Page 1

©MARK FAIRHURST 2015

Arrivée

Number 130 Autumn 2015

the Long Distance Cyclists’ Association www.aukweb.net


Riders on PBP2015. From the top: Kevin Sammons, Jack Farricy, Alex Peeke, with others


EDITORIAL 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: membership@audax.uk Membership Application Form: www.aukweb.net/ enroll

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.

Arrivée

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 Peter Moir. 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 Email: twain@blueyonder.co.uk Rates per issue: 1/₁₂ page £25, pro-rata to £300 per full page. 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 advertising: free. PUBLICATIONS MANAGERS February Editor: Sheila Simpson

33 Hawk Green Road, Marple SK6 7HR Tel: 0161 449 9309 Fax: 0709 237 4245 Email: sheila@aukadia.net May Editor: Tim Wainwright 4a Brambledown Road, Sanderstead, South Croydon, Surrey CR2 0BL Tel: 020 8657 8179 Email: twain@blueyonder.co.uk August Editor: David Kenning Little Orchard, Pean Hill, Whitstable CT5 3BQ Tel: 07734 815133 / 01227 471448 Email: dave@widdersbel.co.uk November Editor: Peter Moir 2 Peel Close, Ducklington, Witney, Oxfordshire OX29 7YB Tel: 01993 704913 Email: peter@moir.co.uk To subscribe to the AUK e-mailing discussion list, send an Email to audax-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Our WWW site: www.aukweb.net AUK clothing can be purchased directly on-line at www.forcegb.cc

Copyright © 2015 Arrivée Audax UK Long Distance Cyclists’ Association Company No. 05920055 (England & Wales) Registered Office: 25 Bluewater Drive, Elborough, Weston-Super-Mare BS24 8PF

Autumn 2015 So, PBP, for many the ultimate randonneuring experience, is over for another four years. On August 16 and 17, over six thousand riders set off from Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines to ride 1230 km on a return trip through Britanny to the Atlantic Coast and back. Of those riders, over 450 were from the UK, and some of those participating have kindly taken the time to document their experiences for Arrivée, whether they returned triumphant, or slightly less so. I hope you'll enjoy the selection of stories and photos I've managed to include in this issue, and that it will encourage you – if you were not already sufficiently motivated – to get training for our own flagship London-Edinburgh-London in 2017. One of those participating in PBP 2015 was our very own teethgrinder, Steve Abraham, using the mere 760 miles from Paris to Brest and back to add to his total accumulated for the One Year Time Trial record attempt. As detailed in the last Arrivée, August 8 saw Steve start a concurrent record attempt to run alongside the original he started in January, but which was so unfortunately interrupted by his accident and resulting fractured bones. As I write this, 76 days into the concurrent attempt, Steve's new total stands at 15,562 miles. As always… Go Steve!

On the subject of Arrivée, I do hope you like the slightly different front cover I've chosen for this Autumn edition - a bit of a break from the traditional, but one I hope will be appreciated. Renowned cycling artist Mark Fairhurst kindly provided the unique illustration expecially for the magazine and Audax UK, and my heartfelt thanks go to him for taking the time to produce a piece so evocative of those coming autumn and winter rides. You may have seen Mark's work in his fabulous book, P is for Peleton. Mark's website, showcasing much of his cycling-related artwork is at www. zeitgeistimages.co.uk Thanks again, Mark! The next issue of Arrivée is due with you in February 2016, so please send any articles or photographs to Sheila in plenty of time - contact details in the panel at the left. Good luck for a successful Audax UK 40th anniversary year!

Peter

Contents 4 Official News 30 Answers from a Stoker 5 Obituaries 32 The Devélo Code 7 Little Legs – Big Ambitions 35 Devon Delight 100k 8 Return to Gladestry 36 Getting to PBP 10 Paris–Loudéac–Paris 38 I Was on Fixed, You Know… 14 53 Years of Cyclo-Climbing 40 Tour of the Hills 18 #PBP 42 PBP 2015 on an ElliptiGO 20 Our 1st 100k - Grantown Gallop 48 PDP : Penicuik-Durness-Penicuik 21 SPOT Tracker 51 Filming PDP 22 Garboldisham Groveller 200 52 Utterly Butterleigh 24 From Zero to PBP finisher 53 Paris–Brest–Paris, or…? 27 Ten Years Below Average 54 Annual Report & AGM Agenda 29 Boguillie, Borderline OCD 57 AUK Calendar Sylvie Gorog

Dave Morrison

Jo-Anne Whitehead

Ribble Blue

Alison Smedley

Marcia Roberts

James Bradbury

Ian Hennessey

Bob Damper

Tim Harrison

Adam Young

Idai Makaya

Mary & Owen Morgan

Alf Chamings

Graham Adcock

Damon Peacock

John Thompson

Ribble Blue

Carlos Wong

Phil Hodgson

Arabella Maude Paul Harrison

Front cover ©Mark Fairhurst, www.zeitgeistimages.co.uk Photos opposite : Dave Robinson

PLEASE MENTION ARRIVÉE WHEN REPLYING TO OUR ADVERTISERS

www.aukweb.netArrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

3


OFFICIAL NEWS NOTICE TO MEMBERS

Voting Arrangements for Annual General Meeting 2015

This is a notice to members regarding voting arrangements for AGM2015 of AUDAX UNITED KINGDOM LONG DISTANCE CYCLISTS’ ASSOCIATION Ltd to be held at the Holiday Inn, Peterebough West on Saturday Nov, 2015 commencing at 2pm. As described in the Notice to Members published through the AUK Website on Forum on May 5 2015, and in the 2015 Summer Edition of Arrivée, No 129, AUK have retained Electoral Reform Services (ERS) to provide the voting services on their behalf. Members with a registered email address with AUK on Oct 1, 2015 will receive an email detailing their signon credentials for an voting website managed by ERS. This will contain details of the online voting ballot and instructions on the procedure to be followed to cast the votes. The email sender address will be onlinevoting@electoralreform.co.uk and have the subject line Audax UK Long Distance Cyclists’ Association Ltd - Ballot 2015. Members who have registered for a postal vote via a printed ballot by Oct 1, 2015 will receive this through the post. The full annual report and AGM Agenda will be published through the AUK Website and a printed copy will be posted to members who have registered for a printed ballot. The printed report will be sent out seperately/immediately prior to the printed ballot. Members receiving a printed ballot may cast their vote by voting online using the supplied credentials or by returning the printed ballot in the pre-addressed envelope supplied. The ballots will be despatched to members on Wednesday October 21, 2015. The ballots may be cast at any time until 12:00 (noon) on Wednesday November 11, 2015 (3 weeks elapsed) when voting will end. All members are entitled to attend the AGM and cast their votes in person, however once cast postal votes cannot be changed or withdrawn.

Paul Stewart, Secretary, AUDAX UNITED KINGDOM LONG DISTANCE CYCLISTS’ ASSOCIATION Ltd. Company No. 05920055 registered in England & Wales Registered Address: 25 Bluewater Drive, Elborough, Weston-Super-Mare BS24 8PF

SECRETARY'S REPORT

Just a Second Once again I have returned, this time hotfoot from the Board Meeting on October 7 where we welcomed Ged Lennox who has offered himself as candidate for the position of AUK Communications Director. Ged is a communications professional who has married a career in communications and design with being a Super Randonneur and a passionate interest in all things bike, and would be a great addition to the team Moving on, plans for badges, frame stickers and other merchandise to celebrate AUKs 40 season are being progressed, and doubtless designs for these will be presented in Arrivée and through the AUK website in due course, along with the refresh of the various other award medals and badges that is being progressed. Looking slightly further ahead, the AUK Chair, FD and Events Secretary have met with Danial Webb regarding LEL2017 to discuss how AUK and LEL will work together to support the event and the general progress to date. The LEL team are very much building on the experience gained from 2013 to the satisfaction of all concerned. More immediately though, this year’s Annual Reunion and AGM, which will be held in Peterborough on Saturday 14th November, is rapidly approaching. The booking form is available through the AUK website if you lost the copy distributed with the previous edition of Arrivee. It’s not too late to attend either the Reunion dinner or just the AGM as you prefer. For more details on the AGM arrangements see the notice to members 4

Arrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

Mileater Delegate Audax UK is looking for a member to take over the administration of the Mileater Award Scheme when the existing delegate retires shortly Scheme entrants are encouraged to record their daily mileages in a diary over the year, or in some cases online, and to make comments. These are submitted at year end to the delegate who uses the distances noted to determine the winners of the Jan & Mick Latimer awards, and the experiences of the participants to inform a report of the competition published annually in ARRIVEE. The Mileater delegate is responsible for taking entries, ordering and distributing diaries and medals, keeping appropriate records, liaising with entrants, and any other associated tasks. Knowledge and/or experience of the Mileater scheme as a current participant would be useful for anybody considering taking on this post, but committed members without those qualifications should soon be able to learn. Any member interested in this opportunity should contact Chris Crossland, Audax UK Chair. Email: chair@audax.uk Phone: 01322 832 853 Address: 14 Stanley Street West, Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire HX6 1EF

published here and through the AUK website. This will be the second year we have had postal voting, and the expectation is that the formal AGM itself will be shorter affair followed by a less formal meeting after to discuss matter of interest. As I write though arrangements for this are being progressed.. Otherwise arrangements for the weekend otherwise follow the usual pattern. There will be a social ride organised for the Saturday morning organised by Noel Toone, and the AGM will commence at 2pm in the afternoon, with the Reunion Dinner commencing at 7pm. Full details will be available through the AUK website nearer the time. Attendees at the Reunion Dinner will note that we will have a new range of trophies to hand out, replacing the traditional trophies which are to take up residence at the National Cycling Museum in Llandrindod Wells. It is intended the new awards will help rebalance the awards ceremony component of the Reunion Dinner, giving greater prominence to areas of achievement outside of the ‘competitive’ awards, something members have been asking for. On the subject of trophies, Chris Crossland, attended the LRM quadrennial (is that a word?) meeting in Paris where he met representatives from ACP affiliates from around the world, and in the process collected an award presented by ACP for the second most highly represented country at PBP, which demonstrates the strength of Randonneuring in the UK with a new record number of Super Randonneurs. I look forward to seeing you all in Peterborough! All the best,

Paul Stewart, AUK Secretary

www.aukweb.net


OBITUARIES

Ian Dixon

With much sadness we report that Ian Dixon of Longtown, Cumbria died suddenly from a heart attack on 10th July whilst out riding with friends. The death of Ian at only 61 came as a big shock to everyone. He was always such a lively character and always cheery, seemingly taking everything easily within his stride. There was never any panic at all even on Paris-Brest-Paris where he finished with 5 minutes to spare in all the bad weather of the 2007 edition or even when he misjudged a sharp bend early on in the Nae Bother to Us 400 one year and ended up bouncing off a hedge (the day he became known as Hedgebanger). He just dusted himself down and carried on riding. He was always willing to help and was often found acting as controller somewhere for other’s events. He organised his own Clarten Ower Caldbeck 200km which was a lovely route on quiet Cumbria roads. He helped organise Cycle the Solway, a charity ride which raised tens of thousands for the Eden Valley Hospice and Jigsaw. He also helped on LEL at Brampton fitting in shifts there between a busy time on his farm. We’ll miss his cheery banter and sense of humour no end, especially when we ride the many roads we shared with him and try to remember his spirit to carry us through when times are hard. He leaves behind his wife Doreen and three daughters, Stephanie, Rachael and Helen. We wish them all the best. Here’s hoping he’s out there somewhere pedalling in the sunshine with a tailwind. Chapeau Ian.

Lucy McTaggart Ian Dixon riding the Ower the Edge 400, May 2006

Ed Jones

We are sad to report that long-time Audax UK member Ed Jones died in the early hours of Sunday 19 July 2015. Ed passed away peacefully, with his family by his side, as a result of complications related to Parkinson's Disease, from which he had been suffering for some time. A five-time Paris-Brest-Paris rider, first completing the event in 1979, Ed was wellknown to many AUK members. Ed leaves his wife, Maggie, and daughters Ellie and Marion, and we all join in sending them, and the rest of his family, our best wishes.

Training Centre for 2 and 5 Day General Maintenance 3 Day Wheelbuilding

Rohloff upgrades & servicing Custom Building INVICTA FRAMES and complete bikes

Frame Building Courses Standard 5 day and Advanced 10 Day Build your own fillet brazed or lugged frame julie@downlandcycles.co.uk | 01227 709706 www.downlandcycles.co.uk | Canterbury Kent CT4 6EG

martin@campagservice.co.uk | www.campagservice.co.uk Ed Jones at Knutsford on the 1995 Windsor-Chester-Windsor

www.aukweb.netArrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

5


THIS & THAT CORRESPONDENCE Behold : the new president (chairman) of Les Randonneurs Mondiaux, Keith Benton, former treasurer, then chairman of AUK, seen here with Ann, in the garden of Dee and Noel, S.W. France. He was elected at the LRM meeting following the 2015 PBP. The LRM was set up in 1983 by Audax Club Parisien and “correspondents” or representatives of six clubs, including AUK, to be responsible for the validation of audax rides over 1000 km, except for the PBP of course. We wish him a problem-free 4 years as chairman, checking routes, validating results and awarding medals.

I attended the recent PBP in St. Quentin en Yvelines and enjoyed , however briefly, being reunited with a number of AUK friends and also those in Audax Club Parisien. Briefly since with some 6,200 riders from 75 countries, there was little time to talk and volunteers were hard pressed to cope. Bob Lepertel, “father” of post war PBP, maintained that a limit of 3,500 riders should be set. Disappointingly, the self-reliant atmosphere of earlier PBPs was not apparent, the majority of riders were reliant, I believe, upon expensive gadgetry and motorised support (cars, caravans and mobile homes). Nostalgia? There were many “abandons” despite the clement weather. Too many new inexperienced riders? Altogether a rather expensive and disappointing trip. Should I reach the age of 85 in 4 years time, I won’t be returning there!

Noel Simpson Former AUK, ACP, LRM Correspondent

Pat Kenny Pat Kenny's eldest daughter, Helen, is running the Chester marathon in memory of Pat, who was killed in a road accident in 2011. This is also being done to raise money for the charity RoadPeace. Many riders in AUK knew Pat and had ridden with him, so if you wish to contribute details are on Helen's JustGiving page at www.justgiving.com/Helen-Kirkup2

Easter Trail : What’s that all about?

From Easter 2016 Audax UK will be organising a Trace Nationale, or Easter Trail†. This is a team event taking place over Easter, run according to rules set by the ACP, which finishes at the same location as the Fleche Nationale, or Easter Arrow. The 2016 event will start on Good Friday 25th March 2016. Although initially the Easter Trail can appear very similar to the Easter Arrow there are possibly more differences than similarities. Team sizes for a Trail can vary from 2 to 6 machines (tandems count as one machine). Teams are free to start whenever they like after 6am on Friday but must arrive in York between 8am and 11am on Saturday. This is not a 24 hour event like the Arrow and teams are free to take however long they like as long as they comply with the start and finish times. Routes must be between 201km and 360km. There must be three intermediate controls at least 50km apart. The finish control must be in York. I’m hoping to be in York in person to collect the cards but there will be further details nearer the time. There is a mandatory overnight stop of 8 hours. Teams will be asked to provide some evidence of their time of arrival and departure from the overnight stop. It’s anticipated most teams will choose to spend this time at a hotel or B&B but anyone wishing to spend 8 hours in a bus shelter may have to get a little creative with their proof of departure/arrival. There aren’t any rules regarding precisely what time you stop although it would likely be best to stop late evening and then set off again early in the morning. There is no prescribed maximum or minimum speeds for the event. Anyone wishing to take the maximum allowable time to ride the minimum distance would need to average a little over 9 kph (201 km / 21 hours) but any teams feeling confident of maintaining a high speed can delay their departure as late into Friday as they dare. Unlike the Arrow, there is no option to ride less or more than your declared distance and still have the ride validated. All teams must complete their declared route and arrive in York between 8 and 11 am on Saturday. Obviously, arriving early in York is not a huge problem as you will just have to wait until 8am before the finish control is open. For a ride to be validated at least 2 machines must arrive in York. All finishers will receive a certificate from Audax Club Parisien. It is a Brevet Populaire rather than a BRM event and as such is not eligible for any AUK points nor the majority of AUK’s and ACP’s awards or championships. As it’s the first time we have run an Easter Trail, or any event like it, it’s unclear how many or which type of riders will take part. It may appeal to experienced riders who wish to still take place in experience of the Arrivée in York but want a little TLC in the shape of 8 hours in a warm bed on the way there. Alternately, it’s an ideal introduction to anyone new to team events, as the distance and riding requirements are less than an Arrow, and it would serve as an ideal stepping stone to the longer event. There are similar events run in a few other countries which prove to be very popular. This event is more about putting together a team, planning your route, participating and hopefully having an enjoyable time rather than winning prizes. In fact, unlike the Arrow, there is no prize for the team riding the furthest distance. If you fancy doing something new and a bit different get a team together and we’ll see you in York at Easter. †subject to AGM 2014 vote

Martin Foley Events Secretary

PBP 2015 photos by (left) Dave Robinson & (right) Damon Peacock

6

Arrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

www.aukweb.net


BREVET POPULAIRE

Little Legs – Big Ambitions Jo-Anne Whitehead

O

n the 6th of September 2015, the youngest rider to date undertook the momentous challenge of riding the New Forest Autumn 50km Challenge for the first time. Samuel Whitehead aged just 6 spent months training for the event in his own individual way; riding his Islabike through the woods and back roads of Hampshire, trampolining, running around with water pistols and sticks saving the world from imaginary baddies as well as going out with his father Paul Whitehead on their kiddie-back tandem. Like all highlytrained athletes Samuel had to build himself up mentally and not just physically, hence an excuse for father and son to sit down on the sofa every afternoon and commandeer the television in order to watch the Tour De France, La Vuelta a España and The Cycle Show, banishing non-cyclist Mum, Jo-Anne, from the room. The weather gods smiled down as the big day dawned bright & sunny. It was an early start for father & son as it involved a train journey from Emsworth to the start of the event in Lymington. There was an air of excitement as they arrived and as expected such a young rider caused quite a stir. At 10:15 they set off, with Samuel having no problem keeping up with the group, for the first few miles before settling down into his own pace. That didn’t mean he was slacking

off though, when 3 riders on Bromptons went past he gave chase, giving the ladies a run for their money. After a pit stop in Bucklers Hard, to devour Mum’s homemade “magic” flapjack, it was back on the road. Dropping down into Beaulieu, Samuel dealt with the busy Boat Jumble traffic like a pro, riding with confidence. Stopped in Lepe for lunch joining other riders who were making the most of the warm weather. Of course in any 6-year-old's world lunch had to include an ice cream, giving him the energy to jump back on his bike and start the journey back to the finish. Samuel was a bit sluggish to start, though who isn’t after a large lunch, but soon got back into his stride. They approach Bucklers Hard on the return and faced a short sharp hill, to Samuel’s little legs it must have seemed huge but he got out of the saddle, dancing on the pedals, easily making his way to the top. The last few miles seemed to fly by, dropping down the final hill into Lymington Samuel clocked up an impressive 24mph (don’t tell Mum). Mum Jo-Anne and the event organiser John were waiting at the finish with cameras poised ready to record the momentous acheivement as father and son climbed their way to the finish, both with big, proud smiles on their faces.

Samuel who rode the event in his Dad’s Hampshire Road Club Colours is also a member of the Solent Pirates Youth Cycling Club and took part in the event for not only the guts and the glory but in order to raise money for Charity. Samuel, having heard the story of Widja Deysel, a 2-year-old profoundly deaf girl, who is in desperate need of cochlear implants, decided the best way to have some fun and help someone else was to: “do a really long bike ride”. Dad, Paul, is a seasoned Audax rider who recently completed Paris-Brest-Paris and has achieved the coveted super randonneur status 22 times in the last 25 years, and is proud that Samuel seems determined to not only follow in his footsteps but has big ambitions to far surpass them. In the end, all of Samuel’s efforts paid off because not only did he finish in an amazing time of less than 4:30 but he also managed to raise £500 going toward Widja’s Gear to Hear. We spoke to Samuel following the ride to see what he thought of it all. What was the best bit? – “When I went 24 miles an hour down a big hill.” What was the worst bit? – “When I hurt myself but I carried on because I didn’t want to let Widja down.” Hardest Part? – “Going up the hill at the end to the finish.” How did you feel at the end? – “Very tired but very happy.” What do you want to do next? – “I want to do a 100km bike ride with my daddy on the tandem and be a professional cyclist doing the Tour de France” When we asked Paul how it felt to cross the finish line with his son on their first Audax he said: “Amazing! A very, very proud dad.” If you wish to find out more about Widja’s Gear to Hear or would like to make a donation please contact Jo-Anne Whitehead at mrsjoannewhitehead@yahoo.co.uk

www.aukweb.netArrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

7


Return to Gladestry O n the last day of July, Paul and I made our way back to where it all began — Gladestry, Powys, near the border town of Kington. We live in Dolgellau and are spoilt for beautiful cycling. However the last 12 months has given our cycling a whole new dimension — we caught the Audax bug! During 2014 we were both feeling fit and strong; Paul through lots of cycling and a handful of tough sportives and me through discovering triathlon the previous year (yes, it was a midlife crisis thing!) We both had a bit of a “what next?” feeling. I don’t take any pleasure from running more than 5 km so upping the tri distances didn’t appeal and Paul was suffering some aches and pains from riding fast. We were looking for something challenging but not posey or competitive. At about this time, I met up with former school friend Marcus on Facebook and was inspired and a little in awe of his Audacity. His BCM blog brought back memories of hosting the event in the late 1990s when I was manager at Kings Youth Hostel. These people seemed far removed from my humble abilities, yet after some research I found an event which fitted the bill; both in terms of distance and scenery.

August 2014 – an early start and a brand new bike

We left Dolgellau at silly o’clock and travelled off into the unknown, fuelled by oats and enthusiasm. After Llanidloes we were in lesserknown territory; only in Mid-Wales could you be unsurprised by a cattle grid on a trunk road! On arrival Paul unloaded his new bike, as yet only ridden 5km and, with a little trepidation, embarked on the 200 km Elan and Ystwyth Randonnee. It was all new — Brevet cards; controls; what the heck are those?! I waved the 8

Arrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

Hundred House Hill

RANDONNEE

Alison Smedley

group off at 8am and settled down to tea and toast, happy in the knowledge that my ride was a more manageable 100km; the “Radnor Roundabout”. Gradually the group assembled and I had fun sneaking a peek at some of the very varied bikes including a tandem and several individual looking titanium machines. We set off with the minimum of fuss at 9am and at a very comfortable pace. Some riders disappeared into the distance; the tandemists amidst cries of ‘one, two, three up’! I had my route sheet visible in my barbag and it didn’t let me down. I soon fell into pace with a man using GPS and I asked him if he minded me navigating so I could see how I got on. “Ok, but if I disappear, you’ve probably gone wrong!” was his response. Fair enough, but it was me who spotted the small left turn at Newbridge, well described on the route sheet. The ride was undulating, clearly earning its 1.75 AAA points. The terrain was pretty similar to my favoured rides closer to home; small quiet lanes, hills, breath-taking views. Bwlch y Sarnau and the road to Hundred House stood out among these. The ride was punctuated at around 60 km by a café stop in Rhayader. I was ready for this; 60 km was quite a long stretch for me in one go. Replenished, cards stamped, we carried on down the valley; an ideal flat section for digestion. I was really pleased with how it was going and with only around 30 km to go felt we were nearly back already. I had reckoned without Hundred House hill and the Glascwm ‘walls’. My GPS companion commented that we still had 800 m of ascent remaining and that a 1-in-4 was coming up. I was happier in my ignorance and asked for no further information! This last section was very hilly but outstandingly

scenic and peaceful which reminded me why I always choose minor roads wherever possible. I felt quite sad when the ride was over. It had been the perfect little adventure; companionable, challenging and comfortable riding. After a cup of tea and a snack I gave some thought to the evening ahead. I wondered how Paul was getting on with his new steed and I made the decision to camp. We hadn’t packed any beer and the pub appeared to be closed so I rode with (well, attempted to keep up with!) Ashley and Cathy, the tandemists, to Kington in order to rectify the situation. I was pleased to add some more kilometres to my day and get to know the area a little better. Paul returned at dusk having had a brilliant day. The only disappointment was that we had to return home on the Sunday morning after waving off the various rides. We would happily have entered the 100km Gladestry Gallop and went home vowing to return the following year.

The route to randonneur

Well, Paul had done it and now it was my turn. I achieved my first imperial century at a memorial ride in Hampshire in September (I thought it was flat “down south”!) and booked onto a 200 km Audax from Upton Magna in October. After another early start, this ride began well. I was feeling strong and found a comfortable pace, this time riding with Paul. However, at around 50 km something went awry with my right knee. I plodded on and hoped it would pass after resting at the first control in Ludlow. A couple of miles on and it was agony. I had to make a decision to give up before heading off into the wilds of Mid-Wales. I sat in the lovely brewery in Ludlow while Paul returned to Upton Magna to fetch the car. Beer followed by fish and chips in Welshpool served to remind me that ‘DNF’ is not the end of the www.aukweb.net


RANDONNEE world and I was pleased with how we had managed the situation. I wasn’t pleased with myself however, when I discovered the source of my pain was a new cleat at the wrong angle! Paul went on to complete a permanent ride in October, the “Cambrian”, and suggested a permanent ride for my next attempt. We chose John Perrin’s ”Cheshire Loops” for late November and booked a B&B on the Erddig estate as a treat for afterwards. We opted to start from Holt, the closest control to home, and proceeded to visit the Ice Cream Farm at Tattenhall three times (the hub of the loops). It was only open on the second visit, when we had lunch outside on an unusually mild, sunny day for the time of year. The ride took us through a range of Cheshire scenery — Macclesfield and the edge of the Peak; Frodsham and the orange glow of refineries; and Chester along the canal (except for where the towpath was closed and we had to walk along the city walls!). My knee behaved itself and we completed the ride in the dark, early evening. I was ecstatic! We ate our packed dinner and proceeded to the B&B where tea and chocolates and a very comfy bed awaited.

Paul at cafe, Kinver, Circuit of Clee perm

Another 200 km calendar DNF in January and a successful permanent in February left me wondering what I was doing wrong! I decided that the Elan and Ystwyth from Gladestry would be my ‘third time lucky’ attempt at a calendar randonée. In the meantime I completed some 100-120 km permanents; The “Cambrian 1A” and the “Circuit of Clee”, and then John Perrin’s “Lutudarum” 120 km calendar event in Derbyshire, which was outstanding — my first meeting with the “van of delights”! A charity 105 mile ride in July felt very comfortable and my confidence increased.

August 2015 – Onward and Upward!

And so, one year on and with many lessons learnt, we headed to Gladestry. This time we arrived on Friday evening, in time for a drink at the local and a chat with fellow riders. There were familiar faces from last year and the Audax-related conversations made more sense. Saturday soon came round (the camping mats made much more comfortable by the beer!) and we collected our brevet cards (we now knew what to do with them!) and left at 8am. The weather was cool and dry, with rumour of showers and the ride to Rhayader passed smoothly. We had decided to ride together and it was one of our most well-matched rides in

terms of pace and I felt unusually relaxed and confident. The road to the Elan reservoirs was a new one to me, beautiful and not as demanding as expected. We both had a major energy slump at the same time as drizzle set in above Devil’s bridge. We were just in time with the chocolate ‘slab’ cake and lots of fruit pastilles. Lunch felt ‘so near and yet so far’. The heaviest rain occurred as we rode towards the prom in Aberystwyth and we ate our sandwiches and chips in a huddle under PDs Diner’s welcome parasols. The weather put paid to my tendency to want a leisurely lunch break and we were soon heading east. Once past Pontrhydygroes and its climbs I resumed my contented state of earlier and it was plain sailing with a tailwind and drier conditions to Rhayader. We were both cheerful and ‘together’ still and were well within time so made a conscious decision to enjoy the hilly section at the end of the ride. Glascwm “walls” were no mystery to us now but the sun was shining, the waterproofs were packed away, and the views were outstanding in the predusk light. It was with a little surprise and an emotional tear that I completed my first calendar randonnee, AAAs and all! At various points on Saturday’s ride, I decided I wouldn’t ride on Sunday. However, after a convivial evening with fellow riders, some beer and a great deal of food, those thoughts were history and I had a great night’s sleep. We were to part company on the Sunday. Paul was joining the 200km “Tregaron Dragon” and I was booked onto the 100km ”Gladestry Gallop”. Well, “galloping” round was unlikely but I was happy to have another day out on the bike and hopefully be fresh and recovered for the drive home when Paul returned. The first section of the ride was a bit challenging with a bee/wasp sting inside my jersey within 5 km. I chose to ignore it; after all, the sting pain was a welcome distraction from the saddle soreness! This was my grumpy state all the way to Knighton, where I got confused with directions and added 4 km to the route. I was very relieved to

On the Cambrian 1A perm

eventually rejoin the route and caught up with Mary and Bob who had been behind me earlier in the ride. This was only the first time today I would cause them such confusion! Coffee and cake at Clun were excellent and the ride then took us what felt like south but may have been otherwise! A couple of big climbs were interspersed by undulating Shropshire lanes and one hill seemed to defy the information on my routesheet. Apparently I mistook/ missed a junction and the next village didn’t appear where it should. Well, it did appear on a signpost and by the time I reached it, I was 10 km over distance! I was pleased I had packed my OS map as it helped me decipher what had happened, although my thoughts did turn to GPS at this stage. I arrived at Shobdon airfield, a surreal place to arrive by bike, and gave Mary and Bob a second surprise! Lunch seemed to take an age to arrive, but I decided to enjoy the sunshine and planes rather than panic about time. The ride from Shobdon, definitely south this time, was fairly level and should have been easy but I was tired now and the opportunities to ride out of the saddle were fewer! The lanes became progressively narrower and I eventually saw the “Powys” sign which marked the end of my adventure into England. Just as it seemed I was nearly back at base came the “sting in the tail” — nothing like Glascwm but still worthy of the name. I was delighted to complete what I had set out to ride. The long wait for Paul involved countless cups of tea, food, packing the camping equipment and a dip in the hot-tub. I think we have been quite spoilt by Ross, who definitely sets the bar high with his hospitality! So, “what next?” I feel I have only skimmed the surface of the possibilities of Audax riding and look forward to whatever the next twelve months has to offer, before we return once again to Gladestry.

Camping at Gladestry

www.aukweb.netArrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

9


PARIS–BREST–PARIS 2015

Paris–Loudéac–Paris

I

James Bradbury

t's not the title I had hoped to be writing, but I guess it's the most accurate one. I'd never attempted an audax of more than 600km before, but as I'd finished the three 600s I've done with some time to spare I felt confident, perhaps too confident, that I could complete the 1230km of Paris-Brest-Paris. It wasn't particularly that I was unprepared, although admittedly I hadn't studied the route or worked out a proper pace plan. I had however, given a lot of thought to clothing and equipment and ridden two 600s in case one of my earlier qualifiers hadn't worked out. However, my training in the weeks leading up to the event consisted only of commuting 74km twice a week. Family responsibilities occupied much of my time. I'd rarely been away from my wife and daughter for more than a couple of days and I knew I was going to miss them, so I tried to spend as much time with them as possible. Besides, At the start having a young child is like taking on a part time job, where you are on call 24 hours a day. Asking my wife to take on my share of that for a week is enough of a favour, without insisting that she cover all the weekends leading up to it as well. When registering for PBP I'd chosen the 90 hours “tourist” time limit, but been a bit slow off the mark, ending up with a 1845 start time in group M. I would’ve preferred to start earlier, giving me a chance to build up a time buffer before I needed to sleep. However, the advantage of going off later was that I had plenty of time to take photos of the many varieties of human-powered vehicles people were riding. Vintage bikes with plunger brakes, tandems, Bromptons, hand cycles, several kinds

10

Arrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

of recumbent and lozenge-shaped velomobiles. There was equal variety in the kinds of lights and luggage riders had and how they attached them. Great fun for a bike geek like me. More than 60 countries were represented and I'm ashamed to say that I could only recognise a handful of the flags shown on each bike's frame label. I was impatient to get going but, with only a couple of hours to my start, my stomach rebelled. I’m not sure if it was something I

ate but I do have a delicate stomach at times. Anyway, I made repeated trips to the busy portaloos and, when the loo roll ran out, was very glad I’d taken Marcus Jackson-Baker’s advice to pack some of my own! Disaster averted, I joined the 300-strong queue for my start and chatted to a Canadian chap about his wooden mudguards/fenders. The atmosphere as we set off was wonderful, people cheered, clapped and yelled “Allez vous” or “Courage”. I got the impression that it wasn’t just other cyclists and their relatives, but local people who had come along for the show. What I didn't realise was that this support would continue at every town or village we passed through.

Progress into the countryside was swift but not frantic, smaller groups formed and broke up as people got into their rhythms or climbed at different speeds. I didn't know anyone in my group, but chatted briefly with a few. It was a fairly warm evening, so I was wearing shorts and short sleeves along with the official reflective vest which would be mandatory after dark. To my surprise, I saw a group of cyclists from India wearing full length trousers, winter jackets and helmet covers. There were others who had even covered their faces, although the temperature was around 20°C. I guess it shows that people need to acclimatise to temperature as well as distance. No doubt us northern European riders would struggle to ride in 40 degree heat that felt normal to others. Before two hours had passed, about ten riders from group N caught us up. I was tempted to join them and benefit from drafting behind faster cyclists who had set off 15 minutes after my M group, but decided against it. I've learnt that there's a comfortable pace for each individual which changes as the ride progresses. Not so fast that you're sweating and getting out of breath, but not so slow that you get bored or cool down too much. Some people use a heart rate monitor to determine what that pace is, today I was going on feel. Either way, it seems to make a ride go better if you stay in that comfortable zone. As the light began to fade I came across an Indian rider stood by the roadside examining his

www.aukweb.net


PARIS–BREST–PARIS 2015 bike. I called out the usual, “You ok? Have you got what you need?”, to which he replied, “No, help!”. One of his pedals was coming loose and I was very pleased to have the 8mm allen key to fix it for him. Riding on, we chatted for a bit before I pressed on, keen to build up some sleep time. I didn’t see him again, but I hope his pedal stayed on and he had a good ride. I now had my lights on but, as they were battery powered, I tried to conserve power by setting them to low when in groups, reserving the brightest setting for when descending. I had an Ixon IQ and Fenix LD22 on the front and a B&M Toplight Senso on the back. All take AA batteries as does my GPS. I normally feel like too much of an environmental criminal to use disposable batteries, but for PBP I had made an exception and used lithium ones for their long life. I hope to get dynamo lighting soon. As I rode through a quiet village late at night I heard an unusual noise. For a moment I thought there was a problem with my bike or part of my luggage was loose. Then I realised it was a man stood outside his house clapping! Children who had probably been sent to bed hours ago waved out of upstairs windows and a few had joined their parents outside to give us encouragement. By the time I reached Mortagne-au-Perche it was after midnight and the car park was filled with bikes. I was a bit bewildered and it took me a minute or two to find a space to park. Inside I joined the queue for food, which was long but moved quickly. I looked around anxiously for the control-card stamping desk and eventually asked another rider who explained that this stop was for food only. The first control wasn't until 220km. Perhaps I should've done a bit more planning so I'd have known things like this! After some food and chatting I found a relatively quiet spot behind a display board and got an uncomfortable half hour's sleep. I didn't set an alarm thinking I'd be flexible on timing and with the noise and hard floor oversleeping was unlikely. Somehow I managed to spend nearly three hours faffing at Mortagne, which I knew I was far from efficient. At Villains-la-Juhel some hours later I was a bit quicker, but still managed breakfast and another nap. Back on the road I soon had a visitation from the puncture fairy. Mildly frustrating, but soon fixed. I didn't mind too much as the weather was good and the people were friendly. Many of the towns and villages had been decorated for the event, as if they weren't picturesque enough already. Old bikes were spray painted in luminous colours or adorned with flowers. Small groups of supporters sat in garden chairs at the end of their drives calling “Courage!” or “Bonne route”. Some offered water, tea, coffee or cake. One of the things I had intended to do when I first arrived in Paris was to send postcards to my family, but I'd forgotten to do this so I popped into a village shop and quickly chose three with pictures of Normandy châteaux. Unfortunately the shop was out of stamps and the local post office was shut — at ten a.m. on a Monday! At a larger town some local supporters kindly directed me to one that was open. None of this

took much time, but I could easily have saved twenty minutes had I done it in advance. At Fougères things were relatively quiet and service was quick. I was always around other riders on the road, but had no idea whether there were large groups ahead or behind me. I ate well and wrote the post cards as my lunch

went down. Feeling good, I got back on the road with 309km done — a quarter of the ride. However, aware that I had been far too much of a tourist so far, I "bounced" the control at Tinteneac; brevet card stamped and bottles refilled in about fifteen minutes. People's opinions of the hills varied depending on what they were used to. I found them long but not steep. I often got hot by the top of the climbs, but the descents were rarely difficult and I'd usually keep pedalling gently on the way down. I could certainly feel the distance by this stage and was going a bit slower than normal. When I reached the optional food stop at Quédillac I hastily decided to keep going to gain time for a proper rest later. It was 45km to Loudeac,

which seemed quite manageable. A short while later a rider overtook me in the familiar orange and white stripes of Chippenham Wheelers. I hadn't seen any of the others from my home club since the start, so I was keen to catch up for a chat. It was Sheni who, after a slow start, was riding strongly and planned to push on to St Nicholas to sleep. It felt good to ride a bit faster and I enjoyed comparing our experiences so far. However, I soon realised that I was riding faster than felt comfortable at that stage, so I eased off. Sheni also slowed down, possibly in sympathy or because he was also feeling the distance. It was now getting dark and the last ten kilometres to Loudeac became a struggle to keep the pedals turning. My wrists, neck and shoulders started aching. I urgently needed a rest and something to eat. I usually carry a chewy bar, dried fruit or a banana on any long ride, but I had neglected to stock up on these essentials. If I'd had a five minute breather and something sugary to eat at this stage, I think I would've been fine. But I wasn't fine. When we got to Loudeac around 9pm I was feeling achy, exhausted and couldn't contemplate food. I sat in the canteen and tried to nap, but it wasn't happening. Sheni arrived with his dinner and kindly offered me one of his drinks, but I didn't feel like it. Maybe I should've tried it, but I was afraid I wouldn't keep it down. He finished his meal and set off to do another 45km before bed. I was glad to hear later that he made it around within the time limit. After getting my card stamped, I found a bed, asking to be woken at 4am. I'm not really sure why I said 4am. I vaguely thought that this might not give me enough time to reach Carhaix before it officially closed. On the other hand, if I was giving up, why not sleep in late? I guess I was tired and indecisive. I woke around 3, still tired but much more myself again. I calculated that, once I'd eaten breakfast and packed up I would have three hours to cover the 76km to Carhaix. That sort of speed would be no problem if I was feeling fresh, but at that moment it felt completely unrealistic. So I got myself a good breakfast and chewed over the idea of abandoning — packing — DNF — not something I've ever had to do in the last two-and-a-half years of audaxing. I was feeling better and better, but not like I could race to the next control. Even if I made it there I wouldn't be left with much time to eat and rest before racing on to the next one. I had foolishly squandered too much time early on, leaving no margin for error. Then I'd made a great big error by not eating for 140km! It's one of those things that people who've done PBP warn you not to do — why hadn't I listened? Well I suppose I had listened to a lot of advice and it had been very helpful. What to pack, how to train, how to get there and where to stay, all that had gone to plan. I'd been more concerned about the logistics of getting me and the bike to the start, with the right kit, than actually doing the ride. I returned to the control room, handed in my

