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Arrivée

AU Number 121 Summer 2013

DAX UK

the Long Distance Cyclists’ Association www.audax.uk.net


HEADING editorial IN HERE

Summer 2013 After several years of intense planning by Danial Webb and his incredible organising team, LEL finally hit the road with 996 starters from the 1,100 entries. I can't imagine the stress involved in organising AUK's largest ever event, just organising a 200k for 100 riders involves a lot of work as many organisers have found out, so I hope you will all join me

Contents Events News and Correspondence........................  4 AUK News....................................................................................  5 A tribute to Jack Eason ...................................................  6 600k around Devon and Cornwall......................  10 Robert Lepertel ..................................................................   16 Dave's Doddle........................................................................  17 Coast to coast 600 pictures.......................................   18 Hailstorms and hallucinations ..............................  20 Auks in action .......................................................................  21 The Cumbrian 200.............................................................   22 The Red Rose ride..............................................................  24 Girls on tour............................................................................  28 300k around Mallorca .................................................... 31 Coast and back 100k ......................................................   32 London–Edinburgh–London – first pictures .33 Getting L–E–L in my sights .......................................  38 The road to hell is paved............................................   40 Yr Elenydd...............................................................................   44 Audax rides from Corwen...........................................  50 Tale of two bridges............................................................  51 The Ditchling Devil...........................................................   52 The London Ditchling Devil review ..................  54 Book reviews ........................................................................  58 Audax crossword ..............................................................  59 Delightful Dales ................................................................   60 Audax Calendar .................................................................  62

Front cover: Louise Rigby climbing Mont Ventoux for the brevet Club des Cinglès du Mont-Ventoux Next edition of Arrivée is in October. Please send your copy to Peter (address on right) by September 13th

PLEASE MENTION ARRIVEE WHEN REPLYING TO OUR ADVERTISERS

Keith Benton –London–Edinburgh–London Photo: Tim Wainwright

in congratulating Danial, his organising committee and all the hundreds of helpers up and down the country who voluntarily contributed their time, effort and skills to ensure the success of the event. Whether there will be another LEL on this scale remains to be seen. Danial is taking a well earned rest and contemplating whether he wants to devote so much of his life to a further LEL and is looking for further assistance for future events. Around 200 riders were DNF for one reason or another, retiring to lick their wounds and hopefully replan their strategies for future long distance events. ■ On a very sad sequel to LEL, AUK's John Radford, organiser and Easter Arrows coordinator, and Huddersfield CTC's President, was mown down by a motorist, air-lifted to Leeds hospital with serious head injuries and is now in a coma. Our best wishes to John for a complete and speedy recovery comes from all his friends and colleagues in AUK. John is pictured on the LEL photos on p.66. ■ Our annual dinner and AGM weekend is planned for 15-17 November at the four-star Holiday Inn in York. The booking form is printed on the back of the address sheet with this Arrivée. Send completed forms to Pam Pilbeam by 1 November. ■ Jack Eason, one of AUK's most easily recognised and popular riders, has passed away. I've known Jack for many years and ridden quite a few kilometres with him. He was a genuinely lovely man with a permanent twinkle in his eyes and a friendly word for everyone. A fitting tribute has been paid to him by his friends on pages 6-8.

Tim

Keep your wheels turning.

Arrivée is the free magazine of Audax United Kingdom – the long distance cyclists’ association which represents the Randonneurs Mondiaux in the UK. AUK membership is open to any cyclist, regardless of club or other affiliation, who is imbued with the spirit of long-distance cycling. Full details in the AUK Handbook. HOW TO CONTACT US Membership Enquiries: Mike Wigley (AUK Membership Secretary), Higher Grange Farm, Millcroft Lane, Delph OL3 5UX. Email: mike.wigley@Audax.uk.net Membership Application Form: www.aukweb.net/memform.phb or Ian Hobbs (New Members), 26 Naseby Road, Belper DE56 0ER. Email: ian.hobbs@Audax.uk.net Membership fees: Renewal: £14 or £56 for five years. New or lapsed members £19 (inc. £5 enrolment fee) or £61 for five years. Household members: £5 or £20 for five years. No enrolment fee for new household members. Life member’s Arrivée £9 or £45 for five years. ARRIVEE Extra current Arrivée copies, where available, are £3 (UK), £4 (EEC), £5 (non-EEC). Contact Mike Wigley (address above). Mudguard stickers four for £1. AUK cloth badges £2 (includes UK post. EEC add £1. Non-EEC add £2. Contact Mike Wigley (above). Contributions – articles, info, cartoons, photos, all welcome. Please read the contributors’ advice in the Handbook. Views expressed in Arrivée are not necessarily those of the Club. Produced by AUK: editing, typesetting, layout, design by Tim Wainwright. Printed and distributed: Headley Brothers Ltd, Ashford, Kent TN24 8HH. Distribution data from AUK membership team. TO ADVERTISE Advertising Manager: Tim Wainwright, 4a Brambledown Road, Sanderstead, South Croydon, Surrey CR2 0BL. E-mail: twain@blueyonder.co.uk 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: sheila@aukadia.net May and August Editor: Tim Wainwright, 4a Brambledown Road, Sanderstead, South Croydon, Surrey CR2 0BL. Tel: 020 8657 8179 E-mail: twain@blueyonder.co.uk November Editor: Peter Moir, 2 Peel Close, Ducklington, Witney, Oxfordshire OX29 7YB. Tel: 01993 704913 E-mail: peter@moir.co.uk margaret@lewismpd.plus.com Audax UK Long Distance Cyclists’ Association (Company Limited by Guarantee). Reg. Office: Timberly, South Street, Axminster, Devon EX13 5AD. To subscribe to the AUK e-mailing discussion list, send an e-mail to: audax-subscribe@yahoogroups.com Copyright © 2013 Arrivée. Our WWW site: www.audax.uk.net AUK clothing can be purchased directly on-line at: www.impsport.com and click on Audax UK in the left hand panel.

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events news/correspondence

HEADING auk INnews HERE

Chester and North Wales CTC/Audax rides from Tattenhall Sunday September 15th These three rides start from Old Ma’s Coffee Shop near Tattenhall, approximately 10k SE of Chester. Plenty of free car parking available for those who need it ‘Pistyll Packing Momma’ 200k heads out to Chirk and then visits Pistyll Rhaeadr waterfall which at 240ft is one of the wonders of North Wales. The ride then continues to Lake Vyrnwy and Bala before returning to Cheshire via the Shelf and Hope Mountain. Third year of running for this event, that has received rave reviews for the quality of the route and mountain scenery ‘Momma’s Mountain Views’ 130k follows the same route to Chirk before heading over to Llangollen with superb views of the Berwyn mountains. Next comes The Panorama before an ascent of the Old Horseshoe Pass to Ponderosa café on the summit. From here the ride joins ‘Pistyll Packing Momma’ above the Shelf near Llanarmon-yn-lal and shares the same finish. This ride is recommended in Andrew Cornwell’s Guide to Cycling 2013. ‘Momma’s Leafy Lanes’ 50k gives a pleasant, undulating ride through the local lanes. Designed as an introduction to Audax riding and not too demanding an excursion into the Cheshire countryside. Further information and entry details available at www. audax.uk.net directly by using Paypal or by post. Closing date September 11th – no entries on start line.

Just a Minute

Explore the Amber Valley

Pystyll Rhaeadr

Letter to the Editor Dear Editor

'Turkeys voting for Christmas'

Reading the Minutes for the Board meeting of last June, published on the website, I was saddened to see the resolution to start the next AGM at 4pm. The message from the Board is clear – 'we do not expect, or intend, this meeting to last more than two hours'. This is a pitifully short time to allocate, given that it is the one and only opportunity in a year, for members to have any say in the future directions of AUK. The more so since this particular meeting is certain to have time spent on an LEL retrospective. Any other proposed items seem destined to be squeezed and guillotined. The Board apparently regards AUK’s AGM as a marginal event, and give no incentive for anyone to make the effort to attend. Non-attendee voting was discussed and rejected at AGMs in 1986, 2001 and 2006 – the 'turkeys voting for Christmas' effect – it really is now time for AUK to look at other possible forms of self-government.

Francis Cooke

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Saturday 7th September 2013 Two beautiful and challenging routes from Sheffield CTC. 100km and 160 km. This is the second year we have run these audaxes and can guarantee a great day's cycling with excellent refreshments at the end. £5 for AUK and CTC members. GPS tracks on the Audax calendar.

AAA News DIY by GPS with AAA points

Yes, you can get AAA points for DIY by GPS perms. When you submit the tracklog to the organiser for validation, just ask for it to be forwarded to me for assessment. The AAA points will be added after the ride has appeared on your Results page, normally after a day or two. But occasionally it can take two weeks or more, especially during the holiday season, which now I’m retired lasts from January to December :-)

New AAA Century award

As if there weren’t enough AAAwards already, here is yet another one for AAAficionados to aim for. The original Audax Altitude Award, the 3xAAA and 3x3 AAA will continue as now, and you can take as long as you like over them. From the 2014 season onwards, there will be an additional, new AAA Century award for obtaining 100 AAA points. The difference with the Century award is that all the AAA points must be obtained in one season. It will be a tough challenge for experienced riders, and I wouldn’t expect to hand out more than three or four awards each year. For those who don’t have the time or the inclination to aim for the AAA Century award, there will also be an AAA Quarter Century award for obtaining 25 AAA points in a season, and an AAA Half Century award for obtaining 50 points in a season. Cloth badges will be made available in due course, and there will be a new Roll of Honour on the AAA website and in the AUK Handbook. So for those of you looking for a new challenge in the coming season, here is something for you to aim for. OnwAAArds and UpwAAArds.

The AAA Man

Here is a Paris Brest which would be nice to lick. Photo by Chris Rutter

Chris Rutter, Ultra Randonneur, receives the Morris Shield from Reading CTC for amassing over 9,000 miles in 2012. The shield was presented to Reading CTC by UR Brian Morris when he stepped down from the role of President, Reading CTC. www.audax.uk.net

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s most of the delegates were familiar with the layout of Birmingham New Street train station, it was clearly time for a rebuild to keep everyone confused, but we managed the navigation in true Auk fashion. Membership is at an all-time high at 5,211 thanks probably to a LEL spin-off. Mike has tried to get something back from Royal Mail, for its failure to deliver a previous issue to certain postcodes, but without any success. The new stickers for bikes/mudguards are being distributed to organisers to make them available at rides and there should be a sticker for a car window enclosed with this magazine. Peter Moir is the new Arrivée editor succeeding Maggie Lewis, so please join me in welcoming him and helping as much as possible. Part of that, to make his job easier in view of the difficulties last year (none of which were the fault of AUK) will be to mail the AGM Agenda separately to give as much notice of planned business as possible. The National 400 is probably going to be based at the CTC York Show – we are hopeful it will happen in 2014 – and VC167 under Nigel Hall have volunteered to organise the ride. AUK medals and badges are now shown on the website and can be purchased on-line which has led to a surge in sales. Peter Thompson has volunteered to take on the increasingly important role of Publicity Officer to increase awareness of Audax which we hope will lead to larger fields. He has some good ideas and we wish him every success in that role. Pam Pilbeam, on the other hand, will not be continuing as Brevet Card Secretary. She has fulfilled that demanding and time-consuming task for many years now and we are grateful for all her good work. This change is an opportunity for us to research whether there are better or easier ways to produce the cards as there have been many advances in digital print technology. Pam is still keeping her roles as Trophy Custodian and organiser of the AGM weekend; on that latter front, no booking has yet been finalised as York appears to be rather pricey. Some ways to mitigate the cost were discussed but nothing was decided in the absence of firm figures. Due to popular demand, the AGM itself has been moved to a 4pm start to allow members more time riding in the area. The committee meeting, normally just before, it will now be held on the Friday evening enabling those members to participate in the ride (if that doesn’t jinx the weather, I don’t know what will!). Rod Dalitz, a member of AUK and OCD (Ordre de Cols Durs), a cyclo-mountain climbing club, has proposed that we amalgamate the two clubs as that one

is declining, but is a natural addition to schemes like our AAA. The basics have been agreed and we hope for a progress report at our next meeting and also the AGM. The hope is that our members will enjoy the additional challenge and that a regular contribution in Arrivée will revive interest in this part of our sport. There has been little activity on the strategic plan pending updated details but organisers will be pleased to know the extra fee for BRM validation is to be dropped from the start of next season. Also with more frequent use of on-line entry and card validation at the end of an event, organisers can choose how many envelopes they want with their entries. Our website has been updated, but the feeling is that a wholesale revamp of our ‘face’ to the world is needed and Danial will be taking that on, once his current workload has eased. Now is the time with another of my hats on, to remind everyone interested to send your FWC points claims to me, and all ‘niche’ machine palmares to Allan as soon as possible after the end of the season on 30th September to count for the annual awards. This appeal will be repeated on a couple of forums, but this is the last opportunity for those not on the Internet Once again, best wishes for your cycling to be safe and enjoyable and best wishes to all involved with LEL which may be just a memory when you see this. It promises to be the largest and best yet. As ever, full Minutes will be available from me on receipt of a sae or on the website in due course.

Richard

AUK Publicity Peter Thompson has volunteered for the post of Press and Publicity Officer for Audax UK, and has accordingly been co-opted onto the Board. Peter’s role will, amongst other things, encompass the promotion of Audax UK; assisting with the production of compelling content for the Audax UK website; commissioning articles and images for publication; negotiating with magazines, newspapers and online media to publish articles about Audax UK; and developing Audax UK’s presence at shows and other appropriate events. After a long career in nursing in both the military and NHS, Peter will shortly commence training as a journalist, and hopes to bring the skills and experience gained from this to benefit Audax UK. Ideas and suggestions on how to raise the general profile of audax are welcomed – e-mail: ThompsonPW@aol. com. Peter is looking forward to working with you all.

WANTED

AUK Systems Manager The systems manager develops and maintains the IT systems needed by AUK. The role includes: • Arranging hosting and backup of AUK’s website. • Provision and maintenance of web based systems for AUK. • Making use of IT to reduce the amount of work required to run AUK. This role would suit someone with an IT project management background who can recruit and manage the resources (volunteers or paid services) necessary to develop and maintain IT systems. The current Systems Manager is happy to be one of these volunteers, and provide whatever support the new Systems Manager would find useful. The role requires at least a couple of hours a week, as well as attending four Audax UK board meetings a year. The current systems are written in PHP using MySql, and hosted using Apache running on Linux. For more information about the current systems, or the role, please contact Pete Coates (audax@idnet.com).

Nominations please Now is the time to take a few moments to think about the season and the other people around you on the Audax events you have ridden. Have they done anything really special which you think ought to be recognised? This might be an inspiring ride or it could be a really well organised event or even a team member at a control who was so helpful that you that it made your ride and you would like to show your thanks. There are five AUK trophies awarded from nominations by members to: 1) The person who has served AUK best. (Norman Booth Trophy) 2 + 3) The cyclists (one each for men and women) who have achieved the most meritorious cycling performance in the year. (Paul Castle and Ladies’ Merit) 4) The person(s) considered the most meritorious organisers in the year 5) The person(s) considered the most meritorious helpers on AUK events during the year (This award is also open to non-members) Making a nomination is really easy: just a short e-mail, letter or postcard to Ian Hennessey (ian@awliscombe.co.uk) with the hero’s name and a short explanation why you think they deserve the award. Please do it now before you forget, to give the committee time to make their choice and arrange for the winners to notified so they can attend the Dinner, to collect their trophy in person. Ian is hoping to be overwhelmed with names!

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jack eason – a tribute

jack eason – a tribute

A tribute to Jack Eason – an AUK legend Main article by Steve Abraham with additional anecdotes by fellow Auks

All photos by Tim Wainwright, unless otherwise stated My father and I used to talk about sightings of ‘that old man on the green bike with a radio and bunch of flowers on his handlebars.’
I was about 12 then. I never knew who he was and neither Jack or I had ever heard of AUK. This was about 1986. 
I joined the CTC at 14 and started doing the reliability rides and club runs.


J

ack never rode club runs but he used to do the reliability rides in the slowest time, because he didn’t like to rush and just went for the fun of it. Jack was a regular at the clubroom but I was never allowed to go, because it was midweek and I was at school.
He never really knew about AUK, but began riding Audax with the CTC National 400s and always rode to and from those events, usually overnight. It was about that time when my father died. I’d just left school and I was going to the clubroom and hearing some of his tales, which were very often ‘embellished.’ He was always one for telling a good story and adding in a 6

Riding the National 400 , 2005. Photo: Ken Ascroft

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few extras. He’d been doing Audax-style riding before he knew about AUK. He used to do a tour of Scotland once a year and usually rode up non-stop from home. He rode through the night to a CTC National 400 in Scotland before he had heard of AUK and took the A68. He was riding through the night up the A68 and feeling tired, noticed that he’d been riding a while and it wasn’t very easy, so he stopped and checked his bike. He spun his wheels to make sure his brakes weren’t rubbing. It was when he rode home on that road in daylight that he realised how hilly it was. He also hallucinated on that ride, imagining that the road was coiling itself up behind him.
He did the same for a CTC National 400 in Devon. Riding home afterwards across Dartmoor at night in the rain he punctured, so decided to walk until he could find a street light to mend his puncture.
He walked for a long time in the rain wearing his cape and finally gave up on finding a www.audax.uk.net

street light, so sat down and snuggled up under his cape out of the rain to mend his puncture. The next thing he knew, the birds were singing and it was daylight. He mended his puncture then carried on home. As a young and keen cyclist with a taste for long distances, I was told about AUK at the end of 1991 and joined straight away, then got stuck into Audaxing in 1992.
Jack got wind of the rides I was doing and asked me about AUK, so I told him how to join and he joined in 1993 and the rest I suppose is history. He ditched the flowers and very soon the radio for Audax rides, though he did get a pocket radio with headphones in the late 90s. His original radio had a small speaker on his handlebars.
We rode a lot of miles together and have shared many bus shelters where he often had a puff on his pipe, especially 1993 to 1998, when I moved to Milton Keynes. He never puffed his pipe while he cycled. It was in those years that I rode thousands of miles with Jack. AUK records show that he never rode an SR in his first year but I do know that he went straight into a 600 in his first season. We rode the Daylight 600 in Scotland together that year, which Jack always returned to do as it was his favourite 600. Great scenery and very easy navigation as well as being a well run event. Jack had changed from some old guy I used to see now and then when I rode my bike to someone who was a regular at the CTC clubroom but did his own thing and I never really spoke to, to someone I used to chat with every week at the clubroom about Audax. We were often hanging around outside the door still talking after everyone had gone home after we’d been kicked out. Jack went on to do more and more. He never really bothered with the trophies he won. ‘They only give me this [veteran’s] trophy because I’m an old man.’ Though after I took the points award in 1996 he did say that he’d like to get the ‘Big Boys’ trophy,’ which he did in 2002. Another thing worth mentioning is the number of miles Jack used to cycle. His bicycles, all the same colour green, were his only transport unless he caught a train or on rare occasions cadged a lift, though he often preferred to cycle to and from events, often overnight. A typical year for Jack in the mid-1990s would be 22,000 miles. I did ask him about joining the 300,000 mile club but he wasn’t interested in becoming a member. He told me that he’d easily done double that at the very least. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had the highest mileage in the UK, certainly a top five contender as a safe bet. It’s because of that why I am not a member of the 300,000 mile club too. Jack was a very big influence on my long distance cycling from when I really got into it. I learnt from Jack that following conventional methods isn’t always the

best way of doing things. He was very aware of how marketing influenced what cycling equipment people used. Jack seemed to stick with what he knew worked for him and only took on board new ideas after a lot of thought and consideration. He wore clothing from Marks and Spencers. The jogging bottoms or shorts for summer weren’t really much different to what people wore prelycra and that was a time when people generally cycled further than they do now. He came from an age before lycra and saw it more as fashion than of significant practical benefit. If you really got to know what cycle components Jack used and what he wore, then you’d see a very well thought out, tried and tested system that worked very well for his needs. He did use Ever Ready lights but being a radio engineer for British Aerospace, knew how to turn them into reliable lights that seldom let him down. He passed on a few tips to me how to keep my Ever Readys working too and I ended up making my own home brew lighting systems before cycle lights became better than I could make. Jack knew that other people thought that his bike and clothing made things more difficult for him and he never bothered trying to argue about it. He found it much more fun to play along. 1996 was the first time any Brit had ridden the Boston-Montreal-Boston 1200km ride in the USA. There were nine Brits in total, but flying the flag of English eccentricity was Mark Brooking on his trike, me on my fixed wheel and Jack. Event organiser Jennifer Wise thought that Jack and I wouldn’t finish the event. At the finish of the ride Jack had a crowd of Americans around him and he was in his element. They were all asking questions about how he did it and eventually it got around to his clothing and his non-lycra shorts. ‘Oh yes, I got these in the war,’ said Jack ‘What, ’nam?’, ‘Oh no, second world war.’ They all seemed to believe him and Jack maintained a straight face. He also

Above: Aged 79, riding LEL 2005.

Below: Signing on in 2004 Sicilia No-Stop 1000. L to R: Chris Wilby, Mark Brooking, Ray Kelly, Jack, Karl Hrouda, John Davies.

told me that he tried to smoke his pipe at the finish to wind them up but he just didn’t want it. Jack became a regular at BMB after that year. Jack always used to ride steady and not stop at controls, especially cafés, so he was always leapfrogging people. Cafés were expensive and cost a lot of time, though he would often have a sit-down feed on 400k or longer rides if there was a good café. He never saw the logic in paying £1 for a small glass of milk or cola when he could buy several glassfuls from the shop next door and not have to wait for it and had the same view about food, though he would stop for a hot drink on cold nights. 
He carried his food in his saddlebag, usually two litres of cola too and sometimes some milk. He often ate from his barbag on the move and sometimes stopped in shops now and then if he fancied something he wasn’t carrying.

Jack was also fond of getting a good group together, especially at night. He often ended up waiting for people at controls who were tiring so that he could keep the group together. Sometimes

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jack eason – a tribute he’d help people on events too, where he helped them ride nice and steady they would do the navigating. He really enjoyed getting in a good group that worked together well and rode at the same pace. One thing that must be said about Jack was that he was always cheerful and had a very good and often dry sense of humour. He had a set of jokes he liked to use on people. One of his, when someone commented that he was old, was to tell them he had a pacemaker fitted. After their reaction, he went on to say that he turned it up when he had to go up hills. He was good at keeping a straight face and often laughed about it several miles down the road and sometimes for a few weeks afterwards if it was a good reaction. Of course his most famous joke was when someone asked how he was. ‘Strugglin’,’ often said with a twinkle in his eye. He sometimes played practical jokes too. One of my favourite was when a salesperson did a demo at our CTC clubroom for movement detection alarms and how they could be used for cycle security. Jack turned up at the clubroom and parked his bike as usual and the demo began. Throughout the demo, Jack came up with simple practical solutions to any problems the salesperson came up with that his gadget could overcome, which often raised a laugh. As the demo went on, the salesperson asked for a bike to show how it could be used. Jack immediately volunteered his bike, pointed it out and told him to help himself. Someone went to fetch Jack’s bike and an alarm went off. ‘One pound fifty!’ Jack said, ‘I made that this afternoon with one pound fifty pence worth of stuff from Maplins!’ Everyone was laughing and the salesman had egg on his face trying to sell something at well over £30. After the demo the salesman had a small crowd but Jack had a much bigger crowd. That tale really does demonstrate the way I saw Jack. No need for elaborate new expensive ideas with big price tags when there is often a a much cheaper and better solution with just a little thought put in. All done with great humour and in good spirits.
 Jack will probably be mostly remembered for the big rides he did. Randonneur of the Millennium, his ISRs, all those 1200km rides abroad, his AUK vet’s awards and so on. But he also used to like to do ‘the silly rides’ for the DATC, just as a bit of fun. Those were the 100km rough stuff events and the like which he only did for fun. Typically, Jack never used an expensive mountain bike for just a few miles of cycling when he could walk the tricky parts. He used his old equipment on his rough stuff bike, only aiming to finish in time, though he often finished before people on their expensive mountain bikes. He also enjoyed using his bike for transport and just pootling along, racking up the miles just getting about. 8

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jack eason – a tribute One thing that did strike me as a shame was that good lights and GPS came too late for Jack. His eyesight wasn’t too good, which was why he often went off route. He really needed his glasses to read his routesheet with, so usually navigated by memory of the route or just remembering the names of the next villages and following road signs. Just as diode lights started getting very good Jack became too slow for AUK time limits. He often used to ride with people and help them round events so that they could navigate for him. Easy navigation was one of many reasons he liked events in Wales and Scotland. He was a lifelong cyclist since he was in the RAF in WW2, though if what he told me is true, he never did any active service because the war ended soon after he was stationed. For Jack, the war was good. ‘They taught me to fly aeroplanes for free, then they stationed me and the war ended. We had a big party, came home and had another big party and that was it for me.’ He did have interests outside of cycling. He liked jazz, rock’n’roll and at CTC club dinners would be on the dance floor all night. He also liked tinkering with electrical stuff and repairing things, he had his allotment where he spent a lot of time and was also a radio ham. Jack was never one for keeping in touch. He never had a phone and used payphones if he ever needed to phone someone, so nobody could phone him up. The last time I saw him was January 2007 or thereabouts on a Willesden 200k Audax. I don’t feel sad that Jack has gone. He told me himself that he wouldn’t want to be in a bad way at the end of his life. My grandfather died at the age Jack was riding 1200km events regularly and Jack had done a lot more before that. We all have to go sometime and Jack had a good and long life. He’d never have wanted people to feel sad about him dying. I’m lucky to have known him and I hope that I’ve passed on some of that good fortune to anyone reading this. RIP Jack 25.10.1925-2013

David Matthews

I first met Jack on the Cotswold Corker in February or March late 1990s. He had ridden to the start (I believe about 50 miles from home) and was noticeable for a huge sheet of plywood stuck up at the back of his bike carrying three early led lights. He rode steadily round whilst munching bits of food from his barbag, thus saving time at controls. At the finish of this early season hilly ride, Jack signed off and rode on home. How it should be done! RIP Jack.

Richard Evans

I first met Jack at Teethgrinder’s [Steve Abraham ed] house in June 2003, the year www.audax.uk.net

I started all this nonsense in order to do PBP. TG had organised the ‘Easy PB 600’ PBP qualifier, and I’d phoned him to ask if the hall would be open for a kip before the start. No, he said, but I’d be welcome to stay at his place ... then added that Jack Eason would also be staying over. I detected a warning note in TG’s voice and wondered why he might be trying to dissuade me; he had probably assumed that I knew Jack, just like everyone else did. And that Jack snored. I didn’t get much sleep the night before my first 600! I leapfrogged him on many rides, only to arrive at the the next control where he’d be standing outside puffing his pipe and asking what had taken me so long. I’d ask how he’d been going ... struggling as always. I’ve never seen anyone struggle with such little effort. He told me that the best bit about PBP was riding to Paris – he inspired me to do that in 2003 and it really was a lovely extended prologue with the overnight ferry, hotel in Evreux, and finally all piling into the Purple Hedgehog at Trappes. Happy days. RIP Jack.

Geoff Cleaver

I met Jack on the Kennett Valley Run in the early 2000s, and we leapfrogged most of the day with me catching him up when he was sat on a gate, etc, smoking his pipe. I finally got to the arrivée with about 40 minutes in hand, Jack arrived 10/20 minutes later and when told the time said ‘D***** I had time to fill my pipe again’. RIP Jack and many thanks for the inspiration.

Phil Magnus

I was a complete novice on Rocco's freezing cold 200 PBP qualifier in 2003. Kept on catching and overtaking, or being overtaken by this older gentleman on a green bike with flat handlebars. Think that he was accompanied by Mark Green on this ride. Anyway, it was a tough intro for me, had to stop at a service station and buy new socks to keep my tootsies warm. At the arrivée on a garage forecourt, Jack was holding court and explaining his mental tactics for dealing with 200s, 400s and 600s. When he had finished talking, he calmly lit his pipe, and chucked the match onto the forecourt. Subsequently bumped into him and Karl [Hrouda] on several long brevets, his participation was always a great source of comfort.

Wobbly

Jack was an inspiration to me in my early Audax days. He (and his pipe!) were much missed when he stopped riding. When asked what he used to do for a living he'd always reply ‘burglar’. A line that I've shamelessly stolen for myself on more than one occasion.

Richard Phipps

I hope he went in the way he would have wanted. A great character and it is possible that the stories he told and others

told about him are all true. I recall the exasperation of the organiser of BostonMontreal-Boston when Jack applied to ride it for the third time and he supplied a photo for identification as requested. It was of JE, aged three, sitting on his trike in the back garden. He added a note: ‘I'm a bit older now and I've got a big boy's bike!’ It has been a privilege to have known him and I hope he can continue in his unique way, wherever he is.

Tom Deakins

I first met a recently retired Jack at a 'Hilly 30' early season reliability ride that I organised for Hertfordshire DA. I'd managed to devise a relentlessly undulating course in North Herts/NW Essex (riders of my events may see a pattern emerging) and it was a very blowy March day, too. None of the two-hour riders were back in time and a good few on the 2½ hour schedule were timed out too. Jack got back with a minute or two to spare, then set off on a 20-mile ride home, having of course ridden to the start too. When he rode LEL 2001, I was helping at the Harlow control and this convinced me that ordinary mortals could do this ultra long distance lark. He signed on at the start as 'Jeffrey Archer', if I recall correctly. (This being just after J.A. was sent down to Ford Open Prison.) He got me round my first 600. Calmly smoked his pipe while waiting for me and a few other strugglers to finish our curry at a Sainsbury's café, despite being not far off the time limit. As I got fitter and faster, a lot of that 'leapfrogging' went on: 'how come Jack's ahead again!'

