles after the control, which delayed us by 30 minutes. We had a long stop of nearly two hours, including a sleep for one hour, at the Waddingham control at 308km. There was a very strong headwind on the final stage from Horncastle. I was the 56th rider back at the racecourse. I recall Bernard and Ann Daws were there with their caravan and that we had an ice cream to celebrate my first SR!
11 July 1992 Edinburgh
Organised by East Lothian DA CTC This was my only Audax ride of the year, as work kept me off the bike. I drove up from Lincoln to Edinburgh on the day. I met Roger Smith up there and he had booked a train ticket to return next day at a time that meant a fairly fast ride. The start was at 2pm from Linlithgow Palace, in the rain and I arrived at the first control at Crieff just five minutes after it opened. Roger was already there and he was uncertain as to whether to continue as he thought he might miss his train. I decided to go on at my pace and linked up with a group, who unfortunately turned left instead of right at a junction at Lochearnhead, before the next control at Crainlarich. This error took us south towards Loch Katrine, and I realised we had come the wrong way, some 20km off route. The other riders sped on leaving me to my own devices; ‘nice one’ I thought. I was feeling down, stopped to eat a banana and then continued, arriving at the control just 45 minutes before it closed at 22:52. This 57km leg took me five hours as I rode an extra 40km. I was fairly unfit due to lack of riding and had made things even harder for myself. The official route was over distance at 429km and I now made it even further! I rode through the night in the company of a local rider who had problems with his bottom bracket, which worked loose periodically and he tried to fix it with slivers of coke can! He had a newer bike but had left it at home because he didn’t want to wear it out! Anyway I was grateful for his company and his knowledge of the route through the darkness of night. By Oban we had made up a bit of time arriving with 70 minutes in hand, losing time to Kilmartin, just 35 minutes to spare. By the time I arrived alone at the Invarary control at 294km it was light, I had 68 minutes in hand as I had not had any sleep. I managed to keep awake and had a lovely ride up the ‘Rest and Be Thankful’ pass in sunlight, some had gone up earlier in rain. The wind was picking up, fortunately a tailwind, and I was blown back to the finish within the 27 hour LRM time, one of 127 to do so out of the 137 finishers, 148 starters and 168 entries. I had ridden 470km! I then drove back to Lincoln.
10 July 1993 Exeter, Devon
Organised by Devon DA CTC A new era for me, I now had a made to measure Roberts 531 Designer Select frame with attached goodies such as indexing on the gears, all seven of them, plus the triple Campag. Centaur MTB chainset 48/38/28 with non-standard bolt centres! (yes, they did a foray into MTB before producing the Racing Triple) from the Ribble. I even had a rear rack and bag which I still use, though much faded, to this day, replacing the faithful Chossy.
I drove down the day before with John Cooper, a friend from the Eastbourne CTC section. We were doing 200km Sportives in the mountains of France that year, we were fit and John felt confident enough to do a longer ride with me to guide him. I only did two Audax rides this year, the other being a 200km, due to lack of available time. The start was at 11am and I do recall that it rained in the afternoon whilst crossing Dartmoor and my computer stopped working. The route comprised two loops, returning to the Exeter HQ at 167km, which we reached at 7:28pm. We donned our night attire in the car at around 8pm before departing on the second leg. This took us first to the Barnstable Control, then to Dulverton where we had a sleep before passing through the Brendon Hills and Exmoor to the coast at Minehead about 6am, primarily on main roads as it was dark (A377, B3226 (formerly A361), A396 and A39). Only 85km left, via the valley with the Quantock Hills to our left to the control at Wellington thence to Exeter. 401km in a bit longer than usual!
9 July 1994 Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent
Organised by West Kent DA This was on home ground for me. I was quite fit again this year courtesy of more French Sportives, with Morzine Avoriaz, being ridden on 25th June, probably the toughest (maybe even harder than La Marmotte) with its finish over the Col de Joux Plane after tackling the climb from Morzine to Avriaz straight from the start and then the Col de la Ramaz. It was a hot afternoon as we sped south to the first control at Hurstpierpoint, close to the South Downs. We were there just after the control opened, 53km in 1hr 53 mins (28km/hr!). Continuing west to Petworth before turning back towards Tunbridge Wells, reached at 22:05, 198km including three ‘intermediate’ controls. The next leg down to Lewes control was on main roads in the dark. It was nice to be greeted by some familiar faces who were helping there. It was around 1:30 am when we left, in a small group which rode well together, into the dawn as we approached Bexhill and on to Rye. Only 105km to do via the Faversham control. I recall the final climb up to the arrivée took the last bit of strength from my legs. 412km in an hour less than the ‘norm’ , reflecting the fast early pace and no stop for sleep. Annemarie Manley did a great account of the ride in the CTC magazine of Oct/Nov 1994.
8 July 1995 Poole, Dorset
Organised by Wessex DA This year’s event was organised by Keith Matthews on behalf of Wessex DA. The route description was ‘interesting’ to say the least. Anyway, we left the start at 2pm with the first 5km ‘neutralised’ to
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randonnees the next control at Gonerby, which was, conveniently, a Little Chef (I am aware that some people like to change the second word to reflect the cost), I was very glad to partake of the fare on offer. The penultimate control was at Horncastle and I recall seeing Rob Bullyment there. At the time I did not know Rob very well, we had first met the previous year on a 200km promoted by Dave Hudson on PBP weekend. The final leg was into a stiff wind which took its toll on tired legs and I was pleased to reach the arrivée. I bought the cloth badge and a year bar to celebrate. 411km in about the ‘norm’ .
get us out of town (just like a real road race!) and with the road junctions being controlled by the police. Once free of the town we sped along in sunshine into the New Forest. I remember falling off at a junction as I could not get my foot out of my new clipless pedals in time. I met Dave Hudson at the first control, but declined to ride with him as I would not be able to keep up, as this was my first Audax of the year and I had not done much riding, seems to be the story of my cycling in the 1990s! I did manage two 200s later in the year. It is strange but I can’t remember anything else about the ride apart from the difficult navigation, which meant I did 277.06 miles (443km approx.), slightly more than the 410km claimed, I rode at an average of 22.7km/ hr (from my records) and I did not stop much at each of the seven intermediate controls. I bought the new medal at the finish and the year bar.
12 July 1997 Tuxford near Newark
6 July 1996 Lincoln
Organised by Lincs DA This was the third time that Lincoln had hosted the National. I rode the event with Alistair Neill, another member of the Eastbourne CTC. For a change the event started elsewhere in Lincoln, at The Lawn on Union Road. The first control was at Barton on Humber, a place that would feature in my four Easter Arrow rides some 8 to 15 years later as part of ‘Team Bullyment’ . I did a burst off the front to get to the control in the Chapel before the masses arrived. Interestingly the max speed for the event was set at 25km/ hr rather than the usual 30km/hr. My Brevet card indicates that I arrived at the control when it opened! We then turned SE through Wooton on our way to the Ludford control at the Viking Way Coffee House (Garden Centre). This control was also used on the Lincs Cycle weekend 150 which I did with Rob Bullyment in 2005 and 2006. I now realise that this leg was also part of my route from Woodhall Spa to the start of the Humber Bridge 400 when I rode there in 2010. Of course I did not know any of this at the time. The next leg took us to Trusthorpe, where just before the control I missed the right turn, and after about 1km ended up in Mablethorpe, so I retraced. From then we went SW to the Boston control, which was roughly half way, arriving at two minutes past midnight, 204km done in 10 hours. The next leg to Deeping St James, across the fens in darkness and mist, was very cold. I thought we were mad until I noticed the fishermen sitting in the mist on the waters of the fens, they must have been even colder. I was using my new rechargeable front light which was brighter than the ‘Never Ready’s’ I had used until then. Unfortunately the charge did not last through the night. Fortunately we left there as dawn was breaking and by the time we reached
I ‘raced’ as hard as my feeble frame would allow to get back on route.
Organised by Notts DA (Pete Gifford) This was Notts DA’s Centenary Year so they organised this event to celebrate the fact. Due to pressure of work I had done very little riding (a familiar theme!) since completing the Worthing Excelsior’s South Coast National 200 on March 9th. I had gone to France to see the Tour the week before the National 400 and blown up on a short afternoon ride! Hence I was a little concerned that I would not get round this event. As I had done on many occasions in the past, I used my Mum’s bungalow in Cherry Willingham, near Lincoln, as my base for this ride. I decided that I would ride to the start at Tuxford, some 20 miles away. If I got there and felt all right I do the ride. So I left in plenty of time to get to the 8am start. By chance I met John Spooner on the way there and he asked whether I was that rider who had done most of these National 400s. I replied that I had done a few. I did not know John’s reputation at the time but had an notion that he was someone special. We rode on to the start. I was rider No.130 so numbers on these rides were still significant. I decided to take it steady to the first control at the Red Beck café at Boothferry Bridge, arriving (as per my Brevet card) at 10:50am, 2hrs 50 mins for the flat 73km (25km/hr average, hardly steady!). It was a sunny morning and I felt fine. The flat roads continued to near the next control at Thornton le Dale (146km). This is another ride that I have few memories of, apart from crossing the Humber Bridge, the first time for me. I have subsequently done it many times since 2004, on Easter Arrows and on the aforementioned Humber Bridge 400. I remember arriving at the penultimate control at Margaret’s Teapot café at Redmile at 6:18am and sitting there for a long time without my order turning up so I left rather disgruntled and hungry after about an hour waiting. I was riding with two others, whom I had seen on many Nationals before, but whose names escape me, apologies. We had got together during the night to ride as a group, and did have a short nap in a bus shelter (how unusual is that!) before
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Redmile. It took me over six hours to do the overnight leg from Caenby Corner to Redmile, a distance of 73km! I had been slowing since the Fridaythorpe control, as that leg to Caenby Corner took me nearly five hours for just 90km. Shows what a lack of riding can do! I was pleased to ride back to the finish with my two companions, arriving at 9am, 417km with two hours in hand. I saw Drew Buck and his young son Byron, only 13 years of age at the time, at the finish of what I believe was Byron’s first 400. (Mark Crossland, then a teenager, wrote an account of this event in Arrivée No.60, Spring 1998. Intriguingly he writes on p.30, first column ‘I’m joined by a friendly cyclist (older than me!) seeking company for the miles ahead … we chat and he tells me he hasn’t ridden for three months. The last time he did, he cycled 125 miles and was shattered at the end’ . To slightly paraphrase the song ‘It could have been me!’. (Mike Stapleton wrote about the event in Arrivée No.58 (Autumn) 1997 on p.29. He had a better experience at the Teapot café so perhaps I was just unlucky)
11 July 1998 Alveston
Organised by Bristol DA Nearly came to grief on this one! I drove down to the start at Alveston in the morning and sat in the car watching the rain bucketing down. I kept hoping it would ease before the 2pm start but no such luck. We sloshed our way to the first control, which was at the Oasis café. For some reason that escapes me now we ended up sheltering in a bus stop. There is a photo (by Graham Brodie) of us in Arrivée No.62 (Autumn) 1998 on page 17 with a request for anyone to identify the riders. Well, for those who still have a copy, I am standing at the left side of the picture and looking very glum, and I believe that a very young looking Rob Bullyment, in white cap, is having his tea sat next to where I am standing. I cannot remember anything about the next 180 kilometres, but I do recall arriving at Stroud control to be greeted by Neville Chanin. I was very tired, and with over two hours in hand before the control closed I decided to have a short nap. Whoops, I overslept. I left in daylight to ride the 59km to the Overnorton control, arriving just 38 minutes before it closed. Leaving nigh on closing time I struggled towards the penultimate control at Greasy Joe’s in Cirencester, stopping several times to wonder why I was finding it such hard going. To make things worse, in my haste/ tired state I misread an instruction and went five miles in the wrong direction, mainly downhill and wind assisted. I ‘raced’ as hard as my feeble frame would allow to get back on route and arrived in Cirencester with 13 minutes to spare. I left after some much needed sustenance, and after the control had closed so no time
randonnees to lose on the last leg. Only 54 km to go but I was on my last legs and was caught by Dave Hudson, who had slept en route. He gave me lots of encouragement and we got back to the finish just in time, with 10 minutes to spare. Without Dave’s help I would not have made the cut, so a big thank you to Dave.
10 July 1999 The Shires National 400, Reading
Organised by Reading DA This was the year when I got serious about Audax riding. I had been doing events for 15 years (since 1983) but had only done one SR (1991). Early in 1999 I went out with my local CTC section and had to be pushed by someone 13 years my senior as I could not keep up. Such was my ‘shame’ that I vowed to do PBP that year. I even acquired a Schmidt hub dynamo and Busch & Muller front light so I could now see where I was going. This event was part of my final preparation for PBP, along with Andy Seviour’s 300km ‘An Adventure to Venta’ on July 31st, also run off in very hot conditions. I arrived at the start in plenty of time and saw Jack Eason. I asked him if he was doing PBP and he replied, ‘Of course, it’s only another bike ride!’ This gave me confidence, hopefully I would not fail. (I did succeed, in a reasonable time of 76hrs 24 mins. You may recall it was over distance that year due to roadworks and hot to boot). It was very warm as we set off at a fast pace, and on the way to the second control at Naseby I found myself riding with Judith Swallow. As you would surmise, the pace was quite high and I said to Judith, ‘I don’t usually ride this fast’ to which she replied ‘I don’t normally go this slow’ . I had not met Judith before but in subsequent conversation as we rode on I soon learnt of her pedigree. Eventually I had to let them go. By the time I got to Halstead after 204km I was well and truly cooked and had to have a rest there. I had overdone it in the heat. It took me over two hours, including the rest to get back to Naseby, a leg of just 32km! I needed another rest, so taking that into account I took over five hours to get to the next control at Tysoe, just 65km distant. By then I was feeling better and the rest of the ride went well, and I finished strongly. It was a very well run event, and stats from Ian Milne showed that the event attracted a large field of 184 starters out of 224 entries, with only 15 riders failing to finish. The age range was 17 to 75, but only 10 ladies participated. About half the entry were going to Paris for that well known event. (Ian Hennessey wrote about this National in Arrivée No.65 Summer 1999, p.11).
8 July 2000 Fordell Firs, Fife, Scotland ‘To Kingdom Come’ Organised by Fife & Kinross DA You may recall that this year there was
an extra for the SR, with a 500 added to the usual suspects to make an SR 2000. This ride was my counter for the 400. I drove up the day before to a B&B, had a relaxed breakfast, then drove to the HQ for the 2pm start. The police had insisted that the riders leave in groups of four at one minute intervals, so it took some time before my slot came up at 14:17, but where were my three companions, all DNS so I set off on my own (the organiser had arranged for us all to be photographed on the way out of the start, a nice memento) and chased down the previously departed group so I had someone to ride with. I recall it started to rain before the first control and this continued for some time after the control as I rode on to Forfar, so I got a bit wet. I was going quite well and rode for a time with Steve Oxley, we both having done most of these National 400s. I have no recollection of the night stages but do remember the ride back the following morning, as it was rather cloudy and overcast. I did the 408km in about the ‘norm’ for me. Organiser Lorraine Brown sent us the following stats with the returned Brevet cards. There were 116 entries and 92 starters, with only three DNFs. The oldest rider was 74 and the youngest 18, with half the field over 50 years of age. John Swankie wrote an article on this event, his first Audax (well done), in Arrivée No.72 Spring 2001 p.34.
2001 Ampthill near Bedford
Organised by Oxford DA. I missed it! For an account see Arrivée No.74 Autumn 2001 p.33
13 July 2002 Meopham, Kent The Invicta National 400
Organised by West Kent DA This year’s National was organised by my good friend and riding companion Rob Bullyment. Similar to 1994, this event was on Sussex and Kent roads so familiar to me. Having remodelled my faithful red Roberts (circa 1993) the previous Easter in a spectacular crash (I am pleased to report that Chas Roberts stuck a new fork in the bike and it is still going strong to this day, including doing BMB on it in 2005), I had a new bike, a Roberts Audax Special with a sloping top tube. These were just coming into vogue at the time. I am pleased to say that the ‘old girl’ is still going strong (much like its owner) and looking like new (unlike its owner), the paint job has stood up well to 10 years of punishment. From the start at Wrotham we were off at a cracking pace, arriving at the Peasmarsh control just nine minutes after it opened, the time calculated on the max speed of 30km/hr. AUK’s Chris Tracey and Tim Cogden were helping out at this control. Ringmer was the next stop and I arrived there with Mark Heffer just before 7pm. Mark’s wheel was disintegrating, so Sabine Williams
(Jack’s wife) and well known helper on Dave Hudson’s events, drove Mark back to his Bexhill home to pick up another wheel and take him back to resume his ride. Such a kind gesture. I rode on to the Chichester control by which time it was dark. I was rather alarmed at the speed of the traffic on the short stretch of the A27 near Chichester. I got there at 10:50pm and was rather shattered as I had done the first 195km to this control in 8hrs 50 minutes, so I used the time, whilst waiting for Mark to arrive, to recover my composure. Once Mark had refuelled we rode through the night to the Winchester control, the furthest west we would go. On the next stage, as we neared the Ewhurst control in a group including Andy Uttley, we overshot a right turn and did a loop back to the control. The final leg saw us doing a bit of climbing, I dropped my chain off the granny ring and my riding companions did not stop. To exact my revenge, as it were, once I had caught them I rode straight past and eyeballed it to the finish, my time being spot on the ‘norm’.
26 July 2003 Rhayader, Wales The CTC Anniversary National 400
Organised by CTC Cymru The numbers were down this year, just 29 Auks out of a total of 37 finishers, and that in a PBP year. Graham Mills was the man responsible for this ride which he described as ‘not hilly’. This was not my impression! But ‘hilly’ in Wales is mountainous elsewhere! I took up the offer to sleep at the start control the night before. Chatted with Steve Oxley who, like me, was doing PBP that year. I went off at a fast pace (no change there then!) from the start at 9am and despite the lumpy first leg and being passed by several riders, I arrived at the Craven Arms control at its opening time, based on the max speed of 25km/hr. I recall riding for a bit on this stage with Tony Pember. Had a cup of something and a cake at the Railway Café control, before heading off on the undulating leg of 83km to the Froncysllyte control at Cliffs Café. It was beginning to rain as I left that control just before 4pm to head off alone across the undulating 69km route to Llanfyllin, which included the long climb of the Miltir Cerrig. I arrived at the control, the Cain Valley hotel, dripping wet and the rainwater leaked out of my clothing all over the carpeted floor! I ordered a full meal but was so tired I had great difficulty eating it. I was very reluctant to go on but eventually left, once more alone, into the gradually darkening skies. I had difficulty reading the route sheet in the dark and rain, which covered my glasses and made it even worse. In addition, I had to look for two info controls in the dark! It was a long leg of 96km and I struggled, narrowly avoiding coming off because, as
Arrivée Summer 2012 AU
randonnees I approached another rider, her pannier bag flew off and skidded across the road in front of me. Unchivalrous though it may appear, I was in no mood to stop as I was cold and wet and wanted to get back to Rhayader for a warm-up and a sleep. I got there at just before half past one and had a good sleep, for about four hours, The last leg was only 84 undulating kilometres, so I departed with fellow Auk, Chris Hoyle. It was nice to have some company. When I commented on the hilly nature of the route, he said that one year (1993) he won the Audax Altitude Award by walking up more hills than anyone else! We finished close to the cut off time of 11:44am. I recall seeing Byron and Drew Buck at Rhayader before I left for home. Dave Hudson was also there, looking at route possibilities for his Gourmet 1000km in 2004.
10 July 2004 Denmead, Hampshire
Organised by Pam Pilbeam (Communicare) This ride was on familiar roads around the New Forest. I got to the start and realised I had forgotten to bring any money so borrowed £20 from Dave Hudson, who was assisting Pam with the catering on this event. I rode with Mark Heffer. We had done many rides together, including the Easter Arrow this year as part of Team Bullyment (The Space Vedettes). Stuart Downey was riding despite his threat to retire after PBP in 2003, said he could not resist it, but without his riding companion Derek Monkhouse. It was a morning start at 10am, and once again I was at the first control at Lockerly at its opening time. Seems a habit of mine, confirmed by my riding companions, as they say I go off fast then get progressively slower, to the point where sometimes I am somewhat distraught! I would not disagree but in recent years I have moderated my starting pace. The wind was from the west which made it hard going across the New Forest where we were caught and passed by the always cheerful Garry King. This ride came back to the start after 285km giving us a chance for a sleep. We left around dawn to ride to Whitchurch before returning to the finish in plenty of time. 46 AUK finishers out of a total of 54.
9 July 2005 Apperley near Cheltenham Organised by Bristol DA As 2004, I rode this event with Mark Heffer. We were ‘flagged off’ from Apperley Village hall HQ by Neville Chanin. The first leg took us towards Stratford on Avon with a control at the Tudor Rose café, Alcester, in somewhat warm conditions. I recall getting a bit confused by the route sheet at one point on Saturday afternoon. I also missed the sign for the night control and rode down a hill before realising it and having to retrace. We slept there for about an hour.
Apart from that I can’t remember much about the ride but reading the reports (see reference below) from other riders everyone seemed to enjoy it, were full of praise for the route and the food at controls and the heat and difficulty in drinking enough seemed a common theme. So, in summary, a fitting last DA promotion,with the 82 finishers, including 78 Auks looking like a list of the great and the good (see AUK website for details). I used a pair of shoes that were slightly too small, with the result that by the end of the ride the toenails on both my big toes were distressed to such an extent that I subsequently lost them. Hobble hobble! There are several riders ‘memories’ of the event (plus a picture of Jackie Popland) in Arrivée No.89 Summer 2005 p.46. Stuart Downie and Derek Monkhouse rode this event in what was probably their Audax ‘swansong’. Note that they were interviewed by Roving Namron (have you guessed who he is yet? (with apologies to a certain antipodean artist) in Arrivée No.83, Winter 2004.
