th em em be rs’ m aga zine of A ud ax U
142 • 19 r 2018/ n/winte tum au
Because it’s there… Alice conquers Everest page 32
the long-distance cyclists’ association
th em em ber s’ m aga zine of
9 018/1 nter 2 n/wi um ut
Aud ax UK
INSIDE ISSUE 142
42 • a •1
Because it’s there… Alice conquers Everest page 32
Just a Sec
I thought this was a holiday
the long-distance cyclists’
Taking Hummer’s hectic high road
Take two interview
Chased by Cymru’s relentless rain clouds 18
Front cover Alice Thomson takes on her Everest challenge Picture by Peter Derrett
Whizzing through Oz22 Looking for pasties in the Pennines28 Mileater awards 201931 Alice climbs to the top of the world
Push pedals with pure plant power
Conquering Caledonia’s cruellest circuit
Riding high in the land of the rising sun
Le trek Toulouse and then some52
AUK calendar of events58 Contacts and Board of delegates63
Welcome to the autumn/winter 2018/19 issue of Arrivée At the age of six I was given my first bike; a dark red, second-hand Triang…with solid tyres, a big rubber saddle and metal mudguards. The frame weighed the same as a Ford Zephyr, and had the words “Made in England” proudly stamped on it. After a good deal of cajoling, my father taught me to ride. Grasping the back of the saddle, he ran alongside as I pedalled ferociously up the rough track at the back of our house. Feeling pretty good, I turned to see how the poor old chap was coping with the running. He wasn’t. He was about 50 yards back down the track, lighting a Woodbine. Naturally, I fell off. But that feeling of elation, travelling under my own steam for the first time, maintaining balance and
moving fast, was a memorable moment. We all have a similar memories of our first ride. There are few things in life which so suddenly and vividly open a door to a new world than learning to ride a bike. Without warning, you crash through a barrier and discover a realm of possibilities that aren’t available to the two-footed; where you can get out and explore, and see the world from a perspective that just isn’t possible to see from the back of a bus or the family car. For those of us who grew up in a different age, cycling gave us freedom. You could be gone all day – nobody minded. True, we scraped our knees and bent our spokes – especially when learning to ride with no hands, or perfecting a wheelie. But
we rode with confidence. These days you rarely see 300 whooping schoolkids riding like Attila’s hordes out of the school gates, bringing traffic to a standstill and frightening animals and small children in the process. We live in a safer world, but it is sometimes a little sad to witness the modern nuclear family – mum, dad, two children – wobbling uneasily on busy roads, all helmeted, padded, and buttoned into their hi-viz jackets. It’s prudent, for sure, but maybe modern youngsters have been robbed of something. Maybe they’ve been deprived of a taste of that hell-forleather freedom enjoyed by previous generations. How many will experience the spontaneous joy and exhilaration of just
being out on one’s bike? If you remember the thrill of learning to ride a bike, let us know. We love to hear your stories. Just email us at gedlennox@ me.com and tell us yours. Tony Lennox Former editor, Birmingham Post, Former editor, Warwickshire Life, 45 years in regional newspapers
Graeme Provan, General secretary, Audax UK
Just a sec… I am returning to my usual column after the Chair’s statement to members in the last issue. Understandably, that statement has led to some further comment on our own forum and across various social media platforms. In the main, such comment has been respectful and polite in nature but not universally so. The volunteers comprising AUK’s board, delegates, organisers and other positions who work so hard to keep AUK functioning do so in a spirit of wanting to give something back to our fantastic association. I hope that all future comment on the IT Project or any other issue can be made with that in mind. I am also hopeful that Richard Jenning’s piece in this issue and the further information that has been released since the Chair’s original statement will go a long way to addressing some of the misconceptions that appear to have arisen. The end of each audax season brings a rush of work to our delegates and board but it also brings the more pleasurable task of sorting out the awards and trophies. Our new Awards Secretary, Russell Kesley, is, at the time of writing, tirelessly working his way through the results to identify everyone eligible for an award or trophy. The board have also considered a strong set of nominees for the annual awards within its gift. Congratulations to all those who have won awards or achieved other awards or trophies and particular congratulations to Russell who was getting married right in the middle of the process !
Our latest board meeting was held on the 10th of October. We approved our Data Protection Policy which will sit alongside our Privacy Notice in compliance with the new GDPR regulations. Richard Jennings attended the meeting to provide his usual update on the progress of the IT Refresh Project. The technical part of Phase 1 had been ready for some time (subject to the usual bug fixes) but sorting out the copy and site mapping relied on AUK volunteer time and was therefore slower. Phase 2 would not commence until Phase 1 had been completed and implemented. A final decision would have to be made on the contract for this work. Richard noted the assistance that he had received from Francis Cooke on organising the existing data and the board recorded its thanks to Francis. The Calendar Events Secretary, Martin Foley, reported that BRM events overall for the coming season were up 25% on the previous PBP year with an even larger percentage increase in events of 300k upwards. Given that Membership Secretary, Caroline Fenton, reported current membership at 8044, this extra capacity should hopefully ensure that there is sufficient event availability for all those wishing to qualify for PBP. As ever, you can look at the board minutes and board reports in the Official section on the website.
The AGM for 207/18 will be held in Birmingham on the 9th of February 2019. The formal notice of AGM is included with this issue. The notice includes details of the various deadlines for submitting resolutions or nominations for director positions. Please do have a look at the AUK forum where you will find the draft resolutions for comment and discussion. Unfortunately, the Library of Birmingham, which we have used for the last two years, was unavailable for this date but we have secured a similar sized conference room at a nearby hotel which is convenient for Birmingham New Street station. We have four director posts due for election this year. The posts of Financial Director and Communications Director were both filled by excellent candidates who were appointed by the board pending formal election at the AGM. I would strongly urge anyone who is considering standing for a director position to contact either myself or the Chair to discuss the responsibilities and time commitment involved with these roles.
By the time you read this, the 2018 reunion will have taken place in Stirling. I must record my appreciation of everything that our two Reunion delegates, Paul Rainbow and Mark Gibson, have done to ensure the success of this event.
Notice of Annual General Meeting
Audax United Kingdom Long-distance Cyclists’ Association (“audax uk”) Notice is given that the Annual General Meeting of Audax UK will be held on Saturday 9 February 2019, at 12.00pm at The George Stephenson Room, Ibis Birmingham New Street, 21 Ladywell Walk, Birmingham B5 4ST. Graeme Provan, General Secretary. email@example.com Resolutions should be submitted by members acting as proposer and seconder by post or email to the General Secretary to arrive no later than the 14th December 2018. The resolution may include a statement of no more than 1000 words. The draft resolutions will then be available at www.aukweb.net for a period of not less than 21 days for review. During this period members may submit amendments to resolutions in the same manner as resolutions. Proposers of resolutions and/or amendments may similarly withdraw unamended resolutions and/or amendments, or otherwise combine, partition or otherwise redraft them so long as they continue to address the resolution’s original subject Elections for the following posts will take place at the AGM: ● Non-Executive Directors (2 posts) ● Finance Director (Note: the current holder was appointed by the board and the appointment needs to be ratified by the members) ● Communications Director (Note: the current holder was appointed by the board and the appointment needs to be ratified by the members) Nominations with details of the members proposing and seconding the nomination and the consent of the nominated person to serve together with a statement of that person’s relevant abilities or experience of no more than 1000 words should be sent by post or email to the General Secretary to be received no later than the 11th January 2019. A detailed agenda including the final resolutions and nominations and annual
reports and accounts will be published on the website not later than the 18th January 2019. All members are very welcome to attend the meeting and tea and coffee will be provided. Alternatively, any member may appoint a proxy to attend, speak and vote in his or her place. Proxy voting will go live on the 18th January 2019. If you or your proxy wish to attend the meeting, I would be grateful if you could let me know in good time so that I can ensure adequate space at the venue as well as adequate supplies of refreshments. It is important that all members ensure that their email details on www.aukweb.net are accurate. Details of proxy voting will be sent to all members with email addresses. For reasons of cost the final agenda and annual report will be published via the website. Any members who wish to receive the final agenda and annual report by post should apply to the Registrar using the form provided below. Agenda for the Audax UK Long Distance Cyclists’ Association AGM 2017/18 To be held at The George Stephenson Room, Ibis Birmingham New Street, 21 Ladywell Walk, Birmingham B5 4ST on 9 February 2019 commencing at 12:00pm 1 To record the names of those present at the meeting 2 To record apologies for absence 3 To approve the minutes of the last AGM as a true record of that meeting 4 Matters arising from the last meeting (AGM 2016/17). 5 To approve the Annual Report 6 To approve the Annual Accounts and the Finance Director’s recommendations 7 To consider resolutions 8 Election of Directors: 1 Finance Director 2 Non-Executive Director (2 posts) 3 Communications Director 9 Date and venue of next meeting 10 Close of meeting
To : Mr L Hereward, Audax UK Registrar, ‘Polvellan’, School Hill, Mevagissey, Cornwall PL26 6TG I would like to register to receive the AGM papers and proxy form by post. Signed:
Name: AUK Membership No:
When Glyn Marston’s wife Angie agreed to accompany her husband on a coast-to-coast ride across the north of England, she thought it would be a pleasant jaunt in the summer sunshine. Unfortunately, one woman’s gentle bicycling holiday is another man’s serious and strenuous challenge. They, and their marriage, survived to tell the tale – here’s Glyn’s account…
WORDS AND PICTURES GLYN MARSTON
I thought this was supposed to be a holiday? My wife Angie knows I have a competitive streak. As I checked my bike’s GPS after yet another steep climb, I remember calling to her: “Come on… we’re losing time!” This provoked the exasperated response: “I thought this was supposed to be a holiday?” Maybe, in that split-second, she was regretting her decision to join me in this ride? I took to cycling to keep up my fitness after being forced to quit long-distance running following a knee replacement. This inspired Angie to buy her own bike and join me on my rides. Angie recently lost her father to Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and she decided that she wanted to take on a fitting 6
challenge to raise money for Bloodwise, a blood cancer charity, in her Dad’s memory. That’s why we decided to tackle, together, the coast-to-coast course from Whitehaven to Tynemouth in the heat of June this summer. To be fair, I told my wife that this 142 mile challenge was going to be fun. But in reality, it is no easy feat, especially for a novice. But she took the training seriously and while still enjoying her cycling she was able to increase her mileage over a planned period of time. Our original plans were thrown into chaos when we were involved in a car accident in October 2017. We were driving home from an event in
Northamptonshire when the crash happened. Not our fault! The other vehicle was driving on the wrong side of the road, and we were shunted front and back. Training had to be put on hold for a while, but we were back on our bikes as soon as we recovered from our injuries. The C2C would have been a DIY Audax ride for me, but I thought it unfair to push my wife over such a long distance and so I said we’d treat it as a holiday – a sort of introduction for Angie into Audax-style rides. June 2018 seemed to come round fast and we were excited to be at the C2C monument in Whitehaven, all set to cycle to England’s east coast.
Glyn and Angie, full of joy and optimism at the outset of their ride
Day One We set off from Whitehaven, heading for Keswick, and after dipping our wheels in the sea we found ourselves on a paved, traffic-free cycleway out of Whitehaven that went on for around 11 miles towards Rowrah. This was a great start to the challenge. This stretch contains some of the most beautiful countryside, but also some big hill climbs. The weather was so hot it made some of the climbs seem much more difficult. This is where my wife began her first battle with my competitive nature! The beautiful but tough climb to Loweswater was truly exhilarating and on such a hot and sunny day too.
Despite her quizzical response to my “drive”, she was often to subsequently mention: “I can now see why you enjoy cycling so much”. We were pleasantly surprised by the hospitality shown to us from locals along the way. One house had a sign that read “C2C cyclists please stop and fill your bottles”. As we stopped, a man came out and filled our bottles – and gave us both a cold glass of orange squash. We finally reached Keswick, after cycling through some wonderful villages and towns – 33 miles on the first day at a reasonable pace that gave us enough energy left to walk around the town and explore the area.
Day Two Keswick to Alston (via Penrith) The route out of Keswick, following the route signs of C2C or NCN 71, took us along an old disused railway line that had been converted into a cycle/ walkway, but the ride on this path was shorter than usual due to the bridge along the way having been destroyed in a recent storm. There followed a detour involving more than a few hill climbs, whose difficulty was not eased by the hot weather, on the way to Penrith. On the climb out of Keswick and up toward the tourist attraction that is the Castlerigg stone circle we came across a bench that bore the words “Rest your www.aukweb.net
I THOUGHT THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A HOLIDAY? bones on the way to the stones” – and rest we did, just for a few minutes to take photographs. Reaching Penrith was a great feeling. We had cycled through some pretty, quaint villages such as Greystoke and Blencow following the route signs along some wonderful traffic free roads. But coming out of Penrith we faced tougher hill climbs. Hartside was a punishing hill to climb. We could see the peak of this hill and the Hartshill cafe (which was now closed due to a fire) but the more we pushed on, the more the top seemed out of reach. We finally reached the top of Hartshill and, after a few photographs, we free-wheeled down into Alston. This is a town we know well as we have friends who live there – and after booking into our hotel, we paid them a visit. Day Three Alston to Stanhope The climb out of Alston was steep and on cobbled roads too, but the views were stunning as, to be fair, had been the views along the whole of the route so far. The quiet country lanes that took us through Nanthead and Allenshead (with a wonderful cafe stop in Allenshead) were stunning, and on some high peaks of the hills we were sharing the road with straying sheep. It was wonderful to feel so free on
these roads and we felt that we could have been anywhere in the world at that point. We were on our way to Stanhope but crossing different boundaries on the way (Northumberland and County Durham). The roads on the way were a little more challenging than expected and we reached our hotel at Stanhope – well, a couple of miles up a steep hill just outside of Stanhope – a little later than expected. The hotel is on the “Waskerley Way” railway path with no hills and so the next day was to be easier than the previous days. Day Four Stanhope to Tynemouth We were now enjoying a slight downhill pathway that lasted for over ten miles, a slightly gravelled pathway that was suitable for our road bikes and gave us shelter and shade from an unforgiving sun. Cycling through Consett on the way to Tynemouth via Newcastle and North Shields, was one long cycle friendly path and well-signposted too. It was impossible to get lost. The Waskerley Way had a few monuments along the way which included a big red “smelt wagon” – a reminder of years gone by. Cycling along the River Tyne was a different experience for my wife as she had to negotiate riding on a path that is shared by pedestrians – and so many folk had
come out because it was such a hot and sunny day. But these folk were used to cyclists on the same path as them and so a mutual understanding between pedestrian and cyclist came into play. Cycling away from Newcastle to North Shields was again one long cycle path that kept us away from traffic with just a few points where we needed to cross busy roads. The traffic in North Shields, though, was rather busy but again we were shown respect from drivers (they must be used to cyclists taking on the C2C). The whole challenge, or holiday, according to Angie, felt like a great experience and as we reached the finish at Tynemouth and dipped our bike wheels in the sea, to signify the end of the challenge, as tradition demands, we felt elated. Angie was so overwhelmed that she cried tears of joy that the simple pastime of cycling had led to a huge challenge in her life. She may have questioned my competitive approach at first, but she admits that this experience has changed her life. Cycling has made her realise that anything can be achieved on two wheels – and she is planning another challenge for the near future. She is thinking of becoming an Audax member and taking her cycling to another level – the “Way of the Roses” between Morecombe and Bridlington perhaps?
It was wonderful ❝ to feel so free on these roads and we felt that we could have been anywhere in the world at that point
High on the North Pennines at Stanhope
In its 2015 Strategy paper, the AUK Board highlighted the risk that the club’s IT systems were becoming obsolete and needed to be updated. This turned out to be more of a challenge than was anticipated, as project manager Richard Jennings explains:
PHOTO BY RAWPIXEL.COM FROM PEXELS
Facing the challenge of updating for the future
It’s the classic dilemma. Something that has worked for years is starting to show its age. It might break down next week, or it might carry on functioning – just about – for another few years. Sooner or later, though, you know you are going to have to replace it. The question is, do it now or leave it until later? That was the decision that the AUK Board had to make when it became clear that our increasingly obsolete technology was not only hampering the club’s ability to support organisers and members but also likely to fall short of up-to-date cyber security requirements. A vacancy to run the project was advertised, and rather rashly, I put my name forward. I had what felt like more than a lifetime’s experience in IT project management and after six years Audaxing wanted to put something back into a club that I admired. This suited the board and I was appointed IT Manager for developing the new systems. As good practice I formally reported to a project panel comprising four executive AUK directors and two very experienced independent IT project managers, as well as to the full AUK Board at its quarterly meetings. An early decision was to migrate the responsibility of developing and running our systems to a UK based professional IT organisation. Although we knew that this would cost more, it was essential to mitigate the significant risk that currently only one – albeit very capable – member was maintaining the AUKWEB code that had been incrementally developed over many years with no easy upgrade path. The consequential implications of the total IT costs on AUK finances was explicitly discussed at each full board meeting, and the issue was raised at the AGM in February 2017.