Dave Minter

2005 South Coast 1000. A former Arrivée front cover photo by Cliff Shakespeare.

The longest time I chatted to him was during the 2003 PBP prologue (for the free T-shirt and all). He would probably have finished that PBP if, when asked his name after a crash, he'd not answered ‘Napoleon Bonaparte’. French medical folk don't understand that sort of humour and instantly pulled his card as being obviously concussed!

Judith Swallow

Like lots of the 'old hands', Jack was a big part of my randonneuring. Lots of memories spring to mind, particularly Jack emptying one of the men's dorms with his snoring on a pre-Christmas dinner ride that I regularly organised to Ivinghoe Youth Hostel and he and Karl Hrouda, his partner in crime, 'enjoying' the Sicily No-Stop 1000 and finishing a day late but having had a great time. [He joked to me ‘I thought it was going to be flat!’. Editor]. He was the only rider I know who kept a piece of Karrimat cut to fit the bottom of his Carradice saddle bag, so that if he wanted to sleep in comfort at a suitable bus shelter, he could rescue the Karrimat to sit on and slip on his yellow cape to keep warm, fuelled of course by his pipe.

Whenever you asked him how he was going, 'Struggling' was the reply. Like hell he was! A great bike rider and enthusiastic allotment holder, who was strictly to be called Jack, not Granddad. Hopefully he's enjoying the everlasting 200km rando up in the sky with those other AUK legends such as Mr Potts, Mr Jennings, Mr Richardson and Mr Lewis.

Jack’s daughter Suzanne

Opposite page: 1. For many years, Jack was a regular on the early season North-West Passage 200, usually riding through the night to get there. Facing Jack is Chris Crossland. Unknown photographer. 2. Sicilia No Stop 1000 with Willesden clubmates Pete Turnbull, Karl Hrouda and John Davies 3. Receiving the Jack Eason International Trophy, 2002. 4. With Liz Creese at Willesden CC prizegiving dinner.

I would like to thank everyone for the lovely tributes written about my father. It has been a great comfort to read them all. My father was always himself and behaved true to form throughout his illness and indeed was the Jack you all knew till the very end. He, as the family do, would have loved the idea of a Jack Eason memorial ride, for all the riders new to long distance cycling and strugglin’, the experienced ones trying to become super randonneurs, and those who already are and do it just for a giggle. Perhaps my brothers and I could join you on the first Jack Eason memorial ride. That famous shed-green bike – not pea green, was not just one bike, but several – all clones of each other. There was the everyday bike, the best bike, the off-road bike, the mountain bike, the long distance bike and the summer bike and of course the winter bike. Thank you again, I know my father would have been proud to read about himself in this way.

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randonnee

randonnee Organiser Ian Hennessey ready to send the riders off.

600k around Devon and Cornwall Toughening up for LEL

All photos by the author

Phil Whitehurst

‘It is a tough, but enjoyable ride.’ This is what Marcus Jackson-Baker said about the Kernow and SW 600. This was to be my first 600, as part of my LEL 2013 build-up. I’d successfully completed my first 400, the Severn Across, on May 11th. It was now a few weeks later.

T

alk had had turned to the 600s everyone was doing. Whether it was Facebook or YACF; thread after thread appeared about upcoming 400s and 600s. In mid-May the Bryan Chapman 600 took place, and after reading rider accounts, and hearing about the superb weather, my anticipation around my first 600 was building. Some wondered whether the KSW 600 was a good choice for a first 600. It has over 8,000m of ascent/descent, and broken up by lots of smaller hills, so you can’t get into a rhythm. Like my other build- up rides, I’d booked it back in January, after getting a place on LEL. At the time many other 600 events were 10

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not yet in the AUK calendar, and the KSW 600 fitted perfectly into my diary. It was chosen mostly because of its location, I liked the idea of riding never far from the coast, and because of the date. I also thought a 600 by June was realistic starting from a 200 base in January. Is 8,000m of ascent/descent a lot in 600km? When I booked I didn’t give it much thought. I seem to remember the choice of 600s that potentially fitted in the diary were the BCM and KSW, both had this climbing figure. So I figured that was just the numbers that 600km came with and thought nothing more of it. Did it intimidate me? Well not really, as it was all a bit abstract, when measured against a distance I’d never ridden. When mountain biking I’ll often exceed 1,000m in 50km, so measured against that, it would be a bit easier The weekend of Saturday June 1st approached, and I had both the Friday and Monday booked off work. I decided to head down Thursday night, and had chosen the Holiday Inn Express,

'It has over 8,000m of ascent/ descent, and broken up by lots of smaller hills, so you can’t get into a rhythm.'

off junction 29 of the M5. I’d chosen it because it was about 1.5km from the start, at Whipton Community Hall. I’d offered a lift to anyone who wanted one, but had no takers. The drive down went well, and I was allocated a ground floor room, in a quiet section of the hotel. I wheeled the bike, in and put it by the window. I slept well that night, and dreamt that my car had been stolen and turned into a work of art in some unknown town centre. No idea what portents that signified. On Friday I decided to head into Exeter town centre. This was easy as the hotel is opposite the park and ride. The sun was out, a light wind blew, and I spent the day as a tourist. Many years ago, I’d visited Exeter, as a prospective student, as one of my five UCAS Universities. In the end I’d chosen York, but still had fond memories of Exeter. In fact, I’d passed through before, on the way to Dartmoor for a bit of walking or letter boxing (geo caching before GPS came along). Anyway I had www.audax.uk.net

a fine day following the Exeter medieval trail, including a visit to the Cathedral. I finished off my time in the city centre with a fine pint of ale and lasagne and chips. I decided to walk back to my hotel and try and find Whipton Community Hall. I didn’t have the route sheet or address with me, but I had picked up a cycling map in the city. I easily found Whipton, then the community centre, and then walked back to the hotel along a cycle track I’d seen on the map. Not far at all, and it’d be easy to remember in the morning. Once back at my room I checked the bike, and gave the chain a little oil. I loaded up the saddlebag with my rations, jelly babies, jelly tots, some chocolate and chewy bars. I doubled checked my arm warmers were there after forgetting them for my first 400. I then went over to a pub that is right next door. Here I had something to eat and a couple of cokes. I also spoke with my wife, on the phone, before returning to the hotel. I mentioned to the hotel receptionist that I’d be leaving around 5am and would any breakfast be available? He answered yes; he’d make sure something was available. Bonus! Back at my room I filled up my water bottles and placed them in the cages. I then got my cycling kit out for the morning, bib shorts, jersey, buff, helmet, shoes, socks, gloves, sunglasses. I decided to save faff in the morning I’d put my other stuff in the car. So I put my cycling kit on and packed the rest of my stuff and placed it in the car boot. Returning to my room, I got out of my cycling kit, and slid between the sheets, I read for a while before lights out, and slept like a log. I woke to the sound of a cockerel, a very nice alarm on my phone. Sliding out from between the warm sheets I sleepily stepped into the shower. Out of the shower, towel dry and cycling kit on. I headed down to breakfast. There

were cereals available, fruit and natural yoghurt, bread for toast and spreads and jams, plus tea and orange juice. Perfect for 5am, the hotel receptionist had done well, always worth asking. The day was dawning as predicted. It was going to be a hot, sunny weekend. I retrieved my bike, and a few bits and pieces from my room and checked out. Bit and pieces dropped off at car, I pedalled along to the start, at Whipton Community Hall. It’s always a special time, when most are asleep, and this was no exception, lovely time of day. Arriving at the hall, a few were setting up their bikes by their cars. I parked the bike near the entrance and headed in. Ian Hennessey wasn’t quite set up yet, but his able helper was serving tea. I had a couple of green tea bags in a jersey pocket. They were meant to have gone back in the packet and in the car, but I’d forgotten. Out came the green tea bags for my cup of tea and why not? I chatted with a fellow audaxer I’d ridden a section of the Severn Across 400 (three weeks earlier). Others arrived, we picked up our brevet cards and soon enough it was time for the off. There was still no sign of the nerves I’d expected ahead of my first 600. All was calm, as I waited for Ian to send us on our way. I think the unstated nature of audax that helps. No big send offs, no blaring music, or ‘motivational stuff’ that you find on more commercial cycling events. ‘Well I guess it’s now 6am, and you guys had better be off’ (or words to that effect) was how Ian calmly started my first 600. Like I said, understated, and I like it that way. GPS on, I wheeled my bike down to road. Again, it didn’t have a satellite lock, but I set off with the group anyway. The group headed off, and Ivan introduced himself, recognising me from my buff in my Facebook profile picture. We’d been discussing the ride the week before. Always nice to meet those you

first have conversations with online. Before long I found myself on the front of the group as we headed towards the city centre. We were going along at a nice pace. At some traffic lights only two of us got through with me on front. At a turning my GPS was playing catch up and I went left instead of right. The guy behind shouted right, but by the time my brain registered it, it was too late. I slowed and then turned round, to see the group disappearing right. I was still in a high gear and by the time I’d got in the right gear, a gap had opened up. The gap gradually grew bigger, and it was no good, I was wasting energy trying to get reattached. I decided to drop down to my natural pace. I was in my own gap we all find ourselves in, not fast enough to catch the group ahead, not slow enough to get caught behind. The first leg heads west to Bude. Before long you find yourself on the A3072, and it takes you all the way there. Navigation is easy. You can just enjoy the sensation of moving through a landscape bathed in a thousand shortening shadows. Gradually I found myself gaining on others; I passed some with punctures, and some I shared the road with. Quite small groups formed, where it is more usual to ride side by side; socialising, rather than any larger group style drafting. The route was gently undulating, and it was quite possible to ride along in the big ring for long periods, and I did. This first section passed relatively quickly, and before long I found myself descending to Bude. A nor-westerly had been blowing against me on this leg, but I’m getting used to headwinds, and it didn’t really bother me. I just got on the drops and kept pedalling away. My brother-in-law lives in Bude, and I had entertained the idea of meeting up. But this was my first 600, and decided I’d focus on moving forward this time, as I could get easily distracted and lose time with family. I did to say to Ian I’d offer to help at the morning Bude control next year, and that offer still holds (as I can combine it with a long weekend to visit family). Rolling along the sea front into Bude, the signs appeared to the car park with the café control at the far end. It was perfectly situated, overlooking the beach, with blue skies above. A fine location. All but the very fastest riders were sat outside enjoying a second breakfast in the sun. Popping inside I got my card signed by Ian (was he going to man every control?) and ordered the full breakfast plus a coke. I also got my water bottles filled by the patient staff. Returning outside I enjoyed the warmth of the sun, my coke, and the banter whilst waiting for my breakfast. A picture by the sea

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randonnee front, and then breakfast. A quick toilet stop and then it was time to be off again. A few were lingering at the café, but I was keen to be off. KSW track section 2 loaded onto GPS. A turn right, back down the sea front and then right again. Ian had prepared some good advice in the KSW 600 notes. I remember it being mentioned that the next section to Looe was very hilly, and the advice was not to worry about losing time, which you would. Before long I found myself on quiet, narrow back roads. These are my favourite type of road, never having been one who likes to go direct from A to B. I like to get from A to B via C to Z. There was just the right amount of gravel in the middle, neither too much nor too little. I could see a rider ahead, and a rider was behind. The choppy hills, as described by Ian had started, with climbing, followed by descending, followed by climbing, with little in the way of flat in between. This has the effect of creating an elastic connection between riders. The rider ahead stretches away, as you climb and they descend, the rider behind gains as you climb and they descend and so on. I christened it ‘elastic company’ and there was to be a lot of this later on in the ride.

randonnee I think it’s in the nature of audax. You simply can’t ride to exactly the same pace with someone for long distances, well certainly not with someone you’ve ridden a lot with before. Heading south to Looe, the wind was now on my back, and heat of the day was beginning to make itself felt. I stopped to put on my P20 all-day sun oil. Alas I’d forgotten it and would have to get some suncream later. This allowed the rider front and back to disappear into the lanes. The roads continued to rise and fall, the gravel increased and decreased as I made steady progress to Looe. The signs mostly mentioned Launceston and Bodmin and who hasn’t heard of Bodmin moor? I knew the climbing would just increase as this section went on. Eventually Liskeard appeared more and more on the signs. Out onto a B road and more speed increased on the improved surface. I hadn’t seen any other riders since those early lanes. I knew some were ahead and some behind and the gap probably wasn’t that many minutes. I could see a significant area of hill ahead, and on top was a tall transmitter. Down a fast hill, a sharp turn left where I had to rapidly scrub speed, and then a rapid upshift

On board the Fowey ferry. 12

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through the of gears to head up the long climb. As I span away a fellow audaxer on fixed, with a beard and red top passed me. I’m seeing a pattern of blokes with beards and red tops passing me on longer audaxes J Out of the saddle onwards and upward he headed. I’d decided at the start that I’d spin the uphill and push the downhill and flats; to save the legs. I’m a great believer in doing your own ride, at your own pace. I find it tiring going faster than my natural pace, and I find it tiring going slower than my natural pace. That isn’t to say my pace doesn’t vary, but it does it when I want it to, and when my body and mind says it want to. I crested the top of the hill, and it was the highest for a long way. The views were stunning and I just knew I was going to enjoy the descent. Unfortunately my GPS decided to have a 1 or 2 second lag as I was descending and I took a turn I should not have done. It was a long drag to climb back up the hill and get back on the right road. Once back on the right road, it was a glorious descent and I hit 87km/h before I decided an application of brake might be warranted ahead of a bend I could see ahead. From here on I was on a fast road to Looe, and the traffic kind of agreed with it. Fortunately about six miles out of Looe the route left the fast route onto a gravelly back lane, with high banks, with shade, plus the East Looe River. I met a girl walking down here, with a small daypack, who agreed it was a lovely spot to be. Climbing out of this lovely valley I found myself back on the main road from Liskeard to Looe. The traffic was busy, like any touristy place, but the cars were polite. As a close on Looe, the road joined the Looe River and ran alongside as it neared the sea, the road was fast and flat. Once again I engaged my big cog, and spun my way along, all the while enjoying the views across the widening river. I arrived at the end of my GPS track. I had in my mind that it was a Methodist hall, but after getting my card out I realised the control was Kelly’s chip shop and café. I could see a few of the others scattered about the place. After the solitude of the route from Bude, it was a bit of a shock to be surrounded by all the day trippers and tourists. It was like I’d entered another world. Indeed, I had. I popped into Kelly’s and got them to sign and write the time in my brevet card. Being busy, and being mindful of Ian’s comment about losing time, I decided to head out of Looe and get something at the first garage I saw. It was the middle of the day now, and the temperature had climbed to around 20°C. I should have bought some suncream whilst I could, but I didn’t and I’d pay later. Being down at sea level, there is only one way to go, up. Up I went on the main www.audax.uk.net

road west out of Looe, a couple of the others on the audax passed me, out of their saddles as I followed my spinning strategy, staying firmly sat upon my saddle. Up ahead, as the hill began to level off, I could see a garage. A sign pointed right to the Fowey ferry, but I ignored it, I need to refill my water bottles and get some more food. The garage wasn’t busy, and it proved a good strategy for getting my food and drink quickly. Just beyond the garage was a sunny grassy bank, recently cut. I sat on the bank for 15 minutes or so eating and drinking and enjoying the sun. I set off in the direction I’d been heading and my GPS beeped, off route. I turned round and headed past the garage, watching the GPS count down the metres back to the route. The figure then started going up. I turned round again, tried a road, and then turned again and again. Eventually I went down a single track road that had the beginnings of an allotment growing down the centre. Originally I’d discounted it, but I should have known. If a road is unsuitable for motors, 90 per cent of the time an audax route will head down it. The road really was narrow, but incredibly I encountered quite a few cars try to navigate it. The first car came the opposite way. They stopped just ahead of a passing place, and refused to reverse the 10 feet back, forcing me to wheel my bike through the nettles. I thanked them for their consideration or words to that effect! The second occasion I was climbing a hill, as the road rose and fell. There was nowhere for me to go, so they just had to wait till I’d crested the hill and found the entrance to a field where I could let them pass. Then a Mini, then a German registered car, then another, etc. They all looked lost, blindly following sat navs but I guess they were heading for the Fowey foot passenger ferry.

Despite the cars and the nature of the lane, I decided to put a bit of speed on for the descents. This worked well and I managed to gradually make up for the ascending. Popping out onto a wider road, I could see the sea to my left, and the road become more undulating/ less hilly. I flew along here, still with cars passing. Before long I passed a car park beyond which only locals and pedestrians/cyclists were allowed. It was a steep descent and I hurtled down it, warning the pedestrians ahead. Glad I wasn’t trying to cycle up it, it must have been over 20 per cent in places. As I neared the harbour a couple stepped out with a pram, fortunately they heard my shouts, as the brakes were slowing me down, but how quickly I’d be able to stop I wasn’t sure. At the bottom, I followed the signs, thinking the ferry has left. Fortunately I spied the ferry, smaller than I imagined, and full of fellow KSW 600 audaxers. Picking up the bike, I ran down the harbour steps and clambered onto the ferry. Shortly after I’d got on board, the ferry left, I was just in time. There were eight of us on board, and I recognise my fellow riders I’d seen at various stages so far. Like I said earlier, elastic company. The trip across was short, but pleasurable, a mini highlight. Climbing up from sea level, the gradient was steep, some initially walking, and some slowly turning the cranks. Despite the reunion on the boat, we were strung out in a surprisingly short period of time. Before long I found myself on my own again. It surprises some, how riders, with what seems strikingly similar average speeds on paper, separate out on the stages of Audax. I’ve got used to this, and knew that we’d all be within 20-30 minutes of each other by Penzance. The next section towards St Austell had some busy A roads, and I’m not a fan of A roads. On these sections I just

‘Controls can have an amazing effect on you. It’s almost like they reset you, put some fresh batteries in, and send you on your way.’

Eight bikes on the ferry.

get on the drops, take advantage of the speed they often offer, and look forward to when the GPS track diverges form the line of the road. In St Austell one of the roads had a sign saying it was closed, but like all cyclists, I continued on, in the belief I could get through. I could. Eventually I started to climb up into some hills, on the kind of lanes I like. They were quiet, they meandered, the offered continued interest, the views opened out. I saw a transmitter, and knew that was the highest point, and that I’d probably be passing it. I did. The views really opened out and I could see the land falling away to the sea. There was then some fast and fantastic descending. I spun those pedals for all my worth, making a judgement between rate of descent, and safety. A bit of the A30, then through the villages, out onto the main road into Penzance. My GPS lagging a little again, I missed a turning and made a steep ascent up some cobbles from the sea front to the road with the control, a Methodist church. Controls can have an amazing effect on you. It’s almost like they reset you, put some fresh batteries in, and send you on your way. Chuffy (YACF name) was there in support, doling out tea, bowls of pasta, crumble and custard, orange juice and sandwiches. That may sound like a random order of things, but the order you eat things doesn’t conform to the three-course meal of a restaurant. Sure enough, many of the others from the Fowey boat were there. One by one they got going, as I continued to take on calories. Eventually it was just me and Alan Parkinson. Alan was a cheery soul, and he was good and getting me out of that control a bit quicker than I would have done on my own. I think he was keen for someone to cycle with. There were a number behind us, somewhere out there, each riding their own audax. By now I was heartily sick of my hydration flavourings, and before we left, I asked Chuffy if he could fill my water bottles with sugared water. I’d also got sick of my jelly babies, something I thought would never happen. But there are things you will only find out on longer distances. As we were heading into the night stage I replaced my prescription sunglasses with my normal ones, and put on my waterproof top (a short sleeved Gore active shell), plus leg and arm warmers. Lack of suncream and a blazing sun all day had burnt my arms, legs, and a bit of my nose. I wasn’t suffering from the cold, as the heat of the day radiated back out, but I knew when the sun disappeared it would be a cold night. We headed out together on the main road, at one point the GPS track branch left and we went straight. When this happens you have the choice of turning round and getting back on course or

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randonnee continuing in the belief that the road you are on and the route will converge once more. They did about a mile further on. Alan rode a little ahead of me, then we’d ride side by side, then he’d ride behind and we’d swap. I got the impression Alan wanted to rider a little faster. After leaving Penzance and further down the road, we caught another rider. Briefly riding as a three, they were ascending the hills faster. Following my spin up the hills and attack the descents strategy, their lights blinked off into the distance. The km ticked by, with Alan’s and his ride companions lights side by side. Never too far away, never too close. Further on one of them needed to get batteries for the lights, and I passed them. Later on they would pass me again. We passed through a few built-up areas, but before long we were in the dark countryside. We were on an A road, but because of the time of night, it was quiet, with just the odd speeding car, in the darkness. The road climbed and fell in a regular almost hypnotic fashion. In fact so hypnotic and so little navigation to do, that I was falling asleep. The lights of Alan and the other rider, about 400m ahead, added to the effect. I’d just passed a rider when I began to feel really sleepy. Just before a roundabout I pulled over, sat on the verge, and pulled out a bag of jelly tots. As I was sat there, a car pulled up, and they asked if I was all right. I explained

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randonnee that I was just getting some sugar on board and was fine. I thought it was really nice that someone had stopped to check at that time of night. I later found out it was Chuffy, but I’d been so sleepy I hadn’t noticed. I probably sat there for 15 minutes or so, intermittently dozing and eating my tots and drinking the water. It seemed to do the trick, and once more I set off into the darkness. By now I was in a gap, with neither lights ahead or behind. As I neared Newquay my GPS warned of low battery. I switched on my other GPS before the first one ran out of juice. I only have two GPS’s because the first one was very buggy when I first had it, and would crash on anything over 50 miles. So I bought a different make and model, which has been excellent. But I hadn’t sold or got rid of the old unit, and a certain well known GPS manufacturer had actually fixed the crash bug in the meantime. Together they give my 30 hours of nav, before I need to worry too much about charging. The signs for Perranporth, St Mawgan and Newquay came down to single digit numbers. I used to holiday in Treggurian as a child, on our summer camping holiday. With childhood memories floating around I entered the outskirts of Newquay, where we need to get a receipt. Seeing a garage on the right with a cashpoint, I did a balance enquiry. The receipt didn’t say Newquay on it, but some other name, probably a sub-

‘The moors bucked and twisted trying to throw me off. Every final decent turned into just one more hill.’

district. I hoped Ian would recognise it, as Newquay. Continuing on, I turned right and saw five or six of the others gathered outside a Tesco Metro. I pedalled on, but found a bench on the outskirts, where I could resist. I sat down for another rest, and had something to eat and drink. During this time Alan and a few of the others from the Metro passed me. After Newquay the route climbed up onto the moors, the stars were out, wisps of fog were forming, and it was a beautiful sight. I caught another rider along here and we cycled together for a while. I’ve no idea how long we rode and chatted on those high moorland sections. Time seems suspend, when riding a long audax at night. Relativity indeed Eventually he stopped for toilet break and I pushed on. I now had my second wind (or was it my third or fourth?), and was flying along enjoying the solitude and the world of night time audaxing. The moors bucked and twisted trying to throw me off. Every final decent turned into just one more hill. What goes down must go up. I could see what I thought were the lights of Bude far in the distance, but they were a long time coming. Eventually that final descent was the actual final descent and I found myself speeding through Bude to the control. I arrived at the same time as another rider, and we rolled our bikes into the hall. The same group of Fowey were in attendance eating, drinking and discussing the last stages. Both Chuffy and Ian were in the hall, having just as long a day as the riders. Brevet updated, receipts collected, it was time for food. Beans on toast and a cup of tea, some juice. I had time in hand, so elected to use some of it to sleep. I spent 30 minutes eating when I arrived, then headed off for my 2.5 hours of sleep. Ian offered up a chair or the floor in a room. I elected for a chair and fell asleep under a light sheet/covering. I awoke, and sleepily headed back to the main hall where Chuffy was serving up full English and lashing of tea (yes please). I think porridge was also on offer but I don’t like too much sitting on my stomach before exercise. Despite the fact a few had woken before me, after 30 minutes I was ready to go. My bike has USB charging from the dynamo, with a cache battery. I’d put the GPS on charge before sleeping. Setting off, one of my GPS was on full charge, after three hours. I set off ahead of the others. It was a cool but clear morning, the sun still low in the sky. The jacket and arm and leg warmers were back in the saddlebag. It felt wonderfully fresh, and the cooling effect on my sunburnt arms and legs was welcome. I started off a little slow, still waking up, as I climbed out of Bude. Soon I found out two things, the 2.5 www.audax.uk.net

hours of sleep had done outstanding things for me physically and mentally, and I was on a really good road surface. I hadn’t had any real mental lows the previous day, and physically I’d just got sleepy at a time when I’d expect to be sleepy. But still, it was amazing how revived I felt. I soon found myself in my highest gear, cranking along at speed, loving road, the scenery, the peacefulness, and the cool of the morning. Alan caught me, clearly also having a good session along to Hatherleigh. We caught another rider, and then I cranked some more and moved ahead a while, before slowing, and we reformed. Beyond Hatherleigh the hills returned, and we once more joined the lanes. Alan moved ahead here, and the other rider fell back. I loved the next section, short sharp climbs, longer descents, rinse and repeat. All but deserted, but for the odd local. Later on, as we neared Tiverton, more cyclists appeared. Before the big descent to Tiverton I heard one say ‘I’m glad to have climbed that hill in one go’. I silently chuckled inside, thinking back to all the hills I’d ascended so far. I was so enjoying the fast descent to Tiverton I missed a turn, and zoomed out the GPS map screen, so I could navigate back to the route. Out of Tiverton I could see the M5, but the leg to Taunton Dean Services went on for ever, twisting and turning in the lanes. I hadn’t eaten since Bude, and so stopped to have some more jelly tots. As I was doing this Alan caught up, and said only 30 minutes now. I asked him the distance which he didn’t know. I was then a bit grumpy with him, and Alan rode on at that point, and said he’d see me at the services. Sorry Alan, I must have been having a sense of humour failure due to lack of eating. The lanes to the services gathered the gravel they could and spread it in my path, quiet and narrow lanes indeed. Whilst climbing one of the hilly lanes, I saw a ziplock bag with a card at the side. I stopped and picked it up, it was indeed a brevet card. Finally I crossed the M5, turned left and you see the services through the hedge, but no way through, till the service road at the end. I saw Alan’s bike, but didn’t find Alan. Entering the cafeteria I got pasty beans and chips plus a coke. The guy at the till was the world’s slowest. The couple in front were signing up to the loyalty scheme. They were the world’s slowest customers. I gave them my stare which said, calories; my body needs these calories, NOW! It didn’t work. When he did eventually serve me, he operated the till as though he’d never seen it before, silently mouthing the items on my plate to himself. Did I want to sign up to their loyalty scheme? Nooooooo. A couple of other riders came in during this time and I watch as they had

the actually same problem. Leaving I got some lemon juice for the bottles, and grabbed a can of Red Bull to gulp down. Initially the lanes weaved within sight, but more sound, of the M5, before making a definite turn in the direction of Yeovil, the next control. I entered the Somerset levels, least I think it was, as it was very flat and the road turned in right angles for a while. I passed through Shepton Curry and thought of drunken Indian curry nights for a while. It was whilst in these lanes, with a 3-4 foot high bank, that I encountered a deer coming towards me. I was cranking along in my highest gear and our closing approach speed was rapid. The deer continued bounding towards me. At the last minute the deer jumped over the bank and I breathed a sigh of relief, only to see another 20 metres further on. The deer jumped from side to side, between the banks; I put my brakes on, but there was nowhere to go. With the deer making a last jump to the right, I leant left, and the deer crashed into my right hand. It was quite a weight, but fortunately it was a glance, and somehow I wobbled but stayed on the bike. My hand was bruised, and hurt like hell, but I’d live. The section to Yeovil was a short one, and before long after a few small hills, and a horrible section of the A303 (slow down cars and don’t pass so close), I found myself on the descent to Yeovil. Yet again, I was enjoying the downhill and missed a turning, ending up in Yeovil industrial estate. I zoomed the GPS map out, and figured the BP station control would be on a roundabout. After a few false turns I eventually found the BP station on the outskirts. Alan and a few of the others were here. I offered up the brevet card, but it didn’t belong to any there, so back in my jersey pocket it went. I bought some drinks and snacks and got a receipt. A few of us, sat or stood outside the petrol station consuming our purchases. The next section was along a busy road, the A30, with lots of weekend traffic. Having said that they were fairly patient drivers, and I didn’t get the revving of engines and intolerant beeps you sometimes do. Eventually we left the A30 and entered the Blackdown hills. I saw signs to Lyme Regis. Lyme Regis is in Dorset, and hadn’t been on my list of counties for this ride. I should have expected it on a ride of this length. They rose and fell though the Blackdown. The climbs were different to previously and tended to be long drags and long descents, or at least that’s my memory of them. The roads were also shady, a welcome relief, but it looked like the roots were under the road surface, and it was the roughest of the entire ride. By this time I’d allowed myself to think about the remaining distance. There really wasn’t that far to go in the scheme

‘Do not think about punctures near the end of a ride folks!’

