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Audax UK

the long-distance cyclists’ association


141 •

th em em ber s’ m aga zine of

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2018 tumn er/au mm su

Aud ax U

INSIDE ISSUE 141 From the Chair

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Call for volunteers

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Mileater Award Highlights

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14

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A pilgrim’s progress08

Ride of aValkyrie Viking vigour conquers the world page 34

From The Shire to Mount Doom14 Welsh Cambrian 60018 Trans America Bike Race24

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Through lucious St Lucia28 Why “lazy’ Kajsa took on the world record34 Audax UK

s’ association

the long-distance cyclist

Front cover Kajsa Talyn talks about her world record achievement Picture by Sam Flanagan – @samfla on Instagram

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Welcome to the summer/autumn 2018 issue of Arrivée Kajsa Tylen, our remarkable “cover girl”, deserves great praise for her world-beating cycling feat. She broke the record for riding the furthest distance ever achieved by a woman in a year. Kajsa’s fantastic ride was inspired by the equally extraordinary Billie Fleming, who gained fame in the 1930s for her own long-distance heroics. But while Kajsa had to cope with the pressure and stress of life on two wheels on 21st century roads, Billie had the luxury of British highways in 1938. No monster trucks, no flashy 4x4s, no caravans, and no heavy traffic – nothing. The worst she will have encountered is probably children playing hopscotch in the road, or aggressive chickens. Billie certainly wouldn’t have had to deal with the hostility of fellow road users experienced by another of our featured riders in this issue of Arrivée, Idai Makaya. Indeed, in those halcyon days, Billie became something of a national heroine, a living legend whose exploits were tracked by national newspapers. Wherever she went, people came out to wish her well and applaud her sterling efforts. Idai, on the other hand, often faced open enmity. Together with a group of intrepid comrades, he undertook an immense there-and-back-again trek between Land’s End and John O’Groats. On the way back the group hit

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Shrewsbury at rush hour and suffered the fury of disgruntled motorists. Idai and his friends faced similar abuse as they contrived to find a way through the packed streets of Exeter. Now we’re not singling out the good citizens of Shrewsbury or Exeter as particularly anti-bike. One imagines that cyclists get a raw deal from motorists in every corner of the land – especially when they appear to impede the painfully slow progress of motorised vehicles. To be fair, unlike the folks who cheered Billie on her way in 1938, the morons who hurled expletives at Idai and his friends in Shrewsbury and Exeter, didn’t know the back-story. Idai’s ride was more than just a pootle through the countryside. His was a staggering long-distance ride. He was driven not so much by personal ambition as the poignant desire to honour his dead brother. It was an emotional journey in more ways than one. But the motorists and bystanders only saw a group of lycra-clad chaps zipping through traffic and avoiding the (rutted and pitted) cycle-tracks. Idai admits that he broke with his usual convention, and gave as good as he got, which is understandable in the circumstances but probably didn’t help.

Such is the antipathy towards cyclists today, the other road users felt perfectly entitled to aggressively voice their disapproval. And here’s a problem all cyclists face these days – a total lack of understanding. If the non-cycling fraternity had known, for instance, why Idai was riding through their towns, and the exceptional nature of his journey, would they have been so quick to denigrate him? If ordinary motorists were to read a copy of Arrivée and see for themselves the quite astonishing stories, deeds and adventures achieved by so many of Britain’s serious cyclists, maybe they’d be less inclined to heap abuse upon them. So, the answer is simple. When you’ve finished reading this magazine, give it to a non-cycling friend to read… If nothing else, it will boost our readership, and you never know, it might just help to end the conflict on our roads. Tony Lennox, guest editor Former editor, Birmingham Post, Former editor, Warwickshire Life, 45 years in regional newspapers… Once watched as my brother, Ged, rode his racing bike at speed into the back of a stationary Vauxhall Viva on the Hobs Moat Road, Solihull… circa 1968… still laughing…


Looking for a change of scenery44

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Book review Rough stuff cycling in the Alps47 The ACME Grand 100048 The Elfsteden 245km52

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The Lumpy Python54

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Riding in a group57 The Barcud Coch58 Flash of Titanium

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AUK calendar of events62 Contacts and Delegates67

MEMBERSHIP MATTERS… Updating your own details Did you know that you can update most of your own membership details? Log into the website and then go to the “Members” section (in the menu on the left of the screen). You can also set your own password which is easy to remember E-mail addresses Do we hold a valid e-mail address for you? We know around 50 members have a now defunct address (eg freeserve.co.uk) registered. If that might be you please can you check your record and update it. If you have household members it is useful if each member has their own e-mail address registered if possible – this allows them to use the password reminder function and also to be included in on-line voting for the AGM. Password reminders If you have the correct e-mail address registered you can get a reminder via the website. However if you don’t, contact the membership team on membership@audax.uk with your name, membership number if known and your address (so we can verify who you are) and we will help you.

Household members Household membership is available for two or more members sharing an address. One standard membership fee is payable and then additional members are charged a small additional fee per year. The additional household members have all the same rights as standard members, the only restriction is just one copy of Arrivée per household. If you would like to change your membership to household (either because you want to add someone extra – there will be no charge for the rest of this year – or because two or more existing members share an address) then please contact me on membership@audax.uk. Equally if you want to remove or change household members please let me know, then we can then sort it out before renewal time which will make things easier for you and us. New members this year Between Jan and July 2018 we have welcomed over 850 new members to Audax UK, and we currently have around 7600 members, with more joining up every week. I confidently expect a new record high number before the end of 2018. Caroline Fenton, Membership Secretary

www.aukweb.net

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Chris Crossland, Chairman, Audax UK

From the Chair Those of you looking forward to seeing General Secretary Graeme Provan’s face and reading his prose may be disappointed to find me here instead, accompanied by an old photo and some awkward words. Graeme was unable to come to the recent Board meeting in Birmingham on 11 July because urgent business at work demanded his attendance until late at night on 10 July and then from early morning on 11 July until… well, I imagine he got it sorted out at some point as he has been in touch with me a few times since then. His absence did mean that I had to take the minutes as well as chair the meeting, two things that I don’t normally do together, or recommend doing together. To cap it all, he’s written to me to say that he’s happy to allow me to write this quarterly column of his. I do hope he makes it to the next meeting. A little grousing aside, it does demonstrate that the running of Audax UK remains in the hands of dedicated and knowledgeable people who put in their time and effort while simultaneously living their lives with job, family, and other commitments. In line with our strategy for the development of Audax UK, we continue to examine how we might organise to take into account the growing increase in members and the increase in the range of activities and challenges. We hope to have some paid administration staff in place by the time our membership reaches 10,000, and have set up a working group to sift through what posts they could cover. There will still be a place for volunteers in our club, though. Seasoned observers will note the similarity to what LondonEdinburgh-London does: employ properly-skilled caterers to provide the catering and pay cleaners, thus freeing up volunteers to do the rider-facing tasks that are almost as much fun as the riders are having. A couple of examples. For a few years now we have outsourced our book keeping to a business services firm, allowing the finance director to concentrate on a strategic overview of our finances. More recently, we have employed a member skilled in design, layout, and print production to be Arrivée’s managing editor, in order to improve the quality of the magazine – something that we think members deserve. At the Board meeting, after the formalities of apologies for absence, declarations of interest (none), and minutes of previous meetings (all three sets approved), we moved on to matters arising. First up was our intended pre-application for national Governing Body status for randonneur cycling. The Board noted the draft version and delegated Graeme and me to beef it up a little, stressing the number of participants in events we regulate, and also the number of validations in all events, and a bit more besides. We welcomed Rob McIvor to the Board as Communications Director. Rob is well known as a communications professional and has previous cycling committee experience as a member of the London Cycling Campaign committee when it was in the process of working out how to take on paid staff to do the work done by volunteers – a nice coincidence there. Rob has strong ideas on the development of Arrivée and how to use it in conjunction with our social media platform and website, 4

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to the advantage of Audax UK and its members. We noted that the General Data Protection Requirement (GDPR) had led to Graeme Provan, Caroline Fenton, Peter Lewis, and Martin Foley getting together to produce a new Privacy Policy and a new Data Protection. The Board had a few minor niggles but were impressed by the documents, and asked that the niggles be ironed out prior to formal approval. The Remuneration sub-committee consisting of the Chair and the current sole non-executive director, John Sabine, had considered the level of honoraria for the current financial year and recommended an increase of £50 per annum for all posts. The last increase had been in 2013 and last year’s report had flagged up the likely need to raise the level this time around. A flat rate was thought appropriate so that differentials were not enlarged, as would be the case with a percentage increase. John Sabine and Finance Director Nigel Armstrong had considered the level of the Chair’s honorarium and recommended a flat rate increase of £50 per annum. The Board approved these changes. Moving on to IT matters, it was noted that IT Refresh Manager Richard Jennings who has been leading the new website project had indicated a wish to step down at the end of Phase One of the work, which he anticipated to be within the next few months. He had proposed that Miranda Smith, currently working as web content editor, should be appointed in his place. It was agreed to accede to this, and Miranda was appointed, to work jointly with Richard until he left. Richard has worked tirelessly in difficult circumstances for little personal gain, disregarding financial reward – a dedicated volunteer who deserves Audax UK’s gratitude for his efforts. In terms of the current state of the IT Refresh, Richard outlined various issues in the System Refresh Project Board update. The first and main phase was now almost complete with about 10% of content remaining to compile. The significant cost overrun was mainly to do with the interfacing between the new site and existing databases. Despite the initial scale of analysis of aukweb, their scale and complexity had provided surprises throughout development. Some interactions with the supplier had been less efficient than hoped for, and labour costs higher than developers from abroad would have been. The possibilities of doing it differently had been considered but it was concluded that moving to a different supplier would have racked up different additional costs that would have made the move no cheaper. Overall, he would recommend continuing to work with Control F1 for the next phases of the project. He noted that another volunteer stalwart, Systems Delegate Francis Cooke, had offered to rebuild an important events database so that it would interface better with the new site. The Board was very happy to accept the offer. John Sabine noted that there had been an initial upper cost estimate of £150k for the whole project. Phase 1 had itself cost in excess of £90k, and there were now

current estimates for Phases 2 & 3 of £150k and £100k respectively. He wondered if there was likely to be further cost inflation. RJ noted that these estimates had been drawn up by Control F1 and took into account the possibility of complexities similar to those faced in Phase 1. In his opinion, it was unlikely that similar complexities would be found, as they did not rely on the aukweb databases, and he was confident that the eventual costs would be lower than the estimates. Rob McIvor asked if there were any proposed developments in Phases 2 & 3 that could be phased in over a longer time scale. RJ responded that member wishes should be taken into account when the Board decided such matters. With Phase 2 concerning membership and an associated e-shop, it might be possible to limit the role of the e-shop. However, this would only provide limited savings and it was felt that the e-shop was crucial for membership processing. Phase 3 was intended to include DIY and DIYxGPS events. The full extent of this could be delayed to reduce costs but would still need to be placed in the development at some point. It was not clear how much saving could be made with such a delay. Finance director Nigel Armstrong noted that the use of Sage accounting software had made it possible to develop reports in great detail, and use the historical information to develop a multi-layered spreadsheet to forecast how AUK accounts would be affected in the future by decisions made today. Predictions made for recent times, seemed to show a good level of correspondence with what actually happened so he felt that there was now a good degree of accuracy in the forecasting. Estimates of Audax UK’s future financial status made earlier this year using this spreadsheet and the original Control F1 quote were optimistic. This was demonstrated in a base forecast version, drawn up a short while before the meeting. It had outlined the favourable projected financial position at the end of the current financial year and moving forward. However, the news of the estimates from Control F1 for Phases 2 and 3, as well as news of the costs of ongoing technical support produced different results. Nigel had spent some time before the meeting discussing this with Richard Jennings, and as a result he had revised his figures to include all these costs. A second version of the spreadsheet showed what would happen if phase 2 costs £150k over three months starting in January 2019, and then starting phase 3 in July costing £100k over two months with phase 4 to happen in 2019/2020, combined with no price increases to our members or organisers, or activity increases. The results show we would need an overdraft of £7,687 and be insolvent by £56,129 by the end of next year. This was clearly an untenable situation. A third version of the spreadsheet used the same Control F1 costs and period, ignored any volume increase in activity but had price increases that raised the costs of subscription by an extra £2 to members (except household & life members) and keeping the £5 new member levy – note that this doubles the temporary membership cost to £4. It also has a price increase to organisers of 20p for each Brevet Card & Validation. These amounts were selected at random and were only there to illustrate the point that such an increase would get rid of the overdraft


and leave £36,666 in the bank by August 2018, and reduce the insolvency to a mere £12,918. He concluded from this work that a price increase of some sort to members should be instigated urgently from 1/9/2018. He also thought that an increase to the organisers would be justified. Alternative options would include delaying the phases, dragging them out and starting the phases later and or reducing the scope of the phases. It was noted that there were provisions in the Articles of Association that enabled the Board to set the levels of member subscriptions, and provisions in the Regulations that allowed the subscriptions to be changed by a resolution of the AGM. It was clear that the Articles of Association outweighed the regulations and allowed the Board to set the level of subscriptions. The Board remained keen to continue with the IT Refresh Project and saw little point in delaying it further as the risks associated with staying with aukweb were becoming greater as time went on. It was agreed that the Finance Director would put several different scenarios through his spreadsheets to discover the consequences of raising different charges by different rates in order to restore some financial equilibrium. A Teleconference meeting to discuss the matter would be held on Wednesday 29 August at 8.00 pm. In the meantime all directors should apply their minds to the problem so that firm proposals can be available for, and discussed at that meeting with a view to appropriate measures being put in place. There were other items of business, all of them important,

but I’m sure that a stark reality check will be clear to members. So that’s where we are at the moment. We need to continue to develop the new website and online administration platform in order to support our members and our administration but to do that we will need some additional finance which may need to come from increases to member subscriptions, charges to organisers, and other price increases. Audax UK has used its previously favourable financial position brought about by the income from high temporary membership fees to keep full member subscriptions down. Likewise, charges to event organisers have remained fixed or have even been reduced. We also need to retain reserves to cover the commuted subscriptions of members who pay for five years’ membership in advance, and our reserves policy also includes the provision to retain a sufficient sum to pay the honoraria due to the delegates who do a lot of the work that keeps everything going. Together, those provisions amount to getting on for £60k. By the time you read this, I hope that the necessary measures will have been decided and possibly even announced, and hope that members will support the Board in its efforts to continue to develop Audax UK. As usual, minutes of the meeting and the papers that the Board considered are available online on the Audax UK website for examination by anybody who would like more information. See http://www.aukweb.net/official/minutes/

Call for volunteers from AudaxUK cyclists FROM THE KINGS COLLEGE RESEARCH TEAM Audax cyclists previously volunteered so that the Guy’s Team could uncover a relationship between age, exercise and health. As a result of your input ground-breaking findings were published in the scientific press and gained world-wide publicity. The Guy’s team are asking men aged fifty and over to please come forward again, in order to take part in a study on lung function. Many Audax cyclists will remember taking part in the initial study in 2016, which, thanks to your participation, was awarded a prize for research excellence by the British Thoracic Society in 2017. We would now like to consolidate these findings in around 10 more volunteers, so that we can complete the study and publish our findings this year. The study will involve spending half a day at King’s College Hospital undergoing testing. We are particularly interested in understanding the role the diaphragm exerts on neural respiratory drive and breathlessness. Ultimately these tests will give important information on breathlessness in disease. You will be tested by expert respiratory doctors and technicians in order to ensure that the research is of the highest quality. There is very low risk involved especially for healthy cyclists. You will however be asked to swallow two thin tubes (smaller than the inside of a biro) so that the electrical activity of the diaphragm can be measured. These are routine medical tests and most of the testing team have undergone the procedure with little difficulty. Accepted volunteers will be given, in addition to the specific diaphragm test, a full lung function “MOT”. Interested cyclists (who have not previously taken part in this study) should please get in touch with Caroline at the email address below, where greater detail of what to expect during your four hour visit to King’s will be given. Professor Norman Lazarus    email: caroline.jolley@kcl.ac.uk

www.aukweb.net

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500,000M UP – AFTER ALL THESE YEARS

Peter eats up the miles to make it seven in a row Paul Worthington takes a look at the 2017 Mileater Award highlights: The Mileater Award, which is the Audax accolade for riders recording their highest distance ridden, attracted a bumper field in 2017. Among the 69 riders who entered, at least 15 submitted their distances through their online rider profiles, mainly Strava. On the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, I found myself eagerly logging on to gather data from the various online sources. Submitting distances by this method allows riders to be part of the Mileater Awards in a new way, quite different to the traditional diary entry in which distances are recorded manually, and usually by hand.

The winner of the Mick Latimer Trophy for 2017 was, once again, Peter Baker, who rode 25,083 miles, surpassing his own self-declared target of 25,000 miles. Peter also achieved the feat of riding at least 400 miles in every week of the year, bar one. His total distance was an impressive increase on his 2016 total of 23,512 miles, and his seventh consecutive victory. The top female in 2017 was Judith Swallow, who rode 16,357.99 miles. Over the year, 13 riders clocked up distances of over 10,000 miles – up seven on last year’s number. The average distance ridden was 7,963.25 miles, which

was an improvement on 2016’s figure of 7,574.52 miles. The total number of submitted miles was 302,603.83 miles. Congratulations must go to the 38 riders who returned entries of their distances in 2017 (see table). So far there are 39 entries already in for 2018, but there is still time to enter. You can do so by visiting www.aukweb. net/results/mileater. Alternatively you can send a cheque for £4, which includes the diary (£14 if you wish to receive an engraved medal showing your distance in addition to the diary) to the organiser: Paul Worthington, 213 Greenhill Road, Allerton, Liverpool, L18 9ST.

The contents of the diaries provide a unique account of a rider’s year as well as capturing the features of individual rides. Here’s a selection of extracts from some of the 2017 diaries:

And were off into the mist… Dean Clementsons Moor Gravel Forever 150km ride in April – Photo by Al High

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● Jane Watson’s eventful week: “Retired today :-) Sunny, windy, not windy, gale, thunder, hailstones.” ● James Woricker’s natural observations: “Perk snort Eeyore...Deer, rabbits and a badger” ● Cliff Smith: “Shap Fell. In gale force winds. Blown off on descent!!” ● David Stark: “No punctures, 1 broken cable, 1 wrong saddle, a couple of chain derailments and an above average temperature” ● Colin Horn: “We managed to keep ahead of the rain on the way back. Very cold – is it time to hibernate?” ● Rob Stevenson: “Claxby 23 but via Shangri-La instead of Smithfield Lane.” ● Barry Peace: “A wet ride to Kettlewell and back; where’s the summer?” ● Richard Penny: “Work 10m, work 10m, work 10m, work 10m, work 10m, go for ride 14m” ● Darren Webb: “Tour de Yorkshire medium route - the most brutal and energy zapping 70km I have ever ridden” ● Russell Carson: “Repaired BB test 15.0 mph/Mekk” ● Hilary Searle: “Newchurch then cycle track to Merstone, Chale and Compton Bay. Lovely sunny day with lots of large swoopy flocks of swallows and martins” ● Tom Deakins: “LEL 887” ● Robbie Calder: “out further to a different Sainsbury’s for breakfast” ● Paul Worthington: “9pm start, 2pm finish – as you’d expect it to be in Liverpool on a Saturday night” ● Peter Baker: “Ploughing up and down a 10 mile length of dual carriageway all day” ● Bob Donaldson after completing over 700km of LEL: “At work they’d prepared a cake to celebrate and I received lots of positive comments from friends and family so all’s good. Booked my next three events.” ● David Matthews (who was back on his bike and continued to accumulate over 8,000km – after having a pacemaker fitted): “W/c 20/2/17: Heart Block. Sunday Manley, dull, breezy, 20km”


Just blending in… Colin, left, Peter, Hislop and John outside The Blend In in Kilbirnie – Photo by Colin Horn

Dean Clementsons Moor Gravel Forever 150km ride in April – Photo by Al High

Photo by Al High

East Ravendale, Lincolnshire Wolds – Photo by Al High

Name Grand total in miles Rob Baird 4,695.40 Peter Baker 25,008.30 Michael Browne 16,326.70 Nik Brunner 1,0018.8 Paul Brunt  2,891.10 Morris Butchart  3,950.90 Robbie Calder  2,222.00 Russel Carson  8,218.50 Mark Darling  419.20 Andie Darlington  1,661.30 Tom Deakins  10,236.00 William Dickey  3,935.10 Bob Donaldson  9,493.00 Chris Gibson  844.10 Nigel Hicks  15,058.70 Colin Horn  1,589.46 Francois Hugo  6,416.14 Oliver Iles  10,856.83 Ewan Johnston  1,5525.3 Michael Kennedy  6,065.19 David Matthews  5,459.98 Barry Peace  6,435.00 Richard Penny  8314.0 Richard Ronan  7,009.00 Hilary Searle  10,359.00 Michael Shaw  3,444.00

Sherriffs coffee break… Graeme Holdworths Humber Bridge 200km in September

Red Hill on Bomber Country 200 Perm

Over the hump – Graeme Holdworths Humber Bridge 200km in September

Sun comes out… Graeme Holdworths Humber Bridge 200km in September

www.aukweb.net

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500,000M UP – AFTER ALL THESE YEARS

WORDS IDAI MAKAYA

When his brother Garai died in a skydiving accident in 2017, Idai Makaya vowed to do something to honour his memory – and that’s how he came up with the idea of scattering his brother’s ashes in Lands End and John O’Groats, while setting a new world record for a double, end-to-end, 2,700km ride. It turned out to be a gruelling pilgrimage for 44 year old Idai, involving comradeship, kindness, hostility, exhaustion and finally tears. Here, in his own words, is the story of an epic journey

A pilgrim’s progress After my brother’s death, I wanted to do something to pay tribute to his memory. That’s why I launched a “longest ride” cycling challenge, to encourage cyclists to attempt Leaving home… something the longest time I’d been away since the they’d never done. children were born And to set an example, I personally pledged to ride twice across Britain. My double end-to-end ride was to be an official Guinness World Record attempt for a return journey across Britain between Land’s End and John O’Groats and was also an official Audax UK Brevet, taking place under time-limits. The maximum time for the ride under Guinness World Records verification rules would be 14 days. However, my personal goal was to complete the ride within 11.5 days. Here’s how it all unfolded:

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SATURDAY 23 JUNE 2018

Land’s End, for the start of our journey, with my long-distance riding buddy, Alan McDonogh and his wife Kim, who was going to be our support driver. Alan has ridden long-distance cycling challenges with me on his ElliptiGO bike over the years. He would accompany me for the entire ride, which would mean he’d become a joint world record holder with me – if we succeeded. We were to join forces with our friends Jim (from the USA) and Stuart (who lives near us in Leighton Buzzard). Jim and Stu would accompany us for the first two days of our ride (300-miles). They were the first of many riders who joined us on our journey. The night before the ride, I stayed in a hostel, and some of the other beds were occupied by heavy snorers. I didn’t sleep much, and feared I’d be awake all night. By 4am, when my alarm rang, I’d had three hours sleep. I wasn’t ready to get going but had no choice.

DAY 1 SUNDAY 24 JUNE LANDS END TO TAUNTON 153 MILES

The visitor centre was deserted at 5am. We were the only people there. Our start was filmed for a live social media video – our proof of start time for Audax UK and Guinness verification. Then it was on to the deserted A30 towards Exeter. The first few hours were spent getting into a rhythm. We tried to use the hard shoulder as much as possible, avoiding the debris, though with our hard-wearing

Late already… We’d planned a 5am start, but just missed it…!


Tintern Abbey ❝ was as captivating as ever ❞

puncture-resistant tyres, the fear of punctures was minimal. The weather forecast suggested we’d have a rain-free ride at least for the first 10 days, which seemed just too good to be true. But we soon learned that sunshine wasn’t an advantage. The temperatures crept up and the heat began to hit us hard. Kim placed herself at lay-bys, setting out meals. That was a luxury I’d never experienced on a long ride and it was welcome. At the first break, Jim stepped off his bike and rolled on to the ground. He then admitted he’d arrived with a serious back injury and didn’t think he’d be able to continue. I felt terrible but Jim was clearly unable to go on. He helped Kim navigate the support vehicle for the next two days, and did get back on to the bike from time to time, but couldn’t ride for long periods. At out next meal stop a guy called Chris, who was a cyclist from the local area, took pictures of us as we rolled in and I realised that many cyclists were now following us on the live tracking website which we’d set up to satisfy Guinness World Records requirements. The tracker would turn out to be very useful, as many riders came out to meet us.

DAY 2 MONDAY 25 JUNE TAUNTON TO SHREWSBURY 150 MILES

The next morning and all four riders (Jim included) headed for Bristol where friends were waiting to meet us at The Boston Tea Party Cafe. But first we had to stop in a lay-by to do an interview with BBC Three Counties Radio – our home radio station who were following our ride. The interview completed, we pushed on. We learned later that support driver Kim had got involved in a row with a food vendor, who claimed that our support vehicle was in her van’s place. The vendor was extremely abusive towards Kim, even getting violent, pushing Kim around and kicking her breakfast pots and pans. A truly shameful and upsetting incident which Kim somehow shrugged off with dignity. Bristol was as hilly as I remembered it from my 2016 LEJOG ride, but I was better able to handle the hills this time. In Bristol we found our American friend Lyn (a fellow ElliptiGO rider) waiting with Kim and Jim and an Audax rider called James, with whom I’d made an arrangement to meet. James would ride to the Severn Bridge to give us moral support. www.aukweb.net

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A PILGRIM’S PROGRESS We crossed into Wales and carried on to Chepstow and towards Tintern. The forests provided welcome shade and Tintern Abbey was as captivating as ever. We had lunch before rolling into Monmouth, where my great buddy Tim appeared on his green ElliptiGO bike – and he joined us for what was planned to be a long ride. We travelled together towards Shrewsbury, where we’d meet another friend called Mark who was participating in The 2018 Longest Ride Challenge and planning to put in a 150-mile ride, which would be his longest ride in a single day. Stu and Jim finally parted with us in Shrewsbury, with Jim flying back to Ohio the next day. So it was just Alan, Mark, Tim and me left for the next day’s riding.

DAY 3 TUESDAY 26 JUNE SHREWSBURY TO PENRITH 150 MILES

Off to Lancashire. At Whitchurch Tim got a puncture – which was a surprise because he was using the same Schwalbe Marathon Plus puncture-resistant tyres as the rest of us. He found that his worn rims had finally given way, splitting and cutting the tube. It was only a matter of time before the rim punctured the new tyre, so Tim decided to retire, and headed home. Later that day, a bearded chap on a very old mountain/hybrid bike tagged on to the back of our group. It turned out that he was a Hungarian called Janos and was a keen bike tourer. He came out to meet us after hearing of our challenge and had decided he’d ride along with us until Lancaster. Going through Wigan a cyclist in an Audax UK cycling top appeared suddenly, handed over some money and a bag of sweets. Then he was gone. He was another well-wisher from the Audax “brotherhood”. The stretch from Wigan to Preston is pretty dull and very urban. Temperatures were hot and Mark said he’d drunk six litres of water – and he’d not needed go! I was quite dehydrated myself and had also discovered that my once-daily application of sunscreen was inadequate. Having a dark skin I’m not prone to sunburn and normally I get by on a single daily application of sun protection. But under these harsh conditions that was insufficient – and I was developing heat rash on all exposed areas. After parting with Mark, we met my good pal Andy, just south of Preston. Our group was now comprised of Alan, Andy, Janos and myself. Andy led us through Preston and on to the A6 towards Lancaster. We

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Supporters… Kim with the team on Day one

finally stopped for a meal just south of Lancaster. Andy and Janos turned back and headed for home. The food stop was near the Lancaster Royal Infirmary, the hospital where I was born – yes, I was actually born right in the middle of the end-to-end route! From that point it was just Alan and me, heading for John O’Groats and facing the eight mile long climb up Shap Fell. I remembered the Shap climb from my 2016 LEJOG ride – and back then it had been a nasty surprise. This time it was evening, and the scorching temperatures were subsiding. It was the best time to climb. We went up pretty comfortably, despite having ridden for 130 miles by then. Kim was waiting at the top, where we had a snack and a cup of tea before heading towards Penrith.