Also we didn’t want to simply copy the current functionality on to a new technology platform. Together with AUK subject experts, a small team reviewed and documented how Calendar, Perm and DIY event creation, payment and validation could be rationalised into an improved consistent process for the benefit of AUK members and admin delegates. Not an insignificant task. One of the lessons learnt during this stage was that relying on volunteers, even experienced IT delegates, has downsides. Good IT is a timeconsuming business and however enthusiastic some were at the start, understandably domestic priorities and the demands of earning a living had to take precedence. These documented requirements were included in a formal tender to a short list of reputable UK-based IT companies. (For those with an interest: the supplier brief was to propose a non-proprietary mainstream technology platform and present how such a solution would be delivered, maintained and costed: Umbraco and .net were chosen; Agile methodology; AUK retains the IP.) The recommended delivery approach from the suppliers was to improve the members’ user experience first and then migrate to the new event processes in subsequent stages. The agreed phase one scope was a read-only version of AUKWEB, accessible by laptop and smart phone. We considered the different types of user that might visit the site and simplified them in to two categories: experienced AUK members, pulling information together to easily search, enter, view events and results; and potential new members, who
may have been put off by the style and jargon of the current AUKWEB. So far, so good, but you will have read that the project then went significantly over budget. With the benefit of hindsight, we can see that both AUK and the supplier underestimated the time required to extract and present rides and results and create complex content and easy site navigation to an acceptable result. Nobody is happy about that, naturally, but on the plus side I believe that, unlike a lot of projects that get kicked into the long grass when things get difficult, the phase one scope has been delivered and a lot of lessons learnt for the future. The new site offers a more contemporary and welcoming face, without losing the club’s unique culture, and will continue to develop its style and content over time. We have a contemporary mainstream product set that is as good as any to keep pace with advances in technologies. There is still much to do to achieve the AUK five-year strategy objectives. The next phase is to take on the membership functions. With regard to those complex back end functions that organisers, riders and validators have a keen interest in, there are many options - and opinions. This will take time to deliver, but the building blocks are there. On a personal note I would like to thank our content manager, the AUKWEB systems experts, the AUK Board, the project panel and all the IT-literate AUK members who have volunteered their time and expertise to the project. Their support has kept me sane. * http://www.aukweb.net/official/strategy/ www.aukweb.net
WORDS AND PICTURES ALAN STEELE
Alan outside Dun Fell radar station near Penrith
Alan Steele chose the hottest summer for decades in which to tackle a strenuous and zig-zag End-to-End ride, involving drunken and near-naked women, a Highland scrape, biting flies and a horde of noisy 4x4 revellers. Did he fully achieve his goal? Not quite – but he had fun trying…
Taking Hummer’s hectic high road in a Highland heatwave
Looking back… Loch Eriboll, with the multi- topped Foinavon in the background
My goal this summer was to gather 100 plus Audax Altitude Award (AAA) points. And a good way to harvest 28.5 such points would be to do Mark Hummerstone’s Lumpy E2E – that’s 1,900 kilometres and 29,250 vertical metres. To be completed in 190 hours at minimum speed of 10kph, it sounds quite doable, if you blink when you consider the elevation. In between sending off my perm and setting off on the bike, second thoughts (also known as doubts) set in. If I did most of it, but failed to hit the time allowance, or failed to complete the whole route, I would harvest zero points. If you do it as a series of 200 plus perms, at a minimum speed 15kph, each day done gets the AAA points for the day. However each day’s ride has to be completed faster, so less stopping time on the day, but a longer night’s rest. The idea was follow the original route and aim to do it in Hummer’s time, but if done as perms, it does allow for accidents, bad weather or good old fatigue. I live in the Yorkshire Dales, so a small diversion to call at home for clean clothes etc, would add a small amount of distance and some extra height, but would be worth it. Then closer examination of the route showed there were a few relatively flat sections; sadly I did not look close enough – that would make some individual days fall below the required height gain for the distance covered. So a bit of adjustment, also known as jiggery-pokery, would be needed to make it fit into nine days with eight nights.
Day one, Land’s End to Honiton. Day two, Honiton to Glasbury, following the suggested route. Day three would be a perm from Glasbury to Chester, but I would then cycle on to Warrington as per Hummer’s route. Day four, leave Warrington then call at home in Ingleton and add some extra height through the Dales to finish it at Appleby in Westmorland. Day five, set off from Appleby, add in an ascent of Great Dunn Fell and also up to the recently burnt out Hartside cafe to get the extra height required for the distance, before going over Moffat to finish at Cumbernauld. Day six, go over the Campsie Fells towards Lochearnhead; the perm
would finish at the high point between Lochearnhead and Lix Toll. Unfortunately to get the height required, a couple of repeats on the Campsie hills and a double ascent out of Lochearnhead would be called for – some of that jiggery and pokery. Then a relatively long flat section over Rannoch Moor to Invergarry a further 142km and 1381 vertical metres not submitted as a perm, it not being practical to squeeze any points from that section. Day seven, Invergarry to Gairloch. Day eight, Gairloch to Unapool. Day nine, Unapool to John O’Groats – a couple of hill repeats here to get the elevation up and making the perm finish at Shebster, the last 40-odd km being almost flat. I aimed to maintain a daily riding speed of 20-22kph and, if everything went to plan, would do 2100 km, 30419 Vert metres in under 210 hours. With a fair wind, a steady effort and I must say an excellent Hummer’s route to follow, what could possibly go wrong? The three-train journey from Lancaster, was not as stressful as these things can be and I was soon cycling out towards Land’s End for a night’s kip at the excellent Land’s End Hostel, before the adventure began.
At 6am in drizzly mist there is not much to be said about Land’s End, other than best get cracking. The weather lifted. It was the start of the heatwave summer. I have never visited Dartmoor before so that was good. A cup of tea in Widecombe, and the world looked a nice place. I arrived in Honiton just 12 hours later, with 4407 vertical metres in the bank. Said to be the hardest day, it seemed quite steady. Day Two: Over to South Wales seemed flattish going, but by the time I was going up Cheddar Gorge it was very hot. Over the Severn Bridge, and a steady haul to Abergavenny. Up to the top of Hay Bluff the road was
blocked by sheep being driven slowly up the road. Hey, it’s not a race! Even so, on arrival in Glasbury a very hot and tired cyclist checked in to the excellent Aberllynfi House. Day Three: Departing Glasbury at 6am, after a very good cold breakfast, there seemed to be a lot of height gained quickly, but the sun was not full on at that time. It was soon going to change to the heatwave again. By mid-afternoon I was toiling over Bwlch y Groes to Bala – and it was toasting. On reflection, of all the hills this seemed by far the hardest. I walked up the last few 100 metres. Down to Bala over some more hills, on to Chester to complete the perm. Then a steady couple of hours over the Mersey through built up towns to Warrington, the early evening cooling down a little. So far, so good, a satisfactory day. I had booked into a Travel Lodge, arriving about 9pm, I should have stopped to buy some food. On one of the hottest nights of the year, I fell into bed feeling a bit hungry, with the windows left open, to keep the room cool – a big mistake. Then the sirens started. Trying to fall asleep I thought there must be a lot of criminals in Warrington. About four in the morning, the sound of angry female voices outside the building prevented any further
At 6am in ❝ drizzly mist there is not much to be said about Land’s End
Sheep jam… the narrow road before dropping to Glassbury
TAKING HUMMER’S HECTIC HIGH ROAD IN A HIGHLAND HEATWAVE sleep. Tired and slightly annoyed, I got up earlier than planned and went down to reception to buy breakfast. The stressed-out woman on reception explained that the three scantily clad, very loud, sweary, drunk ladies on the outside of the glass doors were locked out and she was awaiting the arrival of the police to calm the situation. She also explained the sirens were because the hospital is close by. Do not stay in Warrington Travel Lodge. Probably best not to stay in Warrington at all. Day Four: A now sleep-deprived cyclist set off from Warrington on another soon to be red hot day, over the tinder dry Rivington Moor. Just days later the moors here would be ablaze – and stay burning for weeks. A few more industrial sections through Blackburn before more countryside after Clitheroe. I think Chester to Clitheroe probably could be improved upon. Diverting to Ingleton for fresh
clothes, then over the Dales, with some extra hills thrown in and on to Appleby in Westmorland 55 km further on. I was planning to find a bed & breakfast but, very tired, I weakened and phoned Deanne, who collected me, to have a night in my own bed. A day of recovery was needed to complete the route, then back to Appleby the next evening to stop in the Tufton Arms for a very early and refreshed start. Day Five: I was on the summit of Great Dunn Fell before 7am, before relatively flat roads to Moffat. Up the Devils Beef Tub and down Tweedsdale, to end the perm at Cumbernauld Travel Lodge for 6pm. Meanwhile Deanne drove the VW up to meet me, the plan being she would provide the accommodation in deepest, remotest Scotland. Day Six: I cycled over the Campsie Fells, she went on the main roads to meet up at Lix Toll, twice up the hill out of Lochearnhead – another section
bossed. Tea and food from the van and forwards towards Invergarry. This was going to be a long day. Perhaps with some extra effort, the days could be compressed and still come in on Hummer’s time. Delusional thoughts. I was soon to get a rude awakening. Up and over Rannoch Moor, a wave from Deanne, before heading down Glencoe. Unfortunately going over the barren Rannoch, there are two metal bridges and a couple of low stone parapet walls. This is where, in the narrows, Deanne’s vehicle clashed with another, oncoming motorhome. No-one was hurt, but we no longer had a driver’s mirror. Deanne said that in the narrows it was a graveyard of smashed mirrors and plastic bumpers. At Glencoe, I thought it best to drive to Fort William and try to get a fix the next morning. Deanne was slightly upset she had disrupted the plan instead of helping. Her only car accident in 40 years compared well with my driving history – these things
Glascwm, before the descent to Hundred House
Time for a stop… Llanymawddwy, but not quite at the top of Bwlch y Groes
happen. A bodged, very temporary repair was effected next morning, so then we drove back to Glencoe. I recommenced cycling back, past Fort William and on to Invergarry. Back into the van we then drove to Inverness to the VW van centre for a glass to fit into the taped up housing. With a full day’s delay, there was now no chance of coming in on Hummer’s time. On the positive side, I was still collecting the AAA points, the weather was cracking, the views fantastic and, to be honest, all that driving around was very restful. So back down to Invergarry, and a night at a campsite. Day Seven: A 4.45am start, past Loch Clunnie in early morning mist and over to Lochcarron, to get Bealach na Ba behind me, before the sun turned on the furnace again. The rewarding views across to Skye and the Torridonian hills soon consigned the mirror incident to history. I met Deanne in Kinlochewe for a brew then
on to Gairloch – another day done. Perhaps only because of the “rests” a speed of 21 kph was being maintained. The Big Sands Campsite where we stopped, was hosting a 4x4 rally. As the night went on it seemed every man, women, child and dog north of Glasgow was in attendance. I must be getting intolerant with old age. Day Eight: Up and over to Poolewe following the coast, then out of Dundonnell, a long but not too steep hill before Ullapool. Yet again, hot, strong sunshine, with lots of biting flies known as “clegs”, just to remind me I was in Scotland, although no midges. Was this because of the heat and lack of rain? Rode past Ullapool, then under Stac Pollaidh to Lochinver, following the coast road around to Unapool. No extra hills to repeat, but another very hot and tiring day, with lots of upping and downing. This stretch provided the best views of the ride, perhaps one of
the best days cycling to be had in the UK. The North West coast of Scotland in good weather is world class, as good as anywhere, with great views from hilly roads with little car traffic. No excuses, I was tired and way out of the Hummer time frame and no campsite near Unapool. We drove up the road to Scourie and arrived at a very nice campsite, with its own cafe pub. Standing under the hot shower was luxury. Once you weaken, you weaken again, yes you know what’s coming. I decided I would have a third day off. After a restful day we drove back to Unapool in the late evening, fully reinvigorated for another early start. Day Nine: A greyish sky soon enough cleared before Durness, then around the beautiful Loch Eribol. A couple of hill repeats before Tongue to get the height up for the distance covered and then making the perm finish at Shebster, as the last 40 km is quite flat.
The view from Ballachulish Bridge towards Glencoe
Coffee shock… nothing brewing at Hartside cafe
TAKING HUMMER’S HECTIC HIGH ROAD IN A HIGHLAND HEATWAVE
There were lots of biting flies, ❝ known as “clegs”, just to remind me I was in Scotland ❞
Exiting Durness… only the top of Scotland to do
Going into Thurso was the only time I cycled with anyone, a local rider, for about 10 km and I must say very pleasant to chat to a cyclist on his way home from work. At 6.30pm I was very relieved to touch the John O’Groats sign post for a completion, hot, bothered, ready for a full-on rest and very glad I had opted for a series of perms. Things do not always go to plan, but what’s not to like? Nowt, as we say in Yorkshire. In conclusion: My very helpful perm validator, Andy Clarkson, rightly advised me it was not in the spirit of Audax to have two plans for the same route and so I went with the perms. Before starting he asked me to speculate at the finish if it was best to go with the perm plan. The answer, for my goal of harvesting AAA points, has 14
to be yes. Was I capable of doing Hummers in his time? A big “NO”. I could make excuses and say I went further and higher; I could moan that it was very hot, as opposed to finding it wet and windy – let’s be honest, I know which I prefer. Lessons learnt, among many – my Garmin 1030 failed to record elevation on the first four days. Fortunately I also recorded my ride to a Wahoo Elemnt Bolt GPS. This gave height but is always about five to seven per cent below Garmin height and apparently difficult to extract the elevation reading from it to establish the AAA points. Lots of technical reasons beyond my knowledge. I only realised this error on day four and had to do a hard reset of the Garmin on the first rest day, back in Ingleton to get it to record elevation.
The message being, if possible on a ride like this, two GPS devices is a good back-up strategy. The observation being, mapping on the Garmin is the best, but in my experience it can be fickle, sometimes not recording height and often connection or communication with other sensors fails. The Wahoo has poor mapping display, but never fails in its connections. Life was simpler before we allowed advanced technology to complicate fun in the sun. With hindsight, I should have done the days one to four as one larger perm, then I would have benefited from day two height of 3375 metres. Or perhaps started the day two perm at Cheddar to finish at the top of Hay Bluff. On a technical-bore point, I have a power meter on the bike – yes, more
GPX tracklogs at ridewithgps.com Day 1 ridewithgps.com/trips/24539872 Day 2 ridewithgps.com/trips/25570933
Climbing out… Bealach na Ba – Pass of the Cattle
Day 3 ridewithgps.com/trips/25570936 Day 4 ridewithgps.com/trips/24657377 Day 5 ridewithgps.com/trips/24737393 Day 6 ridewithgps.com/trips/24773786 Day 7 ridewithgps.com/trips/25572038 Day 8 ridewithgps.com/trips/24954359 Day 9 ridewithgps.com/trips/25007653
Stopping point… I am not pressing on to New York
high tech gizmos to maintain. Not just useful for making you try harder on some short training rides, it should help you to be aware to ease back to endurance pace, and on a ride like this, do a lot of riding at “recovery pace”. Looking at the numbers, as the professionals say, my first four days “work” were done at too high an intensity compared to the last few days. It’s not an excuse – more an admission of bad strategy, going too hard at the beginning is not going to help at the end. The bike has tubeless tyres and I have not had a puncture needing a roadside repair for more than 15,000 km – highly recommended. Overnight stops in Scotland would have been difficult without the van. Phoning a day or so in advance is the other option. Hoping for room at the
nearest B&B in mid-summer is not a good idea. In the end I was awarded 25.25 AAA points – much better than zero points for failing to complete Hummer’s route in Audax time. All said and done, was it a pleasure that is only to be enjoyed after completion? No – it was really satisfying, challenging cycling in fantastic weather which also allowed for magnificent views. The hardest days are always the rewarding ones – AAA points are secondary. It’s a great route to follow, and hats off to Mark Hummerstone for the plan. Thanks to Andy Clarkson for help and advice. Thanks too, to Deanne, who did a top job providing sleeping points north of Fort William, and also, for the record, for putting up with me throughout the years.
Regarding tubeless tyres I have just done a lumpy 600km perm for 7.5 AAA. I had a screw puncture the tyre with 200km to go and rode it home, sealant squirted the frame and sealed the leak. At that point it was dark with rain, and I was very glad to keep moving.
Separated by age, but united in their dedication to cycling, Erick Rowsell and Ade Bird prove there is no such thing as a “typical” rider. Peter Davis asks the questions.
Take two… Two contrasting, though equally committed, cyclists feature in this issue: Erick Rowsell, 27 of Shrewsbury, and Ade Bird, 52, from Portsmouth. Erick weighs in at 67kg and stands 1.72m tall. Ade is slightly heavier at 94kg and is 1.88m tall. What’s your regular bike? Erick: Genesis Zero most of the time but I have a Genesis Datum for winter rides and a Genesis Volare that comes out sometimes when I fancy a change and something a bit special. Ade: Spa Audax Titanium and Genesis Flyer (single speed). Ade Bird in Audax Club Portsmouth colours Picture © Pete Stott
What’s your usual gearing (chain ring, cassette)? Erick: 53/39 and 11-28. Can’t wait to retire though and swap to a compact. Ade: Spa Audax – Shimano 105 triple 175mm 50/39/30 with a 10 speed 11- 28 cassette. Genesis Flyer – single speed (I kept falling off fixed!). And your pre-ride food? Erick: Porridge. If it’s a big day more porridge and some eggs. If it’s a really big day even more porridge and lots of coffee. Ade: Muesli, strong coffee and fruit juice.
What about mid-ride food? Erick: Ideally, I wouldn’t carry food. I’d stop at a café and have a big cake. But if I’m on a serious ride, and do carry food, I’d have homemade coconut, peanut and chocolate rice cakes and Stealth juice bars.