of things, I was still up on time, and I was going well. I just had to get a receipt at Seaton, on the coast, then another 34km to Exeter and the finish. So what did I think about, punctures! I don’t know why I thought about them but I did. I know that punctures are normally quick to fix, but sometimes they can kill your time. So what happened? Shortly before Seaton, my rear punctured on a descent. I found quite a few flints in the tyre, and it consumed a few minutes. I then rode for no more than five minutes and the front went! More time lost. Do not think about punctures near the end of a ride folks! Joining the A3052 to Exeter the surface was smooth, and the gradient flattish. I sped along before turning left for the descent to Seaton. Arriving at where I thought was Seaton, I realised it was Axmouth. I could also see an estuary, and didn’t fancy climbing back up the hill to the main road, to get to Seaton. I asked as local if I could carry on and get to Seaton as didn’t fancy climbing the hill again. He said you could, but I’d be climbing hills whichever way I went. If only he knew. Crossing the estuary on the bridge, I saw Tesco’s to the right, and the garage was open. So I popped there, and got a chicken mayo sandwich and a couple of bottles of Ribena, Sitting at the side of the garage, in the shade, I hungrily ate my purchase. Riding on through Seaton, I saw some of the others at cafés in the main part. The next section was a series of delightful climbs on those wonderful back country lanes. I was relishing the last bit, and knew that barring mechanicals I was going to finish my first 600 in time. Why I was thinking about mechanicals I don’t know, thinking about punctures hadn’t done me any good. Eventually Exeter appeared, and despite the distance already covered, it gave me a new spring, and I cranked up the gears to bundle along. I reached a bit of Exeter where I knew the way to Whipton Community Hall. I switched the GPS to trip computer display and watched in satisfaction as the remaining distance dropped below 1km and the metres counted down. 800m, 400m, 200m, all the time my speed increased. With one final effort I rode up to the community hall door and got off the bike. I was elated I’d finished my first 600. Not only had I finished it, I’d enjoyed the scenery, the riding, the hills, the elastic company, the volunteers helping at the controls, the visits to different coasts, the night time star gazing sessions. Not only that, but I’d finished it in good form, with no real lows to speak of. It also had great significance for me, finally I felt ready for LEL at the end of July. After brevet card and receipt handover to Ian it was time for some tea and light snack. I’d also handed over

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randonnee the brevet card I’d found, at which Ian said, ah there was a rider who’d lost his card, but he has left for the train. Alan and the elastic company were there, we’d all finished within 30 minutes of each other after all that distance. After a few reflections, more tea, and Alan complimenting me on my choice of tyre, after hearing about my two punctures; it was time to return to my hotel. Before leaving: a photo of my sunburnt self at the finish with mucky face (from fixing the punctures). Back on the bike, the bit back to the hotel took no more than 15 minutes or so, and passed at my most relaxing pace for the last two days. I picked up my bag from my car, and walked my bike into reception. I was on the first floor, but they had a lift, so that was fine. One receptionist came out to congratulate me, as I’d spoken to him at when I’d left at 5am the previous day. Once in the room, I stripped the clothes, from my body, removed helmet and sunglasses and entered the shower. The dust and salt layers washed away from my body. I let the water run down over my naked form, cleansing me. It was wonderful. I applied some moisturiser to my sunburn then dried off. I’d intended to go back out for a beer to celebrate but I was too tired. I rang the wife, to let her know I’d successfully finished, and was safely at the hotel. I then posted the photo of my sunburnt finished self at the finish to Facebook. I had a choice of firm or soft pillow, I opted for the latter. I crawled between the sheets, and slept the sleep of kings. Monday, next morning, I awoke and made it 10 minutes before breakfast

populaire closed down. Business meetings were already starting up. I had the drive home to Hertfordshire. Checking out I loaded the bike on the back of the car, and rejoined the M5 north. I watched Taunton Dean Services go past, and where we’d entered them by bike. It was another hot, sunny day and the sun through the windows reignited my sunburn. I tried to get my arms out of the sun, but hard to do when holding a steering wheel. I knew I was tired, and down the M4 decided I’d stop at the next services. The next service was Membury. That had been the night time control on the Severn Across. I recognised the transmitter in the distance, and as I pulled in the memories of my first 400, only three weeks, before, came flooding back. The two are connected now, and they forever will be with LEL 2013. I had a Whopper meal with a large smoothie then slept on a grassy bank outside for 30 minutes. I hardly ever stop when driving down the motorways and it shows how tired I was. Revived, I continued on, the M4 10-8 junctions had an accident. I diverted across to the M40 at Swindon, then down to M25. Junctions 22-25 of the M25 had an accident, I diverted via St Albans, eventually breaking free of traffic and following lanes to the A1 and home. My first 400, my first 600, my preparation had gone well and I’d demonstrated that us new randonneurs are trying our utmost to succeed at LEL 2013. It is certainly an adventure I’m having, one of the best ones, next significant stop LEL 2013! N

Ribble Blue 

Robert Lepertel, president of the Audax Club Parisien from 1967 to 1983, died recently after a cerebrovascular accident. He managed the BRM outside France from 1966 to 1998 and in 2003 and he was the first to authorise the organization of Brevet de Randonneurs outside France. That’s why the Brevets de Randonneurs Français (created in 1921) became in 1976 the Brevets de Randonneurs Européens. Then, he created, with some of you in 1983, the Brevets de Randonneurs Mondiaux. Of course, he was one of the main organisers of Paris-ParisBrest Randonnée. He was the sole manager from 1975 to 1987 and part of the organisation from 1966 to 1999, except in 1991. Bob retired from the ACP activities for some years ago. His poor health during the last years obliged him to stay at home most of the time but he was always there for our main meetings. It’s a real loss for the Audax Club Parisien and the BRM. All my thoughts are now for his wife Suzanne. She was wonderful with Bob, especially during the last years. Please join me to support her during these sad days.

Jean-Gualbert Faburel

Audax Club Hackney: Tim Sollesse, Christopher Breed and Adam Sharpe at Alston. Eight of their 15 members rode LEL. www.facebook.com/AudaxClubHackney or www.achackney.co.uk

Audax Club Parisien

Photo: Tim Wainwright

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Dave’s Doddle

Robert Lepertel

Robert (Bob) Lepertel was a long-time supporter of LondonEdinburgh-London. Pictured at top along with helpers at the Thorne control of LEL with his wife Suzanne (third left), is the late Mick Potts (rear right) and Joy Potts. Below, at the London Harlow start of LEL ready to cut the starting ribbon, with Liz Creese (left) and the late Rocco Richardson (former AUK Chairman) centre.

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T

his event is a doddle, with only one hill to make you grunt and that is to cross the railway just after the halfway control, the rest of the route is the flat lanes of south Somerset. Just over 50 decided that the event was for them as they assembled in Bishop’s Lydeard village hall for a 9am start. Weather was still not very warm for the time of year and with a chance of some rain later in the day, most had packed a waterproof coat. Usual route around the north side of Taunton to work the way through Creech St Michael and North Curry to join the flat lanes running alongside the many canals and dykes that litter the Somerset levels and arrive at the first control at the Potting Shed in Langport. With 33k covered in fairly quick time and the next control at 56k I chose to move on as I felt my legs could go for another hour before a sit down in a café. A couple of climbs along the main road towards Somerton presented no problems and soon I was drifting down into the town and working my way through its centre. Following the railway line when leaving to go through the villages of Charlton Adam and Babcary to arrive in Sparkford and the control at Haynes Motor Museum. After taking more than a casual interest in some of the old cars they had on display there, I even owned in my youth an A35 saloon like they were displaying, I then put my attention to the cakes on offer in the restaurant and settled down to enjoy my choice and a cuppa. Retracing the route back into Sparkford and heading away into the minor lanes but looking for the turn just past the electric sub-station to go through Queens Camel. A couple of years ago when I was riding this event I joined up with a group of Bristol riders who were going at a fast pace all the way to the Haynes control. When they came to leave I decided not to stay with them, just as well as they missed the turn for Queens Camel and got to ride a lot more of the Somerset lanes than they bargained for. It’s a long way around Yeovilton Naval Air Base and very exposed to the wind

that now had seemed to have picked up, joined by a few other riders that made things easier to get along. Going round the outskirts of Ilchester to join the A372 for what seemed like an age on that road to arrive back at the Potting Shed in Langport. The last 30 odd kilometres involved joining the outward route after Curry Rivel and going back along the canals and dykes of the levels, through North Curry and Creech St Michael to arrive back at Bishop’s Lydeard just as it began to spot with rain. Thanks Dave for an enjoyable ride even if it was a bit cold and blustery, but I’ll be along next year to sample those flat Somerset lanes that make a nice change from those I ride in Devon which go up and down all day. N

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coast to coast 600

photos by damon peacock

Graeme McCulloch

Julian Dyson

Ashley and Cathy Brown

Kevin Merrison

Chris Boulton

Jim Churton and Edwin Hargraves

Gordon Pannica


randonnee

auks in action

Hailstorms and hallucinations on the Severn Across 400  Ben Lowings

I

A personal view of the audax life

t’s half-past five on a hazy May morning outside the start in Chalfont St Peter. Over next 22 hours I would pinpoint the real reason I enjoy AUK. Not that I would have guessed at the time. There’s the clack of pedal clips on a pale-green linoleum floor and the bubbles as cups are filled with freshly-steeped tea. ‘It’s a bit like a wake,’ says one of the chirpier members of the contingent – and I see his description is apt. Everybody smiling hard at each other, bending their newly-washed lycra – still smiling – as they sit silently, and solemnly, right on the edge of the 70s chairs. Each of us searches for a joke to break the ice, and when I announce nervously that this is my first 400, there are murmurs from more than a few entrants who are in the same position. I ought to have said, though, that it ‘will’ be my first 400. In the early-morning sobriety, I omit to say I tried the same event last year and failed. I blew up at Stow-on-the-Wold, expecting hearty companionship and road banter to carry me through the first section and onto 400k glory. But my hopes were misplaced, since a little wit from my fellow journeymen could not compensate for the simple facts that I had started too quickly with not enough fuel already on board. ‘I had a brilliant idea the other day,’ I tell a bunch of riders. ‘Why not run an Audax like a treasure hunt? Only when you get to the control do you get the directions to the next control … and you follow them, not knowing where you’re going, or how long you’re going to take to get there? Sounds a lot like the way I ride a normal Audax anyway!’ We have a chuckle and chomp down on half an iced Danish with some tea. Then it’s off, spinning up the Chiltern escarpment, feeling morningfresh. It’s the last I see of the big power team, including a guy on fixed who – apart from his wing mirrors – looks like the Terminator. In their midst is an Italian who would finish before the arrivée even opened that night. With the elite safely away down the lanes towards north Oxford, it's chitchat and birdsong for the rest of us. ‘Here's where my crank fell off last time,’ says one guy as I come alongside him, the pair of us threading between the lime-green hedges. ‘This is my main GPS,’ another rider tells me. ‘It runs whilst I charge the backup one next to it.’ His lights are coming off the dynamo too. Being of the old school, my route is secreted in a stack of paper on a clipboard, cable-tied to the bars. Page five is whipped up in the wind and is lost, just as the pack comes to its first traffic lights. It’s beans on toast at Woodstock, with my fellow 400 novices – one Amit, of Edgware, and a pleasant Mancunian gentleman whose name I never asked for, or have clean forgotten. Then we go onto the northern Cotswold escarpment. Over the hump where I packed last time, bluebell glades flashing on either side, sweet chestnut leaves still crinkled from their time in the bud, young tree-trunks satin-grey in the sunshine, and pink-tinged May blossom heaped in the gutters. These are the simple pleasures of a morning ride anywhere in old England at this time of year. There’s a headwind … maybe 15 miles an hour, maybe more. But to me, above the humming tone of thin tyre on tarmac, the wind among the trees sounds like a lullaby. For Lance Armstrong, the ‘wind is your friend’. Not that I believe much else he says, but he was right on that: A headwind helps the soul, whether it be a West-of-England blast bearing hail from the Atlantic, or steady Texan wind on a training ride out of Austin. A made-for-tandem swoop down Winchcombe Hill (where someone got a deer leg locked in his back wheel), then west towards Tewksbury, where more than a few of us tackle a beef lasagne, garlic bread and peas. Where else but on an Audax ride these days can your meal be interrupted by a lycra-clad stranger, bursting in through the saloon doors, cursing the weather? A thrifty bottle refill service – and the waitress smiles at my cap, stolen from a child's fanclub kit. On the upturned brim firmly identifies me as a 'cycling fanatic!'

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We break up into teams of one or two and carve across a slice of country life. We go on, and on, through to the Forest of Dean, taking the silent roads through deep valleys – past a house where bride and groom emerge to confront the photographers in the garden. I cross the River Wye as a stream of kayakers slide underneath the bridge on the green treacle water. Up Yat Rock's ramp as young backpackers stagger down. On the other side of the summit, I go past another country house – again, just as the bride and groom come out to smile at the photographers in the garden. A bonk at St Briavel's with no shop for supplies. A collection of Audaxers trying to force down a tri-corn sandwich or two outside Tesco's in Chepstow. I ride across the Severn Bridge alone as the heavens open. Hail scours the deck, swarming off the rails and pouring from the cables. The Scottish mountaineer, Cameron McNeish, has argued that adventure isn't something you can organise in advance. The traverse of the River Severn, high above the water, the sun whitening the spars into lines of glare; it's as if I'm suspended in some version of a Turner painting. I did not, would not, could not, have planned a big hailstorm at that moment, and that's why this was true, high adventure. It’s a symbolic turning point, slightly more than halfway, the point at the top of a wheel you know is turning. I feel I share the concept of Audax not as race or time trial, but as adventuring in the old style. Robert Louis Stevenson took a donkey across the Cevennes in southern France, since, as he expressed it, one ‘may trudge through all our comfortable Europe, and not meet with an adventure worth the name.’ In the middle of nowhere, so many miles to go. Small groups collect, at the wayside fuel stops that the routesheet suggests, and together we speed into the night, up to Membury Service Station on the M4, where a pair of upturned soles were laid out on the carpet. Ah! The very feet of the mysterious figure we all referred to afterwards as 'The Sleeper'. Through the lanes we pass, cheerfully, across a landscape of field and village, studded with starlight like a magic carpet, the galaxy hanging low above. Two cyclists stopped at a bus shelter, each threatening the other, ‘Don't let me fall asleep!’ Like walk-on parts in a Shakespearean comedy, their names don't matter for the incident to stick in my head. A pair behind laugh about the time they stopped, with the road captain crying out in alarm. ‘There’s a body in the road!’ ‘Oh God!’ To their horror, the dark shape began moving: A drunkard, they soon discovered. As Stevenson puts it, there is, indeed, ‘a romance about all who are abroad in the black hours’. An owl shrieks, a bat flutters past, a tree yawns into a disturbing shape. Two hedgehogs turn to stone in front of me. A badger bears his fangs, his dead body pulled over his head by a car. ‘With something of a thrill,’ says R.L.S. ‘we try to guess the business’ of these night-time travellers. With these words on my mind, I roll towards the dawn north of Slough. The faint blue wash of pre-dawn twilight, and we are nearly home. We are Audaxers, and adventure is our business. Back in Chalfont. The organiser, Liam Fitzpatrick, welcomes us back with a wonderful giant teapot full of well-brewed tea. An Audax ride – especially one of this length, offers a good stretch of time for the tired mind to open up to hallucination. The orange line on the horizon is about to rip into a long strip of gold. We'll all be asleep as the day breaks. To complete the route is to suppress the demons of the imagination. For without doubt, they will rise up again on the next adventure. All we have to do is press down on the pedals, and they will be defeated again. N

Momma's Mountain Views 130k Grimpeur Left: Ray Stigter by the impressive Davies Gates of Chirk Castle. Left: Looking over the vale of Llangollen from the Crest above Glen Cerriog. Right: David Matthews contemplating the approach to the Old Hoseshoe Pass. Right: The first hill over Harthill just beyond Tattenhall.

Gospel Pass 200

Below left: Steve Poulton, atop the Gospel Pass, completes his 10RRTY consecutive. Below right: Mike Lane climbing Gospel Pass. Below right: Steve and Mike at Grosmont.

Ben Lowings’ novel ‘The Golden Cavern’, based on the early days of longdistance cycling in France, is available on bookcountry.com www.audax.uk.net

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HEADING IN HERE

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HEADING IN HERE

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randonnee

randonnee Near Crosshills, on the Colne road (due west) I was surprised to come up to Andy Clarkson, a much stronger rider than I am. However, he had done a 200 in Lincolnshire the day before and was just easing himself into today’s effort. We paused to put on rainwear just above Barrowford (it was to rain for the next six or so hours) and yo-yo’d our way across the ups and downs of Padiham Heights, to drop into the first control at Whalley. On the way, we passed banks of anemones and celandines, sadly closed up in the poor light. I was trying to banish thoughts of last year’s ride when we had experienced 50 mile an hour gales and hailstorms. That day my hands had got so wet and cold that I couldn’t change gear for most of the ride. This is so unfair on Dave Dodwell, the organiser, because it is a lovely route at a verdant time of year. Be assured that I have also done this ride in almost summer conditions! The control itself was in the café inside the abbey, replacing the much-lamented Cloisters Coffee Shop, which shut two years ago. I, like most, had beans on toast and wrote a quick song:

The Red Rose Ride Peter Bond

All photos by the author

I, like most, Had beans on toast Like all the rest, I thought it best....

This ride is a ‘Spring Classic’, starting in Halifax and skirting Pendle on its way to the west coast at Glasson Dock, via the Pennine outliers the Bowland Fells. It returns via country lanes through Inglewhite and Longridge to Whalley before a dog-leg of the Cliviger and Calder valleys delivers you back in Halifax. It only has 1.5 AAA points but it is decidedly chunky.

I

rode out to the start and set off from Milnrow, near Rochdale, over Blackstone Edge just after 6am. My plan was to get to Halifax in time to chat and have tea and toast, do the ride and get a train back at 8.30pm. A steady ride should leave plenty of time for apres ski before the train. Somewhere on the moorland crossing into Yorkshire I saw a female wheatear. I also saw the ‘red sky in the morning’ which foretold the coming rain. The best sight was yet to come, between Ripponden and Halifax, where I saw a small deer standing in the

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road. Sensing my approach it turned and from a standing position leapt a five foot stone wall and loped up the field. It looked like being a good day – for wildlife. I arrived in plenty of time, for a change, and had tea and toast and chatted with the usual helpers and organisers and a good bunch of riders, many known to me. There was a good turn out of 45 or so, especially gratifying after last year’s weather forecast had reduced that field to only a dozen or so. Today’s forecast was for rain from about about lunch-time and a strong westerly wind all day. It looked like a hard start and an assisted finish. There was the usual settling in for the first few miles, with everyone riding faster than they would be able to maintain (me, anyway). I chatted with various people, including Chris Boulton, whose Yorkshire Mixture 200 is one that deserves a good turnout later in the summer. However, I rarely manage to stay with a bunch

'…everyone riding faster than they would be able to maintain…'

because I stop to take photos. The first of these was of one of the two pinnacles on Earl Crag, above Cowling. They are apparently memorials built by separate farmers to commemorate sons killed, in one instance in the Great War and in the second the Napoleonic Wars. I think my picture is of the latter, which is called Wainman’s Pinnacle. Soon after this Darryl Nolan and I set off down Manywells Brow, while others (perfectly legally) took the main road to Keighley. Those who continue into Keighley avoid the long haul up Harden Moor to the the Guide pub. I can’t say I blamed them in this wind. It was already obvious that the forecast was correct and that it would be hard work to the turn. The verges here, as for most of the ride, were thronged with daffodils. Normally, their merry trumpets would raise my spirits but the gloomy weather meant that, for me, they played con sordino and they did not give me the lift I expected. I wonder if anyone else finds this. I hope not! www.audax.uk.net

While I ate, I chatted to Peter Summers. Also there were Bob Chatterton and Cecil Ilsley and it is good to see Cecil fully recovered from a nasty confrontation with a cattle-grid last year. There was a delay over Andy’s order and I set off before him, knowing full well that he would still finish considerably in front of me. The section from Whalley to the Trough of Bowland is a real cyclist’s delight, even in the wet and mist. Firstly, there is a geographer’s transport-fest as you ride under the impressive viaduct carrying the freight line from Preston to Hellifield and the quarry country, which enables the Yorkshire Dales to be gradually removed around the world. Then it is under the A59 trunk road before crossing the line of a Roman road from Ribchester to the north-east. Finally you ride across the River Ribble, on a 19th century bridge. All of this is within a mile or so. It was good to see that the river was flowing strongly and cleanly; a few months go it had been very low and covered in green algae. Come to think of it, that was probably 18 months, or even two years ago. Just beyond Cow Ark, there is a very straight section of about a kilometre which is, as you might expect, another Roman road, again coming from Ribchester and heading towards Slaidburn. I was reminded of a conversation I had with John Perrin on a ride out to Wales, when we agreed that we liked our roads with bends in them.

I remember also rambling that they are not ‘Roman’ roads at all but slave-roads overseen by Romans. They are ‘our’ roads, built by our ancestors. Yes, I do get peevish sometimes! I blame my saddle. At the junction just beyond this, I went right for the Trough of Bowland and was soon dropping through the woodland gorge, with the River Hodder swirling away below on the left. This is a magnificent mile. It delivers you to the grand-looking inn at Whitewell, called, I think, The Whitewell Inn. There is a rather sudden little climb out of the village before you level out in lush farmland. The flat fields enabled me to take a shot of the rapidly approaching fells, which were barely discernible through the skeins of rain which were being hurled across the land by the west wind. About a mile out of Whitewell, the road goes sharp left to cross the Hodder by Bursholme Bridge and by the time I got to Dunsop Bridge, the plantations on

Approaching Dunsop Bridge.

Below: Bob Chatterton and Cecil Ilsley. Bottom: The lime kiln.

Beatrix Fell were becoming more distinct and the wind was repulsed by the great masses of Tottridge Fell and Blaze Moss. Bob Bialek told me later that he had been so cold at this point that he rode into Dunsop Bridge and went into a café for a drink. The woman running the place had covered his shivering knees with a towel but there was no mention of an alabaster box of perfume, or washing of feet. I’m glad I can’t ride as fast as Bob – the wind-chill is much reduced at my speed, although I suppose I get it for longer. As I followed Hareden Brook up the lower slopes of the climb, the browns, greens and greys of the fells were enamelled by the rain. The wind was still capable of a flanking manoeuvre and as I crested the ramp just before the plantations at Sykes, I was almost blown into the path of a car. Just beyond Sykes, where the brook chatters through the trees, the serious climbing begins, but I was not concerned about this, having done this route several times before. Instead, I was looking out for the impressive lime kiln on the left, which I had ‘discovered’ on a previous ride. I’m puzzled a bit about where the lime came from for this kiln. Certainly the kiln itself seems to be of some form of sandstone. I think it’s unusual to see one so close to the road, so I wonder if it was for a more commercial venture than simply for a farmer treating his fields. I didn’t stop to take a picture, having got one in March, when it was full of snow. The approach to the steepest part of the climb is quite enclosed and has a splendid feeling of isolation. This was disturbed only slightly by cyclists kitted out like Scott of the Antarctic, splashing past downhill. I must admit I thought they were crazy to be riding t’Trough on a day like this; only idiots would do that. The climb progresses in a series of bends, undistinguishable on the map. The first ramp stretches round to the left and I had just completed it and tacked round to the right when my body seemed to whisper, ‘enough’. There were no burning muscles, no panting, no distress of any kind. It was very odd. As I have said, I’ve been up this climb plenty of times in the last few years and in considerably higher gears, but today my inner cyclist said, ‘Take a break, you know it makes sense!’ I suppose it must have been a combination of factors. I had ridden a very hard 300 kilometre ride (Yr Elenydd) a fortnight previously, so was probably not properly recovered; I had ridden over Blackstone Edge to the start, which is an extra 25 hilly kilometres; and we’d been struggling into a stiffish westerly for the last 75 kilometres. I only stopped for a few seconds but I did it again a little further up the hill. I confess, I was thinking, ‘have I climbed this hill properly for the last time?’ as I approached the cattle-grid at the summit.

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randonnee At the top of the climb, Dave Dodwell was braving the elements to give out bananas and take photographs. As well as being organiser of this ride and therefore the author of my misery at this time, Dave is a stalwart of West Yorkshire CTC and frequently pops up to take photos on other rides. Misery is a bit of an exaggeration but I really was pretty uncomfortable as I set off on the section I always imagine as ‘downhill to the coast’ (it isn’t). Once out of the shelter of the big hills the strong westerly became apparent again and my hands were getting colder and colder as the rain sluiced unhindered through my waterproof gloves. I always carry food with me and I know that it is almost always the antidote to a low mood but the knowledge that if I took my gloves off, I wouldn’t be able to get them back on (and it was too early to break out my spare pair) made me determined, though that is not quite the right word, to make it to the café stop in Glasson Dock before eating. I was jerked out of my brown study by the sight of a trike rider coming up the other way. I’m pretty sure it was Dave Jackson, a friend from several rides, especially the Three Coasts last summer, but I didn’t want to stop him while he was climbing and my raincovered glasses left room for doubt. At the left turn by the methodist chapel at Emmotts, I remembered how last year’s gales had hurled Andy Cox and I down to Dolphinholme in a most cavalier fashion. This time, I had to pedal pretty much all the way down. Not long after the right turn at The Fleece, I was caught by Andy Clarkson, who remarked that it had taken us six hours to get halfway. I know a fully fit Andy would have expected to get halfway in about four hours and even I would have hoped for five or a bit less. Still, the wind should soon be behind us and the second half is only undulating (©

randonnee AudaxUK). I was beginning to be more phlegmatic and settle for just finishing; if I missed my train from Halifax, I could always ride the 20 miles home. It’s easy to be fooled into thinking you’ve got an easy run to the control once you see the sea of Morecambe Bay and the masts of the boats moored in Glasson Dock. In fact there’s a steep little climb just beyond Conder Green, though it’s worse in the other direction on a full stomach. Andy disappeared rapidly ahead of me and I was glad to see he was pretty strong again. He would have far more riding to do this summer than I. There were plenty of riders in the Lantern O’er Lune café and we got the usual fast and cheerful service. I had double egg and chips, bread and butter and a piece of cake but, even after I’d finished my cup of tea, I hadn’t warmed up. But I had been saving my ace for the return to the bike, where I wrung out my wet gloves and put on the dry ones. I think that apart from food, putting on a dry pair of gloves is the single biggest boost you can give yourself on a wet ride. Especially if it has stopped raining, which it had, after six hours. While I was eating I had calculated that it was going to be a 12½-hour ride but that would still get me back for the last train. Then a remarkable thing happened: as I rode south along the coastal flat towards Thunham, I could feel the strong crosswind off the sea – the wind was still in the west! A wind staying where it is forecast is pretty-well unheard of in my short Audax experience and once I had cleared the lovely market town of Garstang and turned inland towards Longridge there was no wind at all; in other words, it was behind me. As my meal began to deliver, I started to feel stronger and definitely more cheerful. My clothes began to dry out and I gradually got warm and started to enjoy the riding. I tackled the short but

steady climb under the fantastic series of hanging valleys and crags that form Thievely Scout, until you reach another railway bridge, from which it is downhill all the way to Todmorden in the Calder Valley. The previous year, we had had such a battering that I was desperate to get to this stretch and have the wind behind me. In the event it had changed cruelly and I had to pedal just to keep moving downhill. This year, the luck held and I was soon making the left turn at the railway arches in Todmorden and setting out on the last stretch, the gradual, rolling uphill to Halifax. Earl Crag above Cowling.

'…my hands were getting colder and colder as the rain sluiced through my water­proof gloves…'

steep climb just before Inglewhite with something approaching vigour and was soon in the village itself. The cross on the green is either very old, 11th century or something, or is a replacement of such. It certainly looks old. Another nice image is the old enamel AA sign on a wall on the right just after the green; it has the village name and the miles to Preston, London and Garstang. It was somewhere along this first section of the return journey that I saw one of the most exciting wild-life scenes I’ve been privileged to experience. A flock of 30 or 40 swans sitting in a field grazing. I wasn’t close enough to identify them properly but I think they were mute swans. Do swans congregate anyway, or had they just got in from northern wastes? In spite of the harsh weather, I’d actually noticed quite a few bird species on the ride, including an oystercatcher, curlews, a jay, greenfinches, which are surprisingly bright in flight, and a particular favourite of mine, the lapwing. Later, I would add a heron to the list. In Longridge, I stopped at the service station to get proof-of-passage. With the exception of a brief stop, to take a picture, this was my only stop on the return journey, which is an indication of how much I had recovered, thanks to the improvement in the conditions. The short climb out of Longridge is compensated for by a long glide down towards the old Roman fort of Ribchester, before the road starts to undulate again. Just before Great Mitton, there is a short diversion left from the main road, which takes you down a real country lane, with a little climb at the end to bring you back out on the main road at Hillcrest Tearooms, just past the historic church. It’s no shorter or longer than the main road, just one of those alternatives that keeps things interesting.