DAY 4 WEDNESDAY 27 JUNE PENRITH TO KINROSS 140 MILES

We made good progress on this stretch, through Carlisle, entering Scotland and heading for breakfast at a café in Lockerbie. But from then on we hit some slow and rough roads. We’d expected this, but it wasn’t pleasant. The wind was working against us. What we hadn’t realised was that this entire section was a gradual, but imperceptible, upward slope, which was compounded by the road surface and the wind. The scenery had improved greatly, though. Near Carnwath a Glasgow Audax rider Going Forth…Dave takes the team across the famous bridge

called Alex joined us. He was planning his own attempt at an end-to-end ride from John O’Groats to Land’s End. After Alex left us, we met another Audax rider called Dave. He led us through the outskirts of Edinburgh and on to the Forth Road Bridge. We were surprised at the microclimate on the bridge, which was shrouded in mist and was as cold as winter. We had to put on warmer clothes just for that small section, but soon heated up as we climbed the hills leading towards Kinross.

DAY 5 THURSDAY 28 JUNE KINROSS TO ALNESS 151 MILES

As the ride continued, I was waking each morning with a puffy face and swollen eyes. My body was clearly dehydrated down to a cellular level. There simply wasn’t enough time to fully re-hydrate at the end of each day. If I was to do that I’d have no room for food for at least an hour or two. And pressed for sleep time I could not sit up waiting for the water to pass through my system in order to be able to eat. The compromise was to drink as much as I could each morning. In order to do that, it meant not eating at all before starting to ride. Both Alan and I would only drink water and re-hydrate before starting the day, but no food was consumed first thing in the morning. It would take up to two hours before my stomach had the space for food, so I’d usually only eat my first meal after 30-50 miles of riding each morning. Alan was more extreme with fasted morning rides than I was and he had actually planned to ride this way from before we’d set out for the ride. So he seldom ate anything before 50 miles. Although I was also well-conditioned to fasted riding, if I went a full 50 miles before eating I was prone to overeat at the first food stop – and that would lead to excessive drowsiness. Alan and Kim had a brilliant communication system, with Alan using a phone earpiece connected by Bluetooth to his mobile phone which allowed him to take calls while riding and to call Kim if we needed to change the routine – or if we had wanted her to buy something for us before we reached the next scheduled stop. Kim was also great with making meals for varying numbers of riders with distinct and varied diets. We had regular visitors during the ride and sometimes she had no idea how many of us would show up at the meal stops. Alan is quite a balanced and healthy eater – and I would eat just about


anything. But our guest riders were often much more demanding, with vegans, vegetarians, zero carb dieters and clean eaters the order of the day. Kim had somehow to cater for us all. My breakfast routine was usually one or two large bowls of muesli, mixed with Greek yogurt and fruits. Much like Alan. Then we’d have a fried breakfast, with sausages, bacon and sometimes eggs. Lunch was always varied – and so was dinner. Kim worked like a professional chef! We headed out of Kinross through beautiful countryside on a flattish route, with a slight tailwind, which seemed too good to be true. And that’s because it was too good to be true. After a few miles we realised we were off course and had to retrace our steps and head in a more rugged direction – with a lot more undulation. The scenery was still lovely though and we quickly got to Perth. After Perth we opted to go off the A9 and use country lanes. It was hillier, but much nicer. Alan came up with a new route suggestion – the National Cycling Network Routes 7 and 77. We attempted to follow that route from Dunkeld and although it was a rocky start, off road and gravel trails, we eventually got on to nicer tarmac roads. For most of the Scottish leg of the journey the roads were so heated that they were actually melting. After a heavy breakfast at Blair Atholl we became very sleepy. Blazing sunshine, incredible heat, and the blood flow in the body being diverted to the digestive system instead of to the legs – thanks to over-eating; a recipe for a struggle on the road. We discovered that daylight persists until about 11pm in Scotland at this time of year, so we seemed to do our best work in the evenings. Our stops never seemed long enough to do everything I’d wanted to do. There was seldom enough time to eat, call my family, do the necessary social media fundraising, and answer urgent emails. From Blair Atholl we decided to stick with the National Cycling Network heading into the Highlands. It was a mistake to use those lanes rather than the A9, in my view, because the path became extremely undulating – and for much of the way was just gravel or sand. We were terrified of breaking spokes. The National Cycling Network was okay until the outskirts of Inverness but it got us hopelessly lost in the town centre. The bridge over the Moray Firth also had its own micro-climate. It was cold, shrouded in clouds, and dark. After crossing we met Kim at the next lay-by for a quick meal then stuck to the A9 all the way to Alness.

DAY 6 FRIDAY 29 JUNE ALNESS TO JOHN O’GROATS 100 MILES

At Wick we met up with my buddy Thomas, who had flown in from Denmark to join our ride. He planned to stay with us for the return journey to Lands End. He was with us when we took the obligatory celebratory photos. I took out the container I’d carried with me on the journey, and emptying half the contents into my hand, scattered my brother’s ashes into the wind. The first part of my pilgrimage was complete. The journey so far had been 865-miles long and had taken us five days, 13 hours and 53 minutes. It was at this point we were joined by Adam, my brother’s best friend. Garai had been the best man at his wedding. He was going to join us for the first two days on the ride south – in memory of his friend, and to complete his own longest ride of 300 miles.

DAY 7 RETURN LEG SATURDAY 30 JUNE JOHN O’GROATS TO CARRBRIDGE 150 MILES

Adam and Thomas both had special diets. Adam was on a zero-carbohydrate high-protein diet and Thomas is a vegetarian. So Kim had to work both those considerations into all her cooking from this point on – and she did a remarkably good job of it. Both are experienced cyclists and riding with them was very comfortable. They knew to hold back and ride behind us, so as not to interfere with the very careful pacing required for a 1,700-mile ride. The heat was bad and the hills were tough heading through Helmsdale again, causing us to soak our clothes in sweat each time we were on a long, steep hill. Then we’d freeze when coasting down the other side of the hills, as the sweat evaporated from our clothing.

there wasn’t an easy way to navigate off the A9. The best way to keep the cars passing us wide was to ride in the actual road and not within the hard shoulder. Riding on the hard shoulder gave motorists the impression that we were “safely off the road” and many of just held their normal driving line and passed us well within the legal 1.5 metre distance stipulated in the Highway Code. As soon as we left the hard shoulder and rode in the actual car lane they would overtake very wide. Both Alan and I had pot bellies developing simply from bloating after eight days of force-feeding, which is not pleasant for a “body beautiful” guy like myself! It wasn’t pleasant for Alan either – because Kim kept on joking about it.

DAY 9 MONDAY 2 JULY CARNWATH TO LANCASTER 140 MILES

We said farewell to Adam, leaving him asleep in the hotel. Alan, Thomas and I then headed out into a sunny and pleasant day. We discovered those slow roads from the northbound leg were the result of an imperceptible mild uphill incline – and on the way back we were benefiting from the downward slope and the tailwind. So we made good time to Lockerbie. Back into England, we passed through Kinross, heading for Shap in the burning hot sun. Shap Fell is much shorter from the north side.

DAY 8 SUNDAY 1 JULY CARRBRIDGE TO CARNWATH 152 MILES

This was a landmark day for Alan and me. We’d exceeded 1,000 miles of riding. We had already completed our longest ride, with 700-miles of riding still to come. When we reached Pitlochry we abandoned the cycling route in favour of the single-carriageway A9. Traffic was busy and fast but we’d grown impatient and

Half way… the team tops out at John O’Groats www.aukweb.net

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A PILGRIM’S PROGRESS DAY 10 TUESDAY 3 JULY LANCASTER TO HEREFORD 165 MILES

Our friend Andy turned up again to guide us through Preston, with another Audax cyclist called Martin. Not long after they left us, our new Hungarian friend Janos joined us again, staying with us on his mountain bike all the way to Shrewsbury. The final 50 mile stretch was brutalising. The heat was intense and we were dehydrated, despite regular drinks. Reaching Shrewsbury was supposed to feel like a triumph, but the traffic on the A49 was fast and inconsiderate. Going through Shrewsbury itself, there was a noticeable hostility towards our party. The locals felt we should be using the rocky cycling lanes. We put up with the regular beeps and shouts, but the heat got to me and eventually I lost patience and began hurling insults back. This was uncharacteristic of me. I guess fatigue and the conditions can wear down even the most resilient of us. Cycling lanes are not mandatory. If they are good then cyclists will use them. If they are rubbish, cyclists will avoid them. Things calmed down after we left Shrewsbury. The heat and traffic dropped, and the final 50 miles to Hereford were rather pleasant.

he couldn’t keep up even with our slow pace on the big hills, he would shoot past us on the other side – which was quite spectacular to witness. Kevin tracked with us all the way to Monmouth. We passed through Chepstow and over the Severn Bridge to Bristol, then on to Taunton and Exeter. Here we encountered more hostility, with drunken youths shouting at us. This time I refrained from responding, even when a young girl screamed obscenities from a car window.

DAY 11 WEDNESDAY 4 JULY HEREFORD TO OKEHAMPTON 150 MILES

My online buddy, Kevin, whom I was meeting for the first time, arrived in a large, orange velomobile at Hereford. It was the first time he’d ridden with other riders, and it was a huge highlight for him to be part of the ride. The velomobile is very different to other bikes, being able to actually make up for slow uphills by speeding up on the downhill stretches. So although Velotastic… Kevin joins the team near Hereford

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Last legs… heading back through Devon

Finally, we rolled into the Travelodge in Okehampton at around midnight. We had now completed 11 days and over 1,600 miles of riding…

DAY 12 THURSDAY 5 JULY OKEHAMPTON TO LANDS END 100 MILES

Although this last stage was short, I wanted to complete the whole ride in under 11.5 days. We needed to use the busy A30 dual carriageway. The lack of


It’s a fair cop… a case of mistaken identity ends with a smile from a locl policeman

sleep was finally beginning to affect my reflexes and I felt uneasy in the weekday rush hour. I admit I was scared, a feeling I’ve never had before, even on the busiest of roads. I had a dreadful feeling of foreboding, and kept wondering what I’d tell Kim if Alan were to be hit by a lorry. Or how I’d get hold of Thomas’ parents in Germany, or his fiancée in Denmark, if something bad was to happen to him on the A30. And what about my own family? My own wife and children? Surely, I could not put them through another sporting accident – not after what losing Garai had done to us all. I led out the group at a committed pace, as fast as I would normally ride in a hard 50-mile training ride. The wind seemed to swing into our favour, and the long gradual hills of the A30 had allowed us to sustain a very good pace, except for one interruption. A concerned citizen had called the Cornwall Police to say some

“scooters” were on the dual carriageway. The police officer, who had expected to find a group of mobility scooters, seemed relieved. We exchanged jokes and posed for pictures before setting off again. With just two hours of riding remaining I began to think about my brother, Garai. We were only here, doing this ride, because he’d died. I had accepted Garai’s death right from the time it had happened, but there was a strange realisation in this surreal setting of the true reality of what had happened. I would never see Garai again. He really had died. I was completing the biggest ride of my life, but I felt completely empty. There was nothing for me to celebrate. Tears began to pour down my face. I rode harder and harder to make sure nobody could pass me and see my tear-stained face. I’m not ashamed of crying, but I didn’t want to spoil the ending for Alan and Thomas. This was their

biggest ride ever. When we reached the Visitor Centre gates we slowed to a crawl and made our way around the back of the centre to avoid the large crowds of tourists. And we slowly rolled up to the Land’s End signpost, by the cliffs overlooking the sea. Alan and I simultaneously dismounted after riding 1,767 miles (2,827km) from Land’s End to John O’Groats and back again in a new World Record time of 11 days, 10 hours and 37 minutes After all the required formalities were completed to officially end the ride we posed for photos at the famous Land’s End signpost and I then scattered the remainder of Garai’s ashes into the winds, which carried them up and towards the sea before vanishing into the blue skies. All I felt at that point was relief. That’s all I’d wanted to do for the last six months. To ride twice across Britain in under 11.5 days, and to scatter my brother’s ashes at John O’Groats and Land’s End, in tribute and respect.

THECHALLENGE My Double End-to-End crossing of Britain has been set up as an Audax UK Permanent Event, which I hope will encourage other Audax riders to challenge themselves to double-up on the iconic course across Britain. Details of my 2018 longest ride challenge can be found on my blog www.idaimakaya.com

… there was a strange ❝ realisation in this surreal setting of the true reality of what had happened. I would never see Garai again. He really had died. I was completing the biggest ride of my life, but I felt completely empty

Free spirit… Idai bids an emotional farwell to his brother, throwing his ashes to the wind

www.aukweb.net

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500,000M UP – AFTER ALL THESE YEARS

The Heart of England’s landscapes are closely associated with one of its most famous sons, J.R.R.Tolkien – so it’s no surprise that Lord of the Rings fan Hilary Crook’s participation in the 300km ride began to resemble an epic journey across Middle Earth

From the Shire to Mount Doom

WORDS AND PICTURES BY HILARY CROOK

EVENTBRIEF HEART OF ENGLAND 300K When… Saturday 21st April Organiser… Peter Holden Body… Corinium CC Speed… 15-30 kph Total Climb… 2800m Distance… 307km

a Hobbit-forming experience

If Hobbits rode bikes, The Heart of England 300k could easily be an episode from the Lord of the Rings. Starting in the green, rolling hills of The Shire (obviously the Cotswolds), and ending, for my husband and me at least, in being drawn inexorably towards our own encounter with a Mount Doom of sorts. We didn’t want to go there, but we knew we had to. Towards the end of autumn last year, with the Vélo Birmingham 100 miles and a fortnight’s cycling in Mallorca under my belt, I had no hesitation in agreeing to do this 300k ride with my husband Paul when he suggested it. But after celebrating Christmas in South East Asia, and coming home to winter snow and ice, which curtailed any cycling activity, the thought of riding 300k filled me with trepidation. How could I have agreed to such a distance when the furthest I’d ever ridden was 210k? I was already working out some exit strategies – the bad weather, feeling a bit under-par, for instance – when we arrived at Watermoor Church Hall, Cirencester for the start of the event, early on the morning of April 21. The forecast for the day had improved, but thunderstorms were predicted for later in the day. I’m always happy to set off on a ride, provided it is dry, and I don’t mind finishing wet. How prophetic that statement seems now. The event itself is in the form of a 14

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large circuit – starting in Cirencester, heading north through the Cotswolds, into Warwickshire, skirting the southeast of Birmingham, circling north of Nuneaton, clipping Leicestershire, and back down through Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire before rolling back to Cirencester. As usual, at the start of any Audax ride, there are groups of riders who all know each other, either from the same clubs or because they’ve made

acquaintance on previous rides, so there was a good amount of jolly chat and banter before we set off. For my part I was dreading what was to come, feeling very unfit for the challenge. We and our jolly band of brothers (and sisters of course) departed at 6am, and streamed out into the Cirencester one-way system. Not a soul was about, so it made for a quiet “Grand Depart”.

The Riders of Dolan… Hilary and her faithful mount


A Journey in the Dark… sunrise on the Heart of England

Riders who had completed the route before knew the twists and turns so had no need to check the Garmin for quite a while. Although the forecast for the day was fine and warm, the early morning was chilly, especially as we dropped down into some of the low Cotswold valleys. I was slightly regretting having removed my windproof jacket, but after some stiff climbing, I warmed up. The second part of the trilogy took us on a meandering journey through Tolkien’s Midland counties. We hardly

touched a main road, except to cross it, and passed some beautiful National Trust properties, stately homes and other places of interest, with one of the most spectacular being Broadway Tower set atop Broadway Hill. On a clear day one can see 16 counties, apparently. We felt like we were trespassing as we passed through imposing Cotswold stone pillars and down a descending driveway into Salperton Park, a 400 acre, privatelyowned estate dating from the late

18th-century. Snowshill Manor, another impressive Cotswold stone house, was the next attraction. Just as Sam and Frodo encountered new challenges on their journey, our ride began to meet changing landscapes. Not rolling hills, but rivers – lots of them. Through Warwickshire we crossed three, the Avon, the Arrow and the Alne. Eventually we reached Meriden, lying midway between Birmingham and Coventry, and officially the geographical centre of England. Helpfully, in case you

Lothlórien… the 400 acres of Salperton Park www.aukweb.net

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THE HEART OF ENGLAND 300 didn’t know, everything seemed to be tagged with a “Heart of England” sign. Our first control, in Alcester, a pretty town worthy of a later visit when more time would allow exploration, was at an inviting café where quick riders were tucking into hearty breakfasts. We decided not to rest here but to plough on to the next stop, so with Brevet cards duly stamped we continued. A greasy spoon café in Atherstone was the next control where high calorie food was quickly prepared and welcomed by all. Onwards now, crossing and riding parallel to the M1 in Leicestershire, we dropped into Daventry. Again a lovely café with excellent cakes and quick service. Now we were on the homeward leg, passing through pretty villages with interesting names. The last control was a pub in Tackley. They also offered good food, and many riders were choosing the scrummy looking puddings with custard. We sat in the pub garden enjoying the last of the evening light before heading off towards Blenheim Palace, then Witney with it cosy blankets displayed in the shop windows. Shortly after came Brize Norton where the streets were crowded and pub gardens heaving. They were oblivious to the steady stream of weary looking cyclists passing by in the gloom. Little did they know how that balmy spring evening was about to change. The final chapter saw two hobbits heading blindly towards Mount Doom carrying their “precious” – a brevet card!

For those that weren’t there, it is hard to put into words, but rather than being a mountain with lava pouring forth we were faced with a massive black storm cloud that completely filled the sky, every few minutes flashing wildly with lightning illuminating the countryside. Both sheet and fork lightning flashed across the sky. Initially there was no rain but this soon arrived in the form of huge, heavy droplets. Few to start with, but this quickly became a deluge. Much like the Hobbits, we didn’t feel we could seek shelter, though common sense should have prevailed. We briefly stopped to put rain coats on, but these didn’t offer much resistance to the downpour, though it seemed like the right thing to do at the time. The rain was torrential, with wind that blew up from nowhere and the lightning and thunder continued. At one point I asked my husband: “Is there any chance we could get struck by lightning?” “Oh no”, he replied confidently. “We’ve got rubber tyres”. Hmm. I am so glad I didn’t know that these would offer no protection at all before the storm otherwise I would have made a beeline for the first barn and not come out until the storm had left the county. It became difficult to see the road ahead and at one point there was a flash flood that we didn’t identify until we were half way through. It didn’t quite go over the tops of our shoes, and we were hoping that there weren’t any potholes

hidden in the murky depths. The subtle lighting shone out through the cottages’ lattice windows and how we wished we were warm and dry inside. Just like Lord of the Rings, as one threat subsides, another takes its place. As the storm quietened, the country lanes near Cirencester presented a new hazard to avoid – a plague of frogs, crossing the roads in their thousands. Sadly, some had already succumbed – under the wheels of cars; an argument they were never going to win. With luck, most will have made it to the safety of the ditches. Soaked through, we rode on to the finish at the church hall and, once changed into dry clothing, enjoyed some tasty hot soup, which was on offer along with a good range of refreshments including cake and rice pudding – just what was needed at the time. So we made it back to the Shire with just a short ride back to the campsite before we could crash into bed. We thoroughly enjoyed the ride, even the last bit. Of course it would have been fantastic to have been rescued by eagles; to have been whisked away to wake up a couple of days later in a bed bathed by sunshine, but really – that only happens in books. ● If you would like to see a video of the ride please go to https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=qG5S4xaMU5k&t=215s

The Black Gate Opens… Cirencester with thunder and low-flying frogs

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For many, Peter Holden’s very fine Heart of England this April was the first ride in warm sunshine after what had seemed like an endless winter – little did we know at the time that a record-breaking summer was to follow. The aptly named ride takes a very scenic route from Cirencester through the Cotswolds, Warwickshire, Northants and Oxfordshire. Riders towards the back fo the field this year were treated to a very impressive lightning display as a huge electrical storm rolled around the wide open skies of the final stage. Picture by Richard Horner

Arabella Maude descending into the Cherwell Valley on the latter stages of the Heart of England in April 2018 www.aukweb.net

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500,000M UP – AFTER ALL THESE

Dublin-based rider Helen Karrane crosses the Irish Sea to pit herself against the unforgiving Welsh mountain roads in a 60-hour solo 600km Super Randonée, which tests her strength, stamina and spirit to the very limits

I dislike summer cycling, principally because of the flies that smear your mouth and glasses. Give me a cold winter day, crisp after frost with no wind. You may ask, therefore, why I chose two and a half days in muggy May to tackle my Super Randonee, figure-of-eight 600km through north and mid-Wales. As the ferry from Dublin nears Holyhead, RAF jets split the sunshine in the skies, the roar of their engines competing with the screech of seagulls. My plan is to take the train to Knighton in the Welsh Marches for the start of the ride. The small train is full of the scrummage of a bank holiday crowd. School kids hop on and off again, their chatter filling the carriage like a flock of starlings. Weary commuters shuffle on. I change my plan and decide to cycle the last 16km to my hotel for the night rather than wait an hour for a change of train. The small country hotel is quaint but well run. I explain to the owner that I’ll have to leave at 5am and his raised eyebrow invites an explanation of my crazy endeavour. I’ll be back here on Monday evening and I’m looking forward to a pint of the local cider. 18

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YEARS

WORDS AND PICTURES HELEN KARRANE

Climb every mountain? Never again! Day 1 Knighton to Llanbrynmair – 222km Up at 05.00, kit on, sun cream on, bottles filled and a last check of my equipment. If I’ve forgotten anything it’s too late now, it’s back in Dublin. I’m tired, I slept fitfully. I never sleep well before an Audax. I’d made arrangements with the proprietor the night before to get the bike out of the shed and leave the keys in reception. The hotel cat is happy to see me and then unimpressed not to be given his breakfast. The moon is still in the sky and the sun just rising above the mist filled valleys. The road gently undulates along the valley floor. It’s only 9km to Knighton. Above me a red kite hovers, wings spread, suddenly it swoops down towards the road right in front of me, the rising sun

turning its wings to fire. Not finding what it sought, the bird wheels away into the dawn. There are few cars on the road at this hour. I take the first obligatory photo of the bike at the foot of the clock tower as proof of passage. The Garmin takes a few minutes to load up the route so it is 06.10 when I officially set off. The climbing starts from the off, out of Knighton and straight up a 2km hill. It’s not too bad but I’m slow and the bike is heavy. This sets the standard for the next 60 hours. Up and down river valleys, one hill after another like beads on a chain. The scenery is fantastic, it’s spring so the trees have blossom, the last of the daffodils are out and the bleating of sheep and lambs is a constant soundtrack for the two and a half days.

The hills are unrelenting, there’s very little flat in this part of Wales and the route deliberately runs across all the hills to ensure the correct elevation for a Super Randonnée of over 10,000m. Crossing one small valley I can see a beautiful white tower glowing in the sunlight above the last of the morning mist. It turns out to be a church in Old Radnor perched on a ridge. As I chug my way upwards I see my first swallows of the year perched on the phone wires. The first A-road has wider lanes and a better surface. The first groups of motor bikers zoom past me heading into the mountains and towards the sea. By now I’m getting hungry. I spot a sign for a café – “Jodi’s 1 mile” – and decide that breakfast would be good. Jodi’s turns out to be a mobile biker’s cafe in a


Up and down river valleys, one hill after another ❝ like beads on a chain. The scenery is fantastic, it’s spring so the trees have blossom, the last of the daffodils are out and the bleating of sheep and lambs is a constant soundtrack for the two and a half days

The valleys before Bwlch y Groes, just after Pandy on the way to the A548. Taken at 07:06 on Day 2

I order “breakfast on a plate” for £6, bacon, sausage, mushrooms, tomato and beans and a large mug of tea.

lay-by. He’s cooking up bacon butties for two bikers when I arrive. I order “breakfast on a plate” for £6, bacon, sausage, mushrooms, tomato and beans and a large mug of tea. Five minutes later I’m sitting at a

picnic table stuffing my face. I’ve done 45km and climbed 850m. The next 15km to the first control at Brecon is uneventful, minor A-roads and a nice descent into the town. The town is busy with bank holiday traffic and I scan the narrow streets searching for the statue of Dublin-born Duke of Wellington. Bike parked, photo taken, quick WhatsApp message to the Audax Ireland group and I’m riding back up the hill out of town. Turning my back on the Brecon Beacons, the route leads me up a pretty river valley containing the hamlets of Lower Chapel and Upper Chapel. The climbing continues and I

overtake a heavily laden cyclist with multiple panniers on his bike as the trail crosses the army ranges. A red flag faintly flutters and the skylark song is interspersed with the dull thud of gunfire. As I round the crest of a hill, a group of bare-chested men are shearing a flock of sheep. I grin and give them a thumbs up. Across the top of the plateau, the vista of Welsh mountains spread as far as I can see. I try not think of the ones I will be climbing over the next two days. A sharp and steep descent with a bumpy road surface and cattle grids refocuses my attention. Llanwrtyd Wells is my next stop. A can of Vimto and a Feast ice-cream line my stomach before I ride on. The first of the major climbs, The Devil’s Staircase, is a few kilometres up

the road. My eyes try to pick out the possible route through the hills. The mountain sides become barer and the road snakes upwards. I pass a sign for Abergwesyn Common and now I can see the end of the valley and the steep hairpins. The organiser’s notes have given due warning of the steepness of the climb. I cross the inevitable cattle grid and the road steepens to a gravelly wall in front of me. Clicking down through the gears, my legs pushing hard in the pedals, arms slippery with sweat, I grind to a halt just before the first hairpin. Stopping to catch my breath I dismount into the verge. For the first of what will become many times, I remove my shoes and push the bike up the remainder of the hill. This procedure, slowing, ignominious dismount, www.aukweb.net

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WELSH CAMBRIAN 600 SUPER RANDONÉE

Once on the B-road ❝ the surface is gravelly and rutted. I can see the better A-road running almost parallel and wish that I was on that instead

Mingwern climb between Llanfyllin and Meifod. The farm in the distance is where the climb started, straight up for 1km. 11:46 Day 3

FACTFILE SUPER RANDONNÉES: ● were created by the Audax Club Parisien in 2009 ● are mountainous Permanents of 600 km (373 miles) with more than 10.000 m (32.800 ft) elevation gain ● have a 60 hour time limit ● renew two traditions of French cyclo-tourism – the worldwide known BRM (Brevets de Randonneurs Mondiaux), and the Brevets Cyclo-Montagnards Français (BCMF). ● are demanding rides where you need to be well-trained for climbing, familiar with often unpredictable conditions in the mountains, and self-sufficient.

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pushing bike, repeats for the next hill. Somehow I ride up the third hill. The descents are as brutal as the climbs, sharp and twisting. The Garmin records 61.2kph even though I’m hanging on to the levers. The cuckoo’s call mocks my efforts from the cover of the forest in the valley. Shaken but determined I cycle on to Tregaron and the next statue. I am surprised to find the village square stuffed with cyclists. The benches around the statue are covered in cyclists and bikes are propped up against each other. From the kind of bikes and the jerseys of their riders I am among my own people, Audaxers! There is the usual event jersey top trumps to be seen, who is wearing the jersey from the longest or oldest event. I see PBP 2011, Mille du Sud and a LEL 2013. I recognise a face I last saw on a train platform in Paris after PBP 2015. He remembers me and I find out that he and the others are riding the Brevet Cymru 400. They’ll be finished tomorrow evening, I’ll still be on my journey. I take the long road to Aberystwyth. At first it’s lumpy, a rolling A road and then the inevitable turn off on to a minor B-road. Initially I miss the turn, lulled into a false sense of security by the good surface, but finding myself descending I realise that I should have taken the turn back up the hill. Once on the B road the surface is gravelly and rutted. I can see the better A-road running almost parallel and wish that I was on that instead. Aberystwyth is inevitably at the bottom of a hill. It’s nearly 6pm and the sea fog is clouding the coast and greying the warmth of the sunlight. Snap of the pier building and I’m on the bike again looking for the Spar supermarket I saw on the map when researching the route. I bring the bike inside with permission from the staff and munch a ham sandwich, tea and pint of milk. At this point I’m calculating how long and how far I’ll get tonight. Twelve hours in and only 150km is very slow. I’ve another 100km until Bala and a

lot of climbing. I phone the hotel in Bala and let them know it will be after midnight before I arrive. The sky is grey and the streets are misty and cool when I leave Aberystwyth at 18.30. The next 20km are a slow grind up the valley to Llangurig on the A44. There’s plenty of traffic and it makes the climb unpleasant, at least the road surface is good. As I ascend the hills, the sun reappears and the heat returns. The mountains glow gold in the late afternoon sun. At the top of the pass I look back and see that the sea fog has followed me and is billowing up the valley sides. It’s a bit spooky so I change into big ring and relax into the descent. Llanidloes is the next control. As ever the straightforward road is brought to an abrupt halt by a sharp turn left up a steep hill and a minor road. Again I have to stop the bike, not to walk it but to open a farm gate that bars my path. The road is little more than a farm track. I encounter a flock of sheep walking along the road between fields. Trying not to panic them I slow to a crawl and cycle through. I begin to question the sanity of the route designer. The route passes the source of the river Severn. By now the sun has disappeared behind the mountains. The heat of the day is still in the buildings of Llanidloes. It’s nearly 9pm, 200km. I prop the bike against the Market Hall beside the Wesley stone. It feels slightly sacrilegious to take a photo. I layer up for the oncoming night, long fingered gloves, long sleeved jersey and reflective gilet and leg warmers. Right now this is too much clothing but it’s going to be a long night. Out of Llanidloes and up into the hills with the first stars above me. The road sign warns me that the gradient is 16%, the Garmin claims 20%, I believe the Garmin. The early morning start and lack of sleep is beginning to cause me problems. Even though it is cold by now and there is nothing but starlight and my own headlamp to light my way, when the descent finally comes I can feel sleep closing my


eyes. The fog cloaks the next village and I reconsider my plans. I won’t reach Bala tonight. From the map and my own research the villages between Llanidloes and Bala become increasingly smaller. I decide that I’ll try for a bed for the night in the next village. I reckon my best way of finding somewhere is to find a pub and ask. I’ve slept out before and I have stuff with me and the local chapels look like possibilities at a pinch. Arriving at the Wynnstay Arms. I park the bike and walk into the warmth and light of the pub. It’s quiet, only three customers at the bar and a spry-looking woman with silver hair and twinkly eyes pulling pints. I realise I look a sight but I ask if she knows of anywhere that might have a bed for the night. I can see her considering the situation but she informs me that she does have a room and I can stay. She lets me bring the bike inside, shows me to a room with a bed, gives me a towel for the shower and refuses to take any payment. By now it 23.00, 222km done and about 4,000m. I ring the hotel in Bala and tell them I won’t get there tonight and thank them for their help. I WhatsApp my husband and daughter and fall into a dreamless sleep before 23:30.