Ade: For day rides I tend to eat bananas and flapjack on the move, and beans on toast or a bacon sarnie at a control. During longer rides of 400k plus I pay much more attention to my food intake – eating as much variety as possible, adhering to the advice of “eat what you fancy”. I have found that eating a lot of fruit such as bananas and clementines helps keep the “Audax stomach” at bay. I have a bag of macadamia and cashew nuts with jelly babies for grazing. I avoid electrolyte tablets, opting for coconut water and mango juice. I avoid a curry the night before an Audax, but I have been known to stop for an ale midway through an event. What’s your best result? Erick: Three silver medals at three European track championships – three silvers! You’d think we would have got it right at least once. On the road, I think my best would be, first place in a stage of Tour de Normandie and third in a stage of the Tour of Britain. Ade: Taking on and almost completing the Wessex Series. A challenging SR, and my introduction to hard rides. The Porkers 400k beat me when I developed a knee problem, but I managed the 200, 300 and 600k rides, as a sound preparation for LondonEdinburgh-London 2017. And your longest ride? Erick: 300 km Milan-San Remo, though it felt a lot longer with the weather we had for it that year. I think it aged me by 10 years. Ade: London-Edinburgh-London 2017 – 1400k. I started Audaxing in 2016 and got a bit carried away with the great idea to sign up for LEL. Once I realised what I’d let myself in for I sharpened up my act and did some proper training. LEL was an odyssey – an adventure of friendship, fun and determination, and a totally immersive experience. I loved every minute, from the spectacular scenery, the fantastic support at controls and battling mechanicals with
Erick Rowsell in action
my gears (a pinecone holding the front derailleur in place became my trusty friend). What’s your average speed? Erick: Normally too fast for me – 42 kph (ish). Ade: I guess I maintain an overall average about 19 kph. I’m just getting into a rhythm with my riding where I can push myself harder on rides in the probable knowledge that I’ll make it round the ride. What’s your favourite place to ride? Erick: The quiet Shropshire lanes, getting lost and spending hours finding new routes and seeing just a few tractors the whole time. Ade: The South Downs is my playground. I head out for a pub ride with Audax Club Portsmouth every Wednesday night. We cover about 70-80k and take in a pub with dinner half way round. I usually get a 100k ride in at the weekends, in Hampshire or Sussex. I also enjoy cycling in the Lincolnshire Wolds, which is an undiscovered part of the country (which also took the LEL field by surprise with sharp and numerous hills!). Did you ever consider Audax/racing? Erick: To be honest, I didn’t know what Audax was until I Googled it five minutes ago, but I’d definitely like to find out more. Ade: I love the idea of fast riding but just don’t think that I have the guts to fight to be the fastest. I like the fact that Audax is a personal challenge, rather than an attempt to beat others. Maybe I’m just more of a gatherer than a hunter.
Which activity, aside from cycling, interests you? Erick: I’d happily watch most sports. I was quite into darts when I was younger, I think because I could do it after training without tiring myself out too much, but then I thought I was spending too much time on my feet. Why stand when you can sit? Why sit when you can lie and all that? Ade: I like long distance walking, and have walked the West Highland Way, the Pembrokeshire coast path, the South Downs Way, the Devon coast to coast, and the Isle of Man coast path. Any other interests or hobbies? Erick: I’ve just had a daughter, Harriet, so she’s keeping me pretty busy for the time being. In fact not pretty busy, extremely busy. Ade: Camping in our VW, hanging out with my family and our silly whippet. I like cooking and entertaining, or being cooked for and entertained. I have a mild obsession
with coarse fishing and am particularly into fly fishing for carp. What’s your favourite film? Erick: Blood Diamond, though my fiancée thinks its Dirty Dancing, I think that’s why she’s agreed to marry me. Ade: The Big Lobowski – the Coen Brothers at their finest, with a cast to match; or In Bruges – it’s a bleak and very funny film. And favourite band? Erick: Don’t really have one. I listen to a total mix of music depending what sort of mood I’m in. Ade: Alabama3 – a superb bunch of outlaws who are renowned for their left-of-centre outlook and have fiercely forged their own path. Whoever said that acid techno country wouldn’t work? They wrote the theme music for The Sopranos, which bought someone (not them) a swimming pool. www.aukweb.net
James Bradbury discovers that the constant rain can’t dampen the spirit, or mask the beauty of wild Wales on the gruelling 1,000km Mille Cymru 2018
Chased by relentless
Sunset near Llanberis
It was cool when we set off, but the forecast warned that 2018’s summer heatwave would provide one final scorcher. Sunblock was applied. The first hills of this 1,000km ride were in Shropshire - the Long Mynd and Stiperstones. They’re big climbs, but exactly what I was expecting and I enjoyed them. The scenic valley views and fresh legs must have helped. Nevertheless, when we reached a long gentle descent it was a welcome rest. On a short ride I’m happy enough climbing most hills with a bit of effort. But after doing that all morning it became harder. In the heat of the first afternoon on one especially tough climb I realised I was struggling. I noticed some shade from a tree and I had to stop. I was out of breath and sweating profusely. It looked like I wasn’t even halfway up. I ate a banana and drank water while I got my breath back. After a few minutes I carried on, but I was starting to realise what this ride would be like. Each day so far had involved a few 18
hours riding in the dark. At times this meant slowing down to stay safe, but most of it had been fine with good lights. At night the Welsh roads are even quieter than usual and once away from towns most of the traffic was other riders. Once I mistook a light up in the sky for an aeroplane only to realise that it was a bike – and we had a big climb coming. Most of the surfaces were good too. The only truly rough section was the sandy track and wooden bridge at Barmouth. Crossing the exposed estuary I felt the side wind blasting me and there was little chance to enjoy the views of the river. With one eye closed to keep out the sand I dodged pedestrians and wobbled my way across. It seemed frustratingly slow, but in truth it only took a few minutes. Despite having ridden numerous Audaxes in Wales over the last few years, I found plenty of scenery that was new to me. The Pembrokeshire coast was interesting with its endless small ups and downs, each dip revealing another seaside
town, complete with sandy high street, wandering tourists and a sharp climb out. The tunnels along the scenic coastal path added variety to the route. Equally unknown to me were the flat beaches of Borth where we enjoyed the novelty of long straight roads and a consistent tailwind. Much of Snowdonia I had not seen in the daylight, but I enjoyed Llyn Cwellyn sparkling in the sunlight and Snowdon hiding ominously in the clouds. On the way to Llanberis I was lucky enough to catch the stunning vista across Llyn Padarn as the sun set. I don’t have much experience of riding further than 600km and, as I had failed to complete Paris-Brest-Paris in 2015, I was determined to plan this ride more carefully. For the first time I’d even made a pace plan in a spreadsheet by looking at each stage and trying to work out how long it would take me depending on the distance and hills I’d climb. I scribbled the target average speeds and estimated arrival times in the route sheet so I could easily keep an eye on
Cymru’s rain clouds
WORDS AND PICTURES JAMES BRADBURY
The headwind coming ❝ over the dark, bleak summit made this one of the tougher parts of the ride
how I was doing. My usual Audax pace feels like a gentle hurry. Never quite relaxing or pausing for too long, but not sprinting or putting in any big efforts. I don’t think I’m very competitive and I’ve never raced but somehow I often find myself giving chase when another rider passes me. It seems to happen without me even realising I’m speeding up. A few minutes later I’d notice that I’m puffing and my legs are aching! It may be the right speed for the other Audaxer at that moment, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for me. I think it’s better to listen to my body and stick to a comfortable pace in order to feel stronger later, even if it takes a conscious effort to do so. I had decided that for really steep climbs it was worth getting off to push the bike and avoid making an unsustainable effort. It isn’t much slower and probably uses different muscles or something. That’s my excuse anyway. The Devil’s Staircase on the morning of the second day was at least 25 per cent, so I walked that. A couple of
Across the Elan valley
CHASED BY CYMRU’S RELENTLESS RAIN CLOUDS
riders overtook me, but I didn’t mind. My second unmanageable hill was on the way out of Aberystwyth. I’d guess it was 1 in 3. I know some brave souls rode up it, but I didn’t. The next impossibly steep incline was a surprise in the dark. Having thought I’d done all the big climbs of Snowdonia I confidently powered up a small steep bit on the way to Ffestiniog. Except it wasn’t small. The steep bit continued for several minutes and eventually I realised I was panting and my legs were aching. I hobbled along until the gradient eased and I rode slowly up the rest of the mountain. The headwind coming over the dark, bleak summit made this one of the tougher parts of the ride. Hills don’t make for easy group cycling; riders don’t benefit much from drafting as they tend to climb and descend at different paces. It seems to me there’s a kind of unwritten rule for Audax that if you’re riding faster and leave someone behind that’s fine, it’s nothing personal. It’s good to check people are OK if they’ve had a mechanical or seem unwell. But in most situations people understand the importance of riding at your own pace which may vary as the terrain and energy levels change. Unless I’ve planned to ride as a group I prefer to go at the speed that feels right and rely on serendipity to provide occasional company. Happily, I did manage to chat to several people, some of whom had completed the event before. I don’t mind long periods of solitude, but it’s always interesting to hear how other people plan and ride events like this, to hear someone else’s life story or even make new friends. The section through Monmouth to Tintern was relatively flat so we formed a small group sharing the wind and made good progress. After a hot day it was pleasant riding in the dappled shade beside the river Wye. I had already been drenched that afternoon. I was chased by rain clouds up the West coast and they finally caught me around Harlech. I stopped to put my jacket on, but didn’t have full waterproofs. The downpour was heavy, but brief. I thought afterwards that I should’ve run for the cover of a bus shelter or tree, but I was so intent on making progress that it didn’t occur to me until I was already soaked. Luckily I wasn’t too cold, and I dried
out over the next few hours riding in sun and wind to Snowdonia. Sometimes I’d think I could make up some time at the next control. I would intend to stop only briefly, have a light snack and eat more on the road if I needed it. But more often than not, I was tempted to stay longer by the good hot food on offer, especially the fruit crumbles which I cannot refuse. Six hours earlier I had devoured a generous veggie grill at the lively “Pete’s Eats” in Llanberis. Actually, that’s not quite true - I left half of it. I was unsure about eating so much in one go having suffered from heartburn over the last few days and taken plenty of antacids. I don’t have a strong stomach and it sometimes complains at the volume of food required for Audaxing with little time to sit and digest. For me it’s a careful balance to avoid ever being completely full or empty. Luckily the veggie grill didn’t cause me any issues, maybe because the next climb was Pen-y-Pass, which was long but relatively gentle. Sleep had been limited on this ride. With only 75 hours to complete the route and much of it slower than my predictions, it was the sleep stops that got squeezed. On the first night I arrived at Llanwrtyd Wells a while after my planned arrival time. The four hours of sleep I had been looking forward to would have to wait. Two would do. I still wanted a shower. It would take more time, but it had been a hot day and I reasoned that this and a fresh pair of shorts might make me more comfortable over the next few days. Amazingly, I discovered that even a couple of hours sleep is far better than none. I didn’t feel totally refreshed and energetic getting up in the mornings, but the sleep did give me a bit of strength back. More importantly, I felt alert enough to cycle safely at all hours. We’d experienced such variety in one small country. Rural Wales is beautiful and full of adventure. The dark and bleakness of Snowdonia’s mountains at night. The stillness and peace in early morning sunshine near Abergwesyn. Small seaside resorts in secluded bays. Remote farms nestled in their own private valleys. Castles overlooking huge estuaries. The many folds of the Elan valley with wind alternately helping and hindering. Wild and wonderful. A little rain couldn’t spoil that.
It’s better to listen ❝ to my body and stick to a comfortable pace ❞
Gospel Pass south
Treachery in the dark… James paints a personal picture of the final stages of a truly strenuous ride:
Near the Elan Valley
It’s ten past one on Sunday morning as I take a turn signposted to Lake Vernwy via Hirnant Pass. I begin to climb and the drizzle returns. I’m tired and wet. I’m not sure I’m enjoying it, but I remind myself that food and bed is less than twenty-five kilometres away. Familiar though the road to Lake Vernwy is, I soon realise that the attractive wooded valleys I enjoyed in the sunshine take on a different character at night in the rain. I find myself uncertain of what is ahead, beyond my pool of light. Bends loom out of the darkness. A small hill turns out to be bigger than expected. Debris on the road appears suddenly. I know the last climb before the lake will be Hirant Pass itself. I remember how the valley which precedes it opens out giving a clear and intimidating view of the mountain. I won’t see that tonight, but I’m anticipating that valley to gain some feeling of progress. I keep thinking it will be around the next corner but I repeatedly find another wooded dip and climb. A gust of wind blows rain into my face. I’m suddenly exposed, in the wide valley before Hirnant Pass at last. Carefully over a cattle grid then I start the climb. It’s not too steep at first and I continue steadily. The rain and gradient increase and I decide to get off and push. It isn’t the first time on this ride. I remember the descent to Lake Vernwy as a swooping joy in the daylight. Now it’s treacherous. I have good lights, but I still can’t see enough. I try half-closing my eyes to cope with the stinging drops. I round each corner cautiously. Small rocks are scattered across the road. This should be the fast bit, the payback for the big climb, but my speed is never more than 20mph. My hands ache from the braking. I reach the T-junction at Lake Vernywy glad to know that the road ahead is flat. I feel like I’m going fast now, but the road carries on and on. This lake must be bigger than I remember. In addition to the rain
there’s plenty of water coming up from the road. I’m glad I decided to put my mudguards back on. My jacket is doing its job well, but my hands, feet and legs are wet. Where is the control? It can’t be far now. If I can keep going at this pace I’ll keep warm enough for a while. Did I mention that it’s raining? There are occasional small branches in the road which I dodge easily as there’s no traffic about; I haven’t seen a car for hours. Aha, the dam! I’m at the far end of the lake, the control must be close. I slow down for a bend and downhill slope. I don’t know if the puddles hide potholes or gravel. My reaction times are slowed and I’m feeling a bit stiff. I pedal out of the saddle to keep the bike going up the small slope, then I’m around the corner and coasting into the school. Volunteers with umbrellas welcome me inside. The food is simple, but it’s hot and it tastes wonderful. I’m still a little damp, but without a change of clothes. I strip down to my longsuffering shorts and find a blanket and air mattress for some sleep. I’m startled awake as someone drops their phone on the wooden floor near my head. It’s half five. I don’t need to leave until seven. I get a bit more sleep, pull on my wet clothes and enjoy some hot porridge. After more faffing than usual I head out into the rain. Straight up another hill. That’s no bad thing. About 70km to the Arriveé and not so many hills. With little energy or enthusiasm to speed along I plod through the wet and think back on what has been an amazing ride. As it turns out the rain eases off as I approach Shrewsbury and join a couple of other riders. We’re comfortably within the time limit now. With the exception of a couple of navigational errors in the town for which I take full responsibility, it’s a relaxed ride back. We’re joined by more riders converging on the tiny town hall. At the Arriveé we get a warm welcome from organiser John Hamilton and warm food from helpers. People aren’t cheering or jumping for joy, but there are plenty of big grins on weary faces. Those who’ve done the ride before seem to feel the same tired, relieved, proud and elated. www.aukweb.net
WORDS AND PICTURES ANDREW PRESTON
The Perth-Albany-Perth Randonnée, run across the harsh terrain of Western Australia, is a tough Audax challenge – which is probably one of the reasons it’s sponsored by the makers of the candidly-named Aussie Butt Cream. Andrew Preston braved the miles of isolation… and the snakes, kangaroos, monster owls and killer trees. This is his ripper yarn…
Whizzing Remote doesn’t quite describe the 1,200 km course of the Perth-Albany-Perth (PAP) event. There’s a 153 km stretch with not a single house, junction, shop, garage… or anything. Just a straight road across an awe-inspiringly lonesome landscape. “This is the most remote twelve hundred in the world,” said event organiser Wayne Hickman, as he stood on the balcony of Collie football club in Perth on a chilly September daybreak, with the blustery wind and damp clouds swirling around us. As I turned to go he said: “Did you get the route change for today?” He let the prospect of getting lost out there fully get a grip, before he pointed over to the outdoor cycle track and said: “Two laps of the velodrome before you go.” The small size of the field – 71 at the start – and the night stops which bring
Understated… Wayne Hickman
on the loneliest road in the world 22
everyone together at the end of each day, gives the ride a collegiate feel. Before travelling to Perth, I was contacted by AUK PAP veteran Julian Dyson. He’s done three PAP rides. He offered a share of an Airbnb near the start, so there were four of us – Chris Horsefield, Andrew Heard, Julian and me. We thus had time to get to know each other before the event, and it turned out that we all ride around about the 20kph mark and so were able to ride together a lot. In fact Chris and I were almost perfectly matched for pace, so we had hours of chat and laughs to pass the time, which made it a really sociable ride. The ride starts at 5am, in the dark, on the 75km Perth Shared Pathway – an awesome two lane bike path which runs alongside the freeway. We flew off from the start at an adrenaline-pumping 40kph with the strongest riders at the front. After only about 10km we were starting to overtake riders who had taken the sensible decision to drop off the pace. Soon, a voice from the darkness on my left said: “See you at the finish”, which decided it. Time for me to drop off the pace too, and chat to Brian Hornby from Queensland on his third PAP. His preparation for the event had consisted of an admirable attempt to make
through Oz Starting block… Collie control
it harder by significantly reducing his power to weight ratio with a trip to New York and then a cruise with a free bar to Canada – so he was keen not to burn any matches too soon. Our little reality check was contagious; only about half a dozen sprinted past to catch the leaders, everyone else seemed happy to drop the pace and stay out of the wind. Over the next 10km or so about five or six riders formed a steady little peloton, and riders took turns to come to the front, keeping the pace at a steady 30kph. As we moved back down the line, we just cut in at the back of our team so that we didn’t put anyone on the front who was going to speed up, break the rhythm, or
Cobber… Chris Horsfield
take us all out by hitting the brakes. It was a thing of beauty. After the cycle path ended, some traffic lights, junctions, and a substantial headwind (which was to test us all the way to Albany) blew the group apart. But it didn’t matter, we’d covered a fast
75km without too much effort – and were almost at the first control. As we pulled into the bakery the lead groups were just heading off. No worries, a quick drink, feed, and off alone into the headwind. Happy enough, but within 100m I passed Chris from our Airbnb pulling food out of a bag at the roadside, so I soft peddled until he’d caught me, each of us thinking it’d probably only be a kilometre or two before the other dropped us, we set off into the wind chatting, and rotating, and the kilometres ticked by. The headwind slowing single riders, and favouring groups, we gradually formed into another little group and headed for the next control. I’d decided to see if I could really
WHIZZING THROUGH OZ Beaut… Riding the six-man train
Snake snacks… Yarloop control
immerse myself in the joy of riding in the moment, and cultivate that meditative state in which time, speed, and distance don’t feature; just pedal, enjoy the view and you’ll get there. This was working well. I hadn’t broken my resolve to not calculate my average speed, once and hadn’t even bothered to know how far it was to Yarloop, so the control under a huge fig tree was upon me in a blink. A great stock of food, drink, tea, sandwiches, volunteers stamping the cards and just generally looking after us. Chris had disc rubbing issues, so I pushed on, setting off at the same time as another rider so we teamed up to take the headwind. When sheltered we chatted and she told me her chilling London-EdinburghLondon tale of riding on the time limit into the Fens’ headwind in the night alone, packing, out of time at St. Ives. As we battled into a headwind on the second day I had a feeling that the sense of deja-vú would be too much for her, and so it was. She was just one of the 50 per cent of the field who dropped out. Chris, who had packed on the Great Southern Randoneé two years ago was haunted by the memory. However, that he caught me in the section to Bussleton without any ill effects after his brake issues convinced me, if not him, he was going to be fine. Cheered by our first kangaroo sightings (but anxious about collisions with them) we rode on into the headwind, and eventually, sunset. And on to Margaret river in plenty of time. There would definitely be sleep tonight. The climb to Nannup had been talked of all day, so we loitered, like penguins waiting for a group to form to make it safe to run up the beach – faffing, nodding, rushing, and then the roll out into the black night in small groups. After an hour or so I had to stop for a pee, confident I could catch my companions. I told them to ride on and not to wait. After gazing at the stars for a while I guessed they were probably a kilometre up the road, so I set about gradually winding them in. Pedalling in the zone, total darkness all around, there was a sudden sweeping arc in from high – my brain for a moment convinced I was about to get flattened by a kangaroo. It was a huge white owl which had spotted something in the road in the beam of my headlight. Its swoop ended in a vertical drop. Wings upstretched, he looked four feet tall. With the prey in his claws, he turned to look at me with huge eyes, and with two powerful down strokes he went back the way he’d come, up and over my head. All over in a couple of seconds, but an image imprinted forever.