Dropping down to Ribble

Cromwell Bridge. 26

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The interest continues as you drop down to the Ribble, where there is a fine bridge. Here, I had a wonderful surprise: 50 yards to the west of the bridge is an earlier structure, which looks so slight that it would blow over in a breeze. However, its graceful, narrow arches were strong enough to support the Roundhead army on its way to the battle of Preston and it www.audax.uk.net

is known as Cromwell’s Bridge. I’ve been across the later bridge many times and never noticed its predecessor. It may be that my eye was caught by the heron that flew lugubriously over the central arch then looped underneath to stand sentry under a smaller one. However it came about, it was a high-point and this is the sort of thing I ride for and for which Audax riding, mostly head up, is so valuable to me. From Great Mitton, I rode to Whalley for the second time, this time straight through and up the pull to the Burnley road. I think it was as we rode towards Padiham, through Read, with its wonderful sign for Read Library, that I encountered, for the second time, Tony Richmond, a strong-riding newcomer to Audax, with a fell-running background. I was astonished when he told me his age, until I remembered my own. I warned him about the climb out of Padiham, which is a bit of a sore point amongst local riders. The road climbs up to the right turn at the George IV but this takes some by surprise, for it isn’t the climb we moan about; that starts a little further on as you cross the railway line at Rose Grove. It’s a very convex affair, which is benign enough if you are fresh, or rested but quite an examination when you are not. Tony obviously found it OK because he got back to base in good time. After the summit there is the terrific, fast descent on a wide road to the head of the Cliviger valley, where the route goes right for Todmorden. After a short descent, there is a longish but

Padiham Heights.

Halifax Station.

Birthplace of the poet Ted Hughes

I’d not long made the turn when Peter, from North Wales, came up with a friend, riding urgently in search of a hedge to inspect. Just before Hebden Bridge, they succeeded and though I waved, they had their hands full. Soon I was passing the flower-bed and memorial boulder celebrating Mytholmroyd as the birthplace of the poet Ted Hughes. I was riding strongly now and was pleased with how I was coping with the draggy climbs up to Halifax, the sharpest of which is in the mis-named township of Friendly. Not long after this, Peter came up again and I was able to guide him on the last downhill stretch to the finish. We were greeted with the usual excellent buffet prepared by the West Yorkshire/Calderdale CTC team and Dave Dodwell already had his slide show of the event available for ribald comments. I think I made a reasonable contribution to this. The arrivée was a much more relaxed affair than last year when each of the returning riders probably occasioned a sigh of relief from Dave, the weather had been so bad. This year the weather had been no worse than awful and that only to the turn. After a good chat with new and old friends, including Chris Crossland, who is finally riding a bit more after his PBP neck troubles, I tore myself away to get a train at 8.30pm. When the train reached Hebden Bridge, another bike appeared in the doorway, wielded by a chef, whom I've bumped into after three or four rides, now, each time with a different bike. A happy coincidence to sign-off what had been a rapidly improving adventure. I left him on the train to Rochdale, while I disembarked at Smithy Bridge to ride the couple of miles home in the dark. We've been unlucky with the weather the last two years but I keep coming back to the Red Rose Ride because the whole event is great, from the départ, through the course, to the arrivée. I've ridden the Trough of Bowland in hail, rain and bright sunshine and it's magical every time, at least in retrospect. Which reminds me; I need to pop up there and prove that this year was just a blip.… N

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overseas

overseas

Girls on tour 2013

(aka What AAA girls get up to when nobody’s looking)

All photos by the author

Ann Marshall

2012 was an amazing year for Louise [Rigby] – and I was her biggest fan! We were like Wiggo and Froomey … I offered her my wheel at every opportunity and am delighted to have helped in her phenomenal year! This year it would seem that we are still Wiggo and Froomey, and who knows how the year will pan out …

D

uring mid-June we had a wonderful time! We’re a bit of an odd couple because on the face of it n othing much matches – I am organised and Louise is not (oops! Sorry that should be the other way round!) … Louise is veggie but eats fish, I don’t … Louise has bags of experience cycling, I don’t … Louise can’t sleep without total blackout, I don’t have any curtains! (not that the neighbours can see in) … and so it goes on! But we complement each other perfectly and somehow meet seamlessly in the middle! Our previous two holidays have taken us to the Peak District where AAA rides abound! (my favourite being Oliver Wright’s Grindleford – stunning!). This year we were attracted by something a little bit different! We

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planned to go to the Ardéche for some warm-up rides and then head down towards Provence, our first visit to the area. Just hiring a car was adventure enough for me! I can drive but don’t have a car and haven’t driven for about 12 years … Our little Opel (which we stuffed to the hilt) was OK to drive but it didn’t have a hand brake! This was fine as we cruised down the Loire valley but we were heading towards hills and how on earth was I supposed to do hill starts without a hand brake! As we headed south towards our Provence destination, the enormity of our task became apparent as the imposing profile of Mont Ventoux loomed into view … ‘Oh – My – God!’ was our singular thought … It was enormous! It dominated the skyline and seemed totally insurmountable … unless you’re super-human … ‘What are we doing here! We can’t climb that!’ These were our thoughts, and we felt momentarily doomed … However, as we skirted round to the south side anti-clockwise and edged a little closer, the Beast began to look less fearsome and, with the indispensible help of Louise’s Garmin for the car (last-minute moment of inspiration to bring, thank

Above: Hotting up near the summit.

Below: Those black sheep get everywhere.

you Louise!) we found our hotel ‘Les Pins’ in Bedoin and very nice it was too! With Louise’s organised mind and my patchy (but fast improving!) French we arranged early breakfast parcels and special access to the cycle store key and code! The propriétaire knew of our aspirations and had already sized us up … ‘no chance!’ was written all over his face … On Tuesday 18th June we were up at

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4.30am and 80 minutes later we set off to find somewhere in Bedoin to stamp our brevets … not your usual brevets but ones for the Club des Cinglès du Mont-Ventoux … for we planned to ascend Mont Ventoux not once, not twice but three times in a single day, from all three sides! Billed as 136kms with approx 4,500m ascent … (Cinglès means ‘Madmen’!). The tabac was too busy setting up his stands, but the boulangerie was all ready for the day and there, amidst the wonderful aroma of fresh baguettes, our brevets were duly stamped and off we went with a friendly send-off party of young boulangers, all interested to see our bikes – my relatively normal little Specialized with compact, and Louise’s highly distinctive new Airnimal which, with its dashing black and red livery, caused quite a stir wherever we went! Neither of us were feeling 100 per cent, but as we embarked upon the first section of 15k to Chalet Reynard (quite tough!) we gradually settled into our rhythms … Louise had decided to divide the three climbs (the Cinglés event itself ) into a cunning mix of a DIY plus Sheila’s perm from Sault, giving herself options for AAA points should she need to bail out, but her sole aim being to climb the Beast from all three sides in one calendar day, and she had until 23.59 to finish! I on the other hand had elected to tackle the whole thing as one DIY, giving myself a time limit of 13.6hrs @ 10kph … I guesstimated at best three hours up and 40 minutes down each time, plus pitstops, pee-stops and the inevitable faff time and wasn’t at all confident I could do it, so the pressure was on from the word go! We were lucky that it was dry with light cloud cover, which helped keep temperatures down. Then, as I reached that notorious left bend at Chalet Reynard, I felt a wonderful breeze from the east which I realised could help us up the challenging 6k to the top. And help it did! It honestly felt like a hand placed in the small of my back, pushing me up the hill towards the towering white observatory! At Tom Simpson’s memorial I stopped to take another photo … the water bottles were quite tear-jerking, not to mention the plaque from his wife and daughter. Then up, up, up to the 1,912m summit (as widely advertised, even though it says 1,911m on the milestone)! Rounding the last steep bend to the very top the helpful breeze suddenly turned into a viscious howling headwind, making it almost impossible to stay on the bike for the final 60m … but stay on I did, obtaining photo evidence as 8.40am was too early for the café or souvenir shop to stamp my brevet. Then it felt like I was about to be blown over the edge of a precipice as I ventured round the corner

and down the steep, sharp slope, down, down, down 21k to Malaucène, battling with the strong gusting side-winds. It’s a fast descent with long straights, plus some stretches which seemed almost flat! A quick pit-stop at the café on the corner (plus the vital stamp on my brevet) and I was off again, but not before Louise arrived and another cyclist warned us of the most difficult 4k section of all three ascents about half way up – 12 per cent, 12 per cent, 11.5 per cent, 11.5 per cent – the graphic profiles I’d studied seemed to suggest something less steep, but the distinctively French little white and yellow milestones backed up these percentages, and so did my Garmin! I also feared the east wind would make the Malaucène ascent exceptionally hard, but magically the road was fairly sheltered and the clouds stuck around till noon, so only the last 40 minutes of climbing was in the full heat of the day. This time the souvenir shop was open, happy to provide another stamp in the card at 12.40pm … then down, down, down the 26k to Sault into the breeze, which made the descent quite technical for the first few kms … A real bonus was that from Chalet Reynard there was brand new tarmac all the way to Sault! All beautiful, black and perfectly smooth … not like that coarse grade gravel they just dump on the roads back here which takes months to bed in … A small but sharp rise to Sault was a slight surprise, but after a quick sandwich avec jambon et fromage and a large bottle of Evian I was quickly on my way again up the final, relatively benign climb back towards Chalet Reynard. Much to my delight, the only writing daubed on the flawless tarmac said HOP HOP ANN! I can’t tell you what a mental boost that gave me! I later discovered that Louise was similarly motivated when she found a road sign of a black sheep! By now the heat was intense, a searing 41°C and very little shade offered by the trees which also stifled the breeze … I forced myself to stop every 2k for a few sips of water and to sprinkle my head, neck and back with my precious Evian … It was hard, but my heart lifted when I saw the familiar figure of Louise descending towards me … Although we were doing this ‘together’ we ended up riding solo, but it was so good to catch glimpses of each other along the way, and to know that we were both going strong! As I pushed on up through the trees I was glad that we had left this easiest ascent to last – not only was it the shallowest gradient, but also I think the intense afternoon heat would have been far worse had we been struggling up either of the other two ascents … it was really hot! Eventually I reached Chalet Reynard once more, where I bought the most expensive bottle of water for my bidons

The Grand Départ … full of excitement, fear and trepidation!The Grand Dépa

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overseas (six euros!) but did I care? I had only another 6k to climb which I knew I could do, and I had a following wind! Plus I was well within time for my DIY … Just before I left Chalet Reynard a bright red Ventoux maillot caught my eye and thought ‘I know who would like one of those!’. To my surprise, this final testing ascent seemed much easier than before and I flew up, chatting to others as I made my way to the top. The wind at the summit was slightly less strong than nine hours earlier but I drew on my experience and was fully confident that I would reach the summit a third and final time and achieve my goal. The man in the souvenir shop was surprised to see me again … as he stamped my card I spotted little replica milestones for each of the ascents and made a mental note to bring my drawstring bag with me the following day when I returned on Chris Ellison’s 100k Ventoux perm – I wanted a set each for Louise and me! And then I set off back to Chalet Reynard, taking the right fork down to Bedoin. I didn’t see Louise this time but I knew she would be fine. There are long straight sections at ten per cent with sharp bends at the end – I must remember to fit new brake blocks! The descent seemed to go on for ever, all lovely and cool, and I finally swished my way into Bedoin, stopping at the first place I found to stamp my brevet and record my time of 11hrs 54mins – I was

overseas

300k around Mallorca Richard Leonard The idea behind our short break in Mallorca was to get some early season fitness. A gang of five of us rented a villa near Pollenca close enough to Calla San Vicente for those wanting to swim and very handy for the Formentor and Alcudia areas.

delighted! and decided to treat myself to a nice Ventoux jersey from the sale rail, swiftly followed by a tasty lager in the bar opposite! I trundled triumphantly back to Les Pins where I shoved by bike in the back of my little Opel and, as I prepared to drive off to meet Louise, who finished brilliantly in 12hrs 45mins, the Propriétaire came over to me and thrust out his hand to shake mine … ‘Chapeaux!’ he said! Louise and I are now the 12th and 13th ladies in the UK to have ‘graduated’ at the Club des Cinglés du MontVentoux since its creation in 1988, and 5016th/5017th overall of men and women globally. It’s a great challenge (as recommended by another wellknown 3peaker) – check it out: www. clubcinglesventoux.org/en.html N

W

e hired Orbea carbon road bikes from Rent March in Puerto Pollenca (thoroughly recommended, nothing too much trouble) and early in the holiday enjoyed the excellent cycling on smooth tarmac in warm weather around the north and west of the island. It transpired that our training coincided with that of Sir Bradley on three occasions including a friendly ‘Good Morning’ as he effortlessly spun past us on a climb. I think the Tour of Majorca DIY was Phil’s (Hodgson) idea. We had ridden a 200 (Delightful Dales) and hoping for SR status this year needed a 300 so this ‘holiday’ was the ideal opportunity. Phil planned the route and had it checked and authorised by Alex Pattison as a DIY before we left for Mallorca. Thursday dawned cold but dry. We set off from our villa at 5.45am in pitch dark with quiet apologies to the neighbours whose dogs registered our passing. We verified our start time and location at a 24-hour cash machine in Pollenca and then it was off for proper with every km counting. The first half hour was ridden with lights on with only the very occasional commuter sharing our road. Gradually the sky lightened to the east and we were treated to a beautiful sunrise – the benefits of an early start. We enjoyed easy navigation past Inca and on toward Benissalem, taking 1km turns on the front to cut through the headwind. But this ride was not going to be flat easy riding all the way. At Santa Maria we turned north and toward the mountains and Soller. At Bunyola we met the main road from Palma but thankfully this soon disappeared through the mountain in a tunnel leaving us to enjoy an Alpine-like climb with only the birdsong to break the silence.

Above: Descent to Sault. Right: 1. Girls on tour after shopping trip – who stole the summit sign? 2. Second ascent from Malaucene. 3. Tom Simpson memorial.

First checkpoint in Soller

Our first checkpoint at Soller at 48km coincided with breakfast in a roadside bar. We didn’t join the workmen in a glass of beer or wine but did enjoy a very welcome Spanish omelette with English

Left: Ubiquitous milestones, the Cinglès profile and Cinglès route. 30

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tea! After a couple of photos to place us in Soller it was into the hilliest section of our ride. The road largely follows the coast so we were treated to spectacular views of cliffs and mountains also passing through scenic villages such as Deia and Banyalbufar. We were enjoying both the climbs and descents until the aptly named Col de Bastide. Perhaps I was a little too confident on the smooth tarmac. Perhaps the sun was in my eyes and I didn’t see the seep of water across the road. There was a quick warning from Phil but the very next second I was on my side sliding down the road with the bike a couple of yards in front of me. I gingerly picked myself up and finding myself bruised rather than bleeding and the bike still rideable I carried on. Phil had to be a little patient until I got some confidence back. Onto Andratz (103km) and into the first café with a bike hanging outside. They knew what food we needed … a large bowl of spag.bol. The third leg took us through the most populated area of the island where we rode on cycle tracks to keep away from the busy main roads. This meant that our average speed went down, especially through Palma. We had chosen to ride close to the seafront on a cycle path which turned out to be two feet wide with speed restrictions of 15kmh! After several k of this and too many tourists it was good to leave the built-up area. We then enjoyed about 25k of quiet fast lanes or 'Cami' in Majorca en route to our next checkpoint at Colonia St. Jordi (182km). Having found the small town our next challenge was to find somewhere to eat as nowhere opened until 7.00pm. After wasting a good 10 to 15 minutes we found a small bar with the usual ham and cheese bocadillos. It seemed a good idea to order a plate of chips to go with the sandwich. The 'patatas fritas' arrived after the sandwich had been eaten and were thickly cut, deep-fried slices of potato. Phil's delicate constitution complained after he had eaten them. We were keen to crack on. Get the next 68k section under our wheels and the ride was cracked. More idyllic cycling through Mallorcan countryside and villages with three elderly ladies busy sweeping the town square with hand brushes. I busied myself with mental arithmetic … 17k to next to next town, how many miles? 16 mph average and it's 8.00pm when will we get there? It all helps.

Above: Phil Hodgson. Below: Richard Leonard.

'Gradually the sky lightened to the east and we were treated to a beautiful sunrise…'

The wind picked up with the sun going down. As we entered Caja Ratjada the gusts were bending the thickest palm trees. We battled into the wind to the first store before it closed at 9.00pm to get the all important receipt. To complete our circuit we rode back through Arta and then onto familiar roads. The lights went back on and with hardly any traffic we were able to ride two abreast so I could avoid being driven completely crazy by Phil's very bright flashing rear light. Back to the same cash machine in Pollenca. Looking back on the ride now I cannot imagine a better way of seeing the whole island in one day; from the quiet small rural villages to the bustle of Palma; from the almost empty alpine-like smooth mountain roads to the motorways and underpasses of the south; from the old ladies in their home villages to the packs of visiting foreign cyclists. An island of contrasts from the saddle of a bike. N

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populaire

london–edinburgh–london

Coast & Back 100k

Tom Jackson, Kirkhouse Forest, Scotland

Phil Robson, Yad Moss

Ribble Blue

I

rode this event last year and found the middle part of the event around the Quavntocks a bit of a challenge, so let’s see if my fitness has improved over the past 12 months and how I get on this time round. Off at nine from Ullculme school with about 40 others, Andy Keast and Rob Scoble up from Plymouth for the event and also George Sandford, a rider who used to do all the local events but hasn’t been out for several years. The event being a round of the CTC Devon Tourist Competition so Devon riders made up the bulk of the entry. First part of the ride is down and along the old A38 then join a minor lane to cross the railway. Remember this bit from Above: Martin Lucas. Top right: Steam engine at Bishops Lydeard. Left: Julie Lang.

last year as it was where I picked up a puncture which put me at the back end of the field. No problem this time though as the route took us along side the Great Western canal and into the lanes west of Wellington. Some of these lanes could only be described as a bit more than rural. It was either try and cycle along the river bed near Poleshill where you would get more than your toes wet or join the ‘jungle’ path and take your chances with the nettles. Returning to the tarmac lanes with its usual ups and downs to arrive in Wiveliscombe. It’s about five miles along the B3188 to Elworthy Cross at the foot of the infamous hill by the same name. It’s a hard road with short steep climbs throughout its length and add to that a stiff headwind coming down the road. Really relieved to get to the cross then to savour the downhill into Stogumber and across the A39 to climb up to the West Quantoxhead info control with 40k covered. Down the hill to the coast at Watchet and through the town then just one climb and a few more miles to the control at Blue Anchor Railway Station. Rather busy at the station, this is part of the West Somerset Steam Railway and judging by the amount of cameras that came out when a main line 2-8-0 steam loco came into the station, there’s a lot of steam rail enthusiasts among the entry. Mark Hummerstone, Yad Moss

With the wind on my tail

Back along the seafront, this time with the wind on my tail, with luck I could be blown all the way back to over the hills to Uffculme. Dream on. Winding its way through the valleys with the delightful villages of Hungerford and Monksilver to take your mind off the hills you’re climbing to get back to Elworthy Cross, but then it’s a fast few miles down the B3224 with that tailwind all the way down to Bishop’s Lydeard station to meet up with the organiser, Roy Russell and 75k covered. With the hills now behind me, now for some easy riding through Halse with its old 1930s road sign still up on the wall at the cross, the final info control at Bradford-on-Tone and through Wellington to go over Sampford Moor brought the event to a close at Waterloo Cross. Just a couple of miles left then to get back to the car parked at the school.  Thanks Roy for at times an interesting set of roads and some very pleasing views to savour of the Quantocks and the north Somerset coast. N

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Steve Abraham, Barkway

www.audax.uk.net

The Nutters: Dallas Newton, Richard Marsay, John Kelly, south of Traquair


london–edinburgh–london John Sabine and Trevor Stephens, Hertfordshire

Auks passing a field of borage, Hertfordshire

photos by tim wainwright Daniel Shinn, Yad Moss

Phil Hodgson and Richard Leonard, St Ives control

Peter Sharpe, Cambridgeshire

Andrew Deaner, Yad Moss

Glynn Smith, Yad Moss

Dave Bartlett, Kirkhouse Forest, Scotland

Mark Charlton, Alston


london–edinburgh–london

HEADING IN HERE Marcus Coupe, Cambridgeshire

Peter Bussey in the rain on Yad Moss

Cycle Touring and Adventure Equipment from Canada AXIOM: RIDE MORE & LIVE BETTER Christopher Tedd on the Humber Bridge

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randonnee

randonnee

Getting London-EdinburghLondon in my sights

Alston. Photo: Tim Wainwright

Phil Whitehurst

‘Because LEL is an adventure, an undertaking with an uncertain outcome. Past success, is not a guarantee of future success, nor is past failure a guarantee of future failure. All riders who enter LEL 2013, will do their utmost in preparation to ensure a successful outcome.’

T

hese were the words I posted in a reply to a post on the LEL 2013 Facebook group. A rider, whom I do not know, was criticising the LEL 2013 organisation. He had failed to get a place, in the 12 or so hours that the event sold out. He was directing his anger, in every which way, but particularly at the LEL 2013 organisers. He had a particular acerbic view of inexperienced audaxers having got a place, when he, of much greater experience, had not. I was upset and angry at his attitude. I started audaxing in 2010, at the early age of 44. There are not many past times you can say that about, but I believe it true of audax. Indeed I believe my best years are still ahead of me. In July 2012, I’d ridden my first 200 km audax, when I discovered London Edinburgh London 38

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2013. It was the summer of the London 2012 Olympics, whose motto was ‘Be Inspired’, and I was. I began to dream, I began to wonder. Could I? Should I? Would I? That August, I entered my first 300km audax, the Mildenhall 300. Having only done a 200km ride so far, my brain hadn’t really thought about what the start time was. The night before I checked the start time, it was 4am. It was already late, and I managed to grab, at most, two hours of fit full sleep, before leaving at 2am for Mildenhall. The ride kicked off, and for the first few km hung onto the back of a fast group, before dropping off the back, as dawn arrived. Shortly before 200km, I ran low on energy. I stopped at the side of the road and ate a 190gm bag of jelly babies in one go and downed a full water bottle. I rested in the grassy bank in the sun for 15 minutes before continuing to Saffron Walden. At Saffron Walden I ordered burger, chips plus two cokes. On asking if I wanted to go large I said yes for the first time in my life. I spent two hours taking in calories and drinking at that control. It worked, I went well from then onwards, and completed the ride well within time, and enjoyed the amazing

'I mentioned I was dreaming of LEL next year, but had my doubts.'

storms sweeping across the landscape. On the last leg from just before Cambridge I rode with a guy on a recumbent. I mentioned I was dreaming of LEL next year, but had my doubts. He said a few words, not many but enough ‘Well if this is your first 300, and you’re riding this well, at this stage, in this time, then you should go for it.’ Sorry for forgetting your name, but if you’re reading this, then thank you. I discovered YACF, I discovered the LEL Facebook page. Slowly but surely I was being drawn in. I followed every post and thread, I commented on many, I started some myself. The date arrived for entry. It was due to open between 1am and 3am, on Saturday January 5th 2013. Too late for me, after a week’s work, I decided I’d enter in the morning. Saturday morning I awoke around 8am, nervous and excited. I turned on the computer and started breakfast. Having a quick look at the LEL website registration page, intending to register after breakfast, I saw that only about 35 places remained. My fingers were a blur, worried my dreams of the past few months would come to nowt. The email confirmation came through. I was in, committed, for want of a better word. www.audax.uk.net

So, when that post appeared on Facebook, I was one of those inexperienced audaxers he was referring to. I’d only managed a 100km, 200km, and 300km audax so far. Was I deluding myself, was he right, and if he was, did he have the right to deny me my adventure? Was I really denying someone else of their adventure, when I was doomed to failure? Preparation, that is what I’d said ‘will do their utmost in preparation to ensure a successful outcome’. I now had my target LEL at the end of July 2013. I decided to book my build up events there and then. I find if I have targets, then I just get on with the preparation. I booked a February 100km, a March 200km, an April 200km, a May 400km, and a June 600km. In the diary they went, I let all my friends and family know. I let my Facebook friends know. No one likes to look a fool, and letting everyone know, made that further commitment for me. In January I ended up organising a LEL DIY by GPS 200km. It started out as a post on YACF asking if anyone fancied exploring the first sections of LEL. Before long it ended up as a LEL 200km DIY by GPS (also new to me, and really easy to sort out, thanks John Hamilton). There were five who turned up, Teethgrinder (whom I now know is really called Steve Abraham), Steve, John, and Tynan. Tynan having cycled up the route from Loughton to the Silver Bell Café near Barking, was cold and turned back as soon as we returned to Barking (from the café). There was ice on the road, a bitter easterly wind was blowing, and it was between 0-2°C, so I don’t blame him. The rest of us rode the north bound route to St Ives, then traced the south bound route to Gt Easton, then Loughton. Teethgrinder and I had opened up a reasonable gap on the others, and rode together till we got back to the now closed café where we’d started. During the ride I’d discovered an error in the LEL route near Loughton, which involved pavement hoping through a dead end road, and sent the organisers details so they could correct. My 100km in February went fine despite the continuing cold. My 200km in March didn’t happen because my chain split and wrapped my derailleur into by wheel. My 200km in April went without incident, other than my ride companion’s derailleur ripping off on a hill. On April 20th I travelled down to north London to be interviewed by the guys behind ‘Made Good’ films. One question they asked me was did I feel nervous. I’d replied that no, I didn’t feel nervous at this stage, and actually felt pretty good so far. A strange reply you may think, for a 200km and 300km rider of limited experience. I can only go by how I felt. We now come to the ride that started me writing this article, my first 400km

audax. Everything I had read or seen posted about 400km audaxes said ‘It’s the hardest one you’ll do, harder than a 600km’. I didn’t quite understand this, but you can draw your own conclusions at the end. Those of a more experienced nature will already know. My first 400km audax was the Severn Across on May 11th. It goes from just north of London, to Wales and back via the Severn Crossing. Pretty audacious in my book. When I booked it back in January, the thought of riding to Wales and back in a day (well within 27.5 hours), and going over the Severn Crossing suspension bridge, just inspired me, it appealed to the inner soul in a way I cannot express. In the days leading up I continued to ride to work, and stopped cycling just two days before to give myself a rest. Via YACF I was giving Howard a lift to the start. We agreed that picking him up at 4:40am would give us sufficient time to get to the start before 6am. Again in those days leading up I was amazingly calm. I‘d even helped the organiser in creating a GPX track from the route sheet. I went to bed at 8pm, but didn’t sleep brilliantly, but I did dream a lot, which was nice. I woke up at 4am, and still felt calm. When would the storm break? I left the house about 4.30am, picked up Howard at 4.40am and off we went. We arrived at the Chalfont St Peter car park about 20 minutes before the 6.00am start, still felt calm. We agreed that we’d do our own thing for the ride, and that I’d bring in the sleeping bags to the hall when I finished. Then sleep till chucking out time, and drive home. Picking up my brevet card, Liam didn’t seem to have a card for me. So he gave me a blank one, which reminded me I needed a pen for the info control. Returning to the car, it had no pens in it, when did I empty it out of pens? Anyway, I returned to the community hall, to find Liam was about to start the event. I quickly turned on one of my GPS. It was still finding satellites when Liam said go. No one moved. He then said ‘Go on, off you go, get moving’ (or words to that effect). The ride had started. My GPS hadn’t locked on, but I decided to get going with the group. The GPS would gain a signal whilst I was moving, and a complete track wasn’t needed as proof of anything. We set off at a reasonable pace for me, and again I still didn’t feel daunted or nervous about the distance. I saw the faster members disappearing off in the distance, but that didn’t worry me. All my audaxes so far, I’d pretty much ridden solo, and at my own pace. I wasn’t going to change anything for the longer distance. Well ok I did. I joined a group of about six, and went at a slighter faster pace than normal, but still reasonable for me. We each took turns at the front, and that made the overall effort

'There was ice on the road, a bitter easterly wind was blowing, and it was between 0–2°C.'

much less, despite the increased pace. Another group of about eight joined us, and were soon bundling along at a good pace. Did I mention there was a westerly head wind? We fought it all the way to Wales. At a sharp turn the road suddenly headed upwards, and it caught me in the big ring up front, and small ring at the back. I was on the front of the group, and my sudden slowing down following by gear crunching noises, turned the well formed group into a bit of a shambles. As we re-formed, a new rider came along side, mentioning my superb transition onto the climb. I asked him his name, and it was Tynan; we recognised each other at the same moment. In the January ride we’d been so well wrapped up, and Tynan had dropped out so early on, that I hadn’t recognised him in his lighter kit for the warmer May temps. We had a good catch up, and discussed what we’d been doing in our LEL build up. All too soon, we arrived at the Blenheim Tea rooms, the first control. Popping inside, Matt C, was controlling. I had baked beans on toast and a mug of tea. Another rider sat at my table, and we had a good social chat. I borrowed his pen, to update my brevet card with my details. Leaving Blenheim Tea Rooms, I turned immediate left a bit early, and ended up going down some steps to the road we were due to exit upon. At slow speeds GPS tracks often point the wrong way (unless they have an electronic compass), and I started cycling up the road before the GPS righted itself and I turned round. At this point I was joined by a guy in a silver jacket and we rode together till just after Stow on Wold. Shortly after Stow on Wold, I needed to get something to eat out of my saddlebag, so stopped. The guy in grey carried on. Getting started again, I passed the Golden Ball, Lower Swell, and immediately started thinking of