“I'd made a great big error by not eating for 140km”

www.aukweb.netArrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

11


PARIS–BREST–PARIS 2015 timing chip and abandoned the randonée. So what now? I could carry on to Brest at my own pace, making use of the controls and resting as required, but I wanted to be sure I'd get back to Paris in time to get a good night's sleep in the hotel and for the train back to England the next morning. I could possibly get a train from Brest or Loudeac, but as I wasn't injured I liked the idea of returning under my own steam, being self-sufficient. So, feeling at least that I had a plan, I set off into the darkness, this time heading East, following the pink and blue Paris arrows. I saw plenty of bright white LEDs heading the other way and it took me a while to realise that they were from the 84-hour group, who had started on Monday morning. Starting a ride when it is still dark is often unpleasant and takes a bit of extra effort, especially when riding alone. However, it all seems worthwhile when the sun comes up, revealing the countryside in a new light. Everything feels fresh and hopeful. Today was no exception. The sun filtered though the mist as it hung in silky waves over the fields. After the previous day's crowds and excitement, the quiet was blissful. I took time to enjoy the peace and solitude, taking a few pictures, aware that my photographic skills wouldn't do justice to the scenes. After a few hours, I arrived at Quédillac and decided that I could definitely manage a hobbitstyle second breakfast. The place was almost deserted, less than ten people including about three volunteers. I suppose most of them were taking a rest before the next waves of cyclists returned from Brest. One of the few others there was an American lady called Laurie who had started in my group. She was still on her way West and would probably be out of time, but like me was philosophical about not completing her first 1200km audax. Her aim was to reach Brest and enjoy the ride. We sat and chatted about cycling and life and taking time to build fitness for a good half an hour — the sort of time I might not have spent sitting still if I'd still been trying to keep to my vague schedule. Making sure I kept a banana in my jersey pocket in case of hunger, I rode east in the sunshine, enjoying the scenery but feeling slightly guilty being cheered by people unaware of my significant shortcut. At Tinténeac the volunteers tried to helpfully wave me into the control, but I rode past calling “J’ai déja abandonné”. I'm not sure if that's the best way to say it in French, but it was a phrase I was to repeat many times over the next few days and people seemed to understand. At some point on my return journey, I'm not sure where, near the top of a hill I spotted a very well-stocked table at the roadside. Home-made cakes, biscuits and, oh 12

Arrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

joy, crêpes! In broken and breathless French I ’fessed up and explained my situation to the three children attending the food. It seemed I was still allowed to partake, so I helped myself to a crêpe au sucre and dropped some coins into the donation bowl. Such a spread would've cost a fair bit to make. I did my best to make conversation with the kids, but to be honest I struggled. After I left I spent much time rehearsing French phrases as I rode in the hope I wouldn't stumble over my words so much next time. I arrived in the beautiful town of Villaines-la-Juhel late afternoon having covered about 230km that day. I wasn't really sure what to do next. The basic eat-sleep-ride pattern was disrupted, so I just stood there, taking it in. I was soon awakened from my reverie as a volunteer blew his whistle; there were more riders coming in and they needed to clear the thoroughfare. I parked the bike and headed for some food. At this relatively quiet time volunteers of all ages were taking the chance to use the catering facilities. Someone spotted me as I wandered in and called “cycliste!”. Five people leapt aside and ushered me to the front of the queue. I was getting tired of explaining that I was really in no rush, so I sheepishly thanked them and enjoyed a good meal. After that I had a shower and slept for ten — yes, ten — hours. The makeshift dormitory was a school music room, judging by the records on the walls, but it had thick mats and I had it to myself. I think some others came to catch a nap during the night, but by the time I woke up I was alone again. Getting up I felt good and I only had a 90km

day planned which would leave a 141km ride back to Paris for Thursday morning. As I rode I chatted to a few riders who were, in effect, 330km ahead of me. I found that how I felt about abandoning the randonnée changed depending on who I was speaking to. Those whose attitude was most relaxed, “Well, it’s still a nice ride”, made me feel comfortable about it, but others who had an, “Argh, what a shame!”, response made me feel more disappointed in myself. Curious, and something I'll bear in mind next time I meet someone else who has packed. By lunchtime I was most of the way through the day's riding, so in Mamers I found an Italian cafe and had a large pizza and dessert. More than I'd usually eat in one go on a ride, but I figured I could ride gently if I had any digestive trouble. The town had an attractive square, but I wasn't quite sure I liked the atmosphere away from the main PBP route. It was generally quiet, but I noticed groups of youths hanging around, apparently with not enough to do. Perhaps I was getting paranoid travelling alone, but I find it harder to read situations in foreign countries, even when I can speak a bit of the language. So I got back on the road and before long I was back at Mortagne, where I took some time to watch the riders arriving, applaud and take photos. I caught up with some other club mates who were tired, but doing well and hoping to reach Paris that night. After a lazy, but sociable afternoon I went to find a bed. I was amused when the volunteer described me as “Ce petit jeune” — “this little youngster”, but explained that although I was 36, I probably look young due to being slight of build, and having had much more sleep than everyone else. The thin mat on the floor was not particularly comfortable and I appreciated having ear plugs and a buff to cover my eyes — I think someone took a flash photo at some point. Still, I got enough sleep to set me up for another predawn start. The next morning when I got on the road the main thing I noticed was that I was overtaking everyone. I wasn't trying to, I was just going at what seemed like a comfortable pace. Of course it wasn't really fair as I had done a shorter distance and probably had much more sleep, but I was surprised how much difference it made. The dawn was not as dramatic as the last time. The sky remained a dark grey and looked rather threatening. A chap called Alex introduced himself and asked if he minded if he chat to me to keep himself awake. I was happy

“…he thumped his chest with his fist and mouthed the word ‘Courage!’…

www.aukweb.net


PARIS–BREST–PARIS 2015

to listen and learnt a few things about Ukraine, his home country. I wasn't aware that their flag — blue at the top and yellow underneath — represented the sky and wheat, the latter being the country's major export. We rode together for a couple of hours, sharing a love of Campagnolo ergonomics and home-brew bicycle hacks. I admired his Garmin mount made from an old bottle cage as we stopped for free roadside soup — "Je vous remerci les Francais!". At one point we were passed by Steve Abraham clocking up the miles for his one-year time-trial. I was delighted that he looked around and gave me a big grin — he must've recognised my YACF forum name plate. Alex and I parted ways at Dreux. He was meeting up with his team mates and I wanted to grab a quick bite to eat without cooling down too much. Having been really lucky with the weather it was now raining persistently, so I didn't want to hang around. I think it was as I was leaving Dreux, climbing a small hill, that I spotted a van wanting to turn into a side road across my path. In the UK, drivers can get a bit impatient in this situation, but he waited calmly. When I got out of the saddle to clear the road more quickly, he thumped his chest with his fist and mouthed the word “Courage!” I was grinning for a while after that. After another pleasant chat, this time with a British recumbent rider I was soon rolling along familiar roads into the outskirts of Paris. I was feeling strong and still overtaking people who had done the full distance with hardly a chance to close their eyes. Again I felt a bit guilty and got a couple of grumpy looks. I decided not to try and strike up any conversations. The mood at the finish was one of muted elation and relief. I left my bike in the parking lot, congratulated a couple of friends who had made the full distance and headed into the velodrome for paperwork and pasta. I couldn't find anyone I knew, so ended up sitting with a couple of older French men who'd just finished the ride. I was pleased that by this time I'd remembered how to speak French and one of them spoke English to a similar standard, so we took it in turns. It was a great way to learn and I could've chatted with them all day. No doubt I made plenty of blunders, but also managed a few jokes. It was the first PBP for Jean-Claude, at age 68. His younger friend joked that it had been easy for him to train, being retired. I explained my failed attempt and enjoyable journey back, how kind the French public had been and the wonderful scenery that made a pleasant change from England. In the months leading up to Paris Brest Paris, all through the qualifying brevets, I had felt oddly unenthusiastic about it, but now I understood why it is so special. Like many I thought it would be a one-off, but even if I had completed the randonée successfully, I think I'd still want to ride it again. It may be a big commitment, but if circumstances allow I do hope to come back in 2019, and do it properly.

PBP 2015 (from top): Tracy Short & Bob Johnson, Ian Hennessey, George Hanna, Steve Abraham (Photos : Damon Peacock)

www.aukweb.netArrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

13


ORDRE DES COL DURS

I

recently rejoined AUK after several years' absence, during which time I continued to cycle regularly but for a variety of reasons (mostly to do with work commitments and health), long-distance riding took a backseat in favour of more leisurely outings. Now retired and with health issues banished, I can look forward to stretching my legs a little. One interesting change I noticed on rejoining was that OCD CycloClimbing, a British organisation separate from but modelled on the Ordre des Cols Durs in France, had become part of AUK. Scanning the requirements for membership set me wondering if I qualified and, if so, at what level. Fortunately, I have kept a cycling diary (or more accurately a variety of diaries, logs, spreadsheets and miscellaneous jottings) stretching back to 1962 although a constant regret these days is that I never started to record my mileage until 1976. (My grand total currently stands at almost 220,000 miles so there is every chance that I could have qualified for the 300,000 Mile Club by now, but that remains a target for the future.) In principle, then, the task of putting together a consolidated claim for OCD membership was not out of the question, although it was obviously going to take a lot of effort to trawl back through my records, locate all the occasions that I had climbed over 300 metres, and check which of these were admissible under OCD rules. After musing over the logistics of the task, I decided to give it a go and see how it went. I am pleased I did, because it turned out to be hugely enjoyable looking back at my diaries, logs and photos extending over more than 50 years of cycling. When younger, I often wondered why I was bothering to keep records of rides in such a fastidious and obsessive fashion, and I think I always knew it was to capture memories that I would value in later life. It was nice to see this intuition confirmed after all these years. When completed at the beginning of this year (2015) my consolidated claim amounted to 175,101 metres, more than enough to qualify as OCD “Officer” (which requires 100,000 metres). The claim was duly sent off to Rod Dalitz for confirmation and I await Rod’s verdict! In the meantime, trips to Exmoor, Shropshire and mid-Wales have added another 5462 metres for 2015 so far. Claims as far back as 1960 are allowed. This

The infamous A939 Lecht Road from Tomintoul to Cock Bridge, 25 July 1980. is the year in which (aged 12) I joined the Cyclists' Touring Club, which now likes to play down its history and traditions as a club for touring cyclists and styles itself simply “CTC”. As I spent my early cycling life riding with West Kent District Association of the CTC, there were no opportunities to breach the magical 300 metre barrier until such time as increased independence meant I was able to range outside of the immediate area. A brief dalliance with cycle camping, in which I managed to reach the New Forest before taking the train back to Kent, convinced me that there had to be an easier way to tour. So my first extended solo tour (as a get to Ystradfellte 13-year-old at Easter 1962) to the Brecon Beacons before it closed at was based on youth hostels. Riding my trusty 10pm. As my hostel Raleigh Lenton, handed down from my Dad and accommodation equipped with Sturmey Archer 3-speed hub and was pre-booked, Cyclo Benelux 2-speed derailleur conversion and I had no giving a bottom gear of 32 inches, I did this trip money to pay staying in the youth hostels at Oxford, Welsh for alternative Bicknor, Ystradfellte, Glascwm, Mitcheldean, lodgings, I simply Marlborough and Ewhurst Green, most of which had to make have long since closed. So it happens that my Ystradfellte. very first OCD claim was for the beautiful roughPressured for time, stuff crossing of Cleeve Cloud (330 metres, 1083 I changed my feet) in the Cotswolds between Brockhampton intended scenic and Cleeve Hill en route from Oxford to Welsh route and took the more direct but deeply Bicknor on a cold but wonderfully sunny April unpleasant A465 Heads of the Valleys road. My afternoon. The next day (Good Friday), I ventured outside first real Welsh mountain climb was the early evening ascent into a strong headwind from England (and into Wales) for the first time in my Abergavenny up to 389 metres at Beaufort. (The life. The day was blighted by a front hub spindle high point on the Heads of the Valleys road breakage, which meant that I lost 7 hours (try is now 410 metres on the section bypassing finding a bike shop open on Good Friday in the Beaufort, but that had not been built then). This 1960s) and was constantly pushed for time to

Sheila on Col du Brabant (879 metres), Vosges mountains, France, 19 August 1976.

14

Arrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

Joining OCD

53 Years of CycloClimbing Bob Damper

Stuart Illingworth on the beautiful Ryvoan Pass (408 metres) from Glenmore to Nethy Bridge, Cairngorm mountains, 18 August 1979.

www.aukweb.net


ORDRE DES COL DURS Location

Height (m)

Cleeve Cloud, Gloucestershire

Date

326

19 April 1962

Beaufort, A465 Heads of the Valleys

389

20 April 1962

Bryn Melyn, Brecon Beacons

446

21 April 1962

Cnapiau’r Ferlen, Elan Valley

560

17 April 1976

Signal de Botrange, Belgium

694

7 August 1976

Col du Donon, Haut-Rhin, France

727

13 August 1976

Xonrupt-Longemar, Vosges, France

829

17 August 1976

Col de Gros Pierre, Vosges, France

955

19 August 1976

Ballon d’Alsace, Haut-Rhin, France

1178

19 August 1976

Grand Ballon, Haut-Rhin, France

1343

22 August 1976

Maloja Pass, Switzerland

1815

2 May 1983

Abo Pass/Gran Quivera, New Mexico

2082

1 April 1990

Tijera, New Mexico

2303

2 April 1990

Apache Summit, New Mexico

2314

8 April 1990

The evolution of highest point reached

was a real culture shock. Never before in my short cycling career had I experienced such a relentless uphill slog. Shorn of the imperative of reaching Ystradfellte, I swear I would have given up CycloClimbing there and then! And it wasn’t over at Beaufort, with another couple of 300-metre-plus climbs to come (the last one over Carn yr Arian in the dark, lit by a truly pathetic Ever Ready battery light) before I gained the hostel bang on 10pm and was greeted by a welcome late supper, which the warden had kindly kept hot for me well past the official meal time. Since that memorable Easter, I have accumulated OCD claims in 12 different countries (England, Wales, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Switzerland, Scotland, Italy, USA, Spain and Northern Ireland) on 13 different bikes (Raleigh Lenton, Carlton Catalina, F H Grubb “Galibier”, 1958 Gillott Nervex Pro, 1981 F W Evans, Peugeot tandem, a hired mountain bike, 1986 Rotrax, Airnimal, Dawes Galaxy, Carlton Flyer, 1949 Gillott Spearpoint, 1957 Gillott lugless). With the exception of the (aluminium-framed) Airnimal and the hire bike, these are or were all steel-framed bikes and the vast majority of my climbs have been done heavily-loaded with touring gear. Not for me the luxury of an ultra-light carbon-fibre road bike! My most claimed ascent is the A93 Cairnwell road between Spittal of Glenshee and Braemar, ridden six times in all when I was

living in Dundee from 1976 to 1980. Coincidentally, this is also Britain’s highest road. The first two of these crossings were in heavy snow in November 1977, riding to and from a freezing cold hostel weekend at Braemar. At 665 metres, the Cairnwell alone accounts for 3990 metres of my 175,101-metre total.

Higher and higher...

One intriguing exercise is to see how the highest point I have reached by cycle has evolved over the last 53 years, which I’ve shown in the table. It’s interesting to note the 14 year gap between Bryn Melyn at 446 metres on Easter Saturday 1962 and the crossing of Cnapiau'r Ferlen (560 metres) in the Elan Valley at the Rough-Stuff Fellowship Easter Meet in Builth Wells in April 1976. It certainly wasn’t a conscious decision to avoid hills during this period although on reflection I was giving a lot of priority to studying hard to build an academic career, and I also had a more diverse social life back then. It definitely looks like the annual tour to Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Germany and Switzerland in August 1976 firmly re-established my climbing credentials with 6 “high water marks” and a total of 15,157 metres claimed in three weeks. My August 1976 “high water mark” of Grand Ballon in France’s Vosges Mountains at 1343 metres stood for almost 7 years, until I climbed the Maloja Pass in Switzerland on a short tour out from Milan in May 1983. Although Maloja is considered a year-round pass, it is frequently closed by snow and I was lucky to find it open this early in the year. The last couple of kilometres of the climb up from the Italian border at Castasegna were truly spectacular with a series of progressively tighter and steeper hairpins, and with snow and ice increasingly

At the top of the legendary Rosedale Chimney Bank (312 metres), Rough-Stuff Fellowship Easter Meet at Malton, North Yorkshire, 5 April 1980. 10 years later, Penny and I stripped the splines off of the low gear cog on our Peugeot tandem ascending the Chimney Bank.

affecting the road surface as the summit was approached. In turn, Maloja held my height record for another (almost) 7 years until a work-related visit to Albuquerque in 1990 afforded the opportunity for a couple of weekend trips into rural New Mexico. On the way out to a twonight stay at Mountainair, the Abo Pass was climbed in beautiful spring sunshine on 1 April but not claimed as the next day I went even higher (2082 metres) en route to the Pueblo Indian Missions National Monument at Gran Quivera. This is truly remote and desolate high country. I did not pass a single building in the 25 miles between Mountainair and the mission ruins, only a couple of mobile homes replete with obligatory mean dog intent on seeing off intrepid cyclists. I can have seen no more than five or so cars in the complete 50 mile ride out and back to Mountainair. To cap it all, the temperature plummeted and the weather broke for the worse at Gran Quivera. My return to Mountainair was accompanied by high winds blowing tumbleweed across the road, heavy snow, hail, thunder and lightning in an aweinspiring demonstration of the power of nature in these high South-Western parts of the US. To say I was more than a little frightened would be an understatement. Still, at least the inclement weather kept the mean dogs sheltering in their kennels! The next weekend I visited “Billy the Kid Country”, staying for three nights at Alto, perched at 2270 metres high above the little town of Ruidoso. After spending Saturday following the “Billy the Kid Trail” to historic Lincoln, I rode on Sunday through the Apache Indian reservation and over Apache Summit at 2314 metres to Mescalero. As there is a paucity of roads in the area, I returned over Apache Summit although I took a different route into Ruidoso, visiting the Inn of the Mountain Gods for afternoon tea. To date, this remains my high water mark, having stood for 25 years.

Highlights

There have been many climbing highlights during these 53 years and it is hard to single out particular ones. Nevertheless, I have had a crack and gone for my top three, which (in best realityTV style) I give in reverse order: In August 1982, the Conquering Hero Inn at Rhewl, after which the pass was named, was still open for our ploughman’s lunch.

www.aukweb.netArrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

15


ORDRE DES COL DURS

Penny and Peter attacking the Horseshoe Pass (417 metres), CTC Birthday Rides, 5 August 1982

3. Mackenzie Pass, Oregon, USA (1635 metres), 10 August 1997: I rode this solo as part of a truly spectacular 82 mile circuit on a very hot but clear day. After an early breakfast in the little town of Sisters, the first part of the ascent climbed up through dense forest on a wonderfully deserted road before suddenly breaking out into an open lava field. The last part of the ascent gave wonderful views of the Three Sisters (prosaically named North, Middle and South, each over 3000 metres) and the various glaciers that adorn them. A long descent (22 miles of freewheeling) took me to the low point of the circuit at just 507 metres. There followed a long climb up to Santiam Pass (1468 metres) and back to Sisters on the heavily trafficked Highway 20. On this stretch, the unpleasant company of hordes of fast moving cars was relieved by exquisite views of Mount Washington to the right and Three Fingered Jack to the left. I arrived back at Sisters after 12 hours, tired and hungry, not having passed a single habitable building (never mind a café or shop) since leaving at 7pm. Bike ridden: 1958 Gillott Nervex Pro. Total claim for the day: 3091 metres. The author, Apache Summit, New Mexico (2314 m). My all-time highest claim, climbed in both directions (to & from Mescalero) on 8 April 1990

Penny and Peter on Bwlch y Groes, the “Hellfire Pass”, 8 August 1982. There are 11 chevrons on the OS map on the descent to Blaen-pennant! Bwlch y Groes vies with the Gospel Pass for the title of Wales’ highest road. I have them at 545 metres and 549 metres, respectively, with the Gospel Pass just shading the honours.

2. Portillo de la Sia, Castile & Leon, Spain (1240 metres), 29 July 1991: Penny and I crossed this high pass during a wonderful 45-mile ride out from Ramales de la Victoria in Cantabria. It was a beautiful summer day lower down, but the top of the pass was wreathed in cloud, lending an eerie feel to the scene and causing us to don hat, jacket and gloves for the exhilarating descent. Poor visibility made the first few hairpins truly hairy (well, they would be, wouldn’t they?). We broke out of the cloud a few hundred feet below the summit to be met by a stunning vista of peaks and limestone crags as far as the eye could see. We barely saw a car in the whole crossing. Bike ridden: 1981 F W Evans. Total claim for the day: 2160 metres. 1. The Conquering Hero, Denbighshire, Wales (428 metres), 5 August 1982: This little-known rough-stuff route across Llantysilio Mountain is named after the now-defunct pub in Rhewl at its southern end. I rode (no, walked) it on a hot and humid day as part of an official 59-mile ride during the week of the CTC Birthday Rides in Chester in the company of Penny and her son Peter on the tandem together with our old (and now sadly departed) friends Tony “Chalky” White and Barbara Braithwaite. Although quite short, it is a true delight with a riot of heather, and wonderful views of the Dee Valley, Berwyns and Snowdonia. The descent to the pub was steep! So steep that I had to abandon my bike temporarily to assist Penny in getting the tandem down. While she steered at the front, I held on to the back of the tandem to stop it running away. Then I retraced to rescue my own bike. The pub was still trading at this time and we had a ploughman’s lunch there, sitting outside in the hazy sunshine. The afternoon was pretty challenging to say the least, with further climbs over the Horseshoe Pass (417 metres), the celebrated Shelf Road (347 metres) and Eryrys (355 metres). Good thing it wasn’t me piloting the tandem! We then had an excellent cyclists’ tea at Maeshafn youth hostel before returning to Chester to round off a perfect day. Bike ridden: 1958 Gillott Nervex Pro. Total claim for the day: 1547 metres.

good reason to want to forget the following (again, given in reverse order) but unfortunately I cannot: 3. Carn yr Arian, Breconshire, Wales (342 metres), 20 April 1962: I’ve already mentioned this when recounting tales of my intrepid Easter tour. I’m sure it would be a delightful climb in better circumstances, but cold, hungry, tired and unsure of a bed for the night at Ystradfellte hostel, I struggled up this steep little horror in the pitch dark with only an Ever Ready battery light for company. I was not a happy 13-year old. Bike ridden: Raleigh Lenton. 2. Gathemo, Manche, France (336 metres), 1 May 2006: This was a disgusting cold day of heavy rain and high winds. I did not have far to go, so I intended treating myself to a leisurely restaurant lunch in the warm and dry. But it was Monday in northern France and nowhere was open. There were not even any shops open to buy food. So I stopped for a “lunch” break in this unremarkable and deserted high village and sheltered in my cape in the porch of the town hall (which was locked) with nothing to eat and

Lowlights

You don’t get to complete 53 years of CycloClimbing without some low spots! I have 16

Arrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

www.aukweb.net


ORDRE DES COL DURS the night, but guess what… I wasn’t the very last one back. That was someone who shall remain nameless (but their initials are “MB”). Bike ridden: 1958 Gillott Nervex Pro.

Some surprises and near misses

Mount Washington viewed from Santiam Pass (1468 metres), 10 August 1997.

only water to drink, and felt sorry for myself. That night, I stayed at a wonderful chambre d’hôte at Juvigny and had a fine evening meal replete with homemade cider in front of an open wood fire, so all’s well that ends well I suppose. Bike ridden: 1981 F W Evans. 1. Fishpools, Radnorshire, Wales (366 metres), 9 April 1995: It happens that most of my claims relate to individual tours and many are rough-stuff crossings. Relatively few were done on Audaxes, notable exceptions being Roc de Trevezel on PBP and the numerous Welsh mountain climbs on the Brian Chapman 600 — and this nasty wretch on the Monmouth CC The spectacular Tregaron mountain road will earn you two OCD claims of over 400 metres: Esgair Ffrwd at 481 metres and the legendary Devil’s Staircase at 475 metres, 11 August 1982.

Welsh Borders 300. As I was barely recovered from flu, I really should not have ridden but I needed a qualifying 300 for PBP and was running out of opportunities. I felt pretty good on the outward leg to Craven Arms considering I’d spent most of the previous week in bed, but I did have the benefit of a strong tail wind. This ascent of Fishpools (on the A488 between Presteigne and Crossgates) was well over half way but I was beginning to flag badly in the head wind. I’d also lost my water bottle somewhere en route and was getting dehydrated. Towards the top, my legs were giving out, but I just about made it. Then as I started the descent, I got a puncture. I never felt less like mending a puncture in my life. Completing in time was a mammoth struggle, but I did it. I was convinced I was going to be the last rider home, and was beginning to feel guilty for keeping the controller out of bed late into

Looking back through my records, I was struck by several roads that I fully expected to be good for a claim but which failed to attain the magical 300 metre mark. For example, the famous Trough of Bowland road in Lancashire certainly has all the look and feel of a high mountain pass but reaches only 295 metres. Another disappointment is Bwlch Llyn Bach between Corris and Dolgellau, every inch a mountain pass but actually just 285m. And one of the hardest climbs in the country has to be Sutton Bank in North Yorkshire, with six arrows on the Ordnance Survey map, which pulls up tantalisingly short at 298 metres. It is something of a shame not to be able to claim these climbs, just as it is for Leith Hill in Surrey (which I have ascended countless times over the years) at 294 metres, Birdlip Hill in Gloucestershire at 299 metres and Sudeley Hill also in Gloucestershire and also 299 metres high. Another near miss is the climb out of Davistow in Cornwall up to 299 metres on the edge of Bodmin Moor that I rode in 2010 en route to the CTC Birthday Rides in Falmouth. (Actually, a short detour to the main A39 would have enabled a valid claim but I was not at that time an OCD obsessive so the thought never crossed my mind.) Finally, it is surprising how few of Ireland’s mountain roads reach much in the way of height. In spite of several tours of the Emerald Island, both North and South, to date my only claim is Shillanavogy in County Antrim at 380 metres. At the other end of the spectrum are those ascents that turn out to be much higher than expected. Even in what is nominally lowland Britain, there are OCD claims to be had reasonably close to my Hampshire home in the Mendips and Blackdown Hills, and in the Cotswolds. Further afield, I well recall on my first trip to the Hautes Fagnes region of Belgium in 1976 the surprise at finding myself 695 metres up. And I thought Belgium was supposed to be flat! Well, I have now accumulated 3792 metres of claims in this “flat” country. Another surprisingly elevated area is Normandy in northern France, which is also “supposed” to be flat but easily

tops 300 metres at several places.

Fixing elevation

Measuring elevation accurately (“altimetry”) is notoriously difficult, and is really beyond the capabilities of the individual cyclist. Consistent with the honour principle on which the OCD claims system operates, all one can really do is have the best possible stab at establishing height. Good values for well-known major climbs, like Apache Summit and Maloja Pass, can usually be got on-line from the likes of Wikipedia or climbbybike. Otherwise, for my claims in Britain and in France, I have favoured spot heights taken from the official large-scale maps produced by the Ordnance Survey (OS) and Institut Géographique National (IGN), respectively, since it is reasonable to suppose that some resource and effort will have been devoted to getting these as accurate as possible. For those cases where my high point does not coincide with an official spot height, I have used the elevation data accompanying these maps as purchased from Memory-Map. This is presumably satellite data of good resolution (probably OS Terrain 50 for Britain). Nonetheless, satellite data remains subject to anomalies and artefacts, but it’s about the best you can do. This leaves the problem of establishing heights for countries where I don’t have maps of the same quality and detail as OS and IGN, often because they simply don’t exist or aren’t available to the public. In these cases, I have resorted to using elevationmap.net, which is doubtless based on satellite (rather than barometric) data with all its attendant problems. Sadly, the elevationmap.net data seems not to be of the same quality as the OS and IGN data. My experience is that quite large areas are sometimes labelled with the same elevation even in quite hilly terrain. These days, Garmin is of course an option, but Garmin devices use either a low-cost barometer, which is highly sensitive to atmospheric conditions, proper calibration, etc; or GPS, which is notoriously inaccurate when, for example, there is extensive tree cover, you are in the shadow of a mountain, or all available satellites are close to the horizon. The best bet is to treat Garmin readings as of passing interest, but unsuitable for verifying OCD claims.

What next?

I am completing writing of this article just before setting out for the Pyrenees where we hope to climb several of the major cols made famous by the Tour de France, including Tourmalet at 2115m. In July, I travel to Serbia and intend to take in some big climbs (on exceedingly bad roads) in the Stara Planina National Park, where my friend has a holiday house (well, actually, it’s more of a holiday hovel). Then in August, I will attend the International Cycle History Conference, where an ascent of Mont Ventoux has been included in the programme by the organisers. All this should see me well on the way to my next target of 200,000 metres ascent, which will qualify me for the OCD grade of “Commander”, although exactly who or what I will be in command of I am unsure.

www.aukweb.netArrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

17


Adam Young tweets PBP 2015 The following report of PBP is based on my tweets from the event and gives a reflection of my thoughts during the ride. My adventure started at 5 am on Monday 17th August and I had 84 hours to complete. Sunday 16 August 15:16 Howard Waller at the start

Saturday 15 August • 10:16 I’m on the Eurostar to Paris which is the start of my PBP journey. Hopefully my Burls titanium bike is somewhere on the train”

Sunday 16 August • 21:18 Waved off lots of riders inc. Toby Hopper; Howard Waller; Shu Pillinger; Rob Bullyment; Rob Webb; Chris Smith; Joth & Emma Dixon; Simon Proven; and Pete Tredget

21:22 Fingers crossed for Rob Webb on his Pashley because his crank came loose after only a few km. I hope he’ll be OK on PBP”

Unfortunately Rob failed to finish, having lost too much time with this early mechanical

Monday 17 August • 10:05 140 km done. Food time! Sandwich avec fromage. I can’t spin fast enough to stay in the groups :-( ”

10:07 Empty food stop for 84 hour start :-) ”

13:38 Now at 220 km control [Villaines la Juhel] so 175 km for today before I reach my hotel. Lots of loooooong straight roads so far.”

17:22 I’m at a control. Don’t ask me the name! 310 km done so 90 km to Brit Hotel in Saint-Méen-le-Grand. Been riding with a Kiwi also on fixed”

Sunday 16 August 16:08 [It was Fougères…!]

Nick Wilkinson with his Brompton at the start

17:34 Food time on PBP”

20:06 Tinténiac control. Got monsoon rain after last control but sun is now out so dry again. 35 km to Brit Hotel in Saint-Méen-le-Grand”

21:55 397 km done & now at the Brit Hotel. It has been a lovely evening after a bit of a cold day. My gilet hasn’t come off.”

22:44 Looks like I’m not the only person riding PBP who is staying in the Brit Hotel tonight.”

Tuesday 18 August • 04:44 I’ve had a good sleep in my hotel. It is now time to get up & leave SaintMéen-le-Grand. Next stop is the Loudéac control”

07:31 Loudéac at 7.25 am. This morning was beautiful but it got colder from 5am, not warmer, very odd. Nice fog patches”

07:40 Quick 15 min stop and I’m off again. 78 km to the next control.”

09:54 Oh, bonus control at 495 km. Shhh, it is a secret!”

Sunday 16 August •16:28 Rob Webb with his Pashley

10:02 Sorry to hear that Rob Webb & Drew Buck have both packed :-( ”

10:05 My PBP brevet card is starting to look pretty but I still need more stamps!”

11:13 Puncture stop for the person I’m riding with. Good job I stopped as he had no tyre levers....”

12:01 Carhaix-Plouguer control on PBP. That last leg took far too long. Hopefully the next leg to Brest is quicker. But sun is out”

16:14 At Brest. Time to get blown home. It’s been good seeing lots of riders heading east. Lots of VC167 & LEL tops”

16:45 Pasta eaten. Time to hit the road back to Paris”

20:37 I’m back at Carhaix-Plouguer but 130 km to Saint-Méen-le-Grand where I’ll sleep. Shame it isn’t a bit closer but hey ho.”

18

Arrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

www.aukweb.net


Monday 17 August 11:39 A selfie taken around the 170 km mark

Wednesday 19 August • 00:51 At Loudéac. 50 km until sleep. It is a nice night. Overtaking 100s of 90 hr riders”

03:47 Long day 2 on PBP. Back at Saint-Méen-le-Grand at 3.15 am. 840km now done. Feeling good. Beautiful night. No dozies, but now sleep”

08:50 8.50 am and back on the road to Paris after a good sleep in Saint-Méen-le-Grand”

10:26 Tinténiac control. Nice cool morning. I feel nice & awake after my sleep. Just a short 50ish km hop to Fougères.”

10:27 Keep sending me messages to keep me going on PBP. Even tho I don’t get chance to reply it is good to read them.”

12:49 Fougères. Rode last 50km with 2 French guys. No common language but the paceline worked magnificently.”

13:08 Now in main budge of 90 hour riders so long queue for food at the Fougères control. Instead I’m in a café. I hope service is quick! Next leg is ~85km”

17:02 Just leaving Villaines-la-Juhel control”

21:46

Tuesday 18 August 08:06 Sunrise somewhere after Loudéac

Mortagne-au-Perche on PBP. Some dull straight roads but pretty skies. Next stop is a hotel in Senonches about 40 km away”

Thursday 20 August • 00:09 In great hotel in Senonches. Lovely room & views of PBP from the window. Good work by Philippa for booking the hotel. 100 km by 5pm tomorrow, so all good”

07:55 Back on the road to Paris after a good sleep & breakfast. It is drizzling, but hopefully I’ve missed the worse off the rain”

09:43 63 km until end of PBP. It’s raining so I can finally enjoy the ride!”

12:42 PBP c’est tou :-) The last section was wet but was a really lovely ride through the woods. Now to get my brevet card stamped”

16:50 Now back at the velodrome with Toby Hopper for celebratory beers”

17:17 Velodrome at PBP has run out of beer; 1200 km of cycling and the bar is dry. Time to leave.”

Friday 22 August • 12:33

Tuesday 18 August 15:37 Arriving in Brest

I’m waiting for the Eurostar home after my PBP adventure. Soon I’ll have forgotten the dull roads & just remember all the highlights.”

13:07 Despite riding PBP I’m not the smelliest or weirdest person on the Eurostar. That medal goes to the guy next to me.”

13:16 The Eurostar has departed & it isn’t full so the smelly weirdo has moved to a window seat. I’m relieved”

Saturday 23 August • 14:22 I did PBP in 79½ hrs. My GPX tracklog [which is here: http://tiny.cc/PBP] gives 50¼ hrs of cycling & 21 hrs in hotels. Ride fast; sleep lots.”

www.aukweb.netArrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

19


BREVET POPULAIRE

Event Date

29 August 2015

Distance

100km (104km)

Organiser

Our First 100k The Grantown Gallop

I

had been thinking about bringing my 8-yearold son, Owen, on an audax on our tandem for a while. I had asked if he would like to do a 50k, but as a veteran of a 50-mile sportive, he told me he wasn’t interested in anything shorter than 100k. I picked the flatter of the two Scottish 100s left on the calendar for the year — the Grantown Gallop. We have taken several holidays in nearby Aviemore and Boat of Garten, so I was also familiar with the roads. It wouldn’t normally trouble me too much on my own, but I wouldn’t want to get lost with Owen. We drove up the A9 on the Saturday morning for the relaxed 10am start. I installed Owen in the Chef’s Grill with a bacon roll, while I reconstructed the tandem. We have a Circe Helios and I have discovered that by removing

the rear wheel and turning the front wheel 90 degrees, I can carry it on a tow ball mounted rack. We were just about ready to go when Alex Pattison came over to let us know we had 20

Arrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

missed the start — I assured him we would not be troubling the peloton and let him press on to catch up. We set off in dry but overcast conditions and had a tailwind assisted pedal through Newtonmore and Kingussie towards Aviemore. I’m still not entirely sure what the problem was with the gears but we were spinning out very quickly, apparently in top gear. When we got back it appeared that we were unable to get up to the smallest 3 rings at the back (the gears are 2×8 speed). No doubt there will be some readers who know exactly what I did wrong. I’m assuming it must have been something to do with the wheel placement, because when I reconstructed the bike back at home after the event, the problem seemed to be sorted. When I came up for Steve Carroll’s Forres Foray a couple of years ago, I remember seeing many motorbikes. I checked online this year and confirmed that “Thunder in the Glens” bike rally was on again this year. I thought Owen would enjoy the spectacle, and he shouted “Thunder in the Glens!” every time a motorbike passed. When we got to Aviemore we accidentally got caught up in an unoffical procession of Harley Davidsons travelling up the main street, much to our amusement. Unfortunately it was at this point that we came to the attention of the Cycling Gods, who decided that we were having altogether far too much fun. We were dealt a deluge of rain and a chain off incident in quick succession. By the time we reached Carrbridge, our planned lunch stop, we were soaking wet and Owen was pretty cold and feeling miserable. The café we have visited previously was full, but there is another across the road, and we were served a splendid meatball and mozzarella panini each. Warmed

Grantown Gallop

Start

Steve Carroll Newtonmore Inverness-Shire

up and cheered up we pressed on to Grantown. The rain had stopped and we took a lovely quiet back road. We could see some other cyclists ahead of us, and I was treated to a sudden surge of power from the back. “Catch them up, Mum”, Owen instructed me, but I suggested we take it easy and save energy instead. We got to Grantown fairly quickly (for us) and we weren’t really ready for another stop. We bought an ice cream and stopped briefly

to watch the official Thunder in the Glens procession arrive. I was a bit concerned we were due a headwind for the next section and I really wasn’t sure if we would manage to get back in time, so I was keen to get moving again. Owen had selected the largest ice cream in the shop and was still only half way through, so I asked if he would manage to eat it whilst sitting on the back of the tandem. He reckoned he could, so we got going, and he managed without incident. Next was the "irksome middle section". I have discovered that most audaxes seem to have one these, usually coinciding with a headwind. Far enough on to have lost all freshness, but not far enough to see light at the end of the tunnel. The road through Nethybridge and on to Coylumbridge is quiet, with views towards the Cairngorm mountains and should have been www.aukweb.net


REVIEW

SPOT Tracker I thought some AUK members may be interested in a device which I recently found out about, called Spot Tracker. It is a personal GPS Tracker that when switched on gives a live update of your position, wherever you are in the world. The position of the Tracker can be seen by using a computer with the correct link and thus family and friends can view your location in real time. Spot Trackers have been used by sportsman in long distance races, e.g. The TransContinental Cycle Race, and in such events a special web page is set up so all the racers carrying the trackers can be viewed at the same time to see who is leading and their current location. Having watched a friend in the race it did become quite addictive watching his progress across Europe from Belgium to Instanbul. I bought a Spot Tracker recently for a small (2day) bikepacking MTB Event — my wife enjoyed watching my (lack of) progress! The Tracker has a button that can be pressed for extreme / life-threatening SOS situations. A quote from their web site says: The SPOT Gen3’s SOS function can be used in the unfortunate event of an emergency scenario or other life-threatening situation. Once activated, SPOT will acquire its exact coordinates from the GPS network, and send that location along with a distress message to the GEOS International Emergency Response Coordinating Center every five minutes until cancelled or until the batteries are depleted. The Emergency Response Center notifies the appropriate emergency responders based on your GPS location and personal data as well as notifying your emergency contacts about the receipt of a distress signal.