Nifty… Andrew at Busstleton, the longest pier in the world
I had triple cause to be happy. The owl, the discovery that the threshold for calling an ascent a climb is lower in Australia than it is in Wessex or Wales, and I was clearly going to get plenty of sleep. As we climbed into the night control we could see a huge electrical storm off in the distance lighting up the sky, and no doubt pouring with rain. However, it wouldn’t trouble us – we were nearly there. It turned out we were among the first third of the field into Nannup, and after great food and a hot shower I was ushered into a school hall at about 1am – noise cancelling headphones in hand – to find not a single snorer. The owl was now the second most
unusual thing I’d seen on this ride. The headwind was strong, the first control a long way away, and you don’t want to be out of time at the end wondering why you slept so long on the first night. Alarm call requested for 3.45am, Chris and I were off at 4.30. We’d pedalled through vast, silent, dark forests for some time before we saw the first glimmer of light in the sky, and then on into a spectacular dawn. Two huge mobs of kangaroos, one of which was spooked by me shouting “kangaroos” at the top of my voice – and like an army, they bounded off to the forest, where they disappeared from sight.
The scrub is amazing. On the face of it, it’s one vast eucalyptus jungle, but in fact it changes slightly every few hundred metres, ebbing and flowing as the ancient microclimates transition, creating variations in shade, shelter, altitude, rain, and soil. There are thousands of species of eucalyptus, many of which can only be differentiated while saplings, and the landscape constantly changes with subtle variations in tree type, height, light, and undergrowth density. It’s hypnotically beautiful to ride through. A control at the half way point had a small fire to keep the mosquitos at bay, plus tea, cake, coke, chat, and bottle refill. Then it
A control at the half way point ❝ had a small fire to keep the mosquitos at bay, plus tea, cake, coke, chat, and bottle refill
WHIZZING THROUGH OZ was off to do it again, this time with more wind, and more straight bits. There’s levels of Audax fitness – fit enough to do a ride; and fit enough to do it whatever the weather. Like the last LEL, this was turning into the sort that needed the latter. This wind needed power to punch through, without it you’re on a vicious cycle of lack of speed, lack of sleep, lack of speed. You’d think it’d be hard not to count down the kilometres when there’s a marker every 10k, but it’s easy if you don’t look at the clock, and if you resist the temptation to know what time it is, you can make each one feel like it’s come in the blink of an eye. As we rode into the night Chris was feeling the sleep deprivation, and our pace slowed, but I was happy to ride with him and enjoy the night. We maybe lost an hour, but the run into a sleep control is a zone where doubts can creep in, and accidents happen, and I didn’t want to leave him on his own. The Albany control is a residential college. We got awesome food. There was
Dawn… The roads wet from the storm we’d seen last night… we pedalled on
some hilarity when I asked for a second helping of the strawberry pasta – strawberries, tomatoes, they’re both red. It made sense in my head for a moment. Then we were taken up a lot of stairs to a bed in our own room! After another hot shower, my head hit the pillow and I slept for four hours straight, waking up in exactly the position I’d laid down in. When the alarm went off I fell out of bed looking for the phone, and had to take a moment to work out where I was. Bliss. You know you’re a Randonneur when a 406km to go sign means it’s only 200 more today, and then 200 tomorrow – nearly there. We can do that, right? Finally, with the wind behind us we headed north. On up to the Bakery at Mount Barker. I wasn’t really paying attention and thought the next stage was 110km with no shops or houses so bought loads of food, only to find out that the long stage was the one after this, 69km baby. I
packed in the food anyway, as we sailed along in the tail wind to another one-shop-town, then off into the deep scrub again. The tailwind enabled us to stay together and enjoy the amazing landscapes – both botanical and social. Just as we’d given up on a control to replenish, there it was, staffed as always by the cheerful volunteers. And then back off into the sunset, and on into darkness. The little café in Boyup Brook had stayed open for us and in we stumbled: mug of hot tea, a shared sandwich, and off into the rain which gradually got heavier. By the time we descended again to Preston River, it was pouring, and cold. My mind kept expecting dry stone walls on either side of the road, and was forming the scrub into hedges in front of whitewashed cottages, but every time I shone my lights to the side it was dense eucalyptus. If you had dropped me on to this road in these conditions and said “guess where you are” I would have said Scotland. The whole “don’t look at the clock” thing was panning out really well. I had no idea of the
time, and it all seemed to be flying by. I caught a rider on the climb to the final sleep stop at Collie, made a bodge of the gear change to drop to the slower speed and threw the chain off the front and rear sprockets. Confident I could catch him again I waved him on, and set about removing the chain without damaging the spokes. As I did so, there was a huge crack as a eucalyptus somewhere in the woods below shed a big branch. When I caught the recumbent rider he started telling me stories of deaths and near deaths at the hands of the “widow maker” tree. It certainly took my mind off the cold and the rain! Finally, we pedalled though the desolate wet streets of Collie and into the control. I got the controller to take a photo of me to show how totally soaked I was, but I just look super happy in that picture. Anyway, we were very wet, and very cold. There were people abandoning behind us, getting picked up by the bus over 900km into the ride. Fatigue amongst the other riders was
obviously setting in. The dorm sounded like a Breton gym during PBP, the air beds sounded like a sea of space hoppers compressed together, and outside it rained. So only a bit of sleep before a 6am wake-up call, and 7am departure. Hot food is served the instant you walk into the dining room. It speeds things up a lot. As I rode out of town, a fresh rider pedalled up to me. We struck up conversation. Bryan was thinking of building up for PBP starting with the 200km Collie to Perth brevet. We rode all the way back to Perth together, joking, chatting, and at the end, team time trialling up the bike path with the Airbnb crew to get back before dark. Riding the end of a big event with friends, and a rider with fresh legs is a great feeling. The adrenaline, helped by some snake sightings on the bike path, meant we were perfectly timed to finish in daylight, All in all a great event, and a great experience. If I possibly can, I’ll be back in four years’ time.
The scrub is amazing. On the ❝ face of it, it’s one vast eucalyptus jungle, but in fact it changes slightly every few hundred metres, ebbing and flowing as the ancient microclimates transition, creating variations in shade, shelter, altitude, rain, and soil
Perfect timing… the Perth skyline on a fine, clear day and the end of the ride
Snake Pass… don’t ask if it’s poisionous, it probably is
WORDS AND PICTURES
When you talk to a distance cyclist, you’ll hear a lot about glorious RICHARD CHEW sunsets, stunning vistas, comradeship, arduous inclines – but most of all you’ll hear about food. When Richard Chew tackled the punishing 2018 Mille Pennines, he did indeed see some wonderful sights – but what mostly concerned him was food; its quality, the amount, its availability and ease of consumption while in the saddle. Here’s his perspective on a taxing ride over high country – and the food!
Looking for pasties in the Pennines The village of Kielder is said to be the most remote community in England – and if the village shop is anything to go by, I guess it must be true. You can buy crisps, drinks, but not a lot else for a hungry cyclist – no pasties, no sandwiches, and certainly no coffee. Luckily, the nearby castle has a good café, but the availability of food on this sort of ride is a serious consideration. I began the Mille Pennines the day before, having taken the train from the south-east up to Preston. I’d met a group of Audax riders on the train and, once disembarked, the four of us formed a leisurely band, cycling up the darkening seafront from Blackpool North to the start line at Bispham. The faraway Lakeland peaks were visible in the rosy sky, beckoning us with the promise of a fine day’s the next day. Day one: A tour of Lakeland A good night’s sleep and a leisurely breakfast followed the next morning, enhanced further by a meeting of many friends. A second breakfast followed at the Bispham Community Centre, but we were keen to get moving by now. This was to be a short day, in terms of distance, but I knew it would still be at least 12 hours on the road and perhaps chilly at the end. There 28
was a spirited departure in perfect cycling conditions, and we were soon skirting the edge of the Forest of Bowland. We had a leisurely stop at the Caton Co-Op control before leaving Lancashire for Cumbria. The next stage was long, steep and hilly one to boot. The high Wrynose and Hardknott passes awaited, the only comfort was that by the time we got there, most of the daily tourist traffic would have dwindled. I like to get through the touristy towns quickly and my energy began to ebb a bit so I made a pavement stop for food near Windermere. A proper café stop would have been better, and I hoped I had enough fluids to keep me going to Seascale. The climbs soon began - and they were tough. The descents were teeth-clenchingly hairy, the washboard surface of the road making it so easy to lock the rear wheel. It
was necessary to use the whole width of the road to pick the easiest route, all the while keeping the weight as far back as possible. Having safely negotiated the passes there was a picturesque route out to the seafront where a good crowd of riders had gathered taking rest and refreshment. The climbing was not yet done - through Ennerdale where Highland cattle and horses shared the road, followed by a gentler climb through Whinlatter Pass before dropping into Keswick, where we found ourselves at yet another Co-op, one of many we’d visit over the four days. From here the homeward lap began to our home for the next three nights in Sedbergh where I arrived at 11.15pm. The overnight accommodation exceeded expectations in many ways. The
food was simple, as expected, but delivered with efficient speed and courtesy. The showers were hot and the towels were clean (though I think I had the last one) and although the dorm was hot, I felt relaxed and comfortable with little pain or cramp during the nights. Day two: In and Out of Scotland The tartan socks came out for day two as we headed further north. I got up thinking I would get away at first light and then found I had time to kill over breakfast as it was still dark outside. The most beautiful dawn light filtered pink and gold through the mist lying over the fields, the air was fresh, and the roads were silent. Stanhope was memorable for all the right reasons. The shop (another Co-op) was open early and the sun was shining on the benches opposite. Surrounded by friends and some pleasant historic buildings, I bought pancakes, a peppered steak pasty and cheese and ham sandwiches, washed down with café latte. In the bidons went Vimto and Dr Pepper – to satisfy cravings for things long forgotten. A bar of Dairy Milk also went into the bag which wasn’t eaten until Monday afternoon on Preston Station! My previous experience of Hexham had been on a Saturday night, and I was hoping for a less boisterous passage this time. However, the high street still seemed rather noisy and aggressive by day so I paused briefly, having negotiated roundabouts and close-passing vans, before traversing the A69. Crossing Hadrian’s Wall and heading
north-west we were bound for Kielder Water. It was quite a monotonous ride around the lake’s edge, but I plodded on alone, counting down the kilometres until the next stop at the head of the lake. As I said, the availability of food in the village of Kielder was not great, even though expectations were low. When will the Co-op move in? Westward bound now, uncertain of the terrain. I think I would have paused longer in Newcastleton if I’d realised what was coming next - a real slog up to cross a range of hills and a tiring rollercoaster of a road across the moors which seemed to prevent any gain in momentum with its constant undulations. Lockerbie has a large Tesco, for which I made a beeline - with a growing shopping list of cravings in my head. In my excitement I forgot about the essentials (pasties) and went straight for the sliced Leerdammer cheese with blueberries – together, yes! No, I am not pregnant. A bag of flapjacks lasted a long while, a couple of sweet pastry lattices were also saved until later in the evening, but the milkshake went down a treat.