16 June 2012 AUK National 400 Hempnall, Norfolk
Organised by NorfolknGood audax This event was a must for me, my 23rd National. It was my longest ride of the year, as I have decided to have a ‘year off’ after 13 years of continuous SRs, four PBPs, BMB, LEL and HBKH (1500km). I drove up to Seething on Friday afternoon, enjoyed a pleasant evening chatting and being well fed and watered by the organising team, then slept in the hall overnight and breakfasted there (all included in the entry fee). I then readied myself before riding down to the 9am start at Hempnall in a group containing Julian Dyson and Mark Fairweather (both on fixed) and Colin Mildwater. Several well known faces were at the hall and the usual pleasantries were exchanged. I had arranged to meet Rob Bullyment there as we were to do the ride together. Mark and Colin tagged along with us, as did Garry King (on fixed). We have all ridden together in the past so know each others’ strengths and weaknesses. The weather forecast may have deterred some of the 90+ entrants, reducing the field of starters to around 75. Hence we set off into the teeth of a very strong south-westerly wind (45 to 50 mph gusts) which made the first two stages, out to the coast at Dunwich then back inland to the control at Thorndon, quite challenging (Ian Hennessey was already leaving as we arrived!). Several of the faster riders (Judith Swallow, Dave Minter and Paul Whitehead) were getting ready to leave as we arrived and that was the last we saw of them until the finish. The second leg to Long Melford (162km) was hard
Arrivée Summer 2012
We set off into the teeth of a very strong southwesterly wind (45 to 50 mph gusts) which made the first two stages, out to the coast at Dunwich then back inland to the control at Thorndon, quite challenging
and took quite a lot out of us, due to the headwind and the short, steep climb of Hartest Hill. Along the way we passed through a small dust storm whipped up by the wind blowing across the unprotected flatlands. We did then get some respite going to Barnham Broom (244km) and were able to recover with the wind at our backs. Rob had dropped off the back leaving the three of us, Mark and I (and another rider on his first 400km Audax (maybe a Mr Smith, who said his son was also doing the ride but was up the road somewhat!)). I managed a navigational error and missed the right turn to North Lopham and by the time I rechecked the route sheet we were nearly 1km down the wrong road. Mark and I shouted to ‘Mr Smith’ who fortunately did hear us and turned round but did not catch us up. I eventually caught up again with Rob but Mark was a bit off the pace, got caught by the level crossing 9km down the road from our deviation and then went wrong again! It was still just about light when Rob and I arrived at the Barnham Broom control at 9pm. Eventually the rest of our now wayward and disintegrated group arrived. Another good feed and the donning of suitably warm attire saw us departing for the night leg to Salthouse on the north Norfolk coast in a good grupetto containing, amongst others, the five of us plus Dick and Lucy McTaggart. At least the wind was still more of less in our favour but showed little signs of abating so most of the final leg was going to be hard as we were going south again before the wind-assisted ‘dash’ to the finish. With this in mind we did not stay too long and the same group, less Colin Mildwater, who was resting there until dawn, departed in darkness into the lanes, where there was quite a bit of debris lying around and thankfully we had no punctures. There seemed to be an impromptu rave at Wymondham, and we were expecting the ‘usual’ abuse’ but were greeted with high fives, very uplifting! This final leg found us in need of a short stop half way as well as another at the final info, after the slog into the wind to get there. We then had just 20km to go, mainly wind-assisted. At the finish in Hempnall, the brevet cards were validated via computer, stickered and given back to us immediately, plus a key ring with the new AUK logo on it. Well done to the organisation, NorfolknGood audax, just as their name implies. This was a very well run event with accurate route sheets, friendly, helpful volunteers and lots of appropriate food at each of the controls, all of which were indoors, no outside catering thankfully. Anyone doing their first Audax 400 should congratulate themselves for choosing this event and the riders should thank all involved with the event for making it such a success. N
Failure at the Mille Alba Helpers’ Ride Ken Morrison ‘Promise me you won’t do anything stupid.’ As if cycling 1,000 kilometres and climbing 12,500 metres in a weekend wasn’t stupid enough? But when your daughter asks for a promise, its best to listen. ‘Stupid like what?’ ‘Like putting your health at risk by taking chances and not stopping if you should.’ ‘Aye, OK, I see what you mean,’ I replied, non-committedly.
had properly retired from work this year and fancied a challenge, though the shadow of the Mille Alba hung over many spring training rides. Unfortunately, a combination of circumstances meant I was underprepared, the most I’d managed the last few years was a 200km, but I hoped determination and luck would make up for that. Before the start, we were given our medals. I thought, well, if I don’t finish, I’ll just throw that off the bridge on my way back. The forecast was, shall we say, poor, and only seven of the 20 turned up at the start. So rolling out of the Scout Centre in Fordell Firs, Inverkeithing I thought I should show willing into the stiff, wet wind. My turn lasted 50 yards until the main road: thereafter I hung on to the group most of the way, over the Tay Bridge (which had been closed to double-deckers) and up to a café stop in Forfar at 100kms. I had planned to keep my pulse rate down, and I could have let the three strong riders go off on their own. I could hear the voice of Sean Kelly, ‘You have to make the calculation: do you knock it back a bit and try to limit your losses, or hang in as long as possible?’ The stiff headwind meant I’d no regrets about hanging in, though it did mean I was more tired by the bottom of the first big climb than I would have liked. Cairn na Mount is a beast of a hill, 16 per cent at the bottom, 14 per cent at the top and the bit in the middle is pretty tough too. I started my cycling career rather belatedly in 2000 when going up it with a charity group I found myself at the front at the top and thought, ‘You’re not bad at this’. Twelve years on, I could still get up without putting a foot down (and was even second up, not that Audaxes are a race), but in the miserable time of 23 minutes. Then it was down to Banchory at km165 and finally out of the wind. I love Deeside and the leg to Braemar was no disappointment, apart from the fact we got there at about six in the evening.
The climb up Glenshee/Cairnwell, after an in-advised curry, was just manageable without leaving the dinner behind en-route. The wind-assisted descent on uneven surfaces was less enjoyable: I got a terrific shimmy at 72kph; luckily pressing my knees into the top tube saved the day. Blairgowrie to Perth was just magic: low setting sun illuminating the Carse of Gowrie. Going up the old road through Glenfarg after Perth, it was proper dark and I was glad to have company and decent lights. We got back to base at about 20 past midnight after 356kms. Fellow ERC [Edinburgh Road Club] man and organiser of the event, Graham Wyllie, was there with welcome bowl of soup for the five of us remaining. At breakfast five hours later we found out that one other had arrived two hours later, the other packed in Braemar. Day two was familiar territory, though I’d never thought of doing it all together. At Musselburgh I saw an ERC rider going the other way to the start of the Saturday club run but my solo journey was up Redstone Rigg and over to Berwick on Tweed. Our Three Musketeers had been joined by a D’Artagnan for the day; there was no way I could hang on to the four of them. Sluggish is the word that best describes my performance that morning, though my triple did get me over the Rigg OK. Road resurfacing meant care was needed on descent, but after my shimmy yesterday, that suited me fine. There was a sign for a ford in the road, and this time it really was a ford, with a fast flowing stream on top: best taken with momentum. In Berwick I found the first baked potato café, and was joined by three Edinburgh cycling belles who wanted me to explain what I was doing. ‘Are you qualifying for something?’ ‘No, this is it.’ ‘Why are you doing it then?’ ‘Well if I finish, I’ll be able to say I did it’ was the best answer I could come up with. Heading up to Coldstream, Gala, Innerleithen and the Gordon Arms I was pleased to be reunited with some of the group (they take longer over lunch) and hear stories from Phil about his racing days. We stopped in Gala and I allowed myself to be seduced by a two-for-one offer on Coca-Cola. Filling my bottle at a park bench caused it to overflow, then Phil knocked his bottle over. It looked all the world like two incontinent old men leaving a messy trail behind them behind! Knowing Phil had been Scottish Hill Climb champion I was proud to drop him on the ascent of Talla, knowing he’d
won that title in 1971 made me ashamed! Going down Talla this way it’s a 20 per cent and you have to hold on tight: not much chance to look at the view, which was a pity because I think it might have stopped raining for a few seconds. Broughton to Biggar is familiar territory, but I’ve never seen it like this (OK, I’ve never done it at nine at night after 600kms). The wind howled, the rain lashed and the road flooded with puddles of unknown depth of slurry off the fields. Initially, I was pleased to see our Three Musketeers stopped in front of me, a puncture…can there ever be a worse place and time for that to happen? After a brief greeting, I wasn’t going to stop, so I was first again getting to Biggar (not that I’m competitive or anything!). I made it to the chipper as it was closing and got a bag of cold chips; it reminded me of that curry I got last night. Phil was struggling by this stage so I soloed over to Carnwarth and down the Lang Whang with a tailwind. It’s still a bleak place in the sunshine, but on wet, dark night it’s something else. Near the border with West Lothian I heard bangs and thought: puncture? gunshot? Cresting a hill reavealed a firework display; probably more to go with the Gala Day season than the Queen’s Jubilee or the Olympic torch procession. I consoled myself with the knowledge that I was going to be first back to base and should be OK for the final 320km tomorrow. My thoughts wandered over the meaning of success and failure, and the cup of tea and shower I’d soon get when: disaster! In retrospect, I think I’d been a bit unsettled by some fast cars coming up behind, and one drunk shouting out of the window. So I thought I’d take the cycle path from Kirkliston to Queensferry, only to misjudge the depth of the wet kerb at the entrance to the Dundas estate and crash. I don’t know how long I was unconscious, but after I came too I’m told I did have a brief Tom Simpson ‘Put me back on my bike’ moment before an ambulance was called and I was assessed. ‘Where are you going?’ ‘Just beyond Inverkeithing’ ‘Where exactly?’ Could I remember the name ‘Fordell Firs?’ Could I hang, so it was off to Casualty in St John’s. I wouldn’t really recommend it after midnight on Saturday in the middle of Gala Day season. I overheard a doctor assessing someone else with a head injury ‘What is the date?’ I must listen to the answer, I thought, because I have no idea, to me it’s still just day two. Apart from my head, my ribs and knee were sore my promise to my daughter came back to me: I knew that would have to be my last day of cycling for a while. Some hours later, I persuaded them to let me out; I think they were glad to see the back of me, given the smell coming off my socks. Eventually I persuaded them to let me out; I think they were glad to see the back of me, given the smell coming off my socks. So no triumphant redefinition of myself as a success, but I had tried my best and sometimes it’s no disgrace to realise that sometimes it is not quite good enough or haven’t done enough preparation. Later I learned that only three of the seven finished, they are three tough hombres, I can tell you that! I must say a special thanks to ERC members Graham for organising the event (and getting my bike back from Dundas), Colin for the superb training/preparation tips (if I could have followed more of them, I’d have had a better chance) and Lee for the light (you really do get cars to dip their lights when you have it on full). And to the cycling belles in Berwick, I’d say ‘Well if I finish, I’ll be able to say I did it: if I don’t finish, I’ll be able to say I tried.’ I think I might just keep that medal after all. N
Arrivée Summer 2012 AU
HEADING randonnee IN HERE
Peaks and Troughs
Pedalling for primates
he Peaks and Troughs was Sheffield CTC’s inaugural 106k Audax held on the Sunday after the CTC National AGM and Dinner in Sheffield. Sheffield CTC hosted the whole weekend in its Centenary Year. I rode the event, but before I tell of that I am sure many of you will be pleased to read, as I was to see, that during the Awards Presentation Theresa Miall, a tireless worker for cycling and Audax Organiser with her much missed husband Richard, receive the 2011 CTC Volunteer Award for Yorkshire and the Humber. Theresa was at the dinner to receive the Award with her son David and daughter Elizabeth, who was quicker off the mark than Mum when the CTC’s new CEO Gordon Seabright presented Theresa with her surprise Certificate of Merit. Another well-deserved Volunteer of the Year, for the West Midlands, was there, Dave Pountney of Kidderminster Killer and Elenith fame. He too received a Certificate of Merit. Sheffield’s hospitality was also in evidence when local CTC Secretary Gareth Dent met us at the hotel on Sunday morning to guide Annie and Ian Birch and myself to the start of the ride. The ride, well it was superb, an unmitigated success, it had a great café start and finish, a route sheet to match the best and boy! was it scenic. A good job was done with the weather as well!
In the company of Whirlow Wheelers
The start is a few miles from the city centre so there was not a long drag through suburbia (Sheffield is built on seven hills – heard that somewhere before?). There was a drag to some, a climb to me from the start. We were soon out into woodlands then countryside then on to the A626 Calver road but in the company of Whirlow Wheelers I was soon on the tops drinking in the views. The Wheelers stopped to regroup, I carried on over the wide open landscape noting the farmers at work in the fields and the sheep grazing contentedly with their frolicking lambs. 15k saw me in Calver but not before a long, fast descent through woods, passing old stone buildings and a picturesque water scene in the Froggatt area. The rolling country route then went through Hassop and down into Great Longstone, location of a CTC Birthday Rides in the not-too-distant past, then onto Ashford in the Water, a great place to have a walk round, so pretty, but no time today as the climb to Kirkdale was looming and what a climb, not to be missed.
The undulations continued through the pretty villages of Monyash, Crowdecote and Longnor and the Craft Centre Café Control in the Market Square at 37.4k. Just time for very much needed coffee and cake; time was pressing, the Wheelers arrived as I left. More quiet rolling roads took us up to the Roaches on gated roads, you could see for miles, there was an info here at the tea rooms.
Long climb onto Morridge
From there we rode through Upper Hulme and Thorncliffe to climb the long hill onto Morridge then onto Warslow. 64.7k was a point to remember, Cawlow Lane, narrow, rough, gravely, steepish, very interesting, I went down slower than I climbed most hills! Well worth including. Hulme End and Hartington followed, riding up the hill passed the haunted (?) Youth Hostel brought back memories of cycling there with friends as a teenager to an annual birthday party weekend and a trip to the Charles Cotton pub. Enough said. On one occasion I slept in the Bonny Prince Charlie Room, allegedly used by him on his way to Derby. Newhaven and Middleton got us to Youlgreave Youth Hostel, the last Control. As expected, several riders were there taking refreshments and telling the tale whilst sampling the great hospitality. I chatted to Mike Batchelor, recipient of the Shaftesbury Trophy and Arthur Moss Medal the night before for winning the 2011 CTC Tourist Competition. When it was time to saddle up Paul Birch asked me to join his group for the ride to the finish, I declined gracefully of course, wishing to take it steadier, to ensure I got my money’s worth you understand. It was only 27 or so kilometres to the finish via Bakewell and Baslow, and here the well worth final long climb up to Owler Bar, just before the island; what a view to the right towards Dronfield. Just over Owler Bar on the slight right hand bend you can see right over Sheffield. This starts the final great descent, a little urban towards the end then a surprise, flat road to the finish! Here there was a free cuppa, large butty and scone waiting. A great day out thanks to Organiser Tony Gore and Barry Raynor and the other helpers. N
On May 21st, cyclist and AUK member Ray Haswell from Parkstone, Dorset, set off on an extremely challenging 4,500 mile sponsored cycle ride around the coast of Great Britain, to raise funds for Gearing Up 4 Gorillas (G4G). Ray is no stranger to ‘pedalling for primates’, as he completed a 2,000 mile ride from Gibraltar to Trafalgar Square in 16 days for the Dorset-based charity four years ago. Ray aims to return ‘full circle’ around the coast by mid-July having passed through 55 counties, crossing 10 major bridges (including the Severn, the Humber, and the Tay), using 33 local ferries, passing through 21 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty as well as 8 of the 13 National Parks, and sampling the overnight delights of over 50 Youth Hostels along the way. An epic journey by anyone’s standards! Ray said: ‘Many people say I’m totally mad to attempt this but I know I am,’ says Ray. ‘It’s a challenge I’ve always wanted to take up and to be able to raise funds for G4G at the same time, is a fabulous bonus.’ Anyone interested in sponsoring Ray can visit his fundraising page at: www.justgiving.com/Ray-Haswell. Follow Ray on twitter @Pedal4Primates.
Left: Tony Gore, organiser, in foreground; Barry Raynor assisting at the back.
Arrivée Summer 2012
Around the World in 92 days: Mike Hall wins World Bike Race
AUK’s Richard Evans was there to meet him on the finish line
Which was your favourite country/area you rode in? I think I enjoyed Europe the most. Especially on the way out because almost every day I was in a different country which was amazing, the cultural change, just seeing that progression quite quickly, and with enough time to see everything properly, not being in a car, that was amazing. After some high winds on the Dalmatian coast in Croatia, the winds dropped one day and that was amazing – the trucks had been blown over on that road, and they had closed parts of it, and then the wind died down, and there was no traffic on the road, so I had that entire road to myself for about three hours and didn’t see a car. If you’ve ever been down there, it’s like a racetrack, and that was just fantastic, apexing all the corners, beautiful tarmac.
Photo: Richard Evans
orkshireman Mike Hall arrived back on the prime meridian in Greenwich to a hero’s welcome from a small crowd at 12:42 on Monday June 4th – timed to perfection for his 31st birthday. He had started from the same place with nine other riders on 18th February, some three months earlier, in the first ever round-the-world bike race. Excluding transfer flights, he completed his circumnavigation of the globe in a shade under 92 days. He was well ahead of the field right from his first day in France with a 376k blast from Dieppe to Châteauroux, and his lead continued to widen from there. He averaged 315k/day for three months, finished over 8,000km ahead of his closest rival and smashed the Guinness World Record by two weeks. An awesome achievement.
Tweet tactics All riders tweeted quite often. Messages from most riders were often negative, eg how hard/cold/ windy it was, or they were not feeling well. Whereas every tweet Mike Hall sent was positive, even when he once admitted to not feeling his best: ‘Yesterday’s ill health worries proved to be a false alarm thankfully. Reluctantly stopped short at 150 miles to rest up though in case.’ Most other riders were not managing 150 miles on their good days. A Mike Hall masterclass in winning the psychological battle?
And the bit you least liked?
I had this sickness in Australia which was hard work. And down the east coast of Australia the driving was quite aggressive, they’d get really close, I don’t understand why they get so close to you when there’s two free lanes beside them, it’s just ridiculous.
Where did you generally sleep – roadside or B&B?
I was looking for a 50:50 split between camping out and hotels but for various reasons I spent maybe 75 per cent of the time in motels in the end, sleeping out was generally at the side of the road for a few hours.
Motivation is so important. How did you overcome the bad/depressing times?
The worst time for motivation is the end of the long sections. I think you’ve got enough [motivation] to go for about two weeks of putting your head down to get through this, and then after that, that doesn’t work any more. So in the States it was about four weeks, it was 32 days, and you get 25 days in and you can’t even remember the beginning. And the end’s so far away you can’t see it, and there’s storms everywhere … it gets easy to get to about 160 miles and think, it’s nine o’clock at night now – am I going to press on till 12, do another 40 miles? Or there’s a motel there, and a diner … that’s when it’s hard!
Knowing what you know now, what would you change if you were just about to set off again?
Lots … yeah, loads! Parts of the route, now I know where all the fast riding is. I probably wouldn’t ever do it again, but you could do it in sections – if you did six lots of three thousand miles, and hit them all in two weeks, you could get the time right down, because you’ve got that two weeks, then you’ve got a flight and a break. I was arriving at an airport, usually at night, then I’d sleep till midday then spend the rest of the day packing the bike up, and book my flight – I wasn’t booking flights until the day before – so I’d normally have a clear day, and then the flight – so about two to three days in transit. So if you could do three thousand miles and then that, every section, that would be the way to do it. But it feels like more of an achievement to have
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record breakers Jubilant Mike Hall is presented with cakes from his mother and previous record holder, Vin Cox.
and I’m like … I’ll go and wash my hands! But I did actually beat myself up, because every day in America [until] that stage I’d done 200 miles a day.
So you were aiming to hit 200 miles every day?
Photo: Richard Evans
Yeah, well, I wrote this stupid spreadsheet which had an 80-day schedule on it! And I told myself I wasn’t going to write a schedule, because it would be bad for motivation if I slipped behind it – when those days slip by you feel like you’re losing lots of time. I started to call it the not-plan because I didn’t want to share it with anyone, or tell anyone what was in it… All through Europe, nine days out of ten I was hitting the mileage, and it started to become something I was chasing and I felt bad when I wasn’t meeting it.
What have you most been looking forward to about being back? gone through that long period where you actually go into different types of endurance which is that motivational and mental battle, and to get through that, I think that’s got a different element to it.
If you took that kind of siege approach to it, what could you get the time down to? Certainly less than 80 days! In six sets of 3,000 miles. But this record is open to a lot of criticism on the rules. I think this is a riders’ race – we spoke between us as riders as to whether we would say that the winner is the first back, and there’s no stopping the clock here and there … but we were already signed up to this, so we had to stick to those [Guinness] rules.
How did you deal with pain – saddle/ neck/hands?
To mitigate saddle sores (and get on the aerobars comfortably) I tipped the saddle nose down, this tends to put more pressure on the hands and by the end of India my left hand was pretty much
permanently numb. I flipped the stem, fitted gel bar tape and bought some better-padded mitts in Perth and things were much better but my hands were usually what became uncomfortable first. I didn’t really have much neck pain but the tightening of my hamstrings etc were all connected through my back so that would ache a lot in Europe. Stretching and lowering the saddle helped there, taping my Achilles really helped when they were painful. [In Oregon] I had this itching in my ear which normally means, like your sinuses … you’re getting a cold. A pharmacist told me that in that region the pollen count was way off the scale. I was heading down the Redwood Highway, and there were motels where I was, and 60 miles away, and normally I think I could maybe get to those other ones if I push on, and that would be my day and I’d stop at Crescent City … but I stopped at this place and the manager in the office at the motel had a really sniffly nose and he’s handling my credit card
Taking these shoes off! There’s a little rivet in them, and the rivet holds the rubber on, and I’ve worn away the shoe … from about half way through America my toe’s just been on there, and when I pedal everything’s on the big toe and it hurts like crazy!
Have you any idea when Guinness will ratify your record and award your certificate?
Richard Dunnett’s mother presents him with a ‘Round the World’ cake.
Photo: Tim Wainwright
And finally, would you care to join me and several hundred others from around the world in July/August 2013 for our 1400k randonnée LondonEdinburgh-London – it’s not a race but I understand the fastest finisher to date did this ride in 62 hours (max time limit is 116 hours).
LEL sounds great, I’d love to. I don’t think I’ve got anything else on then.
His computer packed up in the rain a few days before he reached England, so it’s not showing a correct reading. The GPS tracking will verify the total kms.
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I need to submit my evidence, I just got a bag of receipts back that I left in NZ for safe keeping so it will take me a few days to get my submission together and then if I pay the fast track fee another week maybe to get it approved.
Another record breaker
The second rider home in the race, 23-year-old Richard Dunnett from Occold in Norfolk, arrived at the Greenwich Meridian at 11.15am on July 7th to the applause of a group of family and friends. He took approximately 140 days, smashing Vin Cox’s record of 163 days. A Cat 2 rider from a cycling family, following in his father's and grandfather’s wheeltracks, Richard told me he had lost very little weight on the ride and had no major mechanical problems. Like the race winner Mike Hall, he also preferred Europe as his favoured area for cycling, especially enjoying Austria. Richard’s parents manned the Thorndon control on the National 400. Tim Wainwright
Coast to Coast Phil Nettleton
his isn’t an audax ride but I noticed an advert for the Coast to Coast route book in Arrivée. Without the time to walk the route we decided to ride it instead. The traditional route starts in Whitehaven on the Cumbrian coast, heads over the Pennines via the Hartside climb and descends into Sunderland or Newcastle. (Your choice) Having spent a lot of time walking in the Lake District I decided to amend the route for a few of reasons: • To make it as close as possible to legendary fell walker Wainwright’s route. • I didn’t fancy spending a night in Sunderland or Newcastle (no offence to those two great cities) when we could go to picturesque Robin Hood’s Bay instead. • We also had a free night’s accommodation near Appleby. The route essentially merged the normal Coast to Coast with the Walney to Whitby cycle route. Instead of Hartside we would climb Tan Hill and then over the beautiful North Yorkshire moors with its stunning scenery and steep climbs. I’d bought the tandem when my wife, Charlotte, was six months pregnant with our first child. A Chas Roberts bike for a bargain £500 (a little bit of rust) from a keen cyclist who assured me it had been over the Alps but had no use for
‘When the editor demands copy it’s time to dust off the shorthand and put pen to paper.’
it anymore because he and his partner had sadly parted company. I upgraded the stoker compartment with a thudbuster saddle, tandem handlebars and a less fierce looking saddle. We started off from Whitehaven aiming for between 70-80 miles per day over the three day ride. It was drizzly and chilly and we cycled around the harbour looking for the C2C sign and the place where we dipped the wheel in the water. About 20 minutes later we still hadn’t found it but had been to the edge of the Irish Sea so we decided to just get started.