She lets me bring the ❝ bike inside, shows me to a room with a bed, gives me a towel for the shower and refuses to take any payment

❞ Day 2 Llanbrynmair to Llangollen – 254km My alarm wakes me at 5.30am. Despite my best efforts on the day before I have comedy sunburn on my arms and fingers giving me the appearance of invisible gloves. Sun cream reapplied and with two protein bars and a battered banana inside me, I collect my belongings and sneak downstairs to get my bike. The mist still shrouds the village and I’m

The sun is up and it ❝ promises to be another windless, sunny day. Ten kilometres of undulating narrow road brings me up another valley

happy with my decision to stop. The road onwards is a false flat along the valley floor. The sun is up and it promises to be another windless, sunny day. Ten kilometres of undulating narrow road brings me up another valley. My bike scares a pheasant into the hedges and rabbits flee when they spot me. A nice descent along the contours of another valley brings a sting in the tail with a steep ascent back to the A-road. Welsh roads sometimes tell you how steep the descent is but not how steep the ascent is on the other side. Once you see grit boxes you know you’re in trouble and it’s over 20%. By then my 34x32 isn’t low enough and I’ll be walking. Through the small hamlets on the road to the climb of Bwlch y Groes, it’s waiting for you and it’s a magnificent climb when it appears around the bottom of the valley. You see the road twisting its way up the side of the mountain and you know you will be riding up it, there’s no way out now. The final kilometre before the actual climb is steep enough. The sun is merciless and the views fantastic. The descent to the lake before Bala is uneventful apart from the bone-rattling cattle grids. The lake is mirrorsmooth with the surrounding mountains reflected perfectly on its surface. I can just make out the church towers of Bala in the distance and the prospect of breakfast. Bala is bustling, motor bikers roar up and down the main street. Cars with colourful kayaks on roof racks pass towards the lake. I lock the bike outside a Subway and then sit in the sunshine beside the statue

“A wall, a badly surfaced wall.” The road between Llansannan and Llanfair Talhaiarn. 13:37 Day 2

RACEAROUNDIRELAND Helen is the only solo woman taking on the Ultra Challenge on August 24 in The Race Around Ireland. A non-stop cycling event for all levels of cyclists, male or female, solo or team. The full course is 2,150 km, she will be riding the half course of 1,054km in the Ultra event. It is supported and she is required to have a crew of at least two at all times. As a woman she will have 74 hours to complete the course, men have 68 hours. It’ll be like a fast PBP! No woman has completed the Ultra so she will be creating a record. www.aukweb.net

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WELSH CAMBRIAN 600 SUPER RANDONÉE eating a ham sandwich, milk, tea and yoghurt. I’m not feeling too bad but I am concerned about time given that my progress isn’t getting any faster. Once I leave the A road it’s back to the familiar grotty farm roads following the contours of streams and steep little valleys. The route passes close to Frongoch, site of the infamous post-1916 internment camps that educated many an internee in the ways of Irish Nationalism. It’s all been razed now with nothing to see but fields and hedgerows. The route becomes more convoluted at this point and criss-crosses itself. The stretch between Llansannan and Llanfair Talhaiarn is some of the worst road I encountered on the whole trip. The Garmin indicates that I must go up a road that had a sign saying “unsuitable for heavy vehicles” in two languages. The road briefly turns a corner and then goes straight up a wall, a badly surfaced wall with grass in the middle. The Welsh believe that hairpins are for wimps. If there’s a hill, you’re going right up it with no deviations. When it eventually flattens, I bump my way around potholes, through farm muck and through patches where there is no surface at all. Coming to the descent I am treated to a sign informing me the gradient is 30%. Reader, I walk the last 100m. The route then takes the main road to Abergele, an honest climb up and a nice easy descent

into the town. It was 14.47 when I parked my bike in the back of the George and Dragon pub. While I eat red pepper soup and refill my water bottles I look at the Garmin: 316km done, 6,073m climbed at an average speed of 17.2kph – slow, really slow. Retracing my way back to Llanfair Talhaiarn the road turns west and on to Snowdonia. The climbs get longer and more spread out, the mountains are bigger. Having said all that, the mountain road section after Llanrwst on the way to Capel Curig is nasty enough, grit boxes line steep slopes through a forest and then there are speed bumps covering drains on the way down to the main road. The main road to Llanberis is thick with motor bikers and cars. I stop to take a photo at the top of the Llanberis Pass and a woman approaches me and asks about the LEL jersey I’m wearing. Her boyfriend had ridden it last year the same as me. She is amazed when I tell her what I’m doing in the middle of Wales. Trying to explain why you’re cycling 600km, solo, in two and half days to a normal person sounds kind of daft. No, it’s not for charity, yes it’s fun. Bidding her goodbye, I ride down the Pass into the setting sun and Llanberis. A quick stop, 18.47, 370km done. Llangollen is my next hotel 110km away. I’m feeling better than I had 24 hours earlier. Based on my average speed it would be many hours before bed. The motor bikers disappear and I have the roads to myself.

Ascending the mountain road to Llanrwst isn’t as bad from this side. Those were some hills. If I never ride them again it’ll be too soon. The sun has set by the time I reach Llanrwst, the mountains turning from gold, to plum and purple. I get some food in the main square in Llanrwst. It is 9pm. The climb out of Llanrwst goes on, and on, and on. It doesn’t help that I know the road from earlier in the afternoon. It is a perfect star-filled night. The road to Denbigh is the usual up and down across steep sided valleys on small roads. In the dark all that can be seen of the road in my lights is a wall rising up in front of me. Not enough time for recovery between the steep climbs. Somehow I miss a turn on a corner after Llansannan. Two kilometres later I realise my mistake and retrace my route back up a hill. The clue that I had gone wrong was that I was going downhill. More valleys until a lovely 4km of flattish A-road into Denbigh. As I try to clip in on a steep hill I fall over, scattering jellies from my bar bag with the bike on top of me. Nothing damaged but I can feel where the bruises will appear on my legs and arm. Next stop Mold. Even in the near dark I can see a ridge of high hills barring my road. By now, some 430km in, I know that the route is definitely going over them not

around them. Again the road goes straight up, no mercy shown to a small tired woman with a heavy bike. I have time to read the road signs as I gamely walk the bike. On the way into Mold a blood-red rising moon hangs over the town, surreal in a star-lit sky. The glow of the towns over the English border is visible in the east. Mold is quiet at 3am, nothing but taxis and the odd bread van. The route turns south up into the hills on the way to Llangollen. I’m tired but coping, by now I know that no matter what, I’ll have to be on the road again before 8am. Not much sleep for me tonight. The first light of dawn is appearing over my left shoulder as I turn off a minor road on to a farm track. Sheep appear in my front light, sleeping on the trackway itself. They are not impressed by me and they bleat and their lambs huddle beside them. This time three farm gates bar my way. I wrestle with them and the bike twists away from me threatening to fall over again. The last drag up to the top of Horseshoe Pass is only bearable because I know Llangollen is near. The route takes a minor road at the top of the pass.

…You’re not local, ❝ or else you wouldn’t be coming down this ❞

Abergwesyn Common, the Devil’s Staircase is just visible at the end of the valley. 14:01 Day 1

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STATISTICS I career down a rutted track on the side of the mountain, the houses below me in the valley distorted to doll size from my perspective. Nearly 22 hours on the bike and I pray to any deity that I don’t crash now. Over speed ramps and back on to the A road into town. A quick photo beside the railway station and I barge my way through the double doors into the reception area of the hotel as the town clock strikes 5am. 475km 9,276m. Day 3 Llangollen to Knighton – 135km There is no-one in the hotel reception, no-one other than the recording eye of a CCTV camera sees me park the bike against a wall and collapse on to a large sofa. I haven’t the strength to look for a room. I cover myself with my gilet and close my eyes, grateful to be horizontal. Sleep is restless and I am woken after an hour by uncontrollable shivering. I try to get warm and doze until 6.30am when the first of the hotel staff walk into the lobby. I’m surprisingly coherent as I explain what happened. I had emailed the hotel during the day and evening and I locate a note asking me phone a number when I get in but it’s too late now. I find a toilet and change my kit. I can’t bring myself to take off the underlayers, but a change of shorts, socks and mid-layer makes me more comfortable. I clean the dirt off my face and reapply sun cream. I’m in good shape, no saddle sores or sore muscles but my stomach feels ropey. I won’t be tucking into a full English breakfast or I’ll see it again on the first hill. The weather promises another day of glorious sunshine. It’s too early for the other guests to come down for breakfast but the man with an Irish name working in the kitchen takes pity on me and brings toast, yoghurt and a very large pot of tea. I WhatsApp the Audax Ireland group with updates. The Garmin tells me I’ve done 160km and 3,000m since Abergele yesterday. Total climbing so far 9,276m, no wonder I’m knackered. The route instructions suggested only

10,600m for the total ride. Ah well, only 135km left and 10 hours how bad can it be? Just before 8am I wrangle the bike back out through the doors of the hotel. As preparation for the ride I’d read the organiser’s blog where he describes the climb out of Llangollen as being just as tough as anything else on the ride. He’s right, it is. So much so that I hadn’t put my cycling shoes on in the expectation that I’d be walking up it and I do, the contents of my stomach sloshing uneasily with every step. A woodpecker drums in the woods as my feet plod upwards. Another plateau, another hairpin descent, thumbs straining on the hoods. My disc brakes are pulsing with effort. Coming down a god-forsaken back road, last resurfaced when there was a Welsh king on the throne, I meet a farmer in a tractor. I stop to let him pass and he rolls down his window and says in response to my greeting: “You’re not local, or else you wouldn’t be coming down this.” Up another sheep-infested valley to the top of a ridge. My mobile phone signal had been intermittent and now I have perfect reception. I can hear the ting of notifications of messages of support and good luck. The sun beats down, the ridges of hills bob up and down, bluegreen in the heat haze. 10,000m done with 100km left. I’ll finish this. Llanfyllin is sleepy on a Monday morning. I find the control point outside a hotel and take the opportunity to refill my bike bottles. I’m trying to make the calculations, will I make it back by 18.10. It’s going to be tight. The elevation profile on the Garmin doesn’t get any better. I try not to think about how far I’ve come in the last 48 hours and just concentrate on getting back to the start. Over another ridge and another, more walking. If it wasn’t for the fact that the road signs change and the distance to the finish lessens I could believe that I’m riding an endless loop. I remember my least favourite part of the London-Edinburgh-

● Total distance 617.1km ● Ascent 11,995m ● Moving time 37:21 hours ● Average speed 16.5kph ● Strava profile www.strava.com/ activities/1558552604 London ride in 2017 was the Lincolnshire Wolds. What are the Wolds but a series of steep little river valleys with sharp ascents. I really hated that section on the way up to Edinburgh and it preyed on my mind until I rode it again on the way back down, I still hated it. Wales is a neverending circle of hellish small river valleys. The final words of the Johnny Cash song A boy named Sue came to mind paraphrased as “And if I ever attempt Super Randonnée again, I think I’m gonna ride it in Spain or France! Anywhere but Wales!” Caersws and its railway station shimmer in the heat. The Garmin is reading 32C, it exaggerates but it is certainly in the mid-20s. At 14.00 there are 60km left in four hours. Keep moving. The next section to Llanidloes is on flattish A-road. It’s

…and if I ever attempt ❝ Super Randonnée again, I think I’m gonna ride it in Spain or France! Anywhere but Wales!”

a relief to find that I can still ride faster and I complete the 15km in 45 minutes. And another photo outside a landmark at 14.47. It seems surreal to think that I was in the same town 42 hours and many hundred kilometres earlier. I flop on to a step outside a shop on the shady side of the street and eat my second Feast ice-cream of the trip with yoghurts and milk. It’s now 15.00 and I have to get moving again. Another ridge of hills waits for me outside the town. This time I don’t walk it, it’s not steep enough. Head down, feet firmly on the pedals I winch my way up by sheer effort of will. The open moorland with its skylarks and sheep opens before me. I can see wind turbines on the

surrounding hills. Of course the route goes over them rather than around. One more control at the top of a hill in the village of Bwlch y Sarnau. It’s 16.30 – 30km left. On any other day easy-peasy but not with one hour of sleep in the last two days. The road does not take the easy way back to Knighton. I rejoice when I finally reach some smooth A-road and then nearly cry at the climb out of Llanbister. I can’t believe it’s this hard even at this stage. I should know better. Only 10km left and half an hour until my mandatory 60 hours run out. As ever in an Audax, I turn left and up yet another steep hill across moorland. I can feel myself beginning to think I won’t make it. I try and go faster but my body is used to one speed by now and protests at the demands I make of it. Down a final rutted track, luckily traffic free, I reach the town sign and inevitably the last kilometre is up a hill. I reach my destination just as the 60-hours time limit clocks up out. I sit on the steps of the clock tower and can’t believe I did it. It seems ridiculous. The life of the town goes on around me, no-one takes any notice of a bedraggled middle-aged cyclist sitting on the steps. There is no welcoming committee, no fireworks, and no winning post… this is Audax.

The life of the town ❝ goes on around me, no-one takes any notice of a bedraggled middle-aged cyclist sitting on the steps. There is no welcoming committee, no fireworks, and no winning post… this is Audax

www.aukweb.net

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Newly-qualified doctor Alaina Beacall took some precious time out, before committing to a further three years’ GP training. We covered her preparation for the Trans America Bike Race in the last issue – the classic selfsupported coast-to-coast journey across the USA. It began on 2 June on Oregon’s Pacific coast and ended 4,200 miles later at the Atlantic Ocean on the Virginia coast. It took in the Rockies, Yellowstone Park, and the Grand Teton National Park, before heading south-east into Kansas, and over the Appalachian range to the finish. Just a day before moving to Sheffield, we met her relaxing at Symonds Yat, in the Wye Valley, and asked her about the ride…

Cougars, bears and saddle sores an epic coast-to-coast odyssey For context, what weight are you and how tall? I’m 52kg and 5ft 4in. And what about the weight of your bike? At least 20kg without food (so, add a small vegan grocery store to that) and water, I carried around 3-litres. Most of our readers are experienced long-distance cyclists, but even they would think long and hard about cycling unsupported for up to 320km a day across mind-numbing terrain on a heavily burdened bike, then get up at 3am the following day and do it again, for 27 days. You had just two seasons in the saddle before attempting this challenge, how did you even conceive such an idea – are you a loon? The world is huge, our bodies are incredible, and our time is finite. You’d be a loon not to try these things. I had the luxury of time after stepping out of further training in my medical career, giving me two years of ‘flexible’ working. My sporting passions are running and rock climbing, but I took up cycling in this period as it seemed an incredible gateway to colossal 24

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adventures: distance cycling is a multifaceted endeavour of outdoor exploration, combined with mental and physical challenges. A first long trip of Lands’ End to John O’Groats on my hybrid made me see this, and prompted my creation of a solo Arctic-to-Mediterranean ride seven months later (5,137 miles in 51 days). My crazy best friend told me I should do an ultra-distance race before returning to medical speciality training, and losing this chance for a while. The Trans America Bike Race fell two months prior to my job start date, and I had an urge to see the vast lands of the USA, so it was the obvious choice really. It’s all her fault! You did more miles in a month than many would in a year, but this event was a first time for you. Were you shocked by the undertaking and was not knowing what to expect an advantage? Fortunately not, as I took it one or two days at a time. Really it’s just a series of long day rides. Each day I would plan for major resupply stops and where to aim for

sleeping that night. Knowing the approaching terrain and mountain climbs would be useful for planning, but otherwise remaining quite ignorant was ideal. No matter what you face, you have to just deal with it, so crack on and get singing those tunes! You had a serious injury seven weeks before the ride, and the race was doubtful. How did you manage to recover in time? I was due to fly over early, to cycle up the Pacific Coast pre-race, but due to some advised turbo sessions a week before, I suffered a tear to my right knee’s lateral meniscus. I was unable to straighten my leg and walk for two weeks. Obviously devastated and advised that it could require surgery if it progressed, I fleetingly accepted that it was all over. Considering back-up options of touring America just filled me with a deep sadness. If I could climb or hike in a month, I’d never forgive myself for not even trying. I did some hard researched and intense daily rehabilitation exercises.


Rest day… Alaina “relaxes” at Symonds Yat soon after her return from the USA

… I suffered a tear to my ❝ right knee’s lateral meniscus. I was unable to straighten my leg and walk for two weeks

By week three I could walk, and I extended rehab to two hours including zero resistance spinning on the turbo, so I booked new flights. An initial low in San Francisco, cooped up in overpriced rooms with dwindling funds, with a constant dark question mark over my situation from one day to the next, began to brighten. I gave riding a try half a week later. The simple liberating pleasure of sitting on that bicycle for a flat eight miles, and of being outside seeing places pass by, rendered me euphoric. It also inspired the construction of a web of hope. I could now hatch a plan to build on this, day by day, ride by ride. I was actually quite excited to undergo this challenging process, while understanding that I must enjoy every moment for what it was, without too much hope, as it carried a risk of ending abruptly and being lost again. A lesson in living for the moment, hey? From that eight mile ride I had 24 days until race kick off. Over this time I gradually increased distances, and tested the knee on countless hills and gradients which would punish most (wincingly, expecting it to “go” at any moment!). It coped with two extremely hilly century rides, including a pop to the lookout point in Yosemite National Park where a few tourists questioned my sanity of doing that 2,400m in 30 mile stroll, and asked for photos with me! All riding was shockingly pain-free, and despite initial postride stiffness and inflammation, icing and rest periods between helped, and soon this was no longer evident. I drove to the starting state, Oregon, one week before and did a final “tester” of 150 miles with all my kit, including a practice sleep in the bivvy bag. Knee all good! Body, however, pretty exhausted, now de-trained, and kit not actually practiced (vital in logistical preparation) nor multi-day riding. Obviously overjoyed with rehab progress I continued to the start line, but remained cautious – both to protect my emotional wellbeing and my knee. Have low expectations and be sensible, I thought. If my de-conditioned body and menacing meniscus make it to day three, after a few big back-to-back rides and the first major mountain pass, it’ll be all guns blazing. So, yes, this heavily influenced my daily planning, as I wouldn’t end each day when tired, I ended at the mileage I told myself I mustn’t “go over”. You also incurred other injuries along the route. What was your coping strategy? Trying to avoid thinking about small amounts of pain was my main strategy, difficult, I know. I only popped a few paracetamol if I was really suffering, but never for something that I wanted to keep a close eye on (like my knee, or Achilles tendon). In all seriousness, I feel extremely lucky and expected much worse physical issues. The riders that got hit by vehicles are a constant reminder as to how grateful I should be. www.aukweb.net

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TRANS AMERICA BIKE RACE

…the knee coped with two ❝ extremely hilly century rides, including a pop to the lookout point in Yosemite National Park where a few tourists questioned my sanity doing that 2,400m in 30 mile stroll, and asked for photos with me!

Did being a doctor help, or make you worry more – and were your medical skills called into use for other riders, or did you keep quiet? I think being medically trained actually helps a lot, in that you probably know what something is, therefore your “threshold of worry” is quite high, if it’s a minor thing. Well, at least mine is. Think of all the awful things I’ll have seen in A&E – a few rashes are manageable. A good example would be from day one where I found a chap who had earnt himself road rash and broken ribs from skidding on gravel. After checking him for head injuries, and any major nerve or joint issues, I was happy that he was “ok” (in our acute medical sense of the word), and I and others could continue as the ambulance had arrived. He and other riders were aghast and sick with worry. Obviously it must have been pretty scary though, and it meant the end to his race. After finishing, I got asked if a racer’s toe was infected. The resounding answer from everyone upon seeing his 3x inflated, red and yellow digit was YES, and after advising him to keep it extremely clean, I had to laugh when he was doing this on a toilet seat. Otherwise no, I’d never hide it, but I think people doing these events are pretty clued up and in-tune with their bodies. Alternatively, they will just disregard physical issues altogether as they fight to meet their goals. 26

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ALAINA’SAILMENTS Weak left hand – An “ulnar nerve neuropraxia” caused by compression. This was actually not too bad, just a few days where I couldn’t change gears with my left hand, but I maintained full sensation. I think mainly the use of aerobars over long distance helped save my hands. Rashes – Heat, sweat, poisonous plants and bugs can cause skin reactions. I had a couple of bad ones over my right leg which were very red, swollen and itchy. But I just tried to ignore them, until I’d accidentally scrape them with a pedal or something – that was painful. Split lips – Amazing how the smallest of wounds can affect you so much, mentally and mood-wise. Constantly changing temperatures, humidity, winds and excessive UV light can all damage your skin, especially your lips. As lip cracks develop, despite Vaseline use, they’re poor to heal (and apparently I talk quite a lot, which can result in them constantly ripping open!). This was terribly painful when eating foods with salt or strong flavours, aka every item at a gas station. Back of leg sweat rashes – This was a new one. The sweat and friction behind my knees, on pedalling, created little sores/pustules, similar to saddle sores. They would sting whenever my knee bent during a pedal stroke, so I’d slap Sudocrem over them during the day and that helped. The route took you through some wild and remote places, did you encounter any threats from animals or people? In eastern Colorado I was finishing a long day into the night, and my headlight suddenly picked up two bright dots in the distance, at the edge of the road. Moving closer revealed their large cat-eye

I definitely looked as though I was challenged with applying sun cream. Sore knees – A common niggle during or after some big hill climbs, fortunately I never suffered too badly. Saddle sores – The monster! No matter what saddle, shorts, or 10,967 different cream concoctions I used, the skin on my derriere reacted instantly to the friction and sweat of long rides. By day five, despite hourly anti-chafing cream, Sudocrem and local anaesthetic, I was effectively sitting on piercingly sharp stones. When the road surface became poor, I was almost in tears. Thankfully my skin and scars thickened over time, and I found the chamois pad edge in my tights eroded my skin less, I therefore ditched my shorts, and hand-cut my tights. Trying to prevent, treat and keep these areas clean is critically important. Another racer with less time for self-care due to a top 10 finishing goal, required surgery to drain his fist-sized saddle abscess. He had to complete the race standing up for miles! Achilles tendon pain – Increasing daily miles while racking up mountain climbs in the east, meant an average of 3,000m ascent on four or five sequential days. Unsurprisingly my Achilles tendon started throbbing. A new one for me, but fortunately only two or three days from the finish – lucky. characteristics and the rising water vapour from exhalations passing before them. Tensely, I moved to the other side of the road and tightly gripped my pepper-spray, trying to forget the recent news of a cyclist who was hunted and killed by a cougar. I was also a little shaken one night whilst bivvying in a forest, not just by the


sub-zero temperatures and snow, but by being surrounded by bear warning signs. Especially as my bike was covered in peanut butter sandwiches, wise move. Otherwise there were the infamous dog chases of the east. At some points as often as every half hour a canine crew would come storming out to the road to show you who’s boss. This got a little annoying! Turns out slowing down and screaming fiercely at them, like the alpha you really are, shuts them up. Thankfully no people issues apart from the odd closely-passing car. Hilariously though, one night in Illinois after many a dog-chase, and being infested by flying bugs through the swamplands, fellow rider Steve Pawley and I also passed countless police cars – there were two escaped convicted murderers on the loose, brilliant! My pepper-spray made another appearance. The ride is a test of endurance and is unsupported. Did you find the locals helpful, indifferent, rude or all of the above? The Americans I encountered, particularly through the remote central stretch, were the loveliest people. Stopping at any point in small-town America, I was always greeted with genuine warmth, and often questioned with interested curiosity and astonishment. My problem was that I probably seemed rude, as I lacked the time to have an in-depth conversation with every person who wanted to chat! How prominent or otherwise were the organisers – I know there are strict rules, like no drafting etc, but how was this policed? The organisers drive the route out and back once, and so I saw them only once after the first day. While they lack regular presence, there are the online trackers, but also the eyes of local “dot watchers”. There

is quite a strong following from these people, who may find you on the route, and discuss the riders every day on a forum. If they or other riders saw something illegal, it seems it would be discussed or reported. Notwithstanding, the spirit of the race is in self-honour and personal ethics. If you cheat, and are not caught, well done you – it is only yourself you have let down. If you are caught, there are 12-hour penalties and suchlike. Was your proximity to road traffic, especially the big 44-wheeler trucks, more intimidating than UK roads and drivers? I think the behaviour of vehicles and their attitude to cyclists was, overall, better than in the UK. At least in the states and roads of the race. Most would leave a huge passing distance, and even hover back needlessly on smaller roads. In some parts of Kentucky however, there were occasionally fast trucks passing closely while loudly revving and spurting black

… the major “danger” roads ❝ would be those of Kansas – ah, Kansas, the head-shake of despair from anyone you mentioned it to, gave it all away!

smoke in your face. Finally the major “danger” roads would be those of Kansas – ah, Kansas, the head-shake of despair from anyone you mentioned it to, gave it all away. Gusting southerly cross-winds blew me right off my bike, and repeatedly into traffic. Fighting this in humidity and unbearable heat gave most their biggest struggles of the race. Sadly, the mental battle of flat desolation also leads to driving carelessness. Two racers were hit by vehicles here. One has lost his life (RIP

John Egber, you are an inspiration to so many). The other is, thankfully, recovering after a spell in critical care, although his accident affected me immensely. You’ve had problems with breaking gear cables, and, your blog mentioned four new cassettes in as many months. Was it the bike setup, the pure attrition of the ride, or perhaps operator error? Gear cables – here’s the context: I possess a curse of snapping gear cables within shifters, on average after every 1,000-1,500 miles (this was on my other road bike, in under 12 months of ownership, and a shifter change). On this new bike, I had allowed components to be tampered with a few days pre-race in an effort to fit a larger cassette to protect my knee (11-36t). The gearing gradually went awry by day three and a gear cable snapped (within the shifter, of course). Despite cable replacement, everything was still off, and with the derailleur now having been “mutated”, plus a cassette basically incompatible with the whole system anyway, I needed to start again fresh. Through hitch-hiking, the kindness of strangers, and more money, I returned to the route 32 hours later with a whole new shifter, derailleur and cassette (back to another 11-32t). I have a nasty habit of cross-chaining. I had to obsessively bite this in the butt to stop a recurrence. I did, and the next 3,000 plus miles presented no gearing issues. After snapping off your front skewer, did you ever feel like scratching, as nearly 50% of the entrants – and did riding with Steve Pawley for much of the second half help? A five-second exasperated consideration entered my head at this point. Horrific conditions near Hazard, Kentucky, ended in a puncture and a tear to my front tyre, which couldn’t be repaired because the

… eastern Colorado, finishing a long day ❝ into the night, and my headlight suddenly picked up two bright dots in the distance… Moving closer revealed their large cat-eye characteristics and the rising water vapour from exhalations passing before them!