I found this very reassuring when mountain biking in a remote areas on my own, a good

insurance policy, so to speak, and was my main reason for buying the tracker. I often ride into remote areas on my MTB and one slip with broken bones in a non-phone-coverage area and it could be hard to summon assistance — but I can call SOS in extreme emergency on the Tracker. There is also a “help” button which sends a signal to a person whom you have already identified as a recipient, telling them you need their assistance but it is not an emergency. All this in areas of no mobile phone coverage. There are some other functions more suited to really remote locations, e.g. send an “I am OK” message to home, but not really needed for most Audax uses. However for Audax use I thought it would be great to involve your family and friends so they can view your progress in some of the longer events and Tours, e.g. PBP or LEJOG etc. It would also be useful for Cycle Tour Organisers who could track lost riders who go off route! The unit weighs approximately 100g, and the signal can be sent out a time interval that you choose, from every 2½, 5, 10, 30 or 60 minutes, the longer intervals improving battery life. Batteries are AA and last 20 days’ continuous use at 2½ minute signal intervals. The Tracker is waterproof to one metre for 30 minutes. I also now carry it on walking trips into the hills, switched off but ready to switch on should I have an accident and need to summon help. It turns itself off when you stop and on when

more enjoyable but we were getting a little too tired to appreciate it. I was relieved to reach Coylumbridge and after a brief spell on the main road, we turned off on to the road to Glenfeshie. The café control at Inshriach Nursery was a welcome sight and they had a great selection of cakes. I ordered a raspberry sponge and Owen opted for a chocolate cake. Unfortunately he was too full to finish it, having been grazing on the contents of his tri-bag (mostly jelly babies) throughout the ride. For the last leg I pressed the boomBOTTLE in to action, which is a Bluetooth speaker which fits into a bottle cage. I don’t like to annoy other cyclists with my music, but we were travelling alone and it provided a great boost to Owen’s morale. We headed back to the arrivée with an eclectic mix of Queen, David Guetta, Afro beats and 90s europop. A warm welcome awaited and we tucked in to our tea whilst riders on the 200 Rothes Reccie came in. We had made it with an hour to spare and very few complaints from the back of the tandem. I think the most important thing when cycling with children is not to over do it and put them off cycling. I was greatly encouraged the following morning to be asked, “next can we do a 150k?” Thanks very much to Steve and Denise for a wonderful audax and, of course, to my most excellent stoker, Owen.

Mary and Owen Morgan www.aukweb.net

you go, and could possibly be used as a simple theft tracking device if hidden in luggage on your bike. Phone apps are available so people can watch your position and progress on a smart phone, but I usually just use a link to the web page and never used an app. The only real downside is that a subscription needs to be paid monthly, approx £100 per year, to keep the tracker active. But for remote use, mountain biking or remote cycling on your own, I believe it is like an insurance and useful to have. The cost of the unit is approximately £100 to buy, but hire options are available, and sharing a Tracker with friends can help save costs. The organisers of the event which I did set up control points alongside which the tracker had to pass to register the rider being on the correct route. Maybe sometime in the future this could be the future of Audax? Who knows? Steve Abraham is carrying a Spot Tracker on his One Year Time Trial, and his progress can be seen on the TrackLeaders website: http://trackleaders.com/ oneyeartimetrial15i.php?name=Steve_Abraham I hope you found this interesting, and maybe family and friends can spot-track your next 400 km.

Graham Adcock

A traditional shop with well equipped workshop and experienced staff.

For ALL your cycling needs. 8 Shelfhanger Road, Diss, Norfolk IP22 4EH

01379 650419

www.madgettscycles.com Arrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

21


BREVET POPULAIRE

Garboldisham Groveller 200 John Thompson

At the time of writing — late July — some might say the weather in East Anglia is good but my judgement is “the better side of reasonable”. When the sun breaks through it is very warm but it keeps clouding over sometimes with showers. When it is sunny I get optimistic we are going to get a good summer and when it clouds over I think it more likely it will be looked on as that brief warm spell that built our hopes up but as usual didn't come to much. By the time this appears in Arrivée we should know. Whatever, the week up to the “Garboldisham Groveller” was the period of a heatwave when some areas reached 31°C. I followed the weather forecasts and they consistently indicated the hot spell would continue all week but Sunday would be a bit cooler. No bad thing, I thought, and it was also predicted the wind would drop —GREAT! However, the other prediction for the Sunday was the possibility of a few showers — “oh no, I will get the blame for that, especially as rain is not forecast for any other day”. For the benefit of those who have not read my article on Andy Terry’s “Santa Special”, I explained that my events have a reputation for heavy rain, so when it rains in the events I ride it is popular to blame me! According to organiser Tom Elkins, it depended which channel you watched Saturday evening as to whether rain was forecast. I watched the ITV local forecast, which indicated a slight possibility of light showers in the afternoon in, guess where, north Norfolk! It still

Getting ready…

indicated the wind would drop for most of the day, which I was relieved about. I rode a 10-mile time trial on the Saturday afternoon and the headwind on the return was an absolute brute. I have explained before that I often like to take digs for audax rides. However, I regard 40 miles as a tolerable driving distance and rising at 5.00 am was a lay-in relative to the times I have been getting up for some time trials. While the kettle was on I opened the back door to get a feel of the weather. Of course that time of day is not necessarily a good indicator and I had to allow for early morning coolness. However, it felt it might be accurate that it was going to be a bit cooler. I did not take too much notice of there being no wind — yet! Nothing had changed when I went to the car just before 6am, 22

Arrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

rider, who had a Sat Nav, came along and but I hadn't driven far before the sun came out pointed out the path. Annoying, but not a lot properly and even that early I felt the need to of time lost. However, my next error was more wind the window down. Nevertheless, on arrival at the HQ it did feel cooler than it had previously annoying. The name of the Aylsham control on the card was Purdy's tea room but the name at that time of day, but still good. I tend to be displayed at the entrance is Woodgate nursery. cautious about 'dressing down' so the fact I I stress this is not a criticism of Tom as the started an event at 8am in shorts, short-sleeved instruction on the route sheet did say Woodgate top and headband says it all! nursery. However, I was not studying the route I last rode the “Groveller” in 2011. Tom sheet as I was following someone with a Garmin, has made some changes to the route since whom I figured was sure to get it right — he then and this year had to make some late didn't! We ended up in Aylsham changes. The route had been town having ridden past the going to Sandringham but this control. It is a fair way before the year it clashed with the royal town so quite a lot of time lost. christening, which meant road Aylsham was at 63km and I had closures and many of those that a quiche, chips and salad, which weren't closed were busy. Very filled me well and kept me going inconsiderate, and on the day for a long way. It was while I Tom had yet to receive a reply was in the control that it started to his letter of complaint! The raining. At around 10.45 am it was prediction that the wind would earlier than had been indicated. drop was proved right — it On leaving the control it was on was forecast to get up in the with the long-sleeve top and the afternoon so more on that in rain was continuous for I think a while — giving an easy ride The author at the Great Bircham Control nearly three hours, sometimes to start along pleasant lanes heavy but mostly light. through south Norfolk including parts of From Aylsham through to Wighton (at around Thetford forest and the village of Kenninghall 105km) the route follows my own routes quite a to the info control at Spooner Row (23km). I lot, either in the same or opposite direction, and had ridden most of the lanes before but there to varying extents depending on the distance. were some new ones for me, which was good. It was just outside Aylsham on the B1354 that David Gigg (East Anglian CC) caught me up at I suffered another 'silly' delay. An HGV was one point and we rode together for a little way, blocking the road, the driver trying to reverse David asking me about the time trial the day into a driveway. After throwing up his arms in before, which he had decided not exasperation a few times the driver managed to to enter. I assured him he hadn't sort it and I proceeded into the area between missed much. David explained Aylsham and north Norfolk I jokingly call the he was doing an extended (ECE) “Beeching-hills area”. I expect most realise the ride having ridden from Norwich saying “the only hills in Norfolk are railway to Garboldisham and was riding bridges” is not correct. Nevertheless, in that part back afterwards to make it up to a of Norfolk there was once a “maze” of rail lines, 300. I judged it would be tactless and thus there are a lot of old railway bridges to say I would think of him while so I extend the saying with “…and Beeching I was in the pub! David is a much closed the lines”. (Those with railway knowledge faster (and younger!) rider than me might realise I am being somewhat unfair to so he bashed on. It was during the Dr Beeching as most of the lines closed before next leg after Spooner Row that it clouded over and rain looked likely. The route was through Wymondham (a picturesque historic market town), past a cafe I intend using for a 160/200 event I am planning and then along part of my intended routes, albeit in the opposite direction, to Barnham Broom. The next info control at 40km was at a crossroads near Honingham and then it was on to the control at Aylsham. I suffered a little frustration near Attlebridge, At Spooner Row Info Control not properly understanding the instruction about using an off-road his time as British Railways chairman, but is it path. I missed it and did the very thing we were really considered important?!) That said, very instructed not to do, in going to the junction few of the hills of note — by Norfolk standards with the the main road. On retracing, another www.aukweb.net


BREVET POPULAIRE

CC Sudbury at the Bircham Control

— are railway bridges, including those on the B1354 between Aylsham and Melton Constable. This stretch is used by Norwich clubs for their reliability rides and I always dread it knowing I will be trying to “hold someone's wheel” for dear life but will probably get dropped anyway. I was therefore pleased to find the long drag between Saxthorpe and Briston easy. I entertained thoughts that I might be getting fitter as I don't usually find it that easy even at my own pace. Melton Constable was once dubbed “The Crewe of East Anglia”, due to being one of the main interchanges between the former Midland and Great Northern Railway and some of the other lines. Even then it was joked that M&GNR stood for “muddle and get nowhere railway”. Very little can now be seen of the village’s former railway glory other than a “sentimental” reference of paintings of steam engines on the village sign. I am not old enough — no, I'm not! — to be certain of the location of the former station but I think it is at the north-west end of the village alongside the B1354 in the early stages of another long drag of a hill. There is a building that looks vaguely like it might have been a railway station, and it is in a big

Great Massingham

yard suggesting it might have been the site of the considerable railway activity that archive photographs indicate. The hill however is a ”natural” one. If it was a railway bridge, one could curse Beeching because the “final nail in the coffin” was during his era when closure of the line between Sheringham and Melton Constable in effect stopped the village's rail service to and from Norwich. Back to the ride. It follows the long drag that starts in Melton Constable village along the B1354 toward the junction with the A148 to turn into lovely north Norfolk lanes through the picturesque village of Thursford — renowned for steam rallies — skirting the Walsinghams to the also picturesque village of Wighton. It was around now that the rain stopped and the sun got out again, making it a good time to be in www.aukweb.net

that pretty part of Norfolk. Just after Wighton there was a short stretch along the A149 coast road to the info control at Burnham Deepdale (110km). In 2011 it had been a full control using the café. Clearly a lot decided to unofficially use it! While answering the info question I said to Peter Evans that, because of the rain, no doubt certain things had been said about me behind my back — which he confirmed (although he didn't say what!) Being a slower rider I decided against an unofficial stop continuing along further lovely lanes and scenery to the info control at a crossroads near Snettisham (128km) and then to the full control at the cafe at the preserved Bircham windmill (136km). In the bright sunshine the windmill was an attractive sight so with this article in mind I conceded to losing a little more time to take photos. The setting and the cafe both being good made it a particularly nice control. The return of the sun had of course come at a price with the wind getting up, but it was not particularly troublesome. It was after leaving Bircham late afternoon — well, that was when I did! — that it got up strong (again, the forecast had been accurate). In fairness, the precise time of the rain and perhaps how long it lasted were the only slight inaccuracies, but luck was on-side as it was predominantly side-tail. Considering the strength of it I admit a feeling of relief. The leg from Bircham to the info control at Necton (166 km) was along a lot of pleasant wooded lanes, many of them new to me, and included the picturesque village of Great Massingham, where I paused to take a photo. I was very disciplined at Necton! The info question was about the Premier store, which was open making it tempting to grab a drink and sandwich but I resisted. I was helped by looking at my watch and realising I could be on a personal best ride. Also, I was not particularly hungry, the ham and cheese sandwiches with crisps and salad plus a slice of banana cake at Bircham having well filled me, and my bottles were also pretty full. From Necton it was along a mixture of familiar and “new” lanes to Watton and into Thetford forest to the info control at, wait for it… Thompson (182km)! It was here that I had my only disappointment of the ride. As I was alone there was nobody to take a photo of “Thompson in Thompson!” As the info question was about the village sign it would surely have been the perfect pose! I realise it is possible to take photos of yourself with a digital camera but I decided it would be too time-consuming, particularly as it still seemed I was just about on a PB. From Thompson the route was simple enough, joining the A1075 for a little way and

then along the B1111 through East Harling to Garboldisham. I looked at my watch a lot trying to judge whether I was still on a PB. It was clearly a close call, which caused me frustration with discrepancies on signposts with regard to the distance to Garboldisham and when stopped at the level crossing by Harling Road station it felt as though the train had just left Cambridge — not the sort of comment you expect from a rail campaigner! Good news however; on finishing, I had beaten my PB by three minutes. That was despite losing a fair amount of time with navigational errors and if it wasn't for them I would probably have missed the HGV blocking the road. Also, while I must not exaggerate the time it took, I stopped for photos — oh yes, and

Bircham Windmill

the level crossing! After three cups of tea and a bit of food I decided it was time to get home to then get to the pub ASAP. Imagine my frustration driving home when on reaching Diss I discovered there was a not-inconsiderable roadworks diversion, and began to be concerned that if the pub was quiet they might close early. Fortunately I need not have worried and finished the day relaxing over pints of Adnams and reflecting on a PB. David Gigg entered my thoughts but I suspect he had got home well before I was in the pub. Indeed, while he may not have been home by the time I finished the ride — it is possible he was! — I expect he was well on the way.

Event Date Distance Organiser Start

Garboldisham Groveller 5 July 2015 200 km Tom Elkins Smallworth Garboldisham

Arrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

23


PARIS–BREST–PARIS 2015

Photomontage by Carlos Wong 24

Arrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

www.aukweb.net


PARIS–BREST–PARIS 2015

I

t all started with an email from my starting from Poynton in early May and, to preferred charity in April 2013. With no finish, the “Windsor-Chester-Windsor 600” previous sporting experience, after a three at the end of the month. The latter, having month rigorous training programme I originally been created with the specific managed to complete RideLondon 100, purpose of allowing British riders to qualify my first of several 100+ mile rides. I had got the for Paris-Brest-Paris locally for the first time, cycling bug. I did not want to lose my newly provides the ideal elevation profile to prepare gained fitness and, despite not being a fast you for the main experience in France almost rider, I did enjoy the long miles exploring new three months later. places in the countryside. Finally on Monday 17th August 2015, we I came to know about Audax when my cycling started with the 84-hour group in the 5:15 am mate and neighbour, Noel Toone, suggested we wave. The much larger 90 hour limit waves had do a 400 km ride in France in less than 27 hours started the day before. We had ridden about 60 the following July (“The Bataille de Normandie”, miles as a warm up that weekend, to and from organised by the Cyclo Club de Montebourg). train stations and, on Sunday, around Paris. I was Less than 10 mph average sounded easy. really impressed by the magnitude of the event Soon I would discover that it would be more and diversity of nationalities. What had started challenging than the simple arithmetic seemed as a once-in-a-lifetime plan would begin to give to imply. As a way of preparation, I felt that room in my mind to the possibility of a second I needed to do some of the shorter brevet time. distances first. A few 100- and 150-mile DIYs In a comparatively quieter group, without would be followed by “The End of Hibernation the massive cheering crowds from the previous 200” from Hauxton in March, and a much afternoon, we were all following the leading warmer “Rutland Weekend 300” from Baldock in motorbikes which opened the traffic for several June 2014. miles until we left Paris. In the middle of several By July I had got my Randonneur 1000 for hundreds of riders in the dark with their lights the year. Conscious that having done a BRM400 on, this was the kind of experience that can during that season allowed me to pre-register only be had every four years if you are lucky. for PBP, I started considering it seriously. The For somebody relatively slow like me, used fact that I did not have to commit firmly until to training on my own, the benefits of group close to having completed the qualifying Super riding became more than evident. That first Randonneur series also gave me some flexibility. day I clocked just above 240 miles to Quédillac I managed to ride all my PBP qualifiers at 16mph moving average. After a brief hour’s with Noel. “The Yellowbelly Tour 200” sleep and a cup of hot chocolate, I started my from Carlton Le Moorland in mid-March second day at 4am, stopping at Loudéac for a would be followed by “The Dean 300” from proper breakfast and an additional 30 minute Oxford two weeks later. After that, the nap, seated, leaning “Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch 400”, against a conveniently Near Oundle, East Northants. located wall. Training for RideLondon 2013, my first 100+ mile event. August 2013 After a cold morning start with the first light of the day, the temperatures would soon rise to jersey-only levels. I could still keep a good pace with a group of American and French riders going through the forest before Commana. As the route got hillier though, I needed a few stops to take layers off and re-hydrate, which forced me to ride on my own for a few hours. The approach to Brest was clearly the main milestone of my ride. Arriving at around 4pm (less than 35 hours for 600 km), it compared very

From Zero to PBP finisher (in less than three years) Carlos Wong favourably to WindsorChester-Windsor, which had taken me almost 39 hours about three months earlier. Being cheered on by the locals — some of whom thought this was the final point of our ride – was very uplifting and for a moment would make me forget that there were still another 600 km to go with a few long hills on the way back. At the Brest control, I was pleasantly surprised to meet up with Noel again. His company and support were crucial at a point when I was starting to feel tired and a bit intimidated by the prospect of having to retrace what until then had been my longest distance on a bike. Long hills and fast descents with a sun setting as a background would accompany us into Carhaix, where hot food had run out and we had to make do with just a bowl of soup. There, we met Lucyna Kunc, who had started on the Saint Germain de Tournebut. At the end of “La Bataille de Normandie 400km” (with Noel Toone). July 2014.

www.aukweb.netArrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

25


PARIS–BREST–PARIS 2015

Lileshall control, Windsor-Chester-Windsor 600km, with Noel Toone — May 2015.

Sunday group and happened to be a bit tight on time. We would ride with her to Saint-Nicolasdu-Pélem. Lucy was, however, having trouble staying awake and would leave us at some point in the middle of the night well before Loudéac. A couple of days later, we would learn via facebook that she had managed to complete the whole route in 102 hours (well above her 90hour target, but in her own words “who cares?”). A real show of determination. We arrived in Loudéac at around 5:30 am. It had been my second consecutive 240+ mile day. One hour sleep, quick hot breakfast and off again. We had a slow start, partly due to tiredness and lower temperatures than expected, but also because Noel had started to develop tendonitis. With several stops and undisclosed amounts of Ibuprofen gel, we managed to get to Tinténiac for a hot lunch and some medical assistance. Another 30-minute nap was all we could afford to avoid missing the next control’s closing time. By now, unfortunately, Noel realised that his Achilles was not going to get better and decided to call it a day. It must have been devastating. The next leg to Fougères and Villainesla-Juhel would feel like a very long one, in particular the last few miles. It was already pitch black when I got there, simply following the lights of the riders in front of me. The town exuded a very celebratory atmosphere, making all of us cyclists feel really special. The layout of the buildings making up the control was, however, a bit confusing. It was a bit late when I realised that there was actually a proper restaurant and I did not have to restrict myself to only croissants and pain au chocolat. Another

one-hour nap, a hot drink and cake and off I went. This, after having to spend a few minutes explaining to the insistent lovely volunteers that I had eaten enough and did not have to take any more cake to carry with me. Leaving at around midnight, I had five hours left for the 51 miles to Mortagneau-Perche. It was a very mild and At the end of “Windsor-Chester-Windsor 600km” with Noel Toone — May 2015 clear night, so even should have just said “toilettes”, but in my mind accounting for hills, a target of 10mph total “bains” — “baths” — sounded more polite). It average seemed quite easy to achieve. There was embarrassing when, very obligingly and were, however, three factors I had not taken in a motherly manner, she walked with me for into account: rain, sleep and my stomach, all 100 metres to the closest “banc public” — “park of them conspiring against me at bench” — thinking that I wanted to sleep for a about 3 am. When the unexpected few minutes. Fortunately, I managed to carry on rain started, I regretted having and my stomach started to feel better, although been so economical with weight I was not feeling less tired. The last 10 km felt to the extent of over-relying on like another 50 miles. With just a few km to go the favourable weather forecast. I only had a light windbreaker, which until the next control, I even stopped to sleep in somebody’s courtyard, one of the numerous was getting wetter and colder improvised resting stops that the locals offer by the minute. That, and the lack for free during PBP, coffee and cake included. of sleep, forced me to stop at a Eventually, I got to Mortagne, almost with the village, opposite a café where a couple of dozen first signs of daylight. riders were having a hot drink, waiting for the I had arrived past my closing time. However, rain to end or simply having a kip. It was at this to my delight, the volunteer who stamped my point where, for the first time, I considered the card said “C’est pas grave”. My understanding possibility of either abandoning or finishing was that, even arriving late at Dreux late. After starting some small (the next and last control before talk about the weather, though, Paris), I would be ok as long as I I happened to mention how managed to complete the whole ride unprepared and silly I had been. in 84 hours. I still hope that is the case. Unexpectedly, a very kind German, It was at this point that I decided Heiner Neumann, whose yellow to relax a bit. It was 6 am, so even velomobile I had bumped into a stopping for 3 hours I had about 8 few times earlier during the day, hours to do the remaining 90 miles asked me what size I was. Our size to Paris. I had a proper hot meal, differences mattered not one jot. shower, fresh clothes for the first His XXXL spare rain jacket would time in three days and a 90-minute still keep my M frame very warm nap (simply resting my head on the table). I had and dry all the way to Mortagne. What is more, some encouraging words from the volunteers, Heiner’s words, “And don’t think of giving up!” reassuring me that there were only hills for the would resonate in my mind all the way to Paris. following 20km, which is sort of true. What they It definitely saved my did not mention was that the long flat areas ride. before and after Dreux would be the most During the boring and soporific ones, and the last 10 to 15 remainder of that miles into Paris can get quite lumpy at times leg, I stopped several as well. Something else that I would also learn times for a brief rest is that the locals will always tell you, almost — sort of taking a apologetically, that the next hill is “the last one”, nap while standing. which is not always true. I managed to avoid When I arrived in Dreux it was clear that the sleeping wrapped in a place was winding down. I was one of the last space blanket on the roadside under the rain finishers who had started in one of the last waves. I was not particularly hungry, but tired as many had decided and could not get hold of any sugary stuff or to do. Having a slightly energy drinks, which I felt could be very helpful upset stomach, I for the last 40-mile leg. With the benefit of wrongly asked a lady being on my own, I had also discovered the volunteer in my very effectiveness of shouting; and even swearing; rudimentary French in order to stay alert. However, I would soon for “bains publics” (I

“…several stops and undisclosed amounts of Ibuprofen gel…”

Harringworth Viaduct, “Rutland Weekend 300km”. June 2014

26

Arrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

“the locals tell you ‘the next hill is the last one’… which is not always true”

www.aukweb.net


AUDAXING was almost a surreal experience trying to keep pushing the pedals on the hills while approaching Paris. In my blurry recollection — it felt almost like a dream — it must have been the last sizeable hill (yes, the very last, regardless of whatever I had been told while passing the previous ones) where I was really struggling and close to collapse. At the summit, and to my delight, there was a table set up by some locals with drinks and cake (or the remains of it). They must have seen my face of disappointment at noticing that there was only water and a small piece of lemon sponge left. Luckily, one of the ladies discovered a pack of Jaffa cakes under the table. Despite my repeated “pardon”, I guess I did not exhibit my best manners with the way I must have gobbled up three or four pieces in a row. By the way they kept cheering us on with their “Allez!!!”, “Courage!!!”, and “Bon retour!” I presume they were trying to be very understanding. From then on, I started to feel that I was properly entering Paris. I could recognise in daylight some of the long stretches that three days earlier had been only a huge swarm of red lights going in the opposite direction. The first roads into Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines became clearly familiar, and the last few miles

leading to the velodrome unnecessarily long. I have to confess, the small area around the final mat on the finishing line was a bit of an anti-climax, compared to the crowds gathered the previous Sunday. Having said that, once my bike was parked in the official area and I dragged myself to the control desk in the velodrome to get my card stamped, I was over the moon. I had completed the 1,230 km of ParisBrest-Paris in 83 hours and 30 minutes. It has been two full weeks since Paris-BrestParis, and the excitement has not worn off. I am sure I am not alone. During the ride, I met several multi-PBP finishers. Many of them had made transcontinental, far longer and more expensive journeys than my brief Channel crossing. All for this landmark ride. It is clear to me that PBP has something that other events would struggle to offer. Not just the high number of participants and nationalities, but also the long history and traditions, the hospitality of little towns and villages, the respect and appreciation they have for the riders. It is still another four years to go, but I am already looking forward to it.

“one of the ladies discovered a pack of Jaffa cakes under the table”

Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines Velodrome. PBP. August 2015

discover that the benefits of this, as with concentrated sugar, are short lived. Clearly struggling with sleep and running almost only on water since the last stop, it

Ten Years Below Average Arabella Maude

When I started audaxing 10 years ago, the average audaxer on most rides was about 48. I’ve nearly got there, but in the meantime I still proudly admit to being “below average”. To celebrate being nearly there, I share with you some experiences due only to audaxing.

1

Arrive at an audax in an ambulance.

Once upon a time I cycled over to Henham. One minute I was cycling along looking for a right turn, possibly even signposted Henham, and the next I was face down on the verge with someone’s jacket/rug/whatever over me and the words “the ambulance is on its way” being uttered. I’ve still no idea what actually happened. The ambulance loaded up me and the bike, checked me out and delivered me to ride HQ (with A(2)). That nice Mr Abraham accompanied me most of the way round the ride itself which was just as well as I couldn’t remember an instruction for more than about three milliseconds after reading it. He also chased down my light when it made a bid for freedom, and shooed away my attempts to help him fix his wotsit with his tyre. In spite of which I don’t recomend you purchase this particular “experience’.

2

Be denied service at a “24 hour” MuckDonnas

I’m looking at you, Thetford franchisee. It says “24 hours”, not “24 hours unless you’re lorries, pedestrians or cyclists”. “Tiredness can kill so take a break”, it says on the hoardings. Fat chance; no sign of anything else around either. I queued up. I reached the front of the queue. Nothing happened. I went on waiting. Eventually some chap was sent out to explain

they couldn’t/wouldn’t serve me. When I told my colleagues later, they said I should have asked to see the manager, etc. Too late - I splorted at the messenger and hied my weary carcass down to Barton Mills — 9 miles or ¾ hour away as the Arabella cycles. In response to my subsequent query about why service had been denied I received a polite response detailing why pedestrians and cars shouldn’t mix at a drive through. I replied in my turn, saying that this was all very well for pedestrians but that cycles regularly mixed with traffic and that I’d gone on down the A11 etc. They may have filed this away in the bin as I haven’t received any further reply… But I still think calling it “open 24 hours” is misleading (cont’d p143). Note that the King’s Lynn / A47 branch is open to all for 24 hours. Also not recommended other than for entertainment purposes.

3

Sleep in a bus shelter

Until about 4 years ago I’d managed to limit myself to verges. However, eventually I succumbed. They’re useful in inclement weather, strong sushine etc. Some have en-suite loos, and I did find one with a water fountain also,

www.aukweb.netArrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

27


AUDAXING in Milldale — and a museum. Suffice it to say that beyond a weather and sleep-deprivationdependent minimum, the details aren’t really important. Essential for the overnight audaxer. ATM lobbies and vaguely level surfaces at 24 hour garages also applicable. Verges need to be selected carefully though, I’ve had passers by stop and check if I was OK on a number of occasions now, and although I laud their caring attitude it doesn’t make for a good snooze. One had to be dissuaded from loading up my bike and delivering me to the nearest town (whither I claimed I was bound), fortunately the driver was equally unenthusiastic… For the curious, local yoof and WVM are included in the stopees.

4

Eat a Ginsters pastie on a garage forecourt, in sleet

As the years roll on I find my I-dont-knowwhat-I-want-to-eat-itis gets worse. Thus it was that one March ride (possibly only last year) saw me tick this particular box. ’Nuff said.

5

Cycle over the Humber bridge in daylight (other bridges may apply to not southern-softies)

I’ve picked the Humber bridge in daylight because, in my experience, York arrows (for which, from the south, the Humber Bridge is high on the list of roads to use) don’t cross the Humber until dark o’clock. However, on yet another DIY I decided to do it in daylight, at which point I realised that Brigg is followed by a hill (dimple to you northern and other not-eastanglian folk). It doesn’t really show up in the dark. The following arrow did not go over the Humber bridge, nor go via Brigg, etc…

6

Get a wheel stuck in the railway line at a level crossing and end up with blood all over

(see Arrivée mumble years ago, article betitled in search of shiny badges) Once upon a time I laughed in the face of level crossings. I stopped doing so because the juddering caused by the average unlevel crossing (©Dave Hudson) made my teeth rattle. From thereon in it was a grim, determined approach; until one dry, sunny-ish early afternoon I was pottling southwards from Newmarket having completed approx 1% of the Great Eastern (i.e. 10 km). Lo! and behold! A slanty (\\) level crossing. “Pah!”, thought I, until my attempt to drift leftwards away from the impending bus of doom (as it became) meant my wheel fell into the crack whereat the rest of me continued leftwards in a downwards trajectory towards the kerbstone, on which my head landed. Cue rapid shuffling of my bike out of the way of the bus and a pouring (OK, a few drops) of blood. Since when, I try to aim so I cross railway lines perpendicularly.

28

Arrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

7

Live off the fat of the land. Well, hardly

Apparently the average hunter-gatherer “works” only about 3-4 hours per day and spends the rest of the time relaxing. Unfortunately I don’t usually have 3–4 hours spare on the average audax to hunt/gather enough food to sustain me. Added to which it’s probably frowned on by TPTB. However, there is always scope for: (i) stuffing my face with blackberries, plums or whatever else is ready to eat in your handy local hedgerow; (ii) knocking on people’s doors — generally works if you just want your water bottle refilled, if lucky you get to pass the time of day as well and on a couple of occasions with less clement weather I’ve been offered coffee. The shopkeeper on the latter occasion was particularly impressed by the coldness of my hands. Equally at <somewhere north of York> I much appreciated the chat and water freshly drawn from the owner’s personal borehole. I’ve also been known to deliberately stop off at <random friend>’s house for tea and cucumber sandwiches followed by cake and more cake. Oh, that wasn’t cucumber? Well, it was definitely food. On a related note, it’s also possible to time your audax to include a sporting event. In my case this involved watching a tennis lesson though I have heard of DIYs including footy matches.

8

The utility audax aka the advantages of DIY routes

Spend 18 hours on the way back from a meeting ’cos you turned it into an audax (no, I didn’t claim mileage — it seemed unfair as I’d inserted an extra 70 km to round it up. Plus the current expenses system is a PITA). Or, less usefully, leave work, cycle 300km overnight and be back at work the next morning (not recommended!). Similarly, as a way of avoiding yet another circuit of East Anglia: Cycle from B back to A for not-work - cycling back from university open day Cycle from A to B but not back again prepend a holiday with that year’s 600

9

Take audaxing VERY seriously

10 Most fun you can have? Here’s a suggestion. Scene: sleety snow lying on the road, temperature hovering around freezing, 75% of the field DNS on account of the weather. Arabella is proceeding apace and by dint of strategic selection of a control to bounce finds herself at the front of the field. This lasts until everyone else leapfrogs on account of not neeeding to stop next time, leaving Arabella mainly behind the field. More sleet, more winding lanes and so forth. Inner tube requires to be changed. Spare inner broken out of the box, tyre levers depoyed and so forth. All is ready to be put back. Spanner eployed on RH nut. Axle rotates. Fingers are deployed to hold axe in place. Fingers found to be numb and fail to do their duty. Fingers waved around the place to the accompaniment of tra la la. This fails to do the trick. Further cyclists emerge, but without 2nd spanners as they have QR skewers. Arm is whirled around like a windmill in the hope of encouraging warmth to the extremity, this time to the accompaniment of a muttering sound. This also fails to produce any result. Further spanner-free cyclists appear. Option Z is deployed and be-gunked fingers sucked vigourously which finally warms them enough to hold the left nut/axle still while the right one did up and so on. (and those of you at the back saying why didn’t she just <something> please feel free to pass on the <something> for my illumination and future reference. Oh, what fun I had. But it was satisfying to have got to the end. This narrowly eclipses watching chocolatecoated coffee beans escape through the bottom of a sodden paper bag as an experience to avoid. YMMV.

11 other fun things about audaxing •• Ride down a road with not only grass growing down the middle but also the occasional (small) shrub •• Swap second- and third-hand spooner stories •• Cycle across Wales, twice, in a weekend •• Breakfast and dine at ’Spoons •• Be totalled by a deer •• Know more jokes at silly o’clock than A.N. Other (and they were all clean) •• Volunteering’s fun too!

Turn up accompanied by random child (OK, my then nine-year-old) and mumble years of the average age of people on the audax. Ride (in civvies) on a sit-up-and-beg - I still don’t see the point of fancy garb much before 200 km and even then it depends on the weather and the state of my laundry pile. I’ve been looking for an A-line or possibly pleated tweed skirt (with generous lining) for autumnal rides but have so far failed to spot one in my price range (under £2.50). The SUAB has taken me round an SR series or few though, generally in the flatter end of the country on account of having only one (fixed) gear.

www.aukweb.net


ORDRE DES COL DURS

Isle of Arran - Boguillie, Borderline OCD F

Paul Harrison

riday 17th April, and getting out of bed before I’m awake is difficult. Janet, who is used to early starts, shepherds me to the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry from Ardrossan departing at 06.45. Before arriving at Brodick at 07.36 (CalMac like their precise timings despite the vagaries of wind and tide), we manage to keep down the ship’s breakfast, complete with haggis, notwithstanding the early hour and the gently rolling boat. Once across the Outer Firth of Clyde, we disembark at Brodick full of breakfast, excitement at what lies before us, and satisfaction with the value for money of the crossing (£7.50 each, return fare, including bikes). There’s slight disappointment as we ride away from the ferry; lots of traffic that’s just disembarked and a shady climb which seems rather steep with our as yet unwarmed-up legs. Our disappointment is soon dispelled on the descent to sunlit Lamlash Bay with its church and white painted buildings along the sea front and the view of Holy Island. Continuing southwards through equally pleasant Whiting Bay we’re soon turning to the west along the southern coast with distant views of Ailsa Craig and a ripping tailwind to boot. The view of Ailsa Craig is replaced by the Mull of Kintyre as we gradually round the coast towards the north. Having arrived on Arran by boat, it’s hard to believe that this piece of land to our west is reachable overland, albeit by a long and circuitous route. After a picnic lunch on the beach we ride along Machrie bay before passing the delightful row of cottages at Catacol. I am not yet aware that this will be only a borderline OCD day, but I do find myself wondering if this name has something to do with a feline cyclo-climber. I have also observed that the traffic is very light, but have resisted going into car-counting mode . The sea is crystal clear in the calm lea of the island, and, on this sunny day, it resembles the Mediterranean. We meet some fellow club members who have decided to tour the island in an anticlockwise direction. They caught a later boat than us and now I’m thinking, “was such an A stray sheep at Corrie

www.aukweb.net

early start really necessary?” “Hey, Lamlash Bay it’s easier this way round!”, they declare. But this doesn’t bother us too much as we always prefer to be on the side of the road nearest the sea. We’re out for a day in the countryside and model ourselves on Albert Winstanley (worth Googling if you like magical cycling nostalgia), rather than Chris Froome. Like Chris Keeling-Roberts (page 15, Arriveé Number 128), we value our saddlebags. were Clachan (311m) and Fionn Bhealac, a Beyond Lochranza, the road starts more impressive 444m. Don’t you just love to climb seriously. I only have my these strange and wonderful Scottish names? Ordnance Survey Road Map 3 with I christen the col “Boguillie”, being arrogant me (scale 1 inch to 4 miles and with enough to assume no one has “named and heights in feet). I scrutinise the claimed” it before. map– is this climb a col? It certainly Some later thoughts. The A841 is a circular feels like it as I creep up the long route all round Arran, so you can climb the col, straight towards the summit. keep going, and end up where you started, Even though I don’t actually need and… a last minute Googling of “Boguillie” it in the event, I’m glad to know that reveals that this is in fact the official name of the there’s a 36 tooth emergency sprocket road, but am I the first to put it into the annals of lurking somewhere there at the back. The map the OCD? shows a spot height on the road of 654 feet. I try some mental arithmetic and conclude that that is very close to The distant Ailsa Craig 200m (under OCD rules, this is the minimum claimable col height from sea level when riding on an island). And the road is certainly col shaped as it goes between two summits and into North Glen Sannox. Soon we’ve passed down to the east coast (where did that strong easterly wind disappear to?), through Corrie with its immobile sheep and past countless chocolate box cottages. We’re in good time to catch the Picnic on the beach 16.40 ferry back to Ardrossan, arriving at 17.35 (55 minutes, compared to 51 minutes for the outward journey, which you may or may not find interesting). As soon as I’ve got internet access, I go to http://www.bikehike. co.uk/mapview.php which is my favourite route finding site as it simultaneously shows Google maps and the matching location on the Ordnance Survey map. Much to my relief, the OS map shows the road crossing the 200m contour, having passed up Glen Chalmadale, past something called Boguillie (though it’s not clear what a Boguillie is) before descending to North Glen Sannox. I also see Janet near Mackrie Bay that the two summits

Arrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

29


ANSWERS FROM A STOKER

Questions on tandem… Answers from a stoker Sylvie Gorog, Sylvie’s profile: I am a woman who began cycling in 2010. I never did cycling before. I began cycling as a stoker and on my single bike at the same time. All this happened thanks to Alain Ratle who has an experience on cycling. During the first days on my bike, I was very afraid of having attached feet and would fall at stop! My first audax was the LVIS Audax in Bristol 2011 (200 km, nice cakes) on our first tandem bike, a blue old stand-up Folis. I would like to thank two women that I met there. They give me an enthusiastic example. I observed the young women having the black bike and long hair because she got a very nice position on the bike. And the women who had the swiss dress gives me encouragement in cycling. Two years later, we decide to ride the LEL (C7-C8), our first long distance and my second audax. Many thanks to all volunteers, Danial Webb, and many riders for giving us a so beautiful travel. Meeting the bikes quickly at Barnard Castle’s control back and using the published photos, it seems to me that seven classical tandem mixed crews participated in LEL. Several tandems are participating in PBP this summer, including a tandem with three riders. Since my first audax, I noticed recurring questions about the tandem from riders. I would like to share the ideas explaining these questions by giving my point of view as a stoker and also to propose some answers. I hope that the reader will better know the tandem and would like to try it! Thank you Alain! I thank Arabella for helping me to write this article. Arabella was one of the helpful volunteers during the LEL and she is a rider and author, including riding Mersey road 24 hours with Jane Swain on a tandem trike (See Arrivée 122 (Autumn 2013) p34-37). Thank you Arabella! Any tandem causes questions because the tandem shows, on the same bike, a first rider, the driver in front, called captain, and a second rider, the rear rider, called stoker. But it seems not obvious that they are working together. The first rider is ‘a normal rider’ but what about the second one who ‘follows’ at rear ? The exclamation ‘she/he is not pedalling behind!’ is then very usual. Each rider has to forget this stupid remark but to be not worried can be difficult after several kilometers. Fortunately, most often, the tandem bike provides beautiful