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Jasper Carrot and that TV programme ‘Golden Balls’. I also turned right, and started climbing into the Cotswolds. I passed Tynan and his cycling buddy on the left, and then continued on a laney, roller coaster of a ride. Some people don’t like hills, I love them. It went up, my legs turning, my heart beating, my lungs burning, my mind emptying. It went down twisting and turning, pedalling as fast as my legs would turn, only to rise again. A guy in red, with a beard, joined me on the ride to Guiting Power. We had a good chat, before he stopped for supplies. I thought his bike looked very lightly laden, hence his need to stop. I hit 65km/h on the descent to Winchcombe, which went on for ever. The Cotswolds did not disappoint and are worthy of any cyclist’s attention. Around mid-morning, I entered Gloucester. I rode solo along the Gloucestershire ‘flats’ as I christened them. They were twisty lanes, the head wnd was still blowing, but I found I got into a good rhythm on the drops, and spun along at a fine old pace. Someone was looking over me, as I crossed a level crossing shortly before the lights started, and a train could be heard to be coming. Tewksbury appeared, and I stopped at the second control, the Bay Tree Café. The guy in grey turned up shortly after, he must have taken a slightly different route. At Tewksbury I had a pot of tea, a toasted tea cake, and a couple of crumpets. At this point the first heavy rain showers appeared. Here we go, I thought. After finishing my food and tea, I filled up my water bottles. Undoing my café lock, I decided to get my waterproof top out of the saddlebag. It was between showers at this point, but putting on my top proved a wise decision. I set off solo, on the leg to the info Control at Walford, then onto Tesco’s Chepstow control. I said to the others in the café that they’d probably catch me up, in the next five minutes or so (little did I know). I headed off, and soon found myself out of Tewksbury on the recently repaired main road, with lots of surface gravel (a symptom of the cheap but ineffective repairs being made to our roads these days). Luckily I found a bit with a little less gravel, where the car tyres had worn it away. Shortly after turning off, onto a quieter road, the heavens opened, and I mean opened. It was torrential, it was the monsoon, and it was El Nino. I waited at some traffic lights before a narrow bridge as a river formed around me. More water on the bridge than flowed under. I headed over, and entered Worcestershire not long after, before entering Gloucestershire again. All the while the landscape was changing and keeping me interested. This section was heathland, and seemed quite remote despite its proximity to Tewksbury. 40

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randonnee I pedalled on through the heavy downpours and bright sunshine. I love the effect of storms and sunshine on the light that falls across the countryside. I was not disappointed, with intense rainbows, springing forth, dark clouds sprinting across to greet me with their rain that moisturised my skin, hail that acted as pumice, and winds to cool my skin. I was out, alive in this environment, and relishing it, living in the moment. You don’t get that in a car. Early to mid-afternoon I entered Wales and made my way towards the Wye Valley. Being a rock climber and mountaineer I have come many a time to climb the soaring limestone cliffs, or paddle the waters here. At Walford I took a picture of the Info Control answer, not having a pen on my person. Continuing on I had a couple take a picture of me on the bridge over the river Wye (the war film you’ve never heard of ). They asked where I’d come. ‘Just north of London, today’. Their jaws dropped. Where are you going? ‘Back again today’. Their jaws dropped even further. I loved being able to say that! Continuing on I soon came upon the climb up the narrow and steep road leading up to Symonds Yat Rock. Shortly after passing a Duke of Edinburgh group, I was cheered and encouraged ‘Go on, you can do it’, as my gears made a horrible meshing noise before the chain dropped onto the appropriate chain ring. It was a lovely spin up the hill. It felt funny but satisfying to have cycled here, and to think I was pedalling back! Onwards through St Briavels and it was time to sit on a grass bank, in a sunny interlude, and eat some Randoms. I must admit Randoms and jelly babies are some of my favourite sugar hits when on long rides. A fellow audaxer passed at this point, the first I’d seen since Tewksbury. The first views of the Severn Estuary opened out to my left, as I closed in on Chepstow. The tide was out, and it was rather a splendid sight, it lifted the spirits. Not that I needed my spirits lifting. This was a cracking ride, and I loved the constantly changing scenery. I also knew a tailwind must be coming soon as I turn back east for the return to Chalfont St Peter. A monster big ring descent to Chepstow and soon I found myself at the Tesco Control. Locking the bike up, I asked if the café was open. Hasn’t been a café for years the lady replied. So a dairy milk chocolate bar and receipt from the Self Service checkout it was. Heading up the A48 I reached the first roundabout and saw the road steepen. I also noticed the first exit (Braunton Rd) went downhill and connected with the Severn Crossing later. Google Street View has a lot to answer for, for advanced planning. So I left the route sheet for a km or so and headed left down to a block of

All photos by the author

randonnee

shops before the Severn Crossing. Here I ordered beef and onion pie, chips, mushy peas, and gravy in a tray at a Chinese/fish and chip take away. They even let me eat it, in a corner of the take away, so curious were they at my voracious appetite. Well fed, I set off for the Severn Crossing. I’d been looking forward to this for many months, and my anticipation had built all day. I’d never ridden a suspension bridge before, and it did not disappoint. I must have spent at least 20 minutes on the bridge taking pictures, and looking down the estuary. I think riding across a suspension bridge is something every cyclist should do before they die (but preferably not in the same trip). I could see the dark clouds of the rain/hail storms were closing in again and knew I had to get going. Exiting the bridge, I crossed the services exit, and was soon away and flying back east. The tailwind was pushing me; the approaching hail was compelling me, my legs were propelling

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me, everything in synch. This was big ring territory and I positively flew along, until that it is I realised both water bottles were almost empty. A rookie mistake, I should have got them filled when stopped at the Chinese. Alveston had a shop on the left, thus water bottles filled, I was off again. The storm clouds raced towards me from the north-west, as I hurtled back east. A few spots caught me, as the sky turned dark and I turned my dynamo light on, a couple of hours before sunset. I retrieved my waterproof as the storm moved in. It was an interesting race, which in the end I won, at least for a while. As I turned more south towards Wickwar I outpaced the hail, and broke free back into sunshine. By Sherston the sky was seriously black, a mega downpour was coming. Spying an empty bus stop I jumped in, just as the hail came down. When I say came down, it was like icebergs carving off glaciers, with blocks the size of houses coming down. Time for the full waterproofs, leg and arm warmers, full finger gloves, waterproof socks, and my peaked cap (to replace the buff ). The items came out of the saddlebag, all but the arm warmers that is. I’d used them on my morning commute two days back, and put them in my panniers, now sitting at home in the hallway. Nothing I could do about it, so I put all the items available on, and set off into the hail. The hail made it very dark and the rear lights also came on at this point. Pedalling on, I still hadn’t seen anyone since Tewksbury apart from the one guy when I was stopped. The km continued to pass quickly on delightful roads, with a nice climb up to Somerset monument.

The hail battled with the sun, and intense rainbows appeared and disappeared in quick succession. Eventually the sun won, and I rode with the late evening sun casting my shadow on the hedges hereabouts, before entering Wootton Bassett.

Sunset arrives

On crossing the roundabout, before the Esso garage on leaving Wootton Bassett, either my front wheel had a puncture or the road had become suddenly rougher. It was the former. I wheeled the bike over to the front of the Land Rover garage. It was on the verge of sunset, and so the head torch came out. The puncture fixing progressed well. I found the cause quickly, a large and sharp flint in the tyre. Checking for any further flints I soon had a new tube in, and the tyre reseated. Then it all fell apart. The pump, lovely silver Lezeyne, mounted on the frame, was seized. Commuting through the last 18 months of our long cold winter had done it no favours. Teeth, jamming it in the space between some boulders, extra strong grip (?), it was no use I could not unscrew the hose fixing. So I was resigned to sitting with the bike waiting for the next riders. The temperature was dropping, and with no arm warmers I was noticing it. About 45 minutes of waiting after my puncture a couple of riders pulled into the Esso garage. I hurried across to see if I could borrow a pump. The response was, yes, if they could borrow a spoke – one of them had a broken spoke. After realising I was serious, and pointing to my bike across the road, I was lent a pump. It was Bikeability man and Simon from YACF, also on the Severn Across audax.

'The storm clouds raced towards me from the north-west, as I hurtled back east.'

The Severn Bridge

The tyre was soon inflated up to pressure, the front wheel back in place, and the dynamo connectors plugged. I was back in business. I headed over to the garage and said thanks and offered them the pump back. They were about to set off having finished their refuelling. I asked if I could tag along, not having a working pump. After a short discussion it was agreed I could borrow the pump. I was quite cold from the waiting around, with no arm warmers, and needed a hot chocolate before continuing on. (My GPS data tells me that puncture added 1.5 hours to my elapsed time. Always check your pump works, before a long ride, and keep it somewhere out of the way of the weather, like your saddlebag.) After a hot chocolate, I waited for another rider. We rode on to Membury services, at the beginning of the dark night. It was clear my companion (in the red top and with a beard) was riding quicker at that point, and after 20 minutes or so he pulled away into the darkness. Tracking along the roads either side of the M4, the storms had passed, and I enjoyed gazing at the stars. My legs steadily turned the pedals, propelling me along. I was once again, back in my own little world. I correctly guessed that the transmitter I could see, with winking red lights, was positioned at Membury Services. As with all transmitters, they can be seen from a long way away, and for a long time, it didn’t seem to be getting any closer. Closer it did get, and after crossing to the north of the M4, I eventually reached the right turning for the services. Arriving at the services, I carried my bike across some grass and went into the petrol station. Bikeability Man and Simon were still there. They had waited for me, which I thought was really nice. I bought a bacon baguette to be heated, some crisps, some chocolate, a milkshake and a Red Bull, and the all-important receipt. A couple of other riders came in that this point, and one went to sleep near the toilets (warmest part of the station), with the intention of a 15 minute kip (he slept 45 minutes). Bikeability Man and Simon were very patient with me, as I’d hit a low energy point, and ate and drank slowly. I grabbed some lemon juice for the water bottles and we set off together. I knew from my energy low point that I’d need the extra food and liquid, and now it was a question of when it would kick in. I sipped the lemon juice regularly to assist rehydration. After a short while we turned right and headed up a hill in the darkness, the other two pulled ahead. I dropped the gears and steadily spun onwards, and then caught them on the flats, and then overtook them on down hills. They would then pull away again on the up hills. This

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randonnee

The author, LEL 2013, Hertfordshire.

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'I was a new randonneur last year, and now I’ve completed my first 400 and 600, all on the road to LEL 2013.'

looked after us well at the finish. I retired to the sleeping room, leaving Howard’s bag out for when he arrived. Sleep was but three hours, but amazingly reviving. Shortly after I left with Howard, who’d come in Lantern Rouge, with no sleep. I later completed my first 600, the Kernow and SW 600 from Exeter. Another brilliant ride, organised by Ian Hennessey. That’s another story, but again I completed it successfully, and greatly enjoyed it. Going back to my opening sentence: LEL is an adventure, the outcome is not certain. I for one, and many others I have met along the way, are doing our best to be prepared and make it a success. I was a new randonneur last year, and now I’ve completed my first 400 and 600, all on the road to LEL 2013. I hope it inspires others yet to ride their first 200 and beyond; you can do it, you can step up the distances, and you can progress. A little belief, some encouragement at the right times, some preparation and dedication, and you’ll make it. Maybe I’ll see you at LEL 2017? (I plan to volunteer for the next one). My tips for moving up the distances • Take care of comfort • Take care of hydration • Take care of nutrition • Do not focus on any distance beyond the next control N

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You’ll see those in company cars drive over holes ’cos they don’t pay While owner-drivers duck and dive, they know repair bills come their way. As many drivers never bike, they never think that riders might Have their own course to plot in making sure they’re safe back home at night. I know it can’t be only me who senses why so few dare ride On roads away from cycle paths where there be dragons breathing fire. But surely in these modern times, with TV programmes to be filled We could have one small plug for us, before another cyclist’s killed. Mike Henderson

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Flight from Heathrow and luggage carried. Good hotels, with many meals included. For further details: Daryl & Fiona Pollitt - 01457 860593

Photo: Tim Wainwright

was to be the pattern of the night. I loved cycling down those lanes, not a light to be seen, other than the occasional view out to the orange glow of distant towns. The km passed easily with the other two, and before long we’d passed through Beaconsfield, through Henley-on-Thames with the late night drunks. I took a late night picture on the lanes, and on we went. The lanes formed a familiar pattern, they’d climb, they’d level out, we make a tuning and then the angle would change again, up or down. I’ve never really minded hills, in fact I prefer them to the flat, they provide interest, and at some point you get ‘free speed’. The lanes had light wisps of freezing fog, they were amazing to watch, as they formed and snaked along the lanes. It also reminded me I had bare arms, due to forgotten arm warmers. Before long we found ourselves in Streatley. I’ve cycled here a number of times, but usually on my mountain bike when on the Ridgeway or some other off-road route. It felt like I was home now, and in my head I knew I’d make it to the finish of my first 400, barring something major happening. It felt very comforting. As we continued through the lanes the hydration measures kicked in, and I must have been stopping for a wee every 10

minutes, and then catching the others up. My energy levels were back up to normal.. I’d been riding for some time without knowing the distances. I deliberately have my GPS set to a screen that only shows the route, nothing more. I split the track up to ensure I don’t ride past any essential controls, manned or otherwise. I was by now curious, and it felt close to home, so I looked. I pressed a button on the GPS to bring up the trip computer screen. I saw 14km left to ride, and that bolstered me. That was the distance of my daily commute, so mentally that’s where I was, just on my commute, nothing more. My brain has this amazing ability to discount km so far, and I hope I never lose it. Shortly after, the beardy bloke with the red top passed us, and the other two gave chase, trying to get on his wheel. The road turned upwards, and it climbed steadily, and steadily and steadily, and steadily. Yes it wasn’t particularly steep, but was deceptive in its length. I continued to spin up the hill, noticed them slowing, and then saw that I was gaining, strange given the pattern of the night. Anyway, not that long after the top I caught them all up. I thought we might ride as a foursome, but it was not to be. I think the closeness of the finish, and the need to finish spurred us all on. A sign for Gerrards Cross said three miles and the sprint to the finish started. BikeabilIty man and Simon pulled ahead, Beardy Bloke in red top fell back. I dropped the gear onto the big cog up front and smallest out back, got on the drops, and cranked up the speed. By now it was not that long before sunrise and the pre-dawn sky promised a delightful day ahead, as the chill of the night began to evaporate. The birds were singing, branches creaked as they caught the light breeze of the warming air, and the leaves rustled. It was again delightful, especially so, after riding through the night with bare arms. The gps track of the two ahead and my gps tracks diverged. I took a left and they went straight on. I knew I was almost there and increased my effort. Arriving in Chalfont St Peter the track stopped, but I wasn’t back at the hall. Not to worry. I saw the car park sign for where I was parked, and so went to the car. I retrieved both mine and Howard’s sleeping bags and walked the bike over to the hall. I’d made it. I’d just got ahead of the other two, as my route clearly must have been the better choice. Beardy man with red top came in not long after. My first 400 and I felt great, I felt elated, I felt justified in my comment many months back. After beans on toast, some tea and biscuits, plus some chat, as others arrived, including Tynan 30 or so minutes later; it was time for sleep. Liam and Marcus had

www.ctctours.co.uk/tours/solo.php?Tour=1371

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randonnee

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Yr Elenydd

All photos by the author

Peter Bond

‘The Elenith’ is a very hilly (five AAA points) 300 kilometre ride from Upton Magna, near Shrewsbury, via Builth Wells to Tregaron, then back via Rhayader and Knighton. It crosses some of the most remote country in Britain, the centre-piece being a loop around the Elenydd hill country in mid-Wales. It is gorgeous, in every sense.

M

y expedition didn’t start too auspiciously: I was loading the bike for the journey to the station in Rochdale, when a fierce hailstorm soaked everything, including the gel seat-cover. I put it on the fireguard to dry while I waited out the downpour. I was halfway to the station when I realised I’d left it there. The prospect of three hundred kilometres on that saddle was not a happy one but I was anxious not to miss my connection in Manchester, so rolled on with a heavy heart. I had just resigned myself to a

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day’s discomfort when I realised I had also left my emergency sandwiches in the fridge. As it turned out, I had plenty of time to make the train to Shrewsbury and the rest of the journey was uneventful. I arrived at the village hall in Upton Magna after a lovely atmospheric ride from Shrewsbury, under a starlit sky with a thin, pink crescent moon. In the hall I met old friends such as Julian, Chris Boulton, Mike Lane, Bob Bialek and Sean Townley, Justin Jones and Mike Kelly. Things were looking up. After an indifferent night’s sleep but a far from indifferent breakfast, I waited for the start in the early light. John was setting us off in groups because of the size of the field (over 90) and the narrowness of the lanes ahead. I set off in the last group and was soon very near the back, having stopped to attach my computer to the bars; the computer was part of ‘the plan’, which was to average 17kph for the ride. I can smile about that now. We crossed the Severn at Atcham

Above: Abergwesyn Common.

Pub sign at Mortimer's Cross.

by a fine bridge that ran alongside an even finer and older one. I thought of the plethora of corpses pulled from the river in the Brother Cadfael novels. It was clear that we were pushing into a headwind as we rode south along the lanes but the scenery was already a great compensation. The impressive cone of The Lawley was visible for miles. It is the site of an ancient hill-fort. Before long I was on the A49, which was pretty deserted at that time in the morning. I was musing poetically about mist over Marshbrook, when a returning rider made me realise we had missed a right turn but this was soon put right. The sun was climbing and in spite of the wind it was very pleasant to ride. There was so much to see, especially for someone like myself, who has not ridden this way before. There were fascinating buildings in the small villages we passed through, with a particularly good collection in Clungunford: Tudor-type timber frame houses, both real and fake, modern houses with wooden cladding and www.audax.uk.net

everywhere the warm colours of rusting ironwork and derelict machinery that goes with farming country. There was more historical interest at Mortimer’s Cross, where a pub marks the site of the battle of 1461, during the Wars of The Roses. A sword piercing the red rose on the inn-sign makes it clear that the Yorkists were victorious. It’s a shame they didn’t settle the matter over a game of darts in the pub. A few minutes later I was dropping downhill to the first control at Shobdon airfield. This must surely be unique as an Audax stop: you ride along the runway to reach the café, which is in a Nissen hut. I passed Justin and Bob and Sean on my way down the hill as they were leaving and the tandem of Lara Day and Simon Proven was parked outside the hut when I got there. I couldn’t help thinking that this would be a tough old ride for a tandem. I knew it was going to be a tough ride for old me! But there are advantages to being near the back and I was served very promptly with beans on toast and was still ten minutes or so inside the plan as I left with John Perrin on his bright new Spa Audax, well, bright black, anyway. We chatted for a while, before I pushed on to keep inside my schedule. John is a metronomic master of pace, as we shall see, but I needed to give myself time to take pictures without falling too far behind the clock. Just after the border town of Presteigne we were welcomed to Wales rather abruptly, not to say rudely, with the first real test of the day. For the first 50 miles or so, there had been no stiff climbing. The turn onto Warden Road soon remedied that, though remedy is not quite the right description. The road is little more than a cart track and was covered in what I hoped was mud but suspect was livelier. I don’t know what the maximum gradient is on this stretch but it averages about 1 in 10 for about a kilometre and a half. I have a horror of my back wheel spinning and me being decanted onto the tarmac, so I climb in the saddle for as long as possible if I think it is likely. Even so, my back wheel span several times and the front one left the ground on a few occasions. I imagine the lane was so bad because the farmer had only just been able to get his beasts back out into the fields after the unusually long cold spell. Having successfully negotiated this first hurdle, I enjoyed the next few miles to New Radnor, where there was another odd building to see. I was also beginning to see how this ride might accrue its five climbing points; obviously there was the core section of the Elenydd highland to cross but in addition, with the exception of the few miles down the A49, none of the ride so far had been truly flat. Undulation seemed to be the name of the game.

The start.

'This must surely be unique as an Audax stop: you ride along the runway to reach the café, which is in a Nissen hut.'

The next marker was the Fforest Inn. There are several curious pub names on the route, of which I can remember The Hundred House and the Engine and Tender. I had been looking out for ancient earthworks on the right just before Fforest and I certainly saw a curious mound but whether or not it was what is marked on the map, I’m not sure. This whole upland area is covered in ancient tumuli and ‘castles’ and must be a hillwalker’s treasure-trove. To the left of the road a series of high hills loomed over the valley. The next control, at about 110k, was in Builth Wells. For a town that supposedly has a population of under 3,000 people it seemed surprisingly extensive. I stopped briefly at the Co-op to get proof of passage and a sandwich. As I left, I saw the tandem outside another café; it's an intriguing thing about long-distance riding that you can ride hundreds of kilometres and never see someone who has never been more than a minute or so

ahead or behind you, except at controls. Just after crossing the Wye, which is wide and placid here, I passed a giant mural on the gable end of a building. It depicts scenes from the life of Llewellyn ap Gruffydd, the last native-born Prince of Wales. A little later, I saw my first buzzard of the day, a battle-scarred individual, whose missing feathers spoke of too close encounters with mobbing crows. There were 15 miles to go to the foot of the Devil's Staircase and I was disappointed that the rain had already started, slightly earlier than predicted, so traction looked like being a problem for those who, like me, would be at or near the limit of forward motion on that climb. However, after leaving Beulah, the riding chased all that from my mind in one of landscape's grand gestures, the road to Abergwesyn. For about four miles, the road rises above the valley of the Chyrfiad, through pine forests and mist. Half-way up I stopped to take pictures, including one back down this

The first control at Shobdon airfield.

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randonnee

randonnee Mural on house in control town of Builth Wells.

magical valley and one of the romantic graveyard with headstones dripping with moss and lichens. Beyond the activity centre and café there is a short drop to the village of Abergwesyn itself. Thoughts of The Staircase began to intrude again, only to be swept away by what must surely be the jewel of this circuit, Abergwesyn Common. This is three miles of the most paradisical pedalling I've ever done. Like so many of Britain's upland roads, it is an old drovers' route. The road climbs gradually up the right bank of the River Irfon under the looming crags of Esgair Irfon (Irfon Ridge), while down to the left are great slabs of rock and even an occasional water-fall. The misty conditions accentuated the colours of the glistening rock and the bleached grass and brown bracken. It was no surprise when another rider stopped at the same point and got out his camera. And so to the foot of the Devil's Staircase; I wonder if there is any other control on an Audax ride that is reached

with such reluctance? Strictly-speaking, it is not a control, rather a checkpoint (though of what, I'm not sure) where the cheerful helpers had set up a gazebo tent and offered cake and juice and words of consolation. Several of us congregated here and no one seemed in any hurry to tackle the climb. Amongst them, was John Clemens, who has only recently recovered from a nasty accident. After about ten minutes, I felt I could put it off no longer. Leaving the huddle to its cake, I selected my lowest gear and attacked the first double arrow climb through the trees towards God. I was really apprehensive about the surface and wheel-spin. The road was wet and, though there didn't appear to be any mud or leaves, I stayed in the saddle. There is another arrow just around the corner and this was just the introduction to what I think must be the hardest and slowest five miles I've ever ridden. With possibly one exception, all of the riders from the group in the picture passed me

'I passed a giant mural on the gable end of a building. It depicts scenes from the life of Llewellyn ap Gruffydd, the last native-born Prince of Wales.'

The Devil awaits. Time for a pit stop. 46

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within a mile or so of the cake stop. ‘The Plan’ dropped off the cliff, never to be seen again. The conditions on the tops were very misty and drizzly, which was disappointing from a photographic point of view, though the points of view themselves were, like the climbs, breathtaking. Around almost every corner new roads would appear in the forest, mocking gravity with their steepness. I would beg not to have to follow them and occasionally my prayers would be answered. The forestry workers must be accustomed to the churning contours; but I doubt if you ever ‘get used’ to such magnificence – I hope not, anyway. Magnificence, however, is in the mind, not the legs, and it was a hard slog up to the tops and then down to the creeks to go up again. I'd studied the maps, so I knew where these tests were, which helped. What didn't help was John Clemens soaring past me on Cenglau! This must be one of Britain's last great wildernesses and it's accessible to all – if you've got a bike! Not that it is untouched: apart from the road, there are huge plantations, which give great contrast to the pale moorland but, as you struggle with will and weather, there is no doubt that you are in a wild, wild place. At the top of the Gamallt climb, I emerged from the plantations to discover a good view, to the left, of a mountain lake and was soon enjoying the drop down to the famous phone-box. Crossing the river Camddwr, I clawed my way up the inevitable arrow climb and on for about a kilometre at one-in-ten, to about 1,600 feet, before enjoying the lifeaffirming glide into the Berwyn valley, to the colourful town of Tregaron, watched over by the rugged mass of Fintan Crag. It's a shame that these days photographs of interesting buildings are doomed to contain cars. Tregaron is a small town, and I wasn't absolutely sure that I had reached the Square mentioned in the routesheet, so I asked my way of two inhabitants, who cheerfully directed me and seemed appreciative of my ‘diolch’, which I had learned especially for the occasion. I got the opportunity to use it again with good cause (it means ‘thanks’) at the control in the Bowling Club, which was warm and friendly and obviously very experienced in dealing with people close to death. They served me with a roast potato, appropriately the size of a bowling ball and were duly diolched for their efforts. Simon and Lara arrived looking remarkably untroubled after hauling the Bristol Bedstead over the mountain road and I think Dave Lawrenson, a former AUK points champion and legendary northern rider, was there, too. Sitting in the club, surrounded by warmth and gazing at the world through www.audax.uk.net

steamy glasses, I tried to concentrate on where I was actually up to in my calculations. I had already buried my plan for a midnight finish in an unmarked grave at the foot of the Devil's Staircase. Now halfway, I wasn't actually that far off my projection, which was to have left the Clwb Bwlio by a quarter past three, as I'd arrived at three. However, the rigours of the recent road and the fatigue induced by learning another two words of Welsh, easily persuaded me to linger and I took half an hour over the stop. Returning to the rain, I set off for the mountain road to Rhayader, the northerly crossing of the Elenydd wastes. I had seen pictures of cyclists pretending to enjoy this and was looking forward to pretending myself. As I have said, I always study the maps beforehand to have an idea what to expect. Even thus prepared, I was a little surprised at how little down you seemed to get for your up in the 30 miles to Rhayader. And where was the much-discussed tail-wind? Still, the next few miles were no more than undulating, so I was able to relax and appreciate the Cors Caron Bog on my left. This is a glaciated lake which has silted up over time to provide a vast flat expanse of vegetation and watering holes. Alongside it runs the ghost of the ManchesterMilford Haven railway, some of which has been turned to leisure use. The buzzards were looking a little sleeker along this road. After about six miles I rolled down the gentle slope into the painted village of Pontrhydfendigaid, which is considerably shorter than its name. A right turn and a further five miles brought me to an atmospheric river crossing (of the Istwyth) at Pontrhydygroes, where I met Bob from Wolverhampton puzzling over the routesheet. We climbed together out of the village until I stopped to take a photo of a couple of derelict buildings. It was a setting for painters and poets alike. I came up to Bob again checking his sheet just at the turn for Hafod and we set off up the 1 in 6 towards Cwmystwyth. I think it was on this section that there was a huge number of what I imagine must be anthills, all covered in star-moss. This would be a magnificent place to watch green woodpeckers. I certainly heard several on the ride but I'm not sure where. I'd got a little ahead here and was not convinced of my whereabouts. I knocked on a door but got no answer. As I returned to the road Bob came up and confirmed we were still right – he'd stopped a motorist. Soon after this, we became separated on the plunge down to Cwmystwyth but I don't remember which of us was in front. Cymystwyth was an important lead and silver mining centre in the 19th century and the remains of the main mine are a huge jumble of shattered rock and vandalised buildings that stretch

At the turn. Colourful property in control town of Tregaron.

'…the sheer bleakness of the place is a fitting memorial to the workers who eked out their miserably short existences on this hillside.'

for several hundred yards to the left of the road. I'm surprised but glad that there is no visitor centre because the sheer bleakness of the place is a fitting memorial to the workers who eked out their miserably short existences on this hillside. It is said that most of them died in their thirties. Ben Taylor (also on the ride but hours ahead) tells me that excessive tea-drinking was blamed for hastening their deaths, rather than leadpoisoning. I expect, if they used the water that ran through the site, that it would amount to the same thing. A haunting, humbling place. The road climbs to the clouds in a series of ramps connected by flats or niggardly descents. A look at the map confirms that there are stretches of a mile or so where the gradient is about one in ten. The physical effort was not so much of a problem as my discomfort in the saddle and I confess I found this section hard going. However, even soreness and the disappointing weather

could not obscure the grandeur of the views across the Elan valley below to the right. It was disappointing not to see the area on a better day, when it would be magnificent rather than brooding but it is obviously never less than impressive. Elenydd means the area of the Elan but it is interesting that the whole area over which we were grinding our way is also known as the Desert of Wales. This is because of the lack of human habitation, rather than the lack of moisture. It occurred to me a little later in the ride that there are only five letters in ‘water’ and three of them occur in ‘Wales’. I stopped to gaze down at the reservoir of Craig Goch to the south, where a branch road descends sharply to the Elan Valley proper. A boy-racer was testing the manhood of his car up the steep hill from Pont Elan. As I put my camera away, I caught a glimpse of cyclists climbing up to my vantage point. Among them was Paul Revell, who was undertaking the astonishing feat of

Cors Caron bog, a silted up glaciated lake.