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TRANS AMERICA BIKE RACE wheel wouldn’t come off. Practically less than four days from the finish, to be unable to fix a simple flat tyre because of a broken thru-axle handle was ridiculously frustrating. I raced through thoughts of – now what? Hitchhike? God knows how far to find a bike shop. What if they can’t sort the skewer? This is such a specific type of thru-axle, so they may say I need a whole new fork. That could be hundreds of dollars. Vaaru with a view… Alaina and her Ti workhorse, take a break in Yellowstone Park

Frustrating… the broken skewer just four days from the finish

Biking buddies… Alaina and Steve Pawley arrive at Illinois

Doing anything possible to finish this race can become a never-ending black hole – effort, time and money. Instantly I just couldn’t be bothered going down another potential road. Steve, who amazingly stuck with me, exclaimed “Alaina, of all people!” And fortunately, hitchhiking to a place with tools and after much tampering, the wheel was removed. Phew! 28

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I’m quite fortunate to be mostly optimistic and upbeat, and so excluding serious injuries or mechanical problems I don’t think I’d have ever quit. That’s when mental fortitude is vital. To keep mentally buzzed, I even started writing “cycling parodies” and recording them live! I’d change lyrics from famous songs to be about Trans Am. (Search Alaina Beacall on YouTube if you want to listen). So yes, I ended up with a lovely ride-bud for a week and a half. While I felt like company wasn’t required (in fact, I felt sometimes that it made it so much easier that it was almost cheating), it was obviously great fun. We got on really well, and were well matched in terms of daily strategy, which is vital. I’d call it a symbiotic relationship, ha-ha. He probably quickened me up a little, and I probably gave him a bit of extra positive energy to get through the day. I even got him singing! Which were your lowest points? I can only think of maybe four occasions when I felt things were that tough – not a bad ratio of bad to good days really. But what really affected my emotions was from a human connection, when T.C had his accident. I met him on day one, and was instantly inspired by his tenacity. Having struggled with injuries through one of the most difficult mountain bike races in the world (which he still completed), he accepted he was physically slow and may have similar injuries in this race, yet would

truck on, rarely resting, and cutting sleep to ensure he completed his goal. Mid-way through the race, I caught up to him to find he indeed stuck to his strategy – up at 2am, often caught by riders starting four hours later, yet still trucking on. He’d do his daily 170/180 miles no matter what. An incredible man. After chatting briefly at the roadside, including to his lovely wife on the phone (who uttered “I love your Trans Am songs, Alaina!”), I heard later that his tracker was at a police station. He’d been hit, and was now intubated in critical care, with a shattered pelvis and at least bleeding to the spinal cord causing some paralysis. I couldn’t believe it. Tears, a feeling of injustice and pain for him and his family are still with me. Thankfully he is now moving all his limbs and is recovering in a rehabilitation unit in his home state. The bonds you form with other riders are strong. You are part of an intense community stretched across the continent. You’re all pushing on through the same things, and are the only familiarity most of us have as we endure this race, fleetingly seeing one another. When you look back on this in five years, what do you think will be your stand out memory? All of the natural beauty, the great people, and none of the pain. Obviously. Also, the opportunity to combine this with charity work. I spent some time with volunteers at Asylum Link Merseyside, as they offer food, clothing and bike workshops to local destitute asylum seekers and refugees. I and Adapt Outdoors in Liverpool held a fundraiser and talks pre-race, and with their help plus support from everyone who has followed me, we have currently raised over £4000 for this brilliant charity (www.alaina.co.uk has the blog and fundraising link).


You’re tough – where does that come from? I tend to feel that most people could do what I’ve done – it’s just believing it’s attainable and giving it a go. Clearly then it’s a mind-set that demands as much as your body can give. Since my early teens I developed a strong ubiquitous objective to be the best I can be in everything I do, and if I wasn’t, it wasn’t good enough. This craving for perfection definitely pushes me, however I suppose it can also be quite selfdestructive. It presents a relentless pressure, where you have only done well if you are top – this can take the enjoyment out of things, including not being allowed to do this thing people call “resting!” 37th out of a field of 116 is quite an achievement – but was it good enough for you? I wasn’t really aiming for a set placement due to my initial injury, and not knowing what would happen. Firstly starting was a goal, then lasting a few days, then if possible a sub-30 day finish. But obviously now I’ve finished with an OK knee, and feel that I didn’t push myself to total physical fatigue any day, I think well, I could have easily done better. The truth is it is such a long game, and your strategy has to get you 4,200 miles to the finish, safely. Given the injury and my lack of experience, the safe strategy of “sensible” mileage, then stopping to get enough sleep worked, no matter what anyone else around me did. It was quite cool though, that after I lost that day and a half with the first mechanical, that I caught up to and passed a large bulk of riders in a few days. It seemed that as everyone around me was tiring and cutting daily miles, I was getting stronger and increasing mine. In another race I now know I can do a higher daily mileage, but avoiding injury is also key. Good companions… with Alaina, from left, Steve Pawley, Tom, Bo, trail angel Tom, Xavier, Simone and Kevin

Excluding mechanicals, how much would you estimate the cost of your TransAm? Let’s just say I am very much in debt now, and actually quite desperate to return to work! Self-supported ultra-distance racing, like Audaxes, can be as cheap or expensive as you want them to be. Necessary costs £250 joining fee, £150 tracker rental (unless you have your own spot) – seems very cheap so far, eh? Flights Possibly around £700 (which I had to pay twice: non-refundable ones I missed with injury), including bike fees. Flexible costs BIKE AND KIT – I went with the new option, but definitely have no regrets. A beautiful custom titanium MPA from Vaaru Cycles, after my own gearing issues, saw me through smoothly. BIKE-PACKING BAGS AND GEAR – mine were pretty expensive, but there are cheaper options. BIKE COMPONENTS – e.g. Aerobars, again, I got pricy Syntace C3 bars for comfort. I also had a pricy vegan Brooks saddle. Dynamo and lights can also be expensive. Sleeping bag, clothing, bivvy bag. FOOD – Gas stations are expensive, supermarkets and probably even a McDonalds would be cheaper. Being vegan and having few breaks, I lived, almost exclusively, on gas station items (bars, peanut butter, bread, tins of beans) PHARMACEUTICALS/SELF-CARE ITEMS – Trust me. This was a biggie. Apart from the vegan grocery store on my bike, I had a handlebar bag shelf of creams. ACCOMMODATION – You could bivvy most nights and save a tonne. After a sleepless night in the mountains, I vowed my sleep was important to get me through, so slept indoors from then on. Some churches and fire stations let cyclists

Proud… for a town with a population of fewer than 200, Yorktown sure has a very impressive monument. It was built to commemorate the defeat of the British at the end of the American war of independence, and also marked the end of the road for the TransAm race

sleep on their floor, or even BEDs, for free! So, doing it my more expensive way, around £2,700 was the living cost for the month. Flights and bike kit/components would rocket this cost. Think £5,500 as a ballpark figure not including the bike. I have to laugh – I wonder if my family and I thought on my graduation from medical school, that my future aspirations would be spending my time scoffing cold tins of beans on the floor outside international gas stations, totally broke! And finally, will you do it again or is there a bigger target in your sights? Far too many adventures to be had for a repeat. GP training will dictate both free time and even holidays, for the next three years. I would like to do a shorter ultradistance race next year, to really push my daily miles. Otherwise, three years is a great length of time for planning something totally massive. I cannot wait. www.aukweb.net

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500,000M UP – AFTER ALL THESE YEARS

Through lucious St Lucia With a surfeit of Air Miles due to expire, Chris Benyon gratefully departed snowbound Britain with his trusty fold-away Brompton, bound for a biking break on a tropical island paradise in the Caribbean

SATURDAY 17 MARCH

Having never been a fan of lying on a beach, being gently fried, I’d never considered the Caribbean as a holiday destination. However, I noticed that Virgin Atlantic fly to a number of island destinations, and after studying the choice of those not devastated by hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, the most interesting looked to be St Lucia – small, but with mountains up to nearly 1,000m. It looked perfect for a long weekend, late winter break. Trying to get ahead of the “Mini Beast from the East”, forecast to hit the south east of England that day, I headed for Gatwick, hoping to beat the snow and take off before all flights were cancelled. As for the Brompton, I’d ridden it in the mountains in Japan several times (Arrivée 127, Winter 2015). With no left-luggage at Hewanorra 30

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airport in St Lucia, a small bike that only needed a correspondingly small bag solved a number of logistical problems. After a short delay for de-icing, we took off, and the flight was uneventful apart from several minutes of turbulence that popped open an overhead locker and had the captain ordering cabin crew to immediately strap themselves into their seats. No chance of snow delaying flights at Hewanorra airport as the forecast was for daytime temperatures around 30°C and overnight of 24°C, complete with high humidity. Sure enough, by the time I’d unpacked the Brompton I was dripping with sweat in the early afternoon sun, and I hadn’t even started riding yet. The bike packing was all strapped to the rear rack, most of my things were in the Brompton’s front pannier, and

valuables including my camera, were in a small rucksack which had also doubled as hand luggage on the flight. I only had a short ride of 23km up the east coast to a bit north of Micoud, which was fine apart from the many brief climbs being surprisingly hard work on the Brompton, and not helped by a headwind. My home for the night was a basic but very nice B&B in the middle of nowhere, called “A Peace of Paradise”. Even late afternoon was hot enough to enjoy the cold outside shower in the trees, and later I walked 20 minutes down the road to get dinner at a local restaurant. After a hot and sticky night under the mosquito net, with sounds of the forest all around, the continental breakfast was a bit minimalist for cycling, but as a bonus I was joined by a


THEPRACTICALITIES

WORDS AND PICTURES CHRIS BENYON

on two (small) wheels

Travel: Scheduled flights from the UK are operated by both British Airways and Virgin with a flight time from Gatwick of about 9 hours. Accommodation: Overnights were booked via booking.com. There’s a mix of accommodation on the island – some very high prices, and some basic self-catering. Local conditions: Roads were quiet apart from around the capital at rush-hour. Surfaces were fine apart from a few sections of ribbed concrete on steep sections of minor roads. There were plenty of steep climbs in the 15% to 25% range. A touring bike, or hardtail mountain bike with road tyres, would be fine. Navigation: OpenStreetMap on the Garmin. Food: Outside the main tourist spots, there are few cafés or restaurants, and local shops were often basic. More planning may be needed.

small bird behaving like a robin and near enough eating crumbs off my plate. With help from the owner I worked out that it was a Lesser Antillean Bullfinch.

SUNDAY 18 MARCH

The plan for the day was a leisurely ride up the east coast before crossing the mountains over to the west side of the island and heading right up to the northern-most point. After the light breakfast I was looking out for a supermarket but nothing turned up other than a bar where I got some cold drinks and ate a few snacks I was carrying. I was soon climbing inland up to the summit at 269m, on a nicely gradient. On the descent I spotted a small shop and managed a sort-oflunch based around a tin of sardines. Not long after that I turned north off the

main road onto some smaller roads that would bypass the capital, Castries. These were “fun”. The simple problem, as I was to find for many of the remaining roads on the trip, was that in St Lucia roads have quite steep gradients, and many were beyond what I could manage on a laden Brompton. So I got used to slow progress pushing the bike up many hills. On one particularly evil hill, a car stalled ahead of me and rolled back down towards me. At the top I got a good view down to Castries, with two cruise liners in port. Soon another small shop provided more drinks and a few nibbles, but still nothing substantial to eat. After the second descent of the day back down to sea level, I joined the main road up to Gros Inlet at the north west of the island. This was tourist-central, and the big marina at Rodney Bay

provided a choice of eating establishments, so finally, at almost 3pm, I had lunch of an omelette, coffee and yoghurt. I continued further north to Pigeon Island National Park, where I left the Brompton at the entrance and explored on foot, including climbing up to the old 18th century British fort complete with cannons. I also took advantage of one of the beaches to go for a swim and a soak in the nice warm water. Unfortunately it was then too late to head up to the very north of the island as it was already after 5pm and sunset was around 6pm, and I had more accommodation to find – up a supersteep hill of course. This time I was in a very nice self-catering apartment with views over Rodney Bay, including of a picturesque sunset soon after I arrived. As I hadn’t www.aukweb.net

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LUCIOUS ST LUCIA ON TWO (SMALL) WHEELS found anywhere open to buy food, dinner was a chicken curry from one of my emergency packs of “Adventure Food”. I’ve previously used them while trekking and they are remarkably good. Today was 62km with 1,146m of climb. Tomorrow was going to be a harder day down the west coast, so I decided to go for a reasonably early start, and therefore to have another emergency pack for breakfast to save an hour in the café at Rodney Bay.

MONDAY 19 MARCH

Sadly even paradise has a morning rush-hour. The last part of the road into Castries from Gros Inlet was stop-start traffic, which I had to weave around. The cruise ships had gone, leaving the harbour empty, and as the centre was quiet I quickly looked around the cathedral and some traditional balconied wooden houses that survived several massive fires over the years. The route out of Castries was straight up, on a road with several hairpins, and with some late rush-hour traffic that was not welcome. At least there was a good view over the town and harbour to Martinique in the distance, followed by a small supermarket at the top to refill snack stocks. A fast descent down to the oil terminal was of course followed by another steady climb. At the top a women was selling bananas from a table at the roadside. I’d seen many fields with bananas growing, so it was good to buy some local produce. The conversation was a bit surreal: Me: “Please can I have some bananas?” Seller: “No!” Me: “Err… I’d just like to buy some bananas” Seller: “You can’t. These are plantains. If you want bananas, they are growing in the fields.” Me: “OK, please can I have some plantains?” Seller: “OK” I took three, then asked: “How much?” Seller: “You can have them… no money” and then she smiled. She really wouldn’t take any money, so I thanked her and continued on my way. I didn’t see any ripe bananas growing in the fields, and these plantains were ripe and perfectly edible. After the next descent I turned off the main road, and of course promptly climbed again, to look down over the beautiful natural harbour of Marigot Bay, now filled with expensive yachts. I 32

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wasn’t the only one looking at the view, being joined by two couples on a driving tour of the island with a driver and guide. Next stop was the small fishing port of Anse la Raye, where I recognized some of the tourists I’d just seen at Marigot Bay. Clearly I was on “the tourist circuit”, but despite this there was a lack of any food. I did find a bar, and had some cold drinks while chatting to a Dutch tourist who was sailing round the island. There were plenty more climbs between Anse la Raye and the next fishing port of Canaries where I hoped I would find lunch. Sadly, food options there were not good. A tiny shop provided some drinks and another tin of sardines, and – joy – I spotted a bakery. Sadly the shelves were totally empty, but when I asked, they said they had rolls (hidden under the counter) so I bought three. I should also have asked which month they had been baked, because they turned out to be stunningly stale. So lunch was “enjoyed” sitting in a small shade-less square eating sardines in stale rolls. The biggest climbs of the day were still to come, and I knew I’d have to push the Brompton up most of them. But lack of food and low gears aside, it was all quite stunning – hot and sunny, great scenery, nice roads, not much traffic and interesting traditional fishing villages. It was now a steady climb up to around 470m, with some steep bits that needed pushing, some steady uphill riding, and some bits of “along”. The reward at the top was my first good view of “The Pitons”, which are two volcanic plugs that rise up from the sea to over 700m and are the iconic postcard image of St Lucia. It took a long time to get up from sea level at Canaries to 470m, but it was quick to get back down to the coastal town of Soufrière that is close to the smaller peak, the appropriately named Petit Piton. Parts of the descent were really steep, and I could feel the Brompton’s handlebars flexing alarmingly when I stopped two thirds of the way down for a photo. I’d planned to visit a botanical garden and

sulphur bath near Soufrière, but it was nearly 5pm and I still had quite a climb to my hotel for the night, in the hills a bit inland. A combination of climbing, limited food and no doubt a touch of dehydration meant that I was shattered by this point, so the climb up to the hotel at 300m wouldn’t have broken any local Strava records, but at least I made it by 6pm while it was still just about daylight. The hotel, the grandly named Calabash Mountain Villa, was relatively new and owned by a nice American couple. Bizarrely I was the only guest for the night, and the manager cooked me an excellent meal which I ate with the owners. They said that independent tourist numbers were down significantly all over the island this season, but no one really knew why. Maybe everyone thought that all the Caribbean had been affected by the hurricanes. The day was just 64km, but with 1775m of climbing, which isn’t bad on a laden Brompton without much food, in 30’C temperatures. Strangely enough, I slept very well.

TUESDAY 20TH MARCH

A change of plan was called for. My flight was at 7:45pm, and with plenty more hills on my original route, I didn’t want to risk limping into the airport at dusk, rushing to pack the bike, and then just about catching the long flight home still dripping with sweat. So a few “scenic detours” were eliminated from the route, including to the much publicised “drive in volcano”. When I got up it was grey with some rain, which wasn’t a great surprise because much of the interior of the

Pier at Canaries


island is classed as rainforest. The rain cleared quickly and I needed sunglasses for my excellent breakfast on the hotel’s big central balcony, looking over the forest. The very minor road climbed steeply from the hotel, with some of the really steep bits having a surface of ribbed concrete to give vehicles extra grip. So it was a relief to get to the top with good views over the surrounding valleys, and at 527m, the high point of the tour for me. Roadworks then resulted in a bit of nervous fun, drifting the Brompton down a section of gravel road, but I was soon back on tarmac and after a brief section on the main road, turned off on to an excellent minor road through the forest right past the foot of Grand Piton. There was even a ford that, with little wheels, I checked first. Then I popped out of the forest and descended down to the south coast. Like most coast roads, it wasn’t flat. For some time it would briefly follow the coast before turning inland, climbing, then before long dropping back down to the coast. These climbs and descents had gradient signs (the first I’d seen), which at 15% were nothing like as steep as some of the roads I’d been pushing up. Then at the little port of Choiseul I stopped for elevenses fueled by a small supermarket. The large church by the supermarket had a peeling sign indicating that it was also the local emergency hurricane shelter – a reminder of the dark side of paradise. I was now on the main road back to the airport, but there wasn’t too much traffic. After going around the end of the runway and through Vieux Fort I climbed up to the lighthouse and radio masts at the southern tip of the island. At 200m altitude and surrounded by sea, I had good views over the southern end of the island including the airport, and to the Pitons in the distance. A lot of cloud building up inland was a hint that the weather was going to get more changeable in the next few days, but by then I’d be back home. At precisely 1.46pm I watched my Virgin A330 land, which was a good hint to leave my viewpoint and drop down to the coast for lunch, which I had at The Reef, a windsurfing centre near the airport. While eating, my plane took off, passing over me. No need to panic as it still had to fly down to Tobago and back before departing again from St Lucia for Gatwick. So I had time to enjoy my lunch and go for an extended splash in the Atlantic rollers, followed by a quick “shower” using the hose the windsurfers use to rinse down their kit.

The Pitons and Soufrière

Suitably refreshed, I then headed to the airport. My shortened day had worked out well, but even though just 44km, still had 925m of climbing. I packed the Brompton under the same tree where I’d unpacked it on arrival. It was now quite windy and at one point I had to chase down the Brompton’s plastic bag which escaped. This attracted the attention of the local police who were guarding the entrance to the terminal. After asking what I was doing, they then told me off for “not spending long enough on their island” and insisted that I should return, listing several places I had missed and should cycle to. A few hours later I settled into my seat on the plane ready for the overnight flight home. Many hours later, after breakfast, we passed over the Cotswolds, with the snow cover from the mini-beast highlighting the field pattern way down below. So back to cold reality after a spell in paradise.

Side street in Anse la Raye

Climbing up from the hotel

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500,000M UP – AFTER ALL THESE YEARS

On a damp day in December 2016, Kajsa Tylen, surrounded by cheering friends and family, cycled to a little bike shop in Breaston in the English East Midlands, to celebrate the completion of a remarkable achievement – cycling 52,000km in one year, a distance equal to more than one and a quarter times around the planet, and a feat which had never been achieved by a woman before. Here’s her story…

Why ‘lazy’ Kajsa took on the By her own admission, Kajsa Tylen is no Amazon – she’s a slightly-built featherweight and tends towards inherent laziness, she claims. Yet, in her early-40s, having taken up cycling just four years earlier, Kajsa smashed a 78 year old world record for the furthest distance cycled by a woman in a year. It required her cycling every single day – including Christmas Day – in all weathers, usually alone. The Swedishborn cyclist covered the miles in daily rides, very occasionally in France, Germany and Sweden, but mostly in her adoptive Nottinghamshire and nearby counties. “I know every pothole in the county,” she says. On a bike named Billie – named after Billie Fleming, the female world-beating cyclist of the 1930s whose world record of 1938 inspired her to the challenge – Kajsa learned a great deal about endurance riding, but she learned much more about herself. “I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve just taken part in my first 34

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Audax,” she says. “A measly 100km. And it hurt. It’s difficult to comprehend that I rode that distance and more every single day of 2016.” Her main support during the daily cycling regime in 2016 was her mum Tina, who followed with the family caravan, to carry out chores and dry the many tears that came with the punishing schedule. “It was often a year of fatigue, pain and frustration. My mum was my rock for the entire year. She looked after my dog, fed me, watered me, washed my clothes and generally did anything I asked of her. Sometimes I was not a nice person. I was a bit of a monster,” Kajsa admits. Born in Sweden, Kajsa moved to Nottinghamshire in 1992. She now speaks with a soft Midland accent and was perfectly at home being “British”, until, half way through her world record attempt, while riding in Sweden in July 2016, she and her mum heard the news about Brexit.

“Mum and I woke up in the caravan and she turned to me and said: ‘They voted leave’. It was a shock, regardless of which way you voted in the referendum, and it hit me hard,” she says. “I should have just shut social media out, it was like watching a car crash, and within a few days I felt like I didn’t have a home to go back to anymore. There was, seemingly, so much hatred out there against immigrants, and that included me, despite how British I felt.” Kajsa admits that she was already low at this stage of the record attempt, mostly because she was having a dreadful time with her saddle, and had it not been for friends who brought some perspective to her feelings, she might have quit right there and then. “My friend Jane reassured me that life was just going on as normal back home,” she says. “Yes, people were having arguments at work about Brexit, but there were no riots


world record

I knew, ❝ deep down, that I wasn’t fulfilling my potential

❞ www.aukweb.net

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WHY ‘LAZY’ KAJSA TOOK ON THE WORLD RECORD

I learned that I ❝ could do something I was absolutely terrified of doing. It was the start of a pattern of positive behaviour

LEGACY SWEAT PLEDGE

PHOTO BY SAM FLANAGAN – @SAMFLA ON INSTAGRAM

The legacy of Kajsa’s epic ride is the Sweat Pledge, an organisation set up by Kajsa to encourage people of all ages to achieve a fitness goal. She has already inspired thousands of people to take up the challenge to get fitter and achieve milestones many never thought possible. Kajsa says: “I want to inspire other people to get active. Achieving a goal that you think is out of your reach just changes your life.” ● For more information about the Sweat Pledge, visit https://sweatpledge.com/

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or crazy stuff kicking off.” It was a turning point for Kajsa. She had begun the epic ride, she admits, without really understanding the difficulties she would face – the fatigue, the saddle sores, the cold and the wet, the loneliness, the boredom. “I told myself that misery is only temporary,” she says, with her characteristic good humour. But she often asked herself why she’d take up “this ridiculous challenge”. Kajsa says: “I always say that I like a challenge. But as the many hours, days and months of the ride went by I did a lot of soul-searching and self-analysis. What else is there to do on a bike? I realised that I was trying to prove something. Not to anyone else, but to myself. “I am, by nature, lazy. In Sweden I would be called a time-optimist – always optimistic that time is on my side. I always leave everything to the last minute and if there’s a chance I can take the easy way out, I’ll generally take it. But I didn’t want to be this way. I knew, deep down, that I wasn’t fulfilling my potential. “Physical exercise was not something that I did for many years – except horse riding. But I was a lazy horse rider. Then I really got into kickboxing and then started running. I managed to get round a marathon, despite being a lazy runner.” Then she did something which seemed to smash a mental barrier – a bungee jump. “I’ve always been afraid of heights. I can’t say that my first experience of jumping off a bridge was anything less than terrifying, but it hammered home the message that it’s mind over matter,” she says. “I learned that I could do something I was absolutely terrified of doing. It was the start of a pattern of positive behaviour.” Kajsa also began to compete in triathlons, which involved getting a bike. And she never looked back. “I started doing longer and longer distances on the bike,”

Achieving a goal ❝ that is out of your reach just changes your life

she says. “And then I read about Billie Fleming. I was intrigued, not just about her but about the record she set back in 1938. It was 82 miles a day, and she was just a regular person. I’m a regular person, I thought, and I convinced myself that 82 miles was not that far. Once the seed was planted, I knew I had to do it. Guinness informed me that they would verify the attempt and set a goal of 50,000km. My rules included using just one bike for the duration of the attempt and ride from the front without drafting, which is why I was mostly alone.” On New Year’s Day, 2016, Kajsa set off from the Leisure Lakes Bike Shop in Breaston. She would spend the next 365 days attempting to set a new world record. “I was naïve,” she says. “That probably helped. If I’d had experience of this type of ride, it probably would have scared me out of doing it. I was a rookie at this. In fact there are only a handful of people alive who are not rookies at riding all day, every day for the period of time I was planning. And, as it

turned out, I didn’t get fitter. “The weather was absolutely dreadful and I was often in tears. I was so cold. After one ride I thought about what had gone wrong that day. Yes, my legs were starting to complain, but that was to be expected. What else? My clothes. I had worn the wrong clothes. I wasn’t wearing enough of them, so I was cold, and secondly they were not waterproof enough - except for the marigold gloves, but I also learned to tuck them inside my jacket. Nobody likes a glove full of freezing cold water.” Why didn’t she train for this? Kajsa says: “I thought I had. I went out in all weathers as part of my training, but the issue was that while doing so I was pacing differently and simply didn’t get as cold because my heart rate was higher.”

BACKGROUND BILLIE FLEMING Billie Fleming, the woman who inspired Kajsa’s world record attempt, was born in London in 1914. Although she had no background in racing, she began her bid on January 1, 1938. Her mileage was authenticated through a cyclometer on the bicycle, and through check cards signed by witnesses. At the time, her cycling challenge attracted massive national press attention. She completed her ride in December that year, having covered 29,603.7 miles. Before she died, aged 100, in 2014, she was still receiving letters from people who said Billie’s achievement had inspired them to take up cycling. Her subsequent plans to cycle across the USA were cancelled, thanks to the outbreak of World War Two. www.aukweb.net

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PHOTO BY SAM FLANAGAN – @SAMFLA ON INSTAGRAM

WHY ‘LAZY’ KAJSA TOOK ON THE WORLD RECORD

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ON

GH

T

pretty much saved my ass. Nine months of riding 89 miles a day on a “regular” bike seat (the best one out of the half dozen I’d tested long-distance on) and I’d had enough. I’d read about the Infinity when it was on Kickstarter but had dismissed it as a marketing ploy. The idea was to remove the pressure from the sit bones and distribute it elsewhere. I asked them to send me a saddle that I would promote if I liked it. They must have had confidence in their product because they obliged. It was love at first sit, and I haven’t used another saddle for long distance since!”

SPOTLI

Lessons learned, she continued the challenge with renewed vigour. The arrival of spring weather helped. Then she, her mum and the caravan went on a European adventure, riding through the midnight sun on an odyssey to the north of Sweden. Once back in the UK, things began to improve for Kajsa. The saddle soreness which had plagued the first nine months of the challenge were cured, thanks to a new saddle. “The Infinity Bike Seat is a revolutionary saddle,” she says. “I was sceptical, but at this point I was in so much discomfort that I was willing to try anything. As soon as I sat on it I knew this was the one. The soreness began to disappear and life was good. So good, in fact, that for September, October and November I averaged 100 miles a day.” Kajsa hit her first target on 24 November – 29,604 miles, the distance Billie Fleming had ridden to set the record. “I had until the end of the year to push the record further,” says Kajsa, “and I did ride every day for the rest of the year, but I wasn’t as motivated as I had been, so it was more about having fun and taking in what I had achieved.” Her year ended where it started – at Leisure Lakes Bikes in Breaston. “I wanted to finish there because they had been such a huge support for me during my year, having firstly supplied my bike, which they said I could keep if I managed to break the record. And they also helped me with the servicing during the year.” So what’s next for this intrepid cyclist? She says: “Well, I kind of feel like I’ve peaked with this challenge, but I’m sure that sooner or later I’ll get bored and take on something else that pushes my limits. I just need to find my motivation again. If someone knows where I’ve put it, do get in touch. Until then, I’ll just enjoy ‘normal’ life again.”