high on to the hills over on the right-hand side. There would be no warmth from the sun for quite a while, until we climbed up and out towards the moorland military training area and Catterick Garrison. I often felt that I could keep up with folk on the climbs, but they were rapidly escaping me on the downhills. Maybe I had too many pasties on board. The final long day had a carrot to draw me along, the prospect of fish and chips at Robin Hood’s Bay. The problem was that by the control at Yarm I was already in need of lunch. One stop at the petrol station was not enough, so I was further detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure at a café run by offenders at HM Kirklevington Grange, while they made me a tuna and sweetcorn sandwich. In its polystyrene box it was quite a task to pack it with my crisps into my bag, but I blessed them when I ate it an hour later when I found the contents were still cool. On a sunny Sunday afternoon some of the driving was rather frightening and while in the company of some club riders we were overtaken by two cars, uphill on a
My lingering memory of the lovely landscape of southern Scotland is of the masses of purple foxgloves growing by the roadside and in areas of cleared woodland, almost mocking my own attempts to grow them in my own garden. I’d not been looking forward to the A7-A6 journey south and home, having experienced it on the LEL, but now I was ready for some head down, straight line cycling and covered the next 50km in two hours and 70km in three hours. It felt like the home straight. Already 10pm and we’d reached Penrith where I enjoyed another coffee and some of the pastries I’d been carrying. Only 46km before bedtime. It was a strange journey in the dark, perched on a cliff edge with the M6 way below me. Turning a corner by the silhouette of a creepy viaduct, I encountered a barn owl sitting in the road, which took off soundlessly when it saw me, before making the final turn for Sedbergh and home. Day three: Almost coast-to-coast and back. Yet another perfect dawn, but the scenery was different as the road took a route though the steep valley of Garsdale, where the shadow of the hills on the left was cast
blind narrow bend. They met oncoming traffic and squeezed us right against the verge to avoid a collision. No damage done but we left the scene quickly while the drivers attempted hill starts. Shortly after our near miss we missed a turn, possibly due to being slightly shaken by the event and the need to talk about it and found ourselves on the wrong side of Eskdale for a while. We didn’t do any extra miles but had a steep climb to get ourselves back on the route at Leaholm, shortly before joining the crazy A-road to Whitby. From here on we stuck together continuously. I’d been experiencing a slight sense of remorse that I’d done a lot of this ride solo, seeing many familiar faces at controls but not having had much company on the road. This felt much better and I was to be even more grateful later. The uneven surfaces, steps, raised pavement and steep road gradient at Robin Hood’s Bay always give my tired brain a terrible sense of disorientation and no matter how good the fish and chips I was keen to do the usual routine of bidons/ toilet/routesheet/receipt/cream applications as required, and get away! www.aukweb.net
LOOKING FOR PASTIES IN THE PENNINES
What I do remember is the hunger I began to feel, ❝ and the urgent need to get a pasty down my neck ❞ Then we ventured into some insanely hilly country, so steep in places that they were paved with preformed concrete sections which proved impossible to ride on. The climb up and over the high moor was hard but it felt like we had done the infamous hard climb of the day. At the top I complimented a couple on their lovely roadside garden where they sat enjoying the warm sunshine, and the subsequent descent into the valley was splendid. Rosedale Abbey had a lovely upmarket tea shop on the green, where I added Italian fruit juice in a can to my list of things to have again after the ride. We’d spied a road climbing back out of the valley on the other side as we’d come down into it, and it was then it dawned on us that the bar-biting Rosedale Chimney was still ahead of us! It was another get off and push ride, but after much cursing it was soon behind us and we made a pleasant stop in Helmsley - at 7:00pm! There was still a long way to go. The roads had just been so slow, winding and hilly up to this point. We began to make better speed from then on, and we were in Ripon by about 9pm after a dramatic brakeless descent of Sutton Bank, that had us grinning foolishly, and passing through Thirsk. The final stage of the day from Ripon to Sedbergh was 83km with three fairly major chunks of riding. I could see that an early night was no longer on the cards. The strength of the team really came into play as we pushed on, determined to make it to our beds. According to my receipt I’d bought a coffee, a milkshake and Spar butterbeans at the garage in Ripon. I have no memory of butterbeans or why such a random item should appear twice on my receipt. Was this the place where there had been a problem with card payments and I had to use cash? I remember Hawes as the place with a 30
cobbled street, but not much more than that. We were into the darkness around then. Passing a floodlit pub by a river, the midges formed a soup-like cloud to dive through. What I do remember as we rode together in the surrounding pitch darkness of Mossdale Moor, is the hunger I began to feel, and the urgent need to get a pasty down my neck without stopping, so that I wouldn’t lose my cycling comrades. I’d got one accessible, next to my back, and I managed to reach it and rip it open with my teeth. There was a card backing that I couldn’t separate so I just forced my jaws inside the plastic and pushed the warm contents into my mouth, delving in as deep as I could without eating the soggy card. The soft cheese and onion contents were delicious, and I pushed on, still chewing, but the lights of my friends had vanished in the meantime and I was alone. I wasn’t worried about riding alone; it was more the suddenness of their disappearance that concerned me. Had I in my sleepy haze misread that last sign, or missed a turn? There was really no place to go wrong on this road into Garsdale. Suddenly the road peaked and turned left, through the arches of the viaduct at Garsdale Head. It then began to descend, not steeply, but welcomingly, giving speed to weary legs. Obviously, they had turned the corner and begun the descent faster than I could gain on them. One or two houses along the roadside had familiar names that I recognised from the ride out that morning, or was it yesterday? The same day in fact; I was on the same road as this morning and the correct one so just had to keep churning along for home. It would have been nice if they had waited for me, I thought. Then, as if hearing my thoughts, I saw a rider patiently waiting for me by the roadside. He explained they’d
taken stock and realised I was no longer with them, so he’d stopped to let me catch up. There were only a few kilometres left, but what delight to have some company to finish on this balmy evening, and ride home knowing that the job was all but done. It was 2.15am, but at least I didn’t need to get up too early next day. What kind of pasta to have before bed? Day four: The Last Leg My plans for a lie-in were only partially met. Sometimes the idea of a lie-in is enticing, but once awake you want to get up and do things. This was the case as people began to move around on Monday morning. I was awake, so I might as well get moving and have a leisurely ride back, allowing extra time for unexpected disasters. A Virgin balloon flight was just taking off and I paused to take photos. The large gondola was full of people celebrating a special occasion of some sort. I enjoyed a voluntary stop at the Caton Co-op and sat watching the rush hour traffic with a cold Frapucchino; in the absence of hot coffee it did fine. I’m sure that Costa will arrive soon. The store manager said he could have made a fortune this weekend if they’d had a coffee machine in store. As the morning went on, I was enjoying the solitude of the last stage and was hoping that no one would catch me up and disturb my long-awaited final leg with conversation. There were a couple of places where I thought I was wrong, going through the Fylde but it all worked out. It was rather hairy on the busy roads for the last few kilometres, but patience and wits got me back to Bispham without problems. There was no welcoming cup of tea or cake at the control, unfortunately, but an air mattress looked too inviting to pass up - so I had a lie down.
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WORDS ALICE THOMSON
‘Everesting’ is a particularly fiendish cycling challenge, whereby one calculates the height of a steep hill, then multiplies the uphill distance until it equates to the world’s highest mountain. Alice Thomson put herself on top of the world when she took on the notorious Naish Hill, just outside Bristol – and conquered it 89 times, breaking the record for the fastest women’s ‘Everest’. Here, in her own words, is how she did it…
I feel a bit of a fraud writing this. The last on the bike. I’d been cycling less than a woman who featured on the cover of year, and at the time had never ridden my Arrivée cycled 52,000km in a year. The bike for more than five hours. I wanted to woman before her raced across America. make it a “yes”. We came up with a plan, I cycled just 125km – is that a little and by obsessing over the details – course selection, training, gear choices, meagre to be worth sharing my story nutrition and timings, we thought it with the Audax community? Up to you might just be possible. I had a lot of – here’s why I made it. work to do. I’d been cycling for a little over a year when, in August this year I cycled up TRAINING RIDES Naish Hill 89 times to break the record for Training for an Everesting is fun. I the fastest women’s Everest. Everesting is tick off things that were on my c cycling up one hill enough times to have do list anyway – long rides, Aud climbed the equivalent height of Mount trials and a lot of hill reps. A de Everest – 8,848m in total. highlight was the TINAT 200 A There are rules: It must be completed through hilly mid Wales. I wa in a single ride (i.e. without sleep), it must worried after that. My legs w be completed on one hill by riding reps and we’d done less than ha and it must be pedal powered. Other than of an Everesting. I plough that, it’s up to you. I completed mine in 12 signed up for a 300km A hours and 32 minutes to shave five We practiced riding to a minutes off the existing women’s record we knew I’d need to do time. I can’t resist a challenge, and ever record. since my partner, Joe Hawksworth, On a Saturday ni completed his Everesting last November to test how feasible I’d been eyeing up places to do mine. and set out to do t Somehow, we found ourselves discussing reps. I managed 2 whether I could break the women’s record over 2,500 metre of 12 hours 37 minutes set by Alisa Saturday night. MacDonald. a few things. M Initially it seemed like a pretty obvious low enough a “no”. Ailsa is a true athlete. She eats trail Foothills… on the lower than I’d like, ultramarathons for breakfast, smashes slopes of Naish Hill Photo © Peter Derrett was hard d distance triathlons and is very impressive
Naish is ‘that hill’ in the area ❝ which everyone generally avoids ❞
climbs to the top of the world
got to cycling to daxes, time efinite Audax as a bit were ruined alf the climbing hed on and Audax with Joe. a strict schedule as o this to break the
ight in June, I decided e the whole idea was three hours of Naish Hill 25 laps, climbing just es – not my usual . More importantly, I learnt My 36x32gear ratio was not and was fatiguing me faster and snacking on the move due to the gradient. However,
My legs were ruined ❝ and we’d done less than half the climbing of an Everesting
Support team… Club members riding alongside Photo © Joe Hawksworth www.aukweb.net
ALICE CLIMBS TO THE TOP OF THE WORLD Bristol’s clubbers staggered home outside. By 5.30am I was rolling down Naish about to turn around and start my first rep. Initially, the reps went quickly. The first few flew by. Daylight breaking allowed me to enjoy the little features of Naish – beautiful brown cows lazily munching, and a gorgeous skewbald horse close to the top who watched me from his gate all morning. I looked forward to seeing him each lap and distracted myself, even having (one way) snippets of conversation – anything to keep my mind off the task ahead which could easily become overwhelming. The Silk Road Mountain Race podcast fulfilled a similar role, providing distraction and inspiration. Soon, it was time for my first break. Having a clear target meant we had to be careful with the timings. I was aiming for six minute ascents, and 90 second descents. This allowed a ten minute break every ten reps. However, these weren’t ten flexible British minutes. Joe likes a schedule, and as I rolled into the lay-by where we’d parked the car, he’d start the timer, record the time in a spreadsheet, and begin the pit stop routine. I’d lay down on the oil-stained duvet normally reserved for our bikes, try to eat as much as possible, refill bottles, change layers, and go to the loo if needed. This left little to no time for Bottom gear… A dinner-platerelaxing – it was hard. sized 40t cassette was key to It would be un-British of me to write making the climbing sustainable this account without mentioning the Photo © Alice Thomson weather. In the early part of the day, it was overall I liked it.” The descent was fast, the super-light kit. I was met with either views were varied, the turns were … I negotiated silence or just “no”. In hindsight, I’m glad relatively easy, and at the point where the of that. I did this under my own steam, with myself to do two dogs bark at me I should have been with my own bike, on a local climb. That’s reps before Lucy arrived climbing for around two minutes and 40 something anyone can do and I think seconds. that’s the beauty of this challenge. There’s and could look forward The best thing about Naish was the no entry fee, no travelling required, and to a sit down with her gradient. Naish is “that hill” in the area no specific kit. Pack some podcasts, your which everyone generally avoids. The favourite snacks, a lot of determination and Joe steep junction-to-junction section and you’re set. averages 15% and the gradient never The only major change to my usual eases. Just the thought of doing 87 reps set up was the gearing. After learning made my knees hurt, but if I could find a that my 36 ✕ 32 was nowhere near low way to spin up it, I’d only need to ride enough I started looking for something 125km in total, making it a very efficient more spinney. I borrowed a compact hill to Everest. chain set and used a derailleur hanger extension to fit an enormous 40t GEARING UP sprocket. It did the job. My bike weighed Fast forward to August and I’m just in at 8.3kg – light, but nothing around the corner from my Everesting exceptional. Together, and with my kit, we attempt. I want to talk about the kit I weighed in at 62.5kg and I could just used, mainly because it was about spin my way up Naish’s steep slope. unremarkable. In the lead up to the event I approached a couple of brands with my THE BIG DAY idea, asking if they’d lend me some On the day, I ate my porridge whilst
Fiendishly simple, yet ❝ brutally hard. Everesting is the most difficult climbing challenge in the world. everesting.cc
Friendly flags… Naish hill turned the red and gold colours of Bristol South CC as the Sunday Club ride showed up to offer support and encouragement Photo © Joe Hawksworth
rubbish. Crossing the exposed motorway climbs and focusing on the descents to bridge, which makes up a section of the stay safe, fast, and claim back any time I’d climb, meant steeling myself against lost at the turn due to traffic. I remember gusty crosswinds and driving rain. The reps 56 and 64 being particularly hard. descent is fast and scary enough as it is, On 56 I had a friend riding with me, without the threat of being blown across encouraging me to just keep turning the the road! Ideally I’d have waited for a pedals and to keep drinking and fuelling. better day, but with a cycling calendar full On 64 I was alone. I was feeling very of commitments it was now or never. sick and I’d been too hot for the past ten Thankfully, when the weather was at its hours. The temperature was only around worst, I was joined by supportive Bristol 19 degrees but I was climbing hard – South Cycling Club members who took it averaging a heart rate of 175 on each in turns to ride beside me acting as ascent. I’d been sweaty or soggy all day windbreaks. The support from the club and my head was feeling horrible in my was amazing, with more people than I can helmet. The next break felt ages away name turning out to ride a few laps with and despite having ten hours in the me, or just shout at me. That really helped. bank, I started to question what I was Joe said he couldn’t tell how much I doing. I stopped caring about the pace was suffering because I was smiling when and tried desperately to keep clocking I came past. It’s impossible not to smile the reps. I was on the verge of tears. when you roll past friends cheering you That was when my best friend Lucy on. The truth is, I suffered a lot. Just staying called. She’d gone to the wrong hill and focussed for that long was exhausting. was worried not to find me there. I A friend indeed… Sore, tired, sweaty and out of coffee but with an enthusiastic best friend to cheer me on The ten minute breaks weren’t negotiated with myself to do two reps Photo © Joe Hawksworth relaxing, I was watching my splits on the before she arrived and could look www.aukweb.net
ALICE CLIMBS TO THE TOP OF THE WORLD
Through meticulous ❝ planning and preparation, I was able to do something which should have been beyond my ability
Celebration… First shower of the evening for the sweaty Everest-er Photo © Sam Thomson
forward to a sit down with her and Joe. It’s calculated that 86 reps should be hard to explain how ragged you’re feeling sufficient, but wanting to be safe. to someone who’s feeling fine, and I know Finishing was wonderful, but from experience it’s a hard thing to celebrations were cut short as Joe talked imagine. So when I listed the body parts me into doing a couple of extra reps to that were complaining, that I was too hot, make sure I’d hit 8848m. Wise. But CONCLUSION that I’d been uncomfortably hot for hours, horrible. I did it, and I’m delighted. Through that I was tired, feeling very sick and Upon finishing for the second time, meticulous planning, preparation, generally on the brink, I’m not sure how my priority was to get out of my very training and a very steep hill, I was much they believed me. Joe glanced at sweaty kit as fast as possible, able to achieve something which the spreadsheet and told me I needed to unglamorously changing in my favourite should have been beyond my ability. get back on the bike. lay-by. I collapsed into the car, greeted I’m strong, but I’m nothing exceptional It was tough. But soon I was toying by a sharp pain as my muscles made on the bike and I’d love to see what with the idea that I might actually finish it. contact with the seat. My legs were some of the women who inspired me Joe kept me going with messages of incredibly sore, and my upper body was could do. I’d also love to see more encouragement sent from friends, complaining too. I couldn’t wait for a women taking on the challenge as the updates from the spreadsheet, and news bath. Everesting “Hall of Fame” is rather that supporters would be joining me soon. After hours of sweating into Lycra, a male dominated as things stand! At rep 80, my family showed up and frizzante shower had me smelling like a my dad started jogging reps with me. The great night out, albeit with considerably ● You can read Alice’s blog at: end was in sight, and I was in good time less dancing and fewer regrets. My alicewritesaboutbikes.wordpress.com too. A small crowd gathered at the top of appetite didn’t recover that night. I think the hill, equipped with instruments raided my body was still reeling from what I’d from my mum’s nursery and ready to put it through. By 9pm, my eyes refused make a racket. to stay open, my body ached more than Initially I stopped after rep 87, having ever, and I collapsed into bed. 36
WHO IS ALICE THOMSON?
But there’s another reason why Alice took up cycling Alice is a newbie. She’s been cycling for less than two – a rescued horse called Toby. He’d been part of her life years – and she loves it. for ten years before he passed away last summer. “As “I was guided through the process by Joe (Joe any horse owner will know, they take up a vast Hawksworth, her partner and fellow member of Bristol proportion of your time and your heart,” she says. South CC),” she says. “I made a sensible choice on my “In the months that followed I didn’t know what to first road bike, and have been fortunate enough to have do with myself, so I filled the time with cycling, and it advice on hand about kit and training. I’ve thrown definitely helped. It helped, and then it turned me into myself into it and have dabbled in almost every the kind of person who goes out for hill reps rather than discipline that my bike allows.” drinks after work on a Friday, who sips freezing cold The bike is a Genesis Zero.3, nicknamed Genny, and water from a grit covered bidon on wintery rides, and together they’ve done club rides, road racing, time who uses words like bidon. trials, hill climbs, Audaxes, and some accidental off-road “I’ve got big plans for my cycling future, and have in the time they’ve been together. been inspired following endurance races this summer.” “After getting involved in the hill climb season last Next year Alice hopes to take on Paris-Brest-Paris, year and making it to 22nd at Nationals I figured that I preceded by other long distance challenges. could be on to something,” says Alice. “That said, I didn’t “I ended up going way beyond what I aimed for in come into cycling from nowhere. I’ve always been 2018, so I’m keen to push it even further in 2019,” she relatively sporty, and bring enthusiasm whenever I lack says. “I’ve got one other ridiculous goal but I’m not skill with a list of ex-sports and teams longer than a saying it out loud yet…” weekly food shopping receipt.”
Metamorphosis… Transition to ‘Cyclist’ complete Photo © Joe Hawksworth www.aukweb.net
DOC+OR DOC+OR HELP ME PLEASE
with Dr Alaina Beacall
Push pedals with pure plant power
If you ask me why I cycle, the answer is one many of us can identify with – because I like cake! As Audaxers, we are also the lucky souls who genuinely enjoy doing our chosen form of exercise. Food and sport are intricately interconnected, most obviously exemplified through the “energy in, energy out” formula, allowing us to consume more cake the more we cycle! However, this formula can become more complex, with added variables, and thought is required the more hours we cycle, and the type of Audax or distance ride we do. This is the same across all diets, but may need some extra forethought and scouting-out of amenities if your diet restricts certain food groups.
There’s been a 700% increase in veganism in the last two years – health, animal welfare and the environment could all be factors driving this move – but, how does a vegetarian or vegan prepare for the exacting challenges of long-distance cycling? In her new, regular column Dr Alaina Beacall, herself a vegan and an accomplished ultra-distance rider, gives some advice on how to keep the wheels turning on a non-meat diet… Considerations include: the type of food, and ensuring it provides continuous energy – the balance between overloading and avoiding the dreaded bonk; palatability, practicalities, and time efficiency; and route-planning and picking up supplies. In this article I will offer advice through my own experiences and opinions for vegetarians and vegans. This is not an evidence-based study of vegetarian cycling nutrition, however. As individuals we may find other methods which suit our own bodies better.
is not recommended during endurance cycling. It contains higher calories than carbohydrates, but the body uses one third of that energy to actually digest it, and much more slowly. Protein also leads to faster satiety, potentially reducing one’s ability to consume the carbohydrates needed because the rider feels full. High protein also contributes to gastric distress. There is currently conflicting evidence about having a little during activity to help with quicker muscle repair afterwards. No consensus has yet been reached. A small amount during rides probably won’t hurt!