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randonnee

randonnee

completing an extended calendar event totalling 600k by using the Elenydd as the second 300k, having ridden down to the start from the English Lake District the previous day. He was in sickeningly good form and sporting a fine pair of red woolly socks. I wonder if he knows Tregaron was famous for woolly socks? They even used wool to float the railway across Cors Caron Bog! There was a line of three or four of us strung out on the climb to the summit of the ride at Penrhiw-wen. This section, from the reservoir to the summit, climbs 170 metres in just under two kilometres. It would definitely be the sting in the tail – if we didn't have another 100k to do. The swoop down to Rhayader was envigorating and not before time. The Strand gave very quick and cheerful service – I had a cheese pastie and a Danish pastry and a huge bowl of coffee. I was thinking that I had overcome all the major obstacles except one, the climb of the Long Mynd about 20 kilometres out

from the finish. I left a few riders to their victuals, including Kevin, from Hebden Bridge and a rider who, having done this ride an impressive 13 times was advising against the Long Mynd in the middle of the night. I set off alone, although it wasn't long before I came up to Jonathan, who was having a cautious ride because of a knee problem. I was delighted to find we had a common interest in music, which whiled away the time as we hauled our discomforts through the dusk and into the dark through Penybont to Bleddfa and Knighton. At the crossroads in Knighton, I needed to change my route-sheet and Jonathan needed no persuading to carry on without me. I hope it was to stop his knee stiffening up but, on reflection, I may just have bored the pants off him. Whatever, his company certainly helped the miles to glide by. I was definitely popular with a Persian cat, which entwined itself round and round my legs while I fiddled with my routesheet. A flapless cat is a very friendly

'The swoop down to ­Rhayader was envigorat­ ing and not before time.'

On the way back through Pontrhydfendigaid. 48

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beast indeed. Friendly, but fickle: it attached its yowling self to Paul instantly on his arrival. Paul was really cheerful. Barring accidents, the completion of his 600k ride should be a formality. Actually, I've never known him not to be cheerful and we rolled out of Knighton along the Teme valley, blethering about this and that, which included saddle-soreness, mine, that is! Before long, we were turning off the main road and taking by-roads to the final control of the day at the Old Wheelwrights Café. I can't praise this control highly enough: they stayed open late especially for this event and I mean late. It was getting on for 10.30pm when Paul and I arrived and there were still others to come. I had a bowl of homemade soup and as much bread and butter as I could eat and washed it down with a cup of tea. We even got to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to the host's daughter. Beautiful surroundings, good food, fast service and you get to embarrass a teenager; a real high-point! Jonathan had arrived safely and left ahead of Paul and I. By the time we were ready to leave, pretty much the rest of the ‘tail’ had arrived, including John Perrin and Simon and Lara on the tandem. Simon joked that, with the length of the tandem, he and Lara were in different time zones. As we saddled up, Paul suggested we made a group to ride to the finish. This made a lot of sense because we had still about three hours riding to do and it was now pitch-dark. We had also decided against the Long Mynd. I think we were now five strong, with Bob, Kevin, Paul, Nick Wilkinson and myself. It wasn't really group riding as described in the manuals, I think we were all too tired for that, but we just kept an eye out for each other and looked for the tail-lights. A look at a computer graphic of the climbing profile of this ride confirms that this was by no means an easy run-in. I, for one, was wondering when the road would ever go down again. It did, very briefly and precipitously in Wentnor, before we hauled ourselves over Cothercott Hill, finally to see the lights of Shrewsbury below. At this point the tailwind suddenly whacked us in the back and we fairly flew down through Longden and Annscroft to Shrewsbury, whence we wound a weary way back to the village hall in Upton Magna. Here the welcome and catering were first-rate and I had leek and onion soup and sponge and custard. Everyone finished by the cut-off time, including John Perrin who timed it to perfection. For several of us, the adventure wasn't quite over and we spent the night in the hall before making our various ways home. For me that entailed a fascinating (and somewhat sore) ride along the cycle-path by the River Severn into www.audax.uk.net

The old lead mines – once seen, never forgotten.

Shrewsbury for my train to Manchester. I was early enough to be able to spend time wandering around the town which has some extremely impressive buildings, including what I imagine was the prison, just across from the station. Back at the platform, I met several riders, including Paul, who caught an early train north and Justin who was going south with his fellow Hackney hard man, Chris. I hadn't realised that Chris had had a bad fall in Tregaron. He was limping badly (or well, I suppose). A generous resident had driven him the 20 kilometres from Tregaron to Aberystwyth, so that he could get a train back to base; the kindness of strangers. Justin had been into town to buy some bottles of brown anaesthetic, which I imagine eased their journey home. I made all my connections and arrived home in mid-afternoon. My computer indicated that I had spent three hours off the bike, during the ride. This surprised me but when I sat down to work it out, it was all accounted for: routesheet changes, photographs, going back to check on people and, of course, the excellent controls and checkpoint. I might have been up against it if I'd had a flat or a mechanical but, as it was, I finished with plenty of time to spare. Next year, I'll shave a bit off at the controls, just in case. I can't say I found the ride

Alex Peeke in Kirkdale Forest, Scotland

easy, I was too sore for that. But that is a remediable problem and I never doubted that I would finish. This is deservedly a classic. I recommend it to anyone who is fit and can pace themselves. Don't let my description of the Tregaron Mountain road put you off; rather let it inform you – plenty of people walked on this ride and still had a great time. In fact the ‘walkers’ might well have had a better time than the rest! Oh, all right! I hear you complain, ‘He didn't say whether he rode up the Devil's Staircase, did he?’ The short answer is ‘no’. Here is the long answer: As I mentioned, I climbed in the saddle and think I had done the hardest bit when a passing rider shouted, ‘Car!’ just as I needed to tack across the road. Muttering an obscenity, I twitched the wheel over to the verge and had to put a foot down. When the car had passed, I tried to start again and after slipping off the pedal twice (grazing my ankle, which I didn't notice till after the finish) I managed to turn the gear over and get going again. So, effectively, I rode the whole hill (and everything else) but strictly, I didn't do the Staircase in one go. I stood for later climbs and the traction was fine, so I think I could have got up OK, if I'd had more nerve earlier. Then again, I might not have. N

LEL – The first group on the road

Photos: Tim Wainwright

A fast descent down to Tregaron.

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ride report

HEADING IN diy HERE 400

Audax rides from Corwen

Tale of two bridges Luke Joy-Smith

David Matthews

F

irst thing to say is we were very lucky with the weather – warm and sunny with light winds was perfect for a great day out. Probably as a result of the weather, we had an almost 100 per cent turn out for the rides from those who entered – mostly on-line using Paypal. Barmouth Boulevard 200k – 3,500m ascent – small entry for the original, very difficult version climbing to Cross Foxes Inn after Dinas Mawddwy. Ten riders entered the mega-difficult Vyrnwy Variant from Dinas Mawddwy taking in the hard side of the Bwlch y Groes after 150k of very hilly route and then the Northern Hirnant from Lake Vyrnwy. All commented that this is a fantastic ride and deserves to be widely known. The reasons for the small 200k entry

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was discussed at some length with AUK’s John Hamilton who pointed out that riders capable of this difficult route were probably out doing the longer 300, 400 and 600k rides needed for their Super Randonneur achievement at this time of the year. Thus we are now looking at moving the event to the last Saturday in July before the school holidays which should allow for an increased entry. The original finish via Cross Foxes is to be abandoned due to new road works and increasing traffic so the route is to take the Vyrnwy variant in future – 204k and 3,750 metres of ascent – one of the most scenic and challenging 200k’s in Britain. Brenig Bach 107k – 2,000m ascent – a large entry of over 40 riders for this Graham Mills’ classic. The entry included one tandem which successfully navigated the steep and narrow, hilly route.

'All commented that this is a fantastic ride and deserves to be widely known.'

Seven riders from C&NW CTC took part. Everyone had a great day out and I have had much feedback as to the quality and enjoyment of the route. (The fame of this route is spreading to the extent that I have had a number of requests to ride this as a Permanent audax ride from people who were unavailable on June 8.) I shall examine the final section of this ride down the A5 from Cerrigydrudion, prior to 2014, to find the safest route back to Corwen on a summer Saturday. Bala Parade 60k – a super day out for around 25 riders. Great service from the pub at Llanuwchllyn. Seven riders from C&NWCTC took part including two vets whose combined age was well over 140 years. Congratulations also to Geraldine Goldsmith of Peak Audax who determinedly struggled round the course with the handicap of a partially healed broken leg. I intend to reroute this ride next year to avoid the main road alongside Bala Lake and the town itself – too much traffic in summer. N

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’m one of those riders that often muse at home or work about what ride to do next that could be a little different, however, I then never get around to actually riding them. For a number of years I’ve thought about taking the A4 all the way to London from my home in Warmley (near Bristol). I had previously ridden to Woolhampton and back as part of my training for a LeJog in 2006, but in recent years I’ve only got as far as Chippenham when riding to that start of the Flapjack 100. So when I looked at riding to London as preparation for LEL, the idea of a ride up to London and over Tower Bridge before heading straight back seemed a relatively straightforward route and as a bonus is fixed friendly. So it was in May at the end of a Cotswold and Mendip Grimpeur 200 perm with fellow AC Bristol riders Paul Rainbow, Neil Veitch and Martyn Mullins that I suggested this as our ‘midweek what next? ride’. And what do you know? They are just as foolish to think it sounds good. This gave me the kick to look seriously at the route. Early on the Reading and Slough section of the A4 was eliminated and we would try and keep south of the M4. I also discussed the route with a few London-based audaxers who gave me the idea to include Windsor Great Park and not bother with the canal path in London. So a rough route was sketched out with identified 24hr controls (in case of receipts or respite should the weather become nasty) and the date would be Friday 21st June for maximum sunlight. The route proved incredibly hard to plot on GPS without confusing BikeHike and following the help, guidance and sound support from Tony Hull, it also included an added ride down to Pill over Avonmouth Bridge to reach the 400km on Google maps. More importantly it added some suitable symmetry to the ride (hence ‘a tale of two bridges’). We met at Old Market at the end of the Bristol to Bath cycle path at 7.15am and rode out through the Cumberland Basin then up to Leigh Woods before returning on the Portway through Bristol and picking up the cycle path to Bath. This is when we realised how busy the path gets at commuting time and Neil suggested the route be called ‘the longest commute’ as we were likely to hit London as the rush hour traffic would be coming out of the city by the time we got there. Breakfast at ‘spoons in Green Park, Bath with the early morning drinkers set us up nicely for the day as did the widening blue sky. Our early morning conversation about only needing one water bottle was quickly assigned to the dustbin as we applied sun cream in Calne and started a series of stops for water. This was to be a ride of many firsts. Martyn’s longest ride for over a year, Neil’s longest ride on fixed, Paul’s first visit to the sights of London since his schooldays and my first organised group DIY. We rode at a good pace until getting lost around Burghfield, then were unexpectedly surprised when we passed Ascot on ladies' day, just as the horses were coming up to the line. Windsor Great Park was all and more than I had hoped for and a lovely place to visit on bike at anytime. Then serendipity arrived as Toby Carvery came into perfect view and spot on time at Datchet. The next section into London along the A4 past Heathrow is not the most pleasant but the close proximity to the planes taking off was a varied distraction, however the road is exceptionally busy. Although, I assume all roads into London are?

Crossing Tower Bridge.

We took Chiswick High Street into London in order to ride through Hyde Park, passing Diana’s memorial and The Serpentine, then took a quick route around central London capturing many iconic sights before looping over Tower Bridge to complete our own ‘Coast to Coast’. Passing Big Ben spot on 20.00 meant a much quieter and quicker ride out of London this time passing Harrods and staying on the A4 which got us to Hounslow’s McD’s in time before hi-viz was required. We then took a more direct route back through Datchet, Wokingham to Theale where we re joined the A4 before another rendezvous with Ronald at his 24hr in Newbury at 01.00. More perfect timing as it meant being inside getting on our wet weather gear before hitting the road again for the long commute home. P*nct*res for Neil on fixed in the middle of the night at Halfway meant we passed Avebury just after sunrise on the summer solstice and had a reasonable timed breakfast at Chippenham, filling Ronald’s bulging pockets even more. Finally, for those that know the A420 it’s just a slight drag up and sharp drop down to Bristol to reach our end control in Warmley within the time limit.

Conclusion

Through Admiralty Arch.

On the cycle lane passing Big Ben.

Outside Buckingham Palace.

This is more than a normal 400km perm. For starters it was closer to 500km than 400km. Equally, although relatively flat and certainly fixed friendly, it’s not that quick because of the sightseeing and traffic lights, etc. However, ask me would I do it again? Most definitely in a year or two and certainly in mid-summer to get maximum daylight riding hours. Also, a small group worked well, if we had more riders it would have been difficult in London. What could improve it? Well apart from Lizzie and Phil handing out musettes to us at Buckingham Palace, then a tidy up of our track and riding up to Theale before turning off the A4 would make more sense and I wouldn’t ride in via Chiswick but instead keep to the A4 then cut up to Hyde Park if I felt that part was still essential. Would I recommend it? Ask the punters (aka Paul, Neil and Martyn) but yes it’s a different take on your usual 400 perm loop and obviously those that like sightseeing would enjoy this more than those who don’t like the capital. However, it did provide a good mix of different riding and made a varied alternative to usual riding calendar. N

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randonnee

randonnee

The Ditchling Devil

Left: 1. Foodstop at Bob and Collete Harber's house in Upper Beeding. 2. Sausage bap queue at Martin Malin's control at Ardingly.

Caven O'Hara First published by www.Cyclosport.org. Printed with permission

3. Arrivée at Richmond Park.

O

ne thing I haven’t tried, amongst many in cycling terms is an Audax event. If it wasn’t a sportive it generally hadn’t hit my radar. The definition of audax is a long distance ride using checkpoints and validation checks to record a rider’s details. One thing that drew me to organiser Paul Stewart’s event, the Ditchling Devil was the distance. As masochistic as it sounds it was the thought of trying something a little more adventurous. Additionally it covered some familiar ground but the prospect of relying on my own navigational skills using the route sheet provided was outside of the box. Even when the route sheet is as comprehensive as the one provided. The website was informative and after a little consideration I signed up. I soon had a welcome email and all the detail I needed to find my way to the start and what would be required on the day. Unusually there were different start and finish points, not far apart but again different. So I set my alarm for a rude awakening for a Sunday and left just after six having packed the car the previous evening. The journey up was plain sailing and I arrived at the finish point to save me having to ride back to the start later to collect my car. This turned out to be a good bit of forward planning. It was colder than the forecast has predicted so I was glad I brought a couple of extra layers. The sign-up and start were on Wimbledon Common, at the Windmill tea rooms. Aptly named with a rather large windmill in situ. The sign-on was very efficient, the route cards had already been updated with rider name and details. Before long the milling riders were summoned forward and Paul gave the word for a prompt start. At 08.00 on a Sunday morning even the roads on the outskirts of London are fairly quiet. 52

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Distance: 127 miles Participants: 150 Start: Wimbledon Tea Rooms, Wimbledon Common Finish: Richmond Park Café, Roehampton Gate Transport: Numerous stations close by and lots of parking Feedstops: Three Timed: Yes Signs: A route sheet was provided in the essence of an audax ride Road: An epic ride that cherry-picked the best bits of the old and new London to Brighton routes and then added a whole lot more. Despite numerous traffic lights, progress was brisk. Heading out through Wimbledon it didn’t take long before roads and landmarks became familiar having done the London to Brighton route several times over the years. For anyone who has done this ride they will recognise How Lane in Chipstead which is the first proper climb on the route. It’s a reasonable effort and got the legs burning for the first time. Over the top the route flowed downhill and towards the M25 to give you a sense of heading south. It is easy to forget quite how close the south coast is to the capital. Before

Start at Wimbledon Tea Rooms on Wimbledon Common.

All photos by the author

Reproduced below is a review of the 2013 London Ditchling Devil by Caven O’Hara, a journalist with Cyclosport.Org, a well-known website promoting cycling events in the UK and overseas. The events listed are mostly sportives and charity events, but there are also MTB (off road), training camps, and other types of events, including the occasional Audax. We were delighted when Cyclosport asked to cover our event. Besides providing a great first-hand account of the event and helping to promote Audax generally, it makes an interesting read for AUKs because it provides an ‘outsiders view’ of Audax; this is how others see us. To see the review 'live' go to www.cyclosport.org/11-Jun-2013/event-reviews/the-ditchling-devil-audax-review. html or Google 'cyclosport ditchling'. In fact, at the time of writing, Google 'ditchling' and you’ll find the event website at #4 and the AUK calendar event listing at #7. How cool is that? Paul Stewart, Organiser long the day’s second climb, Turners Hill soon appeared on the horizon. The bonus this time was first feed station wasn’t much beyond this point. Once you’ve left Turners Hill in your wake it is almost all downhill to the Ardingly showground where opposite was the welcome site of the refreshment team. So welcome in fact, they had a couple of barbies and gas fires on the go cooking up a storm of sausages, bacon, eggs and hot drinks. All very pleasant and judging by the queue, it went down a treat. From Ardingly the current London to Brighton route heads straight down through Lindfield, Haywards Heath and on to Ditchling before tackling the infamous Beacon. We would be facing that later but before that treat we toured the lanes of Sussex on the old L2B route where we were deposited at the foot of the Beacon. The Beacon is a nice climb with a few pitches and rolls, even the traffic was relatively light. Over the top it’s downhill to the top of Hollingbury which sits on the outskirts of Brighton. We passed the new Brighton football stadium on the left and then dived down into the city keeping to the outskirts then headed west towards Devils Dyke, another local climb passing the old Brighton football ground at Withdean en route. The Beacon had been relatively easy going but climbing up Tongdean Lane to head out of the city, the road pitched up to over 20 per cent, at least it was sheltered from the wind. The road out to Devils Dyke is long and exposed, you felt the full force of the wind here but the views just about made up for it even on such a grey morning. At the top we encountered the second manual checkpoint of the day, a laminated card with a single word on so you can verify you’ve passed that way. It was with some relief to head down from the heights of Devils Dyke into www.audax.uk.net

Right: View from top of Ditchling Beacon.

sheltered countryside again. By now the small number of riders had been whittled down even further as riders got strung out. It was just our bad luck to encounter a road in the process of being resurfaced. It was a long old stretch of riding on loose gravel but we emerged on the other side to carry on to Upper Beeding and the next food stop. The intimate feel of the ride became evident as the second pit stop of the day was held in the organiser’s house. How’s that for taking care of the riders? Even with 150 riders it is still quite an undertaking but there was pasta, cakes and hot drinks. On a ride of this length, normal food was much appreciated. After a proper refuel, it was time to head north-westerly towards Surrey. The gap between riders was growing bigger and the empty roads stretched on. My legs were feeling a little leaden at this point and progress seemed to be painfully slow. I stopped a couple of times to check I was on the right route and it was with a contented sigh when I arrived amidst the summer fete in Chiddingfold, looking for the final checkpoint and food stop. I was joined by a couple of other riders and directions were quickly established. This was the only stop were refreshments had to be bought but when there are rolls, cakes and more hot drinks on offer, you can’t quibble. The only obstacle between the riders and the finish was the small matter of Combe Lane. It has a gradual build up but rears up towards and round the hairpin before allowing your heartbeat to drop. Even over this there was still 40km to go which did dampen spirits slightly but working well in a small group, the distance was soon eaten up. In short time the outskirts of London appeared and more recognisable terrain as we rode on towards our final

destination, Richmond Park. The finish had been setup at the café where Paul had negotiated a late closure to allow riders finishing late the chance to refuel before heading off. After what was the longest ride I’ve done this year and by far the longest time in the saddle, it was a rather weary rider who handed over my brevet card for the final signature. I managed to catch a few words with Paul afterwards. The event started out as an extension of one of his training routes with Willesden Cycling Club! This was the third instalment of the event that has seen rider numbers rise from 40 in year one to 150 this year. Perhaps a sign, riders are looking for something different and going back to basics? For AUK or CTC members it only costs £10, for anyone else it’s £12, not a huge cost when compared to many other events out there. For many riders, including myself this was their first experience of an audax event. A cracking route definitely helps, as did the assistance provided by the volunteers. A long day out but worth trying – I’ll be back for more. N Score (out of 10) 1. Feed Stops (correct foodstuffs and energy drinks, the right many, well spaced) 9 2. Timing (correct and easy to use) n/a 3. Signage (Clear, concise, maps, profiles, route card) 10 4. Facilities (HQ, Parking, Toilets) 9 5. Support (Sag Wagon, Outriders) n/a 6. Friendliness/Professionalism (Sign-in, marshals, support) 9 7. Website – ease of use (Online and postal entry, clear concise) 9 8. The Course (area of outstanding beauty/scenic, quiet roads, cleverly designed?)  9 9. Would you recommend it. (Would you ride again?)  9 Overall Rating  93.3%

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The London Ditchling Devil

Common, helping themselves to free snacks and drinks whilst Ian Oliver and Matthew Scholes handed out brevet cards. I started the event and then toured the controls to offer moral and practical support as needed before heading back to Richmond to help the reception team greet riders home. I had arranged for the café to stay open until 8pm, and stayed on after with refreshments to meet the last riders home at 8:30pm. Perfect. At the start, all the riders milling about chatting made a great spectacle. They were younger and less overwhelmingly male than usual, a mix of recreational riders, club cyclists and seasoned 'AUKs'. Club/sportive riders always ask about the 'maximum speed' thing (controls having set opening and closing times), but the leading group was comfortably short of that, and second man home was on a single-speed bike, demonstrating that Audax really is 'not about the bike'. With many new audaxers riding, navigation was a concern. How would they manage? In practice, about 40 per cent of riders had a GPS – mostly Garmin Edge 800 – and about 30 per cent reported following the routesheet, the remainder being happy to let others lead the way. One surprise was that we ran out of spare routesheets. I’d brought along 20 copies for EOLs but new audaxers clearly expected to collect them at the start. How to carry a routesheet is an eternal quandary for occasional AUKs. Next time I’ll make a point of emphasising all riders should print and carry a routesheet, and offer back-pocket friendly laminated route sheets at a nominal cost.

Organiser’s report and rider survey Paul Stewart

This is an organiser’s view of the third edition of the London Ditchling Devil, a 200km BR on Sunday, June 9th 2013. The event starts from Wimbledon Common in South London and heads for the south coast via Ditchling Beacon and the Devils Dyke, local landmarks offering fine views of the sea and South Downs, then returns via Chiddingfold and the Surrey Hills to finish at the Roehampton Gate Café in Richmond Park, a hotspot for local cyclists. Almost 150 riders lined up at the start compared with 50~60 in previous years, many riding their first 200km/ Audax event. How did this come about? Let’s find out. Those mourning the dismal weather this year may have forgotten last year was just as bad if not worse, with long period of wet weather and extensive flooding across the country. As the date of last year’s event approached, entries were down even on the debut edition which had been listed only a couple of months before the scheduled date. It was a concern, as the event has three catered controls: • a lay-by control at Ardingly (50km) set up by Martin Malins, serving a hot sausage and egg 'breakfast bap'; • lunch at the village sports pavilion in Upper Beeding, hosted by Bob and Colette Harber of Brighton Excelsior C.C. (105km), and • afternoon tea at the Chiddingfold village school sports pavilion (145km), courtesy of the 'Come and Meet Everyone' club which provides tea and

cakes for mums collecting children from school. So there was – is – a lot invested in the event. Happily the weather turned, we had a flurry of late entries, and enough riders on the road to make it worth all the effort, just about. This year I thought, 'All the pieces are in place, its third time out, it’s time to grow the event'. The London Ditchling Devil is a great route for riders new to Audax, and there are plenty to be found locally. For club riders it’s a romp round well known territory, whilst for recreational cyclists it’s a chance to step up to longer distances on vaguely familiar roads. Most of the recreational cyclist who entered had ridden down to Brighton before and had tales of the fearsome Ditchling Beacon; here was a chance for them to make the round trip as part of an organised event - and discover Ditchling Beacon is less than halfway! The idea for the event came from a 'DIY Perm' I developed to ride from home, a ‘Permanent’ being a route validated by AUK and eligible for AUK awards. The route always gives me a huge sense of achievement as it feels I’ve been somewhere rather than simply logging empty miles. Clearly I think it’s a great day out but I’m rather biased so let’s ask cyclosport.org journalist Caven O’Hara what he thought of his first Audax. His ride report can be found on-line at http://www.cyclosport.org/11-Jun-2013/ event-reviews/the-ditchling-devil-audaxreview.html, and is reproduced in this edition of Arrivée by kind permission of cyclosport.org. Feedback from Caven and all the other riders and controllers has all been very positive, so the day was a success, both as an event and in promoting Audax and AUK to a new group of riders. Meanwhile the controllers are buzzing about how to make next year even better, so it’s all good! If you’d like to ride the London Ditchling Devil and cannot wait until next year, see the AUK website for details of the listed Permanent version.

Selling my soul for the Devil

Having decided to ‘go for it’, the first step was to develop some marketing collateral, a ‘flyer’ with the basic event details, a simple event website to provide 54

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more general information and link to the AUK Calendar entry for on-line entry. After that it was a matter of putting posters into the Roehampton Gate Café and local bike shops, mailing clubs to ask if they would list/reference the event on their websites, announcing the event on various cycling forums and then… well, entries started to come in but not in the numbers I was hoping for. It was frustrating, because every weekend Richmond Park is full of cyclists who might be interested if only I could reach them. It’s a classic marketing challenge. What to do? My solution was to try some ‘retail marketing’. I rode up to the café one Saturday morning and spent an hour talking and handing out small business card sized flyers to cyclists. All were interested to hear about the event – telling cyclists about an upcoming club event is one of life’s easier pitches – and it became a routine in the weeks leading up to the event. And all this effort apparently worked because come the day we had 175 entries. A result, and hopefully next year will be even better. Something unforeseen was a calendar clash with the Brimstone 600km, which ran as a one-off event and attracted many London based AUKs. Hopefully we’ll see them next year. It’s a crowded calendar though, with cycling events running throughout the country most every weekend. But I had a new worry, that we might be inundated by 'Entries on the Line'. Ever given a party and worried in case everyone you invited turned up? As it happened, the morning of the event was rather windy and overcast, and there were just four EOLs. The event itself went like clockwork, www.audax.uk.net

What the Devil knows…

AUK is currently looking at developing a programme of larger regional events, so what have I learnt which can be applied elsewhere?

1) Think global, act local

thanks to all the controllers. Martin’s cooked breakfast bap was a great hit, and the riders had a special surprise when they reached Upper Beeding, for this year the lunchtime control was at the Controller’s home, and came complete with a PBP style bike park at the front of the house and a Buckingham Palace garden party at the back! I couldn’t really believe it when Bob told me what Colette had planned, but Collette was adamant she had a much better kitchen at home than at the pavilion, and had hosted events for Brighton Excelsior from home before, so it wasn’t a problem. Who was I to argue? On the day, riders congregated outside the Windmill café on Wimbledon

Above: The start at Wimbledon Windmill, Wimbledon Common. Below: Matthew Scholes and Ian Oliver handle the signing-on.

The model for the Ditchling Devil was the Dunwich Dynamo, an overnight 200km informal event from East London to Dunwich on the Suffolk coast which is supported by people who live along the route running 'pop up' refreshment stands. My approach was to partner with local cycling and community groups. Involving the local community is good for everybody; it takes a huge burden off the organising team, and provides an opportunity for local fund raising and promotions, something all can enjoy being part of.

2) Keep it simple and plan, plan, plan

As events grow larger, the challenge is to retain the qualities that make Audax special whilst minimising risk, and a large part of that is achieved by keeping the core operation as simple and efficient as possible. For example, the registration and refreshments stand at the start for

~150 riders was run by just two helpers handing out Brevet cards. I mostly wandered around and chatted to people! As event Organiser, my goal is to be redundant on the day, my work done other than to watch the day unfold and respond to any issues arising, and that’s plenty.

3) Get the word out, not just about your event but about Audax Most cyclists outside the Audax community are completely unaware of Audax and AUK, so this is both a marketing and education challenge, which means…

4) Marketing is a must

I published a simple one-page website to promote the event and designed a ‘poster’ that could be reproduced in a range of sizes, from large format down to business card size. Both online and hardcopy elements are needed. A4/A5 'posters' went on notice boards and into windows whilst the business card sized flyers made great handouts (riders put them in their wallets). The purpose of the posters/flyers was to guide riders to the event website. This contains information about the event that could not be shown on the current AUK calendar listing, such as links to forums discussing the event, ride reports from previous editions, details of the controls and so on. Subsequent research indicated the most important factor that prompted riders to enter was that the event seemed well organised. Riders expect to be informed where an event starts, where it goes, how to enter and generally what to expect, whether it’s something they want to invest in? The last part is the hardest, because it involves far more than can be contained in a simple calendar event listing. It has been proposed the AUK website home page, calendar event listings, etc. be enhanced to make the website more open and accessible to non-members. Enabling organisers to publish more general information about their event within the calendar listing would largely remove the need to create individual event websites, which not all organisers have the resources to do.

5) Show you care

Online communications and e-commerce mean that riders expect to be able to communicate with event organisers in a timely manner, so queries were answered on the day, and entrants sent a welcome message with the event poster and the suggestion they pass it on. Did anybody actually do that? I don’t really know, but feedback indicates many riders found out about the event through their friends, and a timely response gives the impression of a well organised event. As the date of the event approached I

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Rider Survey, 2013 London Ditchling Devil, Results and Analysis

followed up with a newsletter to confirm arrangements (travel, parking, route changes, etc). All basic 'customer care'.