30

Arrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

smiles. Hence, let me propose that the tandem bike is mostly observed because it shows two humans looking at the same direction and going ahead together. Are you partners? « husband and wife » ? That relationship is often misunderstood. This is obviously not necessary in aim to ride a tandem bike but the people feel reassured, sometimes surprised, when the answer is ‘yes’. Let Sylvie and Alain on their Bob Jackson tandem designed and equipped by Alain discuss that they are two kinds somebody asks me if I can rest while Alain is of reason. pedaling, or, how can I participate as well as The first one concerns the intimacy that the him. Even more often, I heard that it is more riders must be developed in a team as well as restful to be a stoker. That question indicates dancers or rowing crews. Moroever, think about that it is not clear that the riders have the same blind riders. The gender need not be under motion: a tandem bike is not a taxi bike. The consideration here. There are four kinds of stoker lives the same events that the captain captain/stoker couple : female/female, female/ and participates as well at any time. In aim to male, male/female and male/male. Classical reach the same goal that is to complete the ride, races are devoted to the first and the fourth both move on with the same willpower even if crews. The question points out that the tandem they have not the same physical abilities. The riders must have a good human connection question is not how to do the same effort at any and that is true. Let's cite Mark Brooking but his time but how to do any effort at the same time. statement does not concern only the piloting There is no doubt that the two riders have because it can be applied for the tandem itself: to give an identical dynamical rotation of the « It is also a position of trust which has to be pedals. There are two chains on a tandem bike. earned » [Arrivée 122, (Autumn 2013)]. Most often, one chain connects the front crank The second one seems to be socio-cultural. to the rear crank and the second one connects The problem lies in your own idea about the the rear crank to the freewheel. Therefore, if relationship between two people, especially somebody turns the front _or rear_ pedals, it man and woman. There is a bad feeling concerning the effort of a female: The man is the actuates the rear _or front_ pedals. The main action is to facilitate the synchronized rotation stronger human obviously! As a consequence, because it is the more efficient in aim to go the female is seen as a weight or a package on forward. The tired stoker has to think of raising the bike. Hence, the man is able to endure the her/his pedals towards the back more than of woman! At the opposite side, the man has the pushing the pedals because an irregular action woman ‘on his back’, or, the woman has to give of the push causes blows and hampers the the hard work to him. Hence, it is clear, first, rotation. that the tandem brings on questioning and, In case of long distance, the most important secondly, that the given remarks are arbitrary. is that the riders become tired at the same time. Such kind of thoughts comes often from If one is fresh and not the second, the bike can pedestrians that didn’t know the tandem but not go forward. Sometimes, it is also possible unfortunately this is also shared by some riders. to apply the main effort in aim to relieve the The advice ‘Cycling on a tandem with your other rider of a pain such as an ankle pain for wife is a good relaxing day’ can be read also to instance, with a common complicity. Depending prepare an audax for men. Please, try it! Such a on her/his size, the stoker is less subjected to test could be an accelerator of your relationship. the wind and mosquitoes. The pain due to the How can you pedal together ? Many times,

photograph: Tim Wainwright

with input from Arabella Maude

www.aukweb.net


ANSWERS FROM A STOKER rhythm of pedaling, the use of the brakes and so on. Note that there are bikes with brakes or shifters actuated by the stoker. Both riders are moving on the bike for changing their positions at the right time according to the road. Hence, the confidence is the most important feeling. Can you switch? If the riders have similar sizes and weights, they can decide to swap roles. It seems that it is a good improvement in a ride by knowing and practicing the both seats. Most of time, the heaviest rider is in front of for ensuring a better driving and a better stability but the opposite can work. It is very common to observe that the woman is the stoker on a mixed classical tandem. The woman is lighter than the man generally. Nevertheless, in case you have sizes too different like us for instance, — I need 48cm frame and Alain 63 for single bikes! — it is not possible to change the tandem bike during the ride. Hence, another question is: Do you see anything? The small stoker cannot look at forward obviously but she/he watches the landscape well anyway. About the choice of the seats, the major reason concerns the experience in cycling. One of the riders, often the man for a mixed crew, has already practiced cycling and therefore she/ he more feels at ease with the piloting. Hence, be a stoker becomes a logical decision taking account the both cycling experiences. Many women admit easily that they have a lack of confidence to pilot or to manage the tandem bike. Sometimes, the relationship between the two riders is not clear: ‘He, or she, is happy to be the driver’. To be the captain seems to be a honorable task, especially for men. Ask yourself : are you (wo)man enough to let _her/him_ drive? One can understand that some situations can be upsetting for both parts regardless of their genders. Discussing actually of who should be the captain and who should be the stoker is very important. Each team member has to be comfortable on the bike, happy with her/his role and respectful of the other one. There exist several different kinds of successful arrangements. One difficulty lies in having a photo of the tandem with both riders because, very often, the stoker disappears on the picture. This is due to the right position of the stoker ! Anyway, riding a tandem is based on trust and a good communication between the two On the Humber Bridge, LEL 2013. Some lonely riders are surprised to hear twice "good morning". Thank you to the rider on left because he told us about the history of the bridge. riders. Do you stand up ? There is no problem to get-up within a classical tandem bike and it is very useful for hilly rides. To get up and to sit back down request again a right communication. For the trike, the position is different while the two riders slide off the seats in order to turn. The practice leads to the simultaneity of the motion and that is the way to improve

photograph: Charlotte Barnes, www.charlottebarnes.co.uk

nuchal rigidity is less present for the stoker. These two last points can explain why the rear seat is seen as the restful seat with the benefit of a protection. A classical pain for the stoker concerns the hands because the fatigue leads to lean against the handlebar. Hence, the stoker has to think of moving or of shaking her/his hands often. Who decides? The team decides to follow the route sheet. The communication is the best way on a tandem. The captain has to drive carefully and therefore decides when to apply the brakes or when to turn into a corner for instance. The tandem bike needs more attention for improving the trajectory that for a single bike because it is longer and heavier. The stoker has the same motion and therefore seems to be not a decider. By giving the trajectory of the bike, the captain warns and the stoker answers for finding the best positions and the best dynamical action. The stoker helps too by giving informations on signs, on cars and so on. The stoker seems to ask the captain for something often but it is not a problem of decision because that concerns the stability of the tandem. We are on the same bike and each trust the other. For improving the motion of the bike, the simultaneity is the key to success and it works by being attentive to each other. Even if the riders must be into the same dynamics, each role needs to be patient, reactive and attentive because it is not obvious to prevent all on the road. For instance, if one stops rotating the pedals suddenly, it gives a blow to the other that is very unpleasant. Both riders have the same aim: go forward and avoid falling. When it is needed, the stoker or the captain asks to move herself/himself or to re-sit down. At the beginning, we spoke often together at the bad time but we learn when and how to inform for choosing to stop the pedals, to give an acceleration, to stand up, to drink or to move cans, to eat and so on. Simple words can be used. Complicity is growing with the number of kilometers and the right communication becomes easier. Despite a good communication, it is true that the captain has to choose how to ride the bike depending on the road. Hence, she/he ‘decides’ the dynamical events according to the stoker: the change of the chainring, the change of the

A famous trike : Arabella Maude and Jane Swain, Mersey Roads 24 h (Arrivée, Number 122 Autumn 2013, pp34-37)

any action on a tandem bike. Like dancers, you take the same run-up. I learn to stand up on the tandem bike before on my solo bike. It is a good experience to get up on your solo bike for learning the motion but there is neither the same feeling nor the same position. The stoker has to find the right position avoiding to touch the captain and, with her/him, balances the swing motion. When the crew has to sit down, each has to be careful not to fall on her/his seat. The dynamical motion can stay continuous and regular. How do you get your tandem? Many possibilities exist for designing a tandem. Choosing the dimensions of the frame lies in a compromise between the two positions and consequently, the sizes of the two riders are the starting point. Because two riders are heavier than one, the frame is submitted to bigger dynamical efforts than those of a solo bike. Geometry, material and equipments have to be chosen carefully but it is not the aim to discuss this here. A mechanical weak point is known in between the bar of the stoker and the seat tube of the captain. The frame can break here after a few thousand km. Some tandem bikes have three brakes in order to avoid of heating the rims what can be a serious problem for riding downhill. One tells that the stoker needs good padding or suspension for her/his saddle because she/he can’t see the route ahead. This wrong idea is based on the ‘passager’ effect. There is no relation between the sight and the choice of the saddle. Good padding can be useful for the captain too. On a tandem bike, the route is identical for both riders and they are active simultaneously, speaking together as explained above, because the captain warns bumps or roughness of the road for having the best stable positions. If you prefer having a suspension to less suffer unexpected jarring, it is your personal choice. Each saddle has to be confortable for riding a long time and getting up. Some people ask me for having a bell or a mileage indicator or a speed computer at rear but I never needed such things. The best choices are those that must agree upon the two seats and personalities. To conclude, a tandem bike is something unique. Bonne route!

www.aukweb.netArrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

31


ORDRE DES COL DURS

DEVÉLO THE

U

ntil relatively recently, L’Ordre des Cols Durs (OCD) was unknown to me, a curious corner of cycling just waiting to be discovered. Something shrouded in mystery, seemingly a secret society only open to those worthy enough to be introduced to its customs and rituals. Enlightenment came via a fantastic article in Arrivée which aroused my curiosity; I wanted and needed to find out more. It was like discovering the Prieuré de Sion, the mythical secret society that was first hatched in the 1980s bestseller ‘The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail’ and later fictionalised in Dan Brown’s novel ‘The Da Vinci Code’. Like Professor Robert Langdon, played by Tom Hanks in the Da Vinci Code movie, for me the quest was on, an adventure was unfolding. Unlike the Prieuré de Sion and Professor Robert Langdon however, l’Ordre des Cols Durs (OCD) and Dave Morrison (me) do actually exist. If you follow the OCD trail, rather like tracing my ancestry and the finale of the Da Vinci Code, you will end up in Scotland finding a noble and righteous dedicated keeper of the cult. In this case, a wonderful chap by the name of Rod Dalitz who has watched over the OCD for a number of years now. Rod, as custodian of one of cycling’s most sacred orders, realised that the OCD heritage was at risk of decline and sought sanctuary through an alliance with an appropriate organisation able to help protect and nurture the legacy. Whereas the Knights Templars may have suited a Holy Grail tale, Rod got a message out to the ‘Night Pedalers’ of Audax UK… and an allegiance was formed. Whilst Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou sought the ‘bloodline’ in the Da Vinci Code, reassuringly, Rod and the chevaliers of Audax UK continue to watch over those of us who like to soar above the treeline.

32

Arrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

Dave Morrison enters the covert world of cresting cols and is initiated in to the inner circles of vélOCD Mysterious goings on

For those of you unfamiliar with the Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, it was a book which stemmed from a 1972 BBC documentary about some mysterious events in the foothills of the Pyrenees, involving a priest in a village named Rennes-leChâteau. It will not go unnoticed that, coincidentally perhaps, there are quite a few Cols Durs in les Pyrenees with, no doubt, many a cycling secret or two entwined into their legend. Is this more than coincidence, was the priest, Bérenger Saunière, secretly an OCD man perhaps? If the BBC journalists / Holy Blood and the Holy Grail authors were intrigued by French media reports of the strange events at Rennesle-Château, I was equally drawn by that article in Arrivée by Rod Dalitz explaining the background of the merger of OCD with AUK. I was familiar with the concept of cycling distances and counting one’s ascent, but what was this mysterious code that counted how high you went without being unduly concerned about how far you travelled or climbed to get there? This enigmatic code needed deciphering, so I did it secretly tucked away, Bletchley Park style, at home on my laptop. It kept me occupied over a number of winter’s evenings, admittedly it wasn’t as exciting as reading the Da Vinci Code book, but beat watching Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou being chased from Paris to Scotland in the disappointing film version.

The Altitudian Heresy

Those of you familiar with the general theme of Grail Stories, Knights Templar and the Bloodline will probably also be aware that between 1209 to 1229 there was a 20

year ‘crusade’ to eliminate Catharism from the Languedoc in Southern France by Pope Innocent III (ethnic cleansing in modern parlance) which is commonly referred to as the Albigensian Heresy (named after Albi, a French town that has featured on intermediate stages of the Tour de France between the Pyrenees and Alps). Whilst the Cathars were Christians, they took a less than orthodox views on a range of matters, much to the discomfort of the Papacy. Traditionally, us cyclists measure our hillier rides based on how many metres we ascended during the ride. It may, therefore, seem a bit of a heresy that the formula for claiming OCD points / metres has little to do with how much ascending one does, but rather, where one ends up in terms of height. An Altitudian Heresy perhaps? To some, claiming 2,000 points/metres for a Col that you may have conquered when you started at, say, 1,500 metres and only physically climbed 500 metres may sound strange but I urge you to read on in search of enlightenment. I too found this time-honoured code a bit odd at first, but once one comes to terms with the concept, it actually adds another exciting dimension and a fresh approach to one’s randonneuring. OCD has been around since 1960, and you can claim any qualifying ascents, right back to then. Who knows what you may have lurking in your palmares, so have a shuffle around in your memory and see if you have any ‘Antique Roadshows’ just waiting to be valued. That climb up Mont Ventoux in your younger days could be worth up to 1892m in today’s OCD! Perhaps another way of looking at this is as ‘Col Collecting’, which may sound like a www.aukweb.net

Croix de Fer

CODE


ORDRE DES COL DURS

Col de la Madeleine

reversed-charge US phone call but is quite a popular pursuit. There are numerous books listed on Amazon describing famous cycling climbs, not least Simon Warren’s successful series. At the back of these books there is often a set of boxes in order that the reader may tick off the climbs ascended. I would suggest that OCD is a far better way of Col Collecting as you are not restricted to the author’s choices, you can claim any qualifying col anywhere in the world… what’s not to like? Every single qualifying col gives you points/metres towards your goal!

The code - It’s summat about summits

However, a col must be a ‘qualifying’ col and consequently, this is not just about ticking off climbs, it is about notching up summits, yep it only counts if you pass a col or a summit (mountain or hill top). So, if the road ends before the top, it doesn’t count. Only cols and summits. A col is, as you will be aware, a pass. Typically, the road will find a relatively low point to pass over from one valley to another. So, this will generally represent the highest point one crosses in transferring from one valley to the other. OCD rules define a col as having higher ground to each side of the road, and drainage to rivers flowing from either side of the climb

(i.e. ahead and behind). This makes sense, although this will be more obvious on some cols than others. I would suggest that the Col de La Madeleine or Col du Tourmalet are good examples of this. Meanwhile a summit, should generally be the highest point on the hill or mountain. To be fair, a road may not quite reach the highest point, by a couple of metres, or so, but somewhere like Alpe D’Huez stops a long way short of the top and I think it is fairly clear when you can and can’t claim. Essentially, ski stations (like Alpe d’Huez, la Toussuire, Hautacam etc) are unlikely to qualify, whereas Mont Ventoux does. If you pass two cols in quick succession, then so long as you have climbed at least 100m since the first one, the second one will count too. So, a 1,900 metre col followed by a 2,100 metre col bags the rider 4,000 points/ metres. Think Col du Télégraphe followed by Col du Galibier. Cols and summits only count if over 300 metres in altitude, with special rules for islands (terms and conditions apply). Unfortunately, despite the clear evidence to the contrary, OCD don’t count the British mainland as an island. I suspect Australia and New Zealand fail too!

“I was on course to becoming an Officer of the sacred order of cyclists that is OCD”

Joining the Order - the swearing in

To join this esteemed order, one must amass 100,000 metres worth of qualifying hill- or mountain-tops before becoming an ‘Officer’. The noble sounding majestic titles are evocative of comparisons with the age of chivalry, not

Dave Morrison - OCD qualifying climbs claim 2015 AUK membership number 12405 Conversion: metres per foot 3.2808399 Date

metres 300

Climb location

feet 984.25197 Country

Cumulative claims in previous years: Various dates Various climbs previously submitted and recorded

Metres

http://elevationmap.net Latitude

84658 Various

Longitude

Various

Previous years climbs not previously claimed: 22/05/2013 Mont Ventoux Cingles du Mont Ventoux only one ascent previously claimed

FRANCE FRANCE

1892 Latitude: 44.17344 North 1892 Latitude: 44.17344 North 3784

Longitude: 5.27893 East Longitude: 5.27893 East

14/05/2015 DIY Cannes Cols Collection Col de Vence, Route de Coursegoules, France (N of Nice) Col de Pinpinnier, Route de St.auban Le Mas France Col de Bleine, Route de st.Auban, Andon, France

FRANCE FRANCE FRANCE

960 Latitude: 43.76039 North 1119 Lattitude 43.80478 North 1424 Latitude 43.81255 North

Longitude: 7.07523 East Longitude 6.81997 East Longitude 6.8029 East

15/05/2015 DIY Cannes - Agay Route de Tanneron France Route de Montauroux France

FRANCE FRANCE

427 Latitude 43.56513 North 317 Latitude 43.53398 North

Longitude 6.90412 East Longitude 6.81294 east

14/06/2015 Velothon Wales The Tumble, B4246, Abergavenny

WALES

481 Latitude 51.78842 North

Longitude 3.08236 east

17/07/2015 DIY Col de La Madeleine North side ascent South Side ascent - Can't claim

FRANCE FRANCE

1994 Latitude 43.43544 North Latitude 43.43544 North

Longitude 6.37558 east Longitude 6.37558 east

19/07/2015 L'Etape du Tour 2015 Col du Chaussy Col du Glandon Col de la Croix de Fer Col du Mollard

FRANCE FRANCE FRANCE FRANCE

1561 1924 2067 1638

Longitude 6.35933 east Longitude 6.17557 east Longitude 6.20348 east Longitude 6.33721 east

24/09/2015 Harrison's Fund Charity Ride B7007 Near Carcant Wind Farm Scottish Borders/Midlothian B6357 Hawick, Scottish Borders

SCOTLAND SCOTLAND

CUMULATIVE CLAIMS TO DATE

least, that most enigmatic of orders, the Knights Templar. Another 100,000 will elevate the rider to the rank of Commander, the honour of being Honourable requires 500,000 and Venerable necessitates 1 million metres. Whilst there may be no ‘swearing in’ ceremony, there may be a little swearing in getting a claim ready, I certainly let the odd ‘Oh bother’ or ‘Blast’ slip out. Unfortunately, the route profiles you have amassed on your bike computer over the years will not give you evidence that the high points you cycled were either cols or summits and probably don’t provide a grid reference either. You will need to research and, sadly, resign yourself to some refusals… some tough climbs won’t count, others will. You may swear as a claim gets rejected, but those with true faith will soldier on in search of fulfilment, the worthy, keepers of the faith will prevail. In fact, there will probably be a few pleasant surprises in there too, climbs that counted when you were dubious, especially UK climbs in my experience. Luckily, however, there is a specialist website that can relieve some of the frustration, and it doesn’t even have an ‘nl’ suffix! Yes, relief is at hand, albeit that there will still be some disappointments along the way. www. elevationmap.net allows one to hover the cursor over a road summit and read off the elevation and grid reference… how simple is that? By looking at the contours one can discern whether it represents a col or summit.... awesome! The grid references appear like cryptic ciphers, codes which must be passed on to Rod so that he can locate the col.

Latitude 45.34334 North Latitude 45.2397 North Latitude 45.22749North Latitude 45.21062North

367 Latitude 55.78191North 356 Latitude 55.32799North 14635 103077

Longitude 2.6478 West Longitude 3.03424 West

Here’s one I prepared earlier

So, as the winter nights of 2015 draw in and weekend rides get shorter, those seeking something more stimulating than Tom Hanks movies for entertainment could turn to their laptops and review previous hilly rides from the past. Any climbs over 300m or more should then be entered on to a spreadsheet. I conceived a spreadsheet in late 2014, nurturing it over a period of weeks, feeding my obsession whenever I had a spare moment and the wife wasn’t looking. First I trawled through the evidence on Garmin Connect. Anytime the profile went above 300 metres I noted it down. Next I carefully checked each climb above 300 metres on www.elevationmap.net. I could tell from the contour lines on the website whether the top of the climb was a summit or a col and it gave me the grid reference… the clues I needed to seek out the inner sanctums of the Ordre des Cols Durs. These were the fragments of information that, when pieced together, would lead me to the Holy Grail. Whilst Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou were visiting the Rose Line (France’s attempt to have the Meridian line run through Paris) in the Da Vinci Code, my quest took me over contour lines, I was on course to becoming an Officer of the sacred order of cyclists that is OCD. Like Dr Langdon working through the

www.aukweb.netArrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

33


ORDRE DES COL DURS events took place further South in London as I collated the climbs on a spreadsheet (with the added bonus that it distracted me from QPR's disastrous season). Then, in the final dramatic act, it was all despatched back North to Scotland for a gripping climax… err, well, more precisely, I sent an email to Rod Dalitz listing the dates, climbs, altitude and grid references from www. elevationmap.net on a spreadsheet.

‘Top’ tips to ‘Col’ on when needed

Maratona dles Dolomites

2015 a race odyssey

Now I realise that the British are supposed to regard Sportives as non-competitive events, but enter an Italian Gran Fondo and you’ll soon realise that the Europeans don’t necessarily take the same view. Britain, of course, is a protestant country, road racing was historically protested against and effectively banned, and that non-competitive ethos remains in today’s UK sportives. Racers could only find their Holy Grail on the continent once upon a time, but like the Da Vinci Code, the story eventually wound its way to Britain. Sportives have exploded in the UK and they represent a potential gateway to Audaxing. Furthermore, whilst they don’t count for Audax points, they can be used for OCD purposes. Touring Rides, Independent Rides, Charity Rides, Races can also be used as OCD conduits… it is just the pilgrimage to the col or summit that matters, not the package you travelled by. So, as the adage goes, ‘there’s something for everyone’, you can achieve OCD through all sorts of routes. Indeed, there is even the potential ‘Full Monty’ of Audax Points, AAA Points, OCD Points / Metres and Col Collecting 34

Arrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

all in one ride! I had amassed a pretty good ‘Col Toll’ from racy European sportives, 3 Etape du Tours, la Marmotte, Maratona dles Dolomites, Gran Fondo Stelvio and others. So, I only needed a few big climbs in 2015 and, ‘Hey Presto’, one business trip to France, the Velothon Wales and L’Etape du Tour would do the trick… and that’s what I did for the ‘home straight’ in 2015. But don't write off the good old British hill climb, there are still thrills in those hills! I claimed some very valuable Welsh climbs, particularly from the Dragon Ride Sportive, and snuck in a lot of 300 metre(ish) English climbs too, ranging from Dartmoor, The Lake District, Peak District and others. They all added up and in fact I could not have done it without them. Just call me ‘Morrison Chevalier’… ‘thank heaven for little cols’! My claim for the year was finally given a little, da Vinci Code authenticity with a couple of late season climbs in the Scottish Borders, one of them only a few kilometres from the Rosslyn

And don’t forget to send Rod ‘Da List’

Claiming OCD metres really is simple, all you need is a record of your past rides and www. elevationmap.net. It is something that can be done during those dark and dim autumn evenings but ensure that your claim, listing your cols and summits, is with Rod Dalitz by 31st December so that you can be included in the subsequent Honours List featured in Arrivée. You don’t have to wait until 100,000 metres have been amassed and you can claim on rides right back to the 1960s, before even the mythical Prieuré de Sion had been thought of! 2015 will go down as the year I reached the Holy Grail, or should that be Holy Trail? I am now an Officer, ‘peak’ conditioned, hauled over the cols and carbon fibre ‘enlightened’ with a certificate to prove my OCD credentials. A pilgrimage that should appeal to many an AUK member. ©elevationmap.net 2015

clues in the Da Vinci Code, I was cracking the OCD criteria. I got adept at spotting cols on www.elevationmap.net, learned to accept that some climbs wouldn’t count, but that there would be some moments of joy too, especially where one col followed another shortly afterwards. So, yes, I admit, I swore a little when a climb didn’t count, but even so, after a few weeks of this gripping ‘edge of the seat’ thriller, the ‘does it or doesn’t it count’ enigma finally unfolded and concluded with me having over 84,000 metres worth of qualifying claims! I realised that 2015 could be the ‘Year of the Collie’.

Firstly, plan your ride in the right order. I did one ride where I passed the two highest cols first and three or four others on the way down. If I had done the ride the other way around, the climb from each col up to the next would have bagged me about 5 cols and thousands more metres, as there was 100 metres ascent at least from each one to the next! Don’t come back over the same Col, you can only claim a col once in a day. When I went over the Col de la Madeleine, and climbed it all the way back up from the other side on the return journey, it only counted once! There is one exception to this rule and that is the ‘Cingles du Mont Ventoux’ where all three ascents are done in one day. Take the opportunity to travel, you can’t claim a col more than 5 times a year, so even if you live near a big climb, you will need to go further afield at some point! There are Permanent Rides on the AUK website that you might like, I did the Mortirolo and Gavia in Italy on a perm, and scored AAA points too! Remember that, a 200k DIY ride over cols could bag Audax points, AAA points, OCD points / metres, as well as some famous climbs ticked off in your Simon Warren books!

Chapel where the Da Vinci Code climaxes. I rode from Edinburgh to London for charity and claimed Audax, AAA and OCD points on the first section where I rode solo overnight to catch up the other participants at Scotch Corner. Fittingly, for a man of my age, everything was heading South. So, like the Da Vinci Code the penultimate

Dave Morrison

(who is no longer ‘out of ordre’, even if some of his tabloid style puns are) www.aukweb.net


BREVET POPULAIRE

Devon Delight 100k

T

his event has suddenly become very popular over the last couple of years with entries topping the 150 mark. While it doesn’t come up to the numbers experienced by the other local cycling event, the Dartmoor Classic sportive, it does show that there is a strong following for Audax rides in the west country. Same start venue as last year in Newton Abbot which involves for me a downhill ride of just 4 miles from my home in Ipplepen, so no early morning car drive for this one. A great deal of activity at the start with a large numbers signing on ‘on the line’ and joining the wrong queue to get their cards, what’s wrong with sending an entry in by post these days? Off at nine down a narrow cycle path to head out through Kingsteignton and Sandygate to climb over the Haldon hills. Most seemed to have learned from last year's event not to try and use the dual carriageway out of Kingsteignton but to stick to the lane through Sandygate. Graham Brodie, the organiser, had even stuck up a few arrows to ensure everybody went the correct way. Quite a pull to get to the top of Haldon which meant that the ride got broken up into small groups making it easier for other road users to get past. Down the steep drop into Ashcombe, turning by the church to record the letter displayed at the phone box and on down the valley to the first control just outside Dawlish, the scene of all the problems with the railways during the other year's winter storms. A flurry of activity at the control with groups all arriving

Riders in Cockwood

Event Date at much the same time, but unlike last year no ‘goodies’ on offer. How am I going to manage the next 25k to the control at Stoke Canon! Through Dawlish Warren, a place where caravans and holiday chalets far outnumber houses. In the summer you can hardly move for visitors but in the winter you rarely see anyone other than a man and dog on the beach. Cockwood, Starcross, place names with a nice ring to them are passed through in getting to the outskirts of Exeter to cross the river and circle the city. No problems this year in decyphering the route sheet to get through all the new roads that keep appearing around Exeter — Graham had displayed more of his arrows. Quiet rural lanes east of the city where horse riders appeared to be the only other road users that day, to pass through Poltimore and into the control at Stoke Canon. Tea and cakes were most welcome and a sit down for a few minutes before tackling the hills the other side of Crediton. It appeared that there was another cycle ride on in the Stoke Canon area, the Devon Classic sportive which proved the undoing of a few riders. Some fell into the trap of following the rider in front instead of consulting their route sheet as they left the control, one rider rode over 10 miles on the wrong route before he realized he had joined up with the wrong group. He was one of a group who were hoping to do a quick time but arrived at the finish with his tale of woe. It never ceases to amaze me the amount of rides to fail to notice the Dawlish turn for Shute on the way to Control Crediton and continue back towards Exeter. The road is used on several audaxes each year but people still get it wrong. The info control in Crediton proved to be a problem, the sign informing us the distance to the Tarka trail had disappeared but I found another one down at the railway station Riders in and recorded that. Ashcombe A lumpy route through to Tedburn St Mary and on to the Teign valley. I should have topped up my water bottle at the Stoke Canon control as temperatures were now in the twenties which brought on some

Devon Delight 19 July 2015

Distance

100 km (107 km)

Organiser

Graham Brodie

Start

Newton Abbot Devon

Website

devondelight.org

painful cramps in the legs forcing me to resort to walking up to the ridge outside Tedburn. Fortunately after that the route takes on a flatter appearance down the valley beside the river Teign. One short climb past the quarries then join the new road going back through Kingsteignton to take me into the finish at the Pro Bike Centre. Great day out, Graham, sunny weather with cloudless skies, but at times a little too hot on the climbs. Looking forward to next years event.

Ribble Blue start group

photos : Graham Brodie

www.aukweb.net

Arrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

35


PARIS–BREST–PARIS 2015

Getting to PBP A Full-Value Experience

Marcia Roberts

My journey to PBP was long and arduous. Four years ago, as I waved my fellow weekly riders (Portsmouth Wednesday Night Pub Riders) off to France, I thought “if only I could do that, but it will never be me”. Whilst I have been a lifelong cyclist, Audax was new to me at the time, and a standard sportive was considered long distance and a major challenge for me, especially as I am not in the camp of quick riders, and generally use up much of the allotted ride time. However, a seed was sown and I’m never one to shirk a challenge. I am very well-versed in multiday challenges, having completed a number over the years. But these were always modest daily distances, not long distances in one go without a nice B&B every 60-80 miles or so. The seed began to grow and I started doing more Audaxes, including 200s. I began to develop a determination to take part in the next PBP. Last year I committed to go for it, but had a pretty quiet year on the bike, other than a

What is a girl to wear on the ride...or at least, which one first

pre-qualifying 200 or two. As a result my speeds actually got slower, and once I was into 2015 I was finding it difficult to pick up the speed needed to comfortably complete the qualifying rides. So I concentrated on the distances. I had tried a 300k once — and bailed at 200k — although after that I determined never to bail on a ride again. I started through my qualifiers, completing a couple of 200s; the 300 that had beaten me before; and then onto totally unknown territory in the 400s. My first 400 was Brevet Cymru, 36

Arrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

clear, not finishing the event never crossed my mind, and I was as sure as I could be that I could ride the distance, and I hadn’t bailed on a single ride — even if out of time — in 3 years. I loved it. The constant stream of tail lights ahead on that first 140k section through the night, reminded me of lights strung along a distant seafront. On the first full day, I was mostly overtaking people, which is a rare thing and was very uplifting for me. There aren’t usually many slower riders for me to pass as we all usually start at the same time. Sadly, by the 2nd day the tables were turned and all the Monday morning starters were overtaking me, and I began to see the really fast guys starting to come back. All was going well until I decided I would Ready and excited at the start line

maybe not a good initiation, but I loved it, despite finishing 1 ½ hours out of time. I learned a lot about control tactics (or lack of) on that ride. Something I got right on the next 400, The Avalon Sunrise — an awesome ride if you get the chance — which I completed with about 20 mins to spare. Next off was the only UK 600 that I entered. I made storming progress (by my standards) for the first 300k, but then got ill for 3 stages, which just blew me up. I recovered, but too late to make up for lost time. Another DNF, an hour out of time. I was ready to give up PBP hopes, but was encouraged by other riders to give it one more go. So I found a ride in France, gave it a go, and by a whisker got my qualification. Conveniently, it followed much of the PBP route, but I didn’t know how I felt about it. Six-hundred kilometres had been tough for me, and qualifying at such a full value level made me wonder whether I should just let this rest. I had got a series (despite being almost a double effort), but wasn’t sure I was committed to PBP after all. After all, I only just finished my 600k in time, and PBP was going into very unknown territory in terms of distance and potential sleep deprivation. In the 400s & 600s, tiredness in my head has been my nemesis, even when my legs were quite content to keep pedalling. A friend gave me a very brutal and honest talking to and I came to the conclusion that, while it was only 50:50 that I could complete PBP in time (not so much doubt over my ability to complete the distance), I would kick myself if I decided to wait another 4 years to find out. I’ve since heard that others who decided not to enter for similar reasons have been regretting the decision. So there I was, at the start line, as excited as the next person, and ready to go for it. Just to be

Registration day encouragement from a fellow rider… a chap that is a well known voice of enthusiasm in the Audax UK community

sleep at Loudiac. At most controls previously, I was at the end of the big wave of riders, so the controls were busy, but not manic — perfect for me. But I hit Loudiac at the wrong time. All 3 groups of riders filled it (the really quick riders on their way back, the faster of the Monday riders, and lots of the Sunday starters too). The queues were crazy for toilets, water, and especially beds. I waited and got a bed, opted for 2 ½ hrs sleep, but couldn’t sleep. Despite being tired, I was Vintage Italians on their beautiful vintage bikes… certainly the star riders in our hotel.

www.aukweb.net


PARIS–BREST–PARIS 2015

Loads of bikes on the DNF train from Le Mans (yes we had to change there to get back)

cold and just shivered for 2 hours, before giving up, having something to eat, and deciding I was better off on my bike. This really was my downfall I think. I never recovered from missing that sleep, and it caught up with me big time from Carhaix on the return leg on night three. By this time I had fallen way behind, as I had to keep hopping off the bike to sleep. I found that I can nap in all kinds of positions and locations, and when really, really tired I can’t even feel uneven ground and stones. I was very grateful for the space blanket that I had packed. I had never used one before, but they really are a micro-miracle of warmth. I noted though, that my riding pace hadn’t actually dropped off at all, my problem was the amount of time off the bike as I couldn’t stay

awake. I worked out that if I could keep my pace going and minimise stops, then I was in with a chance of still completing within 90 hours. So I ploughed on and on and on. I also determined that, even if it looked likely that I wouldn’t finish in time, I would just keep riding and see how far I could get in the allocated 90 hours. However, my next downfall (and a surprise), when I got to Fougères, they announced to get in quickly as they were closing up. Another seed was planted, but this time it was a weed. I was about to go into my fourth night, and had about 280 km to go. All I could think about was the controls ahead. Gorron was the last town of any note with open facilities in the evening, but what would happen if the next controls in the night were closed? I wasn’t going to able to get through to morning without food, replenishments etc, and I really didn’t want to get marooned. Yes, yes I know it wasn’t likely, but I wasn’t thinking clearly. Also I knew I wouldn’t get through the night safely without sleep — the next control was a long way away. For the first time in 3 years I decided to bail on a ride for my own safety. I stopped in a hotel in Gorron and called it a day. I managed 950km, which is 350km further than I had ever gone before. My body didn’t give up on me, and I am still convinced that I could have ridden the 1230 km. Maybe, like my qualifiers, if I was to do it again in a month or two I would crack it. Who knows? The next day, I needed to find my way back to Paris. Once I had stopped I was in no mind to cycle the route back, so I figured I would find the nearest train station with trains back to Paris. It turned out to be a town called Laval. So I rode there, bought my ticket, only to find out that the next couple of trains were full to bikes (other DNF’ers), so I had about 4 hours to

kill. Not difficult as it turned out. Other PBP’ers were discovered in the same predicament, so we settled down to lunch in a bar by the station and whiled away the afternoon, planning a little post PBP party on the train on the way back. We even made it into an article (very tongue-in-cheek) in the regional newspaper. I finally got back to my hotel around 11pm on the Thursday evening. Was I disappointed in not finishing? Yes a little. Is it going to put me off the long rides? Not a chance. I’ve continued to learn more about these kind of rides on each one I loved the whole experience: the international field; the oriental riders wrapped up like it was the middle of winter; and all the other nationalities that I talked to along the way, despite language barriers. The local people in France made the event, with their shouts of “allez”, and “bon courage”, along the way, as well as their hospitality all through the day and especially the night. The support I have had from most of my local cycling group has been superb. I was always going to find it more difficult than most of our much quicker local entrants, but they have encouraged me all the way. And those that decided I was never going to make it anyway aren’t really worth bothering about. Full value riders, I tell you now, if you are good at endurance, but maybe not speed, but you have thought about entering a long distance event like this, I urge you to give it a go. Don’t listen to what anyone else says. If you can get through the qualifiers, then you have as much right to be there as anyone else — regardless of whether you complete it or not. Next stop LEL — in time!