INITY SADDL F N I The Infinity Bike Seat ES

… cycling every single ❝ day – including Christmas Day – in all weathers, usually alone… covering the miles in daily rides, occasionally in France, Germany and Sweden, but mostly in her adoptive Nottinghamshire

Arrivéesummer/autumn2018


The Waterproof Phone and Valuables Wallet – Safely carry all of your essentials together, in style – totally protected from whatever adventure brings

www.aukweb.net

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500,000M UP – AFTER ALL THESE YEARS

As I was going over the Cork &Kerry mountains…

The outstanding beauty of Ireland’s south-west Atlantic coast was some reward for the riders taking part in this year’s punishing Míle Fáilte 1200. Mark Moroney experienced it all – from tea at Father Ted’s, some suspicious nuns, and the almost irresistible temptation of a cool pint of Guinness when the going was at its toughest

Bad habits… Mark gets in on the picture with some very unlikely looking nuns outside Father Ted’s house on Craggy Island

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WORDS AND PICTURES BY MARK MORONEY

It’s no surprise that riders from all over the world are drawn to take part in the Míle Fáilte1200. Although only in its second rendition, the event already has a great reputation for the challenge of its course and the stunning beauty of the landscape. The international hostel in Killarney, the HQ for the event, was filled with riders from all parts – Denmark, Germany, France, the Philippines, Australia, Canada, USA, Italy, UK, and of course Ireland. They were here to tackle a 1,200km ride consisting of a number of loops in different directions, finishing in a familiar location after each circuit. After a welcoming meal of pasta and salad by the helpful volunteer kitchen staff, Paul O’Donoghue, one of the organisers, delivered the briefing, taking us through the highlights of each loop, mentioning the fantastic scenery we would encounter while not forgetting the challenging terrain ahead of us in the 90 hours to come. Each day had its unique challenges but with a good mental attitude these were well within everyone’s compass. After a fitful sleep and a healthy “full Irish” breakfast I gathered with almost 75 eager Randonneurs in the cool morning air ready for section one of the journey which would take in the iconic County Clare beauty spot, the Burren. The word “Burren” comes from an Irish word “Boíreann” meaning a rocky place. This is an appropriate name when you consider the lack of soil and the extent of exposed Limestone pavement which was visible during many points of our first day’s cycle. We had to cross the Shannon, Ireland’s longest river at Tarbert which was reached after a healthy 75 km forward push over some hilly terrain. The hourly frequency of the ferry resulted in a large number of riders making the pleasant journey together (luckily it didn’t sink as the world’s Audax population could have been

severely diminished) and our reaching the first control point at the Gaelic Athletic Association’s HQ on the north side of the river in Kilrush at about 10 am. I was joined by Andy, with whom I had ridden on a recent 600km Audax, the tour of Ulster. Andy is a great conversationalist and the kilometres tripped past pleasantly. Reaching the scenic town of Ennistymon we were buoyed by the news that Ireland had just beaten Australia in the third decisive rugby test and celebrated in the now warm sun with delicious ice cream and coffee. The roads we travelled were well surfaced at this stage and we availed of some faster, younger riders for a “tow” to the highest point of the day and the following drop down the infamous Corkscrew hill. Here we swung east and climbed into the beautiful limestone encrusted Burren national park. Approaching the second control point of the day, 181 km, Father Ted’s house, we slowly ascended a short 17% climb before dropping down into a well-known landmark landlocked in the Burren – not on Craggy Island! After a welcome cuppa from a Mrs Doyle stand-in and a photo with some “nuns” on a hen party we departed with a “God speed” from the residents and headed south towards Limerick, Tralee and Killarney beyond. The control at Cratloe , 240 km, was reached after crossing some fairly flat terrain and we then headed west again through Limerick city and out a fairly busy road along the south side of the Shannon estuary. Along this road we passed the flying boat museum at Foynes, which, up to the mid 1940’s, was the main air gateway to the new world in America. As the day began to cool and the temperature dropped from its high of 31°C to a now more pleasant 21°C we reached the control at Glin, 301 km, and swung south, back over the hills of Limerick and north Kerry. We were both feeling tired

EVENTBRIEF MILE FAILTE 1200 A 1200 km brevet run by Audax Ireland in association with Audax Club Parisien and Les Randonneurs Mondiaux every four years in the South of Ireland. It ran on June 23rd 2018 from Killarney, Co. Kerry in a clover leaf route formation with a time limit of 90 hours. When 23rd to 26th June 2018 Organiser Senan Burke E-Mail milefailte@outlook.com Phone 0  85 2720643 (Intl + 353 85 2720643) Entry Fee €295 (plus €5 for optional ACP Medal if required). Starts Killarney, Co. Kerry Website www.mf1200.com/

at this point. Andy’s miles had been limited and the challenges of the final climbs were beginning to tell. The hills around Athea and Abbeyfeale were making us work and mental fortitude became a requirement as we began the climb the Castleisland. Leaving the main road, we descended sharply and with speed as we headed past Crag cave, discovered in 1983 and thought to be over a million years old. Now the temperature dropped dramatically down to a bone chilling 4°C, hard to take after the earlier sweltering conditions. I had brought gloves and a winter jacket but even with all my spare gear on I could still feel the chill as we headed down some of the longer descents. After crossing some “minor” climbs we reached the hostel with 380 km completed at about 2.30am. We both felt tired but Andy was making major capitulation noises and looked doubtful for the morrow’s adventures. So it was that I refuelled alone in anticipation of a solo trip in the day ahead. After fortifying myself I headed for my bike accompanied by a new companion, Mark. I was also encouraged by the enthusiasm of organiser Paul, an everpresent voice of gentle persuasion. www.aukweb.net

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ASCENTFACTS

MÍLE FÁILTE1200

So it begins… Mark looking chirpy at the start of the ride

The course was now designed to take us through west Cork, a favourite Irish tourist destination, around the scenic Beara peninsula, into isolated Castletown Bere and back to Killarney via Moll’s Gap. The day started fairly cool but soon warmed up as we headed through Macroom and Millstreet over busier roads. Hills were a feature of the day and by the time we reached the first control at Bandon, 93 km, the ice cream, yoghurt and wraps were welcome sustenance to our now well used limbs. Mark was proving an affable companion and sharing life experiences made the miles go past in relative ease. Among the riders was a gentleman from the Philippines who was starting to heat up under the unseasonably warm Irish weather. He explained he had brought all kinds of wet gear anticipating the customary Irish summer. Skibereen rugby club housed the next control, 148 km, and from there we headed west towards Mizen Head, Ireland’s most southerly point. Reaching Toormore we stopped for a photo control before swinging north and avoiding the “end” of Ireland. We were now on some less travelled roads but the beauty all around made for some wondrous views. Sheep’s Head way led us to the fourth control of the day, a midge-infested Kilcrohane. It 42

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was a toss-up as to who had drawn the more unfavourable straw, the Audax Ireland volunteer and his family manning this insect-plagued control or the MF riders who would next face the stern challenge of the aptly named Goat’s Path. Goat’s Path is only three kilometres, but with steep pitches up to 15% and a surface of “loose chipping” it presented a stern test for two tired, older MF riders late on that Sunday night. Reaching its summit, we agreed that the engineers building this road had strictly followed the path laid out by the unknown four-legged horny mammal. The views from the top of the path across Bantry Bay were spectacular. Taking care to keep on course we revelled in the colours brought on by the setting sun as it descended into the hills of the Beara peninsula. Rapidly we headed down-hill and on to Bantry town. It was now approaching midnight and as on any summer’s evening in rural Ireland the pubs were still packed with revellers enjoying the warm weather. A small number had descended on our favoured late-night diner, Apache, and we remarked on the various levels of sobriety as we awaited our order. Chips and wings were soon demolished and, refreshed, we headed on to our goal for the night, Castletownbere, 50 km down the Beara peninsula. We were now tired, the

night had become cooler as before, and we were feeling the effects of 42 hours’ hard riding. A power nap was called for and so we laid our weary heads on the grass outside Bantry’s biggest hotel and shut our eyes for 15 minutes of blissful slumber. It wasn’t long but it made us feel better. Glengarrif and the tropical island of Garnish, home to some exotic plants, were soon passed. The road became lonelier and the hills more challenging as our tiredness returned and the lights of Castletownbere seemed farther away. The last few miles to the control point were hard attained but we finally checked in at Skipper’s Bar, 285 km, at around 0400, Monday morning, tired but not beaten. The food stop in Castletownbere had been well raided by previous riders and after a short forage for left-overs we grabbed a welcome air mattress and put our heads down for a few hours sleep. Eamon from Mayo woke me at 0600 and I headed out alone on the return to Killarney. My erstwhile companion Mark had opted for some more rest and his strategy proved worthwhile as he caught me on the ascent of the Slieve Miskish mountains on deserted roads in the early morning sun. We agreed to refuel at Kenmare before taking on the challenge of Moll’s Gap on the outskirts of Killarney national park. Moll’s Gap ascends to almost 300 m and is normally not a major challenge as its steepest gradient is only 6%. On the third day of a 1200 km Audax, however, it made us work but we managed it well and enjoyed the long descent into Killarney among the many American tourists taking the air in Irish jaunting cars. Our enthusiasm was dampened on seeing many of our fellow MF enthusiasts making the outward journey back up Moll’s Gap as they headed for the Ring of Kerry. The welcome of the MF volunteers rallied us once again when we reached event HQ at

The four days of the Míle Fáilte rack up almost 14 km of vertical climb (outstripping PBP with 9.4 and the longer LEL with its 11.5). It is roughly on par with the Mille Alba and Mille Cymru. MF1200 reaches a high of 400 metres but rarely goes over 250 and the climbs are memorable more for their number and scenery than for their gentle gradient

the hostel. Their enthusiasm and assistance banished some of my fatigue and encouraged me to make my stop short as I attempted to focus on the effort required to complete the Audax. They plied us with pasta, ice cream, chilled yoghurt and ice-cold drinks. I took the opportunity to head to my room for a change of cycling gear and I felt almost human again. Unfortunately, my companion was not feeling as sprightly. He insisted on rest, a shower and further sustenance before he would move again. I felt that time was now working against me and every moment would be precious if I were to complete on time. I left Mark at the control and headed out alone for the third section of the MF. I was now faced with completing 480 km inside approximately 32 hours. The task was big at this stage but it was eminently doable with continued focus. The weather was great, my body was in fair shape and everyone at MF HQ was rooting for me. The climb from Killarney up Molls Gap was long but not steep. I resolved to increase my pace to ensure time challenges could be met. The descent from the Gap into Sneem was delightful. Travelling past beautiful Derrynane strand in the evening sun I was passed by a fast-moving duo, Danny from Kerry and Lorcan from Wicklow. I


kept to my own pace and crossed the climb leading to Waterville, marvelling at the views before descending to the control point at the local GAA club, 86 km. Minimising delays at the food stop but eating wisely I headed on over fairly flat roads to the second control point of the section, Castlemaine. Here things began to unravel slightly as I searched in vain for the control. Two dozing Gardai knew nothing and luckily for me fellow traveller Danny passed me once again and with local knowledge led me right to the control, 160 km, which was five kilometres from the town. Main man at this control was my old friend Paul and his excellent sustenance and words of encouragement sent me on my way with renewed enthusiasm. I was now heading for Dingle where I hoped to take some rest before my final day’s exertion. There were only 40 km to travel to Dingle but that distance seemed to take forever. Cycling by night always seems slower than by day and when fatigue is factored in the challenge becomes even greater. I toiled on with slowly lowering resolve. The wind

seemed to rise as my pace slowed but maybe it was imagination. Finally, at about 0430 on Tuesday I cycled into sleeping Dingle and searched out the control. The next day I headed west to complete the required 40 km lap of Slea Head. The beauty of the area impacted even my tired brain. Heading past Ventry, the majestic Blasket islands came into view and I felt lucky to be in this wondrous spot in such marvellous weather. I reached the photo control point at the end of the road and after having Danny take the required snap, a quick word with Lorcan from Reservoir Cogs, I headed east and over some further climbs to the control at Dingle, 237 km. I was now faced with the challenge of ascending the Conor Pass which rises from sea level to 380 m in eight kilometres. Under normal conditions this climb, sometimes up to 12%, would be hard but with a tired body I found it really tough. Compensation was forthcoming with a beautiful descent and stunning views of Mount Brandon and the Atlantic Ocean beyond. The road now stretched ahead monotonously and became

… further climbs to the control at Dingle, ❝ 237 km. I was now faced with the challenge of ascending the Conor Pass which rises from sea level to 380 m in eight kilometres. Under normal conditions this climb, sometimes up to 12%, would be hard but with a tired body I found it really tough

busier as I approached the iconic windmill at Blenerville and Tralee’s sprawling metropolis. The road surface was now some of the worst experienced during the MF but I soldiered on, eager to attain the control at Knocknagoshel, 310 km. After some challenging climbs I reached this isolated outpost and was welcomed by a refreshing “99” ice cream from my biggest supporter, Paul. Despite my tiredness I minimised my respite and headed onward knowing that time was now running out if I were to complete the Audax within the allocated time. I was now really feeling tired and the undulations of the road to Killarney were not helping my progress as each uphill proved a challenge. Sleep deprivation was also becoming a factor as the hallucinogens started to affect my vision and made continued concentration a definite requirement. As I approached Killarney my addled brain caused me to question my location and it was only a chance meeting with two outward bound friends from Reservoir Cogs, Pat and Tom, that ensured I reached the hostel, 359 km. Fatigue of body and mind was now playing a big part in my commitment to completing the MF’s final 120 km. I had eight hours to do the work but a friendly pint of Guinness and complete rest were proving a definite temptation. Luckily my mentor Paul stepped up once again with refilled water bottles, a warm plate of protein rich pasta, fresh sandwiches for the journey and words of encouragement. How could I quit with this man urging me to the finish? After pulling out my gel seat cover from my room supplies I headed out and took

the road north to Currow, 18 km, and the designated photo control. At this point my rear end was feeling the trauma from a few days passed on a narrow triangle of compressed PVC. However, the gel seat eased the pain and I picked up the pace, spurred on by the thought there was only 120 km left. Leaving Currow the road headed west in an upward direction. Ballydesmond is almost 300 m high and the climb to that point was hard and long. I began the downward run into the control at Kanturk, 66 km, located in the local GAA club. With 56 km to go I headed west again following a flatter, smoother road towards Killarney. Knowing that my goal was in reach gave my legs renewed vigour and meeting fellow riders Kate and Chris on this leg helped me maintain my impetus until I reached Killarney. It felt good to have arrived. The cool beer tasted great and the warm welcome from the many riders and volunteers eased the pain of weary limbs and sore body. As I basked in my own feeling of success I could reflect on a job done and an epic conquered. I am grateful to all the volunteers for their extraordinary help, encouragement, and always good humour. I was fortunate to travel such a beautiful route in such marvellous weather and can heartily recommend the well run, professional, beautiful Míle Fáilte to others seeking a 1200 km challenge.

… cool beer tasted ❝ great and the warm welcome from the many riders and volunteers eased the pain of weary limbs and sore body. As I basked in my own feeling of success I could reflect on a job done and an epic conquered

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500,000M UP – AFTER ALL THESE YEARS

Despite the punishing mountain ascents, merciless winds and reckless pedestrians, Dan Campbell’s 200km circuit of the beautiful Lleyn peninsula in north-west Wales, rewarded him with the spectacular vistas he was seeking

Looking for a change

If you time it right, you can catch the sunrise across the sea from the Lleyn peninsula. That was the primary motive when I decided to set off in the dark from a deserted car park in Bala, North Wales. It also occurred to me that, besides the reward of the sunrise across the mountains and sea from the peninsula, I would avoid the heat of the day by undertaking much of the ride overnight. An internet search identified suitable controls during the night stage to ensure I had access to water. I parked in Bala town on the long stay car park (£7.50 for 24hrs). My car would be safer, and it was next to the Co-op for when I returned. The car park is long stay and short stay, so make sure you park in the right area. There are also public toilets on the corner of the car park. The first climb quickly arrives and is a wake-up call. It ramps up into the hills, reminding me of mountaineering at night. It felt like I was climbing to the top of the mountain. It was dark but there must have been excellent views across the mountain range. After crossing the main road at Tan-Y-Bwlch (32km) you would be 44

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treated to views of the coast. The descent into to Garreg signalled the flat lands which take you through Tremadog and on to Llanbedrog and my first control. I was a little surprised by a very steep hill, which narrowed and had a lot of bus caution signs near Tremadog but other than that, this section was fast. Arriving at Llanbedrog 24hr Service Station and off-licence (70km) I was not surprised to find it closed. I took five minutes to rest and pushed on for Aberdaron at the end of the peninsula. On the last climb before Aberdaron, (Rhiw Hill) I came to a complete stop (Cat 3, 26.9%). I’m blaming my supersize belly! I took a minute to watch the sunrise across the mountains which was reflecting off the sea. This was one of my ride objectives. Arriving in the daytime, Aberdaron would be a great place to take in the views with a light lunch but when I arrived it felt devoid of life, so I kept moving towards my next control at Clynnog Fawr (127km). The coastal views were pleasant but the climb out of Nefyn was not. However, the increasing wind speed may have tinted my perception.


Mt Mynydd Mawr and Mt Foel Rudd – in Nantlle valley

WORDS AND PICTURES DAN CAMPBELL

of scenery Mothers with prams were lined up ❝ along the pavement, ready to strike without warning ❞

Racing a local bus down the A449 was equally entertaining, for the bus driver as it was for me. We exchanged smiles and a wave when he finally overtook me on my approach to the Clynnog Fawr turn off. Arriving at Clynnog Fawr Service Station, Shop and Cafe represented a milestone in my journey as I was over halfway and, more importantly, I could get some water. It also denoted the transition from the coastal to the mountain stage. Pulling on to the forecourt was promising as there were people milling around, setting up for the day. In my best Welsh accent, I gave the greeting: “Bore da”. The chap looked at me, so I asked: “Are you open?” He replied: “We are closed until 8am, but we are open.” I was feeling good so I had a small bottle of milk and a can of fizzy pop with my last sandwich before pushing on. The climb out of Clynnog Fawr is a little steeper and longer than I expected, but the views were excellent. Arriving at the Co-op in Penygroes (136km) represented the start of the mountain stage and I was still meeting my time schedule. The first of the three mountain passes is the Drws-Y-Coed pass, which

took me to the foot of Snowdonia (Rhyd Ddu). This was more of a long run in, a climb in middle and a roll off the top. Even though the pass tops out at 20% (Cat 4) it was a nice climb and the views were superb. The descent into Beddgelert was a welcome opportunity to sit back and relax, watching the mountain scenery pass by. The wind which had been terrorising me had finally relented and the fresh morning breeze felt welcoming. Arriving at Beddgelert, I decided not to stop and pushed on to Moel Siabod Cafe as I was feeling strong. Cycling past Watkins Path and car park reminded me of the mountaineering days of my youth. The long approach to the actual Nant Gwynant climb (Cat4) took me past the two lakes and a memory of seal-launching my kayak off one of the rocky outcrops into the lake below- it was a long way down. Reaching Pen Y Gwryd Hotel at the top of the Nant Gwynant climb, (the junction of Llanberis Pass) I stopped and took a minute to watch the many tourists trying to park or decide what to do next. Back on the bike and pushing for Moel Siabod Cafe, I knew that it was

all downhill from here – well mostly. The cafe was full and there was a line of customers waiting to place their orders. I decided if I pushed on to Betws-y-Coed I would encounter a similar situation, so I took my place in the line to order a fried egg sandwich and a cup of tea. Sitting out of the sun in the gated area on the side of the building was pleasant and I had the space to myself. The sandwich was just right but a little expensive for my liking. Leaving Moel Siabod behind and following the river Llugwy, I had to stop to look at Pont Cyfyng Falls, which were my first major waterfall during my kayaking years. Cycling through Betws-y-Coed was like playing leapfrog as I tried to avoid the cars, tourists and potholes. After the peace and relative quietness of roads, this was a slap in the face. The one thing which struck me was the number of parents who pushed their prams into the road, forcing the traffic to stop. They were lined up along the pavement ready to strike without warning. I didn’t stop at Pont-y-Pair Bridge, but I smiled as remembered being launched (thrown) off the bridge in my kayak by two friends. www.aukweb.net

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LOOKING FOR A CHANGE OF SCENERY I was looking forward to the A5 climb out of Betws-y-Coed following the river Conwy to Pentrefoelas, which I also kayaked many years ago. I last cycled this section back in 2013 when completing the “Fair Few Miles“ challenge. Pentrefoelas to Cerrigydrudion was a fight with the wind, which had come back to remind me that I was at its mercy. I was glad to reach the roadside café at Cerrigydrudion, if only to get out of the wind for a few minutes. Recognising that I was close to the end, I took a few minutes before pushing on to Bala. The last real climb is a few hundred metres after turning off the main road and once you reach the top you are faced with rolling roads and gradual inclines. As I traversed the landscape, I was on the lookout for Bala Lake, which was a case of “just around the next corner”. In no time at all, I was back in the town of Bala and I never saw Bala Lake. This ride was a trip down memory lane, visiting new places on the peninsula and reconnecting with old friends. Although some of the climbs are strenuous, I would recommend this ride for the variety of landscapes and mountain passes which you experience along the way. Also, for the most part, the roads are in excellent condition and there was very little debris on the road. I will be going back again soon.

St Beuno’s Church Opposite Clynnog Fawr Service Station

Looking Back Down Drws-Y-Coed Pass Just Before you Turn onto The Top

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BOOK REVIEW

Rough Stuff Cycling in the Alps by Fred Wright A book with serious OCD content If you are a rough-stuff cyclist, you will be interested in this book. Rough Stuff Cycling in the Alps has an enormous amount of practical information about off-road trails over Alpine passes, through some wonderful wild scenery. It includes maps of 16 regions, and descriptions of 308 routes, mostly through cols, but some leading to mountain summits, which may also be claimed as Ordre des Cols Durs ascents. There are 43 photos to inspire your enthusiasm, 37 of them in colour. OCD rules allow claiming the height of cols and true summits, as long as you have you bike with you. Many Audax UK cyclists collect OCD points, some as part of calendar events, but also as private tours. Fred Wright’s book demonstrates how many cols it is possible to achieve, even if some require carrying your bike up or down ladders and over glaciers. Most cols in this book are over 2000m, some over 3000m. Fred Wright drew on original guides by ED “Clem” Clements, adding 76 of his own routes, and more by Rough Stuff Fellowship members. Fred’s 2002 edition has been brought up to date with 78 additional routes, and is now professionally published with 160 pages at £25 by Isola Press, as ISBN 0-9541752-0-4. See isolapress.com – the first print run has sold out, but more should be available soon. At 20 x 25cm, this book is a convenient size to handle, but with large enough paper for decent, readable maps. This is not a book to carry while touring, it has far too much information and covers a huge area. I would recommend copying a few pages for each tour (permissible as fair use for private purposes), which is particularly easy with the spiral binding. Then you can keep this epic, historical, archival volume safe at home, for the next time.

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500,000M UP – AFTER ALL THESE YEARS

With the flag of Essex flying proudly above a hastily erected “pop-up café” high on a remote Welsh mountain, Dan Deakins sat back and waited for his fellow East Anglians to reach the half-way point in a gruelling inaugural Audax Club Mid-Essex Grand event – a ride of 1,070km, from the flatlands of Witham to the Brecon Beacons – and back again. Our vista over ❝ the valley of Carmarthenshire was stunning

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WORDS DAN DEAKINS PICTURES JASON BURNS A small group of ACME riders set off from the Battesford Court pub in Witham, Essex at 11am on Thursday 28 June, bound for the Black Mountain in the heart of the Brecon Beacons. There had been 117 initial entrants, but just 39 started – and of that number, only 19 were destined to finish. The plan was for myself and three others, Jason Burns, Grant Huggins and Tom Deakins, to leave Essex at 5am the next morning, drive to Wales and station ourselves at the half-way point atop the mountain itself. Perhaps we should have set off earlier because we missed our first rider. As we wound our way up from Brynamman to the chosen spot where we were to set up a temporary café serving tea, coffee and Welsh cakes, a wisp of white hair flew past the car in the opposite direction, In a moment of double-take, we tried to identify the chap. It was Nik Gardiner. Our vista over the valley of Carmarthenshire was stunning. The sun was almost directly above us when we arrived at 11am, and would descend to our left in the west in a glorious orange sunset that spread across the sky like a live watercolour.

The wind was perfect too. Quite breezy, which kept the mosquitoes away and took the edge off the searing heat, but not so strong as to blow anything away. Jason was our photographer-in-chief, setting up several feet below us with a great view on the alpine-style hairpin the riders would be rounding on their way up. The ground was wetter down there too, and wind shallower. Perfect conditions for mosquitoes and other loathsome insects, as Jason found out to his detriment. I took up main duty as spotter. My long-sightedness meant I could see Audax comrades from literally miles away; specifically from the chicane at the bottom of the mountain, which would imprint itself on all our brains by the end of the day and for the days to come. Our easel-worthy view was a welcome contrast to the usual control at St. Mary’s Centre in Great Dunmow, where the prompt to make a hot drink would be the scratch of cleats on concrete before riders walking through the door. Here, we had at least 10-15 minutes to casually brew a choice of tea or coffee between spotting a rider and greeting them. We didn’t have to wait too long for our

first customer. I spotted Rob Bullyment as his silhouette broke the line of white road markings on the chicane; a slender figure resembling a slow-motion ant. The unmistakable Carradice saddle bag was a dead giveaway. Even from our distant vantage point this common luggage wear would be our main frame of reference for who was mad and who was just a casual civilian thinking climbing a mountain in Wales in the height of summer was a good idea. Mick Gray came through a little while after Rob, and then began the longest game of spot the rider. With experience of the Great Easton control on LEL 2013, I knew there would be a bulge of riders at some point – it’s only natural on a ride of this scale. The only thing was “at some point” became hours and hours. Grant, Jason, Tom and I sat chatting, drinking, eating and taking breaks to roam the landscape for what seemed like an unending period of time with no Audaxers. Often I would spot riders but couldn’t tell if they had Audax luggage or not. Jason would spring up and dart off down the asphalt to be in prime spot with the Digital SLR, but invariably it wasn’t who we were looking out

The sun was almost directly ❝ above us when we arrived at 11am, and would descend to our left in the west in a glorious orange sunset that spread across the sky like a live watercolour

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THE ACME GRAND 1000 for. It must have been strange for them, riding up a mountain with random strangers taking their picture. They must have been further bemused to come across our pop-up café stop, complete with Essex flag and shouts of encouragement as they ground their gears in search of kinder gradients. There was one rider we saw who definitely wasn’t an Audaxer or a local. The green and white jersey flew up past us in no time: it had to be a Dimension Data pro, a teammate of former British and ACME line-up... from left, Andrew Preater, Steve Ogden, Andrew World Champion, Mark Cavendish. Likely Turner, Allen O’Leary, Carl Kirkbride and Jan Swanwick Scott Davies, the former under-23 British time trial champion. I wouldn’t say I got bored waiting for more Audaxers to turn up – it would be hugely ignorant to not appreciate our surroundings – but the three and a half hour gap between dishevelled riders felt like a very, very long time. To such a degree I wondered if we’d see any riders for the rest of the day, and even if there was any point in staying until nightfall. We would and there was. The seal was broken on the bulge around 4pm, but it took rather a long Tea time... from time to identify the rider in left, Jason Burns, question. Nick Cleaton Bob Johnson and entered our vision, but very Dan Deakins Half-way… from left, Richard Etches, slowly – too slowly to think he Bob Johnson, Ali Hutton and Ian Bird was a cyclist. An inordinate number of minutes passed before he appeared on the grey road below us and indeed he was walking. We knew he’d take a while on foot so sent Tom and Jason down to gently encourage him to get on his bike under the premise he could get a picture taken and get to the cake quicker. As soon as I’d sorted him a drink I looked down the mountain and was surprised to see multiple ant-sized dots weaving through the chicane and up the lower slopes of the mountain: as the old saying goes: “‘you wait for one Audaxer and a dozen turn up at once”. After six hours of waiting on individuals, our café stop was now a thronging gathering. Ali Hutton (more on her later) was one of many to be exceptionally thankful for Welsh cakes and a hot beverage. Even in the stifling conditions a cup of tea was still top of everyone’s priorities. Some utilised the bucket and sponge we’d brought with us to douse themselves – climbing a mountain in over 25 degrees is cruel. A little while after the first large bunch Team Andy… Andrew Turner and Andrew Preater had moved on, our very own ACME peloton came into view, emblazoned by 50

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EVENTBRIEF THE ACME GRAND 1000K When… Thursday 28th June 2018 Organiser… Thomas Deakins Body… Audax Club Mid-Essex Speed… 13.3-30 kph Total Climb… 11,000m Distance… 1,070km Email… tom.deakins@btinternet.com

Lisa Chichester

Carl Kirkbride left, and Jan Swanwick

Adrian Wikeley

the early evening sunshine. Our crew had started dinner by now – a selection of tins of curry and sausages and beans heated rapidly on the Trangia – and cracked open a few beers, much to the dismay of Andrew Turner: “Where’s ours then!?” he demanded, probably as much in fatigue-

induced frustration as actual jealousy at our golden tipple. The sun began setting as we waited for the final remnants of the field. The shadows grew over the valley and the trees elongated in their form to mottle the roads into near blackness. The blazing sun descended over the hills to our left, turning a deeper, sharper shade of molten red the closer it got to the horizon. Our bustling café stop had calmed now and we took full advantage, taking photos of the mesmeric twilight. So distracted were we that we were taken aback when a couple of riders suddenly popped up from nowhere, cutting a sharp silhouette in front of the sun. Our final two had arrived, somewhat egregiously without lights. We embarked from the mountain late evening and arrived back in Essex at 4am

on Saturday morning, and waited nervously to see who would return triumphantly to Witham on Sunday. Several DNFs revealed themselves in the 24 hours in between; some succumbed to the heat, others just couldn’t deal with the 36,000 feet of climbing as the kilometres mounted. Our hero of the piece is undoubtedly the aforementioned, Ali Hutton. An Irish lady living in Liverpool, a mechanical fiasco left her with just two gears for the last 500km. As rider after exhausted rider trudged through the gate into the Witham pub beer garden, anxiety grew while we awaited the arrival of the lantern rouge. Ali finally appeared, to rapturous applause, much to the bemusement of civilians enjoying a boozy lunch. “I never want to see the Forest of Dean again!” she groaned as she clasped her hands to her head with a grimace. www.aukweb.net

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500,000M UP – AFTER ALL THESE YEARS

WORDS ALAN ROGERS

Going Dutch through beautifully flat Friesland

PHOTO BY GOUWENAAR WWW.GOODFREEPHOTOS.COM

Every year the natives of Friesland in the northern Netherlands come out in force to support 15,000 riders as they pedal through the eleven historic towns of the province. Not so much a race as a celebration of the bicycle, the totally flat 245km course, attracts riders from across the continent. Alan Rogers joined the throng to see what it was all about…

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Imagine a long distance ride on perfectly surfaced, flat roads and paths. Imagine cheering crowds in every village with free roadside entertainment. Imagine all-day parties at all the checkpoint town controls. Imagine sharing the ride with 15,000 other riders, and all for an entry fee of around £20.