Which fuel to choose for your ride? Carbohydrate is the main source of fuel for endurance cycling, although “how much” is a common question and issue for people. Our stomachs can only digest and allow us to absorb a certain amount of energy at any time. Recent studies have advised that consuming 45g of carbohydrate an hour would be in line with this, although to meet constant aerobic needs up to 90g per hour would be ideal. This should be enough to continue to fuel our heart and muscles, without being too little that we undergo the insufferable “bonk”. Consume too much, and your bloated stomach may impede your breathing slightly as you slouch on the bike; it may also lead to gastric distress which results in nausea, cramping and diarrhoea (I can personally vouch for this being awful!). This is because your vasculature prioritises blood flow to the working muscles, not your gastrointestinal system, so overload the stomach and it will basically reject any continuing nutrition in a fierce rebellion. Fat contains more calories than carbohydrate (no surprises there!) so is a more efficient fuel source, but is a little harder to digest and tends to be used more by the body on higher intensity activity. Too much fat may also contribute to gastric distress. As a fuel source, protein
Consume your fuel little and often A steady, combined intake of easy-to-digest carbohydrates (sugars), some slowerrelease starchy carbs (bread, cereals) and up to 30 per cent fat is probably ideal fuel to sustain you. Examples would be dried fruit (simple carbs for short-burst energy); hummus or peanut butter sandwiches (fats and slower release carbs); or some form of oat-based energy bar. Try to get into the habit of eating something small every hour or half hour if possible. You should sustain yourself before feeling hungry or sensing the bonk. On very long multi-day rides, it can be something to really look forward to when you check your watch – “Oh my! In 12 minutes I get to chew on a bar! I’m such a lucky soul!” The simple pleasures in life. Palatability and practicalities It’s all very well taking in the calories, but you have to really want to consume them, all day, every day, for kilometres and kilometres. That can be a problem over extreme distances and many days. Choice of food is down to personal preference – you need to find out what works for you. My lifetime favourite combination of banana and peanut butter somehow makes me nauseous when I cycle, which is saddening! Continuous energy bars or sugary foods can also make some people feel sick, so I often alternate these with a savoury item (hummus sandwich), and that seems to work for me. As a vegan, vegetarian or any ultraorganised distance cyclist who likes to minimise stoppages and food-hunting, the food you pack or pick up will need to be portable and easy to eat. Ideally it should
also be easy to eat on the bike. With the advent of bike-packing bags, not only can you get top-tube pouches, but also “feed pouches” which sit as little buckets either side of your stem. These things are incredible! For Trans Am, I had bars in one and dried fruit with nuts in another. I also made my own peanut butter sandwich holder by attaching elastic netting underneath my aerobars – I was definitely fuelled for 12 hours at a time! Route planning and supply stoppages Audaxes are usually brilliant for this, as checkpoints are often chosen with refuelling in mind. But if you happen to be doing a long distance training ride, a DIY Audax or some other endurance event, especially as a vegan/vegetarian, you should think about places to refuel. Many shops sell nuts, fruit and dried fruit, but savoury fast food or meals will be more difficult, particularly if on a time-budget. In America if I came across a Subway outlet I would get one or two large baguettes with salad and guacamole. Luckily Cliff bars were available in most petrol stations. If you can spare the time for sit-down meals the UK now offers some form of vegetarian or even vegan option at eateries and pubs. When route planning, I aim to find somewhere with resupply options every 100km. Replenishing After cycling or any moderate intensity exercise, it is important to replenish the calories or glycogen (carbohydrate stores) in your body, but also consume extra protein to repair the damaged muscles and cells. This can be done well on a plantbased diet – shocking, right? The added benefit of plant proteins here, is that they are often less sulphur-heavy (more acidic amino acids in animal proteins can affect the absorption of certain minerals), and will contain little saturated fat. Therefore, lean plant protein can repair your muscles without risking damage to your cardiovascular system. Notably, although whey protein (from dairy) is a common supplement, amino acids in rice protein have been found to be as easily digestible. The ideal amount from recent sports science research is roughly 1.6g of protein per kg of bodyweight for a regularly exercising individual. This can be done well at the end of a long day by consuming plenty of legumes, lentils, wholegrain foods or nuts. My initial concern over finding enough vegan protein on Trans Am was eased by the wide availability of nuts, and the existence of different tinned bean varieties in every petrol station. The best time for capitalising on the body’s repair is within three hours of stopping exercise, ideally before sleep.
My example Ok, now to use a real-life case study! Pretty scientific, I know. This would be my template for some form of multi-day trip of around 300km every day. Pre-ride: High carbohydrate, both fast and slow release, and fat: cereal, fruit, nut butters. During ride: Ideally two small items per hour or one “big” item (45g carbohydrate – a bit more if no issues with gastric distress). These include: dried fruit, nuts, fresh fruit if available, cereal bars (Cliff, Trek, Nakd) or vegan-suitable biscuits (e.g. Oreos), hummus sandwiches, peanut butter sandwiches, any resupply food or small meal available, and packets of pre-cooked Uncle Ben’s rice. Post-ride: Anything based on high carbohydrate, protein, vitamins and minerals, e.g. bean chilli with vegetables and brown rice, tofu curry with brown rice or noodles. If you cannot cook or are still on the road choose an eatery with something of the above available. Collect any form of the above from shops, and eat cold if you’re unlucky! I hope this has been a useful basis for successful and healthy nutrition for long distance cycling. If you’re considering trying a new diet, particularly one which restricts certain foods, I would advise thorough research beforehand. For a long term vegan diet it is also important to incorporate sources of B12, iron and calcium. Thank you for your interest, Audaxers! Keep fuelling, and keep pedalling.
SUGGESTED TREATS FOR VEGAN AND VEGETARIAN RIDERS
l Pre-cooked rice packets (e.g. Uncle Bens) – can eat cold! l Cliff bars l Trek bars l Builder’s Bars l Nakd Bars l Banana Soreen l Dairy-free covered chocolate raisins l Bananas l Raisins l Trail mix bars l Cashew nuts/peanuts l Apples l Dark chocolate l Hummus l Brown bread with nut butters/jam/hummus/salad l Baked beans (in the UK!) l Tinned beans, e.g. chickpeas l Porridge (breakfast)
Dr Alaina Beacall is a medical doctor in A & E in Sheffield, currently taking on additional GP training. She has degrees in medicine and surgery, and psychological medicine. She also holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Expedition and Wilderness Medicine. In sporting terms, she has successfully completed a LEJOG, a 5,000 mile solo Arctic-toMediterranean ride, and recently completed the gruelling Trans Am Bike Race. She is also an accomplished adventure cyclist, charity fundraiser, and ambassador to Vaaru Cycles and ASSOS of Switzerland. She competed for her university in rock climbing, and has been a passionate runner for 17 years – 15 years as a vegan. ● You can read her blog at: www.alaina.co.uk
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In early May, while most of England basked in warm sunshine, the winter in the far north of Scotland was refusing to release its relentless and bitter grip. This was the moment an intrepid pair of East Anglian Audax riders chose to tackle a brutal, nonstop 500 mile circuit of windswept wilderness. Bruce Sinclair, their support driver and team manager, tells the story of an epic, gruelling ride through a hallucination-inducing Highland Hell...
WORDS AND PICTURES BRUCE SINCLAIR
Barry Kirby, left, and Ken Ferguson
Conquering Caledoniaâ€™s cruellest circuit 40
NC500 Team Treatt… from left, Rob Arrowsmith, Barry Kirby, Ken Ferguson, Bruce Sinclair
During the final stages of the 2017 London-Edinburgh-London my two friends, Ken Ferguson and Barry Kirby, rode for 36 out of 38 hours to arrive back in Loughton with a finishing time of around 104 hours. Despite both being on the experienced side of 50 it had been their first Audax event. Ken was fortunate enough to go straight from the LEL finish to the airport and on to a family beach holiday in Turkey. While sipping cocktails on the beach he had plenty of time to reflect on his first Audax experience. Living, working and predominantly riding in East Anglia, the LEL had been a challenging, lumpy ride that had pushed his endurance to new levels. However, it had also raised a nagging question - how far can you actually push yourself? On the second day of his beach retreat I received the following text: “Do you think we could take on the NC500?” followed a couple of minutes later by: ”…non-stop!” After a bit of internet research on the endeavours of Mark Beaumont and James McCallum I sent back the only appropriate reply I could think of: “If the pros can do it, then so can we!” Over the next few months I devised a strategy for taking on an 800km ride, non-stop in one of the most remote parts of Scotland. We decided to undertake this spectacular ride as a DIY Audax event,
giving us a target time of 60 hours. It was clear from the start that this adventurous ride was going to require two support drivers. Soon our friend Rob Arrowsmith was on board with the challenge and our team, “NC500 Team Treatt”, was all set for what turned out to be an unforgettable weekend. It had been 30 years since I’d last been on a road bike, but I purchased a Cube Attain so I could train alongside Ken and Barry with the intention of riding at least some of the scenic Scottish route. Opting to utilise the extended May Bank Holiday weekend for this NC500 ride gave us just four months training over the winter. Unfortunately the winter of 2017/18 turned into a prolonged cold and wet one. Riding for hours in the dark after work while enduring sub-zero temperatures became the norm. However, training in East Anglia wasn’t going to help prepare Ken and Barry for the 14,400m of ascent required to complete the NC500. In the spring we planned a hilly training weekend in the Yorkshire Dales, of course we had to pick the weekend of the “Beast from the East Mk II”. On the Saturday with winds reaching 50mph and the temperature down at -16C I sent Ken and Barry out for an undulating 160km ride around the Yorkshire three peaks. It started snowing as soon as they set off and continued on and off all day. We had to
adapt the route as we went as I couldn’t get the support car up a 1 in 5 gradient with 9 inches of lying snow over sheet ice. As I understand it, it wasn’t much fun on a bike either. However, as the saying goes “what doesn’t break you, makes you stronger” and after defrosting, the weeks flew past and the four of us were soon heading north in a hired VW Kombi van packed full of kit. Keeping two riders rolling continuously for three days along with two support drivers meant we had packed for every eventuality. We had a spare bike in addition to mine and enough spare parts and tools to rebuild any of them from the frame up. There aren’t many petrol stations on the NC 500 route and even fewer that are open on a Sunday or Bank Holiday Monday so we also had 80 litres of diesel to keep the support van running. A successful Randonnee largely depends on keeping the riders properly fuelled – so we had four camping stoves, scary amounts of LPG cylinders, 100 litres of water, and 200,000 calories worth of food (not all of it Jelly Babies) had to be packed into the support van. In fact, we had so much stuff it wouldn’t all fit. Rob and I had to jettison two thirds of the rear seating to make room – so our “bed” was left behind when we set off on the 500 mile drive to the start line in Inverness. Saturday 5 May brought a cold, but sunny dawn over Inverness. We’d left our hotel at 5.30am, with Ken and Barry riding a couple of miles to the start line while Rob and I finished re-packing the van. We regrouped at the castle for the obligatory “before” photos before parting company. The route out of Inverness involves crossing the Kessock Bridge on the busy A9, so while Ken and Barry stayed on the cycle path we took to the dual carriageway and raced ahead to meet them at Charlestown on the other side of the Beauly Firth. Rob had brought a camera drone with him and this turned out to be one the few times it was calm enough to fly without the risk of it ending up in
Glen Carron, 3:12hr 73.3km www.aukweb.net
CONQUERING CALEDONIA’S CRUELLEST CIRCUIT Norway! The four of us quickly settled into a routine of Ken and Barry pedalling side by side while Rob and I drove behind providing rolling protection from traffic while seizing any opportunity to pull ahead by a mile or two and take some photos or video. I’d picked the shores of Loch Dughail in Glen Carron for the first of the twelve planned control points, spaced roughly every 75km. With about 12km to go before the control point Rob and I pulled ahead to get set up. In a lay-by we turned the support van into a mobile kitchen, the multiple stoves came out and by the time Ken and Barry rolled up having completed the first three hours of riding they were greeted with cups of tea and a cooked breakfast. Looking back east down Glen Carron was a sunny vista, but to the west it was an ominous wall of rain. We’d agreed on only stopping for a maximum of 30 minutes at a control point, so as Ken and Barry headed on towards the rain, Rob and I cleaned up and re-packed the van before catching up with our riders. The rain was thankfully short lived as our second leg to Applecross included tackling one of the toughest hill climbs in the UK, Bealach Na Ba. Ken and Barry made it seem easy compared to the heavy support vehicle, constantly having to give way to the precession of motorhomes coming from the other direction. After 130km and seven hours we’d reached Applecross on the west coast. I whipped out my bike and had the
absolute privilege of riding with Ken and Barry around to Shieldaig. The west coast scenery was absolutely spectacular and the road exhilarating. We did have a 45mph cross-tail wind, but that just helped us reach the dizzying speed of 70kph when able to see far enough ahead. I’m not a strong road climber and before long I was back in the support vehicle. After Loch Maree (211km and 12.5 hours) the weather took a turn for the worse. East Anglia was basking in the hottest May Bank Holiday on record, while out on the west coast of Scotland the temperature hadn’t risen above 10C and now the relentless rain rolled in. By the time we rolled into Dundonell it had been grim for hours, but now the light was failing. In a disused petrol station we used the support van as a wind break while preparing our evening meal (beef and chorizo casserole). The rain hammered us, Ken and Barry arrived having completed 270km in 15 hours. Spirits were low. We’d decided early on during the planning that we’d take the opportunity to capitalise on our lunacy and raise money for MIND the mental health charity. Having set up the appropriate social media fund-raising pages, Rob had shown true talent in sign writing the hired van. The patrons of Broombeg Bar, opposite to where we’d parked, had Googled us to see what the heck we were up to. They had an impromptu whip round and rushed out into the foul evening to stuff wads of cash into our hands.
I’ll probably never forget that conversation with a complete stranger: “What you’re attempting is amazing. Where’s your destination for tonight?” When I explained what we meant by non-stop and we were actually heading for Inverness on Monday morning, our generous benefactor headed back to the bar just shaking his head in bewilderment! However, the generosity of strangers had a profound impact on us. Our spirits were lifted, and we headed off into what turned into a night from hell. The rain intensified, the temperature fell, and it was absolutely pitch black. Rob and I drove directly behind the bikes using the high power head lights to cut through the gloom. After Ullapool we rose high into the Cromalt Hills. The cloud was so dense, even with the high power van lights, we couldn’t see from one snow marker to the next. We arrived at our control point by Loch Awe (345km) in the early hours of Sunday morning. Our riders had run out of dry clothing to put on, soaked through and chilled to the bone, we opted for an extended stop. Rob rigged the rear of the van as a drying rack and hung up all the wet Lycra. We spent a miserable couple of hours huddled and shivering in the cab with the engine running and the heater set to full blast while the weather front passed. Around 4am just as twilight was revealing that the dense cloud had lifted and it had stopped raining, we decamped from our shelter eager to get going again. The lumpiest and probably most memorable section of the NC500 came
The temperature hadn’t risen ❝ above 10C and now the relentless rain rolled in ❞
Bealach Na Ba 06:10hr, 117.6km
Training in East Anglia wasn’t ❝ going to help prepare Ken and Barry for the 14,400m of ascent ❞
Applecross Torridon Bay09:01hr, 07:13hr,177km 132km
A convoy of motorcyclists were applauding and giving a standing ovation
Torridon 09:01hr, 177km
Shieldaig 08:30hr, 164.6km
CONQUERING CALEDONIA’S CRUELLEST CIRCUIT next - 1,600m of ascent in just 75km. However, in that drab dawn on the Lochinver peninsular we were treated to an amazing spectacle. Hundreds of red deer that had descend to the lochs to drink, roamed on either side of the road. By the time we reached the Kylesku Bridge (405 km, 26hrs) we were back to being alone in the wilderness. Sunday was a relentless slog across the desolate north coast of Scotland. We’d seen on numerous occasions the same group of touring motorcyclists since Applecross. One had even ridden alongside Barry for a while to express his admiration for doing something he wouldn’t even attempt on a motorbike. On the shores of the Kyle of Tongue we were to see them for the final time as they passed in the opposite direction – a convoy of motorcyclists riding while applauding and giving a standing ovation was a sight I never expected to see.