Louise Rigby and Mary-Jane Watson riding the AAA Milne perm. Photo by Martin Malins

www.aukweb.netArrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

37


PARIS–BREST–PARIS 2015

“I Was on

Fixed,

You Know”

T

owards the latter part of 2014 I started thinking about the next Paris-Brest-Paris, and how to ring the changes. To explain: I had ridden two 90-hour PBPs — one on gears and one on fixed — and an 84 hr and an 80 hr, both on gears. I didn’t particularly want to repeat myself. So the logical thing would be to ride an 84 on fixed, except that I hadn’t ridden anything serious on fixed-wheel for several years, and I was conscious of advancing decrepitude. My fixed-wheel bike was ancient , much altered and bodged, in fact the same bike (except for the forks) that I had ridden in 1999. It was old even then. I started looking for a replacement and eventually found someone who could build a titanium frame with forwardfacing dropouts as befits a road bike. Meanwhile I rode a couple of 200s on the ancient bike and, with panniers attached, toured to the AUK Reunion and back. The weight

My old frame

of the luggage helped me to a respectable 150 rpm cadence on some long downhills. That encouraged me to think I still had the knack. The bike seemed quite flexible, but it only had to last until January. Not that the frame was on time (are they ever?). In February, pootling around Devon lanes, I stood on the pedals to crest a hill and there was a loud crack. I wobbled into a field gateway. The top-tube had cracked in two. A piece of rope lying in the road caught my eye and I tied it round the head-tube and back to the seat-pin to hold the bike together. A toestrap stabilised things a bit more. Then I cautiously rode the 15 miles home. A rummage in the garage uncovered another old frame. I gave it a quick lick of Hammerite and assembled all the fixed components on to it. Riding the Mad March 200 I had to walk some of one hill. This fixed thing might just be a silly idea. I rode my first 300 on gears, not feeling particularly fit at all. Still, it seemed to loosen 38

Arrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

my legs, because a couple of weeks later I rode a hilly 300, the Turf ’n’ Surf, on the fixed without suffering to much. However, this was on the new frame, which had arrived at the end of March and proved a revelation, turning my feeble power-output into more speed than seemed feasible. Encouraged, I used the new bike for a Brevet Cymru 400, a Flatlands 600 (the first part ridden at knee-trembling speed owing to an optimistic B&B booking), and a Buzzard 600 for luck completed my BRM preparations. The Buzzard was a real graunch, I had to turn the wheel round from 67 inch to 63 part-way round. I also rode the Mersey Roads 24 (with gears) which won me another age-group medal despite a disappointing distance (I’m very grateful to George and Elaine for supporting me there). In the meantime I had booked a ferry, hired a self-catering cabin in Versailles and, most importantly, entered the French event. I decided on my usual gentle build-up to the 2015 Paris-Brest-Paris, got a train to Southampton, and then rode to Portsmouth for the night ferry across to Le Havre. I was surprised from behind (yes, really) by the Hampshire contingent as I showed my passport. The antics of Paul and the others (who were taking the other ferry, to Caen) had the man in the ticket booth nearly helpless with laughter. Aidan met me as I rode to the first waiting point — it was early so, bike parked, we went for a coffee. Nigel and Drew, and Ron and Dai on tandem, were waiting when I returned, with Drew’s latest

Ian Hennessey old machine. It had an evocative patina of rust and worn paint. He was particularly proud of the ancient saddle, pointing out the ridges and seams of future discomfort. None of the others were around as I left the boat the following morning. I tried a new route out of Le Havre, parallel with the main road through the town to join the old road alongside the Seine. It worked well apart from the unbuilt bridge over the railway. A footbridge saved the day. The bike felt heavy with a crammed Barley saddlebag and a similarly-sized stuffsac strapped to it. As the bac over the river to Quillebeuf docked, a rainstorm came, hammering on the cobbles as I found shelter until it passed. A little further on I found a bar with a bakery attached and stopped for coffee and croissants, then meandered on towards Evreux and a budget hotel. The next day I diverted from my Garmin track to join the outbound P-B-P route to Saint Quentin. There were lots of small groups of cyclists on the road, conversing in various languages. Richard and Carla were already at the cabin. There was a babel-buzz of German, Australian, Ian Hennessey, John Spooner, Drew Buck

www.aukweb.net


PARIS–BREST–PARIS 2015

The new bike

and Yorkshire from the surrounding cabins. The Dixons arrived later, having mislaid their tandem somewhere on the flight from the USA – this would keep us all (but particularly the Dixons) on tenterhooks until late Saturday night when it finally arrived in a small, grubby Peugeot van. ACP had been understanding and checked them through without their bike, so all they had to do was assemble it and wait for the start. Anne was settled in her campervan and carefully preparing for her fourth P-B-P. We found food in a little Malaysian cafe-restaurant where the owner weighed and priced each ingredient as it was served. Saturday morning we rode to the velodrome, and I watched the others disappear into the milling crowds below. That barriers were being constantly readjusted to cope with the ever-lengthening queue. My check-in was on Sunday and it was much less crowded. It was lovely to meet Noel there, manning the check-in and still as ebullient as ever. Richard Leon was looking forward to his eleventh start, and Jim Hopper his ninth. Sunday evening I watched the 90hr riders starting in seemingly endless streams. I was

embarrassed to have forgotten my “Riding after Dave Lewis” badge, but Anne gave me another before she followed Jim and Tony into the start area. Steve, still chasing Tommy Godwin, was in the last wave, unflustered by the general excitement. Heather interviewed him before his start. It was still dark the following morning when I made my way to join the 84hr group. The bike was much livelier without the extra luggage, but my knees were persistently aching, which was a worry. Someone stopped suddenly in the start pen and I came down quite slowly on top of another rider. Embarrassing, but no damage. Then we were off through urban streets behind the neutral car. There was a regular clattering of lights and stuff hitting the road, and one or two riders behind me hit the low centre kerbs . Dawn came and my knees still hurt. I was climbing surprisingly fast compared with geared groups, but they would catch me on steeper descents. Then, after about five hours on the road, my knees gave in and stopped hurting – as if to say, “okay, you win, we’ll stop complaining”. I was feeding on coffee and sandwiches from the outside stalls to save queuing for food, as well as using some of the bars and impromptu food stops on the route. At some point I came across Dai and Ron, visibly upset that mechanical failure had scotched their ride. Elsewhere Rob had failed to coax his Pashley to enough speed and was out of time to sleep. Coming out of Fougères raindrops the size of walnuts splattered around, giving nearly enough warning to take shelter. A multinational group of cyclists gathered in a large barn-like entrance and watched as the road, the cars, and the occasional foolhardy cyclist disappeared in a blur of storm and spray. I slept for four hours at Loudeac in an enormous hanger carpeted with truckle beds. Damon interviewed me at Carhaix. On the video I appeared not to have much of a clue where I actually was. It was bright sunshine over the Roc Trevezel. Enormous Italian campervans stood in clusters on the verges. On the descent I shouted at the Dixons heading upwards and Emma looked blankly at me. Shortly after that Idai, standing absurdly tall amongst conventional bikes, hailed me across the carriageway. His was an epic ride on a barkingly eccentric machine. Then there was a shout from the verge. Anne was watching the world go by. I stopped and we saw the Hedley-Swallow tandem trike heading east, Judith urging us to stop slacking. We parted company in opposite directions and

“Richard Leon was looking forward to his eleventh start, and Jim Hopper his ninth”

Jim Roberson, Anne Learmonth & Tony Pember

Jim Roberson and Ian Hennessey

I continued to Brest. It was a seemingly endless urban climb to the control, just awkwardly on the cusp of seated or standing effort on a 67 inch gear. But I was halfway and feeling fit. I slept at Loudeac again on the return. A touch of saddle-discomfort encouraged me to take descents more slowly, so I was using the brakes a little more. I slept again at Mortagne, on the

Ian with Noel Simpson

floor this time, and again somewhere in a sunny field. I probably got around 12 hours’ sleep in total. I think it was either the food or the water at Villaines that poisoned me. Fortunately it manifested as no more than gradually increasingly discomfort as I weaved between increasing numbers of very tired meandering 90hr riders. The rain started somewhere around Dreux and got steadily heavier. The landscape offered little protection. I encountered young Adam, also on fixed, around this time, and he finished somewhat ahead of me. For the last section I switched on the Garmin to be sure I kept to the route through urban streets. The sun came out for just long ➢

www.aukweb.netArrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

39


BREVET POPULAIRE

First Failure! TOUR

enough to steam off most of the damp and then I was on the track around the park, dodging puddles and the occasional dogwalker. Small knots of spectators clapped as I entered the finish, bumped over the tracking sensors and stopped to hand back the tracking widget. It was a properly subdued end to 80 hours of riding. It seemed like a long walk to finally hand in my brevet card. Drew, John, Jim, Dave, Tony and others were seated at a table full of half-empty glasses and ride detritus. I got a beer. Ivo was asleep sagging sideways on a chair. I woke him to say hello; he bleared at me and went back to sleep. After a while the Villaines discomfort made itself felt and I left to return to the cabin. Richard and the Dixons were already there, quietly meditating on the event. Chris, Anne and I met later for a pizza, after which point my guts finally exploded. Friday morning everyone was packing. Joth and Emma were dismantling the tandem for a car journey to the ferry. Richard and Carla were packing their van. I had an extra night booked before my return journey, so Anne and I wandered around the Versailles gardens, looking at the Anish Kapoor constructions and being treated to an explanation of the higher significance of one piece delivered in a manner that only the French can do with a straight face. Heather and Damon were there, having been told off for leaving their bikes on the grass. We rowed the Grand Canal (a cruciform lake) as an antidote to all that pedalling. And finally there was the unexpected pleasure of discovering a little bistro in a back-street which served exquisite food under an awning as life passed by. It always surprises me how stuff takes up more room the second time you come to pack it. It was a struggle to get everything back on the bike for the journey home, and boy did it feel heavy. I made my goodbyes, handed back the keys to the cabin, and set off at a gentle pace for Evreux. My guts were still complaining and so progress was slow. I found the same hotel and took a room. The restaurant was closed for the weekend (it had been closed for ‘la vacance’ first time) but the receptionist, whilst apologising that she wasn’t a chef, made me a fine ham salad and even produced a cheese board. The second day I was feeling better. Approaching Le Havre centre a cyclist hailed me from across the street. He’d seen my frame number and his bike still sported his. He asked after Drew, who had run out of time before Brest. In my tiredness I failed to get his name. Which just left the ferry crossing, the late-night rain-soaked ride to a hotel in Fareham (and the puzzled look when I asked where I could put my bike), the train from Southampton, and finally being reunited with Elly at Dorchester. Even at that point, ParisBrest-Paris seemed like a long time ago. Actually, there is one more thing — “ringing the changes”. I am not all that keen, at the moment at least, on the idea of a fixed-wheel 80-hour in four years when I shall be nearer 70 than 60. That’s four years to consider the options.

of the

HILLS 2015

A

Tim Harrison

fter several decades of being sedentary I bought a racing bike in 2010 to rediscover the cycling of my youth. In the process I also discovered Audax and a whole new world opened up to me. I have become enthused by the award system and have slowly built a small collection of badges and each year set my sights on something bigger and better. I do realise that I am still on the very verge of long distance cycling but I can at least legitimately call myself a Randonneur! When I show friends and family my collection they see me in a new light (often this also helps them hurry home). I used to be a Boy Scout but never achieved much beyond perhaps a badge for “joining in”, so I suppose Audax is helping me fill another gap in my life. Either way it amuses me and provides a sense of purpose. In 2014 I completed a Bronze Grimpeur event with my eldest daughter Sophie, so it seemed a logical progression to move up to Silver this year. The Surrey Tour of the Hills caught my eye as it had the necessary number of AAA points and was ideally situated close to London, where Sophie lives, and near my brother in law

who kindly agreed to accommodate us before and after. At this point my son, Jack, asked to be involved as he was working in Basingstoke not too far from Surrey. This had the makings of a family fun time so we duly entered along with Joe, one of Sophie’s friends.

Progress so far

I am a Randonneur so felt pretty confident that with a few more hills put into my schedule this would be easily achievable, after all my regular Wednesday rides with the Evesham Before the start and full of confidence, Sophie, Tim, Joe and Jack

40

Arrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

www.aukweb.net


BREVET POPULAIRE and was determined to start. “Oh and can I borrow a bike and some of your cycling gear?” The event promises excellent, nutritionally balanced foods at the start, midpoint and finish and when we arrived this had clearly been very well thought through. We dutifully followed the pre event recommendation and fired up with enthusiasm received our start time – the event starts at 5 minute intervals to ease congestion. With near perfect conditions we To get this right takes some doing - Hilary, Margaret, Heidi, Louise and Laurie at work set off to conquer the hills and it all started well enough as we jockeyed Wheelers had taken me from someone who for position and raced for the top of the first could barely manage 20k to someone who ascent. I am well used to being the last up hills, routinely rides 100k before lunch — albeit a and being overtaken by later starting groups late one. was no surprise but what did surprise me was Sophie rides in the Surrey area with the the sheer speed with which it happened. Not VC Godalming Haslemere cycling club so only does this event qualify for Silver Grimpeur knows the roads, can easily manage 100k, and but there are also special “Tour of the Hills” has true grit. Jack on the other hand, whilst badges — gold and silver — for the quicker undoubtedly very fit, does not have a bike finishers. It seemed to me that gold was on and has ridden less than 10 miles this year everyone’s must-have list. but promises me he will train. Joe’s longest The Surrey Hills make the Cotswolds, where ride is 50 miles but he is a regular cyclist and I usually ride, seem like a forgotten, quiet backwater — I have never seen so many cyclists out on the roads. It was really very impressive especially as they were universally faster than me both up (of course) but down also — I think fear and caution must be in short supply in the Surrey Hills. Box Hill was a joy and at this point we were well on schedule and all performing well, even taking time to pose for a few pictures and some stretching exercises. Unfortunately as the ride progressed lack of training by one unspecified member of our group made the hill climbs just too slow and I Sophie helps Jack with his lactic acid; or is it just bullying? watched our overall moving average drop from 20 km/h to less than 15 km/h. At this speed we also in good shape. So all looks good and the would run out of time. countdown to the event begins. The starting point at Shere Village Hall is Don Gray the organiser kindly put me in also the midpoint so when we finally arrived touch with Chris Jeggo who was one of the there for a lunch stop we had already missed original founders of this event back in 1981 the last control’s time window and there was when, in its first incarnation, it was the Surrey little prospect in completing the course before Super Grimpeur, setting out to rival the everyone had packed up and gone home. Yorkshire Super Grimpeur. As I read through the material he sent me I started to realise that this event would be more challenging than I thought. Described by one entrant as “Exquisite Torture”, and with high rates of attrition (fortunately not accidents) I started to understand that this was one of the tougher events in the UK. A total of 2,300 metres of climbing with at least eleven significant climbs including some from the Olympic route. I checked on Jack’s training schedule and soon realised he had done literally nothing so I attempted to dissuade him from starting — he was insulted by my lack of confidence in him www.aukweb.net

Event

Tour of the Hills

Date

16 August 2015

Distance

100 km (115 km)

Organiser

Don Gray

Start

Shere Guildford

Website westsurreyctcda.org.uk Don and his team were very supportive and did encourage us to continue for the fun of it but I was genuinely tired and stressed by the sight of my precious children haring down hills. I realised I had seriously underestimated

Box Hill, and feeling good

the Surrey Hills and the respect they deserve. Sophie and Joe were keen to continue but in the end it was logistics that stopped them as we had a variety of car/rider combinations and we all needed to be somewhere else the next day. So no new medal for my collection but an excellent, well organised event that is well worth entering. For sure the Silver Grimpeur medal will be mine one day soon! Surrey Hills — we will be back.

Recommended Eating Schedule

Arrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

41


PARIS–BREST–PARIS 2015

A Different Point of View PBP 2015 on an ElliptiGO Bike Idai Makaya

T

he plan to assemble a team of riders to take on the Paris Brest Paris 1,200km Audax challenge on ElliptiGO bikes was pretty much formulated in my mind after the completion (on 13 September 2014) of the Flatlands 600km Audax, which I rode with Alan McDonogh, Carl Nanton and Stuart Blofeld [see Arrivée 126 (Autumn 2014) p53]. The ‘experiment’ for me (at the time) had been to see whether or not we could get the completely inexperienced Carl Nanton through the 600km audax event as comfortably as the rest of us by simply providing a pacing format, based on our own experience with longdistance ElliptiGO riding (and his generally high fitness levels). I had surmised that if such a thing would be possible then it also made sense that the long-distance cycling training we’d been doing on ElliptiGO bikes over the past few years could pretty much be replicated by any other athlete with the inclination to do it. I was pleased (but not surprised) to see that Carl made it through the Flatlands 600k as comfortably as those of us with more long-distance riding experience - and he successfully completed his first ever Audax ride. I like validating things in health & fitness — especially new things — and after 4 years of studying long-distance elliptical cycling, by the summer of 2014 I had pretty much reached a point where I had felt that I was in a position to legitimately validate the learnings I had amassed in relation to elliptical cycling (and performing in long-distance cycling events on an elliptical bike). I must make it clear that my ‘obsession’ with extreme endurance sports training has not ‘blinded’ me to the realities of health & fitness in general — and my main driver in what I do in endurance sport is probably exploration. There’s nothing particularly healthy about taking on the types of endurance challenges I do, although I do believe that they can be successfully incorporated into one’s long term health strategy, as I’ve explained in the past. But I mainly want to know what’s possible for the human body and the human mind. The complete understanding of human physical performance — and the associated mentality required to optimise it — is what mainly interests me…

42

Arrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

I do not particularly feel that what I have done in the past few years in endurance cycling is something that needs to be ‘rolled out’ or ‘built up’ in any big way. Nor do I feel that the participation levels in long-distance elliptical cycling particularly need to be increased. But I do feel that the knowledge base I am building with my growing number of ‘hard-core’ team mates is very important in the ‘science’ and ‘art’ that I am a part of – and that this information is crucially important for those individuals out there of a similar inclination to my own (people who have an irresistible urge to push themselves towards the absolute limits of what’s possible for their bodies). Ultimately, that’s always what this has been about for me. It’s mainly about finding my limits and actually knowing when I have truly reached them. My training journey started when I was 7 or 8 years old (my exploration of my physical capabilities) and it has advanced relentlessly

of exploration of the absolute limitations of cycling equipment (and the absolute limits of the human condition). Some of the pioneering aspects have now been lost in an event so established, as we have become completely familiar with the capabilities of the equipment used and the methods for preparing human beings for such exploits, using that equipment. But this ‘essence’ of the PBP challenge has not been lost on me – and having had the opportunity since 2010 to explore professionally the new frontier that is elliptical biking, the concept of converging in Paris for PBP 2015 (and once again using the traditional challenge as a ‘proving ground’ for new equipment and new preparatory techniques) had started to make more and more sense to me, serving as a neat way of ‘wrapping up’ the knowledge base I’ve been working so hard to understand over these last few years — as well as a means of validating a couple of concepts (to myself, mainly).

Building The ElliptiGO Team:

Setting off…

from that point until now (at 41 years old) when I have probably neared the peak of my understanding of how the human body works — and what that knowledge allows it to do. Why Paris–Brest–Paris 2015? PBP is possibly the oldest mass-participation endurance sports event in the world. It has been run regularly for well over a century, driven initially by a spirit

It had become clear during our preparations for the 2013 London–Edinburgh–London audax that there are a variety of methods for approaching a very long ElliptiGO ride. An optimisation of training volume and training intensity needs to be established, and it needs to match the personality of the rider being trained. Certain individuals cannot bear extremely long training sessions over the long term (purely from a psychological perspective; but sometimes simply for practical reasons around lifestyle and personal commitments). Others are almost at the opposite end of the spectrum, and simply cannot handle high intensity work over the long term. So the first thing to establish when taking on a challenge like this is what type of athlete you are dealing with and what they actually like doing. You cannot prepare well for an endurance event if you do not actually like/enjoy the training. There’s virtually no point in doing it if you cannot enjoy it for the majority of the time that you do it. So it is important to select the ‘right’ people for this type of challenge. I had fielded this ‘query’ to about 30 ElliptiGO athletes whom I knew, and whose physical abilities I was well aware of, especially targeting the most genetically talented individuals in my sphere of influence. I had also targeted those individuals whom I www.aukweb.net


PARIS–BREST–PARIS 2015 already knew had a ‘need’ to take on challenges of this nature and whose mindset I was already familiar with (in relation to their passion and relentlessness for achieving physical goals, regardless of the perception anyone might have of their abilities). To cut a long story short, I have discovered, in the recruitment process of the ElliptiGO Ultra-Endurance Team, that the ‘athlete mindset’ is possibly more important than their physical credentials. I am now of the belief that the majority of the healthy population possesses the physical capability required to take on a massive endurance cycling challenge like PBP — on any good standard bicycle — and that a good (but smaller) proportion of the ‘normal and healthy adult population’ also have the capability of doing so on an elliptical bike — if they can find the motivation to do so. On the elliptical bike physical ability is a must. No amount of mental strength and fortitude will allow you to meet the strict audax time limits in these sorts of events if your body is not physically capable of doing so (and there are definitely many people who have the right mindset, but lack the physicality required for this). It’s become the buzz-phrase in endurance sports these days to say “it’s all mental”, or “it’s 90% mental and 10% physical”. It’s not really true at this level of being tested. You have to have a healthy dose of both. I look at it like you cannot live without your brain – and you also cannot live without your heart. So how do you say which organ is more important, when they are both ‘vital organs’? And for the endurance athlete (extending himself/herself at the level required to complete a multi-day audax event on an ElliptiGO), both mentality and physicality are ‘vital qualities’. You will not succeed without the correct balance of both qualities. After starting out with an initial group of about 20 athletes, our ElliptiGO Ultra-Endurance Team had eventually ‘self-selected’ down to just My daughter drew me a celebration picture

8 individuals (as we had progressed through the official qualification process for PBP 2015). So the Team ElliptiGO athletes who eventually lined up at the start of PBP 2015 were Alan McDonogh, Andrew Nuttall, Billy Grace, Bill Pinnell, Carl Nanton, Jim Cremer, Idai Makaya and Stuart Blofeld.

14 Aug 2015

I travelled by car to Saint Quentin with my whole family. I was like a caged greyhound and I found interacting with other people quite difficult on the trip, preferring to muse over what I was planning to do during the ride and rehearsing my ride over and over in my mind.

In the starting pen

I had needed my family close by, but at the same time I did not want them to interfere with my ‘meditation’. Long drives are good because everyone tends to withdraw — eventually — and I was pretty much left to daydream as we drove along. Bad delays at the ports along the way, and very sad scenes with refugees at Calais, had blighted the trip for me, but we made it across the English Channel and into France…

have felt so upbeat, and my reasons for feeling that way are not completely clear to me, even now… My team mate Billy Grace was chasing a very fast time (under 80 hours) and had drifted out of sight of the rest of the eight-man group, within just a few minutes of us starting. After just an hour of cruising our first real ‘incident’ took place. Carl’s gear shifter cable had slipped out (after he had swapped out his rear wheel the day before). I was a little disappointed that Carl had done this job himself when we actually had a professional mechanic (Grant Strong) supporting the team for the entire event and doing all the necessary servicing needed on our team’s bikes. But I knew it was ‘one of those things’ which cannot be foreseen (and he probably had felt worse about it than I had). I was reluctant to ‘abandon’ Carl at that point, but he had the necessary equipment to replace the gear cable on his own and he had suggested that we all leave him to it. Also, the team had (rightly) suggested that we continue to move on in order to avoid holding up the ‘collective’ every time someone had experienced a setback. With our lack of pace on elliptical bikes, every stop would reduce the average pace — and that lack of pace could not be made up for by simply riding faster, later on. I was surprised at a building discomfort in my feet, from pretty much the start of the ride — a suggestion that I was riding too fast. I am normally very good at remaining comfortable on my bike and sore feet are always the result of the cadence and power output being too high.

15 Aug 2015

We had spent the morning getting registered at the Saint Quentin National Velodrome and getting the mandatory identification information for the event. We then hung around the hotel car park, fixing up the bikes with our team mechanic (Grant Strong) and then we went to a nearby restaurant for a relaxed meal with the ElliptiGO Team, and a few other friends who were also doing the ride on conventional bikes. Then we tried to get to bed early for the big ride on the following day.

16 Aug 2015

It was a long wait for our 17:15 start time and I was bogged down in the logistics of changing hotel rooms for the family and making sure everyone would be okay while I was away riding. This was a distraction — and it definitely raised tensions — but it also helped keep me occupied throughout a whole day of ‘waiting’ for the event to finally start (so that I didn’t dwell overly on the task which lay ahead). The ride had started promptly at 17:15 and we rode through throngs of local supporters as we had left Saint Quentin and headed into the Parisian countryside. There was a feeling of complete elation once we had got moving, after nearly a year of planning and about 8 months of formal training. I had kept on telling everyone how happy I was to be there, and I had really meant it! I can’t remember many a time when I

Leaving St Quentin

Jim and Stu had seemed to be spot-on with their pacing at this early stage, so I had consciously decided to try and mirror what they were doing, which did help me get more comfortable. But once foot discomfort starts on a long ride it is unlikely to go away. We had covered the first 76 km in about 3½ hours. Carl still hadn’t caught up by then and we had switched to our high visibility vests for the coming night ride. Our pace had remained even — and possibly still a little too fast — and we’d reached the first checkpoint (at 140 km) in exactly seven hours. At this point we’d realised just how disorganised we were as a large group and the control checkpoint was jampacked, meaning access to food and drinks was difficult. We had lined up for food and Carl had eventually caught up with the group during this time — and then he promptly passed on ahead of us… The night ride on that first night had been pleasant, but we’d noticed that the event had

www.aukweb.netArrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

43


PARIS–BREST–PARIS 2015 become very undulating from about 140 km onwards. At the time I had thought this ‘hilly patch’ would be a small segment (and then the ride would flatten out again). However, it never did flatten out – and it will go down as the hilliest event I’ve completed to date.

photograph: Nicole Poisson

17 Aug 2015

Updating my wife and the support vehicle at a control

positioning as my ‘guestimate’) and the time had come to make it clear to my teammates that I was exceeding my planned pacing objective and would not be sticking with them if the pace didn’t slow down. So I had let some of the faster guys pull ahead of me and was really only catching up with them at the control checkpoints from then onwards. 363 km had been covered in 21 hours and 20 minutes — and Jim was having bad gastric issues, unable to eat solid food and depleting his energy reserves as a result. This was slowly sapping his energy, but he’d somehow been able to continue at more or less the same pace as us, until that point. But after the 363 km control point he’d started to fall behind the group pace and was even GOing too slowly for me. Again we had reached a crisis decision point,

photograph: Black Group Photo

We had reached 265km in 15 hours of riding, and it was morning once again. It was very misty that morning and we’d had to keep our lights on, using up extra battery power in my case because I do not use hub dynamo energy generation (which some in our team do use). The initial euphoria had now left me and it was just ‘serious graft’ from that point onwards. I was not particularly ‘endeared’ to the ride at this point, finding the terrain quite slow GOing, but I did marvel at the perfection of the French road surfaces and the commitment of the fantastic local communities along the way to supporting this ride and raising the spirits of all the riders. I had vowed to acknowledge every spectator who had applauded or waved as we passed by, and that’s what I did for the full ride — although it had soon cost me my voice (which I lost on the second day of riding, meaning that I had to wave to people from then onwards, unable to speak properly). We had covered the first 310 km in exactly 18 hours, with no sign of Billy and Carl – who had advanced pretty far ahead by that point. It was not lost on me that 18 hours is a decent time for me to cover a 300 km audax ride on the ElliptiGO, and that doing so on such a hilly course (in such a long event) may have been somewhat ‘careless’. The soles of my feet were getting painful as it got hillier and hotter during the day. I was now ahead of what I had perceived to be 80-hour finishing pace (using Billy’s

as we’d done with Carl the day before. Bill had opted to stay back with Jim, feeling that the group pace was inappropriate, but I’d remained with Alan, Andy and Stuart – who had seemed to be getting faster and faster (perhaps I was just getting slower and slower, but that’s the way it had looked at the time). We had reached 450km in about 26 hours and I’d severed contact completely with Alan, Andy and Stu, opting to re-join Bill and Jim temporarily. But they had wanted to stop a bit too often for my objectives at that stage, so I’d split from them too (after another long food break) and soon I was riding solo. It wasn’t a bad thing being on my own and away from the team. I quite enjoy riding on my own – and the streets were packed with cyclists and spectators, so being outside of Team ElliptiGO was really just a ‘pacing relief’ for me. I wasn’t lonely, or isolated, in any way. I was probably quite happy, under the circumstances. What did bother me a lot was the increasing heat… We had caught up to Carl at around 450 km because he was becoming drowsy, as were Bill and Jim (who were still quite close behind me). So around this section I’d passed them all at the control checkpoint and had continued to press on into the night. This was where my enhanced resilience (from the fasted training) was becoming more evident, because all of the riders in the team were battling sleep deprivation at this stage, and I was still relatively fresh (in comparison). After a series of hill climbs in some very dark countryside we’d hit a main road where we were able to make decent progress for quite some time. It was around that time that someone had shouted out my name from the roadside and I’d spotted Carl retiring into a bus shelter with his bike, for a second nap (not long after leaving

44

Arrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

www.aukweb.net


PARIS–BREST–PARIS 2015

18 August 2015

Fatigue had finally caught up to me around the very hilly section approaching halfway and I had taken my first attempt at a nap. The plan was to use Grant’s car every time I had needed to sleep, so that the naps could be exactly timed (and very short, without any disturbances). So I’d got into the passenger front seat, while Grant had tinkered with the bike and checked it over. But it hadn’t worked this first time – and after 15 minutes of sleep I’d choked on my own saliva and woken up in a panic, probably due to having such a dry and inflamed throat (and also due to using the wrong sleeping posture on the seat). I could not get back to sleep after that, so I had asked Grant to time me for 5 minutes, stating that if I had failed to fall asleep within that time I would be more productive riding on the road. I had failed to fall asleep within the allocated 5 minutes and had then set off on the bike again, with just 15 minutes of sleep in the ‘sleep bank’ since Sunday morning. The ride had continued along a series of gradual climbs, known affectionately as “The Roc”. I had noticed that singing out loud was doing a brilliant job of keeping me alert and awake, and because there were fewer riders moving after midnight I had not felt too self-conscious about doing it, despite my awful singing voice! I find that singing heartfelt songs during long rides works well for me when I’m battling to remain awake, so for me that’s always love songs (which I actually will be imagining that I’m singing to my wife). How sweet… Exactly which songs I choose is always completely random at the time — and generally beyond my control — because I can only ever think of 3 or 4 songs when faced with this type of challenge (and I am often forced to rotate through those 3 or 4 songs, almost indefinitely). On this ride I was particularly hung up on Patrick Swayze’s theme song for the movie

‘Dirty Dancing’ — a track called “She’s Like The Wind” — Aretha Franklin’s classic “EverChanging Times”, and Vanessa Williams’ and Brian McKnight’s less well-known R & B hit, “Love Breaks Your Heart” So I had sung each of those songs, in turn, over and over, for hours and hours. It had just

that metric, which is unusual for me on a long ride. I normally only view the finish line as my goal when I ride in events like this, but reaching the halfway point in PBP 2015 had been a notable landmark for me. I had also found Brest really pleasant, in terms of the design, size and architecture of the town — nothing as dreadful as previous riders of PBP had led me to believe it was. It had looked like a nice town to me, the sort of place I could actually see myself visiting with my family – and not the “rundown historical port” I had been told to expect. I had a quick breakfast in Brest, chatting with friends from Essex, and then headed back up the other side of the big long climb which had delayed my arrival in Brest on the way in. There was a huge amount of climbing to get out of Brest and into the countryside and the morning had heated up quite dangerously, I’d thought. I was quite uplifted by seeing a good number of my cycling friends (who’d started later than us), all heading into Brest as I had headed away. I especially recall my friend Patrick flagging me down on one of the long hill climbs to hand over a pair of his club pins, a gesture which had meant a lot to me. I had met with Grant at 2 pm outside the next control checkpoint (at Carhaix) after a whole morning of climbing and descending the long slopes leading up to it (and exactly 12 hours after I’d taken my first 15-minute nap in the support vehicle, before heading towards Brest). Grant

felt more intense each time I sung each song, and it had more meaning each time. But my voice was gone and it really hurt my throat. I had felt that was a sacrifice I had to make at the time. I had to sing the songs out loud for it to work, and it did work, because I had reached Brest (half-way at 619km, as measured on my GPS device) in 39 hours and 15 minutes, feeling reasonably alert. That was a real high point for me because everything was going according to plan, which is very rare for me in long rides. I had planned to take no more than 40 hours to reach Brest and that goal had been accomplished, giving me a sense of control over the event – a sense of dominating the ‘Beast’ which I was trying to ‘tame’. So I became very emotional having hit

had oiled my bike chain and running gear and had also given me two energy gels, which I’d squirted into my mouth in quick succession. In hindsight, that was probably an error (using the two gels, not the bike oil!) and it had caused an insulin spike in my bloodstream, which tends to lead to a sudden dip in energy levels soon afterwards (which is pretty much what had happened next)… Carhaix was 704 km into the ride and it had taken me 45 hours and 20 minutes to get there. The sun was shining at its menacing brightest by this point and the heat was slowing me down — probably coupled with the fatigue of having been awake for so long, with so little sleep. I had continued on to the checkpoint at Loudeac, which was 780 km into the ride. That

Billy leaves a control

photograph: Black Group Photo

the control checkpoint where he’d also had a nap, so bad was the drowsiness). I’d looped back to meet him, despite busy traffic (hundreds of cyclists were on the same road at this point) and we’d shaken hands and exchanged greetings and reassurances. Then I had left and found what was called a ‘secret control’ checkpoint, just 5 minutes further on. This was set up to ensure riders were following the official course, and also had served as a resting point. So I was saddened that I couldn’t tell Carl about it, as he was just a few minutes away, toughing things out in a roadside bus shelter. 496 km had taken me 30 hours and 15 minutes to complete and at that control point I had found Alan, Andy and Stu’s bikes parked outside — they were taking their first sleep break inside. We’d all been awake for about 40 hours by this point (since getting up on the morning of Sunday, 16 August). I’d become very aware of the sleep deprivation I was experiencing and was liaising with Grant at the support vehicle to plan my sleeping strategy. Grant was able to update me on how far ahead Billy was and I had noticed the gap closing, which had spurred me to ride on, knowing that Billy was on an 80-hour finishing schedule.

www.aukweb.netArrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

45


PARIS–BREST–PARIS 2015

photograph: 24h-en-photo.com

had taken me about 50 hours of riding and we were reaching the end of the afternoon; hopefully ushering in slightly cooler conditions for night time riding. I had looked forward to the night sections of the ride, simply to avoid all the heat. But I did fear the drowsiness which would inevitably ‘attack’ during the night periods. After 55 hours I had covered 839 km and was becoming very drowsy again. I had found that slight rhythm changes had really helped me stay alert — such as toilet breaks, or food stops — anything to get me out of the hypnotic rhythm of simply riding and riding. This was especially important when the roads were crowded (because my bad singing had made me feel quite self-conscious in crowded places)…

19 August 2015

I was somehow able to push through another night without falling asleep but I did start to cross into the ‘danger zone’ as I call it. I was now so far ahead of our team that I could not properly liaise with Grant and the support vehicle, and couldn't find a place to sleep. I had tried roadside naps, but was terrified of animals foraging in the bushes, or I got badly pricked by sharp nettles and weird grasses. So I had eventually decided that meeting Grant again was my only hope of getting proper sleep. But I was very drowsy. An Irish rider had shared some caffeine tablets with me, which had kept me moving, but I had slowed to a crawl and was losing mental awareness. Billy overtook me at this point, although I wasn’t aware of it at the time (and neither was he, so we now believe he probably passed me just as I was lying down by the roadside, when I had thought I heard an ElliptiGO pass by me, but I was too drowsy to make it out properly in the dark). The next phase of riding is something I must acknowledge – although it is also something which I am not proud of – and I think it is only the disoriented state I was in that had allowed me to do something this irresponsible in the first place. I had become completely unaware of who I was, or what I was doing. I often didn’t even know I was riding a bike. I was just dreaming – whilst still on my feet – and I often thought that I was watching somebody else (and not being myself, so to speak). I had lost all ‘contact’ with my body and could no longer feel, or sense, my own physical presence. It was pretty much an ‘out of body’ experience. I often couldn’t remember I was actually doing PBP 2015, the event I had thought about daily for 8 months while training and preparing. At times I didn’t even know I was riding at all, I had thought I was just flying – or even just walking. It is the most surreal experience I’ve had so far on a bike – and during this period I would only be ‘jolted’ back to consciousness when I had completely fallen asleep (and had let the bike roll off the tarmac road and into the bumpy roadside grass). Miraculously, I never actually fell off the bike — or hit anything — during those ‘dissociated’ phases. It appears that some other people could see what was going on, because a guy from the Philippines called Redg had decided to stick around and ‘chaperone’ me to the next checkpoint. He was pretty tired himself, but I do 46

Arrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

Bill Pinnell & Andrew Nuttall with Drew Buck

still think it was quite difficult for him to move so slowly on a road bike. He’d obviously realised he was dealing with a guy of diminished reasoning and he could probably see the danger I was in – so he had tactfully struck up conversations and tried to keep me awake for the next few hours. I’ll never forget what Redg did for me… Whenever I did regain some minor (fleeting) consciousness, it was only to get sufficient clarity to remember that I had still wanted to ride PBP 2015 in under 84 hours. I was completely committed to that time goal (and was actually adjusting my expectations — and looking towards attempting 80 hours, like Billy had been doing). So my goal then became to catch up with Billy again, which I had done at one of the non-mandatory checkpoints (the Tinténiac rest stop). I had seen Billy’s bike parked there, but I could not find the man himself and had left without exchanging pleasantries. At that point I had thought we could actually help each other to stay awake, so I was quite keen to find Billy, but not at the expense of losing more time. So I had ridden away (half asleep), back into the night. Thankfully, I’d found Grant at the next control checkpoint. I was now unable to continue riding. My feet were terribly painful, and I had virtually lost all meaningful consciousness. We’d agreed to a 30-minute turnaround for the sleep stop that morning (I had wanted less time, but Grant had looked very concerned and we had reached a compromise, based on his reasoning that I needed a 10-minute ‘settling down’ period before each sleep could be timed). After he woke me up — and plied me with jelly babies — I had bid Grant farewell and had set off into the sunny morning, after 20 minutes of sleep. I had felt completely revived and was alert, reasonable, and able to focus on my plans again. I was confident I could break 80 hours for the full ride and was fully committed to this new and revised goal time. I’d had lots of British friends with me in this segment of the ride, which had made for a very pleasant morning, under the circumstances. My riding ‘methods’ had changed about

450 km into in the first half of the event, in order to stay on course for a fast time. Initially, when I was still riding with the ElliptiGO Team, I was using the control checkpoint facilities to get all my food (mainly French-style baguettes). But the service levels at the checkpoints were inadequate for my needs, with long queues and generally slow service. The food was also very ‘bland’, with most of the bread being so hard that it had lacerated my mouth badly – making all my eating quite painful for the rest of the ride. So I’d decided to forego trying to eat more varied meals and had instead bought a bag full of the sponsored snack bars which were on sale at every checkpoint. My strategy was then focused on remaining in constant motion — at a comfortable and sustainable speed — whilst doing all my eating on the bike (on the move). So my snack bars were loaded into my handlebar bag, where I could easily access them as I rode. The checkpoints then became simply about ride validation for me — getting my brevet card stamped — or stopping for cat-naps in Grant’s car. Using this strategy, I was able to get through many of the checkpoints in well under ten minutes. Even the checkpoints where I’d done my sleep stops in the car were taking me less than 45 minutes to turn around — and that had pretty much sustained my average pace, as I had progressed through the long ride. Later on, as I had approached 1,000 km of riding, the day had seriously heated up again and the climbs were seemingly unending (in both number and duration). Inevitably, sleep deprivation had caught up with me again and I was very drowsy from around lunchtime. This time around, I was definitely more alert than in my previous bout of sleep deprivation but physically I was much more affected, and I was riding ridiculously slowly at that point. But I knew that as long as I was moving (and could remain awake and alert — in other words: “safe”) I was still getting closer to the end of the event (and getting closer to meeting my objective). Another ‘guardian angel’ was sent my way at this point, this time in the large and looming www.aukweb.net


PARIS–BREST–PARIS 2015 shape of a former CTC Milton Keynes riding club mate of mine called Richard (“Ritchie”). Richard is as experienced and hard-core a long-distance cyclist as you will ever meet, and he was aiming for a sub-80 hour time in this event. Having started in a much later wave of riders than myself he was well ahead of his plan when we had met. He had realised just how dangerous I was becoming and had taken it upon himself to ‘shepherd’ me to the next checkpoint (and he made it clear I would have to take a mandatory nap there). The course was brutal by this stage, with many long hills, and I had spent the rest of the day riding with Richard (who must have been incredibly patient to hang around like that, when I was moving so slowly). In fact, the whirring sound his bike made every time he stopped pedalling would jolt me back to my senses each time my consciousness had drifted from me – and he was barely pedalling at all during this time (just trying to stick behind me and monitor me, so that I would remain riding in a straight line). 1,010 km had unfolded after 68½ hours of riding and we’d ridden together for many hours until we had finally reached the next control checkpoint at Mortagne (1,090 km – covered in 74 hours and 7min). At the checkpoint I had insisted that Richard press on without me, because Grant was there (with the car ready for me to sleep in). I’d had a quick meal (a very large hot dog) and I did 20 minutes of sleeping in the support car’s front passenger seat. Billy was at the checkpoint when I got up 20 minutes later. I was feeling physically exhausted — but mentally rejuvenated — and I only knew Billy was there because Grant had told me so (and then I had seen Billy’s bike parked near mine, as I had headed out). Again, there was no sign of the actual man, so I had bid Richard farewell and set off once again without seeing Billy. After about 10 minutes of pedalling I was feeling perfect once again! The next phase had longer and more rolling hills, and the descents were incredibly fast. I was virtually back to normal, with no foot discomfort and no tiredness, feeling fully alert and able to ride fast, once again. I was moving really well from this point, despite the big hills in unending succession. Between some of the controls a number of cyclists, myself included, were setting up incredible surges of pace (which would sometimes see us travelling at impressive speeds, over very long periods of time). The settings (and the faster pace) were allowing me to feel really upbeat, and to remain alert.