6) Make friends, and plan for the future Everybody enjoyed the relaxed and non-competitive nature of what was essentially a ‘club’ event, a very different experience to a sportive or charity event. As the event Organiser, I have a direct relationship with the riders, a base on which to build future events. The other key point is that the event absolutely depends on the volunteers who manned the controls. It’s my job as Organiser to deliver an event that makes their efforts worthwhile and ensure they have as much fun as the riders. That way they will look forward to next year and the event will live on. This is my cue to thank: Ian Oliver, Matthew Scholes, Martin Malins, Joan McGalliard, Ann Marshall, Matthew Streeter, Peter and Margaret Lewis, Richard Phipps, Bob and Colette Harber and helpers at Beeding, and Liz Gallant and helpers at Chiddingfold, see you next year!

The devil’s in the detail

With so many new audaxers taking part, I wanted to learn how they found out about the event, what prompted them to enter and what they thought of their first Audax experience, so I set up an on-line survey through the event website. Overall, 60 per cent of all entrants and 75 per cent of those who completed the event responded to the survey. About 15 per cent of entries Did Not Start, which is typical, and 15 per cent Did Not Finish, which is more than usual; some riders elected to stop at Brighton, which is a natural interim destination. The route does not go down to the sea-front, partly to save time and partly because I suspect if it did many more would succumb to the delights of the Promenade!

Summary of findings

1) All responses were highly positive, many commenting on the relaxed, uncompetitive nature of the event. 2) Riders perceived the event as good value for money and well organised. 3) Riders enjoyed the inclusive catering at controls, especially at Upper Beeding which highlighted the club/ community aspect of Audax. 4) For the question, where do you ride your bike/what sort of events do you ride', the third and second largest responses were 'Audax' and 'Recreational rides', the largest being, 'I ride to work'.

AUK prior to entering the event. This understates the issue; few cyclists approached in Richmond Park had heard of Audax whereas all seemed aware of sportive and charity events. 6) The AUK website had little impact on marketing the event outside of the AUK community. 7) Direct marketing helped generate awareness of the event outside the regular Audax community, supported by feedback and recommendations on-line from riders of previous editions of the event. 8) New audaxers readily adapted to navigation by routesheet. 9) GPS tracks are mostly distributed as GPX files. Garmin Edge devices are replacing the eTrex units traditionally favoured by regular audaxers, and these use TCX files as standard. Some new audaxers/Edge users, possibly more used to uploading records of rides completed than downloading tracks to follow, struggled to load the GPX file provided. This requires wider consideration by event organisers and AUK. N

5) Half of the riders who had not ridden an Audax before had at best only a vague awareness of Audax and 56

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book reviews by tim wainwright

Zinn has updated his manual to the fourth edition, four years after the previous edition. It has grown by 76 pages and includes a new section on 11-speed systems including installing Campagnolo EPS electronic shifters and an update to Shimano D12 electronic shifters. New format disc brakes and bottom brackets are also covered. Whether you are a beginner at bike maintenance or well-versed in DIY maintenance, this book can be of great assistance. Clear, straightforward instructions and excellent hand-drawn illustrations and exploded parts diagrams show details with great clarity, allowing you to keep your bike running smoothly and trouble-free. Chapters include: Overhaul: How to repair pedals, chains and chainrings, saddles, handlebars, stems, headsets, forks. Cyclocross: How to set up a ‘cross bike for racing, select the right components, and make quick repairs. Emergency repairs: How to fix a broken chain, tighten loose spokes, repair a bent derailleur. Easy shifting: How to clean, lubricate, and adjust shifters and cables for smooth shifting. Wheels: How to install a new tyre, change a cassette, true a wheel, replace broken spokes, build your own wheels. Troubleshooting: How to figure out what’s wrong with any bike and fix it.

Core Advantage Authors: Tom Danielson and Allison Westfahl Published by Velo Press 224pp Paperback 235mm x 187mm £13.95 direct from Cordee www.cordee. co.uk or from good bookshops As I write, the author is currently riding the Tour with the Garmin Sharp team, so it's interesting to follow his progress after his comeback from recent suspension for taking EPO and human growth hormones during 2005 and 2006 while riding for Lance Armstrong's Discovery team. As for the book itself and the info contained, it is a little gem! If you've ever suffered with back, neck or shoulder problems, sciatica or tight muscles, the workouts described can possibly help you overcome the pain and prevent further damage. With the assistance of co-author Allison Westfahl, an endurance trainer with a background in physiology, Danielson overcame some serious injuries sustained in a major crash in the 2012 Tour. Many of the exercises are based on yoga and Pilates movements, adapted especially for cyclists to help counteract the unnatural position we hold our bodies in for hours at a time. He's come up with a few novel names for some exercises too, like Grab the Water Bottle, Musette and TT Final sprint. All the simple exercises are freehand – so no weights or gym equipment are needed. They are graded into three levels with clear diagrams illustrating the text, with four or five different routines for each level, helping to prevent boredom through repetition. It doesn't matter in which sport you participate, core strength is an important part of your fitness regime and this book can help you achieve that needed balance of muscle strength. 58

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A Lake District Grand Tour Pedalling through Lakeland: The Challenge, The History, The Wildlife, The Scones Author: Mike Carden Published by Bike Ride Books 240pp Paperback 200mm x 130mm £8.99 direct from Cordee www.cordee.co.uk or from good bookshops

Audax Crossword

– mostly rides with a few audaxy words thrown in

rict t s i ke D our A La and T Gr

, nd: kela Wildlife h La e roug tory, Th th ing e His s ll a h Ped ge, T Scone en The hall he C

T

e Mik

den

Car

After two books under his belt relating his cycling journeys around Britain, Cockermouth’s Mike Carden returns to his backyard, the Lake District, for his latest book. Mike Carden's easy style of writing, with its built-in gentle humour and his eye for detail that many of us would easily miss, belies the fact that he (and his 20-year-old son) have undertaken a serious tour. The nine-day ride is meticulously planned to take in every major mountain pass in the Lakeland National Park, including six from the book One Hundred Greatest Cycling Climbs. Included are Kirkstone, Honister, Newlands, Whinlatter, and the 30 per cent Hardknott and Wrynose passes – enough challenging climbs to give even a TdF rider a good workout, let alone a 53-yearold with panniers. Like many authors, Mike had difficulty finding a publisher, so he took on the task of teaching himself desk top publishing and web design and accomplished his aim of self-publication and a great job he has accomplished with both. Budding authors take note.

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Answers on p.65

Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance Author: Leonard Zinn Published by Velo Press 520pp Paperback 280mm x 216mm £17.99 direct from Cordee www.cordee. co.uk or from good bookshops

audax crossword by paul revell

ACROSS 1. Bird flying to the West Country from around Luton way (3,7) 2. See 38 across 4. A sloppy bib changer from Corwen (6,4) 5 & 35. Across Wales in a weekend (5,7,8) 7. See 37 across 8. The Inner London Education Authority in a term becomes a diarist (8) 9. Urgent Eleanor? I don’t think so, she’s always at the back! (7,5)

11. This Dales climb is one that can’t be helped with chamois cream (4,4) 13. A lovely pint from Marston’s on tour round the South-West (3,5,4) 14. See 36 down 16. Miss this and you won’t get your stamp! (7) 18. French seaside in a sad sort of way for 207km from Wareham (6,5) 20. See 19 down 21. See 10 down 22. From oche to dinner (4) 24. Not always

grand, but it's nice to get away (6) 25. A E Housman’s ride (1,10,3) 27 & 30 across. You might get wet twice over on this ride (3,6,4) 29. To see a black sheep go on this wild elk hunt sir! (3,4,3) 30. See 27 Across 34. See 42 across 35. See 5 across 37 & 7 across. JP’s illuminating ride (8,6) 38 & 2 across. Hopefully not one of the ladies at the Clwb Bolio! (8,6)

39. Be green in France maybe not even using paper? (6) 40. Better ill than riding up this on a cold, wet day (3,4) 41. One of those inspirational moments around Cheshire (6) 42 & 34 across. 207km spin along this tributary of the Thames (6,6,3) DOWN 1. Slither East? Well you do at first, but then it’s 200k around the Borders (3,4,4)

3. A river to be crossed at the end of the day (6) 6. Aaron fled Ghent to visit the centre of the UK (5,2,7) 10 & 21 across. Unlikely to be the road to heaven (6,9) 12 & 22 down. Unpolished, but a gem of a ride (1,5,7) 15. See 23 down 17. Ian Rogers doing a great job running events (9) 19 & 20 across. Therefore this ash becomes a tour of Middle England (5,2,3,6)

22. See 12 down 23 & 15 down. Not bad or ugly, but they ride away from the 3 Coasts (3,4,10) 26. This ride’s always there (9) 28. See 33 down 31. Missile aimed at York (5) 32. Missile visant à York (6) 33 & 28 down. A hilly day out for this glum despairer (5,8) 36 & 14 across. Shattered Moses felt this hill was never going to end (5,4)

www.audax.uk.netArrivée Summer 2013 No. 121

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randonnee

randonnee

Delightful Dales

Sawley Abbey.

Peter Bond

The one that got away, or ‘I’ve started so I won’t finish…’ Delightful Dales is an Andy Corless production – and therefore hard. It’s a 200k that starts from Pendleton, near Clitheroe, and takes pretty much the direct route from Pendleton north-east to Middleham, north-west to Leyburn, Reeth and Nateby, near Kirkby Stephen, then south over Mallerstang Common and the Old Coal Road to Newby Head and then back to Pendleton via Settle. It would be a fabulous ride. A look at the old Bartholomew maps indicates that pretty much the whole route is brown. There are famous climbs involved, including Grinton Moor, Birkdale, Garsdale Station (The Old Coal Road), all of which I’ve done in one direction or another; all that is, with the exception of the traverse of beautiful Coverdale, with the dreaded Park Rash guarding its western gate.

P

ark Rash is a climb that has gnawed at me for the last four years, since I started audaxing. For four years, I’ve listened to fishermen’s tales of its severity and told myself that it was not for me. I’ve managed Buttertubs and Fleet Moss from both sides but Park Rash just sounded too hard, especially when I recall that the only time I’d visited Coverdale, 30 years previously previously, I only just got up it in a car. However, when I saw that this route contained some of the most fabulous riding Britain has to offer, I entered, happy at the thought of walking Park Rash (and anything else that gave trouble) and not letting it spoil what should be a wonderful day out. However, it was the weather that looked likeliest to spoil things, although I clung to the hope that as it was pretty much a main road route, with a couple of exceptions, the gritters and ploughs should give us the chance of a clear run. When Don Black picked me up at 6.30, there was the odd snow flurry but the roads to the start were clear. At Pendleton, many of the northern stalwarts were waiting, like Chris Boulton, Cecil Ilsley, Amy Barron-Hall and Paul Revell. We set off about ten minutes late, mainly because of my not realising that you can put your front wheel back into the fork without deflating the tyre – if you undo the quick release far enough 60

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to clear what I understand are called ‘lawyer’s lips’! Don and I hadn’t even left the village before we met Paul returning to base to sort out a puncture, rightly judging it to be an easier job in the warmth of the village hall than by the freezing roadside. The weather did look ominous but it was hard to judge how the roads would be because we would ride for a mile or so with snow blanketing the fields followed by a mile of clear green grassland. We made steady progress towards Kettlewell, after I’d sorted out an irritating scraping noise from a misaligned mudguard. Leaving the main Skipton road just after Gisburn, we percolated along easy, familiar lanes though Bank Newton (by the evocative Leeds and Liverpool Canal) and Gargrave with its wide high street. The alternation between snow flurries and almost perfect crisp winter riding conditions continued as we passed the mineral works at Cracoe, which is busy grinding down the coral reef knolls which are a relic of Britain’s tropical past. Here and there in the verges were spring flowers frosted with snow. Just before Grassington, we reached the River Wharfe and turned north up the dale to pass the imposing rock overhang of Kilnsey Crag. A few miles later we crossed the River Skirfare at the foot of Littondale. Both of these rivers have the fascinating habit of disappearing underground in dry weather because they run over limestone. As we dropped down towards the picturesque grey stone village of Kettlewell it was plain to see that the tops were going to be covered in snow and shrouded in cloud. The ancient miners’ track onto Cam Head disappeared, so it seemed, into the misty past. Don and I worked our way through the village and pulled over for a banana or sandwich. I’m not sure if there were pitying looks from the occasional inhabitant who passed us but the way we were facing, there was only one place we could be going and I certainly felt my heart travelling towards my boots as we saddled up and ratchetted our way up the first, sharp left-hand bend. It was the first of the five chevrons (one double) we would do in the next two miles and the bend makes it pretty awkward. There is then a short respite as the road follows the contour of Park Gill Beck and the beauty of this historic route becomes immediately

'Onwards I ground, hauling a pannier of food and extra clothing up the unforgiving slope.'

Approaching Park Rash.

apparent. Unfortunately, the wall that is Park Rash is visible almost instantly and you can see it for the whole of the approach. I kept reminding myself as we rolled down the gentle incline to the foot of the climb proper that gradients always look far worse than they are when you descend towards them – but I don’t think I was really listening. Would this be a defining moment? I slammed the chain into my lowest gear (30/32), stuck my head over the bars and put as much effort as I could into it. I wasn’t sure where the hardest bit would be but almost immediately I had to get out of the saddle and risk the wheelspin on the wet surface as the road kicked up viciously on a left-hand bend. I had to use the whole road and go up on the right-hand side, but I made it and was able to sit again for a while until the road went round to the right again for a long stretch which was just barely sustainable. I had not long passed a road sign on the right (I now know that it warns descenders of the 1-in-4 I had just clawed my way up) when I came across another rider who had snapped his rear derailleur and had had to jury-rig a freewheel so that he could roll back down and so home. I ascertained all of this without putting a foot down, which gives some indication of the speed at which I was riding. Onwards I ground, hauling a pannier of food and extra clothing up the unforgiving slope. Not long after I had cleared the plantation on the right, clumps of snow began to appear on the road. As the road levelled out, I waited for Don to join me and we forged on across the moor towards the enveloping cloud.

www.audax.uk.net

The road had become pretty slushy when we saw a figure descend out of the mist in front, pushing his bike. It was Kevin, from Hebden Bridge, who had decided against a lone crossing of Coverdale in this weather. He turned around with us as we decided to go and have another look at the conditions a little further on. By this time, we were all walking and pushing our bikes through the snow, which had by now all but obliterated any signs of earlier riders. I was wondering if we would come across a frozen huddle of bodies, one clutching a note saying, ‘For God’s sake, look after our people!’ like Scott of the Antarctic. We plodded on for about quarter of a mile, then had a pow-wow. If it was this bad here, what was it going to be like further north? If we got as far as Middleham and were then forced to abandon, what then? There are precious few trains running on a Sunday anyway and even fewer that are any use to those of us who live west of the Pennines. If we were going to have to walk like this on every high crossing we would probably be out of time and have a lot of nervy riding through dark, possibly icy lanes. We decided to return to Kettlewell. Obviously, it was with mixed feelings; the only other ride I’ve abandoned in over 100 starts was because of ice and that had been even earlier in a ride. It’s not usually easy to drag yourself out of bed after a short night’s sleep to get to a start and you feel cheated if it seems to have been in vain. But it ain’t necessarily so. The bitter pill was greatly sweetened for me by having ridden up the infamous Park Rash and, though it would be inaccurate to say I had broken its hold on me, I’d certainly bent a few of its fingers back. I was actually pretty bouyant as we rolled cautiously back down the hill. I stopped to get a picture of the road sign and I think it was just after this that we met Paul Revell on his ascent. He allowed himself to be persuaded that things didn’t look too good, as did another Paul, who also turned back and descended with us. On the way down, I reflected on the astonishing fact that Park Rash and the road through Coverdale are part of the old coach road from London to Richmond. I can only think that the passengers must have had to walk long sections to give the horses a chance. How many horses died in this service? Would they be joined by cyclists before the day was out? Abandoning a ride is such a peculiar mixture of disappointment and the feeling of having been released from prison; suddenly you’ve got all this time on your hands. Glorious as these mountainous routes are, I never have as much time on my hands as I’d like. We had a leisurely break in the café in Kettlewell before an easy ride back along the Wharfe on the Conistone side to

Pendle.

Over the top.

Hellifield Station.

Near Gisburn.

Grassington, where I caught sight of a bike ‘sculpture’ against a wall. There were huge drifts of snowdrops in the verges. When we reached Hellifield after crossing the lovely old bridge in Airton, Paul pressed on while Kevin led Don and I to the superb station café. The platforms are heavily redolent of the atmosphere that permeates the fabulous black and white film Brief Encounter (shot, I think, at Carnforth). I can’t remember what I had to eat but I spent a happy half hour or so, drinking tea and gazing at the old railway photos on the walls. From Hellifield we meandered back through charming Bolton by Bowland. A little later on, Don and Kevin went ahead as I stopped to get a picture of Sawley Abbey, or what is left after Henry VIII and time have ravaged it. The magnificent Pendle Hill, covered in snow, brought a chilly reminder of those still out on the moors to the north of us. As it turned out, those riders weren’t so far to the north of us as might be imagined. We had been in the village hall at the arrivée for about an hour, chatting to Andy and drinking tea, when Ian Kellar and a riding companion returned. There was a moment of bafflement on Ian's face until we explained that we hadn't beaten him to the finish. It turned out that the route had been passable, with a bit of a tight squeeze between the drifts on the Coal Road. There were no casualties and I think everyone got round in good time. So, did I make the right decision? Firstly, I've never been critical of people who ‘pack’ for whatever reason. It's supposed to be a pleasurable activity isn't it? Or, if not pleasurable throughout, hopefully it is an activity from which positive feelings are drawn. If there's nothing positive happening, then it is logical to want to return yourself to a state of comfort, whether physical or psychological as soon as possible, otherwise your well-being is in danger. Of course, I was disappointed not to have completed the ride, since it had subsequently been proved passable and I regretted not having seen more of our wild uplands in their winter coats. But they will still be there next year. It was the right decision for me. I am increasingly wary of icy roads, ever since I got in from a ride and heard that three people had come off and broken bones or otherwise hurt themselves, while I, riding on my own, had sailed over that patch of ice without even noticing it was there. In the end, it's only a bike ride and though I love the sense of adventure and the feeling of setting out on an expedition that Audax riding gives me, I feel it's a positive development for me to be able to step away from something when nothing hinges on it. All my life I have struggled with my stiff-upper-lip upbringing. I may finally be growing up! And I got up Park Rash! N

www.audax.uk.netArrivée Summer 2013 No. 121

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auk calendar

auk calendar

Calendar key A(1) free/cheap accommodation 1 night

C camping at or near the start B very basic – no halls/beds, etc F some free food and/or drink on ride BD baggage drop L left luggage facilities at start DIY own route and controls, cards by post P free or cheap motor parking at start R free or cheap refreshments at start and/or finish T toilets at start S showers M mudguards required Z sleeping facilities on route X some very basic controls (eg service stations) 175 entries close at 175 riders (14/4) entries close 14th April YH youth hostel at/near start

100 14 Aug Marple Memorial Park White Peak Grimpeur 10:00 Wed BP 103km 2310m AAA2.25 £5.00 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 17 Aug 08:00 Sat

Belbroughton, N Worcestershire Kidderminster Killer BR 211km 3750m AAA3.75 £7.25 F L P R S T (70) (8/8) 14.3-30kph Beacon RCC 01562731606 montgomery@beaconrcc.org.uk

120 17 Aug 09:00 Sat

Belbroughton, North Worcestershire From Clee to Heaven BP 1950m AAA2 £7.25 F L P R S T (65) 13-25kph Beacon Roads Cycling Clu 01562 731606 montgomery@beaconrcc.org.uk Philip Whiteman, 2 Drayton Terrace Drayton Belbroughton Stourbridge DY9 0BW

200 09:00

17 Aug Sat

Girvan The Highwayman Challenge 200km BR 201km 2518m [1496m] £12 L P R T S 15-30kph

100 17 Aug 09:00 Sat

Girvan  The Highwayman Challenge 100km BP 101km 1411m [1496m] £12 L P R T S 15-30kph Ayr Roads Cycling Club Christopher Johnson, 129d Welbeck Crescent Troon KA10 6AP

200 03 Aug 08:00 Sat ROA 4000

Bolsover  Clumber to Humber BR 211km £5.00 L P R T 15-30kph Bolsover and District CC 01246 825 351 matt.connley@talktalk.net Matt Connley, 7 Eskdale Close Bolsover Chesterfield S44 6RL

200 04 Aug 08:00 Sun

Wickhamford, SE of Evesham    Neville Chanin Memorial – Over the Severn BR 213km 3134m AAA3.25 £7.00 F P R T 15-30kph

200 08:00

04 Aug Sun

Wickhamford, SE of Evesham BR 202km £6.00 F P R T 15-30kph

Three Counties – Four Leaf Clover

200 08:00

17 Aug Sat

Gladestry, West of Kington  Elan and Ystwyth BR 208km 3750m AAA3.75 £5.00 YH C BD P R T 150 5/8 14.3-25kph

110 09:00

04 Aug Sun

Wickhamford, SE of Evesham BP 111km £4.00 F P R T 15-30kph

Three Counties – Two Leaf Clover

100 09:00

17 Aug Sat

Gladestry, West of Kington  Radnor Roundabout BP 104km 1826m AAA1.75 £5.00 YH C BD P R T 150 5/8 12.5-25kph

50 04 Aug Wickhamford, SE of Evesham Three Counties – Clover Leaf 09:30 Sun BP £2.00 F P R T 10-25kph Evesham & Dist. Whs petehutch1959@btinternet.com Pete Hutchinson, Hazelwood Shinehill Lane South Littleton Evesham Worcs WR11 8TP 100 10:00

04 Aug Sun

Wilton, Salisbury BP 1088m £5.00 YH F L P R T 12.5-30kph

The Blackmoor Tour

200 04 Aug Wilton, Salisbury West Bay and Back 08:00 Sun BRM 2700m AAA2.25 [2300m] £6.00 YH F L P R T 70 15-30kph AUK Andy Heyting, 5 St Leonards Terrace Blandford Forum Dorset DT11 7PF 100 07 Aug 10:00 Wed

Marple, Memorial Park, SK6 Mid-Peak Grimpeur BP 109km 2400m AAA2.5 £5.00 L P R T 40 (31/7) 12.5-25kph Peak Audax chris.keelingroberts@ntlworld.com Chris Keeling-Roberts, 17 Lower Strines Road Marple Cheshire SK6 7DL

100 09:00

10 Aug Sat

Aldbrough St John, Nr Darlington Aldbrough Grimpeur BP 105km 2305m AAA2.25 [1837m] £5 L P R T 12.5-25kph

50 10 Aug 11:00 Sat

Aldbrough St John, Nr of Darlington Cordilleras BP 650m £3.50 L P R T 10-20kph Velo Club 167 01325 374 112 Nigel Hall, Finkle Croft Aldbrough St John Nr. Richmond DL11 7TD

200 10 Aug 07:30 Sat

Bedford Rutland Ramble BR 207km £6 L P R 15-30kph CTC Bedfordshire jackie.popland@ntlworld.com Jackie Popland, 48 Haylands Way Bedford MK41 9BU

200 10 Aug 08:00 Sat

Cardiff Gate, Cardiff  Dr. Foster's Summer Saunter BR 201km £6.00 C P R T 50 15-25kph Cardiff Byways CC tonypember@gmail.com Tony Pember, 9 Donald Street Nelson Treharris CF46 6EB

300 10 Aug 06:00 Sat ROA 10000

Tewkesbury A Rough Diamond BRM 301km 2500m [3450m] £6.50 c f l p r t nm 100 15-25kph BlackSheep CC 01684 292 390 ybgirkram@talktalk.net Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ

200 10 Aug 08:00 Sat 100 09:30

11 Aug Sun

11 Aug Sun

100 11 Aug 09:00 Sun

DAX UK

Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire BR 406km 6400m AAA6.5 £5.00 C F L P R T 15-30kph

The Old 240

400 17 Aug 05:30 Sat ROA 10000

Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire Not Quite The Spurn Head 400 BR 403km 2450m £5.00 C L P R T 15-30kph CTC West Yorkshire 01422 832 853 chris.crossland@halifaxctc.org.uk Chris Crossland, 14 Stanley St. West Sowerby Bridge W. Yorks HX6 1EF

100 18 Aug 09:00 Sun

Brigg  The Summer Knows BP 767m £5 L P R T S NM 15-30kph Ancholme Leisure Centre stuart1@ntlworld.com Stuart Greenaway, 74 Chiltern Crescent Scunthorpe North Lincolnshire DN17 1TJ

200 08:00

18 Aug Sun

Gladestry, W of Kington  Tregaron Dragon BR 209km 4800m AAA4.75 £5.00 YH C BD P R T 150 5/8 14.3-25kph

150 08:30

18 Aug Sun

Gladestry, W of Kington Llandovery Discovery BP 157km 3250m AAA3.25 £5.00 YH C L P R T 150 8/16 12.5-25kph

100 18 Aug Gladestry, W 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 CTC Cymru rossjeal@gladestry.com Ross Jeal, Monymusk Meadow Vale Gladestry Kington Powys HR5 3PR 110 18 Aug 09:50 Sun

Shere, Guildford  Tour of the Hills BP 115km 2300m AAA2.25 £6.50 F L P R T 225 15-30kph West Surrey CTC 01483 810028 dggray7@hotmail.com Don Gray, Greenleas Beech Lane Normandy Surrey GU3 2JH

100 21 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 Mildenhall Rally Roving 300

Trowell, Nottingham  The Cheshire Cat BR 206km 3630m AAA3.75 £5.00 L P R T 80 15-30kph Notts DA 0115 932 9978 Mark Chambers, 62 Queens Avenue Hallam Fields Ilkeston Derbyshire DE7 4DJ

200 08:00

24 Aug Sat

Mildenhall Cycling Rally  BR 206km £5.00 CPTS (16/8) 15-30kph

Mildenhall Rally Randonnée

100 09:00

24 Aug Sat

Mildenhall Cycling Rally  BP 105km £5.00 CPTS (16/8) 12-30kph

Mildenhall Rally Brevet

Connor Downs, NE of Hayle BP 104km 1350m £4.00 C L P R T 12.5-30kph

60 24 Aug 10:00 Sat Updated

Mildenhall Cycling Rally  Mildenhall Rally Brief Brevet BP £5.00 CPTS 16/8 10-30kph Suffolk CTC the.kells@talk21.com Dennis Kell, 9 Pheasant Rise Copdock Ipswich Suffolk IP8 3LF

200 08:00

Newtonmore  BR 202km £3.00 C YH L P R T 15-30kph

North Petherton, S of Bridgwater BP 125km £8.00 F L P R T 15-30kph

The Celtic Coastal

Three Towers and Middle Earth

North Petherton, Sof Bridgwater The Two Towers BP £7.00 F L P R T 15-30kph Bridgwater Cycling Club ktudball@aol.com Keith Tudball, 9 Winford Close Portishead N Somerset BS20 6YG

Arrivée Summer 2013 No. 121 AU

17 Aug Sat

Mildenhall Cycling Rally  BR 312km £5.00 CPTS (16/08) 15-30kph

110 14 Aug Maidenhead 10:00 Wed BP £3.00 P R T 15-30kph Willesden CC 07763 765 802 mick.hill56@hotmail.co.uk. Mick Hill, 5 Castle Farm, Leigh Square Windsor Berks SL4 4PT 62

400 05:30

300 24 Aug 04:00 Sat Updated

60 11 Aug Connor Downs, E of Hayle Celtic Canter 10:00 Sun BP 750m £4.00 C L P R T 8-30kph Audax Kernow peteregon.hansen@btinternet.com ROA 4000 Peter Hansen, Corner Cottage 7 Prosper Hill Gwithian Cornwall TR27 5BW 120 08:30

53 17 Aug Gladestry, W of Kington  Gladestry Trot 10:00 Sat BP £5.00 YH C BD P R T 150 5/8 10-20kph CTC Cymru rossjeal@gladestry.com Ross Jeal, Monymusk Meadow Vale Gladestry Kington Powys HR5 3PR

Boulters Bash

24 Aug Sat

Forres Foray

100 24 Aug Newtonmore  Grantown Gallop 10:00 Sat BP 104km £2.00 C YH L P R T 15-30kph CTC Highland biker_carroll@hotmail.com ROA 5000 Steve Carroll, Creag Charrach Rockfield Tain Ross-shire IV20 1RF 200 08:00

25 Aug Sun

100 25 Aug 10:00 Sun

Larkhall, nr Hamilton  BR 2420m £6 T P R L 15-30kph

Four Passes

Larkhall, nr Hamilton  Covernantors' Trail BP 103km 1130m £4 T P R L 15-30kph Royal Albert CC John Robertson, 64 Victoria Street Larkhall S Lanarkshire ML9 2BL www.audax.uk.net