On our way back round the harbour we spotted the wooden carved post but as getting on and off the bike was a bit of a palaver it was easier to press on. The route was mainly off road and initially not up to the usual standards of Lake District scenery but we knew the real sights were not far beyond and the first test of the ride, Whinlatter Pass.
Slow and steady
Probably the easiest pass in the District it would still be tough for novice tandem riders. We made it up through the climb – slow and steady – which wasn’t too steep and into the trees to
Top: Robin Hood’s Bay. Right: Setting out from Asby to Tan Hill.
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Photo: Tim Wainwright
Photo: Tim Wainwright
stop at the café at the top. We knew this offered great soup and sandwiches from previous visits. If you were taking the ride over a number of days I’d recommend making an extra day to try the off road mountain bike trails in the forest which have fantastic views of Bassenthwaite and Derwent Water. There’s also a Go Ape for those that fancy monkeying around. The descent of Whinlatter was the first test of the tandem which has two old Suntour cantilever brakes. I was worried, especially in the wet. I’ve read theories that you shouldn’t keep the brakes on and should just let the bike roll but what happens when there is a sharp corner? We plunged down Whinlatter but I was heavy on the brakes and took the chance of a blown out tyre rather than going out of control and over the side. We made it down though in one piece. The weather was now clearing as we hit Keswick and there were occasional breaks in the cloud with the sun poking through. Just being in the heart of the Lakes gladdens the soul but a bit of sunshine – sheer joy. We followed the River Greta out of Keswick and it wasn’t long before we were on a quiet road, closed to traffic as there were regular stops to open gates, which ran underneath one of Wainwright’s favourite mountains Blencathra (he didn’t like the name Saddleback by which it is also known). The views to the south were the
Right: Charlotte outside Tan Hill Inn.
Below: End of the ride at Wainwright’s Bar, Robin Hood’s Bay.
start of the Helvellyn range and the grassy banks of Great Dodd. There is an alternative rigorous off road route which runs underneath Great Dodd and is part of the C2C. We stopped at a cycle café on the route near Greystoke Castle (former home of Lord Greystoke on which the legend of Tarzan is based) and then on to Penrith. This was where our route would differ from the traditional C2C. Instead of heading in a north-easterly direction and eventually over Hartside, we were heading south-east, towards Appleby and the small hamlet of Great Asby where we were staying for the night. Charlotte was well into her stride and an understanding was developing with plenty of coasting to relieve the aches and pains of sitting on a saddle too long. The great thing about riding on a tandem is you can always chat to your partner; the downside of riding on a tandem is that you can always talk to your partner and vice versa. Most topics were covered on the ride and I think I ended up promising having more children than we had previously agreed upon. It was about 75 miles or so to our first stop but we were reunited with the little one for the night and some of Malcolm Ewbank’s sirloin steaks (a local Appleby butcher whose meat is without parallel).
Turkey Tarn Hill
There are three roads out of Asby and the steepest – Turkey Tarn hill – was our route to Kirkby Stephen the next morning. In our family, a walk up Turkey Tarn Hill is certainly viewed as a solid achievement on any day. Heading up there on a bike was viewed with some scepticism by older members but fortunately we triumphed at our regular slow and steady pace. We rolled down to Kirkby Stephen and on to Tan Hill, the biggest challenge. There were some steep climbs along the way but we made it to the top along a magnificent road with stunning views across the moors to the highest pub in England (always snowed-in during winter). We stopped for a coffee just before midday. It was tempting to have a pint as a number of others were doing, but realised it was too early in the day and however good it tasted would pay for it later. The descent down to Barnard Castle took us on a roughish track where I think it would have been better to stay on-road. Lunch at an old café and we headed off but were delayed by a rear blowout as we headed down a zig-zaggy road across a picturesque bridge. Luckily we weren’t delayed for long and the weather was perfect: sunshine and a nice pleasant temperature. The sounds of changing gear were
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punctuated by shouts of ‘house’ as we passed yet another amazing piece of rural architecture and mused whether we could ever afford such an establishment (no) to whether we should pack up from London and move back to the north. After another 70-mile-odd day we overnighted at lodgings literally on the A1 and had an enjoyable evening drinking and chatting with a young woman walking the coast to coast. She was hoping her boyfriend was going to meet her in Robin Hood’s Bay and was expecting a marriage proposal when she got there. The next day was tough but stunning. It was the first day we had to walk – not going up some of the 20 per centers but going down, as I just didn’t trust our newly-honed riding skills. Some great views, hills, rivers, moorland and villages and eventually being able to see the North Sea. We ambled into Robin Hood’s Bay and to the guesthouse where we were to meet my parents who had come over with our baby boy. We didn’t manage to dip our bike in the water as the hill to the shoreline and Wainwright’s pub was just too steep though there was a great sense of achievement over 200 miles later. I had been gently prodded by people questioning the wisdom of buying a tandem bike when Charlotte was expecting but you can’t put a price on the experience of our coast to coast ride and I’m sure my wife will agree. N
Living with a Garmin:
Two common problems – The 50 Points limit, and the Circular Routes problem Francis Cooke
often see messages from people struggling because ‘my Garmin will only accept Routes of 50 points or fewer’. In other words, they keep getting a screen like this: All you can do here is press ‘Enter’ and the Route fails to load, and it’s a vicious circle. This is actually a Garmin setup problem and easily fixed, allowing Routes of up to 250 points to be used. In the menu, Setup, Routing – the top option is Guidance Method which can be set to one of three choices. By default out of the factory, it will be set to ‘Off Road’, but when you add an autoroutable map (such as City Navigator) it will automatically reset to a new default of ‘Prompted’ – which is indeed the best setting. It is only when it is set to the third option, ‘Follow Road’, that the vicious circle described above occurs. Because ‘Follow Road’ mode (or autorouting) is indeed restricted to 50 points or fewer (which is loads, actually, since in this mode you only need one point per 5 to 10km on average). So how did the GPS get stuck in this (non-default) mode? I suspect it’s because of this screen: Which appears in ‘Prompted’ mode every time you load a Route or do a Go To. It might seem natural to opt for ‘Follow Road’ (duh!) and then, as you do, to tick the ‘Don’t Ask Again’ box. That last bit was the big mistake! The GPS is now stuck in Follow Road mode for evermore and has lost 50% of its functionality. So go into Setup, Routing, and reset the Guidance Method to ‘Prompted’.
Now if your Route won’t load because it is more than 50 points, you will be offered the option of running it in Off Road mode. This is Garmin-speak for direct or point-topoint mode and can use up to 250 points – which again is loads, since in this mode you’d use one point per 1km on average. Some people, me included, prefer this mode anyway. And in future when you see that ‘Don’t Ask’ prompt, don’t tick the box! Ever! If the Route is one you’ve downloaded, from BikeHike for example, and it seems to be even more than 250 points – the chances are that it really isn’t a Route at all, but a Track. The simple difference is that Track points are generally much closer together than Route points. So if you have lots of points, check your download options, and choose the Track version if there is one.
The Circular Routes Problem
This is another common difficulty among audaxers. Circular routes confuse the GPS. (By ‘circular’ I mean any route that eventually returns to its starting point. By contrast a ‘linear’ route would be one that goes from point A to point B.) As you set off, the GPS detects that the ‘destination’, ie the final point in the Route, is nearby, and decides to take a shortcut to that point. Often, this is not at all obvious on screen (no error messages etc) and the first sign that something is amiss is that the GPS appears to be counting backwards, or pointing you back towards the start. This is often interpreted as some sort of fault. (At this point, often you can simply fix the problem by reloading the Route and so forcing a complete recalculation.) Why does this confusion happen and how can it be prevented? I think maybe the problem arises because a route is, by definition – according to my Oxford dictionary – ‘a way or course taken from one place to another’.
A cycle ride, on the other hand, more often than not finishes at the same place it started (home, car park, event HQ). Unfortunately, if the Garmin detects a significant shortcut whilst following a Route, it will go into ‘helpful mode’ and quietly adjust the Route in its memory, to use that shortcut. A classic circular route is an extreme case. This applies equally in Follow Road, Off Road and GPXX modes. The thinking appears to go something like this (this is just my interpretation) ‘While navigating a Route, the “next” intermediate point should always be closer than any subsequent point.’ When this rule is broken, there is a potential shortcut situation (though it works slightly differently depending on whether you are navigating in Follow Road or Off Road) and a good chance that the GPS will reorganise the Route to make use of that shortcut. In my diagram of a simple route, there are some points where a shortcut could kick in, for example from 2 to 9, or from 3 to 5. But not from 6 to 8, because 6 to 7 is closer. Cycle tourists who ride ‘moving on’ tours, or transcontinental treks, don’t encounter this problem. Because their Routes are always classical one-place-to-another, or ‘linear’ Routes, and it is just the natural order of things that the ‘next’ point will always be closer than any later points, so everything works just fine.
Most Garmins can store large numbers
For audaxers, well, simply split the Route into two (or more, but usually just two will do the trick). In my example above, splitting the Route at the first Control would solve all the problems. Essentially you break your ride down into ‘out’ and ‘back’ Routes, and just swap from one to the other during the lunch stop, say. You convert your circular route, or whatever configuration it is, into two linear Routes. Fortunately most Garmins can store large numbers of Routes (50 is common) so splitting into two doesn’t pose any storage problems – and switching Routes only takes a few seconds. Software such as Mapsource, and the many online planning aids such as BikeHike, don’t offer an option to ‘split’ a Route. The simple procedure is to ‘duplicate’ your Route – maybe by using a ‘save as’ procedure. Make sure to name the two copies in such a way that you will be able to see which is which in the Garmin menu – eg call them ‘A-Wobbly200’ and ‘B-Wobbly200’. Now open the ‘properties’ of your Route A and delete the last several points (eg, if the Route has 100 points, delete the last 30 say). In my example above, you would delete all points from 5 to the end. That’s it – you don’t need to edit Route B at all. On the day, set off following Route A and at some convenient time during the day, just switch to Route B. N
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arrows to york
Easter Arrows John Radford
his Arrow must be something of a record I guess: 16 teams finishing in not the best of conditions on the ride and very suspect weather before the event. 66 riders proved the Audax ethos is still alive and kicking. With many Arrow Captains first-timers, and riders, it was refreshing to get calls and e-mails before the ride asking about route changes due to the weather, and other related questions. This has not happened before, there had been no questions on the Information Sheet or Route Sheet in the past. Taking stock of things after the ride I have decided to rewrite the Information Sheet. I have now the ACP information and requirements so look out for an update in a later Arrivée. I will also show a route template that shows different finish distances. As with any ride the highlight is finishing: if it was not ‘enjoyed’ the feeling of achievement kicks in, the sense of camaraderie in the team, a feeling of well-being. This year the warmth of the welcome at the Wetherspoons Punch Bowl from the riders and the pub staff was overwhelming; smiles soon melted cold, damp faces; warm, wide, soft chairs were so comfortable; the beer and soft and hot drinks went down so well with a full English, pancakes or porridge. This was one of the best after-ride socials ever, we should do it again next year. The VC 167 Go North: Bob Johnson, Aiden Hedley, Steven Bryce, Andy Clarkson, Ian Hellawell. 465k Portsmouth CTC: Paul Whitehead, Steven Ferry, Stephen Underwood, Jonathan Ellis. 440k Keepers of the Key: Martin Foley, Kevin Rae, Martyn Peggie, Martin Berry, Neil Fraser. 420k Southern Softies: Rimas Grigenas, Werner Wiethege, Adam Kinsey. 411k Bungay Jump: Ian Reid, Mark Elmy, Alan Stribling 409k The Desperate Housewives: Chris Narborough, Toby Hopper, Simon Bennett. 407k The Mercian Marauders: Dave Smith, Roy Clarke, Adam Cox, Sam Wainwright, Ray Joiner. 407k The Only Way is Boudica’s: Tom Deakins, Ian Bloomfield, Deniece Davidson, Peter Faulks. 405k The Afterthoughts: Simon Whitehead, Les Bauchop, Peter Ralph, Rob Wood. 404k Suffolking Slow: Arabella Maude, Els Vermeulen, Jane Swain, Marcus Yeo, John Tomlinson. 403k More Wessex Wanderers: Andy Heyting, Matthew Chambers, Mike Gordon, Simon Proven, Lara Day. 402k Mid-Essex Team B[eer]: Mark Oakden, Alastair Dent, Rob Bullyment. 400k The Bristol Annexe: Dave Johnston, Dave Baxandall, Paul Rainbow. 385k 3 Fixed 2 Free: John Radford, Don Black, Julian Dyson, Bob Chatterton, Kevan Shuttleworth. 375k The London Grimpeurs: Tim Sollesse, Peter Turnbull, Justin Jones, Joel Bromley. 370k The Wessex Wanderers: Charlie Bladon, Andrew Preston, Donna Elliott, Steve Elliott, Phil England. 361k N
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Short and sharp – the Widdop 50 Peter Bond
his is one of Steve Snook’s hilly permanent rides. At just over 30 miles, it’s the shortest but, with 1.25 AAA points in that distance, it’s a good workout. I usually ride out and back from my home near Rochdale, which makes the whole trip about 60 miles, which is a good afternoon out. The ride proper starts in Hebden Bridge. Much has been written about Hebden Bridge and as it is such a diverse place much of it will be true. Leave its denizens for another day, the buildings alone are fascinating. I’ve never seen the kind of vertical housing that clings to the valley sides anywhere else in my travels. At the other end of the scale, they have the most heavily fortified public toilets anywhere in the western world, lined in stainless steel and designed to withstand heavy ordnance, from inside or out. They are also ‘pay-to-play’, so you need to plan your movements carefully. Looking back from the central crossroads, you can see the local bike shop, strangely called Blazing Saddles, which is just what you don’t need. (Actually, they are very helpful in there.) As you can imagine, with altitude points for such a short ride, you are going to be climbing most of the time and you start immediately, with the long ascent of Cock Hill on the road to Keighley. I love this climb as it rises out of the town and above the steep, wooded valley of Hardcastle Crags to the left. At various times of the year, you can see squirrel dreys and heron nests in the tall trees which grow all the way up the slope far below to the Keighley road. Emerging from the trees, you arrive at the settlement of Pecket Well which still has a mill-chimney and a fine-looking inn, the Robin Hood. I don’t know the history, but many places across the Pennines claim a connection with the outlaw, including Rochdale, which has an area called Robin Hood’s Bed on Blackstone Edge. From Pecket Well, things get distictly lonelier. On the left, across Crimsworth Dean and the old pack-trail to Haworth, there are isolated farmsteads on the
hillside, some derelict. On the right hand side of the road, there is nothing but the moor climbing into the distance. From the top of the climb, by the Bradford University research station, there is a fine view of the road sweeping down towards Oxenhope and Keighley beyond and the reservoirs over to the north, where our way will soon take us. I paused to look around at the top and was rewarded with the sight of both Ingleborough and Peny-Ghent peeping over the moor in the far distance, very faint but unmistakeable. The descent towards Keighley is almost too fast, containing, as it does, a couple of right- angle bends but it’s exhilarating for all that and you are soon past the turn to Oxenhope station on the famous Keighley and Worth Valley Railway and making towards Haworth, which is over to the left of the road as you approach. Soon you leave the main road to descend a very steep, twisting lane to Haworth. The first time I did this ride was near Christmas in 2010 and not only was I looking for ice but the road was up, too, which made it more of a slalom than a bike ride at that point. Suddenly, you are at the railway and you turn right for the control at the Spar, opposite the station itself, which, being a preserved building, still looks as railway stations looked before they became train stations. Such a precipitous descent usually means imminent climbing and, sure enough, you retrace the route for a couple of hundred yards to turn right over the railway bridge and the start of the climb to Haworth proper. On two occasions I have been lucky enough to see steam trains passing under the bridge as I arrived. The climb to the
Above: Widdop Reservoir. Below: Pack Bridge at Wycoller.
town is exacting but has been recently (2011) resurfaced. Unfortunately, this meant that on one occasion, when it was hot weather, extra effort was required to prevent the tyres sticking to the surface! Half-way up the climb, which was marked on the Christmas ride by the colourful town tree, the road divides with the left fork taking the original route up the still-cobbled street through the centre of Haworth. There is a fading picture in a book-shop window up the main street which shows cyclists climbing the cobbles, so perhaps the Milk Race, or Tour of Britain went this way once. Our route takes us on the newer road to meet the old one at the top of the village, near Britain’s most notorious car-park. This has been featured on television and is run by a Rolls-Roycedriving millionaire, who has his goons clamp any vehicle that is a centimetre over the parking bay lines, or is the wrong colour or smells funny. Even in Yorkshire, this is such an embarrassment that the council and local shopkeepers have posted warning notices. Some things are too much even for Cash-in City. (Did I mention The Bronte Woollen Mill Shop or Bronte Balti? I’m not kidding.) Sniping apart, Haworth is a great place to visit and is justly famous as the home of the Balti sisters, one of whom had Jane Eyre published under the pseudonym of Curry Bell. From Haworth the road rolls out to Stanbury and the Wuthering Heights pub, another place not associated with the Bronte sisters, but which looks rather fine. The next few kilometres, past Ponden Reservoir, are quite stiff but pass through magnificent scenery until you reach (after a very sharp but short climb) the hamlet of Moor Lodge, where there is a good café above the furniture showrooms. From here, you are out on the moor again and forcing through the ever-present headwind past Watersheddles reservoir towards Laneshaw Bridge. I’ve done this road many times and there is always something new to discover. This time it was a cluster of spoil tips down below
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All photos by the author
HEADING grimpeur IN HERE
the The Herders Arms, an abandoned drovers’ watering hole. There were beautiful harebells nodding in the wind on the opposite verge, while Pendle loomed in the blue distance. There is also a very imposing but neglected set of gate-posts along this section. I’ve been unable to work out from the maps, which, presumably grand, establishment they served, possibly Upper Emmott. Just before Laneshaw Bridge, with the Emmott Arms on the Colne road in view, you turn left for Wycoller and run alongside the pleasant Colne Water for a couple of hundred yards before turning south and then east (via some more lumps) to Wycoller. The village is approached on a newly tarmacked lane, which is very narrow, with high hedgerows, before you turn sharp right into the hamlet itself. You could easily spend a day exploring Wycoller and many people do. There is an excellent café and the famous, derelict Wycoller Hall, suggested as the model for Ferndean Manor in Jane Eyre. There are three interesting bridges, crossing Wycoller Beck, including two clapper-type ones, which are effectively great slabs of stone from bank to bank.
Above: Hebden Bridge. Below: Haworth rail station. Bottom: Looking towards Pendle.
The more famous pack-horse bridge, with its crooked arches, is smaller than you imagine but very photogenic and evocative of the pony-trains that would have used it on their way over from Trawden and beyond up to The Herders and on to Halifax. Wycoller is a dead-end, so you backtrack for a mile or so, before turning left onto a car-lined descent to Trawden. From here you are heading back towards Hebden Bridge and the toughest climb of the day (but not before a few other stiff tests on the way). At Clarion House (not the famous clubhouse, which is at Roughlee, near Pandle), there is a left turn at the crossroads, from which the view is awe-inspiring. First, there is the terrific swoop down towards the Coldwell reservoirs and the dense plantation at Shuttleworth pasture. Then in the distance you can make out the scar across the far hillside, which is the climb out of Thursden. I imagine that the whole section from Trawden to Hebden Bridge is on the line of an old pack-horse road (indeed we pass the Packhorse Inn before long), because these trails tried to avoid the marshy bottoms of the valleys and so often climb steeply to get on the tops. Beyond Shuttleworth Plantation, at the crest of a hill, there is a gloomy looking pill-box, covered in moss and grass. It’s hard to imagine why invaders would have bothered coming this way at all and I like to think it’s a more recent fabrication to bar the way to 4 x 4’s. In a couple of hundred yards you are at the steepest section of the course, fortunately going down, but just when it seems you might be able to carry a lot of useful momentum up the almost equally steep rise out of Thursden, you come to a cattle grid. You really need to be on your climbing gear before you hit this grid; the grid itself is perfectly good but the road ahead gets steep so quickly that it can be really difficult to change down, especially as you are negotiating a sharp left-hander at the same time. The first hundred yards of this climb are really quite stiff but it pays to stamp as hard as you can on the pedals because there is an easier bit where you may even change up several gears for half a mile or so, though it is still going higher. Then comes another short section, almost as steep as the first. I have done this route several times in one form or other and this is a case of it really paying off if you know what to expect. So I’ve told you. From the summit, there is an interesting view of what may be an old green lane disappearing over Boulsworth Hill in the direction of Wycoller. From here it is gentle undulations, with superb moorland views past Widdop reservoir as far as the Packhorse Inn. This is a large, white establishment and it is easy to imagine the drovers and pack animals milling around in the yards and
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swapping tales and messages as they crossed each other with their loads of textiles and lime and salt. Later, I imagine it will have been a haunt of the navvies and engineers who built the reservoirs at Walshaw Dean to the north-east, and later still those at Gorple, to the west. If you are thinking of watering here yourself, be warned that it isn’t open every day. From the inn, you can see the climb that presents the last obstacle before the finish. Like all climbs, it seems much steeper viewed from above and at distance, than it actually is. The approach to it, down a very steep zig-zag past the cluster of buildings at Blake Dean, needs care. The climb itself is gentle enough to allow you to take in the sights to the left in Blake Dean valley. There is a small memorial to the people who lost their lives in the terrible fire at Bradford football ground, though I’m not sure why it is at that place, unless perhaps it was a favourite spot of one of the victims. And why wouldn’t it be? The sun sparkles on Hebden Water as it tumbles its way towards Hardcastle Crags past the still-visible foundations of the wooden trestle bridge, which carried the reservoir railway from Dawson City (Heptonstall) to the Walshaw Dean reservoirs. The last section is beautiful on a warm summer evening, when I have seen bay horses knee-high in buttercups and red clover and listened to the eerie piping of curlews. I once had to prevent myself spoiling my own enjoyment by getting upset at the sight of a young woman climbing back into her BMW with a bunch of already-wilting bluebells in her hand. Soon you are at the oddly named Slack Top, which is quickly followed by Slack Bottom. For some odd reason I always associate those names with that woman with the bluebells. The final descent from just outside Heptonstall to Hebden Bridge is exhilarating but needs concentration. The over-arching trees can make the road difficult to read, in terms of potholes and so on, and no matter how reckless a descender you are, there will almost always be a more reckless one in a car behind, which you don’t hear because of the wind rushing in your ears. So take care, and arrive safely back in Hebden Bridge. This is a short ride, only just over 30 miles, but you will really know you have done something when you finish. With one or two exceptions, the climbs are not severe but as you can imagine, with AAA points in such a short distance, it’s pretty relentless. But please don’t let that put you off. The time allowance is very generous indeed and, as I’ve realised from the length of this report, there is so much to see and think about, whatever time of year you choose. Thanks, Steve! N
1200 km randonnee
Alaska’s Big Wild Ride Chris Wilby was not much need as apart from us, there was about three other cars. All the bikes were laid flat on the boat except mine: I had some rope to tie the bike to the boat structure. On the boat there was plenty of room, with a canteen and lots of other riders to talk to. Many passengers were looking for the whales with their long lenses and expensive cameras ready. The captain would announce if he thought there was a whale and then there would be a rush to the windows on that side. Frenzied tourists blocking the windows, crawling up the glass to get a better view. I heard shouts of ‘Orca’ whilst people ran to the side of the ship of the sighting to get a better view. Fortunately people don’t weigh much compared to a ship so it did not tilt. When we docked we just rode in the only direction into Valdez. I heard rock music and talked to a girl at the local festival. A few people were dancing. Larry Mildura and I were sharing a room at the Great Western. As normal practice we wheeled our bikes into the rooms and had a meal in the hotel; I had an Alaskan version of fish and chips with salmon substituted for haddock. We were given a quick preview of the ride from Kevin Turinsky (ride director) giving us last minute notes about some of the issues to be encountered such as the road works where we would be transported through at intervals by the roadworks crew, and the lack of showers at Delta Junction, where we would be using an alternative building. About 30 riders were waved off onto the flat road out of town. This long stretch of road went past various homesteads where we were waved on by their occupants. The group were not racing and Wayne Cernak was taking the lead-out. As we approached the Thompson Pass the gradient steepened and I increased my speed, passing other cyclists on the way up. I had heard talk of this pass being the hardest climb of the ride. I soon realised that I was leading the ride up the pass and I started to widen the gap between me and following riders. Some riders started to chase so I decided to keep up the pace to maintain the lead. On the way up I saw the ride helpers waiting in a lay-by which I thought was the top, but it wasn’t as they said another four miles to go. At the top of the pass the view of Worthington Glacier was great and the
‘ I soon realised that I was leading the ride up the pass and I started to widen the gap between me and following riders.’