We arrived in John O’Groats after 600km and 39hrs of riding just as daylight was fading for the second time. The prospect of a second night alone on the road, combined with turning south into a strong headwind was daunting. During the planning we’d debated long and hard about whether to ride the busy A9 trunk road, but concluded it wouldn’t be that busy on a Sunday night. It was a bleak dark 130km section. A 40mph cross head wind buffeted us relentlessly, the empty road was exposed with no shelter. We may have left the big climbs of the west coast far behind, but the numerous steep inlets were adding 1,000m of ascent for every 75km travelled. Fatigue was setting in, but the sleep deprivation was about to ratchet it up a notch. In the hours before dawn Ken started to hallucinate, seeing staircases rise up out of the tarmac. Confronted with the first roundabout for 500km, Barry just stopped, baffled by what
he was to do. We were treated to a sunrise as we crossed the Dornoch Firth (740km, 48hrs). Seeing our third dawn without having gone to bed provided the mental boost we needed to push on to Inverness. We peeled off the A9 just as traffic started to reappear and headed into the Morangie Forest using back roads for our penultimate control point. Rob and I re-crossed the Kessock Bridge and parked up by the castle to await the arrival of Ken and Barry. After getting lost in the one-way system they finally powered up the driveway to receive their most deserved champagne and medals, having completed the 808km of the NC500 in 52hrs.
Before dawn Ken started to ❝ hallucinate, seeing staircases rise up out of the tarmac ❞
In the months that have followed, it still hasn’t really sunk in that we actually achieved a non-stop circumnavigation of the north coast of Scotland. Did we answer that nagging question? Time will tell as I’ve just reserved a motorhome as a support vehicle for something called the PBP…
John O’Groats 39:29hrs 607km
Finish – Inverness Castle 52:00hrs 807.8km
Bruce Sinclair, worked with Ken Ferguson, Barry Kirby and Rob Arrowsmith at Treatt – a Suffolk-based flavour and fragrance company before Audax was to change their lives. In January 2017 Ken and Barry sought Bruce’s expertise to plan their training programme, ride strategy and fundraising campaign for MIND. Bruce has spent more than 20 years planning and executing his own international caving and mountaineering trips. During the first half of 2017 he not only devised a tough training programme, but drove his support car all over the country so that Ken and Barry could take on 300km sections of the LEL route in sub 15 hour time limits to be ready to tackle 500 miles, non-stop, across the north of Scotland. www.aukweb.net
Globe-trotting Greg Melia finds a wild and rugged beauty in the highlands of Japan’s north island, Hokkaido. This is his account of a distinctly unusual 300km ride on the other side of the world…
Riding high in the land of the rising sun My world cycling tour started in May this year – riding down through Europe to Lisbon before flying to Florida and riding west to San Francisco, then heading for Alaska. Somewhere up the California coast, tired of fighting the constant hills and headwinds, my mind looked for something to occupy itself apart from the battle with the prevailing north westerly. Something like planning a PBP campaign. First though, I needed a pre-qualifier…but where to do it? I looked at Randonneurs USA (RUSA). I looked at BC Randonneurs. Eventually I looked at Denali Randonneurs but alas, all events were a bit too early, a bit too late or a bit too far off route. I supposed I could hang around long enough to do one of the late ones, except that I’d then need to tackle the northern leg in winter and I quite like having five toes on each foot thank you very much. Alternatively I could do one of the early ones if I made up time by going all on 46
an all-out 1200km Randonnee effort up the Alaska Highway just to get to the start line – but PBP might be something of an anticlimax after that sort of stunt. Also, I’d have to ride at night to get there, which in that part of the world would mean I might get eaten by a bear. Better drop that idea then. Japan came to the rescue: they have lots of Audaxfriendly organisers and events extending into the late season. A cold damp evening in Canada, hiding from the bears in my tent with a smartphone somewhere north of the 49th parallel, I sent off my entry for a 300km in Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan, on 29 September. Sorted! I could even start to get optimistic: perhaps if I did my qualifiers with a full world tourist’s hobo beard, the organisers wouldn’t ask me for parental permission slips like had happened last time? Parental permission wasn’t necessary, but what I did need, at least according to the Audax
WORDS AND PICTURES GREG MELIA
Older than he looks… Greg Malia no longer needs parental permission
Japan website and Google Translate, was a helmet, hi-viz, a bell, and lights mounted permanently to my bars, with mirrors a strong recommendation. I had none of these things! Time to go shopping. Protection
ornaments thus acquired, there was nothing left but to set my alarm for 4am on a dark and misty September morning. Hokkaido is the Scottish Highlands of Japan. Thrust out into the north Pacific, it makes up a quarter of the country’s
Hokkaido’s wild, stark beauty, its ❝ volcanoes, coasts and hot springs, its friendly people and plentiful places to stay, meant that this part of Japan was quickly becoming my favourite destination.
Younger than it looks… Hokkaido’s landscape is volcanic and dates back just 12 million years
land area but only five per cent of its people. What it does have in large numbers are ski resorts, as Hokkaido gets the first dumping of snow blown down from the Bering Straits. It acts as a barrier for more sheltered ports on the same latitude – places with sunny names like Vladivostok. No snow was in evidence when I rolled into the car park to join my 70-odd fellow riders, thank goodness, just mist, and lots of it. Perhaps that hi-viz stipulation made sense after all – what a shame I hadn’t been able to find it in any of the Sapporo bike shops. No-one seemed to mind though so I’d be riding around like the rest of the island’s population in normal clothes, head-to-toe black, a dark spot in the land where the sun was meant to rise. Let’s just hope it rose soon and burned off this mist. The first shop came just a few miles into the ride, and it was only a few more before I discovered the first problem with my lastminute.com tactics: I’d left most of my food in my touring bags at the start. Oops. That shop was the last thing we saw for nearly 80km and Hokkaido’s emptiness really started to make itself felt about halfway through the leg. It was a very hungry British rider who
eventually made it to the coast and the ride’s first major stop – not the first control mind you, that wasn’t until kilometre 122. There were three of them on the whole ride, and not an info control in sight. Japanese Randonneurs are pleasingly diverse. I’m not going to count on Japanese Audax to find myself a girlfriend but there was a good spread of years, with plenty of younger people of both sexes present. The special bikes were putting up a strong show too with the odd recumbent, someone on a folder so small it was one step up from a Sinclair A-bike, and to cap it all off there was someone on a fatbike. Audax Hokkaido’s Mr Big, Hiroshi Horikawa, came out to visit us at this stop, and struck up a kindly chat with the lost-looking Euro. What was the riding like round here? Yes I liked Japan a lot. Would I do any more Audax? I might. Danial Webb had told me the scene in Taiwan was very good. Indeed it was – he was about to go on an Audax holiday in Taiwan himself. Hiroshi was also very keen that I visit the local Sake brewery, just after the next control. On a bike ride? Really? This was all rather jolting after the puritanism of my ride across the US, with its alcohol laws that changed county by county, and the constant demand to see ID if you looked younger than Abraham Lincoln. In Japan by contrast you could get beer in vending machines. The scenery now changed from the wooded hills of leg one to a twisting coastal road, built into, and sometimes through, the cliffs, passing countless tiny fishing villages as we headed north towards the apex of the ride. Tunnels were a frequent feature here – about a dozen miles of them in total – explaining the rationale behind the requirement for permanently-fitted lights. Tunnels would continue to be a feature for the rest of my time in Hokkaido, so if ever you come here, an automatic tail light would be a sound investment. At the next control I was
The special bikes were putting up a strong show ❝ too with the odd recumbent, someone on a folder so small it was one step up from a Sinclair A-bike, and to cap it all off there was someone on a fatbike
RIDING HIGH IN THE LAND OF THE RISING SUN hailed by the only other foreigner on the ride; a Malaysian now living in Japan. A Pole on a tour of the island had also stopped at the same store. Most Europeans out here were on some sort of world tour or other, but no, he was just on an ordinary working break, doing a circuit of the island. Hey why not though? The flight out might be long, but with Hokkaido’s wild, stark beauty, its volcanoes, coasts and hot springs, its friendly people and plentiful places to stay, this part of Japan was quickly becoming my favourite destination of the trip so far. The scenery was changing again as we headed inland for the return leg. Cliffs gave way to flatlands with neat, well- tended gardens and farms providing the foreground to the mountains. It was like Lincolnshire with bonsai, complete with its greenhouses and drainage ditches. If ever a volcano erupts around Market Rasen, the parallel will be complete. One other feature of the landscape, notable to any seasoned Randonneur, were the bus shelters. They had doors and windows and were spacious enough to stretch out full length inside; they were painted in bright pastel colours that screamed HAPPY to any down-at-heart Randonneur who stopped in one for a power nap. In fact, they looked so inviting that it was a real shame this wasn’t a 600 so I could give one a full road test. In the end I compromised, stopping in one at around 150 km for a bit of a sit down and cry why-am-Idoing-this moment while half the field rolled on by. One thing I didn’t like so much about Japan was the dark. Two weeks before in Alaska, still pre-solstice, I had been able to ride late into the evening. Twenty degrees further south the sun now set at half past five, still leaving many miles to go on my daytime tourist’s inadequate lights. It was time to team up with other, better-lit riders, sharing no common language but a common goal – riding 48
It was like Lincolnshire with bonsai. If ever a ❝ volcano erupts around Market Rasen, the parallel will be complete. ❞
through the night, powered by rice patties and vending machine coffee, to find the end. When this eventually arrived, as it always does, my 300km-tired fingers faced one final challenge: how to eat my post-ride noodles with chopsticks. The next day had been planned as a rest day but a typhoon warning made me ride on, to get somewhere I could comfortably sit out the storm. My legs felt surprisingly fresh, so perhaps the big tour had done some good for my cycling ability after all? That should help if I do decide to do PBP, though I’m actually undecided as to whether to do the big French ride when I get back
home, as it might clash with some other goals. I’m considering my options though, and an international SR sounds like fun in any case; I probably won’t make it to Taiwan but Thailand and Singapore both have lots of events to choose from, so there’s potential yet. In the meantime, go ride some Audax in Japan. It’s good fun.
My tired fingers ❝ faced one final challenge – how to eat my post-ride noodles with chopsticks
FACTFILE ● My ride was on 29 September and was the last in the Hokkaido (northern) chapter. Further south there are rides that run until the end of October ● If you email Audax Japan beforehand, they can arrange things for you, like an Englishspeaking riding partner (I didn’t use this offer but feel free to try it out) ● You need to have your own insurance arranged to ride Japanese Audax as, unlike the UK, they don’t do temporary cover ● Audax Japan has many BRM events, you can find them at: http://www.audax- japan. org/brm/brm-calendar/ though you’ll need to use Google Translate – unless you can read Japanese You can follow my tour at www.lostbyway.com
The bus shelters had doors and windows and were spacious enough to stretch out full length inside www.aukweb.net
WORDS AND PICTURES DAN CAMPBELL
A recent convert to Audaxing, Stoke-on-Trentbased Dan Campbell is well-placed to enjoy the testing routes of England’s picturesque Peak District – but because he prefers to ride at night, he doesn’t get to enjoy the spectacular views. Here he describes the pleasures and the pitfalls of being a night rider…
Tales from the dark side of the Midlands’ Moors
I ride at night. It fits with my lifestyle – my family and my work commitments. And there are plenty of benefits. At night the roads are generally traffic-free. You see much more wildlife. And because I get home quite early, I have more time with my family. There are very few downsides, though. I do miss the daylight vistas. This year I’ve taken up Audaxing. I was rather bored with the same old rides. One of my targets is to complete the Brevet 500. The ride I describe here is this is fourth of the five 100km rides. I don’t have a problem staying awake overnight, especially if I’ve had an easy day at work. Sometimes I’ll have a couple of hours sleep between finishing work and starting the ride. On my first couple of John Hamilton rides my body was clearly not used to overnight cycling, and I’ll admit to taking the occasional nap in a bus shelter – or a handy McDonalds.
My home base is Stoke on Trent, which is excellent for Audaxing. I’ve got good access to Wales, the Peak District and the Cheshire plains. My plan for the future is to find Audax routes in different parts of the country which I’ve not visited. This year I’ve ventured up to Hull (Moor and Wolds 400) and down to the Chilterns (LondonWales-London). I’ve also, taken in some of the mountain passes of North Wales (Snowdon, Lleyn & Lakes and the Barmouth Boulevard). One outcome of riding these Peak Audax 100km AAA rides is that it has built my endurance capacity which has inspired me to undertake 200km AAA rides. I’m considering targeting the Super Randonneur AAA next year too. This ride was part of a sequence of 100km AAA rides offered by Peak Audax, which I used to achieve the Brevet 100 and to gain AAA points towards the AAA
award. I’ve now achieved both. I began this ride across the Peak District at 2.30am – I love this time of night because I can complete most of the ride before the roads start to become busy and before the heat of the day starts to kick in. I started near Tittesworth Reservoir, parking in the lay-by on the A53 Leek to Buxton road by the Three Horseshoes Inn. The downside of this approach is that I start on a climb. This morning it was the Thorncliffe climb to the Mermaid Pub. The climb was not as harsh as I thought it was going to be because there are two very steep sections which are connected by shallow ramps. It was looking like it was going to be an excellent night already. I’d already seen two or three stags on the road to Warslow. In all my time riding in daylight in the Peak District I never saw a deer – except on the warning signs. The climb out of Longnor is a long one,
Deer in the early morning mists in Kettlehume
but it’s gradual at least, and leads to the Flash Inn on the A53. After that, a shortcut over to the Cat and Fiddle Inn. The sun had started to cast its initial rays across the moors illuminating the mist in the valley. It felt like I was on an island surrounded by a sea of mist. I did take some photos but they were blurry due to the low light. The descent into Buxton was fast – 38mph. If the traffic lights are on green the momentum will carry you into the town centre – and coffee. Unfortunately in the early hours of a summer Sunday morning, everything was closed. However, there’s a 24 hour service station on the way into Buxton, so if you’re doing this route overnight from Marple, this is a good stop for food and water. The climb out of Buxton was much easier compared to the last time I did it in March during the Monyash Peak Audax
A night rider’s essential kit: Dan uses the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt GPS cycling computer which, he says, is excellent at navigating at night. “It flashes to tell me to turn,” he says. “But I also carry a paper copy of the route on the assumption that something will go wrong!” The Wahoo computer provides a range of useable information, good navigational capability and has a relatively long battery life. The device was developed as part of an integrated system designed to reduce drag. The unit fits neatly on to the frame, and the makers claim that, in tests, the Elemnt Bolt system reduced air resistance by over 50 per cent. The device can communicate via ANT+, Bluetooth Smart and Wi-Fi and is compatible with both iPhone and Android. It also contains maps for a range of different countries, and new maps can be easily added. As for lights, Dan uses two Cateye Volt 400 XC front lights (total cost £39.98), for maximum illumination. “I use one light as a 100 lumens running light and the second as a main beam (400 lumens) when I am going downhill,” he says. “I toyed with purchasing a dynamo and light set but realized that a recharge light can last me all weekend.”
(100km). And because it was so early, only three cars overtook me. I had to stop on the descent down into the Goyt Valley to take more photos of the mist and sunrise. This time there was enough light for the camera to work reasonably well. The climb out of the Goyt Valley was also much easier this time around. The extra two teeth on the cassette top cog made a massive difference (from 28 to 30). I was able to maintain a reasonable cadence without feeling like I was grinding my way up. Climbing out of Kettlehume (Higher Lane) to Marple I came across a herd of deer crossing the road, and because of the growing light I managed to get a decent photo. Arriving at Marple, I found that the Costa coffee shop wasn’t open – not part of my plan. I’m not sure why I was moving so quickly. Maybe it was because I was riding an old aluminium 8-speed bike
(11-30 cassette)? Or it could have been that my main bike has an 11-28 cassette. Having ridden a few of these Peak Audax 100km rides, I now recognise many of the roads, so I know when the hills are coming. This actually helps as you can take on energy during the downhill and flatter sections. However, I hadn’t cycled this way through Macclesfield Forest (Macclesfield to Danebridge) and I now know why Strava told me that the last section of the climb is 28.5%! The section along Wildboarclough Valley was excellent. And the final section back to Tittesworth reservoir was quicker than I expected, even though it included Gunn Hill from Danebridge. Almost finished, Tittesworth Reservoir was the last landmark of my ride. The reservoir was almost empty at the time, the heatwave being in full swing – and if it had still been dark, I’d have missed it!
Self-styled pensionable-aged cyclist David Matthews took his luggage-laden bike on a 2,000 kilometre early summer odyssey across France which mixed the idyllic with the traumatic – but at least he managed (almost) to avoid the World Cup
WORDS AND PICTURES DAVID MATTHEWS
Le trek Toulouse and then some What follows is less of a diary of my summer in the saddle through France, but rather a series of anecdotes which may be of help or guidance to those considering a similar journey!
Day 1 to Day 3: Humber airport to Trelon, France – 328km No – I wasn’t flying anywhere! Due to the chaos on Northern Rail, and not wanting to miss the ferry with 20 subsequent hotel nights booked, I cancelled my train tickets and hired a car to drive from Chester to Hull. Nearest drop off point was at Humber Airport near Scunthorpe, some 40km from the ferry. This gave me the opportunity to ride over the massive Humber Bridge and then follow a series of cycle paths alongside the busy traffic in Hull city centre until I arrived at the ferry port on the far side. The timetable for the next day, riding from Zeebrugge to my hotel at Rebecq was tight, as the ferry docked at 9.30am. I then had to ride my laden bike 120km through unknown (to me) Belgium. Usually I would aim for about 100km per day, but had difficulty finding a hotel that would guarantee a meal on a Sunday evening, so accepted the necessity of extra distance on this occasion. The available riding time
became even less when a bus on the ferry stalled with jammed brakes and blocked departure until 10.30am. The delayed start from the ferry meant I would be arriving very late at my hotel so I took advantage of the booking.com app which has a phone button (along with very useful local maps) to ring up and advise them I might be just a little late for dinner. Belgium is famed for being bikefriendly with many cycle paths alongside the roads. Regrettably this friendliness doesn’t extend to road signs, which only seem to apply to motorways and major roads. My Michelin 1: 200,000 road map proved the wrong scale to follow the Belgian roads in detail and consequently I got lost several times. To cut a long story short, I finally reached my hotel at 8.30pm after a distance of 155km rather than the estimated 120km. I had similar problems the next day, including a frightening 10km sprint along a motorway hard shoulder in a desperate search for my correct route.