The Elfsteden is relatively ❝ unknown in the UK but attracts riders from Germany, Denmark, France and the rest of the Netherlands

This is the Fietselfstedentocht, locally called the Elfsteden. It covers the eleven historic “cities” of the province of Friesland in the north of Netherlands. The cities are actually eleven towns and villages, ranging from provincial capital to little communities you’d scarcely notice as you pass through. What they all have in common is the all-important stamp on the brevet card and an all-day party with plenty to eat and drink. The Elfsteden has been run as a bicycle event since 1912, making it roughly contemporary with PBP, and the emphasis has always been on the tour rather than the race. As many as 600 riders start in Bolsward at eight minute intervals from 5am, and the only requirement is to finish back there by midnight. Oldies and “fun-runners”, including tandems, get earlier starts than the growing numbers of sport and racing cyclists, which means that there are always faster wheels to follow. All types of bike can be seen with the exception of recumbents (velomobiles), and standards of riding are extremely high. I’ve never felt safer in a close-packed group than I did when riding with the Dutch; they seem to have an uncanny sense of what else is on the road around them. Junctions are marshalled throughout and police manage danger points like rail and main road crossings.

Leaving my hotel just after 5am to ride to the start, I was surprised to find a large family group setting up camp outside, awaiting the first riders, none of whom would be along for about half an hour. My better half had stayed in bed intending to ride out to find me on the road later, but was unable to get back to sleep once the cheering started. Outside temperature was about six degrees and these folks were going to be hard at it for nearly four hours. Later in the ride, when spectators have had longer to imbibe, support becomes correspondingly more raucous. The Elfsteden is relatively unknown in the UK but attracts riders from Germany, Denmark, France and the rest of the Netherlands. However the vast majority are Frisian and very proud of it. I heard about the event by chance when attending a talk by a sportive organiser at a local cycling club meeting. Having ridden it he was so impressed he went on to devise a similarly non-competitive, un-timed, two-day event in northern Scotland which has developed a loyal following. The Elfsteden website is in Dutch, but common sense and translation tools have meant it’s not too hard to enter. Emails in English get an English reply, and everybody has been so helpful. Places are necessarily limited so a ballot is held in December each year. If successful you have a payment deadline to meet but it’s all very simple. The ride takes place on Whit Monday each year, and it would be good to see a few more UK jerseys on the road. Did I mention the skate race? First run officially in 1909 it’s 200km on natural ice starting at Leeuwarden, and has only happened 14 times so far. The skate race, the Elfstedentocht, is similar to the bike event, in that it takes in the same eleven historic Frisian towns, and is run along the country’s frozen canals. Indeed, it pre-dates the cycle event by some years. It can be run every year, or there can be a gap of 20 years or more between events – depending on the coldness of the winter and the thickness of the ice, which has to be at least 15cms thick, or there’s no race. As many as 15,000 amateur skaters will take part – when it actually happens. Apparently it brings the whole country to a standstill on these rare occasions. It last “nearly happened” in 2012 and looked possible early 2018 but high winds disrupted the critical ice formation. Oh yes, and the record’s 6hrs 47mins.

www.fietselfstedentocht.frl

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Believe it or not, the Lumpy Python event doesn’t get its name from the way the 112km route snakes and slithers its way through the rolling Aberdeenshire landscape. It’s actually a rhyming pun on the local Ythan CC’s name – ‘Ythan as in python’. Donald Stewart took to the saddle to sample the delights of this northerly gem

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It’s always good to see a new event on the calendar – especially when it takes place in some of the most spectacular scenery in the UK. Ythan CC’s Lumpy Python, the first Audax event based on their home turf, certainly lives up to its name. The route is stunning, as was the catering. The club, based in north east Aberdeenshire, has no connection with Wales, as is often assumed, but is named after the local river, the Ythan, which rhymes with python. The lumpy bit proved to be quite apt too. On the day, the weather started with sunshine and a flat calm, but by the time the 36 starters were briefed the flat calm had been replaced by a steady and strengthening southerly wind. At least the sunshine looked set to stay with us though.


WORDS AND PICTURES BY DONALD STEWART

EVENTBRIEF LUMPY PYTHON 100KM When… Saturday 05 March 2018 How far… Total climb 112km 1,100m Starts from… Ellon, Aberdeenshire

Organiser… Paul Gordon

The route took us straight towards the coast and the quiet single track roads heading north towards Cruden Bay. Views of the coast and the North Sea on such a sunny day were fantastic and the southerly wind kept the pace high. Heading inland again, we crossed the A90 at Hatton and began to get an idea of how the event justifies including “Lumpy” in the title. The reward for the climb from Hatton was a nice descent and some glorious scenery as the route took us towards Stuartfield where we turned north again. The route skirted Aden Country Park, passing through Old Deer and Fetterangus, where some riders found themselves delayed for a few minutes as the road was blocked for the start of the local fun run.

Our group made it through without being stopped and continued on towards the first control point at Strichen. After a very brief encounter with the A952, the route turns north east where observant riders might have noticed the giant white horse marked in stone on the side of Waughton Hill to the north of the road. The Strichen control point was well situated at the Lodge which offered ample space for bikes, good coffee and an opportunity to refuel. It seemed that many of the group had managed to arrive at the Lodge at more or less the same time and a fair queue had built up by the time our party went in search of a scone. Encouraged by the sunshine, but wary of the strengthening wind, we elected to leave the Lodge in favour of a quick pit

stop at the local Co-op and press on for the next control. With Strichen as the most northerly point on the route, we were now heading west and climbing steadily. The sun continued to shine on our endeavours, but the wind was now beginning to become an issue. The route reached its highest point at 63km before an all too brief descent into Cumminestown. Despite the road closure signs at Cumminestown, we had no trouble dodging the cones and avoiding the diversion. Predictably, there was no evidence that anyone was working on the road over the weekend. Equally predictably, we had to pay for our descent with a sharp climb out of the town where the route turned south and straight into the relentless wind. This can be a beautiful

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THE LUMPY PYTHON part of the country and, despite the wind, the Lumpy Python was showcasing the area at its best. It’s a good thing that the scenery was distracting too, as this section between Cumminestown and Fyvie can only be described as a slog. Even the descent into Fyvie required a push to maintain a respectable pace and drained legs would definitely require refuelling at the Fyvie Castle tearoom. The ride up to the castle is exceptionally pretty and worth a visit if you’re ever in the area (if the weather is favourable, a picnic in the walled garden is idyllic). With Brevet cards stamped, there was no delay in heading directly for the tearoom and securing a coffee and a

suitably calorie-dense wedge of carrot cake. Outside, the collection of bikes grew steadily and the tearoom staff kept busy as hungry Audaxers made short work of the cakes, scones and sandwiches. There was, however, no putting off the inevitable, and eventually we were going to have to saddle up, hit the road and face that wind again. The climb out of Fyvie actually turned to the north east, giving some respite from the wind. This didn’t last long though, and the route soon turned into the wind again for a run south east and back to Ellon. At this point, almost all of the climbing was done and we followed the Ythan River to Methlick, then Ythanbank and ultimately back into Ellon. Finishing at the Meadows

sports centre, facilities were good with access to toilets and even showers. More importantly, the organiser had laid on tea, coffee and a selection of sandwiches and home bakes. Overall, the Lumpy Python had lived up to its name; the sunshine had helped showcase the region at its best and the wind had added an element of challenge and ensured everyone got back home with a sense of achievement. The roads on the route had been very quiet throughout allowing for some very sociable riding (except when hiding from the wind behind some other rider!). If Ythan CC host a second Lumpy Python in 2019, I’ll definitely be back.

Refuelling… Fyvie Castle offers a very welcoming tea room

Northern point… Strichen represents the area at its best

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There are plans to run the Lumpy Python as a 100k event in 2019 – and the organisers also hope to run a 65k event on the same day. Details will be on the calendar shortly


In this edition Ben Keenan outlines some basic etiquette for when we occasionally have to …

ride in a group

BEN KEENAN owns and runs Suffershire e Indoor Cycling, a Wattbik sing studio in Cheltenham. Utili kout wor the Sufferfest training and -of-the-art videos together with state static bikes, he gives riders ed professional-level, structur for workouts that are perfect endurance cyclists wishing to maintain winter fitness

The protocol regarding riding in a group is generally understood, but on the whole, unwritten. So here are some of the basics so we can all shout from the same call sheet Hand signals Where safe and possible, use a simple directional wave, or point, hand signal to warn of potholes, gravel, debris and the unhappily too frequent animal carcass. A simple shout from the front runner is not always heard, and hitting the obstacle is almost guaranteed when masked by other riders. So, If it’s safe, and after you have looked, manoeuvre away from the danger and gesture at it. Regardless of where you are positioned in the group, everyone should be pointing out the hazard. Parked cars can be particularly dangerous, especially when you are on an otherwise open road. The accepted signal for this hazard is, using your left hand (in the UK), a pointed finger across the back means you are moving to the right to avoid the obstacle, but not moving to the side to drop to the back of the group. This signal is a warning for pedestrians or a runner as well. Of course it’s up to you to judge if it’s safe to take your hands off of the bar to signal instead of simply shouting “on your left.” A flat palm facing behind you and the shout “stopping” or “slowing” is clear enough, but if you are also braking, this might not be appropriate, so a more incisive shout is a good idea. A ride leader should make sure that the passing on of warning shouts is an understood protocol throughout the ride. If you are standing out of the saddle, sitting down might be problematic, just to enable a gesture so, again, shout “pothole” or just “hole” or “gravel” and check over your shoulder before moving out of the way. One of the most common calls is the warning of an approaching vehicle. The refrain, in this situation, can be age-indicative as your more mature gentle-rider will say “car down” to describe a car approaching from the front and call “car up” for the rear. The more contemporary rider will call the self-apparent “car front” or “car back” to describe the same event. This can cause a little confusion, and the occasional exchange in a group, as newer riders will also call “car up” as a general warning, on narrow roads, for either a car front or back. Again the advice here is to make sure you are all shouting from the same call sheet at the outset, so to shout…! Riding single file To “single out” is a great way to keep up a good pace into the wind and rain but, it takes some practice for everyone to start working together. The front rider takes the wind and when they have had enough, they will look over their right shoulder, give an exaggerated flick of the elbow and move to the right hand side of the group. Slowing down, they drop to the back of the bunch and pull in. Sometimes calling “change” when you’re looking over your right shoulder is an additional signal as the second rider might not see you flick your elbow if they’re getting a drink or admiring the scenery.

This is a tricky manoeuvre and it’s even trickier on an open road where you are mixing with the traffic. Here, then, are some things to consider: ● is it safe to put yourself two-a-breast in the road at that point? ● listen out for “car back” calls. If you hear one, stay at the front until it’s passed ● you control the speed of the group, so in some instances you may slow down to allow a vehicle to pass. Call out ‘slowing’ when you do this ● before you move across, look well ahead to see if the group will need to take action to avoid potholes or debris. If you are moving down the group and another rider needs to move right, make sure you’ve left enough room. This is one of the major negatives of riding side by side, it’s much harder to avoid potholes ● the group is moving faster than you are, so without knowing it, you risk being dropped. When the last rider calls “last rider” this tells you that there is a gap behind them. Once directly alongside the last rider, start accelerating gently up to the speed of the group. After you have matched their speed, look left and slot back in. If you wait too long you might have to work really hard to get back onto the rear wheel. Riding side-by-side rotation We all love to chat when we ride. It’s just so sociable and an opportunity to bore the ly cra off your buddy, assured of a captive audience. Additionally, you get to enjoy your favourite activity. Perfect. But, you have to be extra considerate and react even more rapidly. In this format, riding two-abreast, you will nearly always rotate anti-clockwise with the front outside rider moving ahead of the front inside rider and the second outside rider taking that place at the front. As you rotate, you now have a new rider alongside you to bore. Wonderful! But, unlike riding in single file, rotating side-by-side requires that you take a relatively short time on the front as it takes longer to filter down the group for recovery at the back. Hazard calling in this context, is now even more important. If there is a consistently poor road surface you might need to move the entire group into the middle of the road to avoid it. Stay sharp and alert for “car back” call-outs here, as there may well be something overtaking as you’re trying to avoid a dead pheasant. The inner riders are responsible for pointing out the hazard (if it’s safe) and the outside rider looks back before moving out to accommodate the inside rider as they move across. If you’re confident, and judge there is room, the group can sometime manage to split in the middle and go around a hazard on both sides. Both of the lead riders

point, then split, to alert everyone and passes this pointing all the way through the group. Your turn on the front We all have to do it eventually, it’s your turn to take the lead... so being fresh and enthusiastic you put down the hammer and fly off the front. But your exuberance has just taken you away from the group, or, worse still, everyone else has responded thinking it might be a sprint stage on the TdF and is trying to keep up with you. This action results in the entire group losing momentum as each individual rider attempts to gauge the situation and bring the group back together. What you need to do when taking the lead is maintain a smooth, constant speed. It does feel harder at the front as you are taking the elements for the team, just how hard depends on the wind, but avoid increasing speed. If you are feeling strong, think about taking a longer turn on the front, not a faster turn. The same applies to a weaker rider, take a shorter, not slower turn. Hills will break up the group if you’re not communicating or thinking of everyone. Those who aren’t as fast at climbing should either start at the front to set the pace, or be in the middle to stay protected if it’s windy. If you’re aiming to stay as a group there’s no shame in calling ‘split’ if you need to slow the group down to your speed. Once the gap has been closed shout ‘back on’ so everyone knows you’re back together. Unnecessary shouting Remember you are part of a group all looking out for each others’ safety. Having any rider shouting to another about how much cake they could eat, means you can’t hear the essential calls being made. The lead riders also may misinterpret what has been said as a problem in the group. There’s really nothing wrong with a bit of jolly banter though, after all it’s not all about the pain, it can even be fun on the odd occasion… www.aukweb.net

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Paul Crook rode the Barcud Coch 200k across a deserted and remote part of Wales on a beautiful day in January taking in the glorious scenery of one of the wilder and more remote parts of Wales and was pleased to see the bird for which the ride is named…

WORDS AND PICTURES BY PAUL CROOK

Red kite’s tale An early start on a cold January morning, the sun not yet risen and a 90 minute drive to the start at Rhayader. Unload the bike, eat a hearty porridge breakfast and around 7.15 am we’re off! It’s still dark and drizzling with rain, heading out into the wilds of the Elan Valley and beyond… is this such a good idea? Climbing steadily, in the darkness, all I can hear is my breathing which is becoming increasingly laboured as the road goes up. I become aware of a distant roaring. It’s getting louder! Are there any large carnivores in Wales? All I can see is what’s illuminated by my front light, blackness to left and right. I’m beginning to get a little worried… what am I heading towards? Gradually, an area of white begins to appear ahead to the left of the road. A wall of white getting larger – all then becomes apparent. I’m approaching the Caban Coch dam – the lowest of the dams in the sequence of four built in the valley of the Elan River. It is the simplest and most functional in appearance of all the dams, resembling a natural waterfall when the reservoir is full, as it is today and the dam is in full spate with water pouring over the dam wall. I press on, the sun is beginning to appear over the hills, the road is a little flatter as I skirt the lake behind the dam. Then more climbing but as the sun gradually rises, the scenery makes the effort worthwhile. Another dam with water cascading over it. These are wild, wild roads – I haven’t yet seen another person in car, on bike or walking. I crest a hill with a preserved bridge monument at the summit. I decide not to stop and read the information board. A steep descent on a narrow road with sketchy surface which I take very cautiously. I certainly don’t want any accidents in these remote hills. I cross a small river, the drizzle has now stopped and it’s a beautiful morning. More climbing… a peregrine falcon is flying between telegraph poles ahead of me. Suddenly it veers off to the left as a much larger hawk appears over the hilltop to my

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right. As it gets closer, the forked tail becomes apparent – a red kite. Still climbing, I see my first car. Becoming a little weary with all the climbing I feel in need of sustenance. I’m looking forward to my first stop of the day at the Devil’s Bridge control. A long descent into Devil’s Bridge, I find the suggested cafe for the control is closed. I need to eat as the next section is ~70Km across even more remote mountain roads. I settle for a couple of energy bars and move on. The climb out of Devil’s Bridge follows a main road for a little way but soon turns off to the left on to another mountain road headed for Tregaron. Again, spectacular scenery – the hills are a myriad of colours in the winter sunshine. The road has consistently been very wet with small streams running across it, testifying to recent rainfall they’ve had in the area. I’m so pleased the weather has been kind to me so far – this could be a very hard route in poor weather. I pray that I don’t suffer any serious mechanical issues – it would involve a pretty long walk to get back to ‘civilisation’. The road to Tregaron is a flatter section of road, only a few rolling hills. This all changes at Tregaron – the climb out of the village involves a series of steep ramps spanning a distance of around 10Km. The image, right, is taken on this climb. On reaching the summit, a huge panorama opens up before me, the sun is still shining, and the hills are splendid colours of red, brown and green. The road is little more than a surfaced track and there’s no sign of any other person or vehicle. The climbing is relentless – each ascent followed by a descent and then climbing again. Although the scenery is spectacular, I’m pleased when I eventually reach the town of Llandovery and have the opportunity to eat some lunch. Setting off from Llandovery, it’s a steady climb to Brecon some 32Km distant. The roads are now less wild and the traffic on the A40 comparatively busy. After around 18Km, the route veers off to

the left and follows a rolling lane which runs along the side of the valley parallel to the A40. The sun is getting closer to the horizon and I know I have a few more climbs to negotiate beyond Brecon across mountain roads towards Llanwrtyd Wells. It will certainly be an experience navigating those roads in the dark. It’s dusk when I reach Brecon and I decide to press on. Steeper climbing now on wild roads with very little traffic. Climbing in the dark is a little unnerving as it’s not always evident where the top is so it’s key to modulate your effort. Anyway, after around 150Km, not too much of it flat terrain, the legs are feeling a little sore and I know my speed is significantly reduced compared to what I managed earlier in the day. The descents are tricky with the darkness, poor road surface and pools of water. I take it very easy. It wouldn’t be good if I had an accident here. The temperature is dropping fast and I’m a little concerned that ice may be forming on the roads. I’m relieved when I finally reach Llanwrtyd Wells. I have opportunity to get some food and I know, although there’s still more climbing, the roads back to Rhayader are less remote with more traffic. After food I’m feeling reasonably


… a huge ❝ panorama opens up before me, the sun is still shining, and the hills are splendid colours of red, brown and greens

refreshed and the climb out of Llanwrtyd Wells passes quickly. Unfortunately, there are a few steep ramps after this which produce extra sting in the legs. Eventually I arrive at the A470 and have a relatively flat run in to Rhayader. Thank you John Hamilton for a wonderful route. A beautiful day in an area of Wales not too much visited, at least in winter. I would recommend this ride but please be careful to only attempt it in good weather… You can find the route here: https:// ridewithgps.com/trips/20356874 and I’ve posted a short video of some of more scenic parts of the ride here: https://www. youtube.com/watch?v=2Orz5ySLrb8

Looking back… the climb out of Tregaron is a series of steep ramps covering 10km www.aukweb.net

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PROMOTIONAL FEATURE Morocco Madness… Gary on the trail near the Atlas mountains

With titles such as National Duathlon Champion and ranked 23rd in the World, Gary ‘Flash’ Blesson has raced all over the world in Europe, USA and Canada. Flash takes time out of running his busy training camp to talk to us about his latest adventures, what he chooses to ride and what life is like as a full-time athlete running ‘Delucci Retreat’ a small training camp for cyclists, runners and triathletes in the hills of Portugal

Flash of Titan ium

As a Londoner, what made you chose Portugal for the ideal training location? This part of Portugal is not well known for cycling but it is buzzing with Granfondos and triathlons, and even the Ultra-Trail World Championships 2019 is to be held in my local town of Miranda Do Corvo, which is not far from the city of Coimbra, the 3rd largest city in Portugal. I’ve been in Portugal now for nearly 10 years, watching cycling become its fastest-growing sport and following the cycling craze, but the difference here are the quiet roads and a never ending choice of mountains; the perfect recipe for a cycling adventure. There are an abundance of routes from rolling roads to the most demanding climbs, going as high as 2000m in the iconic Serra da Estrella, a 120km ride from our training camp and the location where the Tour of Portugal faces a stage every year as the most demanding part of the Tour. Delucci customers can experience this amazing range of mountains, with a full vehicle backup, as they make their way to this truly amazing place guided by me. They spend the night at the top, near Torre, the highest point, which is a small ski station (yes, that’s right, there is skiing in Portugal!). After a challenging but fulfilling day they are rewarded with amazing food and wine and are able to relax and absorb the breath-taking views and local culture. Then it’s back on the bike the next day after

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a hearty breakfast to head back to Delucci Retreat through the beautiful Beira region of Portugal.

Who would benefit from and enjoy a stay with Delucci? People who just want to ride and enjoy the mountains, escape from their busy lives and catch up with friends through riding together and the enjoyment of sharing the day’s ride over good food and wine. A lot of women and men coming on their own, cyclists who just want to improve their biking skills or simply to enjoy riding without the stress of traffic so they can focus on progressing and I’m here to help them to reach their goals. It gives me great satisfaction to see everyone improve. So, Delucci is for all kinds of levels and is indeed a retreat to train and escape! Full guiding is provided with one-to-one packages available if needed. Ride, swim, run or walk and explore… the choice is yours! We also get people who are training for cycling and triathlon events and really want to ‘up’ their game with intense training – to make sure they physically improve and return fitter – so training and recovery is the key and this is very important for us at Delucci. With endless off-road running trails, also accommodating gravel bikes and mountain bikes, with lakes not far away, everything is here apart from the crowds and traffic.