road was still wet from previous rain with an overcast sky. I was about to shoot past Veronica standing next to her 4x4 at the first control. She shouted ‘It’s a control!’ which made me stop. Arriving first at the Russian Banquet, ‘Oh hello, we’re not quite ready, we expected you later on’ – I like it when that happens. 15 dollars paid and some really nice fresh food, cheeses, meats, tomatoes. The next cyclist was Richard McCaw (10 minutes later) and he left within a few minutes. Just as it was getting dark on arrival at the lodge, it was now dark and cold on leaving. I left with John Preston and Luis Vargas, both from Florida, and Catherine Shenk from Colorado. Catherine and I started moving ahead of the others because it seemed to be taking a long time for the other two to get into gear and we were getting cold waiting, so we continued up the climb. We met again at the next control ‘The hub of Alaska’ at Glennallen which was a gas station store. I continued riding with Catherine into the mountains and scenery of Alaska. A few miles before Black River Lodge tiredness started for me and Catherine kept going. The Black River Lodge was set back from the road on the right and I missed it because I was looking left at the mountains, so at 10 miles past it Veronica caught me up in her 4x4 to tell me. I hitched a lift back in a tourist camper, got something to eat, met Larry, John and Luis and got my stamp. I asked for poached eggs but they didn’t know how to cook them so I had to teach the two young girls. I left Larry to continue, now in catch-up mode. The 400k rest stop was at Delta Junction just after an army base. It was a very flat, long road and seemed to go on forever. As I approached, more and more army vehicles were seen. I didn’t see Larry again until Delta Junction where he appeared when I was on the carpet trying to sleep. No mats, just a hard carpet. Fortunately the climate didn’t cause too much need for the showers. Wet
All photos by the author
arrived in Alaska after a 17-hour flight from Manchester, changing at Amsterdam, and Minneapolis, to arrive in Anchorage. I was met by Tony Allen, a randonneur cyclist hosting my stay. Tony picked me up in his Dodge 4x4 and showed me the bike path so I could make the trip into Anchorage the next day. The first meeting with the Audax group was the meet and greet at Speedway Cycles, the home of the Fatbike (specially wide-tyred bikes for snow) www.fatbikes.com. The cycle shop was full of bikes for fat riders, and fat tyres to take their weight with low gears. These bikes had frames that already had the top tube bent down as if a fat person had already bent it; seems that a pre-deformed top tube would avoid later embarrassment later on. The tyres are similar in width to motorbike tyres. My bike was checked over and the rear spokes were tightened and thread glued to ensure it would last the ride. Prior to the event we had been invited to travel on the train and ship to the ride start at Valdez. Most riders did this, and it was good to see the Prince William Sound from the train and then from the ship. This area was surrounded by mountains and there was a strong possibility of seeing whales from either the train or the boat. This train route hugged the rocky coastline and went through many tunnels; some of it was used in the making of the film ‘Runaway Train’ with Jon Voight, who was actually around Anchorage while we were there. When the train driver thought he saw a whale he announced it through the speaker system and people crushed towards the side of the train. Unfortunately it was just a piece of wood. The train had a top deck where you could get a better view but the cyclists mainly just relaxed in the wide, comfy seats. At Whitier, a cruise passenger ship was berthed ready for its next stage. We were not going on that one but a cheaper one around the corner. It was quite cold so after getting the tickets I stayed out of the wind whilst we waited for our boat to arrive. We queued up even though there
Chris in Alaska riding his Airnimal.
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1200 km randonnee Nippy Sweetie 200 – Photos: Victoria Wyllie Dave Fawcett and Stephen Reed
wipes were provided as an alternative. On these inaugural rides there are bound to be some issues which will be resolved next time. At Delta, Larry arrived after me and woke me after a couple of hours’ sleep. I elected to join him and we set off with Martin (riding a bamboo bike) and JoAnn Falfrowicz. From here we headed for Fairbanks via Midway where we had a good feed. I had buffalo burgers, and managed a quick lie down for 15 minutes. On leaving, the sky was glowing with the Northern Lights, and on this stretch I rode with Chris Hanson (from California) to arrive at the Fairbanks Safeway store. I left Fairbanks with Larry and we began climbing up the Alaska range. Half way up one of the photographers showed us the ice cream cone that topped above the other mountains – Denali – also known as Mt. Mckinley. This was the only viewing point of Denali. On continuing up, Dutchman Ben Shipper was chasing me up the climb. It was on these climbs that I spotted Skinny Dicks. After a lot of rollers I arrived at the Chevron garage, Larry soon after. It was hot and we were both tired so we managed to lie down in ride helpers’ vans and 4x4s. Along the road from here my tyre exploded as it split from debris on the road shoulder on which we were riding. Fortunately I had a boot patch to fix the tyre. Larry was riding alongside but hadn’t realised I’d stopped, so we met again at Healy, the Methodist church hall. Food was good and sleeping on soft mats made a difference. After two hours Larry and I left. The next stop was Talkeetna which involved a long run down to the Swissstyle cottage where we got a good feed and sleep. Larry was just 100 yards ahead of me riding on the cycle path when I saw a moose in front of him across the path. Fortunately it moved back into the woods before Larry reached it. After a good meal I went to bed sharing with Larry, in the night I swapped into another bed someone else vacated. When we got up, there was Martin Zynbergs (Bamboo Bike) sleeping at the base of the bed on the floor. After we set off within 10 minutes the rain poured down so we planned to have a proper breakfast at a café further down the road that Larry knew of.
I asked Larry about the bears: he said when you smell old, wet carpet it’s not a carpet, it’s a bear. We then passed a moose at the side of the road. Larry said ‘That’s a moose’; then we passed a bear and he said ‘That’s a bear’. The bear must have heard and started moving back into the woods. I smelt a lot of wet carpet, and on my way to Wasila, Larry kept his pace and I dropped back to ride at mine. Soon I was so tired I had to lie down and found a place under a street lamp which the bears wouldn’t bother with. Soon a 4x4 stopped to see if I was all right. When I told them it was tiredness they gave me a pickup drink which worked, then the cops pulled up to check on me, because it looked like I had had an argument with the 4x4 since I was getting up and my bike was on the floor. Further down the road I came into Wasilla and found a Walmark where the organisers were waiting to stamp my card, then I was off again. This part avoided the main highway until it reached Cook Inlet’s Knik Arm which had to be crossed by road riding, in the road shoulder. After this point we needed to use the bikepaths and I followed a sign that was pointing the wrong way and I stopped to reconsider whether it meant straight up or straight round. Just as I did so two riders caught up, Rex Carpenter, Pennsylvania, and Tom Parker, Alaska. They knew better so I kept with them to the finish. After the ride my host Tony Allen took me shooting and we stayed in a log cabin from where we went canoeing and I had a go at quad-biking. I went for a trip to the Native American experience. See more at www.randonneur. talktalk.net/BWR2011/ and videos of the ride on my Youtube channel RandonneurUK. The Alaskan ride is being run again in 2013. Contact Kevin Turinsky kjturinsky@ mac.com for further details. N
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Ryan McBurney and Kevin Rae in the foreground
Steve Whalley in foreground
Chris’s 300 Kevin Presland and Graham Brodie (in italic inserts)
t was such a devastating shock to all of us when Chris Bennett died on a club ride on the Torbay CTC hard run on 1st April. Before he left us he had been planning a 300km Audax route down to one of his favourite places – Polzeath – and back. The night before his death, Chris had emailed the final agreed controls for the route, to be ridden as a permanent this year with Rod Pash and I accompanying him. Sadly he was not to see the event come to fruition, but Rod was resolute, we would invite others and ride it in his memory on Chris’s planned date of April 27th. A number of folk came forward, not because they could easily rattle off a 300, but because this was for Chris. Our compliment was swollen on the day by: Brian Jago – since completing the PBP had largely rested, so was no longer in scintillating kilometre crunching condition. James O’Neil – had never exceeded 100 miles in a day. Graham Brodie – came to the start to ‘abandon’ having stayed up far too late at a previously arranged meal, and having undertaken no preparation. Added to all of this, I had not ridden more than 200km for a good many years. A real advantage in a Permanent is that it can start near to home, none of that testing early morning driving, just a potter out to Newton Abbot. The forecast was good, but with wind due to increase and deliver a belt of heavy rain in the night. It was therefore an unpleasant surprise to feel the drops of light rain as I pedalled out of a dimpsy Bovey Tracey at 5.25am. After two miles it was clear that the droplets were organising into real rain. So in the heavy rain the five of us met, purchased wet parking tickets, kept common sense at bay, and set off. Graham failed to turn around, having agreed that he may as well ride to Whiddon Down ‘to see how he felt by then’. Due to the extra folk on board a little more effort had been expended on preparing a route sheet, but not in any manner that I have before. Google Street View provided necessary information at every junction to enable explanation of priority and signposting. In fact as it happened it gave me a mental image of every junction where a decision was
required, so made way finding pretty straight forwards on the day. Not a bad idea in preparing to ride any Audax. It is not a quick activity however; I developed the route at about 75km per hour! Anyhow, thoughts were on the route ahead, and making our way out through those roads we know so well. As we headed in to the Wray Valley, my promises of dry roads were unfounded, and instead we were under a deep grey and very wet veil of cloud. Conversation was fairly light as we progressed up the Wrey Valley through Moretonhampstead towards Winkleigh. The forecast was a misty start, but it rained steadily, and the Devon lanes were strewn with potholes and trenches full of muddy water (a drought had been declared by the EA a few days earlier!). Water must have been running straight through us in more ways than one, for we stopped on the Spinsters Rock bend for a wee moment, meanwhile Graham stomped by, camera in-hand, oh so threatening in our compromising activity. Before long we past the aforementioned Graham, it was his turn to be in the hedge, but he was holding his camera and pointing it in our direction – we smiled, or grimaced at least. An auditory instruction to Graham ‘see you at the roundabout’, must have gone unheard, for we stood dripping, with no sign of him. Then a slow dawning, we were not taking the normal vehicular route north, but using a flatter and more pleasant deviation, could he possibly of followed his nose rather than using the encapsulated route sheet? No sooner guessed, then in to view came Graham, climbing up from his small, errant detour. Was it an escape plan? Maybe, but it did anything but worked, and he stuck with us through the battered and puddled lanes to North Tawton, then rising on to the undulations to Winkleigh. Looking back toward Dartmoor there were signs of brightness, could this rain possibly leave us alone? Our first control was Zukis, a café and shop just north of the village. The café looked closed, but this turned out to be no more than an energy saving measure.
Chris Bennett designed the 300k route – and the perm was ridden in his memory.
‘Waterproofs stayed on and actually provided warmth with the now absent cold dousing of the earlier hours.’
It was fortunate that we had asked in the shop. There was plenty of wringing of socks, etc, I wish I had done so myself as surely the squelching would have ceased earlier. The other energy saving measure employed at ZukisCafé was to keep the temperature uncomfortably low, whereas we were in need of some heat. The forecast had been for a minimum of 10ºC, rising to 13ºC; we endured maximum of 9ºC, and at Winkleigh o’clock it must have been more like 6ºC. At least the teapot provided some warmth. At Zukis Café – the bacon and egg butties went on the grill. Everyone was very damp, and quite cold, the wind had been strengthening from the north. Sustained, and then horrified to realise we were only minutes inside the closing time for the first control at 50K, we wrung ourselves out and set off north again. Waterproofs stayed on and actually provided warmth with the now absent cold dousing of the earlier hours. Thankfully the run out across the aerodrome to Dolton Beacon had provided just enough circulation to keep violent shivers at bay on the wonderfully long descent to the River Torridge. We were to follow the valley for a good many miles, except of course, this is Devon, so along the way is the little rascal of a hill that drags up in to Great Torrington. After a moment of democracy it was left up to me to decide on the free route option, which of course I left until the last moment and then ducked in to the Puffing Billy car park, and on to the Tarka Trail cycle route. What a mighty fine decision! The entire length we rode was metalled, not many folk were out enjoying themselves and thereby getting in our way, there was zero traffic, and hills were ironed to negligible gradients, the icing on the cake being the tunnel that is bored through the hill that the main road toils over. A discrete exit from the path pops out on to the main road beside the River Yeo bridge, a tributary of the Torridge that we were now to follow to its source. Obligatory control photo to prove we had made the junction, then on our way up the valley. Things were good, feeling a lot less cold, lovely valley, tailwind, good road surface, and then on to the hill, and even that seemed good as warmth coursed through the body. We passed the reservoir that marked nearly the top point, and then hit the summit, and waited, and ate, and chatted with passing equine folk. Regrouped, our little peleton were off again for the long dip, after which we were set fair on the high roads to the north of the Tamar Lakes. Now if you do know just a little of your geography of the south-west, then you will know that the River Tamar forms much of the border between Devon and Cornwall,
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diy and if you know just a little more, then you will know that it rises just a few miles from Clovelly on the north coast and flows right across the peninsula to the south coast. Our route passed the lakes to their north, and therefore avoided the contour crunching of the Tamar Valley, but also provided extended views from this elevated coastal corner of Cornwall. A complex network of lanes were negotiated to reach Kirkhampton, which provided a chance to replenish water bottles, and then to the coast via a photo control point at Stibb. What a joy it always is to see the blue of the sea after all that agricultural landscape of rural mid-Devon. We stopped briefly in Bude for a quick snack, figuring that we did not have the surplus time for a café stop at the next control. There followed a unique two minutes of the day, for the sun came out, was it mockery, ‘you see how much warmer you would be if I were shining on you as you had expected me to be’. Polzeath was still about 60km away, with some fierce hills, but this time we headed south-west so the north-east wind pushed us down the coast. Riding toward great views we made our way to Widemouth Bay, and then the route sheet error. I had somehow lurched between parallel roads whilst drawing up the route sheet, remarkably we ended up where we intended to go, but regrettably the excursion whilst being no longer took us over hillock and vale, all linked by two 1:7 climbs. Week St Mary, so named for state of the legs on arrival, was our return to intended route, and apart from the descending bits, was one long drag up on to the edge of Davidstow Moor. From these lofty heights we commanded distant views of passed places, and destinations before us. Delabole is reached through the surreal wind turbine park, and then the chance to really use the tailwind. This is a great section of B road in that it stretches out the reduction in altitude fairly evenly over 15km or so, and it was this that gained us time to arrive at Polzeath spot on ETA of 4pm. This was a relief as we had a welcoming party: Chris’s family. There was his wife Cathy, daughters Grace and Frankie, his mother, sister Tessa and her husband, and completing the compliment was Lisa Pash. We descended in to the beachfront café for a warming cuppa, then the tubs of homemade food came out and we had our fill. Rod had been good enough to phone home earlier in the day and arrange for an additional cycle jersey for me, quite a relief, as we were now to turn in the wind. Photographs taken, and with company moral buoyed, we were away to tackle the return route – there was not one among us that did not feel increased determination to succeed. After a cup of tea it was time to look
at the route home, east and north-east predominantly with a strengthening headwind, and more rain forecast after dark! The early miles were sheltered by high hedgerows, so we were soon spending for receipts at St Kew Highway, batteries were my priority, and proved necessarily so, though the two for one offer was not so attractive as I was destined to carry more than I would need. Another route choice followed, either the A road ascent, or steeper lane and ridge B road. We chose the latter, which proved to be a mistake this day, for the ridge road offered no shelter from the wind on the nose. Perseverance dragged on, and then we were on to Davidstow Moor, and the relief of a swing to the east, and thus took a few degrees off the wind. Davidstow can be beautiful on a sunny evening, but for us it was all threatening and foreboding. It was a strong crosswind across the moor at Altarnun, everyone piled on all the layers they had available, and then it was north-east through Lewdown, Launceston and Okehampton straight into a chill wind. Everything useful to us was closed in Okehampton, so we struck on to the garage stop just above the town. Hot coffee and pasty were just the tonic to spire the legs on for our final 50km. The wind really did not hinder much at all for the final A30 miles to Cheriton Bishop, and then a dive in to the lanes to Dunsford and our first smattering of rain. Waterproofs had been on anyway for warmth, but overshoes and over gloves were now donned, though at this point the rain did not amount to much. It was in these dark, descending lanes that my batteries gave up, and being a Hope Vision I was plunged unwarned into darkness. St Kew batteries inserted, and on down to the Teign Valley. We were now on the home straight. With no mishaps there was every chance of finishing in time, the wind was behind us again, and it remained dry … Valley swept by as we confidently chattered in communication and cold. Coincident with our arrival at Chudleigh Bridge, the heavens opened, and curtains of rain were drawn this way and that across our path for the last few miles. The rain began, and by the time we were in the valley it was like the Dartmoor Devil, winds gusting strongly, branches and debris everywhere and a tad soggy! Maybe it was the distraction of such remarkable rain, but I did not spare a thought to shortcutting home. The tailwind pushed us all the way in to Newton Abbot and to the car park for another wet parking ticket, some 19 hours and 40 minutes after the first. And so ended our tribute ride to Chris. He would have been satisfied to know that he had inadvertently caused
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Time for a break at Zukis Café – far right Kevin Presland and Graham Brodie.
‘What a joy it always is to see the blue of the sea after all that agricultural landscape of rural mid-Devon.’
three more of his cycling friends in to 300 territory, for in his lifetime there are many that he had gently encouraged to riding greater distances than they would have perhaps otherwise achieved. As for our effort expended on the day, 4,250m were climbed, but not in a steep sort of way, just rolling on with some longer slogs to cross the high points of Davidstow and Whiddon Down (both twice), together with the intermediate heights of Great Torrington and Tamar Lakes. It felt like a one-point event, which would have been awarded on the old AAA system, but today we receive a disproportionate four points – easy pickings. This lofty number should not be off-putting, it does not reflect the effort required! Chris had contemplated this ride for many years, having first discovered longer distance cycling in his occasional weekend rides to visit his parents at Wadebridge. He would follow many of the roads on our return route on these ventures. As for an abiding memory, well it is certainly that moment where we all met at Polzeath. Never on an Audax have I experienced such a moment. It had been wonderful to meet the family again, and to hear their stories of this beach that holds so many precious memories for the family, there was no doubting why Chris had taken the route here. So, after such a sad and premature end, we have a new Audax, brainchild of Chris, and continuing in his memory. Look out for it in the calendar next year, and do come and join us. N
Kevin Presland in wet weather gear.