20 August 2015

Reaching the penultimate control (45 minutes after midnight on 20 August) was like being in a bike race, with riders scrambling through the busy urban streets and trying to overtake every set of bike lights that had appeared on the horizon ahead of us. The excitement of approaching the finish had started to build up, even though we actually had over 100km still left to ride. I’d met a succession of British riders, with whom I’d spent quite a bit of time chatting — despite my painful throat and hoarse voice — because those conversations had kept me alert as I was riding. The French riders were also very supportive and would often just ride beside me for long spells, even though we were unable to converse (because we

didn’t speak each other’s language, and I had lost my voice anyway). The decency and humanity I’d encountered during this almost inhuman challenge will remain with me for the rest of my life. The true inner decency of people is clear to see in an undertaking of such brutal honesty. I had thought a lot about my ElliptiGO team mates during the ride, especially in that last section. I was proud of them: for being in the process of achieving what I could see they were achieving; and also for helping me to achieve my own potential. At that point I had no doubt that those of us still on the road would succeed. Jim eventually had to pull out at the 700 km mark – due to his mounting gastric issues (which had meant he could not eat any solid food). Andy also had to stop and withdraw (after covering 1,008km), due to an acute back injury flaring up (an injury which he’d first incurred just a few days before while lifting his bike and putting it into the car for the trip to this event). But the rest of us were steadily pushing on at this stage, and our success had seemed to be inevitable. I had also thought about my wife and children, and my brothers and sisters, and my parents. I had realised just how much I love my family. I was grateful to God for allowing me the privilege of challenging myself in this way — and for also surrounding me with the right people in my life. I had incredible respect for everyone who was doing the PBP 2015 challenge alongside our ElliptiGO Team – and for everyone supporting us. I was in a ‘good place’ at that point and had rolled into the Parisian suburbs feeling completely alert, and feeling upbeat. I had prayed many times during the ride because that also helps me keep alert, and it makes the experience more spiritual for me (which is why I like to be alone for reasonable periods during very long rides). In my mind I’m never alone, because God is always with me, as are all the people I love (who remain in my heart, wherever I GO). The final two to three hours of PBP were uneventful and quite boring, really. The terrain was very ‘urban’. It was very dark there, as well as very hilly. So I had just counted down the kilometres (painstakingly) until I had finally entered the National Velodrome in Saint Quentin, at 4:55 am on 20 August 2015 (83 hours and 38 minutes after I had left it with my team, hundreds of my cycling friends, and about 6,000 riders in total). I had only slept for a total of 55 minutes, across the entire PBP 2015 ride (comprised of 15 minutes on Day 2, then 20 minutes on Day 3, and another 20 minutes on Day 4). This almost constant movement had allowed me to sustain a very good overall pace. I strongly believe that my unusual resilience in the face of sleep deprivation, and my lack of physical fade, had both related directly to my enhanced and sustained intermittent fasting campaign, over the months building up to the event (and my practice of doing all my training rides while fasting). To summarise this adventure from a team point of view, a team of 8 of us had started PBP 2015 on ElliptiGO bikes and 6 of us had finished the event within the 90 hours allocated. In my opinion, all 8 riders have a lot to be proud of - and I am honoured to be associated with these individuals.

www.aukweb.netArrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

47


RANDONNEE

was undecided at the end of 2014 whether to do another PBP in 2015. On the one hand, it was a great experience in 2011 and I was sure I would enjoy it again. On the other hand there was a big time commitment for the build up, getting the qualifying rides, some likely to involve travelling quite a way to the start, and then there was travelling to Paris and all the stress of what could go wrong against several deadlines. Eventually I decided I would do my own big ride – a route of my choice, when I wanted to do it, and starting from my own front door. That was the theory. In practice, the choice of route was fairly straightforward: basically a 600 I did two years ago but starting from Penicuik rather than Gairloch. This is the route (my control points were: Penicuik, Fallin, Helensburgh, Lochgilphead, Oban, Fort William, Drumnadrochit, Ullapool, Durness, Tongue, Forsinard, Altnaharra, Tain, Muir of Ord, Dallas, Echt, Kirriemuir, Perth, Penicuik). It forms a rough figure of 8 from the Central Belt to the north of Scotland. Timing was more of an issue than the route itself: other things going on, injury at the start of the year meaning a shorter build up, and bad weather in June when I more or less had to do it. The aim was for a 4-day ride, camping overnight, and taking a slightly more relaxed approach than my 2011 PBP when I took only about 6 hours sleep.

The Old A82

I decided to go clockwise in order to get to the A82 early in the morning of the second day. Having decided to set off on the 23rd June which was forecast to be a good day, I was up until rather late the night before finalising my luggage. In the end I abandoned my lightweight dry-bag for my regular recumbent seat bag and a small Ortleib panier with the tent and thermarest strapped under the seat.

Day 1 : Penicuik to Appin

I set out at the back of 6am and was soon surprised to find quite heavy commuter traffic including quite a few bikes on the back roads to Linlithgow, Falkirk and Stirling. It was pretty flat most of the way to Drymen and I made good time against a nearly absent head wind; the temperature gradually rose with the sun until I was in short sleeves and legs by the time I got 48

Arrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

An Antidote to Paris Brest Paris

map data ©Google 2015

I

PDP : Penicuik-Durness-Penicuik

Alf Chamings to Loch Lomond. The cycle path from Balloch actually takes the old A82 which I had ridden up in 1972 when it was the main road. Then there was a more modern cycle path all the way to Helensburgh which unfortunately has give-way signs at every farm track (the Dutch would shake their heads in disbelief) but I soon abandoned this having nearly taken out a pedestrian on a 50kph downhill: the chap stepped to one side in plenty of time and his partner stepped right into my path with about 10 metres to go. I don’t know who was the most shocked of the three of us. Helensburgh was buzzing with tourists at about 1pm and I stopped to eat a sandwich from Greggs and then, having forgotten to get a receipt, find a cash-machine for a back-up to the GPS tracklog as proof of passage. I was interested to see the long-standing peace camp at Faslane – quiet but clearly still occupied with a variety of old caravans and other shelters all done out with anti-nuclear slogans. The road up the Gareloch and Loch Long got progressively quieter and very pleasant until I met the main road at Arrochar. Then the ride up Rest and be Thankful was a bit busy; good to see the old road though: it looks as if you could still go up it on a bike although there is a gate to open or climb near the top. The A83 continued to be tolerable for traffic and good riding all the way through Inveraray

(also teeming with visitors) to Lochgilphead where I stopped for a magnificent fish supper at the Argyll Cafe. By now the wind had swung round to the north west just in time for my road turning north to Oban. It wasn’t strong by any means but enough to slow me down by a few kph, and the uphills got steeper as I got tireder. North of Oban, however, the going was easier and the wind died down as the evening wore on. The plan was to camp somewhere near Ballachulish and get an early start on the A82 but that all changed in a phone call from Kirsty who was on her way south from a solstice ride on the north coast. So she met me near Duror in Appin in our VW van which in the event was definitely more comfortable than the one-man tent.

Day 2 : Appin to Loch Eribol.

Getting up was not easy but I managed to get back under way by about 4.10 to a beautiful sunrise across the Ballachulish bridge complete with rainbow reflected in Loch Linnhe. The road was almost deserted until Fort William when a few early commuters began to appear along with commercial traffic off to an early start. I

Rest and be Thankful

hadn’t been along the Great Glen for quite a few years and I was expecting it to be flat. It wasn’t all that hilly but definitely not flat with the occasional sharp rise especially once I got to Loch Ness. At Invermoriston I found I was no longer on my GPS track; the reason being that The Kelpies, near Falkirk

www.aukweb.net


RANDONNEE

The Vital Spark at Inverary

Castle Stalker from Appin

Google maps had found a footpath cutting off the in-cut leading to the village. The extra kilometre on the road was well worth it for the view of the old bridge which I thought would be good to look at more closely, but not today. By 9am the traffic was getting much busier and I was glad to get to the cafe at Drumnadrochit where my route left the A82 to head for Beauly. When I emerged from the cafe having chatted for a while with some cyclists heading south it was raining and it didn’t stop until the mid evening beyond Scourie. The first thing that hits hard on leaving Drumnadrochit is the the hill leading out of the Great Glen: steep – perhaps 15% for a while – and 200m of ascent. I had remembered the hill but not the steepness! Beauly and Muir of Ord (the pinch point of my figure of 8) were familiar ground as was the A835 up past the dam at Aultguish: perhaps the easiest 200m climb in the country, taking 30 kilometres from Garve to the summit. There are always more short hills than you remember before Ullapool after the fast descent from Braemore junction but it’s a nice road and good view points including some impressive redwoods at the road side. After a meal in a cafe in Ullapool (where they tried to tell me it had only been raining for an hour!) I set off up the first of the long hills on the road up to Ledmore Junction. Ardmair is usually a beautiful sight but less so today in the rain. Just north of Ardmair there was a good fast downhill leading to the inevitable steep up beyond and just as I was slowing down on the start of the ascent I noticed a car speeding towards me overtaking a van. There was no chance of it getting past the van before it hit me and there was no more than a metre between it and the side of the road. With a tenth of a second to spare I rode off the road (still doing at least 25kph) and hurled abuse at my would-be murderer. Unfortunately the views of the Coigach hills were almost non-existent in the mist and I just got glimpses of the lower slopes of Stac Pollaidh, Suilven and Canisp. The hilly road and the headwind were taking their toll of my energy and morale but I was still making steady progress towards my target of a meal in Durness and an overnight somewhere on the road to Tongue. I had a breather before tackling the

hill over the shoulder of Quinag. The descent is good but spoiled somewhat by the hairpins. I had thought I might get something to eat at Kylesku but time was getting on so I pressed on to Scourie: a great road in good weather but I had to use my imagination. I stopped in Scourie for a snack at the shop and chatted to a 10-year old about his bike and mine. We set off together but he changed his mind about coming to Durness after about 50 yards. At least by now the rain had stopped! I know the road north quite well and recognised the clump of trees signalling the top of the long rise out of Rhiconich then there was a marvellous long descent all the way to the Kyle of Durness. I had previously been turned away from Mackays restaurant when looking for a meal, in an only slightly bedraggled state, on a ride two years ago, so I swept past with my nose in the air and made straight for the Smoo Cave Hotel which was just has friendly as two years previously and served a great pizza. Thinking I was hungry I ordered a 12-inch with chicken and olives but when I couldn’t finish it they wrapped it up and it fed me most of the next day too. I had a good rest in the hotel and chatted to some other cyclists up from Lochinver before dragging myself out on to the bike. It was now about 10.30pm and full daylight but disappointingly dim because of the low cloud. Still there was a good sunset out to the north (where the sky was clear) and there were campervans parked for the night at all the view points. I put my lights on at this point although it was only for the benefit of the few cars – still plenty of light to see the road. By 11.15 it was threatening to get dark so I found a flatish bit of grass almost at the head of Loch Eribol and put the tent up. I thought I needed a bit more sleep so I set the alarm for 4.45.

that it was slow going. The hills of the north coast are hard at the best of times and today was not quite the best of times. Nevertheless it’s hard not to enjoy the scenery here and stopping for a coffee and a biscuit was a real treat by the time I got to Bettyhill. Bettyhill is a milestone heading east because it means you have resisted all the attempts to make you take

“with a tenth of a second to spare I rode off the road”

Old Bridge at Invermoriston

a shortcut to the south. The chap in the hotel reception wasn’t sure if he could offer me coffee as it was still breakfast time and he ‘would have to consult the women’, He needn’t have worried: I was ushered into a very pleasant sitting room where I watched the telly and drank my coffee. I was joined by a motorcyclist who was doing moreor-less the same tour as I was (the northern part of it anyway) and was also doing about 200 miles a day, but not starting until 9 or 10 and getting to his next hotel by about 4pm. He didn’t suggest a swap. After the north coast the great thing about the road from Melvich up Strath Halladale is that there are no relentless steep ups and downs; just a long gentle climb past Forsinard (my control) to Kinbrace. For some reason an RSPB centre at

“…he ‘would have to consult the women’…”

Sunrise at Loch Eribol

Day 3 : Eribol to Inverness.

I woke up needing a wee at 3.30 and took a couple of pictures while I was out of the tent. Unfortunately it was the dismal weather that won and I got going at 5.30 spurred on by the midges. It wasn’t exactly raining but it was more than just mist, and it was certainly wet. I was also feeling tired beyond what a couple of days on the bike should have felt like, with the result

www.aukweb.netArrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

49


RANDONNEE

Get thee behind me Satan!

Forsinard seems to have aggravated some of the locals and there are slogans here and there to say they are not welcome. I didn’t see a local to ask the reason. Wonder of wonders, when I got to Kinbrace for the long westerly leg to Altnaharra, the wind did not change direction and I got a great fast ride with views across the western edges of the flow country. I had thought about stopping at the Crask Inn but in the event I sailed by noticing that it was for sale. I suppose the owners have decided to retire: they will be a hard act to follow! The by now southerly wind was doing its best to sap my energy but I managed a reasonable speed on the long descent to Lairg. I had decided to stop at the cafe/cycle shop in Ardgay because I needed both something to eat and some more chain lube – my small bottle having unaccountably run dry. I made it by 5.20pm but it turned out that neither were about to close. The rain was letting up by the time I set off for Tain and from there there was a very pleasant run through Alness and Evanton to Dingwall. At some point around here I had spoken to Kirsty on the phone who had spent time with her sister at Newtonmore and ‘did I want to sleep in the van that night?’ After half a second’s reflection I reluctantly agreed to forgo the camping and we duly met a few miles out along the A96 east of Inverness. It had begun to rain again in Muir of Ord which spoiled to some extent a normally very nice run along the north side of the Beauly Firth. It was about 11pm and the lights were needed again especially in the drizzle. I had thought the A96 would be dead quiet at this time but it wasn’t and it would also have been difficult finding a camp spot since there were not many side roads. I think if I had not been meeting the van I would have stuck to my original plan of following the B9006 to the south of the A96.

(for a bike) road. It led me back to the main road a few miles before Forres but by now the traffic seemed to have eased up. By contrast the road south from Forres to Dallas, my next control, was beautifully quiet and the scenery without the rain was great despite the freshening southerly wind. After Upper Knockando, I was on unknown roads to Craigellachie and unfortunately my GPS track took a footpath which I was not inclined to follow. I took a couple of uncertain turnings and was stopped by a couple of chaps in a pick-up asking if I was lost. I asked them the way to Craigellachie and he said ‘Oh yes’ and proceeded to ask some very intelligent questions about the recumbent. 10 minutes later we got back to the subject of the route and I was off again on a slightly circuitous road to Craigellachie. Then there were more unknown roads but fortunately quite easily navigated to Dufftown, then over the Cabrach (that second ascent still catches me out) and then through Alford. The GPS route to Echt (my next control) was the shortest but, as it turned out, not the easiest route: after Ordhead I think

Final Thoughts

Blackwater Bridge

I should have stayed on the main road as far as Dunecht but instead I turned off on some lanes which led over many short steep hills, so I was glad but somewhat fatigued by the time I hit the familiar territory (from the Snow Roads) of Echt and Banchory. I took a breather in Morrisons in Banchory before heading towards Cairn o’ Mount which I had only previously ridden the other direction. From the south, it’s one continuous steady climb with a steep bit at the bottom and the top. From the north it’s much more uneven with several shortish steep sections and even some downhills. As I climbed the mist got thicker and turned to rain, both of which were decidedly thick by the summit. I phoned Kirsty at the top (she was now finally at home) who relayed an invitation from Alex in Kirriemuir to stop in for tea. After a white-knuckle descent (literally, since the brakes were decidedly dodgy in the wet and I couldn’t get below about 30kph on the steepest section at the bottom) it took me a very tired hour and a

“some folk looking even more the worse for wear than me”

Day 4 : Inverness to Penicuik

I was certainly needing a good rest by this time and decided not to start until 6.30am. In the event it was 6.45 before I set off – not really quite early enough to be aiming to complete 340km that day. When I got going (in the dry!) the traffic was already busy on the A96 and before long I took a right turn off to the B9006 which turned out to be a very nice and quite fast 50

Arrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

half at least to Kirriemuir where I was thoroughly cheered up by matchless beans on toast and a chat with the Man. Alex gave me an excellent tip for the road out of Kirrie towards Coupar Angus and Perth. It was now getting quite late, however and it looked as if it would be the wee small hours before I got home. By Perth even that was looking optimistic as my tiredness returned with a vengence and every incline was slowing me to a crawl. I got a packet of chips in Perth which revived me to some extent and set off for Glen Farg. In the dark this was a long spooky climb through dense trees. It was gradual enough not to slow me down too badly and by the time I hit the badlands of west Fife it was long past the bed times of the youths who have been known to throw cheeky remarks and the occasional bottle at passing cyclists. By the time I got to the Bridge, it was getting light again and there were some folk looking even more the worse for wear than me who were staggering home through the west of Edinburgh as I ground up Drumbrae and then Craiglockart at a snail’s pace. There was a final picture of the sunrise at Hillend before the return home at 4.45am.

The plan and the route were good in principle but the preparation was inadequate. The last 1000km+ audax I did was PBP in 2011; by August that year I had done a double SR and 8 or 10 200s; this year I had done only two 300s and a 400 along with a few 200s. I had felt fit enough on short rides but it wasn’t enough to keep going strongly for a few days. The old truism is still true: you have to have miles in the legs. I could have taken an extra day and still been within my time limit but I had thought that 330km a day wouldn’t be a problem and would be a more relaxed schedule than my 2011 PBP. It probably would have worked out that way if I had been fitter and the weather had been kinder. Doing a DIY should allow you to choose your weather to some extent but this year June in Scotland was cool and damp and I chose to take a chance on the forecast being pessimistic rather than lose my opportunity to ride close to the solstice. In the event I had a lot of headwind and too much rain to make it a thoroughly enjoyable ride so perhaps I should Sunrise at Hillend, Edinburgh

www.aukweb.net


PARIS–BREST–PARIS 2015 have left it until later in the year. Cycle-camping audaxing is a viable alternative to booked B&Bs and gives more flexibility. My extra load of tent, sleeping bag and mat was only 2 kg plus another 1 kg for the Ortleib pannier and rack. My other luggage was a little more than on PBP but that was because the prospect of a problem in the middle of the night

in Sutherland was more serious than in rural France with manned controls every 80km, a constant passage of other riders, not to mention the guardian angels on motorbikes. In the event I only had one night in the tent but it worked very well and in most of Scotland you can almost guarantee finding a spot by the side of a minor road to put up a tent for a few hours.

Will I do another? Maybe. Daily 200s would be another way to combine touring and audaxing which wouldn’t require the same fitness as a 1300 where the minimum is nearly 300km a day. I’ll think about it.

I’m currently in the middle of editing a lot of video files from the Paris Brest Paris ride. It’s like hacking your way though a forest, as there’s a lot of it. Breaking the trail is a lot easier if you know the shortest route to your destination, so the first job is to define that destination. Paris Brest Paris is a very collective enterprise, it can’t really be about individuals when it has 6,000 participants and 1,500 volunteer helpers. But paradoxically it is avowedly about ‘self sufficiency’. It’s an interesting circle to try to square. The qualifying rides are the place to start with that task, which can much lonelier place than PBP itself. Even then, the goal of Paris can be a strong motivating influence, dragging better performances out of aspirant riders. Back in 2003 one of my earliest video interviews on the bike was with Julian Dyson, and he felt tied into PBP on his 200 qualifier, simply by telling his work colleagues, friends and family about the event. They’d assumed he’d be doing it simply because he’d mentioned it. The explosion of social media since then has amplified that effect a thousandfold, and again it’s an example of the way that we aren’t entirely self sufficient. Sharing what we are doing has become part of the emotional structure of our lives. I think Audax exists to extend capacity, by providing a framework that enables folk to ride a bicycle further in a day than most would consider driving in a car. The obvious part of that framework is the physical help they receive, the food, shelter and warmth at controls. The fact that like-minded people are giving up their time to make that possible adds an emotional element. Riders feel cared for, and they don’t want to let their helpers down by not finishing. That engagement with the structure of the event is strongest when there’s a real possibility of failure. So if you like that sense of engagement, you need to seek more difficult rides if you want to sustain the buzz. But it’s a non-competitive activity, so in the absence of published times, the ‘best’ ride might be done over the hilliest course, without a GPS, on fixed gear, unsupported, and possibly with a Carradice saddlebag. Not wearing a helmet will also get you style points. That’s all in a

possible future for most first time PBP riders. When I finished in 1999 I felt I’d done something extraordinary, and I wanted to spread the word about this amazing event where people stood by the side of the road at all time of the day and night and cheered you on. My partner Heather had packed at Tinténiac on the way out, and vowed she’d finish in 2003. I’d been helped by her and the organisation when my fork steerer had broken at about 950km, so I was keen to pay them both back. That payback consisted of being there for Heather if she needed me, and filming the event instead of going for an improved time. That plan went awry when I was knocked off by a motor scooter with 300 km left to ride. Heather completed the ride on her own, within the time. I was indebted to the organisation, who informed Heather what had happened, as she was ahead at the time, sourced new wheels for me, and allowed me extra time for the accident and legal stuff, which took three hours. In 2007 we decided to improve our filming, and got an early HD camera, Heather would follow the ride, filming at controls, and supporting me, and I carried three cameras. I’d sent a DVD of the 2003 film to a few people, and Ivo Miesen had mentioned it to Jean-Gualbert Faburel, who gave us press passes. That meant that Heather could go anywhere on the course, which helped with the filming, as the car was badged up as official. While I slept 90 minutes in the back of the car, Heather filmed the chaos of the controls at their busiest. I was removed from that chaos, but got to see it while editing. I’m interested in project management, and that was fascinating footage of the organisation. 2011 saw me back on the bike, four years older and broader around the waist. Our friend Dave had helped film London Edinburgh London 2005 and 2009, and we’d persuaded him to come to PBP on his motorbike. He had a mixed time in the weather, especially riding home, but he got some great footage, as did Heather. I got quite a bit, although the sound quality left a lot to be desired. We also used some footage from the Vedettes start from a camera mounted on the bike of Lee Millon from Davis Bike Club in California. That added an extra dimension, and provided a contrast with my own start footage. We moved up a gear in filming both LEL 2013 and the gloriously scenic Mile Failte ride in South West Ireland. We had better cameras, and I was piloting a motorbike, rather than riding, which Dave had always wanted me to do. I’d had a detached retina in 2012, and an operation on the eye obviously. That meant that I was getting a cataract, which was getting progressively worse. I still wanted to ride PBP, and did the qualifiers, filming those and other qualifying rides, including some spectacular ones in Northern

England. I got round the qualifiers closer to the limit than I’d like, but fast enough to justify entering PBP. I then got a date for the cataract operation. It was emphasised that there was a long waiting list, so I reckoned I ought to get it done, and see who it would affect my PBP. I thought I could limit my efforts, and tested that resolve on a ride out of Haringey in London. I had a new camera that record speeds. That showed me chasing a group down at 25 mph, so I was kidding no-one, least of all myself. We arrived at the velodrome in Saint Quentin to find a short film of extracts from our films of recent years playing on the big screens inside and outside the stadium. We’d thought that Audax Club Parisien might like some some scenery to show, and we’d done a six minute edit. I’d had plenty of time to think on the motorbike journey from Lancashire, and it occurred to me that we could film the first Vedettes start, then get back in time for me to start on my bicycle, and filming up to Mortagne from the bike. I got permission to do that, which was nice. Dave, Heather and myself helped out on the LEL stall at the check-in, showing the LEL 2103 film, and selling copies of it. That was a great way to renew old friendships and put faces to names on social media. In 1999 I’d gone to PBP knowing only Heather and a few riders who’d done the same qualifiers. At PBP 2015 I was able to find someone who I knew or who knew me at every stop, which makes it very difficult to boil the story of PBP down to a single thread. One of the main intentions for the film is to show the range of participants, and how they approach their task. We’ve got a tremendous range of material, from riders expressing their amazement at the hospitality of the Bretons, to a discussion between a controller from London Edinburgh London, and the LEL accountant on the influence of the restaurant checkout systems on queue length. We spent a lot of effort getting better sound this year, and it’s given us no end of work to do. I’ve got a very complex film going around in my head, as we can approach it from so many different angles, hence the search for a single angle to limit things. We’ve already made a start with some short films on Vimeo on Demand, which gives us some sense of direction. We like the event, and filming it is an enjoyable undertaking. We’ve made a film of PBP since 2003 and LEL since 2001, and every time we dig a bit deeper. It would be nice to explore all the facets of PBP that we have on video, but there’s a more immediate demand for a mainly English-speaking PBP film aimed at participants and their relatives. And that’s what we’ll have ready by mid-November.

Filming  PBP

Damon Peacock

www.aukweb.netArrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

51


BREVET POPULAIRE

Utterly Butterleigh 100

N

ew event in the calendar for 2015 — Utterly Butterleigh 100k audax starting out from Budleigh Salterton in East Devon. Just a 20-mile drive from home and only 1300 meters of climbing throughout the event wouldn’t be too hard. Or would it? Drove up with fellow CTC Torbay member, Rob Legg, for the start at nine with about 60 others riding this event which will take us over Woodbury Common to the north of Exeter, past Tiverton and Cullompton to go up over the Blackdown hills to Honiton to return to Budleigh Salterton. An accident in the first mile with a couple of riders going down while crossing a ford; didn’t look too bad and hopefully they were able to continue the ride. First climb came in soon after that to get up to the common. I'm never keen on a climb so soon after the start — I need a few miles to warm up — but after sorting out the gears I joined up with a few others to get down into Woodbury for the first info control. A lot of changes have been made recently to the roads around Exeter and a new town called Cranbrook has been built. I thought I knew most of the Devon roads but this lot got me confused and I ended up going the wrong way at a roundabout and had to retrace my route to get back on course. Easy few miles down through Broadclyst and onto Silverton

Old Post Office Clock at Fairmile

where things really got hard. Usually when I ride through Silverton heading for Tiverton I use the main road, but the organisers had found this little lane that goes out from the village through Butterleigh to arrive at the control in Tiverton. Talk about hard, the hill seemed to go on for ever, just when you thought you had reached the top it carried on climbing. I thought I had ridden most of the lanes in Devon, but this was a new one on me. It’s said that Devon has more roads than Belgium and I haven’t cycled all those yet, but I don’t think they have any as steep as this one. 52

Arrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

Rob Legg

Broadhembury

Steeply down into Tiverton to the control at the Great Western Canal centre and a chance to recover from all the climbing Rob and I had done. Next section was completely different, gone were all the hills to be replaced by a set of rural lanes passing through the picturesque hamlets of Ash Thomas and Brithem Bottom to arrive on the old A38 near Cullompton. Using the bypass to circle the town to head out along the A373 towards Honiton but, before that, turning off to visit Broadhembury. Broadhembury — it’s one those villages where time seems to have stood still for the last 100 years. If it wasn’t for the cars parked outside the thatched cottages you would think you were back in the 1920s. Broadhembury is also known for something else; the hill you have to climb to get up to the airfield at Dunkeswell. It winds up at a gradient of about 1 in 5 and I quite surprised myself being able to ride the whole way up. Rob complained that it destroyed his legs! Past Dunkeswell airfield — it’s up there that the Americans were stationed during the war and in the small church there are the names of those who didn’t come back from the raids over Germany. Amongst them is a Joe Kennedy, brother of JFK. If he hadn’t been killed he may have become the President of the United States, instead of his younger brother. Long way down with several turns to come into Honiton and the control at the ‘Boston Tea Party’ cafe in the main street. Really didn’t have time to stay for the party, running near to the closing time of the control so just get the card signed and on our way. Gittisham is another of those picturesque village that are scattered all

over the county as we pass through on our way to join the old A30 for Fairmile then turn for the coast for the finish. Familiar lanes going through the East Devon villages of Tipton St John and Otterton to arrive back at the finish control and the promised cream tea. Thanks Steve for a very enjoyable ride. You got the weather right, hardly a cloud in the sky all day. Hope you put the ride on again next year.

The author at Gittisham

Ribble Blue

Gittisham

Event Date

Utterly Butterleigh 6 September 2015

Distance

100 km (106 km)

Organiser

Steven Medlock

Start

Budleigh Salterton Devon

Website

on.fb.me/1G4vw83

www.aukweb.net


PARIS–BREST–PARIS 2015

Paris-Brest-Paris… or Pasta, Bloody Pasta…?

P

aris-Brest-Paris — a 1200km cycle ride from Paris to Brest, and back again, to be completed in under 90 hours. Now organised by Audax Club Parisien this is the oldest and most prestigious audax randonneuring event in the world. First started in 1891 the event was held every 10 years until the 1930s as a professional + amateurs’ event, and then, after World War II, every four years as a purely amateur event. The 2015 event was the 18th edition in its current format. To qualify and enter, the Mad Badgers, Richard and myself, had ridden a 1000km event in 2014 (to qualify for pre-registration), and 200km, 300km, 400km, and 600km events in spring 2015. Sunday August 16th, the start date, was soon upon us. We stood outside the French National Velodrome in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines in the southern suburbs of Paris in the company of over 6000 other cyclists. I’ve never seen as much colourful lycra in one place before. A blur of brand logos competed for space on tops and shorts with the national flag colours of 54 different nationalities. The variety of bikes nearly matched the ethnic diversity. Tandems, tridems, three-wheelers, threewheeled tandems, Bromptons, recumbents, fold-ups, bullet bikes, steel, aluminium, titanium, carbon… Cheered on by thousands of spectators we were set off in waves over the space of 5 hours from 4pm; giant peletons of 300 riders at a time; an intermingling, five abreast snake of riders behind a lead car for 10km before stretching apart into more discreet groups of adrenaline-fuelled randonneurs. We’d loaded the route onto our GPSs for navigation purposes. We needn’t have bothered. Every junction had arrows pointing us in the right direction… and we just followed the cyclists in front… the long, long line of cyclists, some in groups, others solo. As it got dark it was like being part of an infinite string of red fairy lights. Looking back we were dazzled by the array of super bright LEDs chasing us down. Our planned “steady away” start was blown away as usual by over zealousness, fast roads and some exhilarating peleton riding. We were sucked along at 28kph with 200km passing in just over 8 hours despite brief stops for food. On through the first night feeling great until the pre-dawn. A strong coffee kept us going and we pedalled on as the sun rose. We bagged a couple of hours kip at Tinténiac at the 365km mark before pedalling into our second night of riding where the pace slowed and minds wandered. In the small hours both of us, while still riding, fell asleep briefly and experienced “waking up” in the saddle,

www.aukweb.net

fortunately not while on a bend. Whether asleep for a few seconds or microseconds we’ll never know but this is definitely the most dangerous aspect of long-distance audaxes. Another hour-and-a-half’s fitful sleep curled up on the floor of a school hall, 88km before the half way point, did little to shake us out of our mental lethargy. On, on… at 5am on pitch-black forest roads we persevered. While more coffee, Pro Plus tablets and chocolate coated coffee beans gave us a short lived buzz, it was the second sunrise which finally induced wakefulness, if not increased pace.

Richard Leonard

The biggest hill of the ride was a long gradual up-and-over with a snaking descent to the River L’Elorn estuary and the pedestrianised Albert Louppe Bridge over to Brest. Through mid-morning traffic we weaved our way to the half way checkpoint, cheered in by big crowds. We were hungry but were faced again by a lack of choice of food. Pasta, pasta or pasta seemed to be the main menu of every checkpoint. We felt lucky to get rice at one stop. Unlike UK events you had to pay for all the food and drink. Not at extortionate prices, but over three and a half days riding the cost soon mounts up. While counterbalanced by the relatively cheap entry fee, with any profits from food no doubt going back into the communities hosting the checkpoint, I still prefer free food events… and will no doubt be unable to face another morsel of pasta for the foreseeable future! The support from the French public throughout the ride was amazing. Outside every one of the 18 checkpoints the crowds

The Mad Badgers ride PBP 2 015

were there to shout encouragement. People stood at junctions and old boys by the side of the road in the countryside. Women leaned out of first floor windows and families with children gathered outside their gardens as we rode past. Every one of them cheering and whooping, “Allez allez, bon courage”. The kids all put out their hands for high-fives as we rode past. Some had set up little stalls by the side of the road with water, juice, coffee, cake and biscuits… for free. Amazing. Although the big hill we’d ridden down now had to be re-climbed it felt easier, no doubt due to the psychological effect of reaching halfway and now riding for home. The day wore on and with it the sleepiness returned. “You fancy half an hour’s kip?” I asked. “You bet”, Richard replied. We spotted a grassy roundabout with a tree to shade us and were soon snoring. Waking to our half hour alarm we found ourselves in the company of about 10 French folk, cheering on the never ending line of riders. They asked us where we were from, how we were feeling, and why did we do it? We replied in our best pidgin French. Then, looking quizzically at me, they asked, “And how old are YOU?” Our third night in the saddle brought culinary redemption when we spotted a pizzeria. They appeared to take the arrival of a locust swarm of cyclists ordering les grande pizzas in their stride. A few hours down the road disaster struck. Just after midnight my rear cassette gear cable snapped and the chain dropped onto the small sprocket. Pedalling now became exceptionally strenuous, particularly up any sort of incline. Standing in the pedals I managed to ride the 5km or so to the next checkpoint only to find that there was no mechanic. Despite fuddled brains we managed to get the chain fixed onto one of the larger sprockets by lashing the broken cable to my back rack. I managed to “single speed” the 26km to the next checkpoint where, to my relief, a mechanic replaced the offending cable in 20 minutes. Another very welcome threehours sleep at Tinténiac at the 865km mark revitalised us. Another day wheeled past. The distances between checkpoints Arrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

53


OFFICIAL NEWS

Phil & Richard at the finish

visited on the way out had somehow grown. “Are we there yet?” became an unuttered mantra. The focus on pain from ass bones was occasionally dispelled when we roused

ourselves to jump on the back of peletons, and be pulled along by the train. A couple of close calls on roundabouts highlighted the need for complete focus on the riders’ wheels in front and to the sides. Any aberrant deviation in line could result in a major pile up. Such concentration and the sudden high accelerations needed to hold the line kept us awake better than the cocktail of caffeine we’d been taking. However, at 4am, having reached the penultimate checkpoint with 65km to go, and with eight hours in which to do it, we grabbed an hour and a half’s sleep on a gymnasium floor. Despite the deep sleep of the well-knackered I still woke up 10 seconds before my watch alarm went off. Weird how the mind is not going to let you miss the looming deadline of the big event of your year. Six hours to ride 64km. P*ss-easy… or so it should have been. We’d aimed to finish by 9am when there’d be a decent crowd to cheer us in. However, with 30km to go, just as it started to rain heavily for the first time on the ride, Richard’s quad finally gave up in protest

at the ludicrous distance we’d ridden. Unable to put any power through it he laboured up the often steep hills pedalling with one leg! The last 20km seemed to be stuck in a time warp with the 5km markers taking an age to materialise. At last, we saw the velodrome, and 88 hours and 15 minutes after our grand depart we rolled over the finish line to the cheers of hundreds of bedraggled onlookers. PBP was in the bag…our third mega-ride in three years. “Never again”, we agreed as we shook hands and patted each other on the back. Knackered but euphoric, we were welcomed into the velodrome for the post event meal. You guessed it… bloody pasta!

Phil Hodgson & Richard Leonard – The Mad Badgers

Annual Report and Agenda for AGM 2015 This is the second year of postal voting and the second year that we have produced a combined ‘Annual Report and AGM Agenda’ document circulated along with the Annual Accounts with the voting ballots by email and by post to members who have asked for a printed ballot. The annual review section of the report is reproduced below along with the Agenda for AGM2015. The full Annual Report with individual directors reports and details of the Accounts, and AGM resolutions and nominations for election as director can be downloaded from the ‘Official’ page of the AUK website.

Paul Stewart Secretary, Audax UK

Annual Report 2014-2015

Audax UK is the long distance cycling association for the UK, and is the regulating body for Audax rides held under the rules developed by Audax Club Parisien and developed further by Audax UK itself. It is at the same time a membership club for cyclists enthused by the concept of long distance riding. Audax UK is a company limited by guarantee under UK company law, governed by a Board of Directors elected by and from the membership at the Annual General Meeting. The Board reports back to the membership at the AGM, and this is their report for 2014-15.

Summary

A year in which the quadrennial Paris-Brest-Paris 1200 km Randonnee takes place and against a background of continuing high interest in the UK in sport cycling has resulted in a high level of activity: • 533 events organised Audax UK calendar events, of which 102 were qualifying rides for PBP; • a record number of 594 riders achieving a Super Randonneur series of rides; • 494 UK riders taking part in PBP, 388 provisionally recording a successful ride; • a continued growth of interest in self-organised ‘DIY’ rides, with a distinct move towards the use of GPS devices for verification; • an increase in membership to around 6,500. • an excellent, well-supported National 400 event in Scotland organised by CTC Highland.

54

Arrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

During the year the Board has • developed and introduced a policy on the participation of young people and vulnerable adults in events; • developed and populated a new and more attractive front end to the website providing news and information to members and nonmembers alike; • developed new regulations designed to facilitate DIY rides by GPS for the approval of the AGM; • begun a review of AUK’s overall strategy; • developed and introduced new financial reports for the Board to better understand AUK’s finances, and to lay the foundations for a budgetary process in the future; • continued the essential, on-going background work of guiding organisers and members on the regulations, and acting as adjudicator on disputes; • made a significant donation to support AUK member Steve Abraham’s attempt to break the long standing annual cycling mileage record, and raised more money through a direct appeal to members and an ongoing donations scheme linked to online event entries; • Reviewed the way that honoraria are paid to directors and delegates so that there is greater understanding of and transparency around the costs involved; • acted to develop a good working relationship with the organisers of London-Edinburgh-London 2017; • appointed a Finance Director, Paul Salmons, who has overseen a radical overhaul of how our accounts are presented. Some details of his work will be apparent elsewhere in this document. Paul is standing formally for election to the post. • Considered the CV’s of several very suitable candidates to become non-executive directors and were disappointed to note that we could only take on a maximum of three of them. Chris Boulton, Lucy McTaggart, and John Sabine were appointed, and of these Chris and John are standing for election; • Agreed to appoint the Chair to the vacant ACP correspondent / LRM representative post, thus removing a director position. The loss of the services of the Communications director early in the year due to pressures in his ‘day job’ and the need to prepare for the 2017 London-Edinburgh-London event significantly affected the Board’s www.aukweb.net


OFFICIAL NEWS capabilities, and some projects progressed more slowly than had been planned as a result. The implementation of an upgraded back office system was particularly affected by this, while the introduction of a more graphical and content-rich public facing front-end to the website has been delayed. Any major revision of the Articles of Association to conform with modern standards may need to wait until any strategy development is completed, although minor changes such as the introduction of full proxy voting as required by law, and/or the removal of AGM standing orders to stand-alone regulations would be fairly simple and likely to be feasible.

IN MORE DETAIL

Events

The high level of interest in prestige events shown in the demand for LEL in 2013 continued this year with unprecedented numbers tackling PBP and the associated qualifying rides. Entries and validations were up 8.7%, and a record 594 riders achieved a Super Randonneur series. A new process of homologation for BRM events eliminated delays in getting brevet numbers back from Paris and on to the website. Subject to final validation, out of 494 entrants, 388 riders completed PBP successfully. The total number of events on the calendar remained at about the same level as 2014., but many more of these were, inevitably in a PBP year, internationally recognised BRM events. There was a good geographical spread of these events across the UK. The number of BRM events planned for 2016 is the highest for any non-PBP year, perhaps boosted by the reduction in the validation fee. While the number of permanent events and DIY’s ridden in 2014-15 remains remarkably similar, at around 6650, there has been a shift away from 100km rides towards BR’s. The overall levelling off continues a trend from the previous year, after ten years’ continuous growth. There was also an increase in 50km hilly events, alongside some significantly longer hilly rides, with distances up to 1,300km and with up 18 AAA points! Subject to AGM approval, a new type of event, a ‘Trace Nationale’ or Easter Trail, a team event with a more relaxed format that an Arrow, will be introduced for Easter 2016.