200 25 Aug Shipton, North of York  Tan Hill Audax 08:00 Sun BR 208km 2400m AAA2 [1900m] £4.50 L P R T 15-30kph Clifton CC Steven Roebuck, 18 Riverside Gardens Elvington York YO41 4DT 110 28 Aug Marple, Memorial Park, SK6  Staffs Peak Super-Grimpeur 10:00 Wed BP 2800m AAA2.75 £5 P R T 60 10-25kph Peak Audax 0790 442 5590 audax@idnet.com Peter Coates, 182 Moor Lane Woodford Stockport Cheshire SK7 1PJ 200 31 Aug Bangor, North Wales Sych it and Sea (Gwynedd Traverse) 08:00 Sat BR 210km 2850m AAA2.75 £5 L P R T 15-30kph Holyhead CC j.h.sharp@bangor.ac.uk Jasmine Sharp, 409A Crafnant Ffriddoedd Road Bangor Gwynedd LL57 2GX 110 31 Aug Shortstown, Bedford  The R101 09:00 Sat BP 112km 1059m [1060m] £6.00 P R T 12-30kph iCycle (www.iCycle.cc) iangerrard@fsmail.net Ian Gerrard, 1 Loves Way St Neots Cambridgeshire PE19 6DA 200 01 Sep Lymington  New Forest On and Off Shore 07:45 Sun BR 202km £17.00 L P R T 100 (3/9) Ferry 15-30kph 150 01 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 01 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 cyclingnewforest@gmail.com ROA 10000 John Ward, 34 Avenue Road Lymington Hants SO41 9GJ 200 01 Sep Moira, W of Ashby-de-la-Zouch  East Midlands Forests 200k 08:00 Sun BR 207km £5.40 C P T R YH (40) (28/8) 15-30kph 100 01 Sep Moira, W of Ashby-de-la-Zouch Bosworth Battlefield Sightseer 09:30 Sun BP 107km £4.50 P R T C YH (80) (28/08) 12-24kph Mercia HBM CC 01283 223 581 hilly@hillyswad.co.uk Ian Hill, 33 Wren Close Swadlincote Derbyshire DE11 7QP 200 01 Sep Walton, Wakefield  Vineyard, Windmills and Moss 200 08:00 Sun BR 2250m £5 PRTF 15-30kph 100 01 Sep Walton, Wakefield  Vineyard and Windmills 100 10:00 Sun BP 1830m £5 PRTF 15-30kph Calder Clarion 01924 251488 rich.hanck@tiscali.co.uk Richard Hancock, 51 Manor Crescent Walton Wakefield West Yorkshire WF2 6PG 160 07 Sep Dore, Sheffield  Amber and Green 08:15 Sat BP £5 L R T 14.3-30kph 100 07 Sep Dore, Sheffield  An Amber Gambol 09:00 Sat BP £5 L R T 12-25kph Sheffield District CTC 0114 255 0907 bigT.ridinghigh@gmail.com Tony Gore, 8 Ladysmith Avenue Sheffield S7 1SF 600 07 Sep Great Dunmow  The Flatlands 06:00 Sat BR 602km £7 N X A(1) C L P T M (50) 15-30kph Flitchbikes CC tom.deakins@btinternet.com Thomas Deakins, 31 The Causeway Great Dunmow Essex CM6 2AA 200 07 Sep Tamworth, Pretty Pigs PH  Wem, we get there 08:30 Sat BR 208km 1400m £7.00 X P R 50 15-30kph Updated 110 07 Sep Tamworth, Pretty Pigs PH  Charnwood Challenge 09:00 Sat BP 111km 1094m £7.00 P R T 50 12.5-30kph Updated 51 07 Sep Tamworth, Pretty Pigs PH  National Forest 50 09:30 Sat BP 400m £6.00 P R T 50 10-20kph Updated Geoff Cleaver audaxgeoff@gmail.com Geoffrey Cleaver, 43 Goodere Drive Polesworth Tamworth B78 1BY 200 07 Sep Tewkesbury  Mr. Pickwick Goes to Hay in a Day 08:00 Sat BR 205km 1900m £4.00 c f l p r t nm 100 15-25kph BlackSheep CC 01684 292 390 ybgirkram@talktalk.net ROA 10000 Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ 200 08 Sep Arnside YH  Northern Dales 08:00 Sun BR 202km 3000m AAA3 £3.00 YH R S T 15-30kph 110 08 Sep Arnside YH  Northern Dales Populaire 09:00 Sun BP 1675m AAA1.75 £3.00 YH R S T 100 12.5-20kph VC167 julian.dyson2@baesystems.com Julian Dyson, 5 Duke Street Gleaston Ulverston Cumbria LA12 0UA 200 08 Sep Broken Cross, nr Macclesfield  The Two Loops 08:00 Sun BR 213km 1700m £7.50 F L P R T 14.3-25kph 110 08 Sep Broken Cross, nr Macclesfield The 1… 09:00 Sun BP 114km £7.50 F L P T 12.5-25kph Peak Audax 01625 614830 perrin_john@sky.com John Perrin, 20 Princes Way Macclesfield Cheshire SK11 8UB 100 08 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 ian.sharpe@live.co.uk Ian Sharpe, Penhafod Stafford Common Gorseinon Swansea SA4 4HD

110 08 Sep Connor Downs, NE of Hayle Golowjy ha Bal 116k 09:00 Sun BP 116km 1825m AAA1.75 £4.00 C L P R T 75 12-30kph 52 08 Sep Connor Downs, NE of Hayle Golowjy ha Bal 52k 10:00 Sun BP 863m AAA0.75 £4.00 C L P R T 50 8-30kph Audax Kernow peteregon.hansen@btinternet.com ROA 4000 Peter Hansen, Corner Cottage 7 Prosper Hill Gwithian Cornwall TR27 5BW 200 08 Sep Musselburgh The Erit Lass 08:00 Sun BR 3000m AAA3 £7.00 F L P R T 15-30kph Audax Ecosse martinfoley@btinternet.com Martin Foley, 78 Denholm Road Musselburgh East Lothian EH21 6TU 110 08 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 100 14 Sep Aztec West, North Bristol Martin Dean 09:30 Sat BP 445m £6.00 N BR P T 100 15-30kph Stokes CC Richard Burton, 10 Ormsley Close Little Stoke Bristol BS34 6EN 200 14 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 evansrichardd@googlemail.com ROA 3000 Richard Evans, 73 Conway Road Cardiff CF11 9NW 100 14 Sep Great Longstone, nr Bakewell Thornbridge Bike Fest 100 09:00 Sat BP 106km 2300m £5.00 C L P R T (100) 15-30kph 50 14 Sep Great Longstone, nr Bakewell Thornbridge Bike Fest 50 10:00 Sat BP £3.00 C L P R T (100) 12.5-25kph Bolsover & District CC 01246 825 351 matt.connley@talktalk.net ROA 4000 Matt Connley, 7 Eskdale Close Bolsover Chesterfield S44 6RL 160 14 Sep Husbands Bosworth Welland Wonder 160 08:00 Sat BP 1675m £5.00 LPRT 15-30kph 110 14 Sep Husbands Bosworth Welland Wonder 100 08:30 Sat BP 116km 1350m £5.00 LPRT 12-24kph 53 14 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 Leicestershire LE16 7TF 200 14 Sep Ingleby Barwick, Stockton on Tees Ralph Cross 07:00 Sat BR 209km 2700m AAA2.5 [2550m] £4.5 L P R T S 15-30kph 100 14 Sep Ingleby Barwick, Stockton on Tees Keep to the Roads 10:30 Sat BP 1350m £4 L P R T S 12-25kph 50 14 Sep Ingleby Barwick, Stockton on Tees Tees and Cake 10:30 Sat BP 370m £3.5 L P R T S 12-25kph Ingleby Barwick Wheelers Graeme Holdsworth, 10 Strome Close Ingleby Barwick Stockton-on-Tees TS17 0XJ 100 15 Sep Alford, Lincs The Wold and Fen 09:00 Sun BP £5.00 L P F T 12-25kph Alford Whs 01507 443 000 alan.hockham@hotmail.com ROA 3000 Alan Hockham, 11 Trustthorpe Road Sutton on Sea Lincs LN12 2LX 100 15 Sep Hampton Hill, SW London London Sightseer 09:15 Sun BP £5.00 C L P T NM 10-20kph Updated Hounslow & Dist. Whs 020 8287 3244 billcarnaby@blueyonder.co.uk Bill Carnaby, 225 High Street Hampton Hill Middlesex TW12 1NP 100 15 Sep Merthyr Tydfil Dic Penderyn 09:00 Sun BP 1900m AAA2 £4.50 P R T 12-30kph Merthyr CC 01685 373 758 adrianmcd2010@talktalk.net ROA 2000 Adrian McDonald, 2 Brunswick St Merthyr Tydfil Mid Glam CF47 8SB 200 15 Sep Old Ma's Tattenhall, Cheshire Pistyll Packing Momma 08:00 Sun BR 209km 3400m AAA3.5 £5.00 P R 50 T L (11/09) 15-30kph 130 15 Sep Old Ma's Tattenhall, Cheshire Momma's Mountain Views 09:00 Sun BP 137km 2000m AAA2 £5.00 P R 50 T L (11/09) 12.5-25kph 50 15 Sep Old Ma's Tattenhall, Cheshire Momma's Leafy Lanes 10:00 Sun BP £5.00 P R 50 T L (11/09) 10-20kph Chester & N Wales CTC dmanu@fsmail.net ROA 4000 David Matthews, Hill View Cottage Cross Lanes Oscroft Tarvin Cheshire CH3 8NG 200 15 Sep Rosewell, S of Edinburgh Dave Harris Memorial 08:00 Sun BR 201km 2900m AAA3 £10.00 F L P R T 50 (17/2) 15-30kph Change of Date Audax Ecosse 0131 339 3709 Sonya Crawford, 24 Craigmount Terrace Edinburgh EH12 8BW 100 21 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 matt.connley@talktalk.net ROA 4000 Matt Connley, 7 Eskdale Close Bolsover Chesterfield S44 6RL 200 21 Sep Chepstow Castle Border Castles Randonnée 07:30 Sat BR 3000m AAA3 £2.00 YHXPRT(14/9) 15-30kph Bristol DA ROA 5000 Nik Peregrine, 46 Bridge Street Chepstow NP16 5EY

www.audax.uk.netArrivée Summer 2013 No. 121

63 AU

DAX UK


auk calendar

auk calendar

200 08:00

21 Sep Sat

Henham, Saffron Walden Shaftesbury CC – Chris Negus Memorial Rides BR 216km £5.00 L P R S T 15-30kph

170 09:00

21 Sep Sat

Henham, Saffron Walden Shaftesbury CC – Chris Negus Memorial Rides BP £5.00 L P R S T 15-30kph

110 10:00

21 Sep Sat

Henham, Saffron Walden Shaftesbury CC – Chris Negus Memorial Rides BP 116km £5.00 L P R S T 15-30kphB

50 21 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 mikedodge@blueyonder.co.uk Mick Dodge, 27 Bruce Grove Wickford Essex SS11 8RB 200 08:00

21 Sep Sat

Richmond, North Yorkshire BR 3150m AAA3.25 £5.00 C F L P R T 14.4-30kph

150 08:30

21 Sep Sat

Richmond, North Yorkshire BP 2500m AAA2.5 £4.50 C F L P R T 12-30kph

100 10:00

21 Sep Sat

Richmond, North Yorkshire BP £4.50 C F L P R T 10-20kph

Dales Dales Tour Plus Dave's Dales Tour 160KM

Lucia's Vale of York Meander 100KM

100 21 Sep 09:30 Sat

Richmond, North Yorkshire Dave's Mini Dales Tour 100KM BP 1900m AAA2 £4.50 C F L P R T 10-20kph Swaledale Outdoor Club 07887628513 david.atkinson577@virgin.net David Atkinson, 4 Borrowby Avenue Northallerton North Yorkshire DL6 1AL

160 08:00

Haynes Rd, Leicester, LE5 4AR BP 166km 1500m [1525m] £5.00 L P R T NM 15-30kph

22 Sep Sun

The Leicester Circle

84 22 Sep 08:30 Sun

Haynes Road, Leicester, LE5 4AR BP 1100m [1200m] £5.00 L P R T NM 12.5-30kph Leicester Forest CC Mat Richardson, 18 Clumber Close Loughborough LE11 2UB

120 22 Sep 08:30 Sun Updated

Lower Whitley, nr Warrington The Wizard and the Llamas BP 767m £6.50 L P R T 15-30kph North Cheshire Clarion Matt Ellis, 1 Truro Close Woolston Warrington WA1 4LR

200 28 Sep Alfreton, NW of Nottingham 07:30 Sat BR 212km 1391m £6.00 F P R T 150 15-30kph Alfreton CTC Mark Wilson, 12 Gray Fallow Alfreton Derbyshire DE55 3BQ

Inner Circle

Roses to Wrags

100 28 Sep 9::00 Sat

Coryton, NW Cardiff BP 105km 2270m AAA2.25 £5.00 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

Trefil Travail

200 28 Sep 08:15 Sat ROA 10000

Droitwich Droitwich–Witney (or the Six Gates) BR £4.00 C P T R M 14.4-25kph Gavin Greenhow 01905 775 803 Gavin Greenhow, 44 Newland Road Droitwich WR9 7AG

100 28 Sep 09:00 Sat

Sonning Common, near Reading Henley Hilly Hundred BP 1660m AAA1.75 £5 FLPRT 12-30kph CTC Reading DA brianperry_3@hotmail.co.uk Brian Perry, 16 Rowland Close Wallingford Oxon OX10 8LA

100 29 Sep 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 timfarmerford@btinternet.com Tim Ford, Glinwood Bexon Lane Bredgar Sittingbourne ME9 8HB

200 29 Sep 07:30 sun

Denmead, Nr Portsmouth Wylye and Ebble Valley br £5-00 l p r t m (19/09) 15-30kph Hampshire R C paul.whitehead@mypostoffice.co.uk Paul Whitehead, 73 Spencer Road Emsworth Hampshire PO10 7XR

160 29 Sep 09:30 Sun

Linlithgow Three Glens Explorer BP 164km 1350m [1850m] £7.50 F L P R T 15-30kph West Lothian Clarion neil.fraser@blueyonder.co.uk Neil Fraser, 14 Maryfield Drive Bo'ness West Lothian EH51 9DG

110 29 Sep Ludford, NE of Lincoln Lincolnshire Wolds 09:30 Sun BP £5.00 F P R T 15-30kph CTC Lincolnshire woldsauk100@gmail.com Geoff Findon, 11a Trusthorpe Road Sutton On Sea LN12 2LX 200 29 Sep Pendleton, Lancashire Last Chance Dales Dance 200 07:30 Sun BRM 3300m AAA3.25 [3000m] £5-00 L P R T 15-30kph Burnley Sportiv burnleysportiv@yahoo.com Andy Corless, 31 Castlerigg Drive Ightenhill Burnley Lancashire BB12 8AT 100 05 Oct 09:00 Sat ROA 4000

Bristol Tasty Cheddar BP 101km £4.00 P YH 12.5-30kph Bristol DA 0117 925 5217 joe.prosser@blueyonder.co.uk Joe Prosser, 8 Portland Court Cumberland Close Bristol BS1 6XB

200 08:10

Chalfont St Peter BR 207km 2400m £6.00 L P R T M 75 15-30kph

05 Oct Sat

64

Arrivée Summer 2013 No. 121 AU

DAX UK

The Less Anfractuous

200 05 Oct Chalfont St Peter The AAAnfractuous 08:00 Sat BR 207km 2900m AAA3 £6.00 L P R T M 75 15-30kph 100 05 Oct Chalfont St Peter The Nyctophobic 08:30 Sat BP 109km 1400m £5.00 L P R T M 75 12.5-30kph Willesden CC paudax@gmail.com Paul Stewart, 25 Devonshire Gardens Chiswick London W4 3TN 200 05 Oct Coryton, NW Cardiff Gower Getter 07:30 Sat BR 203km 2200m £8 YH L P R T 15-30kph Cardiff Byways CC glharper1973@gmail.com Georgina Harper, 68 Hazelhurst Road Llandaf North Cardiff Wales CF14 2FX 150 05 Oct Darley Abbey, Derby Over the Trent to Dance and Pray 08:30 Sat BP 152km 1041m £6.00 L P R T 30 15-30kph Updated 100 05 Oct Darley Abbey, Derby Over and Over the Trent 09:15 Sat BP 109km 637m £6.00 L P R T 60 12.5-30kph Updated Derby and Burton CTC Keith Scholey, 1 Killis Lane Kilburn Belper DE56 0LS 200 05 Oct Upton Magna, E of Shrewsbury Beyond Shropshire (Severn and Wye) 08:00 Sat BR 205km 2970m AAA3 £6.00 C F L P R T 50 15-30kph Updated 120 05 Oct 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 100 12.5-25kph 80 05 Oct Upton Magna, E of Shrewsbury A Shropshire Lad 10:00 Sat BP 1030m £5.00 C F L P R T (50) 10-22.5kph CTC Shropshire undulates@hotmail.co.uk ROA 10000 John Hamilton, 22 Oaks Crescent Wellington Telford TF1 2HF 110 06 Oct Blaxhall, Suffolk The Suffolk Byways 09:00 Sun BP 117km 620m £5.00 YH C L P R T (120) 15-30kph CTC Suffolk suffolkcyclist@gmail.com Paul Bass, 21 Thomas Close Ixworth Bury St Edmunds IP31 2UQ 100 06 Oct Hebden Bridge Season of Mists 09:00 Sun BP 2555m AAA2.5 £4.00 L R T YH 12-24kph 50 06 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 chris.crossland@halifaxctc.org.uk ROA 10000 Chris Crossland, 14 Stanley St. West Sowerby Bridge W. Yorks HX6 1EF 100 06 Oct Winchcombe, Glos Winchcombe Falling Leaves 100 09:00 Sun BP 1750m AAA1.75 £5.00 F,P,R,NM 12.5-25kph Winchcombe Cycling Club winchcombecc@aol.com ROA 1000 Brian Hayward, Highwheeler House Neata Farm Greet Cheltenham GL54 5BL 200 12 Oct Broken Cross, nr Macclesfield Venetian Nights 08:00 Sat BR 210km 2750m AAA2.25 [2333m] £8.00 F L P R T 14.3-25kph Peak Audax perrin_john@sky.com John Perrin, 20 Princes Way Macclesfield Cheshire SK11 8UB 200 12 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 13 Oct Abergavenny Marches Grimpeur 09:00 Sun BP 1950m AAA2 £4.50 YH F P L T 15-25kph Abergavenny RC waville@yahoo.com Jonathan Saville, 9 Trehonddu Llanvihangel Crucorney Abergavenny Monmouthshire NP7 8DG 100 13 Oct Alfreton, NW of Nottingham Beware of the Plague 09:00 Sun BP 107km 1900m AAA2 £5.00 P R T F 12.5-25kph Alfreton CTC martynleighton@uwclub.net Martyn Leighton, 46 Ashford Rise Belper Derbyshire DE56 1TJ 200 13 Oct Blundeston nr Lowestoft, Suffolk The Silly Suffolk 08:00 Sun BR £5.00 FRTP 15-30kph 150 13 Oct Blundeston nr Lowestoft, Suffolk The Silly Suffolk 09:00 Sun BP £5.00 FRTP 15-30kph Velo Club Baracchi johntommo6@btinternet.com John Thompson, 136 Dell Road Oulton Broad Lowestoft Suffolk NR33 9NT 200 13 Oct Congleton Rugby Club, Congleton Horseshoe Pass 08:00 Sun BR 210km £5.00 P R (60) 15-30kph 170 13 Oct Congleton Rugby Club, Congleton Chirk Aqueduct 08:30 Sun BP 175km £5.00 P R (60) 15-30kph Congleton CC dhurst085@aol.com Denise Hurst, 10 Firwood Road Biddulph Staffordshire ST8 7ED 100 13 Oct Hailsham, E Sussex Winchelsea Tea & Cake 100 09:00 Sun BP 106km 1100m [1500m] £6.00 F P (2/10) (500) 15-30kph David Hudson ROA 25000 David Hudson, 151 Middle Road Shoreham by Sea West Sussex BN43 6LG 100 13 Oct Hebden Bridge The Hebden Bridge Star 10:00 Sun BP 106km 2295m AAA2.25 £4 YH F L P T 12-24kph

www.audax.uk.net

54 13 Oct Hebden Bridge The Hebden Bridge Starlet 11:00 Sun BP 1250m AAA1.25 £4 YH F L P T 8-20kph Peak Audax Winston Plowes, PO Box 759 Hebden Bridge West Yorkshire HX7 8WJ

120 22 Feb 08:30 Sat

100 09 Nov Alfreton 09:00 Sat BP 108km £6.00 L P R T M 100 14-28kph Alfreton CTC Ian Hobbs, 26 Naseby Road Openwoodgate Belper DE56 0ER

100 08 Mar Alfreton, NW of Nottingham  Three Fields 09:00 Sat BP 104km 1270m £5.00 L P R T 100 12-30kph AlfretonCTC tomandsuefox@yahoo.co.uk ROA 5000 Tom Fox, 180 Nottingham Road Alfreton Derbyshire DE55 7FP 100 08 Mar Catherington, near Portsmouth  Lasham Loop 09:00 Sat BP 105km 1500m AAA1.5 £5.00 L P R T 14.3-30kph Hantspol CC jondse@ntlworld.com Jonathan Ellis, 42 Wessex Road Waterlooville Hampshire PO8 0HS 200 30 Mar Lichfield  Vale of Belvoir 08:00 Sun BR 212km 1329m £5.00 P R T L 15-30kph 110 30 Mar Lichfield  Charnwood Forest 09:00 Sun BP 116km [928m] £5.00 P R T L 12.5-30kph YACF stevegloster@gmx.co.uk Steve Gloster, 24 Ash Street Bilston Wolverhampton WV14 8UP 200 12 Apr Hellesdon, nr Norwich  The Old Squit 08:00 Sat BR £6 LPRT(80) 15-30kph 100 12 Apr Hellesdon, nr Norwich  The Norfolk Mardle 09:00 Sat BP £5 LPRT(100) 15-30kph NorfolknGood Audax sandk.tandem@btinternet.com ROA 5000 Keith Harrison, 11 Heather Avenue Hellesdon Norwich NR6 6LU 200 12 Apr Tamworth, Pretty Pigs PH  Two Battles 08:00 Sat BR 209km 2300m £7.00 P R T 50 15-30kph 150 12 Apr Tamworth, Pretty Pigs PH T Towering Trees 09:00 Sat BP 157km 1630m £7.00 P R T 50 14-30kph 110 12 Apr Tamworth, Pretty Pigs PH  The Essex Bridge 09:30 Sat BP £7.00 P R T 50 15-30kph 50 12 Apr Tamworth, Pretty Pigs PH  Just a Chuffing 50 10:00 Sat BP £6 P R T 50 10-20kph Geoff Cleaver audaxgeoff@gmail.com Geoffrey Cleaver, 43 Goodere Drive Polesworth Tamworth B78 1BY 110 18 May Messingham, nr Scunthorpe  Mansgate 100 10:00 Sun BP 111km 711m £6 CPRT 15-30kph Ancholme Leisure Centre 01724 345402 stuart1@ntlworld.com Stuart Greenaway, 74 Chiltern Crescent Scunthorpe North Lincolnshire DN17 1TJ 200 12 Jul Tamworth, Pretty Pigs PH  Brix 'n Water 08:00 Sat BR 216km 2300m £7 P R T 50 14.4-30kph 160 12 Jul Tamworth, Pretty Pigs PH  Brix 'n Bouquet 09:00 Sat BP 1400m [2300m] £7 P R T 50 14.4-30kph 110 12 Jul Tamworth, Pretty Pigs PH  Double Bouquet 09:30 Sat BP 750m [2300m] £7 P R T 50 14.4-30kph Geoffrey Cleaver audaxgeoff@gmail.com Geoff Cleaver, 43 Goodere Drive Polesworth Tamworth B78 1BY

To the Races

200 09 Nov 07:00 Sat ROA 10000

Tewkesbury  Mr. Pickwick's Cymraeg Cyrch BR 209km 2200m £4.00 c p r t nm 100 15-25kph BlackSheep CC 01684 292 390 ybgirkram@talktalk.net Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ

200 08:00

Cheadle, Stockport  BR 210km 800m £5.00 P R T M 60 15-30kph

10 Nov Sun

Eureka!

160 10 Nov Cheadle, Stockport  Cheshire Safari 08:30 Sun BP 570m £5.00 P R T M 60 12.5-25kph Peak Audax hamhort84@talktalk.net Peter Hammond, 3 Dorac Ave Heald Green Cheadle Stockport Cheshire SK8 3NZ 200 :::::

15 Nov Fri

Anywhere  BR £5 DIY 14.4-30kph

Dinner Dart

200 16 Nov ::::: Sat ROA 25000

AUK Dinner  After Dinner Dart BR £5 DIY 14.4-30kph AUK 0161 449 9309 sheila@aukadia.net Sheila Simpson, 33 Hawk Green Road Hawk Green Marple SK6 7HR

200 08:00

Petworth, W Sussex  The Spordax 200 BR 203km 1500m [1000m] £6.00 F P T (14/11)(50) 15-30kphG

24 Nov Sun

100 24 Nov Petworth, W Sussex  The Spordax 100 09:00 Sun BP 103km 1350m [1000m] £6.00 F P T (14/11) (300) 15-30kph David Hudson ROA 25000 David Hudson, 151 Middle Road Shoreham by Sea West Sussex BN43 6LG 100 30 Nov Catherington, near Portsmouth  Whitchurch Winter Wind-down 100 09:00 Sat BP 106km 1600m AAA1.5 £5.00 F L P R T 15-30kph Hantspol CC jondse@ntlworld.com Jonathan Ellis, 42 Wessex Road Waterlooville Hampshire PO8 0HS 50 01 Dec 10:00 Sun

Carharrack, Cornwall  Ed's Mince Pie & Mulled Wine 50 BP £3.50 F L P R T (85) 10-25kph Audax Kernow 01326 373421 angells@talktalk.net Eddie Angell, 14 Belhay Penryn Cornwall TR10 8DF

100 07 Dec Hellesdon, nr Norwich The Norfolk Nips – 2 09:00 Sat BP £5 LPRT(170) 15-30kph NorfolknGood Audax sandk.tandem@btinternet.com ROA 5000 Keith Harrison, 11 Heather Avenue Hellesdon Norwich NR6 6LU 200 08:00 Updated

07 Dec Sat

Tamworth, Pretty Pigs PH  BR 211km 2060m £7.00 P R T 60 15-30kph

Tinsel and Lanes

100 07 Dec 09:00 Sat Updated

Tamworth, Pretty Pigs PH  Flowers to Furnace BP 108km £7.00 P R T 50 12-30kph Geoff Cleaver 01827 893 664 audaxgeoff@gmail.com Geoff Cleaver, 43 Goodere Drive Polesworth Tamworth B78 1BY

200 07 Dec 07:00 Sat ROA 10000

Tewkesbury  Kings, Castles, Priests and Churches BR 202km 2550m AAA1.75 [1800m] £4.00 f l p r t nm 100 15-25kph BlackSheep CC 01684 292 390 ybgirkram@talktalk.net Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ

100 08 Dec Hailsham, E Sussex  The Rye Randonnée 100 09:00 Sun BP 103km 1200m [1000m] £6.00 P R (29/11) 500 15-30kph David Hudson ROA 25000 David Hudson, 151 Middle Road Shoreham by Sea West Sussex BN43 6LG 200 22 Dec 08:30 Sun ROA 10000

Bredbury, Stockport  Winter Solstice BR 202km 700m £5 P R T 60 15-30kph Peak Audax 01457 870 421 mike@PeakAudax.co.uk Mike Wigley, Higher Grange Fm Millcroft Lane Delph Saddleworth OL3 5UX

200 04 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 ybgirkram@talktalk.net ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ 100 01 Feb Hellesdon, nr Norwich  The Norfolk Nips – 3 09:00 Sat BP £5 LPRT(170) 15-30kph NorfolknGood Audax sandk.tandem@btinternet.com ROA 5000 Keith Harrison, 11 Heather Avenue Hellesdon Norwich NR6 6LU 100 08 Feb 09:00 Sat

Dial Post, West Sussex  Worthing Winter Warmer BP £5.00 F P R T 200 (29/01) 15-30kph Worthing Excelsior CC 01903 240 280 Mick Irons, 36 Phrosso Road Worthing West Sussex BN11 5SL

120 09:00

Hartlebury, S of Kidderminster  BP 123km £5.75 P R T 100 15-30kph

22 Feb Sat

Snowdrop Express

Hartlebury, S of Kidderminster  Sunrise Express BP 123km £5.75 P R T 100 15-30kph Beacon RCC 01562 731606 montgomery@beaconrcc.org.uk Philip Whiteman, 2 Drayton Terrace Drayton Belbroughton Stourbridge DY9 0BW

Answers to Crossword on p.55 Across   1 The Buzzard   4 Brenig Bach   5 Bryan Chapman Memorial  8 Mileater   9 Lantern Rouge 11 Park Rash 13 The Merry Monk 16 Control 18 Dorset Coast 22 Dart 24 Depart 25 A Shropshire Lad 27 Two Rivers Ride 29 The Silk Run 37 Venetian Nights 38 Tregaron Dragon 39 Brevet

40 Tan Hill 41 Eureka 42 Kennet Valley Run Down   1 The Erit Lass  3 Arrive   6 Heart of England 10 Devils Staircase 12 A Rough Diamond 17 Organiser 19 Heart of the Shires 23 The Good Companions 26 Permanent 31 Arrow 32 Fleche 33 Dales Grimpeur 36 Fleet Moss

www.audax.uk.netArrivée Summer 2013 No. 121

65 AU

DAX UK


LONDON–EDINBURGH–LONDON Alan Stribling

On his way home after LEL, York Arrows organiser and Huddesfield CTC President John Radford was struck by a car and is now in Leeds hospital in a critical condition with a serious head injury.

photos by tim wainwright Chris Hurd approaching Alston

Caroline Neall in Kirkhouse Forest

Luke McClaren in Middleton in Teesdale

Pete Turnbull enjoying the Alston cobbles

Drew Buck dressed for the part


Multiple LEL finisher Tony Greenwood, south of Traquair Photo: Tim Wainwright


Arrivee 121 August 2013