organising an event
Feeding the 500
The trials and tribulations of a first time Audax organiser Marcus Mumford
few years ago some friends and I had a road to Damascus moment (well more of a steep hill to Winchcombe moment) as our eyes were opened to the delights of the Audax when we took on the superb Cotswold Corker. Having ridden a few sportives we found that Audaxing offered similar challenges but in a much more friendly format. The organisers were enthusiasts who wanted to share their favourite roads and routes to give riders an enjoyable day out for a bargain price. Pretty soon we were converts, helped in no small part by the catering arrangements that all seemed to have a common theme: a plentiful supply of cake! A couple of years and a few hundred kilometres later and after another fantastic day riding to ‘West Bay and Back’ a suggestion was made by my riding partner for the day, Andy that our own band of cycling friends could be harnessed to put on one of these Audaxes. After all, how hard could it be? Like the start of many a good plan we headed to the Nova Scotia pub to set the wheels in motion and over a pint of local ale we drew up a shortlist of the key factors that had to be arranged: • A nice route that circumnavigated our home town of Bristol. • Some really excellent baked goods. With this in mind Andy set off to pore over his collection of OS maps while I dusted off some cookery books… before putting them back on the shelf and emailing some friends and family who were handy with a spatula and a mixing bowl. I also started to look into what was required to be an Audax organiser and found that it was surprisingly straightforward. The fact that the events are non-competitive and self-guided simplifies the responsibilities of the organiser meaning no expensive event insurance or dozens of route markers to
be bought. However, as a first timer, AUK suggests that an experienced organiser is used as a mentor which proved useful. Soon Andy had devised what on paper looked to be two fantastic routes offering a 100km and a 200km circuit around Bristol and including some favourite quiet lanes, some we hadn’t ridden before and one or two climbs to make sure riders would get a good view. The next job was to write the route sheet. It’s surprising how long it takes to drive 200km when you have to write down every detail of every turning so that it can then be translated into an easy to follow format. As well as making sure the route was going to be enjoyable to
cycle, the long drive also allowed us to find some suitable venues for checkpoints. One of which was found by chance as we happened to stop in the village of Hill on the day that the local WI and Church Group were serving tea and cakes in the village hall. After sampling and liking the baking, a quick chat with the ladies convinced them to lay on a similar spread for our event. Checkpoint one, which would become a significant feature of the ride, was booked. We celebrated with a slice of pavlova. Once Andy had written the route sheets we used them on some recce rides to make sure that they made sense and led us in the right direction. Although it’s inevitable that someone would get lost, we were keen to make sure that the route sheet was as simple to follow as possible particularly as we hoped to encourage plenty of Audax novices to enter who may not know their L @ T from their SO @ RAB. With the first key factor finalised we could submit the route details to AUK’s South West Event co-ordinator, Ian, for him to inspect, comment and eventually approve our plans. A date was picked and straight away refused as it clashed with the well established, and also very highly recommended, Merry Monk and Nutty Nuns events down in nearby High Ham. Consulting the diary we found that the last weekend in March was clear and had the added challenge of being when the clocks went forward so riders would have an hour’s less sleep! Once we had a few choice info control questions written Ian was able to add our event to the AUK calendar which meant it was official and we could take entries. Time for another pint in the Nova Scotia to celebrate. Seeing our events: ‘Barry’s Bristol Bash’ and ‘Barry’s Bristol Ball Buster’ in print in the back of the next edition of Arrivée was great but we wanted to spread the word a bit wider than the already established Audax crowd. Although not part of an official club, Andy and myself are members of a disparate collection of friends who form the ‘Las Vegas Institute of Sport’ or ‘LVIS’. It’s no longer based in Las Vegas but it does have a long history that includes some impressive performances by it’s founder, Barry Jaeger, who our Audax events would be named after (a lot more can be found on the website www.lvis.org.uk). Amongst the membership are friends from various backgrounds including rowing, triathlon, running and all forms of cycling and so we had the means to promote the ‘LVIS Audax’ to a large number of different groups. A poster was created and pinned to notice boards in bike shops, gyms and coffee shops across Bristol. Some online advertising including an animated video and a Facebook group also all helped to spread the word. The thrill of getting the first entry through the post was fantastic, and before long more started to follow. With each one the route sheet had to be sent back, cheque cashed and the rider’s details entered onto a database. It was a worrying time though as we had committed to some costs including hiring a village hall for the day as a start/finish HQ and needed at least 60 riders to break even. The AUK organisers’ handbook includes a graph that indicates how the typical rate of entries ramps up considerably in the last 2-3 weeks leading up to an event. Luckily the flurry of envelopes through the door appeared to be following this trend and then began to exceed the predictions. Going into the last couple of weeks there was a certain amount of anxiety in the air. Would anyone get lost? Would they enjoy the route? Had we forgotten something vitally
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organising an event
Photos by Ed Rollaston Photography www.edrollasonphotography.co.uk
important? Would we have enough food? The cake baking squad were given their instructions and an idea of numbers, the brevet cards were ordered and the café and pub that were to be our checkpoints on the long route had to be called to make sure they were ready for dozens of tired cyclists to visit them. Everything was coning together nicely. The final thing to worry about was the weather which was looking unsettled on the long-range forecast. But as the big day approached this forecast began to improve until finally on the morning of the event, having got up in what seemed like the middle of the night, I was able to watch a beautiful sunrise over Bristol. The clocks moving forward meant this early start felt even earlier, not helped by the late night icing cakes. In total, nearly 200 riders had entered across the two distances so our worries about breaking even were long forgotten! This was great news for our favourite charities who were to be given a donation from the entry fees and money collected on the day. Instead we had worries about signing on so many riders and setting them on their way. With a number of helpers on hand we were able to split the riders between three or four tables which helped speed things up and soon the 200km riders were set to go. A quick breather and then a bit later we set off the larger group who were riding the 100km route. I had driven the route the day before to make sure there were no road works, diversions or obstacles that could cause confusion. Given the weather some of the roads were in a bit of a state so it helped to be able to warn the riders to take care at various points where they may encounter mud and grit (I hope they had their mudguards fitted). We had also positioned some marshals to help riders cross at a particularly tricky junction early in the ride. Not a typical Audax requirement but one that we felt was worthwhile to make sure everyone got underway safely. Back at the start/finish HQ all was quiet once the last bike had rolled out. But not for long as there was a large stack of rolls that needed to be made into sandwiches, cakes needed to be cut and soup stirred. There was also the task of calling each checkpoint to let them know about any non-starters. In turn they would call back to HQ to let me know about anyone who had abandoned. After what seemed like a very short space of time the first rider marched through the door clutching a battered
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brevet card. With the card stamped he was ushered to the kitchen to be loaded up with complimentary food and drink. In between mouthfuls there were comments about an enjoyable route, a friendly atmosphere and all in all a great day out. If this was the only feedback then we would be happy but there would be more to come. Soon more and more bikes arrived and each smiling face was rewarded with a slice of cake, a roll and a hot drink. By midafternoon our first 200km rider arrived and parked up his fixie before joining the now lengthy queue at the serving hatch. As an experienced Audax rider it was great to hear that he had really enjoyed the route and found all the volunteers to be friendly and helpful. The flow of riders through the finish remained steady until the evening but by 8:30pm we were waiting for only a handful of riders to return. A call from the last checkpoint reported that the final group had just finished a meal and a drink in the pub and were back on the road for the last 20km to the finish, clearly making the most of the maximum time limit! Once we had checked the last rider in, fed and watered them and sent them on their way it was getting on for 11:00pm, 18 hours since we began setting up that morning! The riders’ work was done but the organising continued the following week as all the brevet cards had to be sorted into official finishers and DNFs before being sent off to AUK for validation and publishing of the results. An email was sent out thanking everyone for coming and inviting feedback via an online survey to help us improve for next year where we could. This survey proved very useful to iron out some route sheet errors and make some adjustments to make the route even better. It also resulted in some fantastic comments from Audax novices who were keen to try more, people who had never ridden that far but had survived it, riders who had discovered new roads that they’d not explored before and a huge amount of appreciation for the cake. It was all of this that made the whole thing really worthwhile and rewarding and made sure that we would waste no time in getting started on the second edition for the following year. A lot was learned from that first year not least of which being the amount of admin required with a paper entry system. It was clear that an online system would make it a lot easier both from an organising point of view but also for the riders. This was also suggested by a number of people in our feedback survey. Thanks to the programming skills of Kirsty by the second year we had a shiny new website with online entry system (this was before AUK had set up their new online entry system) and as soon as it went live we saw a more rapid rate of entries. It seems that being able to pay electronically without the need to find a cheque book and two C5 envelopes meant that people were more likely to enter sooner which helped smooth out the workload. The second year brought in more riders with a total of 280 taking part on the day. A few adjustments Andy made to the route were well received and once again the weather was favourable and the cakes tasty. 2012 saw the third running of the LVIS Audax events and once again the numbers increased. We reached our limit of 500 in total entering across the two distances including a French tandem crew who travelled over the channel to enjoy their first Audax. Some further tweaks, including a ‘testing’ climb at around the 60km mark and the addition of a second WI group providing a veritable banquet for the second checkpoint all helped to return happy riders. Our original aim to provide an enjoyable event for both new and experienced riders is going to plan with a diverse cross section of cyclists of all ages ranging from occasional commuters to PBP veterans taking part. March 2013 seems a long way off at the moment but already plans are underway to get the fourth edition of Barry’s Bristol Ball Buster and Barry’s Bristol Bash organised. I’m already looking forward to it and hope to see lots of familiar faces as well as plenty of new ones. As Barry himself was fond of saying: ‘Go Vegas!’. N
The Old 240 Peter Bond
his ride takes its name from a route originally intended to test the ability to ride 240 miles in 24 hours. It has been tweaked somewhat since the original route was devised and is now offered both as a calendar event and a permanent by Chris Crossland of the West Yorkshire DA of the CTC. It’s a colossal 400k loop from Mytholmroyd, near Halifax, north through West Yorkshire and Lancashire to Alston in Westmorland, then east and southeast across the roof of County Durham before swinging south-west through Scotch Corner and Richmond back into Yorkshire. I would be going home to Durham! There are 6.5 AAA points most of which are earned in long, steady climbs. Unfortunately, these are generally connected by sections of jabby, short hills, so there is not a lot of ‘let-up’. When I told Chris I had never done a 400 before, he warned me it was to be a baptism of fire. I knew this already, because I had had the entry card since last year , just waiting for me to pluck up the courage. It looked like March’s fabulous spell of weather was going to come to
an end and so I decided to give it a try on the last weekend. My approach was just to do the ride and if I got round in time, fine and if I didn’t, fine. I marked the control closing-times (from the Audax website) in my brevet card as a guide to how I was doing. This is something I started on my last ‘tough’ event and I found it encouraging to know from control to control, whether or not I was still on target. In his ride information, Chris is very clear that there are long stretches where there is no opportunity for getting food, as, necessarily, all but the fastest riders will have to do a great deal of the ride overnight. Also, for my attempt, there would be about ten hours of darkness at this time of year. So, in addition to the usual tubes, tools and lights, I put sandwiches and two substantial pizzatype items in the pannier. But I still got it wrong. In fact, strange things happened later on in the ride, to do with eating and also states of mind. Early on the Friday morning, after almost five hours’ sleep, I rode the couple of miles to Smithy Bridge and caught the train to Mytholmroyd. At 8am, I bought a bottle of water at the Co-op
Above: Barbon Low Fell.
Facing page: Start of the ride at Mytholmroyd. Cricket paviion at Giggleswick School. Barbon church.
to get a receipt for proof of passage and set off on my great adventure. At Hebden Bridge, I turned north onto the Haworth road for the long but relatively easy climb of Cock Hill. This is about four miles long and had several irritating sets of temporary lights on, where retaining walls were being repaired. I used one of the delays to fit my lights because I had quickly climbed into fog as the earth cooled rapidly after our wonderful warm spell. A grouse blethered through the mirk. By the time I reached the research station at the summit, my gloves and sleeves were covered in condensation. I worried slightly about the coming night, as I had only a light rain-jacket in addition to what I was wearing. After the nice drop to Keighley, through school-runs and rush-hour traffic, I turned back into the countryside at Crosshills and onto the Elslack road. I mentioned the ‘connecting links’ of short climbs; it’s almost as if The Creator finished grading the long climbs and then threw all the spoil into heaps in between, thinking, ‘no one will be stupid enough to put a road over that lot’. Well, they have. This is called undulation and it’s very hard work,
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All photos by the author
HEADING permanent IN HERE especially if you’ve got a whole day and night’s riding looming in your mind. But there were compensations as I rode in and out of the mist. The daffodils, which were a beautifully uplifting feature of the whole expedition, encouraged me from the verges. Before long, I was through East and West Martons, and heading up the Settle road. I nearly missed the turn to Wigglesworth but that was just lack of concentration; the route-sheet was perfect. Passing the familiar Plough Inn, I rode on to Rathmell, where there was an information control, and then into Settle, where I stopped for about a quarter of an hour, drinking a pint of milk and eating a couple of cheese baps (northern term for cheese bap). From Settle, I rode through Giggleswick and past the public school, with its beautiful cricket pavilion and square. I’ve been this way before and tend to think of it as ‘the road to Bentham’ instead of ‘chevron land’ which is what it is. After a mile or so of switchback, a descending cyclist encouraged me with, ‘nearly at the top!’. They didn’t know the half of it! After this, the road to High Bentham, along the foot of the crossings of the Forest of Bowland is a lovely rolling ribbon, bordered by golden broom and gorse bushes. Three or four weeks earlier, I’d been caught in a vicious hail-storm on this stretch which had rendered it just another of God’s chain of spoil-tips. But now all was calm except for the slight headwind, which was to persist all the way to the turn at Alston. Passing through Wennington, I reached Melling and turned right onto the main Lancaster to Kirkby Lonsdale road. Soon, I passed through Tunstall, to which the Bronte sisters had walked to church across the muddy fields in all weathers, from their hell of a school in Cowan Bridge. I’ve done this stretch in poor weather on the North-West Passage 200 and I always shudder at the thought of that school and its privations. Small wonder that so many of the children succumbed to tuberculosis. But today the daffodils were blazing brightly in defiance of the overcast sky. Just above Kirkby Lonsdale, I jinked across the A65, passing the famed tea-bar on Devil’s Bridge with its encrustation of motorcyclists. Just after the church in Casterton, which was built by the churchman who ran the school at Cowan Bridge, I was taken by surprise by a sudden sharp hill and had to flip onto the smallest chainwheel for a hundred yards or so. Soon, I was leaving the Sedbergh road and going right for Barbon, which is a pretty village with some fey, pastel-painted cottages and a fine church with a lych-gate, all nestled beneath Barbon Low Fell, which although it is quite low, indicates that you are now getting into serious hill
country after the lumps and bumps of the first 80 kilometres. Barbondale itself is breathtaking. It is so remote in feel, with pretty much no habitation or building of any kind. The massive flank of Middleton Fell on the left, which stretches pretty much the whole of the dale, was still bleached and scrubby and almost made me feel I was high up in the African veldt again. The blue Barkin Beck glittered the length of the dale and my heart soared with the road, so that I was nearly unaware that I was actually climbing most of the time. If this isn’t the most uplifting stretch of cycling I’ve ever done, then I can’t recall a better one. My heart stayed up long after the road had plunged down into Dent, where I took a long break at the Meadowside Café. Mindful of the warnings about scarcity of food possibilities further ahead, I had double-egg and chips and sticky toffee pudding and ice cream, washed down with a pot of tea. The food was excellent and the company of two other cyclists made it a convivial stop. I was there a little longer than I had intended (about 40 minutes) but I was still well within the control limits I had jotted on my card. In fact, having done a leisurely 110k in well under six hours, I was still toying with the possibility that I might get round in 24 hours. I left the café at about 3.40pm and was pleased to see that the sun had finally come out as I retraced past the antiques shop, which had an amazing collection of railwayana and agricultural machinery on display, and on towards Sedbergh. Dentdale, of which I had ridden the eastern half earlier in the month, is exquisite, with the River Dee peeping and hiding through the hedgerows, where the leaves on the hawthorn provided an emerald ground for the delicate white flowers of the blackthorn. It is also quite lumpy towards the west, so I needed to work a little. The road from Sedbergh north-east towards Kirkby Stephen was another great pleasure. If you have to ride on a main road, then they don’t get much better than this. The traffic was a little busier than in Dentdale and it was the Friday evening rush-hour (it being after two o’clock) but the views were stunning. The early miles pass between Brant Fell on the west and Baugh Fell on the east, both of which rise to 676 metres. This is very impressive, as at that point the road, though gradually climbing, is some 500 metres lower, lower in fact than my home in Rochdale. Particularly striking features of this stretch are Cautley Crags and Cautley Spout waterfall. The lack of rain so far this year meant that the waterfall was less spectacular than it might otherwise have been but it was still quite noticeable. Soon after passing this, the guardians of
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Mallerstang Common loom over to the right, High Seat and Wild Boar Fell, where I could see lime-kilns. The Settle-Carlisle railway runs in the valley between these behemoths and I was soon to re-make its acquaintance. But first I had to cross the A685 from Kendal, which was easy enough, though it provided a nasty contrast to the road I had just left as the cars screamed along it. Safely across, I took the track, and it is little more than that, to Smardale and suddenly all was quiet again. There is a fine view of one of the 20-odd viaducts on the Settle line here and also a ford. I’d been warned by Chris about the ford and I’m grateful. It looks innocent enough but closer inspection revealed the slime on the road below the surface of the water. I wheeled my bike across the foot-bridge and remounted to take a pretty sharp rise up towards Crosby Garrett. Crosby Garrett is a fascinating place. It seems to have grown up around a T-junction of lanes and reminds me of the kind of village you can see in Eire, or you could when I was last there – 40 years ago. A beck runs through the middle and after crossing it I turned right and followed signs for Appleby. This section was quite rolling and I seemed to be gaining height gradually. In Appleby itself I paused at the top of the town to take a picture of the obelisk known as The High Cross, a tall column of whitepainted stone with a sundial near the top. Rolling down to the bottom of the main street, I discovered its twin, which is, unsurprisingly, The Low Cross. These seem to date from Georgian times but the town itself has a long history, much of it associated with the amazingly energetic Lady Anne Clifford, a noblewoman of the 17th century who owned great tracts of the Yorkshire dales and built a grand house in Appleby. I called in at the Spar to buy milk and chocolate. I still had my emergency supplies pretty much intact and was wondering at the decision to lug all that extra weight this
Above: The High Cross at Appleby.
‘The traverse of the fabled Yad Moss would take me across the roof of County Durham.’
far but, by now, I had realised that this was no longer going to be a 24-hour ride and I had no idea whether or not I would be able to get anything to eat in Alston, by the time I got there, which looked like being about nine in the evening. The stops for photographs and snacks were eating into my margins but I still felt good and was within my schedule for simply completing the ride. The jovial Friday night group sat outside the pub next to the Spar was a temptation, but only a mild one, as I set off for Alston, via the famous Hartside Pass. The dozen or so miles between Appleby and Melmerby, which is where the climb starts, took me along country lanes, through or past villages with solid northern names like Milburn and Blencarn. For a long time I could see a white obelisk on the summit of a fell in the Pennines over to the east and discovered from a resident that it was a radar station on Great Dun Fell. Had I known, I would have combed my hair. Further along, the summit of the mighty Cross Fell on the Pennine Way was wreathed in cloud, a splendid sight. The sun was dropping in the west and the the pearly quality of the light threw the shapes of trees into filigree relief. Just beyond Melmerby, I stopped to refuel, noting the sign which told of the number of serious accidents there had been on the climb recently. I fitted my lights and set off up what I expected to be the first real test of the day, after all the jabbiness which had preceded it. I needn’t have worried: Hartside Pass is a beauty if you like climbing. From the west it is a long, steady pull with a gradient that was easily manageable on the middle chain-ring. In fact, I felt that for first time for many years I was climbing with a rhythm. The bends give good changes of view and it’s encouraging how quickly the plain to the west drops away into a milky distance. On newish tarmac, this was superb riding, which even the occasional boy- and executive-racers were unable to spoil. There was only one building on the whole ascent, a white cottage, in beautiful isolation, presumably a gamekeeper’s. It was like riding out of The Shire in a Tolkien book towards a rather fine quest. It would have been wonderful had the Hartside Café been open for mushrooms as I reached the top but that was not to be expected at halfpast eight in the evening. I stopped to take a picture at the obligatory photo-opportunity sign, declaring Hartside Summit to be 1,903 feet up. Oddly the sign is not at the summit, or didn’t seem to me to be. Once I was over the top and with the fading sun beyond the hill behind me, it became dark very quickly. Not dark enough to use my stronger Fenix light but enough to make pothole-watching
a necessary consideration. If that sounds like a contradiction, I was aware of how long I was going to be riding through the night and was hoping to leave my ‘best’ light off for as long as possible. I had spare batteries for all my lights but the claimed ‘run-times’ are hit and miss in my experience. The surface on the eastern side of Hartside is not as good as that on the west but I still fairly flew down the long grade to Alston, the orange lights of which could be seen almost all the way down the hill. Two things occurred to me on the descent: the first was that the climb of Hartside would be a much more serious affair from this side; the second was that it was going to be a cold night and that I would have to work hard for most of it to keep warm. At about 1,000 feet, Alston is one of the highest towns in England and is famed among cyclists for its steep, cobbled main street. I confess I found this no problem but it was dry and with the amount of food I was carrying I probably wore a groove in it. In fairness to the legend, I think most of it arises from riders on the London-EdinburghLondon ride who will, I guess, have done about 800k by the time they tackle it. I had done about 190. But this meant that I was pretty-much halfway. However, by the time I had phoned home, as arranged, eaten, then put my (thin) raintop on, I was right up against the stops as far as the audax estimation of control times went. When I left, I had notionally no spare time at all and it was 13 hours after I had set off from Mytholmroyd. But I was not particularly concerned. I still felt comfortable, had sufficient supplies to see me through to morning and had plenty of adventure to look forward to. As I saw it, I had three more major climbs to overcome: Yad Moss, Kidstones and Oxenhope Moor. I had done the last two before and hoped that the sense of exploration would see me over the first. And, finally, I had the wind with me! I was excited about the prospect of the next 30 miles or so to Barnard Castle. The traverse of the fabled Yad Moss would take me across the roof of County Durham. Both the River South Tyne and the River Tees have their sources close to the pass, between the giants of Cross Fell and Mickle Fell and it was a minor disappointment that I was unable to make out anything except black form as I climbed towards Garrigill. But the compensations of the night were breath-taking. The night-sky was overpowering in its grandeur. This has been a particularly good year for seeing planets, even down in the orange perma-glow of Manchester, but the view from one of the most remote parts of the country made me shout out loud. Mars is so red and so is Aldebaran in Taurus. The stars are so clear that it can be difficult to make out
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HEADING permanent IN HERE some constellations whereas they are obvious in a light-polluted place because only the defining stars are visible. Away below to the west only the very occasional sodium lamp indicated that there was anyone else left on earth. The climb itself didn’t seem too demanding but as I had never done this road, I didn’t know how far I had to go to the top. In fact, from the north, Yad Moss is undulating and twisty. The summit is, I guess about eight or nine miles from Alston, near to Burnhope Seat and I imagine the road again gets close to 2,000 feet at this point. But, unlike Hartside, there is no sign to this effect but a gloriously pompous statement that you have reached the Durham border and are entering the land of the ‘Prince Bishops’. I took a photograph to mark my return to my native county and as I set off again a snipe flew off with the characteristic drumming from its wings which instantly turned me into the focal point of a Hammer film. Time to get off the mountain! The descent to Middleton-in-Teesdale was exhilarating, to say the least. It must level out from time to time because it is not the longest continuous hill in England, but I don’t recall any rises on it and the only level bits would be the hamlets of Harwood, Langdon Beck and Forest in Teesdale. I had my Fenix on (since Alston) so was able to make out the surface well enough to pick the line, not that it was necessary very often as the road is well-surfaced. As I reached Middleton-in-Teesdale, I reflected that I had had this marvellous crossing to myself; not one car in about 20 miles. Early on I had kept hearing ‘cars’ and looked over my shoulder to see nothing. It was a while before I realised that it was the hiss of my wheels in the otherwise almost perfect silence. I was reminded of the Jackson Browne line, ‘Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy’. I also thought that, as with Hartside, I had done the climb from the easy side because it had been such a superb long descent. In fact, I had been alone but not unnoticed as I traversed the moor: I had been handed like a relay baton from lapwing to snipe to curlew as they broadcast my passing. And from just north of Middleton, the Tees had announced itself with the roaring of High Force waterfall and its murmur accompanied me on and off all the way to Barnard Castle. As I approached this historic town, I switched on my mayhemmeters. Barnard Castle, Richmond and Leyburn are all within drink-driving distance of the massive garrison at Catterick Camp and it was Friday night and my route took me through all three. I’d had my first contact back in Middleton-in-Teesdale when a woman sprawled in a doorway slurred, ‘Heyyo,
lu-uve!’ at me as I hissed through the otherwise peaceful (and beautiful) village. As it turned out, I had no rude comments or confrontations at all throughout the trip, even though I must have been fairly rancid by this time. Barnard Castle was built by one Bernard (Bernard’s Castle) in the 12th century, I think. Even as a ruin, it’s very imposing and was lumiered in yellow and purple, which was oddly successful. Checking from a helpful local that I had the right road, I swung right near the market place and headed for Whorlton on the north bank of the Tees. Somewhere near here, I made another stop for a bite to eat, during which a pair of tawny owls batted past, not much above head height. A little further on at the end of Whorlton, I paused on the bridge across the river to watch the reflections of the bright half-moon dance across the ripples; another magical moment. Night riding is marvellous. The next six or seven miles took me along flat country lanes through respectable villages with wide greens, such as Caldwell, Eppleby and Manfield, to Cleasby, where I had to collect some information. This is a similar village on the edge of Darlington. I made my note and then back-tracked to a rough lane, with grass in the middle, which took me across the spur of the M1 which leads to Darlington, before rejoining the slightly more determined lanes to Middleton Tyas and into the services at Scotch corner. Ever since I started climbing Yad Moss I had been looking forward to a cup of hot coffee and a sit-down at these services, which I knew from a previous overnight ride to Tan Hill. It was like meeting an old friend to see Jean-Baptiste, the same barrista, who made the coffee with his usual speed and style. Before I sat down, I carried my coffee out to my bike to collect something. A chap came up to ask about my ride and we ended up talking about things-cycling and it transpired he is setting up a bike shop in Edinburgh. Anyway, 20 minutes later, and with no sit-down in the warm, I set off again, this time for Richmond. For three or four hours I had been looking forward to that break but I got it all wrong, though the conversation was pleasant enough. On the other hand, the descent of Yad Moss had given me a lot of time back, so I was reasonably confident of getting round in time. The run to Richmond is mostly downhill and was quickly achieved. I knew from studying the road atlas that there was a flatter, if longer way to Leyburn from Richmond on the main road but I wanted to do the route as written and see what Hipswell moor was like. What it’s like is hard, after 17 hours, very hard. It climbs, pretty-much unlit, over Catterick garrison’s tank training
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Above: Church at Rathmell.