Membership

Membership continues to show growth, with 1369 members enrolled during the year, bringing the total to 6581 at the beginning of October. Of the current membership, males outnumber females by a ratio of 6.5:1, and we are also rather an old organisation with an average age of around 52. More recent joiners, though, show a lower average age of around 41.

Regulations

As Audax riders turn increasingly to technology, the Board has been working to try and refine the way in which events are measured, both in terms of validating distances and validating completed rides. Changes in Google maps, which had been the basis of ride planning for some time, caused problems, and we currently have no entirely satisfactory distance measuring tool which can be recommended to riders and organisers. This is not a simple problem and options are continuing to be explored as this report is being written. This has particularly impacted DIY Permanents which now represent the majority of routes planned under AUK auspices. To this end a proposal is before the AGM to allow for the (re)introduction of ‘mandatory’ routing within AUK, as adopted by other audax organisations. This will allow for a simpler approach for route planning and validation, and for the greater use of GPS devices in particular for DIY/Permanents. To be fully satisfactory we still need to identify a suitable tool to verify a submitted track against a defined Audax route. We are a long way from solving this at the moment, but the proposal before the AGM provides the regulatory basis to support these developments. The proposal to introduce an ‘Easter Trace’ event next year also requires regulations, which are also before the AGM.

Communications

A ‘front end’ to the website, building on the work done by Danial Webb, has been populated with content designed to attract new riders and members as well as to provide a gateway into the usual website services.

Having a Communications director next year will bring an increased focus on how we communicate with members, and ideas have already been briefly debated. We recognise the need to do much better in this area, which will bring the Board a better understanding of our members and in turn allow us to keep members in touch with what the Board is doing.

AUK Trophies

After several years in the post, Pam Pilbeam, AUK Vice President, retired as Trophy Custodian in 2013 and since then the post has remained empty despite being advertised to members. Managing the trophies which collectively have a formidable physical presence involves a significant effort and cost for those involved. Consequentially the traditional ‘cabinet’ of Trophies has been retired and replaced with smaller awards that can be ordered pre-engraved for presentation at the Annual Reunion dinner. This approach has other benefits though, in that it allows for greater flexibility in the range of awards that can be made and provides a greater balance between the so called ‘competitive’ trophies, i.e., those for riding the furthest on a solo, tandem, trike, etc. and other awards for merit and annual achievement that might be made. Some members would go further, and do away with the competitive awards completely, feeling that it is incongruous that Audax UK offers such awards at all. Other members would argue that there is a good case to recognise the highest seasonal achievement of members and meritorious achievement in various areas of our activities. That debate continues. Overall though, the Board feels the move to the new award format is a very positive development. The cabinet of Cups and Shields of long standing are not lost though, as the National Cycling Museum at Llandrindod Wells has graciously offered to provide a permanent home and display for them. Members and the general public will be able to see them when visiting the museum rather than them being hidden for 361 days of each year in the darkness of a storage depot under a railway arch in Halifax.

Governance and People

Oliver Iles has taken over from Tony Greenwood on brevet card production. Tony has worked extremely hard to provide an efficient brevet card service and has also undertaken work in the development of our financial reporting. He has also stood down as Events Delegate, and Geoff Cleaver takes over those duties. Mike Wigley’s membership team of Findlay Watt, Peter Gawthorne and Allan Taylor has two new delegates, Peter Davis and Richard Jennings, who are handling the task of sending out welcome packs to new members. We welcome those members taking on new responsibilities, are grateful to all those continuing in post, and offer our thanks to those who have stepped down. On the Board, Danial Webb stepped down from his key role as Communications Director, and we were left with a vacancy which it did not prove possible to fill during the year. Danial’s enthusiasm and hard work in giving AUK a more coherent and professional look will stand us in good stead for the future. Following changes at last year’s AGM, and subsequent vacancies, the Board appointed Paul Salmons as Finance Director, and Lucy McTaggart, John Sabine and Chris Boulton as non-executive Directors. A new departure for AUK, the presence on the Board of Directors without specific responsibility have brought a wider perspective to debates. The nonexecutives have also been able to pick up some tasks following Danial’s departure, and to support some wider and longer-term issues such as the development of AUK’s strategy for the coming years. We were sorry that Lucy Mctaggart had to withdraw from her nonexecutive director duties for her own reasons. Lucy is a person of some experience in long distance cycling with a background that made her eminently suitable for this role. We thank her for the contribution she made and wish her well for the future.

Your Vote

This year’s AGM is the second at which members not attending the AGM are able to cast votes on business determined there. If you’re not coming to the Reunion weekend of which the AGM forms a part or not coming to just the AGM itself, then please take some time to study the agenda items, consider the issues carefully, and exercise your influence by casting your votes as you think fit, in the interests of AUK. For members to get more information about Board discussions and the papers that inform our

www.aukweb.netArrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

55


OFFICIAL NEWS decisions, minutes and papers are available on the “Official” section of the AUK website for all to see. There is also much related discussion on the AUK online forum at forum.audax.uk

Development of the AGM and Reunion

AGM2014 saw the introduction of postal voting. This had a major impact on the decision making process at AUK, as about 80% of the votes were cast this way, The role of the AGM has also changed in that it is no longer the sole or even most significant channel for debate. To this end a proposal has been presented to the AGM which facilitates separation of the Annual Reunion and the AGM. This will provide space at the Annual Reunion for a less formal meeting which can be used to present and discuss policy which can then be developed and voted on at an AGM held later in the year. This will also relieve the pressure on AUK officers to deliver the Annual Report and AGM in the weeks following the end of season. We hope to kick this process off this year, time and energy allowing, with an informal meeting after the AGM, and to that end a short discussion paper can be found time in Appendix 2 of annual report. Some members ask, “what is AUK for?”, “Why does AUK do things differently to other audaxing organisations?”, and so on. Doubtless these questions will continue to be asked but this is a start towards understanding alternate viewpoints on matters which underpin AUKs development. This year has seen wider use of the AUK forum in developing and refining proposals to be presented to the AGM but it is still early days for this, and we continue to look for way to engage the membership. The closed nature of the AUK forum is recognised - it is accessible only to ‘logged in’ AUK members – and whilst this was very much intended when the forum was launched we should perhaps now look to make the forum more accessible, possibly opening it to non-members and/or integrating it with the public facing website which will naturally provide a more flexible and effective method publishing information about AUK operations and activities to all.

Financial

During the year the accounting function within Audax UK has undergone a review and changes to some systems and functions. • The accounts are now produced using professional accountancy software (Sage On-Line) • The accounts are produced by a paid book-keeper who is an Audax UK member; • The Financial Director role is now more involved in strategic financial development of the organisation with an overseeing and reviewing role for the accounting function. The Finance Director will present the accounts, which are separate to this report, to the AGM. In brief, trading for the twelve months from 1st September 2014 to 31st August 2015 shows a surplus before tax and interest of £7,945 (£31,496 in 2014), with a total revenue of £119,413 (£113,985 in 2014), direct expenditure of £83,952 (£70,284 in 2014) and overheads of £27,245 (£12,205 in 2014). At the end of August 2015 AUK had £250,339 in the bank.

The coming year

The Board is acutely conscious of the lack of progress on the back-end functions of the website, which will need to be given greater attention in the coming year. This is a major project, and although we have sufficient capital available, will require manpower and skills resources beyond those available within the organisation, and the proper creation and management of the project will be crucial. The Board will at the same time look at how AUK should manage the IT systems so crucial to our operations in the future. We have been extremely lucky to have had dedicated people to take AUK this far, but we are at the point where new solutions are needed. As mentioned above, with a new Communications Director in place, we also expect to be spending time on improving our understanding of our membership and riders, and improving our communications with them. ...and of course, the normal operations of AUK, in support of the many events run under our regulations, has to continue.

office functions; the Arrivée editors and contributors; organisers and all the support teams who make the events possible and enjoyable. All our volunteers are vital to AUK’s operations, and it would be easy to take their efforts behind the scenes for granted. We are fortunate to have them, and their continuing dedication and hard work deserve our thanks.

Chris Crossland Chair, on behalf of the AUK Board

Agenda for the Audax UK Long Distance Cyclists’ Association AGM 2015 To be held at the Holiday Inn, Peterborough West on 14th November 2015 commencing at 2:00pm

1. 2. 3.

To record the names of those present at this meeting. To record apologies for absence. To approve the minutes of the last AGMt as a true record of that meeting. (The minutes were published in Arrivée, Winter 2015 and are on the AUK website and are reproduced in Appendix 1 of the Annual Report) 4. Matters arising from the last meeting (AGM 2014). 5. To approve the Annual Report. 6. To approve the Annual Accounts and the Finance Director’s recommendations. 7. To consider special resolutions i. Amendment to AUK Regulation Appendix 7.1 regarding riding other organised events ii. Amendment to AUK Regulation Appendix 7.3.1 for the ‘Easter Trail’ event iii. Amendment to AUK Regulation Appendix 9.8.2 to allow for events with ‘Mandatory’ routes. iv. Amendment to AUK Regulation 12.1 regarding the validation of Brevets for EAPC riders on Brevet Populaire events. v. Amendment to AUK Company Articles to facilitate scheduling the AUK AGM separately from the Annual Reunion Weekend. 8. Election of Directors i. Finance Director, Candidates: Paul Salmons ii. Communications Director, Candidates: Ged Lennox iii. Non-Executive Director (2 positions), Candidates: Chris Boulton, Dave Minter, John Sabine 9. Date and venue of next meeting 10. Close of meeting

Acknowledgements

Many people contribute to the work and success of Audax UK; the delegates who manage membership, validation and all the other back

56

Arrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

www.aukweb.net


AUK CALENDAR

Calendar key

A(1) free/cheap accommodation, 1 night B very basic – no halls/beds, etc BD baggage drop DIY own route and controls, cards by post R  free or cheap refreshments at start and/or finish S showers Z sleeping facilities on route 175 entries close at 175 riders YH youth hostel at/near start 100 17 Oct 08:30 Sat

C camping at or near the start F some free food and/or drink on ride L left luggage facilities at start P free or cheap motor parking at start T toilets at start M mudguards required X  some very basic controls (eg service stations) (14/4) entries close 14th April

Chailey, East Sussex Mid Sussex Hilly BP 108km 1600m AAA1.5 £5.50 F L P R T 40 (10/10) 12.5-25kph Grimpeurs du Sud malinseastg@tiscali.co.uk

110 31 Oct Bolsover Colourful Clumber 09:00 Sat BP 111km £5.00 L P R T (100) 12.5-30kph Bolsover & District CC 01246 825 351 matt.connley@talktalk.net ROA 5000 Matt Connley, 7 Eskdale Close Bolsover Chesterfield S44 6RL 200 31 Oct Coryton, NW Cardiff Transporter 200 07:00 Sat BR 202km £8.00 YH L P R T 50 15-30kph Cardiff Byways CC 02920 341768 evansrichardd@googlemail.com ROA 5000 Richard Evans, 73 Conway Road Cardiff CF11 9NW 200 31 Oct Galashiels The Long Dark Teatime of The Soul 08:00 Sat BR 2000m £8.00 P,R,T 15-30kph Updated Audax Ecosse 01896 758 181 pedaller1@sky.com ROA 10000 Lucy McTaggart, 30 Victoria St. Galashiels Scottish Borders TD1 1HL 100 01 Nov Connor Downs W.I. Hall, NE of Hayle 09:30 Sun BP 104km 1350m £5.00 C L P R T 12.5-30kph Audax Kernow

The Celtic Coastal

100 17 Oct Chailey, East Sussex Mid Sussex Hillier 08:30 Sat BP 108km 2012m AAA2 £5.50 F L P R T 40 (12/10) 12.5-25kph San Fairy Ann CC malinseastg@tiscali.co.uk Martin Malins, 4 North Common Weybridge Surrey KT13 9DN

60 01 Nov Connor Downs W.I. Hall, NE of Hayle 10:00 Sun BP 750m £5.00 C L P R T 8-30kph Audax Kernow Chris Rayne, 1 Reawla Lane Camborne Cornwall TR27 5HQ

200 17 Oct 08:00 Sat

Corwen, N. Wales BR 212km 3200m AAA3.25 [3488m] £5.00 P R T 50 15-30kph Chester & N Wales CTC vickypayne8@hotmail.com

The Clwydian

100 01 Nov Ruislip Lido Cafe, Ruislip Lido, London Steam Ride: Chinnor Scenic 08:30 Sun BP £6.00 T YH R NM L 12.5-30kph Updated Audax Club Hackney timsollesse@gmail.com

130 17 Oct 08:30 Sat

Corwen, N. Wales BP 138km 2250m AAA2.25 £5.00 P R T 50 12.5-25kph Chester & N Wales CTC vickypayne8@hotmail.com

The Clwyd Gate

200 01 Nov Woody Bay, Ruislip Lido, London Steam Ride : The Chilterns Pub Crawl 08:15 Sun BR 3000m AAA3 £8.00 R L P T YH 14.3-30kph Updated Audax Club Hackney timsollesse@gmail.com Tim Sollesse Tim Sollesse, 59 Lynwood Road Ealing W5 1JG

60 17 Oct Corwen, N. Wales 'The Bala Mini- Bash' 09:00 Sat BP £5.00 P R T 50 12.5-25kph Chester & N Wales CTC 01745 560892 vickypayne8@hotmail.com Vicky Payne, Bryn Celyn Penyffordd Holywell Flintshire CH8 9HH 200 17 Oct Tewkesbury Mr. Pickwick's Autumnal Outing 07:30 Sat BR 206km 2350m £5.00 c l p r t nm 100 15-25kph BlackSheep CC 01684 292 390 blacksheepaudax@gmail.com ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ 150 17 Oct Trowell, West of Nottingham An Autumn day out. 08:15 Sat BP 153km 1135m £7.00 L P R T(80) 15-30kph Updated Nottinghamshire CTC terrydpscott@hotmail.com Terry Scott, 21 Winterbourne Drive Stapleford Nottingham Notts NG9 8NH

Celtic Canter

200 07 Nov Cholsey, E of Didcot Upper Thames 07:30 Sat BR 212km 1900m [1943m] £6.00 L P R T M 15-30kph Thames Valley Audax 01491 651 284 philipmdyson@btinternet.com Phil Dyson, 25 Papist Way Cholsey Wallingford Oxon OX10 9LL 200 07 Nov Tewkesbury Mr. Pickwick's Cymraeg Cyrch 07:30 Sat BR 209km 2200m £5.00 c p r t nm 100 15-25kph Updated BlackSheep CC 01684 292 390 blacksheepaudax@gmail.com ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ 100 08 Nov Carlton Colville, nr Lowestoft, Suffolk The Waveney Wander 09:00 Sun BP £5.00 LPRT 15-30kph VC Baracchi johntommo6@btinternet.com John Thompson, 136 Dell Road Oulton Broad Lowestoft Suffolk NR33 9NT

100 18 Oct Bynea, Llanelli Wesley May Memorial Super Grimpeur 09:00 Sun BP 102km 2400m AAA2.5 [2931m] £4.50 G F L P R T 30 (17/10) 10-25kph Swansea DA jb@reynoldston.com John Bastiani, The Brambles Reynoldston Swansea West Glamorgan SA3 1AA

200 08 Nov Cheadle, Stockport 08:00 Sun BR 210km 800m £6.00 P R T M 60 15-30kph Peak Audax hamhort84@talktalk.net

100 18 Oct Bynea, Llanelli Around The Gwendraeth 9.:00 Sun BP 990m £6.00 G F L P R T 30 (17/10) 15-30kph Swansea DA 01792391492 jb@reynoldston.com John Bastiani, The Brambles Reynoldston Swansea SA3 1AA

160 08 Nov Cheadle, Stockport Cheshire Safari 08:30 Sun BP 570m £6.00 P R T M 60 15-25kph Peak Audax hamhort84@talktalk.net Peter Hammond, 3 Dorac Avenue Heald Green Cheadle Stockport Cheshire SK8 3NZ

200 18 Oct 08:00 Sun

100 08 Nov Petworth, W Sussex The Petworth 100 (formerly The Spordax 100) 08:30 Sun BP 103km 1350m £8.00 F P T 15-30kph Updated Anton Brown anton.brown@btconnect.com Anton Brown, 19 Northlands Avenue Haywards Heath West Sussex RH16 3RT

Carlton Colville,Lowestoft, Suffolk BR £5.00 FRTP 15-30kph VC Baracchi johntommo6@btinternet.com

The Silly Suffolk

160 18 Oct Carlton Colville,Lowestoft, Suffolk The Silly Suffolk 09:00 Sun BP £5.00 FRTP 15-30kph VC Baracchi johntommo6@btinternet.com John Thompson, 136 Dell Road Oulton Broad Lowestoft Suffolk NR33 9NT 100 25 Oct 09:00 Sun

Bovey Tracey The Dartmoor Devil @ 9 BP 106km 2500m AAA2.5 £8.00 F P R T 125 (20/10) 12.5-25kph CTC Devon 01626 833 749 kevin.hindstreet@btinternet.com

100 25 Oct Bovey Tracey The Dartmoor Devil @ 8 08:00 Sun BP 106km 2500m AAA2.5 £8.00 F P R T 125 (20/10) 12.5-25kph CTC Devon 01626 833 749 kevin.hindstreet@btinternet.com ROA 4000 Kevin Presland, Hind Street House Hind Street Bovey Tracey Devon TQ13 9HT 110 25 Oct Earlswood, nr Solihull 09:00 Sun BP 113km 850m £6.00 15-30kph Midland C & AC Jim Lee, 107 Shustoke Road Solihull West Midlands B91 2QR 100 25 Oct 10:00 Sun

We happy few

Stevenage (Fairlands), SG2 0BL Emitremmus Desrever 21 BP 1019m £7.00 L P R T (19/10; 360) 12.5-28kph Stevenage & N Herts CTC 0793 968 7509 jim@stevenagectc.org.uk

67 25 Oct Stevenage (Fairlands), SG2 0BL Emitremmus Lite 10:30 Sun BP 643m £7.00 L P R T (19/10; 100) 10-20kph Stevenage & N Herts CTC 0793 968 7509 jim@stevenagectc.org.uk ROA 5000 Jim Brown, Emitremmus c/o 5 Malvern Close STEVENAGE Hertfordshire SG2 8UH

Eureka!

200 13 Nov Anywhere, to AUK Annual Dinner ::::: Fri BR £5 DIY 14.3-30kph Audax UK 0161 449 9309 ROA 25000 Sheila Simpson, 33 Hawk Green Road Hawk Green Marple SK6 7HR

Dinner Dart

110 14 Nov Alfreton 09:00 Sat BP 113km 1000m £5.00 P L R 12-30kph Alfreton CTC bandj.smith@sky.com Brian Smith, 10 The Crescent Clay Cross Chesterfield S45 9EH

Prison Run

200 14 Nov AUK Annual Dinner, Peterborough After Dinner Dart ::::: Sat BR £5 DIY 14.3-30kph Audax UK 0161 449 9309 ROA 25000 Sheila Simpson, 33 Hawk Green Road Hawk Green Marple SK6 7HR 100 14 Nov Catherington, near Portsmouth Le Bois Ocaud d'Automne 100 09:00 Sat BP 106km 1600m AAA1.5 £5.00 F L P R T 14.3-30kph Hantspol CC jondse@ntlworld.com Jonathan Ellis, 42 Wessex Road Waterlooville Hampshire PO8 0HS 160 14 Nov Swaffham, Community Centre 08:00 Sat BP 163km £6.00 F G L M P R T 15-30kph CC Breckland 01760722800 iceniaudax@gmail.com

Swaffham CLX

www.aukweb.netArrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

57


AUK CALENDAR 100 14 Nov Swaffham Community Centre Swaffham QE2 09:00 Sat BP 106km £6.00 G P R T 15-30kph Jonathan Reed iceniaudax@gmail.com Jonathan Reed, Swaffham Community Centre The Campingland Swaffham PE377RD

200 16 Jan Chalfont St Peter The Willy Warmer 08:00 Sat BR 209km £7.00 L P R T M 75 G 15-30kph Updated Willesden CC paudax@gmail.com Paul Stewart, 25 Devonshire Gardens Chiswick London W4 3TN

100 28 Nov Cranbrook, Exeter Breakfast in Bampton 09:00 Sat BP £5.00 T NM 10-30kph Updated Exeter Whs shbritton@outlook.com Sarah Britton, 17 Copse Close Lane Cranbrook Devon EX5 7AP

100 23 Jan Aztec West, Bristol Jack and Grace Cotton Memorial 100km 09:00 Sat BP 104km £5.00 P R T 15-30kph Audax Club Bristol info@audaxclubbristol.co.uk Paul Rainbow, 49 Quarrington Road Horfield Bristol Avon BS7 9PJ

100 29 Nov Hailsham leisure centre, E Sussex Bob McHardys Memorial Meander 09:00 Sun BP 992m £8.00 P R (29/11) 500 15-30kph Mark Fairweather Mark Fairweather, 310 Coast Road Pevensey Bay East Sussex BN24 6NU

200 23 Jan Cardiff Gate Dr. Foster's Winter Warmer 07:00 Sat BR 201km £6.00 YH L P R T 15-30kph Cardiff Byways CC tonypember@gmail.com Tony Pember, 9 Donald Street Nelson Treharris CF46 6EB

200 05 Dec Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, HP9 2SE The South of Bucks Winter Warmer 08:00 Sat BR 207km 1100m [1290m] £5.00 YH A1 G L P T S X (100) 15-30kph Terry Lister lister4cycling@btinternet.com Terry Lister, 4 Abbey Walk Great Missenden Bucks HP16 0AY

200 24 Jan 08:00 Sun

200 05 Dec Coryton, NW Cardiff Monmouthshire Meander 07:30 Sat BR 204km £8.00 YH L P R T 50 15-25kph Cardiff Byways tonypember@gmail.com Tony Pember, 9 Donald Street Nelson Treharris CF46 6EB 200 05 Dec Tamworth, Pretty Pigs PH Tinsel and Lanes 08:00 Sat BR 211km 2060m £7.00 P R T 60 15-30kph Geoff Cleaver audaxgeoff@gmail.com ROA 10000 Geoffrey Cleaver, 43 Goodere Drive Polesworth Tamworth Staffordshire B78 1BY 100 05 Dec Tamworth, Pretty Pigs PH Flowers to Furnace 09:00 Sat BP 104km 940m £7 P R T 50 12-30kph Geoff Cleaver audaxgeoff@gmail.com ROA 10000 Geoff Cleaver, 43 Goodere Drive Polesworth Tamworth B78 1BY 200 05 Dec Tewkesbury Kings, Castles, Priests & Churches. 07:30 Sat BR 202km 2550m AAA1.75 [1800m] £6.00 f l p r t nm 100 15-25kph Updated BlackSheep CC 01684 292 390 blacksheepaudax@gmail.com ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ 50 06 Dec Carharrack, Cornwall Ed's Mince Pie & Mulled Wine 50 10:00 Sun BP £3.50 F L P R T (85) 10-25kph Audax Kernow 01326 373421 angells@talktalk.net Eddie Angell, 14 Belhay Penryn Cornwall TR10 8DF 200 12 Dec Prees Heath, nr Whitchurch A Brevet upon St Lucy's Eve 08:00 Sat BR 208km £3.00 X P R T 14.3-25kph Peak Audax CTC perrin_john@sky.com John Perrin, 20 Princes Way Macclesfield Cheshire SK11 8UB 200 20 Dec Bredbury, Stockport Winter Solstice 08:30 Sun BR 202km 700m £5.00 P R T 60 15-30kph Peak Audax CTC 01457 870 421 mike@PeakAudax.co.uk ROA 10000 Mike Wigley, Higher Grange Fm Millcroft Lane Delph Saddleworth OL3 5UX 200 20 Dec Great Bromley, nr Colchester Santa Special 08:00 Sun BR 204km 1142m £6.50 L P R T 15-30kph CTC Suffolk 07922772001 Andy Terry, The Nook Colchester Road Great Bromley Essex CO7 7TN 200 02 Jan Oxford The Poor Student 08:00 Sat BRM 206km 1800m £6.00 YH P X 15-30kph Pat Hurt 07887 87 61 62 iddu.audax@gmail.com Pat Hurt, 10 Newbury Road Lambourn RG17 7LL 200 02 Jan Tewkesbury Mr. Pickwick's January Sale 07:00 Sat BR 201km 2100m AAA1.5 [1500m] £1.0 c p r t nm 100 15-25kph BlackSheep CC blacksheepaudax@gmail.com ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ 100 03 Jan Thorne, Nr Doncaster Goodbye Christmas Yorkshire Pudding 09:00 Sun BP 103km 102m [71m] £4.00 P R T (100) 15-30kph VC 167 les.bauchop@gmail.com Les Bauchop, 2a Westbourne Grove Pickering North Yorkshire YO18 8AW 100 09 Jan Bradwell, nr Hope, Peak District Hopey New Year 09:00 Sat BP 104km 1750m AAA1.75 £6.00 YH C P R T 100 10-30kph David Darricott 01433 621 531 ddarricott@aol.com David Darricott, 9 Gore Lane Bradwell Hope Valley Derbyshire S33 9HT 100 10 Jan Kings Worthy, Winchester 09:30 Sun BP 108km 1235m £6.00 L F P R T M 140 14-28kph Winchester CTC coles.sue@gmail.com ROA 5000 Sue Coles, 7 Ruffield Close Winchester SO22 5JL

58

Arrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

Watership Down

Cheadle, Stockport BR 201km 800m £7.00 P R T 80 15-30kph Peak Audax

A Mere Two Hundred

150 24 Jan Cheadle, Stockport A Mere Century 08:30 Sun BP 155km 600m £6.00 P R T 60 15-25kph Peak Audax David Colley, 5 Huncoat Avenue Heaton Chapel Stockport SK4 5HN 100 30 Jan Hailsham Hills and Mills 09:00 Sat BP 105km 1950m AAA2 £6.00 R F P 85 14-25kph Andy Seviour Andy Seviour, 13 Blacksmiths Copse Hailsham East Sussex BN27 3XB 150 31 Jan 08:00 Sun

Ashton Keynes, Cirencester Windrush Winter Warm Down 150 BP 155km [650m] £5.00 L F P R T 15-30kph Corinium CC 01285 659 515 peter@quernsgate.co.uk

100 31 Jan Ashton Keynes, Cirencester Windrush Winter Warm-up 100 09:00 Sun BP 108km 650m £5.00 L F P R T 14-25kph Corinium CC 01285 659 515 peter@quernsgate.co.uk ROA 5000 Peter Holden, 39 Querns Lane Cirencester GL7 1RL 200 06 Feb Alfreton Straight on at Rosie's 08:00 Sat BR 1190m £6.00 L P R T 15-30kph Alfreton CTC tomandsuefox@yahoo.co.uk ROA 10000 Tom Fox, 180 Nottingham Road Alfreton Derbyshire DE55 7FP 200 06 Feb Tewkesbury Sam Weller's day trip to Wochma 07:30 Sat BRM 203km 2300m [2700m] £5.00 c p r nm t 100 15-25kph BlackSheep CC 01684 292 390 blacksheepaudax@gmail.com ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ 100 13 Feb Dial Post, West Sussex Worthing Winter Warmer 09:00 Sat BP 104km £5.00 FPRT 15-30kph Worthing Excelsior CC 01903 240 280 Mick Irons, 36 Phrosso Road Worthing West Sussex BN11 5SL 100 14 Feb Chippenham Flapjack 09:00 Sun BP 102km £7.00 F P R T M 150 15-24kph Chip. & Dist. Whs. 01225 708449 Eric Fletcher, 174 Littleworth Lane Whitley Melksham Wiltshire SN12 8RE 100 14 Feb Leicester Rutland and Beyond 08:30 Sun BP 102km 1290m £4.00 F L P R S T 100 12-30kph Leic. Forest CC kimbo44@hotmail.com ROA 1000 Kim Suffolk, 73 Colby Road Thurmaston Leicester LE4 8LG 200 20 Feb Aylesbury,Buckinghamshire, HP20 1UR 09:00 Sat BR 1744m £7.00 A G P X R T (100) 15-30kph Aylesbury CC 07941 404613 htjoshua55@gmail.com

Chiltern Grit 200

100 20 Feb Aylesbury,Buckinghamshire, HP20 1UR Chiltern Grit 100 09:30 Sat BP 754m £7.00 A G P X R T (100) 15-30kph Aylesbury CC htjoshua55@gmail.com Jocelyn Chappell, 112 Walton Way Aylesbury Buckinghamshire HP21 7JR 200 20 Feb Cardiff Gate Malmesbury Mash 07:00 Sat BR 1000m £3.00 YH L P R T 15-30kph Newport Velo ritchie.t.tout@uk.pwc.com Ritchie Tout, Sunnyside Cottage Mynyddbach Monmouthshire NP16 6RT 200 20 Feb Rochdale 08:00 Sat BR 2100m £6.00 R T P 15-30kph West Pennine RC

North-West Passage 01706 372 447

120 20 Feb Rochdale mini-North-West Passage 09:00 Sat BP 1450m £6.00 R T P 10-20kph West Pennine RC 01706 372 447 ROA 5000 Noel Healey, 95 Shore Mount Littleborough Lancs OL15 8EW

www.aukweb.net


AUK CALENDAR 120 20 Feb Whitlenge, Hartlebury, S of Kidderminster Sunrise Express 08:30 Sat BP 121km £6.75 P R T F 130 15-30kph Beacon Roads Cycling Clu 01562 731606 montgomery@beaconrcc.org.uk 120 20 Feb Whitlenge, Hartlebury, S of Kidderminster Snowdrop Express 09:00 Sat BP 921m £6.75 P R T F 130 15-30kph Beacon Roads Cycling Clu 01562 731606 montgomery@beaconrcc.org.uk Dr Philip Whiteman, 2 Drayton Terrace Drayton Belbroughton Stourbridge DY9 0BW 100 21 Feb Henham, S of Saffron Walden Victoria C. C. - Brazier's Run 09:00 Sun BP 106km £10.00 A(1) L P R S T 15-30kph Victoria CC kieronyates@mac.com 50 21 Feb Henham, S of Saffron Walden Victoria C. C. - Brazier's Run 09:00 Sun BP £9.00 A(1) L P R S T 10-25kph Victoria CC kieronyates@mac.com ROA 2000 Kieron Yates, 6 Aberdeen Terrace London SE3 0QX 100 21 Feb Old Town Hall, Musselburgh Musselburgh RCC 25th Tour of East Lothian 10:00 Sun BP 106km £10.00 L P R T NM (10/02) 12.5-30kph Musselburgh RCC 07852105204 Alistair Mackintosh, 5 Durham Road South Edinburgh EH15 3PD 120 27 Feb Hailsham Mad Jack's- John Seviour Memorial 09:00 Sat BP 125km 2450m AAA2.5 £6.00 R F P 100 14-25kph Andy Seviour Andy Seviour, 13 Blacksmiths Copse Hailsham East Sussex BN27 3XB 200 28 Feb Cheadle, Stockport 08:00 Sun BR 201km 750m £6.00 P R T 80 15-30kph Peak Audax CTC tim@mothy.org.uk

Newport

150 28 Feb Cheadle, Stockport 08:30 Sun BP 153km 450m £6.00 P R T 50 15-25kph Peak Audax CTC tim@mothy.org.uk Tim Hughes, 5 Peterhouse Road Sutton Macclesfield SK11 0EN

Radway

100 28 Feb Corscombe, near Beaminster The Primrose Path 09:00 Sun BP 102km 1955m AAA2 £7.00 P L R T 55 12.5-25kph Arthur Vince 01935 863 429 arthur.vince@btinternet.com Arthur Vince, 3 Back Lane East Coker Yeovil BA22 9JN 200 05 Mar Cardiff Gate, NW Cardiff 07:00 Sat BR 203km 2450m £5.50 YH L P R T 15-30kph Cardiff Byways CC 02920 341768 evansrichardd@googlemail.com ROA 5000 Richard Evans, 73 Conway Road Cardiff CF11 9NW

Making Hay

200 13 Mar London, Ruislip Lido, Woody Bay (beach) Station Ride:London-Oxford-London (LOL) The Ghan 08:00 Sun BR 2128m £7.00 L P R T YH 14.3-30kph Audax Club Hackney timsollesse@gmail.com

Steam

110 13 Mar London, Ruislip Lido, Woody Bay 'beach' Station Steam Ride:Quainton Express 08:30 Sun BP 117km £6.00 L P R T YH 14.3-30kph AC Hackney timsollesse@gmail.com Tim Sollesse, 59 Lynwood Rd 59 Lynwood Road Ealing London W5 1JG 100 13 Mar Otford, Sevenoaks Kent Invicta Grimpeur 100 09:30 Sun BP 1890m AAA2 £8.00 F L P R T 12-25kph West Kent CTC pmcmaster@blueyonder.co.uk 50 13 Mar Otford, Sevenoaks Kent Invicta Hilly 50 10:00 Sun BP 945m AAA1 £7.00 F L P R T NM 12-25kph West Kent CTC pmcmaster@blueyonder.co.uk Patrick McMaster, 207 Colyer Road Northfleet Kent DA11 8AT 100 13 Mar Seaham Seaham Sircular 09:00 Sun BP 1700m AAA1.75 £5.00 F L P R T 15-30kph Dave Sharpe david-sharpe@lineone.net Dave Sharpe, 3 Elizabeth Street Seaham County Durham SR7 7TP 100 19 Mar Copdock, Nr. Ipswich The Copdock Circuit - Spring in South Suffolk 09:00 Sat BP £6.50 L P R T M 12-30kph Suffolk CTC the.kells@talk21.com Dennis Kell, 9 Pheasant Rise Copdock Ipswich Suffolk IP8 3LF 100 19 Mar Market Bosworth, Sports Club 1485 Tri Club Audax 09:am Sat BP £8.00 t.s.r.nm.l.c.g.175 15-30kph Change of Date 1485 Tri Club Steven Robinson, 7 Tudor Close Market Bosworth Leicestershire CV13 0NA 300 19 Mar Oxford The Dean 06:00 Start Time 06:00 Sat BR 307km 4000m AAA4 £10.00 YH X F G B P R L NM 15-30kph Change of Date Audax Club Hackney 07932 672 561 justinjones1969@gmail.com Justin Jones, ACH HQ incorporating The Stag's Head 39 Harringay Road London N15 3JB 200 19 Mar Selkirk Scottish Borders Randonnee 08:00 Sat BR 204km 2168m £10.00 F G P R T 15-30kph Audax Ecosse 01750 20838 Russell Carson, 21 Ladylands Terrace Selkirk TD7 4BB

200 05 Mar Grazeley, S of Reading The Kennet Valley Run 07:30 Sat BR 207km 1763m £7.50 L P R T 15-30kph Reading CTC mes84uk@gmail.com

100 20 Mar Alford, Lincs The Wold and Fen 09:00 Sun BP £6.50 L P F T 12-25kph Alford Whs 01507 443 000 alan.hockham@hotmail.com ROA 4000 Alan Hockham, 11 Trustthorpe Road Sutton on Sea Lincs LN12 2LX

100 05 Mar Grazeley, S of Reading The Kennet Valley 100 09:00 Sat BP 895m £6.00 L P R T 12-30kph Reading CTC mes84uk@gmail.com Mick Simmons, 84 Kidmore Road Caversham Reading RG4 7NA

200 20 Mar Exeter Mad March Coasts and Quantocks 08:00 Sun BRM 201km 2725m AAA2 [1500m] £7.00 YH F P R T X 15-30kph Change of Date Exeter Whs 01404 841553 robinwheeler571@btinternet.com

200 05 Mar Tewkesbury Mr. Pickwick's March Madness 07:30 Sat BRM 209km 2600m AAA1.75 [1700m] £6.00 c f p r nm t 100 15-25kph BlackSheep CC 01684 292 390 blacksheepaudax@gmail.com ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ 200 06 Mar Dalmeny Forth and Tay 08:00 Sun BR 208km 2500m £10.00 G L P R T 15-30kph Audax Ecosse martinfoley@btinternet.com Martin Foley, 78 Denholm Road Musselburgh East Lothian EH21 6TU 100 12 Mar Alfreton 09:00 Sat BP 104km 1270m £5.00 L P R T 100 12-30kph Alfreton CTC tomandsuefox@yahoo.co.uk ROA 10000 Tom Fox, 180 Nottingham Road Alfreton Derbyshire DE55 7FP

Three Fields

150 12 Mar Chepstow 8.:00 Sat BP 2280m AAA2.25 £3.00 X P R (150) 15-30kph Audax Club Bristol ROA 5000 Nik Peregrine, 46 Bridge Street Chepstow NP16 5EY

Gospel Pass

200 12 Mar Churchend,Dunmow, Essex The Horsepower 200 07:30 Sat BRM £8.00 A [1] C L P T R M 28/02 15-30kph Flitchbikes CC tom.deakins@btinternet.com Thomas Deakins, 31 The Causeway Great Dunmow Essex CM6 2AA 100 12 Mar Forfar, DD81BT 10:00 Sat BP 696m £3.00 GPTS 15-30kph Angus CC 01307 466123 dchusband@icloud.com ROA 4000 David Husband , 78 Old Halkerton Road Forfar DD8 1JP

Scone 100

100 20 Mar Exeter Mad March Exeter Excursion 09:00 Sun BP £7.00 YH F P R T 12-25kph Change of Date Exeter Whs 01404 841553 robinwheeler571@btinternet.com Pippa Wheeler, Rull Barn Payhembury Honiton Devon EX14 3JQ 200 20 Mar Poynton, S of Stockport 08:00 Sun BRM £6.00 F P 15-30kph Peak Audax CTC daz@delph45.fsnet.co.uk Darryl Nolan, 5 Grasmere Road Royton Oldham OL2 6SR

Chirk

400 25 Mar Anywhere, to York Easter Fleches to York ::::: Fri BRM £12.00 Fee per Team. 26th also 15-30kph Audax UK pedaller1@sky.com ROA 10000 Lucy Mctaggart, 30 Victoria Street Galashiels Scottish Borders TD1 1HL 200 26 Mar Aldbrough St John, nr Darlington 08:00 Sat BR 1480m £5.00 X P R T 14.3-30kph VC 167 01325 374 112 nigel.hall@finklecroft.me.uk

Yorkshire Gallop

100 26 Mar Aldbrough St John, nr Darlington 10:00 Sat BP 572m £5.00 X L P R T 12-25kph VC 167 01325 374 112 nigel.hall@finklecroft.me.uk Nigel Hall, Finkle Croft Aldbrough St John Nr. Richmond DL11 7TD

Ripon Canter

200 26 Mar Huntingdon 08:00 Sat BR £3.00 X 15-30kph CTC West Surrey malinseastg@tiscali.co.uk Martin Malins, 4 North Common Weybridge Surrey KT13 9DN

Double Dutch

100 30 Mar Marple, near Stockport An Icecream Wensdae 10:00 Wed BP 109km 800m £5.00 P R T 30 15-30kph Peak Audax chris.keelingroberts@ntlworld.com

www.aukweb.netArrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

59


AUK CALENDAR 100 30 Mar Marple, near Stockport Goyt Peak Super Grimpeur 10:00 Wed BP 109km 2750m AAA2.75 £5.00 G P R T 12.5-30kph Peak Audax CTC chris.keelingroberts@ntlworld.com Chris Keeling-Roberts, 17 Lower Strines Road Marple Cheshire SK6 7DL