With a huge choice of road bikes these days, what do you ride and how did you choose your bike? Historically I started racing back in the 1980s on steel bikes and over the years I moved onto aluminium and then carbon in the mid 90s. Carbon, in my mind, was the way to go, with loads of new aerodynamic shapes coming out. It was light and strong and all the bikes in the world of road racing and triathlon were using carbon frames, carbon was the norm. I had seen titanium frames but I always had the feeling they wouldn’t be as cool or as modern and it just felt as if it was something you’d get if you want to take it easy on your bike, slowing down, which I certainly didn’t want to do! I ride around 20,000km a year and so I need a bike that is durable but as I also race it’s got to be fast. Around four years ago I was visiting friends in Chichester, West Sussex and, by chance, I saw a new little bike studio. I popped my head in and had a look and it was full of shiny titanium frames with superb custom paint and each one was unique. Built with high-end components, these bikes looked the business. Since the day I first saw those bikes I had to try one. I met James who designs and hand-finishes each bike and I was lucky enough to borrow one. Now I own a Vaaru Octane 6-4, complete with custom paint personalised to complement my training camp, Delucci Retreat. These bikes, when they are sprayed half and half, become works of art and

stand out from the abundance of matt black carbon stealth looking bikes, which have reached a stage where you can’t tell the difference between brands. I never thought this would be my main bike – I thought it would be my second one – as I also have Specialized S-Works, but this is not the case. My Vaaru is that bike where you think, “actually this bike does everything – training, racing and touring”. The thing with titanium bikes is that they can take on all different kind of personalities; you can totally change them just by adding deep section wheels, custom spray jobs, etc. They are so versatile and, once you have one, you know you will have that bike forever. It’s a softer ride than carbon, but with carbon forks and carbon monocoque bars it feels so responsive and extremely stable on descending. I’ve had my Octane for over a year and I’ve ridden over 16,000km on it and look forward to many more to come. I love the titanium feel – quick, responsive, comfortable and looks great! And I love this bike! What adventures have you been on this year? This year alone, I have had loads of exciting adventures on my Vaaru Octane 6-4 titanium bike. It’s just bullet proof and won’t let me down, as well as being incredibly comfortable. Up until August so far I’ve used my titanium bike for every scenario. On a day to day basis, quite simply I use it as a training bike in central Portugal, preparing myself


for customers coming to Delucci Retreat for the season ahead and guiding the riders every day through the scenic Portuguese mountains. I also race on my Vaaru Octane 6-4 and took part in a Granfondo in Lisbon in May where I achieved a podium position and then a duathlon where I also managed to get on the podium. On the same bike I then rode across Portugal from north to south as a support rider to a group of cyclists in June, riding over a five day period and covering over 700km. Ride Across Portugal is now in its second year and my role was to ride at the back of the peloton, to both encourage riders and ensure they complete the challenge – hopefully with a smile on their faces! It was an emotional experience seeing people achieve a challenge they didn’t think they could complete. After that, I was working with riders from team GB helping them with their training for ten days and pushing myself and the bike into race training mode. In June I headed to Morocco to ride across the Atlas Mountains on my other Vaaru, a V:8 Di2 disc brake road bike which is a hire bike at Delucci. I rode with luggage and 70% of the route was off road. With only 25mm tyres, I took on terrain which I thought would not be possible, but that bike was unbreakable! I took it and me to the limit! Everyone else was on mountain bikes or gravel bikes. The route was changed at the last minute, so I had no choice but to take the road bike. The terrain really needed a gravel bike, but I thought “this bike can do this” and it did not let me down! My Vaaru was the only bike which didn’t have a mechanical problem

Alpine style… tricky route in the French Alps

Customised… a shiny new titanium frame with matching Oakleys

throughout the whole trip. Luckily as the V:8 is bare titanium it’s easy to wash and as I polish the frame over the years the titanium gets shinier. If you choose to have a brushed finish, a bit of scotch brite will take out those cable rub marks as opposed to carbon, where the lacquer can break down and chips and scratches can’t be polished out. A huge benefit for titanium was the V:8 was left looking like new after that very demanding adventure. If you’ve

had a few tough years on the bike Vaaru also offer a service to re-brush and re-graphic the frame. After the Moroccan madness it was back onto the Vaaru Octane 6-4 and off to the Alps in France with friends and five days riding those classic climbs which have been made iconic by the Tour de France. I’m lucky to be riding for a living as well as looking after our guests at Delucci Retreat. I hope to see to see you there! ● Delucci Retreat is based in central Portugal and is a small training camp for cyclists, runners and triathletes. The cost to stay full board is around 80 Euros a night. Vaaru owners get 10% off a stay at Delucci Retreat or have the option to hire a bike for 15 Euros a day. For more information contact flash@delucci.co.uk or +351 239538034 ● Vaaru Cycles is a small bespoke titanium bicycle manufacturer based in West Sussex specialising in custom finishing and bespoke builds. Contact james@vaarucycles. com for more information or call 07789 931124.

www.aukweb.net

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AUK CALENDAR

KEY

1826m Total elevation AAA Audax Altitude Award points A(1) Free/cheap accommodation (1 night) B Very basic – no halls/beds, et c BD Bag drop R  Refreshments at start and/or finish S Showers Z Sleeping facilities on route YH Youth hostel at/near start C Camping at or near the start F Some free food and/or drink on ride L Left luggage facilities at start P Free or cheap motor parking at start T Toilets at start M/NM Mudguards required/not required X  Some very basic controls (eg service stations) G GPS files provided by the organiser 175 Entries close at 175 riders 14/4 Entries close 14th April 15-30kph Minimum-maximum speeds

200 01 Sep Figgate Park, nr Portobello, Edinburgh  Lumpy Bannocks tae Spott 07:00 Sat BR 208km 2650m AAA2.25 [2350m] £8.00 f g l p t 14.4-30kph Musselburgh RCC 07852105204 Alistair Mackintosh, 5 Durham Road South Edinburgh EH15 3PD 200 01 Sep Henham, Saffron Walden  Early Autumn (200) Randonee 08:00 Sat BR 216km 1700m £6.00 L P R S T 15-30kph Shaftesbury CC Tim Stout, 31 Eversleigh Gardens Upminster, Essex RM14 1DP 170 01 Sep Henham, Saffron Walden  Early Autumn (170) Randonee 09:00 Sat BP 1400m £6.00 L P R S T 15-30kph Shaftesbury CC Tim Stout, 31 Eversleigh Gardens Upminster Essex RM14 1DP 110 01 Sep Henham, Saffron Walden  Early Autumn (110) Randonee 10:00 Sat BP 850m £6.00 L P R S T 15-30kph Shaftesbury CC Tim Stout, 31 Eversleigh Gardens, Upminster, Essex RM14 1DP 200 01 Sep Herne Common, Kent Thanet Platinum 200 08:00 Sat BRM 2200m £9.00 C G L NM P R T 100 (24/8) 15-30kph Thanet RC dave@widdersbel.co.uk David Kenning, Little Orchard, Pean Hill, Whitstable CT5 3BQ 160 01 Sep Herne Common, Kent  Thanet Platinum Century 08:30 Sat BP 1800m £9.00 C G L NM P R T 50 (24/8) 14-28kph Thanet RC dave@widdersbel.co.uk David Kenning, Little Orchard, Pean Hill, Whitstable CT5 3BQ 110 01 Sep Herne Common, Kent Thanet Platinum 110 09:30 Sat BP 113km 1200m £9.00 C G L NM P R T 50 (24/8) 12-25kph Thanet RC dave@widdersbel.co.uk David Kenning, Little Orchard, Pean Hill, Whitstable CT5 3BQ 200 01 Sep Old Ma’s Tattenhall, Cheshire  Pistyll Packing Momma 08:00 Sat BR 209km 3400m AAA3.5 £6.00 BD R L P T 29/08 15-30kph Chester & North Wales CTC dmanu@outlook.com ROA 10000 David Matthews, Hill View Cottage, Cross Lanes. Oscroft, Tarvin, Cheshire CH3 8NG 130 01 Sep Old Ma’s Tattenhall, Cheshire Momma’s Mountain Views 08:30 Sat BP 137km 2000m AAA2 £6.00 BD R L P T 29/08 12.5-25kph Chester & N Wales CTC dmanu@outlook.com ROA 10000 David Matthews, Hill View Cottage, Cross Lanes, Oscroft, Tarvin, Cheshire CH3 8NG

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50

01 Sep Old Ma’s Tattenhall, Cheshire  Momma’s Leafy Lanes 09:00 Sat BP £6.00 BD R L P T 29/08 10-25kph Chester & N Wales CTC dmanu@outlook.com ROA 10000 David Matthews, Hill View Cottage, Cross Lanes, Oscroft, Tarvin, Cheshire CH3 8NG

600 08 Sep Churchend, Dunmow  Fenland Friends [Flatlands Reversed] 06:00 Sat BRM 1073m £8.00 X M L P R T C G A[1] 15-30kph Updated Audax Club Mid-Essex tom.deakins@btinternet.com Thomas Deakins, 31 The Causeway, Great Dunmow, Essex CM6 2AA

200 01 Sep Tewkesbury  Mr. Pickwick goes to Hay in a day 08:00 Sat BR 209km 1900m £6.00 c f l p r t nm 100 15-25kph BlackSheep CC blacksheepaudax@gmail.com ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, c/o Maggs Day Centre, Deansway, Worcester WR1 2JD

200 08 Sep Dore, Sheffield The Amber Weaver 08:00 Sat BR 208km 3850m AAA3.75 £6.00 L P R T G 14.3-30kph Sheffield District CTC Andy Smith, 1 Durvale Court, Dore, Sheffield S17 3PT

100 01 Sep Tewkesbury ‘Mint’ Stalwart’s Mania 09:00 Sat BP 105km 1300m £6.00 C F G NM R T (100) 10-30kph BlackSheep CC blacksheepaudax@gmail.com ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, c/o Maggs Day Centre, Deansway, Worcester WR1 2JD 100 01 Sep Tongwynlais, Cardiff Trefil Travail 9:00 Sat BP 105km 2270m AAA2.25 £8.00 YH L P R T 50 12-24kph Hugh Mackay Hugh.Mackay@open.ac.uk Hugh Mackay, 131 Stanwell Road, Penarth CF64 3LL 100 09:00

02 Sep Asda New Road, Forfar Drumtochty Dander Sun BP 103km £5.00 NM P R T 12-25kph Angus Bike Chain alexabccc@gmail.com Alex Pattison, 1 Angle Park Crescent, Kirriemuir, Angus DD8 4TJ

160 02 Sep Asda, New Road, Forfar  Kilrymanjaro Hundred Miles 08:00 Sun BP 1200m £8.00 NM P R T 12-25kph Angus Bike Chain alexabccc@gmail.com Alex Pattison, 1 Angle Park Crescent, Kirriemuir, Angus DD8 4TJ 100 02 Sep Hampton Hill, SW London London Sightseer 08:30 Sun BP 105km £6.00 L P T NM 10-20kph Hounslow & Dist. Whs 020 8287 3244 billcarnaby@outlook.com Bill Carnaby, 225 High Street, Hampton Hill, Middlesex TW12 1NP 200 02 Sep Lower Whitley, nr Warrington  N C C “The Big Wizard” 08:00 Sun BR 2450m AAA2.25 [2200m] £8.00 F G P R Y 15-30kph North Cheshire Clarion neilshand67@gmail.com Neil Shand, 12 Chapel Close, Comberbach, Northwich, Cheshire CW9 6BA 160 02 Sep Lower Whitley, nr Warrington  N C C ‘The Wizard, Llamas and Fire Station’ 08:30 Sun BP 1400m £8.00 F G P R Y 15-30kph North Cheshire Clarion neilshand67@gmail.com Neil Shand, 12 Chapel Close, Comberbach, Northwich, Cheshire CW9 6BA 120 02 Sep Lower Whitley, nr Warrington  N C C ‘The Wizard and the Llamas Audax’ 09:00 Sun BP 1050m £8.00 F G P R T 15-30kph North Cheshire Clarion neilshand67@gmail.com Neil Shand, 12 Chapel Close, Comberbach, Northwich, Cheshire CW9 6BA 200 02 Sep Moira, W of Ashby-de-la-Zouch  East Midlands Forests 200k 08:00 Sun BR 207km £6.30 C P T R YH (40) (29/8) 15-30kph CTC East Midlands 01283 223 581 hilly@hillyswad.co.uk Ian Hill, 33 Wren Close, Swadlincote, Derbyshire DE11 7QP 100 02 Sep Moira, W of Ashby-de-la-Zouch  Bosworth Battlefield Sightseer 09:30 Sun BP 105km £5.50 P R T C YH (80) (29/08) 12-24kph CTC East Midlands 01283 223 581 hilly@hillyswad.co.uk Ian Hill, 33 Wren Close, Swadlincote, Derbyshire DE11 7QP 300 08 Sep Chalfont St Peter, SL9 9QX 3Down 06:00 Sat BRM 2650m £8.00 YHGLPRT 15-30kph Change of Date Willesden CC ianaudax@gmail.com Ian Oliver, 68 St Dunstans Avenue, London W3 6QJ

100 08 Sep Dore, Sheffield An Amber Gambol 09:00 Sat BP 105km 1750m AAA1.75 £6.00 L P R T G 12-25kph Sheffield District CTC Andy Smith, 1 Durvale Court, Dore, Sheffield S17 3PT 300 08 Sep Oldland Common, Bristol Barry’s Jaeger Bomb 06:30 Sat BR 305km 3065m [2700m] £9.00 P R G T L NM (100) 15-30kph Las Vegas Institute of Spor audax@lvis.org.uk Marcus Mumford, Upper Haselor Farm, Haselor Lane, Hinton-on-the-green, Evesham, Worcestershire WR11 2QZ 600 08 Sep Sleaford,Yorkshire via Essex,  (The Flatlands Reversed) 06:00 Sat BRM 2250m £6.00 X,G, P,R 15-30kph Audax Club Lincolnshire lincsaudax@gmail.com Richard Parker, 28 High Street, Carlton Le Moorland, Lincoln LN5 9HT 200 08:00

09 Sep Arnside Hostel Northern Dales Sun BR 202km 3000m AAA3 £7.00 YH R S T 15-30kph VC 167 julian.dyson2@baesystems.com Julian Dyson, 5 Duke Street Gleaston, Ulverston, Cumbria LA12 0UA

100 09 Sep Arnside Hostel Northern Dales Populaire 09:00 Sun BP 109km 1675m AAA1.75 £7.00 YH R S T 12.5-25kph VC 167 julian.dyson2@baesystems.com Julian Dyson, 5 Duke Street, Gleaston, Ulverston, Cumbria LA12 0UA 100 09 Sep Budleigh Salterton, Devon  Utterly Butterleigh 09:00 Sun BP 104km 1500m AAA1.5 £6.00 A C G L NM R T (75) 15-30kph CS Dynamo Steven Medlock, 11 Marpool Hill, Exmouth, Devon EX8 2LJ 55 09 Sep Budleigh Salterton, Devon East Devon Escape 10:00 Sun BP 550m £6.00 C G L NM P R T 12.5-30kph CS Dynamo Steven Medlock, 11 Marpool Hill, Exmouth, Devon EX8 2LJ 200 09 Sep Merton Hall, Ponteland The Middle Marches 08:00 Sun BR 209km 2400m £10.00 FGPRT 15-30kph Updated Tyneside Vagabonds 07875224229 andy@dixonberne.plus.com Andy Berne, 5 Oakham Avenue, Whickham, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Tyne And Wear NE16 5YU 140 09 Sep Merton Hall, Ponteland Coquetdale Circuit 09:00 Sun BP 1700m £8.00 GPRT 15-30kph Updated Tyneside Vagabonds 07875224229 andy@dixonberne.plus.com Andy Berne, 5 Oakham Avenue, Whickham, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Tyne And Wear NE16 5YU 100 09:00

15 Sep Aztec West Bristol Skirting the Cotswolds Sat BP 940m [930m] £6.50 P R T 12.5-25kph Audax Club Bristol peter@audaxclubbristol.co.uk Entry on line only

200 15 Sep Dalgety Bay, KY3 0RY Borders of Fife 08:00 Sat BR 2550m AAA2.25 [2350m] £8.00 F P T 15-30kph Audax Ecosse Dave Crampton, 7 Cullaloe Court, Dalgety Bay, Fife KY11 9NW


200 15 Sep Harringay, London Straight Outta Hackney 08:00 Sat BR £14.50 CFLPRT 15-30kph Audax Club Hackney 07932672561 justinjones1969@gmail.com Justin Jones, ACH HQ Incorporating The Stags Head, 39 Harringay Road, Harringay, London N15 3JB

200 22 Sep Frenchay, Bristol  Slaughtered in the Cotswolds 07:00 Sat BR 205km 2750m AAA2.75 [2685m] £7.50 P R T (100) (19/9) 15-30kph Audax Club Bristol will@audaxclubbristol.co.uk Will Pomeroy, 5 Chaplin Rd, Bristol BS5 0JT

200 15 Sep Llanfallteg Velos’ Indian summer secret 06:00 Sat BR 3750m AAA3.75 £8.00 C F G NM P R T 15-30kph Pembrokeshire Velo Richard Coomer, Cotts Equine Hospital, Robeston Wathen, Narberth, Pembrokeshire SA67 8EY

160 22 Sep Frenchay, Bristol  Granny’s Cotswolds Telegram 07:45 Sat BP 164km 2110m AAA2 [2025m] £6.50 P R T (100) (19/9) 12.5-25kph Audax Club Bristol will@audaxclubbristol.co.uk Will Pomeroy, 5 Chaplin Rd, Bristol BS5 0JT

110 15 Sep Ludford, NE of Lincoln Lincolnshire Wolds 09:30 Sat BP 867m £5.00 F P R T G NM 15-30kph Cycling UK Lincolnshire timnewbery@hotmail.com ROA 3000 Tim Newbery, 7a Linden Walk, Louth LN11 9HT 200 08:00

15 Sep Richmond, N Yorks Dales Dales Tour Plus Sat BR 3150m AAA3.25 £6.00 F L P R T 14.4-30kph VC 167 David.atkinson577@talktalk.net David Atkinson, 4 Borrowby Avenue, Northallerton, North Yorkshire DL6 1AL

100 15 Sep Richmond, N Yorks  Dave’s Mini Dales Tour 100km 09:00 Sat BP 1900m AAA2 £5.50 F L P R T 12-30kph VC 167 David.atkinson577@talktalk.net David Atkinson, 4 Borrowby Avenue, Northallerton, North Yorkshire DL6 1AL 200 15 Sep Usk, Monmouthshire Epynt Epic 07:30 Sat BR 208km 2905m AAA2 [1393m] £8.00 G NM P R T (8/9) 15-30kph Monmouthshire Wheelers bob@littlebrookcottage.co.uk Bob Millar, Little Brook Cottage, Earlswood, Chepstow NP16 6RH 100 16 Sep Alfreton, NW of Nottingham  Beware of the plague 09:00 Sun BP 107km 1900m AAA2 £6.00 P R T F 12.5-24kph Alfreton CTC martynleighton@uwclub.net Martyn Leighton, 46 Ashford Rise, Belper, Derbyshire DE56 1TJ

160 22 Sep Husbands Bosworth Welland Wonder 160 08:00 Sat BP 1561m AAA1.5 [1675m] £7.00 LPRT 15-30kph Welland Valley CC ROA 5000 Mike Vybiral, Logan Cottage, Grange Lane, East Langton, Market Harborough, Leicestershire LE16 7TF 110 22 Sep Husbands Bosworth Welland Wonder 110 08:30 Sat BP 116km 1133m AAA1 [1350m] £7.00 LPRT 12-24kph Welland Valley CC ROA 5000 Mike Vybiral, Logan Cottage, Grange Lane, East Langton, Market Harborough, Leicestershire LE16 7TF

200 29 Sep Chepstow Castle Car Park  Border Castles 200km Randonnee 07:30 Sat BR 2600m AAA2.5 [3000m] £6.80 X GMT 15-30kph Audax Club Bristol peter@audaxclubbristol.co.uk Peter Rogan, Manor Cottage, Old Down Hill, Tockington, Sth Gloucestershire BS32 4PB

53 22 Sep Husbands Bosworth Welland Wonder 50 09:00 Sat BP 600m £6.00 LPRT 12-24kph Welland Valley CC ROA 5000 Mike Vybiral, Logan Cottage, Grange Lane, East Langton, Market Harborough, Leicestershire LE16 7TF

300 29 Sep Greenwich Greenwich Mean Climb 06:00 Sat BR 309km 4500m AAA4.5 £14.00 F G R (80) 1528kph Audax Club Hackney ivan.cornell@gmail.com Ivan Cornell, 13 Maidenstone Hill, London SE10 8SY

200 22 Sep Stevenage, Hertfordshire  The Four Minute Mile 07:30 Sat BR 215km 2000m £5.00 X G P 15-30kph Change of Date Hertfordshire Audax auk@hertsaudax.uk Phil Whitehurst, 506 Archer Road, Stevenage SG1 5QL

200 29 Sep Kirkley Cycles, Ponteland Copshaw Holm 200 08:00 Sat BR 204km 2500m [1916m] £6.50 X C F G P R T (60) 15-30kph Tyneside Vagabonds Rob Wood, 43 Holly Avenue, Jesmond, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Tyne & Wear NE2 2PX

110 22 Sep Stevenage, Hertfordshire  Hertfordshire Greenways 08:00 Sat BP 111km 1000m £5.00 X G P 10-20kph Change of Date Hertfordshire Audax auk@hertsaudax.uk Phil Whitehurst, 506 Archer Road, Stevenage SG1 5QL

100 29 Sep Sonning Common, near Reading  Henley Hilly Hundred 09:00 Sat BP 102km 1660m AAA1.75 £6.00 FLPRT 12-30kph Reading CTC brianperry_3@hotmail.co.uk Brian Perry, 16 Rowland Close, Wallingford, Oxon OX10 8LA

200 22 Sep Tewkesbury Mr. Pickwick’s March Madness 07:30 Sat BR 209km 2300m AAA2 [2100m] £6.00 C,F,G,T,NM,P,100 15-30kph Change of Date BlackSheep CC blacksheepaudax@gmail.com ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, c/o Maggs Day Centre, Deansway, Worcester WR1 2JD

200 16 Sep Surbiton, Greater London  Rowlands RAAAmble 07:30 Sun BR 213km 2700m AAA2.5 [2550m] £9.50 F G L P R T (120) (9/9) 14.3-30kph Updated Kingston Whs Chris Tillapaugh, 1 Summer Gardens, East Molesey KT8 9LT

110 22 Sep Tewkesbury Bill’s Theocsbury Ramble 09:00 Sat BP £6.00 c p r t nm 100 12-30kph Change of Date BlackSheep CC blacksheepaudax@gmail.com ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, c/o Maggs Day Centre, Deansway, Worcester WR1 2JD

200 22 Sep Broken Cross, nr Macclesfield  Venetian Nights 08:00 Sat BR 210km 2750m AAA2.25 [2333m] £10.00 F L P R T 14.3-25kph Peak Audax CTC perrin_john@sky.com John Perrin, 20 Princes Way, Macclesfield, Cheshire SK11 8UB 200 22 Sep Droitwich Severn Vale and Cotswold Day Out 08:15 Sat BR 207km £4.00 C P T R M 14.4-30kph Gavin Greenhow 01905 775 803 ROA 25000 Gavin Greenhow, 44 Newland Road, Droitwich WR9 7AG

110 29 Sep Blaxhall, Suffolk The Suffolk Byways 09:00 Sat BP 117km 800m £6.50 YH G L P R T (120) 15-30kph Suffolk CTC coupeaudax@gmail.com David Coupe, 30 Wells Way Debenham, Stowmarket, Suffolk IP14 6SL 100 29 Sep Bolsover Beast of Bolsover 09:00 Sat BP 105km 1900m AAA2 £5.00 G L P R T (100) 12.5-25kph Bolsover & District CC 01246 825 351 matt.connley@talktalk.net ROA 5000 Matt Connley, 7 Eskdale Close, Bolsover, Chesterfield S44 6RL

110 16 Sep Parkend, Forest of Dean  The Lumpy Scrumpy 100 10:00 Sun BP 1850m AAA1.75 £6.00 YH C P T 75 G 12-25kph Updated Royal Dean Forest CC Matt Neale, 1 Knockley Cottages, Parkend Road, Bream GL15 6JR

600 21 Sep Bispham, Lancashire  Blackpool – Glasgow – Blackpool 600 22:00 Fri BRM 605km 3600m £15.00 F L P R T 15-30kph Burnley CC burnleysportiv@yahoo.com Andy Corless, 31 Castlerigg Drive, Ightenhill, Burnley, Lancashire BB12 8AT

88 23 Sep Haynes Road, Leicester, LE5 4AR Inner Circle 08:30 Sun BP 1100m [1200m] £5.00 L P R T NM 12.5-30kph Leicester Forest CC Steve Orchard, 28 Hidcote Road, Oadby, Leicester LE2 5PE

200 22 Sep Welton, East Yorkshire Humber Bridge 200 08:00 Sat BR 202km 1350m £5.00 GPRTL(75) 14.3-30kph VC 167 Revd G Holdsworth, 1 Hidcote Walk, Welton Brough, East Riding of Yorkshire HU15 1FP 100 22 Sep Welton, East Yorkshire Humber Bridge 100 09:00 Sat BP 109km 450m £5.00 GPRTL(75) 12.5-30kph VC 167 Revd G Holdsworth, 1 Hidcote Walk, Welton Brough, East Riding of Yorkshire HU15 1FP 200 23 Sep Denmead, Nr Portsmouth  Wylye and Ebble Valley 07:30 Sun BR 2450m AAA1.75 [1650m] £6.00 f l p t (18/9) 15-30kph Hampshire RC mrpaulwhitehead@yahoo.co.uk Paul Whitehead, 73 Spencer Road, Emsworth, Hampshire PO10 7XR 200 23 Sep Haynes Road, Leicester Leicester Triangle 08:00 Sun BR £6.00 G, L, P, R, T 15-30kph Leicester Forest CC Steve Orchard, 28 Hidcote Road, Oadby, Leicester LE2 5PE

200 29 Sep Waddington, Lincoln Witham and Blues 08:00 Sat BR 1350m £6.00 C G L NM P R T 15-30kph Audax Club Lincolnshire Paul Bolton, 11 Belton Park Drive, North Hykeham, Lincs LN6 9XW 110 29 Sep Waddington, Lincoln Witham and Blues 9:00 Sat BP 450m £5.00 C G L NM P R T 15-30kph Audax Club Lincolnshire Paul Bolton, 11 Belton Park Drive, North Hykeham, Lincs LN6 9XW 60 29 Sep Waddington, Lincoln Witham and Blues 10:00 Sat BP 200m £5.00 C G L NM P R T 15-30kph Audax Club Lincolnshire Paul Bolton, 11 Belton Park Drive, North Hykeham, Lincs LN6 9XW 200 30 Sep Clitheroe, Lancashire  Last Chance Dales Dance 200 08:00 Sun BRM 3300m AAA3.25 [3000m] £6.00 L P R T 15-30kph Burnley CC burnleysportiv@yahoo.com Andy Corless, 31 Castlerigg Drive, Ightenhill, Burnley, Lancashire BB12 8AT 100 30 Sep Uffington Corallian Crusade 09:30 Sun BP 105km 477m £6.00 C G L P R T 15-30kph Corallian CC audax@talbot.gb.net John Talbot, 33 Barretts Way Sutton Courtenay Abingdon OX14 4DD 200 06 Oct Belbroughton, Worcestershire  Autumn Beyond the Dyke 08:00 Sat BR 206km 2650m AAA1.75 [1750m] £8.50 G,L,P,R,T,S,F 15-30kph Beacon RCC 01562 731606 p.whiteman@bham.ac.uk Dr Philip Whiteman, 2 Drayton Terrace, Drayton, Belbroughton, Stourbridge DY9 0BW

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AUK CALENDAR 100 06 Oct Bristol, The Lamplighters Tasty Cheddar 09:00 Sat BP 101km 1400m £4.00 YH G NM P R T (250) 12.5-30kph Bristol CTC joe.prosser@blueyonder.co.uk ROA 4000 Joe Prosser, 4 Cottonwick Close, Shirehampton, Bristol BS11 9FR 200 06 Oct Churchend, Dunmow, Essex  Richard Ellis Memorial 200 08:30 Sat BR 1600m £10.00 A[1] M G R P T L C F 15-30kph Audax Club Mid-Essex tom.deakins@btinternet.com Thomas Deakins, 31 The Causeway, Great Dunmow, Essex CM6 2AA 100 06 Oct Churchend, Dunmow, Essex  Richard Ellis Memorial 100 09:30 Sat BP 103km 950m £9.00 A[1] M G R P T L C 12.5-25kph Audax Club Mid-Essex tom.deakins@btinternet.com Thomas Deakins, 31 The Causeway, Great Dunmow, Essex CM6 2AA 200 06 Oct Coryton, NW Cardiff Gower Getter 07:30 Sat BR 202km 2250m £9.00 YH L P R T 15-30kph Motorlegs Cardiff David Hann, 8 Kymin Terrace, Penarth CF64 1AP 100 09:00

06 Oct Dore, Sheffield Ring of Steel (City) Sat BP 104km 1900m AAA2 £5.00 GLPRT 12-25kph Sheffield District CTC cripps@uwclub.net John Cripps, 8 Brincliffe Crescent, Sheffield S11 9AW

200 08:00

06 Oct Dore, Sheffield On to the Big Ring Sat BR 205km 2700m £5.00 GLPRT 15-30kph Sheffield District CTC cripps@uwclub.net John Cripps, 8 Brincliffe Crescent, Sheffield S11 9AW

61 9:30

06 Oct Dore, Sheffield The Little Ring Sat BP 1100m AAA1 £5.00 GLPRT 10-25kph Sheffield District CTC cripps@uwclub.net Sheffield District CTC cripps@uwclub.net John Cripps, 8 Brincliffe Crescent, Sheffield S11 9AW

110 06 Oct Hailsham, E Sussex  Its a Wonderful Weald 100 08:30 Sat BP 111km 1150m £7.00 F P 15-30kph Chris Tracey Christrauk@yahoo.co.uk Christopher Tracey, 20 Salisbury Road, Seaford, East Sussex BN25 2DD 200 06 Oct St Herbert’s, Windermere Brant and Slape 08:00 Sat BR 203km 3800m AAA3.75 [380m] £6.00 A(1) P L YH P R T S 15-30kph Lakes Velo paul@revells.com Paul Revell, Kirklands, Brow Edge, Backbarrow, Cumbria LA12 8QL 100 09:00

07 Oct Abergavenny Marches Grimpeur Sun BP 1950m AAA2 £10.00 YH F P L T 12.5-25kph Abergavenny RC waville@yahoo.com Jonathan Saville, 9 Trehonddu, Llanvihangel Crucorney, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire NP7 8DG

200 08:00

07 Oct Ulcombe, Kent The Fairies Crown and Anchor Sun BR 210km 2150m £6.00 G L P R T (50) 15-30kph San Fairy Ann CC bobwatts999@gmail.com Bob Watts, 13 The Grove Bearsted, Maidstone, Kent ME14 4JB

100 09:00

07 Oct Ulcombe, Kent The Fairies Half Crown Sun BP 106km 1150m £5.00 G L P R T (50) 15-30kph San Fairy Ann CC bobwatts999@gmail.com Bob Watts, 13 The Grove Bearsted, Maidstone, Kent ME14 4JB

100 07 Oct Winchcombe, Glos  Winchcombe Falling Leaves 108 09:00 Sun BP 1750m AAA1.75 £8.00 T,F,P,R,NM,G 12.5-25kph Winchcombe Cycling Club happysarah37@aol.com Sarah Davies, 22 Binyon Road, Winchcombe, Cheltenham GL54 5QY