‘As I reached Middletonin-Teesdale, I reflected that I had had this marvellous crossing to myself; not one car in about 20 miles.’
ground. Having messed up my break at Scotch Corner by failing to eat as well as rest, I decided halfway up a hill to pull off the road and have a few mouthfuls of the excellent pizza-style bread I had been lugging round. Unfortunately, because of the unfriendly jump between my lowest two sprockets (26 to 34), and the steepness of the hill, I couldn’t get started again. On the 26, I couldn’t turn it fast enough to get my other foot on before I wobbled and on the 34 it went too fast. So I pushed for a hundred yards or so and then continued my ride across the eerie heath. I imagine in daylight it is a bit of a wasteland thanks to the military use. The route takes you across the eastern edge of Leyburn, which is an impressive market town at the eastern end of Wensleydale. So I missed the large main square and possible altercations as I headed west along the road to Wensley and West Witton. By now, my thought processes were not exactly razor-sharp and it took a while to be able to visualise the map in my head and make sense of the signs that indicated I was riding towards Sedbergh again, having left it so long ago. Beyond West Witton, I took the left-turn signed Kettlewell onto the B6160. This is such an insignificant-looking lane but I knew it led to Kidstones, which I thought would be the last really hard climb of the trip. As I took a break for food just after the turn, I tried to recall how far along this road the last and hardest ‘kick’ was, so that I could judge how best to use what effort I had left. Early on, I had to collect an information control from the only inn on the road, which seemed to be having a lock-in, well after three in the morning. It was tempting to bang on the door and try to get a cup of coffee. But I rode on, pleased that the climb didn’t seem as hard as I remembered it
permanent from my previous visit. That’s because I remembered it wrong. I now know that the crux was about six miles up Bishopdale. In fact, the last three miles average 1 in 16, or so but it was the 1 in 6 (or possibly worse) at the end that preyed on my mind. I worked hard up what I thought was the final climb several times before I came to it. So I had very little left by the time I knew I’d hit the last one. There was just beginning to be a lightening of the sky to the south, so I could make out the series of little bends that torment on the way to the top. But I thought I could just make it when suddenly my Fenix light cut out and I couldn’t see at all, lightening sky notwithstanding. With some frustration I stopped and switched on my other light. I suffered the same difficulty as before in getting going again but comforted myself with the thought that, push or ride, you still have to get round in time. Nevertheless, it was irritating, though again, I only walked a hundred yards or so before I could turn it over once more. At this point I realised my brain had gone out as well as my lamp. I had spare batteries for my Fenix, but thought, momentarily, that I would wait till it was light to change them so I could see what I was doing! At least I was able to recognise the humour in this scenario but nevertheless made do with my other light through Buckden and Starbotton to Kettlewell. It was on this stretch that the birds really started to wake up and I found that while all my other senses were on idle, my hearing was right at the top of the scale and the dawn chorus, which I normally love, though rarely hear, was actually quite hard work, especially the thrushes. There was one field I passed in the half-light where an invisible gang of oyster-catchers or curlews, or something, set up such a concerted yammering all at once that it was almost supernatural. In Kettlewell, I came across one of the most unusual things I’ve ever encountered whilst cycling: a public toilet that was open, lit, sheltered from the elements and, compared with the outside air, warm. Who could resist? I even took the bike in. I sorted out my lights and had another snack. If you’ve never sat on a toilet seat eating pizza in the darkest hour whilst telling yourself what a stroke of luck you’ve had, then you haven’t lived. Crossing the Wharfe, I found the climb out of Kettlewell easy enough, thanks to the break, and it was pretty much light as I passed the huge quarry at Threapland, where they are removing one of the area’s four or five coral knolls (relics of Britain’s tropical past) from the face of the earth. The world was beginning to be up and about as I hove to in Gargrave, where the mist was rising off the LeedsLiverpool canal. I had another break here, confident in the knowledge that there
was only the matter of Oxenhope Moor between me and victory. Hah! By the time I reached Carleton, I was beginning to feel decidedly flat, not particularly sleepy, but sort-of faded. I had another break and a bite to eat. I still had plenty of time but there were just beginning to be very slight doubts about my ability to get round. Such doubts were harshly compounded by the climb up to Cononley, which I hadn’t even known about. I got up it, determined to make up for Kidstones, but it was a bit irritating. By the time I reached Keighley, I was actually having thoughts about whether or not I could walk the bike over Oxenhope Moor and still finish in time. I had plenty of provisions to see me through but was desperate for a hot drink and a sit down. Rossi’s Café in Keighley exerted its pull. While I waited for my poached eggs on toast to arrive I worked out that in 24 hours, I had sat down four times (apart from on the saddle): once at three o’clock in Dent, five minutes on a toilet seat and five on benches in Gargrave and Eastburn. So that was once in the first 22 hours, and several in the last three hours. An indication of how my body was ‘closing down’ came when the meal arrived and I had to force myself to eat it. I just didn’t feel hungry but knew I would need considerable energy to get up the moor. So I forced it down and having taken a photo of the grand but defunct cycling club headquarters opposite, saddled up for the last haul. The climb out of Keighley to the Hebden Bridge turn is pretty uninspiring. The gradient is OK but the road is narrow, busy and industrial. After the turn there is a pretty level fast section for a couple of miles and I felt my spirits rising, though I knew the real stumbling block remained. By the time I had eased my way up to the inevitable roadworks half-way up, I was hoping that the lights would turn red. They did and when I set off again, I felt good enough to change up a gear or two and when I got to the top at the research station and took my final picture, I realised I had completed the whole climb on the middle chainring. The descent into Hebden Bridge on the newly resurfaced road was fast and euphoric. I was very nearly in tears at what I had achieved. When I pulled into the Co-op at Mytholmroyd, by this time composed, I still had an hour and 20 minutes to spare. And my luck was still in: I only had five minutes to wait for the train to Smithy Bridge. The ‘train attendant’ couldn’t have been more helpful as I stood with my bike in the unused ‘wheelchair’ space and I reached home after a leisurely ride along the canal feeling like a dog with two tails. After a bath (I still couldn’t face food),
Below: Antiques in Dent. Bottom: The cycling club in Keighley.
I went for a ‘bit of a lie-down’ but decided to get up again because I didn’t seem to be able to sleep. In fact I’d been asleep for seven hours. What have I learned? Well, it’s a very beautiful ride. The long climbs are superb but the jabby ones are the heartbreakers. My eating strategy worked OK but, in future, I will try to eat more, slightly less often and sit down! It was very helpful to have control times to gauge progress. I should have had one more top, though I had packed a spaceblanket, so in extremis could have shoved that up my jumper! Oh, and the gap between 26 and 34 teeth on the cassette causes problems if you have to restart. One more thing: after such a beautiful, peaceful night’s riding under the stars, it was an indication of how strung-out I actually was that I found the beautiful dawn-chorus somewhat jarring. I just wanted them all to shut up! Thanks Chris, for the advice and a fabulous route. I’ll relive it often. N
Arrivée Summer 2012 AU
HEADING IN HERE diy
You are invited to a party… Stokesley–Glasgow DIY 300 Graeme Holdsworth meet at 18:30 so he could eat and then get moving again on plan. I mentioned that illness or prioritisation of my family had stopped me getting to the start of my planned Audax rides; I failed to start the 200k Roses to Wrags because I’d been working away from home a lot and needed to spend some time with my wife and kids. I failed to start the 300k Plains because I had a nasty cold which wiped me out for two weeks. I failed to start the 400k Severn Across as my wife was suffering from the same cold that ruined my 300k Plains (and I wasn’t about to abandon her). So fitting in Audax around family and work is just not easy and I realise that this must be part of the challenge, to lead a normal life, to ride long distance and to remember that it’s just riding a bicycle because family comes first. I probably exercised my stroppy teenager look at missing these rides, but I managed to get over my selfish behaviour eventually. In the week running up to this DIY300 all was going fairly well, until my wife Carol thought she needed a decent head injury to spice up matters. She’d passed out in a secluded location where no one could find her but thankfully the cut to the head didn’t need stitches and with a week before the ride she was glued back together. I had a week working from home and was able to keep a much closer eye on her after this, so by the Friday morning of the Stokesley/Glasgow ride I was happy that Carol and the kids were happy and well, I’d done the weekly shop, tidied the house and got everyone as comfortable as possible. This felt like a green light for a bicycle ride! With a 30 minute ride to Stokesley from my home, I was just about to apply the Assos cream and get into my cycling gear when Greg phoned to say he was an hour late setting off, so could we meet later. Okay, no problem, we had plenty of time in hand. At 19:30 I was standing in the cold easterly wind in Stokesley square when Greg’s second phone call came through. The strong winds had slowed him a little coming over the North Yorkshire Moors and he was going to be late. My parents live in Bishop Auckand, just near our
Arrivée Summer 2012
‘As I climbed Broom Road to Ferryhill centre I realised I’d packed for a touring holiday not an Audax.’
planned route along the A689 and they had kindly offered coffee and bacon rolls as a treat before the isolation of the Stanhope to Alston section, so Greg suggested instead of waiting in the cold at Stokesley he’d catch up with me there. I set off from Stokesley at 19:44, with a receipt from a cash machine to mark the start, and followed familiar home roads over Seamer hill and Leven Bank to descend into Yarm. I was cautious through the busy Friday night pub crowds and then swept out north along Durham Lane towards Stockton-onTees. Turning towards Longnewton on Darlington Road and then crossing over the A66 onto Sandy Leas Lane at the cycle crossing took me onto the peaceful country lanes towards Sedgefield. The wind was blustery from the north-east and kept me pegged back to 25kph. I joined the A689 at Bradbury to cross the A1 and then took Gipsy Lane into Ferryhill. As I climbed Broom Road to Ferryhill centre I realised I’d packed for a touring holiday not an Audax.
All photos and illustrations by the author
fter missing so many calendar events due to illness or needing to prioritise my family, I was looking for any opportunity to complete an Audax in my first year with AUK. When I received an invitation to my old school friend’s fortieth birthday in Glasgow and as I was going to be away from home for effectively the whole weekend, I came up with the crazy idea of combining the party with a DIY 300. However, phrases like, – I could ride there – should really be treated with caution and suspicion; just because you can doesn’t mean you necessarily should. I don’t remember why I shared the idea with Greg Melia, but he was immediately supportive and offered to join me, so via facebook we made arrangements. As this was my first DIY and my first Audax, Joe Applegarth had an opportunity to demonstrate patience in guiding me through the administration, which he did with grace. Although – my house – to Glasgow was almost 300km, it was actually just a little short, therefore I needed to plot a route which added a few kilometres. To be on the safe side I set my start point in Stokesley, about 14km south of home, which guaranteed the 300km minimum distance and set check points at Ferryhill, Alston, Brampton, Moffat, East Kilbride with the arrivée in the city centre of Glasgow. ViaMichelin gave this as 302km, and Joe approved my route. Of course, as I was going to a party as well there were some added complications; firstly I needed to carry a complete set of smart clothes and some shoes so my Carradice Barley wasn’t going to be sufficient. I loaded up my SpaCycles Titanium Tourer with rack and panniers, unfortunately I forgot that if you have luggage space you tend to fill it. Finally as it would be a Saturday late night party with a bar, I needed to make sure I got to Glasgow early and had some sleep, so I aimed to get there at lunchtime. Greg and I calculated a 19:00 Friday start from Stokesley to allow plenty of time and for the additional challenge Greg decided to make his ride a DIY400 by riding up from York to Stokesley. We’d
With a cash machine receipt obtained after 36km in Ferryhill at 21:42, the now friendly tailwind took me effortlessly to Bishop Auckland through Kirk Merrington in 30 minutes. On a clear afternoon you can see Roseberry topping and even the Redcar Works from here, but tonight it was drizzly and overcast so the views were much shorter. By 22:10 I was happily settling into the warmth of my parent’s home with fresh coffee and tasty bacon in a brown roll. Thanks to my parents I was warm, cosy and well fed. The easiest thing would now be to cancel the ride, sleep at my parent’s home, ride back to my house in the morning and drive to Glasgow for the party. The longer I waited for Greg to join me the more enticing that became. It was about 90 minutes later when Greg arrived for his turn at my folk’s hospitality and I tested the water by suggesting that we call the rest of the ride off. His look was enough to persuade me otherwise. I would have bailed if I’d been alone, but being with Greg sort of ruled that out so at 00:15 we set off into the drizzle and the cold. Our route was an easy one to navigate, following the A689 all the way to Brampton. Although the rain was strengthening, the wind was now to our backs and we made good time to Frosterley where we stopped under a petrol station forecourt to wrap on Rainlegs and extra layers. From here to Stanhope was easy enough and in the dark you really don’t even notice the undulating road. However, our next section involved the climb through Weardale Forest to the summit of Alston Moor, Kilhope Cross at just over 620m.
‘The icy cold rain really goes through you when descending and on wet roads, in the fog, and in the dark so Greg and I took it very easy.’
The rain was much more persistent now, but thanks to Greg’s unfailing conversation, jokes and encouragement; he helped me stay in good spirits. In the dark we were trying to guess where the top of the climb would be and as we knew that the chevrons on the map had indicated a tough ascent we also kept wondering whether each climb was enough to justify the chevron. Soon I realised I was cycling along in a cloud of my own steamed breath and some of the rain wasn’t falling directly down, it had a snowy zigzag look to the way it was falling. As we kept going my misty breath was joined by actual clouds but the warmth of the effort was keeping the cold out of my bones. As we passed the Killhope Lead Mining Centre I thought we must be getting near the moor top. In the dark and the clouds it wasn’t possible to see anything other than the road in the headlight. In the darkness I was confused and surprised when above and in front of us there appeared lights. These were high enough that I felt it must obviously be a light aircraft, however this aeroplane immediately swooped down towards us on a strafing run, disappearing briefly below us and then reappearing again directly in front and coming straight at us. Through the fog and the rain, and through the tired braincells I realised it was actually a car and now we actually knew exactly how steep the road ahead was. Click, click, click – down went the gears. It was a pure slog to the summit. Greg had less choice of gears than I, and shot up the road ahead. One of the best things about cycling uphill is the view you are rewarded with. The next best thing is the descent. We were treated to neither of these in this wee small hour of the night. The icy cold rain really goes through you when descending and on wet roads, in the fog, and in the dark so Greg and I took it very easy. I clearly remember the 18 per cent descent sign followed by the road disappearing below my wheel. Those SwissStop Green brake pads are expensive but worth every penny right at that moment. My Dinotte headlight was superb too, whether on dipped or main beam the road was well lit. The road was not all downhill (is it ever?), and we undulated our way to Alston for another cash machine receipt at 03:37 at 106km covered. Stopping to put more layers on and eat something I think we were at our coldest; shaking with cold and wet right to the core. I even chose to layer up further with some of the clothes I’d brought for the party later. My gloves were the cheap and excellent Aldi specials, but Greg’s gloves, (for some reason) left him with exposed fingers and it must have been agony for him. From Alston we continued along the
A689 to Brampton and this is an amazing and sneaky flat or downhill route out of the Pennines. The road follows River South Tyne and Coalfell Beck, with those perfect little rolling hills which create a swooping feeling as you keep a little power on the ups to maintain speed. In addition the dawn light was coming through over the hill tops. We shared the road with wildlife and the scenery was beautiful. 05:20 in Brampton and 136km completed, we were too early for a teashop but at this early hour a newsagent was taking his paper delivery and the instant coffee from the machine in his shop was gratefully purchased and consumed, the newsagent in question is Brampton News on Front Street. If anyone else is planning to arrive in Brampton this early, it’s worth knowing about this shop because there is nothing else available. Off we set again, this time following the A6071 to Longtown. Greg regaled me with Time Trial tales from the 24hr records, telling me who had ridden what distance and some of the stories of the quest for the 500 mile record. Our spirits were rising with the increasing light and Greg’s company was appreciated. Another town and still too early for breakfast, Longtown held nothing for us, so on to Gretna. We made a diversion looking for breakfast at the Outlet Centre, but again we were still too early. Thankfully just north of Gretna on the B7076 was an access route to the motorway services and we finally managed to stop for a proper breakfast. I celebrated with beans and egg on toast, a sugar-free Red Bull, a coffee and a smoothie. I topped up the water bottle and dropped a couple more zeros in. Before setting off we also did a little maintenance on Greg’s chain which had started squeaking slightly from the rain, using the oil and some rags from my luggage. From here our route followed the A74(M)/M74 mainly on Sustrans route 74 and the B7076. Only about 160km to go! Looking at the cycle computer I’d been averaging about 21kph and estimated another eight hours’ riding ahead. This was definitely touring speed and I wasn’t going to be troubling the upper limits of Audax pace. Our next goal was Moffat at 208km. We passed Lockerbie and the B7076 trundled straight along switching occasionally over or under the A74(M). The entire stage from Brampton to Moffat was 70km but as it had been broken up with breakfast and plenty of small towns, the distance dropped away. There were times when I couldn’t really hear what Greg was saying due to the side wind, or because I dropped away from him on inclines, but I found the simple presence of company very helpful
Arrivée Summer 2012 AU
HEADING IN HERE diy
Arrivée: Glasgow Central station.
‘A dram each of Highland, Islay and Speyside was required to choose a bottle for my friend and it seemed sensible to treat myself to a present from Scotland too.’
point of shouting impotently at the world how dreadful the road was, how Sustrans must delete route 74 from its maps and how much Scotland must want to prevent English cyclists getting any further north, to turn around and go home. Honestly, if you ever get a chance to ride this section of road, just don’t. From before Kirkmuirhill there was a short, sharp ascent on Teiglum Road to Strathaven Road and then onto the B7086. The wind which had been from my front left (the north-east) since Gretna was now behind me and I zoomed over 45kph all the way on rolling hills to Strathaven. As slow and awful as I had felt on the unmade dual carriageway I was now elated to be riding properly surfaced, fast and grininducing roads. Talk about an emotional rollercoaster! After Strathaven I kept a nice 28 to 32kph into East Kilbride over more gently rolling hill and after 288km arrived at East Kilbride to collect a 50p Pay&Display ticket from the Sainsbury’s car park. This was a quick and convenient way to get a receipt especially as staff and shoppers were outside due to the ringing store alarm. I knew time was tight and didn’t stop in East Kilbride; instead I hit the final stage to Glasgow following the dual carriageway A749 and A730 downhill right into Glasgow Central. I stopped at every red traffic light but enjoyed the cut and thrust of weaving through busy city traffic easily moving faster than the queuing cars. I sighted Glasgow Central Station and grabbed a receipt from a cash machine; 302km at 15:44. Now I just had a late night birthday party to get ready for! N
A.N.Other on Barry’s Bristol Ball Basher.
Photo by Ed Rollaston Photography www.edrollasonphotography.co.uk
and we even took turns to draft and conserve energy. I’m afraid I wasn’t much to draft behind on the gentle climbs as my knees were beginning to niggle and my pace was sometimes down to 14kph. But the weight of the luggage really helped on each descent, so I could pedal easy and still keep momentum. There are long sections of very straight and dull road along the side of the motorway, lined with half-hearted efforts at cycle lanes. The usual glass and rubbish eventually did for Greg’s rear tyre and we were delayed for about 20 minutes while he fixed this. From then we just stayed out of these awful cycle paths. The road surface was not designed for pleasure either; it was that rough top surface that unrelentingly vibrates every bone in your body. I had thought of taking Old Carlisle Road into Moffat but I must have missed the turning as we eventually came to the A701 and approached with the Saturday tourist traffic. It was nearly 10:00 and I’d worked out a cunning control point. I wanted to buy a bottle of Scotch as a present for my friend’s fortieth birthday, so we called in at the Moffat Woollen Mill and Whisky shop. The ensuing tasting session was probably ill advised. A dram each of Highland, Islay and Speyside was required to choose a bottle for my friend and it seemed sensible to treat myself to a present from Scotland too. As I stood at the counter to pay I realised my stomach only contained whisky. Now laden with two bottles of whisky in the panniers, we called in at the bakers for some warm, savoury food and by the time we were done it was 10:40. Greg realised that he was now on a very tight schedule to catch his return train and he needed to average 25kph to make it in time. My average was more like 21kph so I told him to leave me and try to cover the last 106km to Glasgow in four hours.