300 09 Apr Upton Magna, E of Shrewsbury 06:00 Sat BRM 307km 4950m AAA5 £10.00 C F G L P R T (100) 15-25kph CTC Shropshire undulates@hotmail.co.uk ROA 10000 John Hamilton, 22 Oaks Crescent Wellington Telford TF1 2HF

300 02 Apr Bushley, Nr Tewkesbury Helfa Cymraeg Benjamin Allen ar. 05:30 Sat BRM 308km 3500m AAA1.75 [1800m] £7.00 100, C,F,L,P,R,T,S,NM. 15-25kph BlackSheep CC 01684 292 390 blacksheepaudax@gmail.com ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ

110 10 Apr Mytholmroyd Spring into the Dales 09:00 Sun BP 115km 2350m AAA2.25 £4.50 L P R T YH 12-24kph West Yorkshire CTC chris.crossland@halifaxctc.org.uk ROA 25000 Chris Crossland, 14 Stanley Street West Sowerby Bridge West Yorkshire HX6 1EF

200 02 Apr Galashiels Moffat Toffee 08:00 Sat BRM 204km 2500m [2300m] £5.00 P,R,T,G 15-30kph Audax Ecosse pedaller1@sky.com ROA 10000 Lucy Mctaggart, 30 Victoria Street Galashiels Scottish Borders TD1 1HL

57 10 Apr Mytholmroyd Leap into the Aire 10:00 Sun BP 1325m AAA1.25 £4.00 L P R T YH 8-20kph West Yorkshire CTC 01422 832 853 chris.crossland@halifaxctc.org.uk ROA 25000 Chris Crossland, 14 Stanley St. West Sowerby Bridge W. Yorks HX6 1EF

200 02 Apr Honiton Valley of the Rocks 200 08:00 Sat BRM 205km 3900m AAA4 £7.00 L P R T 40 15-30kph Exeter Whs ian@ukcyclist.co.uk ROA 10000 Ian Hennessey, 10 High Street Honiton EX14 1PU

200 16 Apr Alfreton Roses to Wrags 08:00 Sat BR 212km 1391m £6.00 F P R T 150 15-30kph Updated Alfreton CTC oggy.dude@gmail.com Stephen Ogden, The Firs 170 Nuncargate Road Kirkby In Ashfield NG17 9EA

200 02 Apr 07:00 Sat

Leominster BR 210km 3750m AAA3.75 £5.00 L P R T 14.3-30kph Hereford Wheelers cambrianaudax@gmail.com

140 02 Apr 08:00 Sat

Leominster The Cambrian - Minor BP 148km 2250m AAA2.25 £5.00 L P R T 12.5-30kph Hereford & Dist. Whs cambrianaudax@gmail.com

300 16 Apr Cirencester Heart of England 300 06:00 Sat BR 307km 2800m £6.00 A(2) L P R T 100 15-30kph Corinium CC 01285 659 515 peter@quernsgate.co.uk ROA 5000 Peter Holden, 39 Querns Lane Cirencester Glos GL7 1RL

The Cambrian

84 02 Apr Leominster The Cambrian - Welsh Marches 09:00 Sat BP 920m £5.00 L P R T 10-22.5kph Hereford & Dist. Whs cambrianaudax@gmail.com Daryl Stickings, Weir View Breinton Common Breinton Hereford Herefordshire HR4 7PR 300 02 Apr Poole hard boiled 300 02:00 Sat BRM 4400m AAA4.5 £10.00 L P M (50) 15-30kph Wessex CTC Shawn Shaw, 22 Shaftesbury Road Longfleet Poole Dorset BH15 2LT 200 03 Apr Clitheroe, Lancashire Delightful Dales 200 07:30 Sun BRM 205km 3300m AAA3.25 [3600m] £5.00 L P R T 15-30kph Updated Burnley Cycling Club burnleysportiv@yahoo.com Andy Corless, 31 Castlerigg Drive Ightenhill Burnley Lancashire BB12 8AT 100 03 Apr Galashiels Broughton and Back 10:00 Sun BP 1380m £5.00 P,R,T,G 12-30kph Audax Ecosse 01896 758 181 pedaller1@sky.com ROA 10000 Lucy McTaggart, 30 Victoria St. Galashiels Scottish Borders TD1 1HL 200 03 Apr 08:15 Sun

Stevenage Stevenage Start of Summertime Specials BRM 210km 1240m £6.00 P R T 200 15-30kph CTC Hertfordshire 07949 333453 luke.peters@live.com

110 03 Apr 10:30 Sun

Stevenage Stevenage Start of Summertime Specials BP 890m £5.00 P R T 200 12.5-25kph Stevenage & North Herts 07949 333453 luke.peters@live.com

60 03 Apr Stevenage Stevenage Start of Summertime Specials 11:00 Sun BP 520m £4.00 P R T 200 12.5-25kph Stevenage & North Herts 07949 333453 luke.peters@live.com Luke Peters, 86 Skipton Close Stevenage Hertfordshire SG2 8TW

Yr Elenydd @ 30

300 16 Apr Musselburgh Merse and Moors 06:00 Sat BRM 4200m AAA4.25 £10.00 X P L R (50) 15-30kph Audax Ecosse martinfoley@btinternet.com Martin Foley, 78 Denholm Road Musselburgh East Lothian EH21 6TU 300 16 Apr Poynton, S of Stockport Plains 23:00 Sat BR 310km 1600m £5.00 P X 15-30kph Peak Audax CTC hamhort84@talktalk.net Peter Hammond, 3 Dorac Avenue Heald Green Cheadle Stockport Cheshire SK8 3NZ 300 16 Apr The Water's Edge, RuislipLido, London HA4 7TY Steam Ride: University Challenge 06:00 Sat BR £8.00 YH R T L F 13.3-30kph Audax Club Hackney timsollesse@gmail.com Tim Sollesse Tim Sollesse, 59 Lynwood Road Ealing W5 1JG 300 23 Apr Alfreton Everybody Rides to Skeggy! 06:00 Sat BR 302km 1141m £7.00 L R P T X 100 15-30kph Alfreton CTC tomandsuefox@yahoo.co.uk ROA 10000 Tom Fox, 180 Nottingham Road Alfreton Derbyshire DE55 7FP 400 23 Apr Coryton, NW Cardiff 05:00 Sat BR £10.00 X 15-30kph Cardiff Byways CC Robyn Thomas, 44 Cosmeston Street Cardiff CF24 4LR

Buckingham Blinder

200 23 Apr 08:00 Sat

Eureka Cafe, Wirral BR 215km £6.00 R L P T 70 15-30kph Chester & N Wales CTC

Eureka Excursion

130 23 Apr 08:30 Sat

Eureka Cafe, Wirral BP 135km 500m £6.00 L P R T 70 12.5-25kph Chester & N Wales CTC dmanu@outlook.com

dmanu@outlook.com Tea in Prospect

200 03 Apr Wareham 07:45 Sun BRM 207km 2850m AAA2.75 £12.00 C L F R P T M 1/4 15-30kph Wessex CTC 01305 263 272 pete_loakes@yahoo.com ROA 5000 Peter Loakes, 1 Church Cottage West Stafford Dorchester DT2 8AB

Dorset Coast

68 23 Apr Eureka Cafe, Wirral Two Mills Twirl 09:00 Sat BP £6.00 R L P T 50 10-25kph Chester & N Wales CTC dmanu@outlook.com ROA 5000 David Matthews, Hill View Cottage Cross Lanes Oscroft Tarvin Cheshire CH3 8NG

200 09 Apr 08:00 Sat

Tamworth, Pretty Pigs PH BR 209km 2300m £7.00 P R T 50 15-30kph Geoff Cleaver audaxgeoff@gmail.com

Two Battles

100 23 Apr Forfar Lethnot and Lunan 10:00 Sat BP 1000m £3.00 G P T S 15-30kph Angus CC 01307 466123 dchusband@icloud.com ROA 4000 David Husband , 78 Old Halkerton Road Forfar DD8 1JP

150 09 Apr 09:00 Sat

Tamworth, Pretty Pigs PH BP 157km 1630m £7.00 P R T 50 14-30kph Geoff Cleaver audaxgeoff@gmail.com

Towering Trees

110 09 Apr 09:30 Sat

Tamworth, Pretty Pigs PH BP £7.00 P R T 50 15-30kph Geoff Cleaver

The Essex Bridge audaxgeoff@gmail.com

50 09 Apr Tamworth, Pretty Pigs PH Just a Chuffing 50 10:00 Sat BP £6.00 P R T 50 10-20kph Geoff Cleaver audaxgeoff@gmail.com ROA 10000 Geoffrey Cleaver, 43 Goodere Drive Polesworth Tamworth Staffordshire B78 1BY 100 09 Apr Trowell, Nottingham Charnwood in the Spring 08:30 Sat BP 103km 950m £6.00 L P R T 150 11.5-30kph Nottinghamshire CTC terrydpscott@hotmail.com Terry Scott, 22 Kinglake Place Nottingham NG2 1NT 60

Arrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

200 23 Apr Kirkley Cycles, ,Ponteland 08:00 Sat BR 201km 2465m AAA3 [3000m] £10.00 F L P R T 15-30kph Tyneside Vagabonds northern.audax@gmail.com Aidan Hedley, 16 The Close Lanchester Durham DH7 0PX

Chevy Chase

110 23 Apr Reepham, nr Lincoln Lincoln Imp 09:30 Sat BP 112km 200m £5.00 P R F L T 10-30kph CTC Lincolnshire Andrew Townhill, 80 Rudgard Avenue Cherrry Willingham Lincoln LN3 4JG 160 24 Apr 08:00 Sun

High Ham, SW of Street The Nutty Nuns 165km BP 165km £7.00 F L P R T 15-30kph Mark Lilly 01823 690 038 lillymark@btinternet.com

100 24 Apr High Ham, SW of Street The Merry Monk 09:30 Sun BP 105km £7.00 F L P R T (200) 12.5-25kph Mark Lilly 01823 690 038 lillymark@btinternet.com Mark Lilly, Applehayes Main Road Middlezoy Bridgwater TA7 0PB

www.aukweb.net


AUK CALENDAR 100 24 Apr Kirkley Cycles, Ponteland 09:00 Sun BP 1600m AAA1.5 £10.00 FPRT 12-25kph Tyneside Vagabonds northern.audax@gmail.com Aidan Hedley, 16 The Close Lanchester Durham DH7 0PX

Burma Road

400 30 Apr Chalfont St Peter, Bucks 06:00 Sat BRM 407km 3500m £7.50 YH L P R T 70 15-30kph Willesden CC 07881 841 355 Liam FitzPatrick, 13 Heron Close Rickmansworth Herts WD3 1NF

Severn Across

400 30 Apr Chepstow Brevet Cymru 06:00 Sat BRM 401km 5000m AAA3.5 [3450m] £9.00 c f l p r t nm z 100 15-30kph BlackSheep CC 01684 292 390 blacksheepaudax@gmail.com ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ 300 30 Apr Manningtree, Colchester Green & Yellow Fields 00:01 Sat BRM 305km 1500m £4.00 XCTM 15-25kph Flitchbikes CC tom.deakins@btinternet.com Thomas Deakins, 31 The Causeway Great Dunmow Essex CM6 2AA 400 01 May Poole 14:00 Sun BRM 5900m AAA6 £10.00 L P R T M (50) (17/4) 15-30kph Wessex CTC Shawn Shaw, 22 Shaftesbury Road Longfleet Poole Dorset BH15 2LT

Porkers 400

100 02 May Kilburn, N.of Derby National Arboretum 09:00 Mon BP 103km £5.00 P R T 12-30kph Alfreton CTC 01773 833 593 tomandsuefox@yahoo.co.uk ROA 10000 Tom Fox, 180 Nottingham Road Alfreton Derbyshire DE55 7FP 300 07 May Honiton 06:00 Sat BRM 3400m £8.00 LPRT 15-30kph Exeter Whs 01404 46993 ian@ukcyclist.co.uk ROA 10000 Ian Hennessey, 10 High Street Honiton EX14 1PU

Old Roads 300

400 07 May Preston, Lancashire Heartbeat 400 06:00 Sat BRM 409km 5160m AAA5 [4000m] £7.00 L P R T 15-30kph Burnley Cycling Club burnleysportiv@yahoo.com Andy Corless, 31 Castlerigg Drive Ightenhill Burnley Lancashire BB12 8AT 200 08 May Meopham, nr Gravesend Hop Garden 200km 08:00 Sun BR [1800m] £8.00 F L P R T NM 15-30kph Gravesend CTC pmcmaster@blueyonder.co.uk 160 08 May Meopham, nr Gravesend Hop Garden Century Ride 08:30 Sun BP [1550m] £8.00 F L P R T NM 15-30kph Gravesend CTC pmcmaster@blueyonder.co.uk 100 08 May Meopham, nr Gravesend Hop Garden 100km 09:00 Sun BP 975m £8.00 F L P R T NM 10-30kph Gravesend CTC pmcmaster@blueyonder.co.uk Patrick McMaster, 207 Colyer Road Northfleet Kent DA11 8AT 100 08 May Uffington, near Wantage Blowingstone-White Horse 09:30 Sun BP 107km 1162m [1346m] £6.00 P T R 15-30kph Oxfordshire CTC Nick Dunton, 44a High Street Sutton Courtenay Abingdon Oxon OX14 4AP 600 14 May Chepstow Bryan Chapman Memorial (Classic) 06:00 Sat BRM 7500m AAA7.5 £32.00 BD C F L P R S T Z (4/5) 15-30kph CTC Cymru ritchie.t.tout@uk.pwc.com Ritchie Tout, Sunnyside Cottage Mynyddbach NP16 6RT 150 14 May Forfar 09:15 Sat BP 1465m £3.00 G P T S 15-30kph Angus CC 01307 466123 dchusband@icloud.com ROA 4000 David Husband , 78 Old Halkerton Road Forfar DD8 1JP

Pitlochry 150

200 14 May Lodge Moor, Sheffield The Sheffrec Full Monty 08:00 Sat BR 206km 4000m AAA4 £5.00 L P R T 14.3-30kph Sheffrec CC henry@henryfoxhall.co.uk 100 14 May Lodge Moor, Sheffield The Sheffrec Mini Monty 09:00 Sat BP 109km 2100m AAA2 £5.00 L P R T 10-25kph Sheffrec CC henry@henryfoxhall.co.uk Henry Foxhall, West View Grindlow Great Hucklow Buxton Derbyshire SK17 8RJ 300 14 May Troutbeck Bridge, Cumbria The Westmorland Spartans 07:00 Sat BR 4000m AAA4 £6.00 A(2) P YH L R T S (60) 15-30kph Lakes Velo paul@revells.com Paul Revell, Kirklands, Brow Edge, Backbarrow Ulverston Cumbria LA12 8QL 200 14 May Troutbeck Bridge, Cumbria The Cumbrian 200 08:00 Sat BR 203km 3320m AAA4 [3900m] £6.00 YH L P R T S A(2) (60) 15-30kph Lakes Velo paul@revells.com Paul Revell, Kirklands Brow Edge Backbarrow Cumbria LA12 8QL

300 21 May Kirkley Cycles, Ponteland 06:00 Sat BRM 3900m AAA3.5 [3600m] £10.00 F P T A(1) 15-30kph Tyneside Vagabonds northern.audax@gmail.com Aidan Hedley, 16 The Close Lanchester Durham DH7 0PX

The Mosstrooper

160 21 May Meriden, Warwickshire Cotswold Challenge 08:00 Sat BP 1200m £8.00 C L P R T NM 100 15-30kph CTC Heart of England audax2016@heartofenglandcyclingclub.org.uk 100 21 May Meriden, Warwickshire Warwickshire Wanderer 09:00 Sat BP 105km 700m £8.00 C L P R T NM 100 12-25kph Jon Porteous audax2016@heartofenglandcyclingclub.org.uk Jon Porteous, Tumnus Corner Springhill Gardens Webheath Redditch Worcs B97 5SY 400 21 May Ruislip Lido Cafe, London HA4 7TY Steam Ride : London Circuit 08:00 Sat BR £8.00 T YH R NM L G 14.3-30kph Change of Date Audax Club Hackney timsollesse@gmail.com Tim Sollesse Tim Sollesse, 59 Lynwood Road Ealing W5 1JG 200 21 May Willington Hall, E of Chester Tour of the Berwyns 08:00 Sat BR 205km 2190m AAA3 [3100m] £6.00 L P R T 75 (17/05) 15-30kph Chester & North WalesCTC dmanu@outlook.com 130 21 May Willington Hall, nr Chester Panorama Prospect 08:30 Sat BP 131km 1150m [500m] £6.00 L P R T 75 (17/05) 12.5-25kph Chester & North Wales CT dmanu@outlook.com ROA 5000 David Matthews, Hill View Cottage Cross Lanes Oscroft Tarvin Cheshire CH3 8NG 100 22 May Falmer Sports Centre, Brighton Brighton Rock 2016  Pinkie Brown Returns 9::15 Sun BP 109km £7.50 F L P R T S NM(100) 15-30kph Brighton & Hove CTC brightonandhovectc@gmail.com Brighton and Hove CTC , 85 Hangleton Road Hove East Sussex BN3 7GH 600 28 May Broken Cross, nr Macclesfield Three Steps to Severn 06:00 Sat BR 612km 6400m £10.00 F L P T 14.3-25kph Peak Audax CTC perrin_john@sky.com John Perrin, 20 Princes Way Macclesfield Cheshire SK11 8UB 400 28 May Bushley, Nr,Tewkesbury. Dros Fynyddoedd ac Anialwch Niwlog. 05:30 Sat BRM 401km 6000m AAA6 £9.00 c f l p r t nm z 100 15-25kph BlackSheep CC 01684 292 390 blacksheepaudax@gmail.com ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ 600 28 May Exeter Kernow and Southwest 600 06:00 Sat BRM 8200m AAA8.25 £17.00 YH L F R Z 60 15-25kph Exeter Whs 01404 46993 ian@ukcyclist.co.uk ROA 10000 Ian Hennessey, 10 High Street Honiton EX14 1PU 600 28 May Poole Brimstone 600 06:00 Sat BRM 7600m AAA7.5 £10.00 L P M (50) (24/5) 15-30kph Wessex CTC Shawn Shaw, 22 Shaftesbury Road Longfleet Poole Dorset BH15 2LT 600 04 Jun Alfreton 06:00 Sat BR £10.00 X,F,L,T,P 15-30kph Alfreton CTC 01773 833 593 tomandsuefox@yahoo.co.uk ROA 10000 Tom Fox, 180 Nottingham Road Alfreton Derbyshire DE55 7FP

9 Counties 600k

400 04 Jun Manningtree, Colchester Asparagus & Strawberries 09:00 Sat BRM 414km 2600m £4.00 XCTM 15-25kph Flitchbikes CC tom.deakins@btinternet.com Thomas Deakins, 31 The Causeway Great Dunmow Essex CM6 2AA 300 04 Jun Padiham, Lancashire Knock Ventoux 300 06:00 Sat BRM 4000m AAA4 [4600m] £6.50 L P R T 15-30kph Updated Burnley Cycling Club burnleysportiv@yahoo.com Andy Corless, 31 Castlerigg Drive Ightenhill Burnley Lancashire BB12 8AT 100 04 Jun Tewkesbury Over the hills & far away 09:15 Sat BP 102km 800m £5.00 C G NM P R T 150 10-25kph BlackSheep CC 01684 292 390 blacksheepaudax@gmail.com ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ 200 05 Jun Clitheroe, Lancashire Dales Delight 200 08:00 Sun BRM 203km 3600m AAA3.5 [4100m] £5.00 L P R T 15-30kph Updated Burnley Cycling Club burnleysportiv@yahoo.com Andy Corless, 31 Castlerigg Drive Ightenhill Burnley Lancashire BB12 8AT 200 05 Jun Wimbledon Common The London Ditchling Devil 08:00 Sun BR 205km 2400m [2700m] £15.00 F P R T 15-30kph Willesden CC paudax@gmail.com Paul Stewart, 25 Devonshire Gardens Chiswick London W4 3TN

www.aukweb.netArrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

61


AUK CALENDAR 600 11 Jun Bushley, Nr,Tewkesbury. Mae Mr Pickwick yn mynd i chwilio am ddreigiau a chwedlau. (clasurol). 05:00 Sat BRM 601km 9500m AAA9.5 £17.50 C F L P R T S Z NM 100 15-25kph BlackSheep CC 01684 292 390 blacksheepaudax@gmail.com ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ 150 11 Jun Forfar 09:15 Sat BP 1552m £5.00 C P T S 15-30kph Angus CC 01307 466123 dchusband@icloud.com ROA 4000 David Husband , 78 Old Halkerton Road Forfar DD8 1JP

Amulree 150

600 11 Jun Padiham, Lancashire Tan Hill 600 06:00 Sat BRM 603km 7800m AAA7.75 £10.00 BD F L P R S T Z 15-30kph Burnley Cycling Club burnleysportiv@yahoo.com Andy Corless, 31 Castlerigg Drive Ightenhill Burnley Lancashire BB12 8AT 200 12 Jun Forfar 08:00 Sun BR 2450m AAA2 [2025m] £10.00 L C P R T 15-30kph Angus CC dchusband@icloud.com ROA 5000 David Husband, 78 Old Halkerton Road Forfar Angus DD8 1JP

Deeside Loop

200 12 Jun Padiham, Lancashire Tan Hill 200 08:30 Sun BRM 206km 4500m AAA4.5 £5.00 L P R S T 15-30kph Burnley Cycling Club burnleysportiv@yahoo.com Andy Corless, 31 Castlerigg Drive Ightenhill Burnley Lancashire BB12 8AT 400 17 Jun 06:00 Fri

Anywhere, to York BR £12.00 DIY Also on 20/06 15-30kph Audax UK

Summer Arrow to York pedaller1@sky.com

350 17 Jun Anywhere, to York Summer Dart to York ::::: Fri BR 360km £5.00 DIY Also on 20/06 14.3-30kph Audax UK pedaller1@sky.com ROA 10000 Lucy Mctaggart, 30 Victoria Street Galashiels Scottish Borders TD1 1HL 400 17 Jun Clayhidon, near Taunton Avalon Sunrise 400 22:30 Fri BRM 407km 3300m £15.00 flprtc 15-30kph Exeter Whs Jamie Andrews, Cemetery Lodge Ashill Road Uffculme Devon EX15 3DP 200 19 Jun 07:30 Sun

Claughton, N of Preston BR 212km 3290m AAA3.25 £6.50 P R T 15-30kph Southport CC allan.taylor@southportcc.co.uk

150 19 Jun 08:30 Sun

Claughton, N of Preston Lunesdale Populaire BP 158km 2280m AAA2.25 £6.50 P R T 100 13-30kph Southport CC allan.taylor@southportcc.co.uk

110 19 Jun Claughton, N of Preston 09:00 Sun BP 112km 1540m £6.50 P R T 10-25kph Southport CC allan.taylor@southportcc.co.uk Allan Taylor, 23 Osborne Road Ainsdale Southport PR8 2RJ

Fleet Moss 212

Pilgrim's Way

150 19 Jun Galashiels Dick McTs 150 Classic 09:00 Sun BP 1576m [1600m] £10.00 PRTG 15-30kph Audax Ecosse 01896 758 181 pedaller1@sky.com ROA 10000 Lucy McTaggart, 30 Victoria St. Galashiels Scottish Borders TD1 1HL

200 02 Jul 08:00 Sat

Awbridge, Nr. Romsey, Hampshire Hungerford Hurrah BR 2200m £7.00 L P R T 50 15-30kph Winchester CTC alanandemma@talktalk.net

140 02 Jul Awbridge, Nr. Romsey, Hampshire Hungerford Hooray 09:00 Sat BP 1450m £7.00 L P R T 50 15-30kph Winchester CTC alanandemma@talktalk.net Alan Davies, 7 Queens Close Romsey Hampshire SO51 5EG 600 02 Jul Galashiels Borderlands Roc Trevezal 07:00 Sat BRM 4900m £5.00 PRTXBG 15-25kph Audax Ecosse 01896 758 181 pedaller1@sky.com ROA 10000 Lucy McTaggart, 30 Victoria St. Galashiels Scottish Borders TD1 1HL 200 03 Jul 08:00 Sun

Smallworth, Garboldisham, Diss Garboldisham Groveller BR £6.50 L P R T 15-30kph Diss CTC elkinste@outlook.com

100 03 Jul Smallworth, Garboldisham, nr Diss Garboldisham Grafter 09:00 Sun BP £6.50 P R T F L 15-30kph Diss CTC elkinste@outlook.com Tom Elkins, 6 Marston Lane Norwich NR4 6LZ 300 09 Jul 06:00 Sat

Bushley, Nr,Tewkesbury. A Rough Diamond BRM 301km 2500m [3450m] £7.00 c f l p r t nm 100 15-25kph BlackSheep CC 01684 292 390 blacksheepaudax@gmail.com

100 09 Jul Bushley, Nr,Tewkesbury. The Teddy Bears' Picnic. 09:00 Sat BP 103km 975m [900m] £5.00 C,G,L,NM,P,R,T (100) 10-25kph BlackSheep CC 01684 292 390 blacksheepaudax@gmail.com ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ 600 09 Jul 06:00 Sat

Exeter BRM 5600m £5 X 15-30kph Exeter Whs 01404 46993 ian@ukcyclist.co.uk

The Exe-Buzzard

600 09 Jul Leighton Buzzard 07:00 Sat BRM 5600m £5 X 15-30kph Exeter Whs 01404 46993 ian@ukcyclist.co.uk ROA 10000 Ian Hennessey, 10 High Street Honiton EX14 1PU

The Buzzard

300 09 Jul 06:00 Sat

Stornoway, Isle of Lewis Golden Road and Standing Stones BR 3102m [3200m] £11.00 50 L R T F C A(2) 15-25kph Hebridean CC ian_d_gilbert@yahoo.co.uk

110 09 Jul Stornoway, Isle of Lewis Hebridean Hundred 10:00 Sat BP 113km 1015m [1068m] £5.00 50 L R T F C A(2) 12.5-30kph Hebridean CC ian_d_gilbert@yahoo.co.uk Ian Gilbert, 19 Churchill Drive Stornoway Isle of Lewis HS1 2NP 200 09 Jul 08:00 Sat

Tamworth, Pretty Pigs PH BR 216km 2300m £7.00 P R T 50 15-30kph Geoff Cleaver audaxgeoff@gmail.com

Brix\'n Water

160 09 Jul 09:00 Sat

Tamworth, Pretty Pigs PH BP 1400m [2300m] £7.00 P R T 50 14.4-30kph Geoff Cleaver audaxgeoff@gmail.com

Brix\'n Bouquet

Double Bouquet

400 25 Jun Aldbrough St John, Nr Darlington 06:00 Sat BR 411km 1457m £5.00 X L P R T 15-30kph VC 167 01325 374 112 nigel.hall@finklecroft.me.uk Nigel Hall, Finkle Croft Aldbrough St John Nr. Richmond DL11 7TD

The Lincoln

110 09 Jul Tamworth, Pretty Pigs PH 09:30 Sat BP 912m [2300m] £7.00 P R T 50 14.4-30kph Geoff Cleaver audaxgeoff@gmail.com ROA 10000 Geoff Cleaver, 43 Goodere Drive Polesworth Tamworth B78 1BY

600 25 Jun 06:00 Sat

Offa\'s Dyke

100 10 Jul Combe Down, Bath 08:30 Sun BP 1650m AAA1.75 £7.00 N.P.R.T 15-30kph Bath CC Robert Mcmillan, 228 Bloomfield Road Bath BA2 2AX

Upton Magna, E of Shrewsbury BRM 610km 8300m AAA8.25 £15.00 C F G L P R T Z (50) 15-25kph CTC Shropshire undulates@hotmail.co.uk

300 25 Jun Upton Magna, E of Shrewsbury Offa's Double Century 06:00 Sat BR 330km 5100m AAA5 £8.00 C F G L P R T (50) 15-25kph CTC Shropshire undulates@hotmail.co.uk ROA 10000 John Hamilton, 22 Oaks Crescent Wellington Telford TF1 2HF 100 26 Jun Caton, NE of Lancaster Bowland Forest Populaire 09:00 Sun BP 1800m AAA1.75 £5.00 P R T 75 12.5-20kph CTC Lancaster & South La 01524 36061 mikehutchinson@fastmail.fm ROA 5000 Mike Hutchinson, Heatherdene 9 Whinfell Drive Lancaster LA1 4NY 200 26 Jun Upton Magna, E of Shrewsbury Clwydian Horseshoe 07:30 Sun BR 218km 3350m AAA3.25 £6.00 C G L P R T (50) 15-25kph CTC Shropshire undulates@hotmail.co.uk ROA 10000 John Hamilton, 22 Oaks Crescent Wellington Telford TF1 2HF 1000 01 Jul Bispham, Lancashire Mille Pennines 10:00 Fri BRM 1002km 11750m AAA10 [10000m] £55.00 BD C F L P R S T Z (100) 13.3-30kph Burnley Cycling Club burnleysportiv@yahoo.com Andy Corless, 31 Castlerigg Drive Ightenhill Burnley Lancashire BB12 8AT

62

Arrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

Mendip Transmitter

100 10 Jul East Finchley, N2 9ED Suburban Breakout 09:30 Sun BP 103km 1085m [755m] £5.00 PRT 15-30kph Central London CTC nick@centrallondonctc.org.uk Nick Bloom, 32 Fortis Green Avenue Fortis Green London N2 9NA 300 15 Jul Churchend,Dunmow, Essex Hereward the Wake 21:00 Fri BRM 301km £9.00 X C R L P T M (08/07) 15-30kph Flitchbikes CC tom.deakins@btinternet.com Thomas Deakins, 31 The Causeway Great Dunmow Essex CM6 2AA 300 16 Jul Rowlands Castle, nr Portsmouth Wonderfull Wessex 05:30 Sat BRM £8.00 f l p r 15-30kph Hampshire RC mrpaulwhitehead@yahoo.co.uk Paul Whitehead, 73 Spencer Road Emsworth Hampshire PO10 7XR 200 23 Jul Bath 08:00 Sat BR 203km 2500m £7.00 Xtrpc 15-30kph Bath CC Robert Mcmillan, 228 Bloomfield Road Bath BA2 2AX

Raglan castle

www.aukweb.net


AUK CALENDAR 200 23 Jul Belbroughton, N Worcestershire The Kidderminster Killer 08:00 Sat BR 214km 3750m AAA3.75 £7.85 F L P R S T (90) (8/8) 14.3-30kph Beacon RCC 01562731606 montgomery@beaconrcc.org.uk Philip Whiteman, 2 Drayton Terrace, Drayton, Belbroughton, Stourbridge Worcestershire DY9 0BW 120 23 Jul Belbroughton, N Worcestershire From Clee to Heaven 09:00 Sat BP 123km 1950m AAA2 £7.85 F L P R S T (70) 13-25kph Beacon RCC 01562 731606 montgomery@beaconrcc.org.uk Dr Philip Whiteman, 2 Drayton Terrace Drayton Belbroughton Stourbridge DY9 0BW 200 23 Jul Harringay, London Straight Outta Hackney 08:00 Sat BR £13.00 CFLPRT 15-30kph Change of Date Audax Club Hackney 07932672561 justinjones1969@gmail.com Justin Jones, ACH HQ incorporating The Stag's Head 39 Harringay Road London N15 3JB 600 23 Jul 06:00 Sat

Mytholmroyd, W. of Halifax The 3 Coasts 600 BRM 607km 5611m AAA1.75 [1631m] £10.00 A(3) L P R S T Z YH 15-30kph West Yorkshire CTC 01422 832 853 chris.crossland@halifaxctc.org.uk

600 23 Jul 06:00 Sat

Mytholmroyd, W. of Halifax The East & West Coasts 600 BRM 605km 4380m [5380m] £10.00 A(3) L P R S T Z YH 15-30kph West Yorkshire CTC 01422 832 853 chris.crossland@halifaxctc.org.uk

200 24 Jul Mytholmroyd, W. of Halifax The Good Companions 08:30 Sun BRM 2697m AAA1.75 [1631m] £5.00 A(2) L P R S T YH 15-30kph West Yorkshire CTC 01422 832 853 chris.crossland@halifaxctc.org.uk ROA 25000 Chris Crossland, 14 Stanley St. West Sowerby Bridge W. Yorks HX6 1EF 1200 25 Jul 08:10 Mon

Craignure The Highlands, West Coast & Glens BRM 1205km 15885m AAA16 [2200m] £25.00 A C F G S T NM P YH X 2Z 13-30kph BlackSheep CC 01684 292 390 blacksheepaudax@gmail.com

1200 26 Jul Craignure The Highlands, Glens & West Coast. 08:40 Tue BRM 1205km 15885m AAA16 [2200m] £25.00 A C F G S T NM P YH X 2Z 13-30kph BlackSheep CC 01684 292 390 blacksheepaudax@gmail.com ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ 400 30 Jul Biggin, nr Hartington 07:00 Sat BRM 405km 3900m £39.00 YH A(1) C F G L P R Z 15-25kph Peak Audax CTC perrin_john@sky.com John Perrin, 20 Princes Way Macclesfield Cheshire SK11 8UB

National 400km

400 13 Aug Galashiels Nae Bother to Us 06:30 Sat BRM 3400m £5.00 PRT 15-30kph Audax Ecosse 01896 758 181 pedaller1@sky.com ROA 10000 Lucy McTaggart, 30 Victoria St. Galashiels Scottish Borders TD1 1HL 400 13 Aug Upton Magna, E of Shrewsbury Pengwern Pedal 07:00 Sat BRM 405km 6380m AAA6.25 £10.00 C F G L P R T (50) 15-25kph CTC Shropshire undulates@hotmail.co.uk 300 13 Aug Upton Magna, E of Shrewsbury 07:00 Sat BRM 306km 5550m AAA5.5 £8.00 C F G L P R T (50) 15-25kph CTC Shropshire undulates@hotmail.co.uk ROA 10000 John Hamilton, 22 Oaks Crescent Wellington Telford TF1 2HF

Pengwern Pedal

400 27 Aug Mytholmroyd, West Yorkshire 05:30 Sat BRM 407km 6400m AAA6.5 £8.00 A L P R T S YH 15-30kph West Yorkshire CTC 01422 832 853 chris.crossland@halifaxctc.org.uk

300 10 Sep Galashiels Alston and Back 06:30 Sat BRM 2700m £5.00 PRT 15-30kph Audax Ecosse 01896 758 181 pedaller1@sky.com ROA 10000 Lucy McTaggart, 30 Victoria St. Galashiels Scottish Borders TD1 1HL 200 17 Sep Upton Magna, E of Shrewsbury Beyond Shropshire (Jack Mytton) 08:15 Sat BR 205km 3110m AAA3 [2970m] £8.00 C F G L P R T 15-25kph CTC Shropshire undulates@hotmail.co.uk ROA 10000 John Hamilton, 22 Oaks Crescent Wellington Telford TF1 2HF 200 24 Sep Chepstow Castle 07:30 Sat BR 3000m AAA3 £3.00 YHXPRT(14/9) 15-30kph Audax Club Bristol ROA 5000 Nik Peregrine, 46 Bridge Street Chepstow NP16 5EY

Border Castles Randonnee

200 25 Sep Clitheroe, Lancashire Last Chance Dales Dance 200 07:30 Sun BRM 202km 3300m AAA3.25 [3000m] £5.00 L P R T 15-30kph Updated Burnley Cycling Club burnleysportiv@yahoo.com Andy Corless, 31 Castlerigg Drive Ightenhill Burnley Lancashire BB12 8AT 200 25 Sep Denmead, Nr Portsmouth WYLYE AND EBBLE VALLEY 07:30 Sun BR £6.00 L P R T M 15-30kph Hampshire RC mrpaulwhitehead@yahoo.co.uk Paul Whitehead, 73 Spencer Road Emsworth Hampshire PO10 7XR New Season 2017 200 01 Oct Churchend,Dunmow, Essex Flitchbikes 200 08:30 Sat BRM 201km £8.00 C L P R T M (24/09) 15-30kph Flitchbikes CC tom.deakins@btinternet.com Thomas Deakins, 31 The Causeway Great Dunmow Essex CM6 2AA 100 09 Oct 09:00 Sun

Mytholmroyd Season of Mists BP 105km 2555m AAA2.5 £4.50 L P R T YH 12-24kph West Yorkshire CTC 01422 832 853 chris.crossland@halifaxctc.org.uk

55 09 Oct 10:00 Sun ROA 25000

Mytholmroyd Mellow Fruitfulness BP 1200m AAA1.25 £4.00 L P R T YH 8-20kph West Yorkshire CTC 01422 832 853 chris.crossland@halifaxctc.org.uk Chris Crossland, 14 Stanley St. West Sowerby Bridge W. Yorks HX6 1EF

200 15 Oct 08:00 Sat Change of Date

Galashiels Etal-u-Can BR 204km 2379m £10.00 PRTG 15-30kph Audax Ecosse 01896 758 181 pedaller1@sky.com

100 16 Oct 10:00 Sun Change of Date

Galashiels Ride of the Valkyries BP 106km 1200m [1517m] £10.00 PRTG 12-30kph Audax Ecosse 01896 758 181 pedaller1@sky.com

200 05 Nov Galashiels The Long Dark Teatime of The Soul 08:00 Sat BR 2000m £8.00 G, P,R,T 15-30kph Change of Date Audax Ecosse 01896 758 181 pedaller1@sky.com ROA 10000 Lucy McTaggart, 30 Victoria St. Galashiels Scottish Borders TD1 1HL

The Old 240

400 27 Aug Mytholmroyd, West Yorkshire Not Quite The Spurn Head 400 05:30 Sat BRM 403km 2450m £8.00 A(2) L P R T S YH 15-30kph West Yorkshire CTC 01422 832 853 chris.crossland@halifaxctc.org.uk ROA 25000 Chris Crossland, 14 Stanley St. West Sowerby Bridge W. Yorks HX6 1EF 200 03 Sep Old Ma's Tattenhall, Cheshire Pistyll Packing Momma 08:00 Sat BR 209km 3400m AAA3.5 £6.00 P R 50 T L 15-30kph Chester & North Wales CT dmanu@outlook.com 130 03 Sep Old Ma's Tattenhall, Cheshire Momma's Mountain Views 08:30 Sat BP 137km 2000m AAA2 £6.00 P R 50 T L 12.5-25kph Chester & N Wales CTC dmanu@outlook.com 50 03 Sep Old Ma's Tattenhall, Cheshire Momma's Leafy Lanes 09:00 Sat BP £6.00 P R 50 T L 10-20kph Chester & N Wales CTC dmanu@outlook.com ROA 5000 David Matthews, Hill View Cottage Cross Lanes Oscroft Tarvin Cheshire CH3 8NG 600 10 Sep Churchend,Dunmow, Essex 06:00 Sat BRM 606km £6.00 X A(1)C L P R T M (03/09) 15-30kph Flitchbikes CC tom.deakins@btinternet.com Thomas Deakins, 31 The Causeway Great Dunmow Essex CM6 2AA

The Flatlands

Back Cover PBP 2015 - Paul Whitehead (Hampshire RC) and Sam Crossley (Dulwich Paragon). Photo: Alan Parkinson

www.aukweb.netArrivée Autumn 2015 No. 130

63


Arrivée 130 - Autumn 2015  

Autumn 2015 edition of Arrivée, the magazine of Audax United Kingdom

Arrivée 130 - Autumn 2015  

Autumn 2015 edition of Arrivée, the magazine of Audax United Kingdom

Advertisement