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Arrivéesummer/autumn2018

200 13 Oct Chalfont St Peter The AAAnfractuous 08:00 Sat BR 207km 2900m AAA3 £8.00 L P R T M 15-30kph Updated Willesden CC paudax@gmail.com Paul Stewart, 25 Devonshire Gardens, Chiswick, London W4 3TN 200 13 Oct Chalfont St Peter The Less Anfractuous 08:10 Sat BR 202km 2400m £8.00 L P R T M 15-30kph Updated Willesden CC paudax@gmail.com Paul Stewart, 25 Devonshire Gardens, Chiswick, London W4 3TN 100 13 Oct Chalfont St Peter The Nyctophobic 08:30 Sat BP 106km 1400m £7.00 L P R T M 15-30kph Updated Willesden CC paudax@gmail.com Paul Stewart, 25 Devonshire Gardens, Chiswick, London W4 3TN 200 13 Oct Corwen, N. Wales The Clwydian 08:00 Sat BR 212km 3200m AAA3.25 [3488m] £6.00 P R T 50 15-30kph Chester & N Wales CTC vickypayne8@hotmail.com Vicky Payne, Bryn Celyn, Penyffordd, Holywell, Flintshire CH8 9HH 130 13 Oct Corwen, N. Wales The Clwyd Gate 08:30 Sat BP 138km 2250m AAA2.25 £6.00 P R T 50 12.5-25kph Chester & N Wales CTC vickypayne8@hotmail.com Vicky Payne, Bryn Celyn, Penyffordd, Holywell, Flintshire CH8 9HH 60 13 Oct Corwen, N. Wales ‘The Bala Mini-Bash’ 09:00 Sat BP £6.00 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 14 Oct Carlton Colville, Lowestoft, Suffolk  The Silly Suffolk 08:00 Sun BR 1050m £6.00 FRTP 15-30kph VC Baracchi johntommo6@btinternet.com John Thompson, 136 Dell Road, Oulton Broad, Lowestoft, Suffolk NR33 9NT 160 14 Oct Carlton Colville, Lowestoft, Suffolk  The Silly Suffolk 09:00 Sun BP 850m £6.00 FRTP 12.5-25kph Updated VC Baracchi johntommo6@btinternet.com John Thompson, 136 Dell Road, Oulton Broad, Lowestoft, Suffolk NR33 9NT 200 14 Oct Congleton Rugby Club  Horseshoe Pass Event CANCELLED 170 14 Oct Congleton Rugby Club  Chirk Aqueduct Event CANCELLED 100 14 Oct Galashiels Ride of the Valkyries 09:00 Sun BP 106km 1200m [1517m] £9.00 LPRTSG 12-30kph Updated Audax Ecosse pedaller1@sky.com ROA 25000 Lucy Mctaggart, 30 Victoria Street, Galashiels, Scottish Borders TD1 1HL 100 14 Oct Minehead Ken’s Autumn Colours 09:30 Sun BP 105km 1750m AAA1.75 £5.00 YH L P R T 12.5-25kph Minehead CC Richard Miles, 1 Lower Park, Minehead, Somerset TA24 8AX 60 14 Oct Minehead Ken’s Autumn Colours 10:00 Sun BP 1250m AAA1.25 £5.00 YH L P R T 10-20kph Minehead CC Richard Miles, 1 Lower Park, Minehead, Somerset TA24 8AX

200 13 Oct Galashiels Etal-u-Can 08:00 Sat BR 204km 2379m £10.00 LPRTSG 15-30kph Audax Ecosse pedaller1@sky.com ROA 25000 Lucy Mctaggart, 30 Victoria Street, Galashiels, Scottish Borders TD1 1HL

100 14 Oct Mytholmroyd Season of Mists 09:00 Sun BP 105km 2555m AAA2.5 £5.00 L P R T YH 1224kph West Yorkshire CTC chris.crossland@halifaxctc.org.uk ROA 25000 Chris Crossland, 14 Stanley Street West, Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire HX6 1EF

150 13 Oct Galashiels Dick McTs 150 Classic 09:00 Sat BP 1576m [1600m] £10.00 LPRTSG 12-30kph Updated Audax Ecosse pedaller1@sky.com ROA 25000 Lucy Mctaggart, 30 Victoria Street, Galashiels, Scottish Borders TD1 1HL

55 14 Oct Mytholmroyd Mellow Fruitfulness 10:00 Sun BP 1200m AAA1.25 £4.50 L P R T YH 8-20kph West Yorkshire CTC chris.crossland@halifaxctc.org.uk ROA 25000 Chris Crossland, 14 Stanley Street West, Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire HX6 1EF

200 13 Oct Tewkesbury Mr. Pickwick’s Autumnal Outing 07:30 Sat BR 206km 2350m £6.00 c l p r t nm 100 15-25kph BlackSheep CC blacksheepaudax@gmail.com ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, c/o Maggs Day Centre, Deansway, Worcester WR1 2JD

110 20 Oct Bolsover Colourful Clumber 09:00 Sat BP £5.00 G L P R T (100) 15-30kph Bolsover & District CC 01246 825 351 matt.connley@talktalk.net ROA 5000 Matt Connley, 7 Eskdale Close, Bolsover, Chesterfield S44 6RL

150 13 Oct Tewkesbury Ed Blackthorn’s Son 08:30 Sat BP 151km 1590m £6.00 C G P T NM 100 12-30kph BlackSheep CC blacksheepaudax@gmail.com ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, c/o Maggs Day Centre, Deansway, Worcester WR1 2JD 150 13 Oct Trowell, West of Nottingham  An Autumn day out 08:30 Sat BP 155km 1000m £7.00 L P R T(80) 15-30kph Nottinghamshire CTC tfataylor@yahoo.com Terry Taylor, 19 Burton Drive, Beeston NG9 5NS 100 14 Oct Bynea, Llanelli  Wesley May Memorial Super Grimpeur 09:00 Sun BP 102km 2400m AAA2.5 [2931m] £5.00 G F L P R T 30 (12/10) 10-25kph Swansea DA Guto Evans, Maes Yr Helyg, Heol Nant Y Ci, Saron, Ammanford, Carmarthenshire SA18 3TP 100 14 Oct Bynea, Llanelli Around The Gwendraeth 09:00 Sun BP 1000m £7.00 G F L P R T 30 (17/10) 12-30kph Swansea DA Guto Evans, Maes Yr Helyg, Heol Nant Y Ci, Saron, Ammanford, Carmarthenshire SA18 3TP

100 20 Oct Chailey, East Sussex Mid Sussex Hilly 08:30 Sat BP 108km 1700m AAA1.75 [2000m] £5.50 F L P R T 40 12.5-25kph Grimpeurs du Sud malinseastg@tiscali.co.uk Martin Malins, Room 2l22, Laboratory Block, Charing Cross Hospital, Fulham Palace Road, London W6 8RF 100 20 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, Room 2l22 Laboratory Block, Charing Cross Hospital, Fulham Palace Road, London W6 8RF 100 09:30

20 Oct Debenham, Suffolk Sourcy Suffolk Sat BP 106km 650m £6.50 G P R T 12.5-25kph Suffolk CTC coupeaudax@gmail.com David Coupe, 30 Wells Way, Debenham, Stowmarket, Suffolk IP14 6SL


54 09:30

20 Oct Debenham, Suffolk Deben River Ride Sat BP 400m £6.50 G P R T 12.5-25kph Suffolk CTC coupeaudax@gmail.com David Coupe, 30 Wells Way, Debenham, Stowmarket, Suffolk IP14 6SL

100 20 Oct Plan2Ride, Tongwynlais, Cardiff  the witches hat 10:00 Sat BP 109km 1245m AAA1 £7.00 YH P R F S (50) (6/10) 15-30kph Motorlegs, Cardiff David Hann, 8 Kymin Terrace, Penarth CF64 1AP 200 21 Oct Bispham, Lancashire  Ride The Lancashire Lights 200 07:30 Sun BRM 206km 1800m £6.00 L P R T 15-30kph Burnley CC burnleysportiv@yahoo.com Andy Corless, 31 Castlerigg Drive, Ightenhill, Burnley, Lancashire BB12 8AT 100 21 Oct Wall Hall, East of Hayle Celtic Coastal 09:30 Sun BP 1300m [1350m] £6.00 C L P R T 12.5-30kph Audax Kernow Chris Rayne, 1 Reawla Lane, Hayle TR27 5HQ 60 21 Oct Wall Hall, East of Hayle The Celtic Canter 10:00 Sun BP 750m [1350m] £6.00 C L P R T 12.5-30kph Audax Kernow Chris Rayne, 1 Reawla Lane, Hayle TR27 5HQ 100 21 Oct Wigginton, N of York  The three Abbeys Wigginton Autumn brevet 10:00 Sun BP 101km 942m £5.00 L P R T 12-25kph CTC North Yorks Nick Folkard, 208 Prince Rupert Drive, Tockwith, North Yorkshire YO26 7PU 200 27 Oct Aylesbury, Bucks, HP21 7QX Chiltern Dash 200 08:00 Sat BR 210km 1380m [1364m] £10.00 A G P X R T (100) 15-30kph Aylesbury CC htjoshua55@gmail.com Jocelyn Chappell, 112 Walton Way, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire HP21 7JR 100 27 Oct Aylesbury, Bucks, HP21 7QX Chitlern Dash 100 08:30 Sat BP 105km 601m £10.00 A G P X R T (100) 15-30kph Aylesbury CC htjoshua55@gmail.com Jocelyn Chappell, 112 Walton Way, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire HP21 7JR 200 27 Oct Cleve RFC, The Hayfields, Bristol  The North Wessex Downs 07:00 Sat BR 2050m £5.50 G P T 15-30kph Audax Club Bristol Jon.Banks62@gmail.com Jon Banks, 4 Balaclava Road, Fishponds, Bristol BS16 3LJ 200 27 Oct Girton, Cambridge  The Cambridge Autumnal 200 08:00 Sat BR 1400m £10.00 A G L P R T S YH 15-30kph Change of Date Cambridge Audax nick@camaudax.uk Nick Wilkinson, 42 Dodford Lane, Girton, Cambridge CB3 0QE 100 27 Oct Girton, Cambridge  The Cambridge Autumnal 100 09:00 Sat BP 800m £10.00 A G L P R T S YH 12.5-30kph Change of Date Cambridge Audax nick@camaudax.uk Nick Wilkinson, 42 Dodford Lane, Girton, Cambridge CB3 0QE 200 08:00

27 Oct Morton Park, Darlington  Peculier Old 200 Sat BR 2000m £5.00 G NM P T 14.3-30kph VC 167 dean.clementson@yahoo.com Dean Clementson, 10 Redmire Close, Darlington DL1 2ER

110 28 Oct Bovey Tracey The Dartmoor Devil @ 8 08:00 Sun BP 2500m AAA2.5 £10.00 F G P R T 125 (22/10) 12.5-25kph CTC Devon 01626 364416 dartmoordevil@gmail.com David Twigger, Ulborough, 3 Old Totnes Road, Newton Abbot, Devon TQ12 1LR

110 28 Oct Bovey Tracey The Dartmoor Devil @ 9 09:00 Sun BP 2500m AAA2.5 £10.00 F G P R T 125 (22/10) 12.5-25kph CTC Devon 01626 364416 dartmoordevil@gmail.com David Twigger, Ulborough, 3 Old Totnes Road, Newton Abbot, Devon TQ12 1LR

200 10 Nov Coryton, NW Cardiff Transporter 200 07:00 Sat BR 202km 1950m AAA2 [2150m] £9.00 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

50

200 08:00

11 Nov Cheadle, Stockport Eureka! Sun BR 210km 800m £6.00 P R T M 60 15-30kph Peak Audax CTC hamhort84@talktalk.net Peter Hammond, 3 Dorac Avenue, Heald Green, Cheadle, Stockport, Cheshire SK8 3NZ

160 08:30

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

28 Oct Hampers Green Community C, Petworth, W Sussex  The Petworth End of Summer Time 50 09:30 Sun BP [730m] £5.00 F P T (40) 10-30kph ABAUDAX abaudax@btconnect.com Anton Brown, 19 Northlands Avenue, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16 3RT 100 28 Oct Merthyr Tydfil  Dic Penderyn 09:00 Sun BP 1900m AAA2 £5.00 P R T 12-30kph Merthyr CC 07766187351 adrianmcd2010@talktalk.net ROA 3000 Adrian McDonald, 2 Brunswick St, Merthyr Tydfil, Mid Glam CF47 8SB 200 28 Oct Pound Street Car Park, Petworth, W Sussex  The Petworth End of Summer Time 200 07:30 Sun BR 214km [2006m] £8.00 X F P T R 15-30kph ABAudax abaudax@btconnect.com Anton Brown, 19 Northlands Avenue, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16 3RT 100 28 Oct Pound Street Car Park, Petworth, W Sussex  The Petworth End of Summer Time 100 08:00 Sun BP 103km 1350m £10.00 F P T R (100) 15-30kph ABAudax abaudax@btconnect.com Anton Brown, 19 Northlands Avenue, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16 3RT 200 03 Nov Cholsey, E of Didcot Upper Thames 07:30 Sat BR 209km 1750m £6.00 L P R T M G 15-30kph Thames Valley Audax 01491 651 284 audaxphil@btinternet.com Phil Dyson, 25 Papist Way, Cholsey, Wallingford, Oxon OX10 9LL 200 03 Nov Galashiels  The Long Dark Teatime of an Audax Soul 08:00 Sat BR 2000m £10.00 LPRTSG 15-30kph Change of Date Audax Ecosse pedaller1@sky.com ROA 25000 Lucy Mctaggart, 30 Victoria Street, Galashiels, Scottish Borders TD1 1HL 110 03 Nov Galashiels Home in time for Teatime 10:00 Sat BP 116km £8.00 PLRTSG 12-30kph Change of Date Audax Ecosse pedaller1@sky.com ROA 25000 Lucy Mctaggart, 30 Victoria Street, Galashiels, Scottish Borders TD1 1HL 200 03 Nov Tewkesbury Mr. Pickwick’s Cymraeg Cyrch 07:30 Sat BR 209km 2200m £6.00 c p r t nm 100 15-25kph BlackSheep CC blacksheepaudax@gmail.com ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, c/o Maggs Day Centre, Deansway, Worcester WR1 2JD 110 03 Nov Tewkesbury Theo Nelson 09:00 Sat BP 111km 1365m £6.00 c p r t nm 100 12-30kph BlackSheep CC blacksheepaudax@gmail.com ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, c/o Maggs Day Centre, Deansway, Worcester WR1 2JD 100 10:00

03 Nov Witham Essex 3 R’s Sat BP 107km 750m £4.00 X M T G 12-25kph Audax Club Mid-Essex grant@huggys.co.uk Grant Huggins, 76 Bryony Close, Witham, Essex CM8 2XF

100 10 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

200 16 Nov Anywhere, to AUK Annual Reunion  Dinner Dart Fri BR £5.00 DIY 14.3-30kph Audax UK martinfoley@btinternet.com Martin Foley, 78 Denholm Road, Musselburgh, East Lothian EH21 6TU 100 09:00

17 Nov Denby National Arboretum Sat BP 107km £5.00 P R T 12.5-30kph Alfreton CTC Nigel Cater, 31 Lark Hill, Swanwick, Derbyshire DE55 1DD

200 18 Nov AUK Annual Reunion, Stirling  After Dinner Dart Sun BR £5.00 DIY 14.3-30kph Audax UK martinfoley@btinternet.com Martin Foley, 78 Denholm Road, Musselburgh, East Lothian EH21 6TU 300 23 Nov Easton, Bristol Moonrakers & Sunseekers 22:00 Fri BR 306km 2300m £13.50 YH F G L P R T (100) 15-30kph Audax Club Bristol will@audaxclubbristol.co.uk Will Pomeroy, 5 Chaplin Rd, Bristol BS5 0JT 100 09:00

24 Nov Cranbrook, Exeter Breakfast in Bampton Sat BP £5.00 T NM 12-30kph Exeter Whs shbritton@outlook.com Sarah Britton, 17 Copse Close Lane, Cranbrook, Devon EX5 7AP

100 25 Nov Carlton Colville, nr Lowestoft, Suffolk  The Waveney Wander 09:00 Sun BP 550m £6.00 LPRT 12.5-25kph Updated VC Baracchi johntommo6@btinternet.com John Thompson, 136 Dell Road, Oulton Broad, Lowestoft, Suffolk NR33 9NT 200 01 Dec Coryton, NW Cardiff  Monmouthshire Meander 07:30 Sat BR 201km 2000m £8.00 YH G P R T 15-25kph Hugh Mackay Hugh.Mackay@open.ac.uk Hugh Mackay, 131 Stanwell Road, Penarth CF64 3LL 200 01 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 BlackSheep CC blacksheepaudax@gmail.com ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, c/o Maggs Day Centre, Deansway, Worcester WR1 2JD 110 01 Dec Tewkesbury Once more unto … Agincourt 09:00 Sat BP 850m £5.00 c p t nm 100 12-30kph BlackSheep CC blacksheepaudax@gmail.com ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, c/o Maggs Day Centre, Deansway, Worcester WR1 2JD 100 10:00

01 Dec Witham, Essex The Stansted Airport Express Sat BP 700m £4.00 X M T 12.5-30kph Audax Club Mid-Essex tom.deakins@btinternet.com Thomas Deakins, 31 The Causeway, Great Dunmow, Essex CM6 2AA

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AUK CALENDAR 100 02 Dec Earlswood, nr Solihull Midlander 09:00 Sun BP 107km £6.00 PT 15-30kph Midland C & AC Jim Lee-Pevenhull, 107 Shustoke Road, Solihull, West Midlands B91 2QR 200 08 Dec Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, HP9 2SE  The South of Bucks Winter Warmer 08:00 Sat BR 207km 1550m £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 23 Dec Great Bromley, nr Colchester  Santa Special 08:00 Sun BR 204km 1200m £6.50 L P R T 15-30kph CTC Suffolk 07922772001 Andy Terry, 70 Queensway, Lawford, Manningtree, Essex CO11 1EW 500 29 Dec Easton, Bristol Full Fat Festive 500 05:00 Sat BR 511km 3450m £9.50 YH X G L P R T (20) 14.3-30kph Audax Club Bristol will@audaxclubbristol.co.uk Will Pomeroy, 5 Chaplin Rd, Bristol BS5 0JT 100 10:00

12 Jan Kelvedon, Essex The Kelvedon Oyster Sat BP 109km £5.00 X M T G 12-30kph Audax Club Mid-Essex provanaudax@btinternet.com Graeme Provan, 1 Firs Road, West Mersea, Colchester CO5 8JS

200 12 Jan Tewkesbury Mr. Pickwick’s January Sale 07:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 201km 2300m £1.00 C P T NM 15-30kph BlackSheep CC blacksheepaudax@gmail.com ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, c/o Maggs Day Centre, Deansway, Worcester WR1 2JD

200 02 Feb Alfreton Straight on at Rosie’s 08:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 204km 1120m £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 02 Feb Awbridge, Nr Romsey, Hampshire  Round the Plain 08:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 204km 1800m [650m] £10.00 G L P R T (100) 15-30kph Peter Lewis peter.lewis@live.co.uk Peter Lewis, 82 Pine Road, Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh SO53 1JT 100 02 Feb Awbridge, Nr Romsey, Hampshire  Breakfast at t’ Milburys 09:00 Sat BP 850m [650m] £10.00 G L P R T (100) 12.5-30kph Peter Lewis peter.lewis@live.co.uk Peter Lewis, 82 Pine Road, Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh SO53 1JT 200 02 Feb Tewkesbury  Benjamin Allen’s Spring Tonic 07:30 Sat BRM [PBP] 206km 2050m £6.00 C G P NM P R T 15-30kph BlackSheep CC blacksheepaudax@gmail.com ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, c/o Maggs Day Centre, Deansway, Worcester WR1 2JD 200 10 Feb The Wonder Cafe, Uxbridge  The Winter Boat Ride 08:00 Sun BRM [PBP] 211km 1900m £6.00 XG 15-30kph Audax Club DuBois 07974 670931 paudax@gmail.com Paul Stewart, 25 Devonshire Gardens, Chiswick, London W4 3TN

200 19 Jan Chalfont St Peter The Willy Warmer 08:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 209km £8.00 L P R T M 75 G 15-30kph Willesden CC paudax@gmail.com Paul Stewart, 25 Devonshire Gardens, Chiswick, London W4 3TN

200 20 Feb Gravesend Cyclopark, Gravesend DA11 7NP Wye Wednesday 07:30 Wed BRM [PBP] 208km £8.00 F,P,T 15-30kph Tom Jackson 07703 431827 tom56jackson@gmail.com ROA 5000 Tom Jackson, 19 Denesway, Meopham, Kent DA13 0EA

200 20 Jan St Marys Community Centre, Cockerton, Darlington Yorkshire Grit 08:00 Sun BRM [PBP] £5.00 G L P R T 15-30kph Updated VC 167 07760669623 dean.clementson@yahoo.com Dean Clementson, 10 Redmire Close, Darlington DL1 2ER

120 23 Feb Hailsham  Mad Jack’s – John Seviour Memorial 09:00 Sat BP 125km 2250m AAA2.25 £8.50 R F P 85 14-25kph Andy Seviour, 13 Blacksmiths Copse, Hailsham, East Sussex BN27 3XB

100 26 Jan Hailsham Hills and Mills 09:00 Sat BP 105km 1900m AAA2 £8.50 R F P 85 14-25kph Andy Seviour, 13 Blacksmiths Copse, Hailsham, East Sussex BN27 3XB

Further listings can be viewed on the AUK website: http://www.aukweb.net/

An invitation to Paris! Come and ride our 2019 BRM[PBP] series Gently Bentley 200, Sunday 17th March Tally-ho and chocks away! An early season pootle on gently rolling Surrey and Hampshire lanes to Lasham and Bentley. Breakfast and dinner provided, ale optional. Amesbury Amble 300, Saturday 13th April An easy-going, moderately undulating course, mostly on quiet lanes. Enjoy a second brekky at Lasham Garden Centre, a cafe or bakery lunch in Amesbury, tea and cakes in Whitchurch, and supper on a garage forecourt in Ascot! Dauntsey Dawdle 400, Saturday 18th May A ride of two halves: lumpy and flat, in that order...apart from a final Chilternesque tilt of the road at 330km. You should be sheltered from prevailing winds on the way out through the Surrey Hills, South Downs and North Wessex Downs...then fly home across the plains with the wind on your back following slap-up pub dinner in Cirencester! Wander Wye 600, Saturday 15th June Visit 11 counties of England and Wales in one ride! Moderately hilly throughout, with some modifications to the spiky prototype 2018 edition. Bag drop service to our overnight control at Chepstow, so pack your sleeping bag, mat, toothbrush and a teddy! Travelodge option for those seeking greater comfort. kingstonwheelers.co.uk/ride/audax audax@kingstonwheelers.co.uk

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Arrivéesummer/autumn2018


CONTACTS

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 person, regardless of club or other affiliation, who is imbued with the spirit of longdistance cycling. Details in the Handbook. MEMBERSHIP Enquiries: Caroline Fenton (AUK Membership Secretary), 56 Lockesfield Place, London E14 3AJ membership@audax.uk One and five year membership available – for full details and fees see http://www.aukweb. net/enroll/

ARRIVÉE Extra Arrivée copies, if available, £3(UK), £4(EEC), £5(non-EEC) from Caroline Fenton (address above) CONTRIBUTIONS Please send your articles and photos to the editor, Peter Moir via the aukweb portal, or directly to gedlennox@ me.com. It would be very much appreciated if you could package the entire content into a .zip file AND INCLUDE YOUR CONTACT DETAILS. It is essential that the photographs are captioned. If your piece is too big i.e. more than 10Mb please use WeTransfer or MailBigFile.

TO ADVERTISE Rates per issue: ¼ page £75, pro rata to £300 per page. Payment in advance. 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, Event Adverts: free. Views expressed in Arrivée are not necessarily those of the Club. Designed and produced for AUK by: gedesign, Bagpath, Gloucestershire. Printed by: Severn, Gloucester Distribution data from: Caroline Fenton and the AUK Membership Team.

AUTUMN/WINTER EDITION CONTRIBUTIONS:

To the issue editor – Peter Moir by 15th October 2018 2 Peel Close, Ducklington, Witney, Oxfordshire, OX29 7YB Tel 01993 704913

Our web site: www.aukweb.net To subscribe to an AUK email discussion list, send an email to: audax-subscribe@yahoogroups.com Note: this group is not monitored by the AUK Board, who should be contacted directly with matters of concern. Audax UK Long Distance Cyclists’ Association (Company No. 05920055 (England & Wales) Reg Office: Whitelands, Terling Road, Hatfield Peverel, Essex CM3 2AG © Arrivée 2018

Board and delegates CHAIR Chris Crossland 14 Stanley Street West, Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX6 1EF 01422 832 853 SYSTEMS MANAGERS (www.aukweb.net) Website Delegate: Francis Cooke Systems administrator: Terry Kay IT Refresh Managers: (website development) Richard Jennings Miranda Smith IT Refresh Project Board co-opted members: Otto Reinders Dan Smith IT Refresh Technical Delegates: John Burgato (Umbraco) Mike Wigley Web Content Editor: Miranda Smith MILEATER SECRETARY Paul Worthington, 213 Greenhill Road, Liverpool L18 9ST FWC (FIXED WHEEL CHALLENGE) AND SUPER FIXED WHEEL Richard Phipps, 77 West Farm Avenue, Ashtead, Surrey KT21 2JZ. GENERAL SECRETARY Graeme Provan Whitelands, Terling Road, Hatfield Peverel, Essex  CM3 2AG Graeme has the following assistants: Registrar Les Hereward, 20 Webster Close, Oxshott, Surrey, KT22 0SF Annual Reunion Organiser

Paul Rainbow, 49 Quarrington Road, Horfield, Bristol, Avon BS7 9PJ ANNUAL AWARDS SECRETARY Situation Vacant: Please conract Graeme Provan  for information FINANCE DIRECTOR Nigel Armstrong Falling Leaves, 13 Upper bank End Road, Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, HD9 1ES DIRECTOR AND MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY Caroline Fenton 56 Lockesfield Place, London, E14 3AJ Caroline has the following Assistants: Mike Wigley (Admin) Peter Davis (Enrolments) Peter Gawthorne (Renewals) Howard Knight (Enrolments) Allan Taylor (Renewals) Findlay Watt (Renewals) LRM/ACP correspondent Chris Crossland 14 Stanley Street West, Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX6 1EF 01422 832 853 COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR Rob McIvor 64 Belmont Road, London SE13 5BN PUBLICATIONS MANAGERS Arrivée Managing Editor Ged Lennox

BADGE AND MEDAL SHOP SECRETARY Allan Taylor DIRECTOR AND  CALENDAR EVENTS SECRETARY Martin Foley  78 Denholm Road, Musselburgh,   East Lothian EH21 6TU REGIONAL EVENTS DELEGATES Nigel Hall (Scotland & Northern England) Lucy McTaggart (Midlands & Eastern England)  Pat Hurt (South East England)  Ian Hennessey (South West England & Wales) UAF DELEGATE Dave Minter   DIRECTOR AND  PERMANENTS SECRETARY John Ward 34 Avenue Road, Lymington, SO41 9GJ 01590 671205 DIY REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVES Joe Applegarth (North-East) Andy Clarkson (Yorkshire & East)  Julian Dyson (North-West)  Martin Foley (Scotland) Tony Hull(South-West England and South Wales) Chris Smith (Midlands, North and Mid-Wales) Paul Stewart (South-East) OCD DELEGATE Rod Dalitz  136 Muir Wood Road, Edinburgh EH14 5HF

EVENT SERVICES DIRECTOR & RECORDER Peter Lewis 82 Pine Road, Chandlers Ford, EASTLEIGH, SO53 1JT 07592 018947 BREVET CARD PRODUCTION SECRETARY Oliver Iles 49 Upper Belmont Rd, Bishopston, Bristol, BS7 9DG Production of Permanent cards is handled by: John Ward 34 Avenue Road, Lymington, SO41 9GJ

VALIDATION SECRETARIES

Sue Gatehouse and Keith Harrison 11 Heather Avenue Hellesdon Norwich NR6 6LU

RRTY AWARD SECRETARY

Grant Huggins 76 Bryony Close, Witham, Essex, CM8 2XF

AAA SECRETARY

Oliver Iles, 49 Upper Belmont Road, Bishopston, Bristol BS7 9DG aaa@audax.uk

AUK FORUM ADMINISTRATOR

Martin Foley Assistants: Peter Lewis, Les Hereward (Moderators)

DIRECTORS WITHOUT PORTFOLIO

John Sabine 107 Victoria Way, London SE7 7NU

www.aukweb.net

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Profile for Audax UK

Arrivée 141 Summer 2018  

68 page members' magazine of Audax UK. long distance cycling association

Arrivée 141 Summer 2018  

68 page members' magazine of Audax UK. long distance cycling association

Profile for audax-uk
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