Greg had been great company and without him I simply wouldn’t have been there, but with the night complete and a lovely Scottish journey ahead we said our farewells. Despite saying goodbye, we immediately hit a long gentle slope leaving Moffat on the A701/B719, so I could see Greg ahead for a while. I twiddled the gears at about 13kph the whole way but once over the top it was into the big ring for a 46kph descent on the smooth swooping surface. The last I saw of Greg he had crossed over on the bridge ahead and was on the next climb of the B7076. He texted me later to say that he made it just in time. It was a long, lonely 16km to Abington, although the views as I passed through the Lowther Hills were beautiful. I was feeling fine and nearly passed the general store without stopping, but I’m glad I changed my mind and picked up a BLT sandwich. The A702 lead to the B7078 and the most isolated I’d felt all morning. It was a long section of perfect constant gradient where I could tap out a regular rhythm on the pedals. This is one of the many things I love about cycling in Scotland, the cycling rhythm and the views while doing so. Unfortunately the worst section of road was just ahead. There is a dual carriageway section from Happendon through Lesmahagow towards Kirkmuirhill which I had expected to be fast. What I hadn’t anticipated was an almost abandoned road with practically no surface to ride on; this route cannot possibly be called a road, off-road more like. Here a full suspension MTB would have its work cut out keeping the vibration down and I reached the
Arrivée Summer 2012
Calendar key A(1) free/cheap accommodation 1 night
B very basic – no halls/beds, etc BD baggage drop DIY own route and controls, cards by post R free or cheap refreshments at start and/or finish S showers Z sleeping facilities on route 175 entries close at 175 riders YH youth hostel at/near start
C camping at or near the start F some free food and/or drink on ride L left luggage facilities at start P free or cheap motor parking at start T toilets at start M mudguards required X some very basic controls (eg service stations) (14/4) entries close 14th April
200 04 Aug Bolsover Clumber to Humber 08:00 Sat BR 210km £5.00 L P R T 15-30kph Bolsover and District CC 01246 825 351 firstname.lastname@example.org ROA 3000 Matt Connley, 7 Eskdale Close Bolsover Chesterfield S44 6RL 200 04 Aug Cardiff Gate, Cardiff Dr. Foster's Summer Saunter 08:00 Sat BR 201km £5.00 C P R T 50 15-25kph Cardiff Byways CC email@example.com Tony Pember, 9 Donald Street Nelson Treharris CF46 6EB 300 04 Aug Dean Row, near Wilmslow & Stockport Montgomery 300 06:00 Sat BR 308km 1500m £6.00 XP 14.3-30kph Peak Audax 01457 870 421 mike@PeakAudax.co.uk ROA 10000 Mike Wigley, Higher Grange Fm Millcroft Lane Delph Saddleworth OL3 5UX 200 05 Aug Aldbrough St. John, SW of Darlington The J38 08:00 Sun BR 205km £5.00 X L P R T 15-30kph VC 167 Nigel Hall, Finkle Croft Aldbrough St John Richmond Northyorkshire DL11 7TD 120 05 Aug North Petherton, S of Bridgwater Three Towers and Middle Earth 08:30 Sun BP 125km £7.00 F L P R T 15-30kph Bridgwater CC 01275 847567 firstname.lastname@example.org Keith Tudball, 9 Winford Close Portishead N Somerset BS20 6YG 200 05 Aug Wickhamford, SE of Evesham Neville Chanin Memorial – Over The Severn 08:00 Sun BR 213km 3134m AAA3.25 £6.00 F P R T 15-30kph Updated Evesham & Dist Whlrs email@example.com 200 05 Aug Wickhamford, SE of Evesham Three Counties – Four Leaf Clover 08:00 Sun BR £6.00 F P R T 15-30kph 100 05 Aug Wickhamford, SE of Evesham Three Counties – Two Leaf Clover 09:00 Sun BP 107km £4.00 F P R T 15-30kph 50 05 Aug Wickhamford, SE of Evesham Three Counties – Clover Leaf 09:30 Sun BP £1.00 F P R T 10-25kph Evesham & Dist. Whs firstname.lastname@example.org Pete Hutchinson, Hazelwood Shinehill Lane South Littleton Evesham Worcestershire WR11 8TP 100 05 Aug Wilton, Salisbury The Blackmoor Tour 09:00 Sun BP £5.00 YH F L P R T 12.5-30kph 200 05 Aug Wilton, Salisbury West Bay and Back 08:00 Sun BR 2700m AAA2.25 [2300m] £5.00 YH F L P R T 70 14.3-30kph YACF Andy Heyting, 5 St Leonards Terrace Blandford Forum Dorset DT11 7PF 100 08 Aug Marple, Memorial Park, SK6 Mid-Peak Grimpeur 10:00 Wed BP 106km 2400m AAA2.5 £5.00 L P R T 40 (31/7) 12.5-25kph Peak Audax email@example.com Chris Keeling-Roberts, 17 Lower Strines Road Marple Cheshire SK6 7DL 150 08 Aug Ruislip West London 3/4 Event CANCELLED 400 10 Aug Linlithgow Schiehallion Sunrise 21:00 Fri BR 5250m AAA5.25 £5 X P 15-30kph West Lothian Clarion firstname.lastname@example.org Neil Fraser, 14 Maryfield Drive Bo'Ness West Lothian EH51 9DG 200 11 Aug Bedford Rutland Ramble 07:30 Sat BR 210km £6 L P R 15-30kph CTC Bedfordshire email@example.com Jackie Popland, 48 Haylands Way Bedford MK41 9BU 600 11 Aug Denmead Denmead SR Series 6.:00 Sat BRM £7.00 P T C R 15-30kph Communicare 02392 267095 ROA 25000 Pam Pilbeam, The Nest Hambledon Road Denmead Hants PO7 6QF 300 11 Aug Tewkesbury A Rough Diamond 06:00 Sat BRM 301km 2500m [3450m] £6:50 c f l p r t nm 100 (31/7) 15-25kph BlackSheep CC 01684 292 390 firstname.lastname@example.org ROA 10000 Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ 100 12 Aug Long Rock, E of Penzance The Celtic Coastal 09:30 Sun BP 1305m £3.00 C L P R T 12.5-30kph Audax Kernow ROA 3000 Don Hutchison, 14 Pendarves Road Penzance Cornwall TR18 2AJ 54 12 Aug Long Rock, E of Penzance Celtic Canter 10:00 Sun BP 786m AAA0.75 £3 C L P R T 10-30kph Audax Kernow ROA 3000 Don Hutchison, 14 Pendarves Road Penzance Cornwall TR18 2AJ
200 12 Aug Pendleton, Lancashire Delightful Dales 08:00 Sun BR 205km 3600m AAA3.5 £5 L P R T 15-30kph Burnley Sportiv email@example.com Andy Corless, 31 Castlerigg Drive Ightenhill Burnley Lancashire BB12 8AT 110 15 Aug Maidenhead Boulters Bash 10:00 Wed BP £3.00 P R T 15-30kph Willesden CC 07763 765 802 firstname.lastname@example.org. Mick Hill, 5 Castle Farm, Leigh Square Windsor Berks SL4 4PT 100 15 Aug Marple Memorial Park White Peak Grimpeur 10:00 Wed BP 103km 2310m AAA2.25 £5 P R T 60 (8/8) 12.5-25kph Peak Audax 01457 870421 mike@PeakAudax.co.uk ROA 10000 Mike Wigley, Higher Grange Farm Millcroft Lane Delph Oldham Saddleworth OL3 5UX 200 18 Aug Belbroughton, North Worcestershire Kidderminster Killer 08:00 Sat BR 213km 3750m AAA3.75 £7.00 F L P R S T M (50) (8/8) 14.3-30kph 110 18 Aug Belbroughton, North Worcestershire From Clee to Heaven 09:00 Sat BP 119km 1950m AAA2 £7.00 P R T NM (80) 14.3-25kph Beacon Roads Cycling Club 01562 731606 email@example.com Philip Whiteman, 2 Drayton Terrace Drayton Belbroughton Stourbridge DY9 0BW 200 18 Aug Gladestry, west of Kington Elan & Ystwyth 08:00 Sat BR 208km 3750m AAA3.75 £5.00 YH C BD P R T 150 5/8 12.5-25kph 100 18 Aug Gladestry, west of Kington Radnor Roundabout 09:00 Sat BP 104km 1826m AAA1.75 £5.00 YH C BD P R T 150 5/8 12.5-25kph 50 18 Aug Gladestry, west of Kington Radnor Forest Off Road 50 10:00 Sat BP 1640m AAA1.75 £5.00 YH C BD P R T 150 5/8 8.3-15kph Up Hill Down Ale firstname.lastname@example.org Ross Jeal, Monymusk Meadow Vale Gladestry Kington Powys HR5 3PR 400 18 Aug Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire The Old 240 05:30 Sat BR 406km 6400m AAA6.5 £5.00 C F L P R T 15-30kph 400 18 Aug Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire Not Quite The Spurn Head 400 05:30 Sat BR 403km 2450m £5.00 C L P R T 15-30kph CTC West Yorkshire 01422 832 853 email@example.com ROA 10000 Chris Crossland, 14 Stanley St. West Sowerby Bridge W. Yorks HX6 1EF 200 19 Aug Gladestry, west of Kington Tregaron Dragon 08:00 Sun BR 209km 4800m AAA4.75 £5.00 YH C BD P R T 150 5/8 12.5-25kph CTC Cymru firstname.lastname@example.org 100 19 Aug Gladestry, west of Kington Gladestry Gallop 09:00 Sun BP 107km 1625m AAA1.75 £5.00 YH C BD P R T 150 5/8 12.5-25kph 53 19 Aug Gladestry, west of Kington Gladestry Trot 10:00 Sun BP £5.00 YH C BD P R T 150 5/8 10-20kph Up Hill Down Ale email@example.com Ross Jeal, Monymusk Meadow Vale Gladestry Kington Powys HR5 3PR 110 19 Aug Shere, Guildford Tour of the Hills 09:50 Sun BP 115km 2300m AAA2.25 £6.50 F L P R T 225 15-30kph West Surrey CTC 01483 810028 firstname.lastname@example.org Don Gray, Greenleas Beech Lane Normandy Surrey GU3 2JH 100 22 Aug Marple West Peak Grimpeur 10:00 Wed 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 300 25 Aug Mildenhall Cycle Rally Mildenhall Rally Roving 300 04:00 Sat BR £5.00 CPTS (16/08) 15-30kph Updated Suffolk CTC email@example.com 57 25 Aug Mildenhall Cycle Rally Mildenhall Rally Brief Brevet 10:00 Sat BP £5.00 CPTS 16/8 15-30kph 200 25 Aug Mildenhall Cycling Rally Mildenhall Rally Randonnee 08:30 Sat BR 203km £5.00 CPTS (16/8) 15-30kph 100 25 Aug Mildenhall Cycling Rally Mildenhall Rally Brevet 09:00 Sat BP 103km £5.00 CPTS (16/8) 15-30kph Suffolk CTC firstname.lastname@example.org Dennis Kell, 9 Pheasant Rise Copdock Ipswich Suffolk IP8 3LF 200 25 Aug Newtonmore Forres Foray 08:00 Sat BR 202km £3.00 C YH L P R T 15-30kphF 100 25 Aug Newtonmore Grantown Gallop 10:00 Sat BP 104km £2.00 C YH L P R T 15-30kph CTC Highland email@example.com ROA 5000 Steve Carroll, Creag Charrach Rockfield Tain Ross-shire IV20 1RF 200 26 Aug Edenbridge, Kent Around Weald Expedition 08:30 Sun BR 215km 3250m AAA3.25 £5 R T P (80) 12/8 15-30kphE 120 26 Aug Edenbridge, Kent Kidds Toys 09:30 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 26 Aug Shipton, North of York Tan Hill Audax 08:00 Sun BR 208km AAA1 £4 L P R T 15-30kph Clifton CC Steven Roebuck, 18 Riverside Gardens Elvington York YO41 4DT
Arrivée Summer 2012 AU
auk calendar 110 29 Aug Marple, Memorial Park, SK6 Staffs Peak Super-Grimpeur 10:00 Wed BP 2800m AAA2.75 £5 P R T (25/8) 60 10-25kph Peak Audax Peter Coates, 15 Eccles Close Whaley Bridge Derbyshire SK23 7RS 200 01 Sep Bangor, North Wales Gwynedd Traverse 8:00 Sat BR 2850m AAA2.75 £5 L P R T 15-30kph Energy Cycles email@example.com Jasmine Sharp, 409A Crafnant Ffriddoedd Road Bangor Gwynedd LL57 2GX 160 01 Sep Dore, Sheffield Centenary Amber and Green 08:15 Sat BP £5 L R T 15-30kph 100 01 Sep Dore, Sheffield A Centenary Amber Gambol 09:00 Sat BP £5 L R T 12.5-25kph Sheffield District CTC bigT.firstname.lastname@example.org Tony Gore, 8 Ladysmith Avenue Sheffield S7 1SF 150 01 Sep Forfar, Leisure Centre Moulin Moors 150 10:00 Sat BP £3.50 P T S 15-30kph Angus CC 01307 466123 email@example.com ROA 2000 David Husband , 78 Old Halkerton Road Forfar DD8 1JP 200 02 Sep Arnside YH Northern Dales 08:00 Sun BR 202km 3000m AAA3 £3.00 YH R S T 15-30kph 110 02 Sep Arnside YH Northern Dales Populaire 09:00 Sun BP 1675m AAA1.75 £3.00 YH R S T 100 12.5-20kph CTC Lancaster 01524 36061 firstname.lastname@example.org ROA 5000 Mike Hutchinson, Heatherdene 9 Whinfell Drive Lancaster LA1 4NY 110 02 Sep Lower Whitley, nr Warrington The Wizard and the Llamas 08:30 Sun BP 114km 767m £6 L P R T 15-30kph North Cheshire Clarion email@example.com Andrew Williams, 40 Fieldway Weaverham Northwich Cheshire CW8 3HW 200 02 Sep Lymington New Forest On and Off Shore 07:45 Sun BR 202km £17.00 L P R T 100 (3/9) Ferry 15-30kphJ 150 02 Sep Lymington New Forest and Isle of Wight Century 07:45 Sun BP £17.00 L P R T 100 (30/8) Ferry 15-30kph 100 02 Sep Lymington New Forest and Coast 10:00 Sun BP 102km £6.00 C L P R T 100 (3/9) 10-20kph John Ward 01590 671 205 firstname.lastname@example.org ROA 5000 John Ward, 34 Avenue Road Lymington Hants SO41 9GJ 200 02 Sep Moira, W of Ashby-de-la-Zouch East Midlands Forests 200 08:00 Sun BR £5.20 C P T R YH (40) (30/8) 15-30kph CTC East Midlands 01283 223 581 email@example.com 100 02 Sep Moira, W of Ashby-de-la-Zouch Camelia and Canal Bridges 100 09:30 Sun BP 107km £4.20 C P R T YH (80) (30/8) 12.5-24kph Mercia HBM CC 01283 223 581 firstname.lastname@example.org Ian Hill, 33 Wren Close Swadlincote Derbyshire DE11 7QP 200 02 Sep Orchard Park, Cambridge Cambridge 200 08:00 Sun BR £5.00 R T P 15-30kph 100 02 Sep Orchard Park, Cambridge Cambridge 100 09:00 Sun BP £4.00 F P R T 15-30kph 50 02 Sep Orchard Park, Cambridge Cambridge 50 10:00 Sun BP £4 R T P 12.5-25kph CTC Cambridge email@example.com Gareth Rees, 117 Kings Hedges Road Cambridge CB4 2PL 200 08 Sep Beech Hill, S of Reading Alan Furley's Up the Downs 08:00 Sat BR 2100m £6.00 F L P R T 100 15-30kph 150 08 Sep Beech Hill, S of Reading Alan Furley's Round the Downs 08:30 Sat BP 153km 1000m £5:00 F L P R T 12.5-30kph 100 08 Sep Beech Hill, S of Reading Alan Furley's Down the Ups 09:00 Sat BP 107km 1000m £4:00 F L P R T 12.5-30kph Reading CTC Allan Adams, 205 Hyde End Road Spencers Wood Reading RG7 1BU 100 08 Sep Bolsover Beast of Bolsover 09:00 Sat BP 105km 2030m AAA2 £5.00 P R T 12.5-25kph Bolsover & District CC 01246 825 351 firstname.lastname@example.org ROA 3000 Matt Connley, 7 Eskdale Close Bolsover Chesterfield S44 6RL 150 08 Sep New Road, Richmond, N Yorks Dave's Dales Tour 160 08:30 Sat BP 2500m AAA2.5 £4.50 C F L P R T 12-30kph 100 08 Sep New Road, Richmond, N Yorks Lucia's Vale of York Meander 100 10:00 Sat BP £4.50 C F L P R T 10-20kph 100 08 Sep New Road, Richmond,, N Yorks Dave's Mini Dales Tour 100 09:30 Sat BP 1900m AAA2 £4.50 C F L P R T 10-20kph 200 08 Sep Richmond, North Yorkshire Dales Dales Tour Plus 08:00 Sat BR 3150m AAA3.25 £5.00 C F L P R T 14.4-30kph Swaledale Outdoor Club 07887628513 email@example.com Dave Atkinson , 23 Hailstone Drive Northallerton North Yorkshire DL6 1SP 110 08 Sep Shortstown, Bedford The R101 09:00 Sat BP 112km 1059m [1060m] £6.00 P R T 12-30kph iCycle (www.iCycle.cc) firstname.lastname@example.org Jackie Popland, 48 Haylands Way Bedford MK41 9BU
200 08 Sep Tamworth Wem, we get there 08:30 Sat BR 208km 1400m £5.00 X P R 50 (31/8) 15-30kph 110 08 Sep Tamworth Charnwood Challenge 09:00 Sat BP 111km 1094m £5.00 P R T 50 (31/8) 12.5-30kph 51 08 Sep Tamworth National Forest 50 09:30 Sat BP 400m £4.00 P R T 50 (31/8) 10-20kph Tamworth C.C. email@example.com Clive Handy, 20 Brancaster Close Amington Tamworth Staffs B77 3QD 200 08 Sep Tewkesbury Mr. Pickwick Goes to Hay in a Day 08:00 Sat 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 ROA 10000 Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ 100 09 Sep Brigg The Summer Knows 09:00 Sun BP 767m £5 L P R T S NM 15-30kph Ancholme Leisure Centre email@example.com Stuart Greenaway, 74 Chiltern Crescent Scunthorpe N Lincolnshire DN17 1TJ 100 09 Sep Broadway, nr Ilminster Neroche 100 09:30 Sun BP 105km 1691m £5.00 P R T NM 12.5-25kph 1st Chard Wheelers 01460 30071 firstname.lastname@example.org Edward Lycett Green, Laurel Cottage Ammerham Winsham Chard Somerset TA20 4LA 200 09 Sep Broken Cross, nr Macclesfield The Three Loops 08:00 Sun BR 212km £7 F L P R T 14.3-30kph 110 09 Sep Broken Cross, nr Macclesfield The 1... 09:00 Sun BP 114km £7.00 F L P T 14.3-25kph Macclesfield Wheelers 01625 614830 email@example.com John Perrin, 20 Princes Way Macclesfield Cheshire SK11 8UB 100 09 Sep Bynea, Llanelli Wesley May Memorial Super Grimpeur 09:00 Sun BP 102km 2400m AAA2.5 [2931m] £4.00 F L P R T 30 (11/09) 10-25kph Swansea DA firstname.lastname@example.org Ian Sharpe, Penhafod Stafford Common Gorseinon Swansea SA4 4HD 110 09 Sep Connor Downs, NE of Hayle Golowjy ha Bal 116 09:00 Sun BP 116km 1825m AAA1.75 £4.00 C L P R T 75 12-30kph 52 09 Sep Connor Downs, NE of Hayle Golowjy ha Bal 52 10:00 Sun BP 863m AAA0.75 £4.00 C L P R T 50 8-20kph Updated Audax Kernow email@example.com Simon Jones, The Cottage Pulla Cross Truro Cornwall TR4 8SA 100 09 Sep Midhurst, W Sussex Le Tour de Didling 100 09:00 Sun BP 109km 1325m [1250m] £8.00 P T F (30/8) 500 15-30kph David Hudson ROA 25000 Dave Hudson, 151 Middle Road Shoreham-by-Sea BN43 6LG 200 09 Sep Musselburgh The Erit Lass 08:00 Sun BR 3000m AAA3 £7.00 F L P R T 15-30kph Audax Ecosse firstname.lastname@example.org Martin Foley, 78 Denholm Road Musselburgh East Lothian EH21 6TU 110 09 Sep Oundle, Northants Rockingham and Rutland 09:30 Sun BP 114km £4.50 L P R T 12.5-30kph CTC Northants & MK Richard Daniells, 6 Matson Close Rothwell Northants NN14 6AY 200 09 Sep Pease Pottage, W Sussex Didling 200 07:30 Sun BR £8.00 P T F (500) 15-30kph David Hudson ROA 25000 Dave Hudson, 151 Middle Road Shoreham-by-Sea BN43 6LG 100 12 Sep Denham West London 4/4 Event CANCELLED 200 15 Sep Coryton, NW Cardiff Ferryside Fish Foray 07:00 Sat BR 225km £8.00 YH L R P T 50 15-30kph Cardiff Byways CC email@example.com ROA 2000 Richard Evans, 73 Conway Road Cardiff CF11 9NW 170 15 Sep Droitwich Clee Hills and Round About 08:15 Sat BP 175km £3.00 C P R T M 12.5-25kph Gavin Greenhow 01905 775 803 ROA 10000 Gavin Greenhow, 44 Newland Road Droitwich WR9 7AG 160 15 Sep Husbands Bosworth Welland Wonder 160 08:00 Sat BP 1675m £5.00 LPRT 15-30kph 110 15 Sep Husbands Bosworth Welland Wonder 100 08:30 Sat BP 116km 1350m £5.00 LPRT 12-24kph 53 15 Sep Husbands Bosworth Welland Wonder 50 09:00 Sat BP 525m £5.00 LPRT 12-24kph Welland Valley CC 01858545376 Mike Vybiral, Logan Cottage Grange Lane East Langton Market Harborough LE16 7TF 200 16 Sep Alford, Lincs Fen and Wold 08:00 Sun BR £5.00 F P R T 15-25kph 100 16 Sep Alford, Lincs The Wold and Fen 09:00 Sun BP £5.00 L P F T 12-25kph Alford Whs 01507 443 000 firstname.lastname@example.org ROA 3000 Alan Hockham, 11 Trustthorpe Road Sutton on Sea Lincs LN12 2LX
Arrivée Summer 2012
auk calendar 80 16 Sep Chartham Blackhouse Hill 80km 10:00 Sun BP 1305m AAA1.25 £4.00 FPT 30 14-26kph Patrick Cherry email@example.com Patrick Cherry, 28 Barton Road Canterbury Kent CT1 1YQ 200 16 Sep Galashiels Etal-u-Can 08:00 Sun BR 204km 2379m £5.00 BPX 15-30kph Change of Date Audax Ecosse 01896 758 181 firstname.lastname@example.org ROA 10000 Lucy McTaggart, 30 Victoria St. Galashiels Scottish Borders TD1 1HL 100 16 Sep Hampton Hill, SW London London Sightseer 09:15 Sun BP £4.50 C L P T NM 10-20kph Hounslow & Dist. Whs 020 8287 3244 email@example.com Bill Carnaby, 225 High Street Hampton Hill Middlesex TW12 1NP 100 16 Sep Newlands Corner, Surrey Early Autumn Colours UpperTEA100 09:00 Sun BP £7.50 P T R 6/9 (500) 15-30kph David Hudson ROA 25000 Dave Hudson, 151 Middle Road Shoreham-by-Sea BN43 6LG 200 16 Sep Old Ma's Tattenhall, Cheshire Pistyll Packing Momma 08:00 Sun BR 209km 3050m AAA3 £4.5 P R 50 T L (09/09) 15-30kph 130 16 Sep Old Ma's Tattenhall, Cheshire Momma's Mountain Views 09:00 Sun BP 137km 2000m AAA2 £4.50 P R 50 T L (11/09) 12.5-25kph 50 16 Sep Old Ma's Tattenhall, Cheshire Momma's Leafy Lanes 10:00 Sun BP £4.50 P R 50 T L (09/09) 10-20kph Chester & N Wales CTC firstname.lastname@example.org ROA 2000 David Matthews, Hill View Cottage Cross Lanes Oscroft Tarvin Cheshire CH3 8NG 200 22 Sep Chalfont St Peter The Anfractuous 08:00 Sat BR 207km 2400m £6.00 L P R T M 75 15-30kph 100 22 Sep Chalfont St Peter The Nyctophobic 08:30 Sat BP 109km 1400m £5.00 L P R T M 75 12.5-30kph Willesden CC email@example.com Paul Stewart, 25 Devonshire Gardens Chiswick London W4 3TN 200 22 Sep Chepstow Border Castles Randonnée 07:30 Sat BR £2.00 XPR 15-30kph Bristol DA ROA 5000 Nik Peregrine, Castle Terrace 46 Bridge Street Chepstow NP16 5EY 200 22 Sep Henham, Saffron Walden Shaftesbury CC - Chris Negus Memorial Rides 08:00 Sat BR 215km £5.00 L P R S T 15-30kph 160 22 Sep Henham, Saffron Walden Shaftesbury CC - Chris Negus Memorial Rides 09:00 Sat BP 161km £5.00 L P R S T 15-30kph 100 22 Sep Henham, Saffron Walden Shaftesbury CC - Chris Negus Memorial Rides 10:00 Sat BP £5.00 L P R S T 15-30kph 50 22 Sep Henham, Saffron Walden Shaftesbury CC - Chris Negus Memorial Rides 11:00 Sat BP £5.00 L P R S T 10-30kph Shaftesbury CC firstname.lastname@example.org Mick Dodge, 27 Bruce Grove Wickford Essex SS11 8RB 100 23 Sep Abergavenny Monmouthshire Meander 09:00 Sun BP 1500m AAA1.5 £4.50 YH F P L T 15-25kph Abergavenny RC Jonathan Saville, 9 Trehonddu Llanvihangel Crucorney Abergavenny Monmouthshire NP7 8DG 110 23 Sep Gorseinon, Swansea Crwydrad Y Cestyll 09:00 Sun BP 111km 2200m AAA2.25 £5.00 P R S T 35 (05/09) 10-25kph Swansea Wheelers CC 01792 792839 email@example.com Rob John , 44 Gellifawr Road Morriston Swansea SA6 7PW 200 29 Sep Alfreton Dambusters 200 08:00 Sat BR £4.50 T R P L 15-30kph Alfreton CTC 01773 833 593 firstname.lastname@example.org ROA 5000 Tom Fox, 180 Nottingham Road Alfreton Derbyshire DE55 7FP 100 29 Sep Coryton, NW Cardiff Trefil Travail 9::00 Sat BP 105km 2270m AAA2.25 £7.00 YH L P R T 50 12-24kph Cardiff Byways CC A.H.Mackay@open.ac.uk Hugh Mackay, 131 Stanwell Road Penarth CF64 3LL 100 29 Sep Sonning Common, near Reading Henley Hilly Hundred 09:00 Sat BP 1660m AAA1.75 £4 FLPRT 12-30kph CTC Reading DA email@example.com Brian Perry, 16 Rowland Close Wallingford Oxon OX10 8LA 200 29 Sep Upton Magna, E of Shrewsbury Beyond Shropshire (Hafren) 08:00 Sat BR 202km 2970m AAA3 £6.00 C F L P R T 50 15-30kph Updated CTC Shropshire firstname.lastname@example.org 120 29 Sep Upton Magna, E of Shrewsbury Discovering Shropshire (Land of Lost Content) 09:00 Sat BP 1650m AAA1.5 [1545m] £6.00 C F L P R T 75 12.5-25kph 80 29 Sep Upton Magna, E of Shrewsbury A Shropshire Lad 09:30 Sat BP 1030m £5.00 C F L P R T 10-20kph CTC Shropshire email@example.com ROA 10000 John Hamilton, 22 Oaks Crescent Wellington Telford TF1 2HF
160 30 Sep 08:00 Sun
Haynes Rd, Leicester, LE54AR The Leicester Circle BP 166km 1500m [1525m] £5.00 L P R T NM 15-30kph Leicester Forest CC Mat Richardson, 18 Clumber Close Loughborough LE11 2UB
160 30 Sep 09:30 Sun
Linlithgow Three Glens Explorer BP 164km 1350m [1850m] £7.00 F L P R T 15-30kph West Lothian Clarion firstname.lastname@example.org Neil Fraser, 14 Maryfield Drive Bo'Ness West Lothian EH51 9DG
110 30 Sep 09:30 Sun Updated
Ludford, NE of Lincoln Lincolnshire Wolds BP £5.00 F P R T 15-30kph CTC Lincolnshire email@example.com Geoff Findon, 11a Trusthorpe Road Sutton On Sea LN12 2LX
200 30 Sep Pendleton, Lancashire Last Chance Dales Dance 200 07:30 Sun BR 3300m AAA3.25 [3000m] £5-00 L P R T 15-30kph Burnley Sportiv firstname.lastname@example.org Andy Corless, 31 Castlerigg Drive Ightenhill Burnley Lancashire BB12 8AT 100
100 06 Oct 09:00 Sat ROA 3000
West London 5/4 Event CANCELLED
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
200 06 Oct Broken Cross, nr Macclesfield Venetian Nights 08:00 Sat BR 210km 2750m AAA2.25 [2333m] £7 F L P R T 14.3-25kph Peak Audax firstname.lastname@example.org John Perrin, 20 Princes Way Macclesfield Cheshire SK11 8UB 200 06 Oct 07:30 Sat
Coryton, NW Cardiff Gower Getter BR 203km £7 YH L P R T 50 15-25kph Cardiff Byways CC email@example.com Georgina Harper, 68 Hazelhurst Road Llandaf North Cardiff Wales CF14 2FX
Darley Abbey, Derby Over the Trent to Dance and Pray BP 152km 1041m £5.00 L P R T 30 15-30kph
06 Oct Sat
100 06 Oct Darley Abbey, Derby Over and Over the Trent 09:15 Sat BP 109km 637m £5.00 L P R T 60 12.5-30kph Derby DA Keith Scholey, 1 Killis Lane Kilburn Belper DE56 0LS 200 08:00
06 Oct Sat
Newlands Corner, Surrey Newlands– Reading 200 BR 206km 1500m [2165m] £4.00 X F T (1/10) 500 15-30kph
100 06 Oct Newlands Corner, Surrey Later Autumn Colours UpperTEA 100 09:00 Sat BP 106km 1100m £7.50 P F T (27/9) 500 15-30kph David Hudson ROA 25000 David Hudson, 151 Middle Road Shoreham by Sea West Sussex BN43 6LG 110 07 Oct 09:00 Sun Updated
Blaxhall, Suffolk The Suffolk Byways BP 117km 620m £5.00 YH C L P R T (20/9) 15-30kph CTC Suffolk firstname.lastname@example.org Paul Bass, 21 Thomas Close Ixworth Bury St Edmunds IP31 2UQ
100 07 Oct 10:00 Sun ROA 4000
Bredgar, Nr Sittingbourne Hengist's Hills BP 103km 1750m AAA1.75 £5.00 RLPT 15-30kph Tim Ford 01622 884 622 email@example.com Tim Ford, Glinwood Bexon Lane Bredgar Sittingbourne ME9 8HB
Hailsham, E Sussex BR 205km £8.00 P F (27/9) 500 15-30kph
07 Oct Sun
100 07 Oct Hailsham, E Sussex Stollen 100 09:00 Sun BP 103km 1100m [1500m] £8.00 F P (27/9) 500 15-30kph David Hudson ROA 25000 David Hudson, 151 Middle Road Shoreham by Sea West Sussex BN43 6LG 100 09:00
07 Oct Sun
Hebden Bridge BP 2555m AAA2.5 £4.00 L R T YH 12-24kph
Season of Mists
50 07 Oct Hebden Bridge Mellow Fruitfulness 10:00 Sun BP 1200m AAA1.25 £3.50 L R T YH 8-20kph W. Yorks DA 01422 832 853 firstname.lastname@example.org ROA 10000 Chris Crossland, 14 Stanley St. West Sowerby Bridge W. Yorks HX6 1EF 100 07 Oct 10:00 Sun
Wigginton, N of York Gerry's Autumn Brevet BP 101km £2.00 L P R T 12-25kph North Yorks DA 01904 795 695 email@example.com Gerry Boswell, 5 Invicta Court Acomb York YO24 3NL
100 07 Oct 09:00 Sun ROA 1000
Winchcombe, Glos Winchcombe Falling Leaves 100 BP 1750m AAA1.75 £5.00 F,P,R,NM 12.5-25kph Winchcombe Cycling Club firstname.lastname@example.org Brian Hayward, Highwheeler House Neata Farm Greet Cheltenham GL54 5BL
13 Oct Sat
Daglingworth, nr. Cirencester Centurion Super-Grimpeur BP 108km 2490m AAA2.5 £6.00 L P R T 70 12-24kph
100 13 Oct 09:30 Sat ROA 5000
Daglingworth, nr. Cirencester Centurion Challenge BP 108km 1450m £6.00 L P R T 70 12.5-25kph Corinium CC 01285 659 515 email@example.com Peter Holden, 39 Querns Lane Cirencester Glos GL7 1RL
Arrivée Summer 2012 AU
auk calendar 200 13 Oct Droitwich Droitwich-Lechlade 08:15 Sat BR 215km £4.00 C P R T M 14.4-25kph Gavin Greenhow 01905 775 803 ROA 10000 Gavin Greenhow, 44 Newland Road Droitwich WR9 7AG 100 14 Oct Alfreton, NW of Nottingham Beware of the Plague 09:00 Sun BP 107km £5.00 P R T F 12.5-25kph Alfreton CTC firstname.lastname@example.org Martyn Leighton, 46 Ashford Rise Belper Derbyshire DE56 1TJ 200 14 Oct Blundeston nr Lowestoft, Suffolk The Silly Suffolk 08:00 Sun BR £5.00 FRTP 15-30kph 150 14 Oct Blundeston nr Lowestoft, Suffolk The Silly Suffolk 09:00 Sun BP £5.00 FRTP 15-30kph Velo Club Baracchi email@example.com John Thompson, 136 Dell Road Oulton Broad Lowestoft Suffolk NR33 9NT 200 14 Oct Congleton Rugby Club Horseshoe Pass 08:00 Sun BR 210km £5.00 P R (60) 15-30kph 160 14 Oct Congleton Rugby Club, Congleton Chirk Aqueduct 08:30 Sun BP 168km £5.00 P R (60) 15-30kph Congleton CC firstname.lastname@example.org Denise Hurst, 10 Firwood Road Biddulph Staffordshire ST8 7ED 100 14 Oct Hebden Bridge The Hebden Bridge Star 10:00 Sun BP 106km 2295m AAA2.25 £4 YH F L P T MN 15-30kph 54 14 Oct Hebden Bridge The Hebden Bridge Starlet 10:00 Sun BP 1250m AAA1.25 £4 YH F L P T MN 15-30kph Peak Audax Winston Plowes, PO Box 759 Hebden Bridge West Yorkshire HX7 8WJ 100 20 Oct Chailey, East Sussex Mid Sussex Olympic 08:30 Sat BP 108km 2012m AAA2 £5 F L P R T 40 (12/10) 12.5-25kph 100 20 Oct Chailey, East Sussex Mid Sussex Hilly 08:30 Sat BP 108km 1600m AAA1.5 £5.00 F L P R T 40 (10/10) 12.5-25kph San Fairy Ann CC 01342 314437 malinseastg(remove this)@tiscali dot co dot uk Martin Malins, 64 Blount Avenue East Grinstead West Sussex RH19 1JW 200 20 Oct Corwen The Barmouth Boulevard 08:00 Sat BR 204km 3450m AAA3.5 £4.50 PRT50 (16/10) 15-30kph 100 20 Oct Corwen The Brenig Bach 08:30 Sat BP 107km 1920m AAA2 £4.50 PRT50 (16/10) 12.5-25kph 60 20 Oct Corwen The Bala mini-Bash 09:00 Sat BP 1000m £4.50 P R T 50 (16/10) 12.5-25kph Chester & N. Wales CTC email@example.com ROA 3000 David Matthews, Hill View Cottage Cross Lanes Oscroft Tarvin Cheshire CH3 8NG 200 20 Oct Galashiels Borders New Season Brevet 08:00 Sat BR 2000m £4.00 BPXDIY(14/10) 15-30kph VC167 01896 758 181 firstname.lastname@example.org ROA 10000 Lucy McTaggart, 30 Victoria St. Galashiels Scottish Borders TD1 1HL 200 20 Oct Tewkesbury Mr. Pickwick's Autumnal Outing 07:00 Sat BR 206km 2350m £4.00 c l p r t nm 100 15-25kph BlackSheep CC 01684 292 390 email@example.com ROA 10000 Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ 150 20 Oct Trowell, West of Nottingham An Autumn Day Out 08:15 Sat BP 153km 1135m £5.00p L P R T(80) 15-30kph Nottinghamshire CTC 0115 932 9978 Mark Chambers, 62 Queens Avenue Hallam Fields Ilkeston Derbys DE7 4DJ 200 21 Oct Denmead, Nr Portsmouth Wylye and Ebble Valley 07:30 Sun BR £5-00 L P R T M (12/10) 15-30kph Hampshire RC firstname.lastname@example.org Paul Whitehead, 73 Spencer Road Emsworth Hampshire PO10 7XR 100 21 Oct Minehead Ken's Autumn Colours 09:30 Sun BP £4.00 L P R T 60 10-20kph Minehead CC 01643 704 258 60 21 Oct Minehead Ken's Autumn Colours 10:00 Sun BP £4.00 L P R T 60 8-20kph Minehead CC 01643 704 258 ROA 5000 Pam Almond, 40 King George Road Minehead TA24 5JD 110 27 Oct Bolsover Colourful Clumber 09:00 Sat BP 111km £5.00 L P R T (100) 15-30kph Bolsover & District CC 01246 825 351 email@example.com ROA 3000 Matt Connley, 7 Eskdale Close Bolsover Chesterfield S44 6RL 100 28 Oct Bovey Tracey The Dartmoor Devil @ 9 09:00 Sun BP 106km 2500m AAA2.5 £8.00 F P R T M 100 (17/10) 12.5-25kph 100 28 Oct Bovey Tracey The Dartmoor Devil @ 8 08:00 Sun BP 106km 2500m AAA2.5 £8.00 F P R T M 100 (17/10) 12.5-25kph CTC Devon 01626 833 749 ROA 2000 Kevin Presland, c/o 35 Clarendon Rd Ipplepen Newton Abbot Dev TQ12 5QS 100 28 Oct Stevenage (Fairlands) Emitremmus Desrever 10:00 Sun BP 101km £4 L P R T (19/10; 360) 12.5-28kph
67 28 Oct Stevenage (Fairlands) Emitremmus Lite 10:30 Sun BP £4 L P R T (19/10; 100) 10-20kph Stevenage (Herts) CTC 01438 354 505 firstname.lastname@example.org ROA 5000 Jim Brown, 38 Brick Kiln Road Stevenage SG1 2NH 200 03 Nov Cholsey, E of Didcot Upper Thames 07:30 Sat BR 212km 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 200 03 Nov Coryton, NW Cardiff Transporter 200 07:00 Sat BR 202km £8.00 YH L P R T 50 15-30kph Cardiff Byways CC 02920 341768 firstname.lastname@example.org ROA 3000 Richard Evans, 73 Conway Road Cardiff CF11 9NW 200 03 Nov Galashiels Guy Fawkes Buddhist Retreat 08:00 Sat BR £4.00 BXDIY 15-30kph Audax Ecosse 01896 758 181 email@example.com ROA 10000 Lucy McTaggart, 30 Victoria St. Galashiels Scottish Borders TD1 1HL 100 03 Nov Hellesdon, nr Norwich The Norfolk Nips - 1 09:00 Sat BP £5 LPRT(150) 15-30kph Change of Date NorfolknGood Audax firstname.lastname@example.org ROA 5000 Keith Harrison, 11 Heather Avenue Hellesdon Norwich NR6 6LU 100 10 Nov Alfreton To the Races 09:00 Sat BP 108km £4.50 L P R T M 100 14-28kph Alfreton CTC Ian Hobbs, 26 Naseby Road Openwoodgate Belper DE56 0ER 100 10 Nov Catherington, near Portsmouth Whitchurch Winter Wind-down 100 09:00 Sat BP 106km £5.00 F L P R T 15-30kph Updated Hantspol CC email@example.com Jonathan Ellis, 42 Wessex Road Waterlooville Hampshire PO8 0HS 200 10 Nov Tewkesbury Mr. Pickwick's Cyrch Cymru 07:00 Sat BR 209km 2200m £4.00 c p r t nm 100 15-25kph Change of Date BlackSheep CC 01684 292 390 firstname.lastname@example.org ROA 10000 Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ 200 11 Nov Cheadle, Stockport Eureka! 08:00 Sun BR 210km 800m £5.00 P R T M 60 (26/10) 15-30kph 160 11 Nov Cheadle, Stockport Cheshire Safari 08:30 Sun BP 570m £5.00 P R T M 60 (21/10) 12.5-25kph Peak Audax email@example.com Peter Hammond, 3 Dorac Ave Heald Green Cheadle Stockport Cheshire SK8 3NZ 200 16 Nov Anywhere Dinner Dart ::::: Fri BR £4.00 Hotel at finish 14.3-30kph AUK 0161 449 9309 firstname.lastname@example.org ROA 25000 Sheila Simpson, 33 Hawk Green Road Hawk Green Marple SK6 7HR 200 17 Nov Llandrindod Wells After Dinner Dart ::::: Sat BR £4.00 Hotel at start 14.3-30kph AUK 0161 449 9309 email@example.com ROA 25000 Sheila Simpson, 33 Hawk Green Road Hawk Green Marple SK6 7HR 200 25 Nov Petworth, W Sussex Petworth–Sutton Scotney 200 08:00 Sun BR £4.00 P T R X (500) 15-30kph 100 25 Nov Petworth, W Sussex The Triple H (Hudsons Henjoyable Hundred 100 09:00 Sun BP 103km 660m [1050m] £8.00 F T P (15/11) 500 15-30kph David Hudson ROA 25000 Dave Hudson, 151 Middle Road Shoreham-by-Sea BN43 6LG 200 01 Dec Little Kimble, Buckinghamshire The South Bucks Winter Warmer 08:00 Sat BR 204km 1320m [1290m] £5.00 L P R T X 100 15-30kph S. Bucks DA Terry Lister, 4 Abbey Walk Great Missenden Bucks HP16 0AY 50 02 Dec Carharrack, Cornwall Ed's Mince Pie & Mulled Wine 50 10:00 Sun BP £3.50 F L P R T (85) 10-25kph Audax Kernow 01326 373421 firstname.lastname@example.org Eddie Angell, 14 Belhay Penryn Cornwall TR10 8DF 200 08 Dec Tewkesbury Kings, Castles, Priests & Churches 07:30 Sat BR 202km 2550m AAA1.75 [1800m] £4.00 f l p r t nm 100 15-25kph BlackSheep CC 01684 292 390 email@example.com ROA 10000 Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ 200 09 Dec Hailsham, E Sussex Hailsham–Folkestone 200 08:00 Sun BR 205km £4.00 P R X (500) 15-30kph 100 09 Dec Hailsham, E Sussex Hailsham–Rye 100 09:00 Sun BP 103km 1000m £5.00 P R (4/12) 500 15-30kph David Hudson ROA 25000 David Hudson, 151 Middle Road Shoreham by Sea West Sussex BN43 6LG 100 15 Dec Hellesdon, nr Norwich The Norfolk Nips - 2 09:00 Sat BP £5 LPRT(150) 15-30kph NorfolknGood Audax firstname.lastname@example.org ROA 5000 Keith Harrison, 11 Heather Avenue Hellesdon Norwich NR6 6LU 200 05 Jan Oxford The Poor Student 08:00 Sat BR 206km 2000m £5.00 YH P X 15-30kph
Arrivée Summer 2012
auk calendar Pat Hurt 07887 87 61 62 Pat Hurt, 10 Newbury Road Lambourn RG17 7LL 200 05 Jan Tewkesbury Mr. Pickwick's January Sale 07:00 Sat BR 201km 2100m AAA1.5 [1900m] £1.0 c p r t nm 100 15-25kph BlackSheep CC email@example.com ROA 10000 Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ 100 13 Jan Kings Worthy, Winchester Watership Down 09:30 Sun BP 108km 1235m £5.00 L F P R T M 140 14-28kph South Hampshire CTC firstname.lastname@example.org ROA 5000 Sue Coles, 7 Ruffield Close Winchester SO22 5JL 200 19 Jan Chalfont St Peter The Willy Warmer 08:00 Sat BR 213km £6 L P R T M 75 15-30kph Willesden CC email@example.com Paul Stewart, 25 Devonshire Gardens Chiswick London W4 3TN 100 19 Jan Hailsham Hills and Mills 09:00 Sat BP 102km 1850m AAA1.75 £8.00 R F P 50 09 /01/13 14-25kph Andy Seviour Andy Seviour, 13 Blacksmiths Copse Hailsham East Sussex BN27 3XB 100 19 Jan Hellesdon, nr Norwich The Norfolk Nips - 3 09:00 Sat BP £5 LPRT(150) 15-30kph NorfolknGood Audax firstname.lastname@example.org ROA 5000 Keith Harrison, 11 Heather Avenue Hellesdon Norwich NR6 6LU 100 26 Jan Almondsbury, N Bristol Jack and Grace Cotton Memorial Ride 09:00 Sat BP 104km £5.00 P R T M 150 15-30kph Clevedon & Dis. RC email@example.com Ken Acland, 232 Ormonds Close Bradley Stoke Bristol BS32 0DZ 200 02 Feb Tewkesbury Sam Weller's Day Trip to Wochma 07:30 Sat BR 203km 2300m [2700m] £4.00 c p r nm t 100 15-25kph BlackSheep CC 01684 292 390 firstname.lastname@example.org ROA 10000 Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ 100 09 Feb Dial Post, West Sussex Worthing Winter Warmer 09:00 Sat 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 200 10 Feb Bedford Burford Bumble 08:00 Sun BR 210km £5.00 L P R T 15-30kph CTC Bedfordshire email@example.com Jackie Popland, 48 Haylands Way Bedford MK41 9BU
100 10 Feb Chippenham Flapjack 09:00 Sun BP 104km £6.00 F P R T M 150 15-24kph Chip. & Dist. Whs. 01225 708449 Eric Fletcher, 174 Littleworth Lane Whitley Melksham Wiltshire SN12 8RE 120 16 Feb Hailsham Mad Jack's–John Seviour Memorial 09:00 Sat BP 125km 2450m AAA2.5 £8.00 R F P 50(08/2/12) 14-25kph Andy Seviour Andy Seviour, 13 Blacksmiths Copse Hailsham East Sussex BN27 3XB 120 16 Feb Hartlebury, S of Kidderminster Snowdrop Express 09:00 Sat BP 123km £5.00 P R T 100 15-30kph 120 16 Feb Hartlebury, S of Kidderminster Sunrise Express 08:30 Sat BP 123km £5.00 P R T 100 15-30kph Beacon RCC 01562 731606 firstname.lastname@example.org Dr Philip Whiteman, 2 Drayton Terrace Drayton Belbroughton Stourbridge DY9 0BW 200 02 Mar Grazeley, S of Reading The Kennet Valley Run 07:30 Sat BR 207km 1763m £6.50 L P R T 15-30kph 100 02 Mar Grazeley, S of Reading The Kennet Valley 100 09:00 Sat BP 895m £6.00 L P R T 12-30kph AUK email@example.com Mick Simmons, 84 Kidmore Road Caversham Reading RG4 7NA 100 09 Mar Alfreton, NW of Nottingham Three Fields 09:00 Sat BP 104km 1270m £5.00 L P R T 100 12-30kph AlfretonCTC firstname.lastname@example.org ROA 5000 Tom Fox, 180 Nottingham Road Alfreton Derbyshire DE55 7FP 200 09 Mar Little Kimble, Buckinghamshire The Chiltern Hills Brevet 08:00 Sat BR 205km 1600m [1660m] £5.00 L P R T 150 15-30kph 100 09 Mar Little Kimble, Buckinghamshire The Chilterns Spring Populaire 09:00 Sat BP 104km 900m [980m] £4.00 P L R T 150 12-24kph S. Bucks DA 01494865372 Terry Lister, 4 Abbey Walk Great Missenden Bucks HP16 0AY 300 06 Apr Chalfont St Peter 3 Down 06:00 Sat BRM 3100m £7.50 L P R T 15-30kph Willesden CC email@example.com Ian Oliver, 68 St Dunstans Avenue London W3 6QJ 300 20 Apr Poynton, S of Stockport Plains 23:00 Sat BR 310km £5.00 P X 15-30kph Peak Audax firstname.lastname@example.org Peter Hammond, 3 Dorac Ave Heald Green Cheadle Stockport Cheshire SK8 3NZ
Bodmin Bash Photos by Alan Withers
Lower left: Organiser Jim Wilkinson flags the star. Below: Simon Withers.
Arrivée Summer 2012 AU