Eventually I crossed into France on a canal towpath near Jeumont where, beyond a plywood board marking the border, the road signs magically improved. All roads now had identifying numbers, which gave me reasonable confidence that I was now going in the right direction. The town of Maubeuge arrived after 100km riding at 5.00pm, still short of my hotel at Trelon by some 36km. At this point the heavens opened as I timetrialled through the downpour to arrive at my hotel soaking wet, cold and starving hungry at 6.30pm. Now I mentioned previously that the reason for my long journey to Rebecq was to be sure of getting an evening meal on a Sunday. A similar difficulty applies on Monday nights in France, so I had confirmed through several emails that I would be sure to get an evening meal in Trelon. To my horror, no meal was available either in the hotel, the nearby restaurant nor any local pizza joint as all were shut on Mondays. So there I was, standing in the hotel foyer literally shaking with cold, wet and hunger after the travails of the last two days, with no prospect of food – and another long day to travel tomorrow. Desperate situations call for desperate measures as I sought the breakfast room and dined on Cornflakes with yoghurt, dried toast and jam and a bottle of apple juice to slake my thirst. Not appetising, but it did stop me shaking from cold and hunger. Day 4 to Day 10: Trelon to Chassagny – 328km to 1,052km After another breakfast in Trelon, I set off in torrential rain towards Reims. At midday, looking around for somewhere sheltered to eat my picnic lunch, I spotted a woodworking operation some 50 metres from the road which had a large covered veranda outside. Once I was settled down under the veranda, the owner came outside to wish me “bon voyage” and even shook my soaking wet, gloved hand. What a nice gesture! The rain stopped during the afternoon as I continued riding along French main roads, feeling safe behind the white lines at the side, until I reached my hotel on the outskirts of Reims – only too ready for a big meal and good rest. During the next few days I headed south-east through sparsely populated farmland towards Lyon. The main concern during this part of the trip was getting enough food and drink to
sustain me during the day, as shops and cafes are few and far between in this very empty countryside. I planned to avoid Lyon by skirting around the west side through Beaujolais country, thus avoiding major roads and associated traffic problems. However, soon after turning off the main road I discovered that the country here around St Etienne de Oullieres is extremely hilly; much too difficult and time-consuming for me and my loaded bike. Eventually I conceded defeat and headed downhill to Villefranche sur Soane to re-join the main roads following the valleys. That evening I spent an extra hour riding in circles up and down steep hills near my destination at Chassagny, until I eventually discovered my overnight motel tucked away some 3km from the village. Day 11 to Day 12: The Rhone to Ile De La Barthelasse – 1,052km to 1,308km I left Chassagny next morning with a real sense of anticipation as I would reach the Rhone today after more than 1,000km of cycling since Zeebrugge. Givors is a large, busy town with much traffic and a few cycle paths which eventually led to my first sighting of the Rhone and the fabled Via Rhona. After pausing for a couple of photos I set off southwards on the cycle path – which expired and dumped me on to the busy D386 within a few hundred metres. Shock realisation no.1 (of several Via Rhona revelations to come) was that the Rhone Way followed this road for 25km to Condrieu, out of sight of the river. Not a good start to my anticipated pleasant ride along an idyllic cycle path! At Condrieu there is a signboard notifying that you are back on the Via Rhona. There is a tarmac path from this point on for several kilometres but, shock realisation no. 2, the path is almost unrideable, especially with a loaded bike, as hundreds of tree roots have broken through the surface. Somewhere near Serrions, 20km south from Condrieu, I lost track of the Via Rhona and ended up following the N7 for 30km to Tournons. Fortunately, from my viewpoint, there were multiple roadworks on this stretch of highway. The resulting traffic restrictions enabled me to make good, safe progress by riding inside the cones separating the roadworks from the cars. At Tournon I crossed the Rhone and followed the D86 for 40km to my overnight stop at Le Pouzin. I did make one further attempt to find the Via
Rhona by following signs at Glun. This route involved riding across the river and turning left on to a new section of the cycle path. I followed this circuitous route for 1.5km – and ended up 200m from where I started – shock realisation n. 3 – and increasing frustration with the official river route. So I rode back to the D86 with no further thoughts of wasting my time trying to find the cycleway, as I made good progress south to Le Pouzin. Next morning, having ridden fully 1km on the local, expensively produced, immaculate Via Rhona, I was disgorged back on to the D roads, shock realisation no. 4, though hardly a surprise by now, and continued some 60km southwards to Pont St Esprit. At this town the Via Rhona swings alongside the river on the “white road” D138. This is a remote road with a harsh surface giving uncomfortable riding – but it does follow the Rhone bank most of the way. The remote feel is spoiled somewhat as you pass by a massive, and I mean massive, nuclear facility for approximately 3km at Marcoule. Double barbed wire fences, electric fences, armed guards and no photos allowed hereabouts. Believe me, I know nothing! Destination that evening was on the Ile de Barthelasse just north of Avignon. A lovely rural retreat; the unwanted excitement being provided by a kitchen fire which delayed my evening meal until 9.15pm. Still, unlike at Trelon, I did eventually get a decent meal.
LE TREK TOULOUSE
The Rhone at Givors
Day 13 to Day 14: Ille De La Barthelasse to Le Grau d’Agde – 1,308km to 1,519km There was plenty of adrenaline flowing next morning as I braved the rush hour traffic across the famous Pont d’Avignon, nearly getting wiped out by a speeding motorbike weaving through the cars. Immediately over the bridge, I turned south-west to Beaucaire, following a hard-packed earth section of the Via Rhona for some 30km to the town. Following a coffee stop in Beaucaire, I left the Rhone to head south-west towards the Mediterranean along the D38 to St Gilles. Unlike the easy entry into town on good cycle paths, leaving was traumatic as I found little option but to follow the hard shoulder of some very busy dual carriageway roads with much speeding traffic before I could drop onto the D38 at a slip road to gratefully exit from the traffic mayhem. After a pleasant overnight stop at a B&B in Marsillargues, I followed some 54
The main concern during this ❝ part of the trip was getting enough food and drink to sustain me during the day, as shops and cafes are few and far between in this very empty countryside
lovely rural roads to arrive at La Grande Motte on the Mediterranean, 1423km after leaving Zeebrugge. I could now follow a secluded path along the seafront some 25km to Sete, southern terminus of the Canal du Midi which stretches some 800km all the way from The Atlantic. This secluded, seafront path beyond La Grande Motte introduced a new hazard. It has a pale white surface which masks small piles of sand that are blown in from the beach. The sand forms in hard-to-see piles at the side of the road and on a couple of occasions I nearly came to grief performing lurid slides through a heap of unnoticed sand, while avoiding the multitude of pedestrians. Fortunately the slides were just about held and no damage done, other than to my frayed nerves. I expected to find a canal side path at Sete, but after a few futile attempts to follow unmade tow paths, I gave up and headed for the corniche road on the south-east side of the Bassin de Thau. This road is very busy and has concrete barriers either side which just allow room for one car. I soon had an embarrassing queue of traffic behind me, unable to pass, as I hammered along at my maximum speed of 25kph. This difficult and slightly embarrassing situation was relieved when I spotted a cycle path behind some bushes and managed to lift my loaded bike over several barriers, after finding a small lay-by to let the accumulated traffic get past. I then time-trialled down this path for 25km to Cap d’Agde where the route became very hilly, non-obvious and hard work. After much sweat and dodging the heavy traffic through this town, I finally rode into the peaceful beachfront resort of Le Grau d’Agde which contains a car exclusion zone. Well recommended for peace and quiet after a trying day. Day 15: Le Grau d’Agde to Le Roc sur l’Orbieu – 1,519km to 1,641km Some days on a bike are unforgettable for a combination of incidents and effort. This was one such! During breakfast I received an email from mine host in Le Roc sur l’Orbieu, up in the Pyrenean foothills at Saint-Pierre-desChamps – the location of my next overnight stop. This email informed me that if I put in an order before 10am then it would be possible to provide an evening meal – but also that I must arrive at the chambre d’hote before
7pm or a heavy fine would be demanded. Although an intriguing condition, this latter should not be a problem as I had plenty of time to cover the necessary 100km, provided no issues were encountered on the way. I subsequently discovered that the reason for this curfew is because Le Roc contains just a small number of dwellings in a restored medieval castle. The residents only allow the presence of a Chambre d’hote provided that there is no noise after 7pm to disturb their peace and quiet. The curfew is strictly implemented by mine host, a retired lady Colonel from the French Army, who takes no prisoners. I plotted a route which initially used minor roads to avoid both Beziers and Narbonne – I had ridden through Le Roc sur l’Orbieu community Narbonne some four years previously and did not wish to repeat the unnerving experience of getting caught up in a motorway junction as the cycle paths disappeared. First objective was Serignan which was to be approached through Portiragnes after turning off the D612 some 15km beyond Cap d’Agde. The route started off well enough, crossing the Canal du Midi at the only bridge hereabouts. However, and somewhat alarmingly, the surface gradually I must arrive at the chambre d’hote before 7pm deteriorated until the road became a or a heavy fine would be demanded rough muddy track through fields. After some 6km following this “road” I arrived at a rather smart looking town which I eventually realised was in fact Portiragnes Plage; the map (not for the the afternoon the temperature rose Day 16 to day 17: Le Roc sur l’Orbieu first time) was completely wrong. I was even higher and I was soon running out via Malegoude to Tarrascon-surforced to retrace my steps along the of water again when fortune favoured Arriege – 1,641km to 1,787km Canal du Midi towpath to the D612 and me. Just as I was despairing of getting The morning dawned cool and pleasant take a different route through to much needed food and drink I came as I rode through the nearby tourist Serignan after an unnecessary diversion across an unexpected transport café mecca of Lagrasse and onwards of some 15km. where the D613 crosses the A61 major north-east through some scenic gorges This diversion lost me so much time east-west road. to eventually reach the outskirts of that I decided to have lunch in the very Taking stock of my situation in the Carcassone, after 35km. Although I once noisy main square of Serignan – 40km café, the time was already 5pm. I now spent a very enjoyable night in from the start but only 25k onwards into had two hours to ride 35km to my Carcassone after riding the Pyrenees today’s journey. overnight stop. Doesn’t sound too Atlantic to Med challenge, that visit was Next hold up was 40km later in difficult but I had already ridden 85km, car assisted. I had always avoided the Moussan. The day was boiling hot, and I my bike was weighed down with city while cycling as I judged it to be was running out of water when I luggage for three weeks’ travel, it was excessively crowded and too carspotted a guy mowing his lawn adjacent still very hot, there was a head wind, the infested to traverse on a bike. to the road. He kindly agreed to refill my road surface was poor and it was My route to avoid the town joined water bottle, but neglected to warn me gradually uphill all the way to the the D6113 on the eastern outskirts, but that he had just trimmed a very spiky chambre d’hote. Suffice to say that I got here I was greeted by several large signs bush at the side of the road. Within the my head down, gritted my teeth and for McDonalds – an unmissable next kilometre, my bike had punctures just made it with ten minutes to spare, experience in my tired state. The both front and rear, which I fixed while to my accommodation in a rather restaurant soon appeared where I being driven mad by another gardener elegant, refurbished castle. That night I enjoyed an excellent cyclist’s lunch, all noisily strimming swathes of grassland felt surprisingly alert in spite of the day’s selected from a big computer screen right behind me. travails – but paid for all the effort big which the young sales assistant took Beyond Moussan and further into time the next day. great delight in explaining, in French, to
LE TREK TOULOUSE an old duffer who had not been in a McDonalds for at least ten years. Following this lunch, I decided to chance riding directly through the town towards the airport on the western edge. Amazingly, probably because it was Sunday, I traversed the whole conurbation in almost total silence with no cars evident. A very lucky event indeed! Beyond the airport, I was greeted by large signs informing me that the 2018 Tour de France would traverse my route to Fanjeaux, some 35km distant. This road became increasingly lumpy until, after 26km, I spotted a café in the hill top town of Monreal. By this time, the efforts of the previous day and the heat were getting to me. I grabbed a beer and collapsed outside the café trying to recover. There did seem to be a lot of English people about and a lot of noise emanating from the café TV lounge, but I was too pooped to care. I found out later that England were thrashing Panama in the football World Cup at this time. Alas, my appreciation of this feat would have to wait for a few days, when I could consider events outside of surviving the daily cycling challenge. Beyond Monreal the road dropped then rose again 300m to Fanjeaux where the temperature was displayed outside the pharmacists as 34 degrees. Yet more hills led to my overnight stop at Malegoude after 86km of very hot riding. That night is the first time I can ever remember going to bed and being totally unconscious rather than just being asleep, due to extreme fatigue. The alarm clock had real trouble waking me next morning, which is unusual as I am normally a very early riser. Fortunately, the next day’s journey to Tarrascon was a gentle 60km on known roads, so I took it really easy to arrive at the excellent, cyclist friendly, English-speaking, Hotel Confort in the early afternoon. Day 18 & 19: Tarrascon-sur-Arriege – 1,787km to 1,884km Luxury – three nights in the same hotel without any packing or unpacking. Hardly a rest cure though, as the next day I fulfilled a long held ambition to ride to Plateau De Beille – 1780m. This climb, rising 1265m over 16km, is known as the “Ventoux of the Pyrenees” and occasionally features as a difficult Tour de France summit finish. The climb is situated just 10km from Tarrascon which allows time to warm up before starting the climb at Les Cabannes. The first 13km are 56
continuously steep with no views at all as one grinds up through tree shrouded slopes of 8% to 12%. Suddenly I broke out from the trees into a huge bowl below the plateau which allowed views of the fantastic panorama of giant peaks all around. The summit plateau gives even better views of a vast mountain panorama – it was no surprise to find many camper vans in this otherwise deserted place, staying overnight to enjoy the spectacular scenery. The following day was my designated “day off”. I rode 20km up to Auzat near the foot of Port de Lers. Here I enjoyed a long, boozy lunch at an idyllically placed café by the river. Following this soporific meal, I sleepily descended back to Tarrascon and a further snooze back at the hotel. Day 20 to Day 21: Tarrascon-surArriege to Montmaurin – 1,884km to 2,016km Day 20 was “back to touring reality day” as I packed the bike with all my luggage
once more and set off to ascend the Col de Port 1249m. My rest day had obviously restored the energy reserves as I found this col, 775m height gain in 17.5km, to be relatively straightforward. I then enjoyed a fast descent to the cyclists’ mecca at Massat where my arrival was nicely timed for a lunch break. While sitting outside the café, I was joined by another cyclist on a welltravelled touring bike. It transpired that Hieronymus (his father was a professor of ancient civilisations) had noticed that I was using a map, rather than GPS, to navigate – so called over to have a chat with a like-minded cyclist. Hieronymus, a middle-aged Dutchman, explained to me that he now leads a marvellous existence as a house sitter for absent families. This activity takes him all over Europe using only his bicycle and the possessions he can fit on to it. His many maps are covered with lines showing the places he has visited and extended plans for future journeys. An interesting
My rest day had obviously restored the energy ❝ reserves as I found this col, 775m height gain in 17.5km, to be relatively straightforward. I then enjoyed a fast descent to the cyclists’ mecca at Massat
life and an impressive character! Beyond Massat I descended for 20km non-stop alongside the river Arat to the medieval town of St Lizier for an early finish. Next day, the last of this trip, was probably the best day’s cycling of the entire journey. I left St Lizier following the right bank of the Salat river for 30km on charming minor roads with a complete absence of traffic, as far as Salies du Salat. Beyond here I followed the D13 and then D635 up some long hills to the town of Aurignac in the pre-Pyrenees. I found a supermarket where I could buy my routine special offer twin pack of Tiramisu (cake substitute) for lunch, and just beyond town found an excellent picnic area for an indulgent and relaxed al fresco lunch. Soon after lunch I clocked up 2,000km, my distance record for a continuous tour, and shortly afterwards finally arrived at my friend’s house in Montmaurin after 2,016km of riding spanning three weeks.
Postscript. I had never ridden continuously for so long before. My body told me that I mustn’t suddenly stop exercising or I could seize up forever – so I went out on short, hilly rides for each of the next three days in the beautiful area around Montmaurin. A feature of my unusual physical state was that it took me 45 minutes to warm up before I could ride up the hills freely. During the next few days I gradually recovered from the physical and mental strain of the trip and pronounced myself cured after nine days relaxing with friends and my wife, who had flown out for a holiday. A week later we flew back to Manchester – following an unforgettable cycling tour and a fantastic holiday. What a privilege to be able to stay fit and well enough to enjoy these experiences well into pensionable age!
THE ROUTE: David’s long journey through France this summer was inspired by a new guide to the Rhone Cycle Route, published by Cicerone Press. The Rhone Way officially starts at the Furka Pass in Switzerland, but as he had previously ridden most of this in reverse, he elected to pick up the official route south of Lyon. The plan involved taking the ferry from Hull to Zeebrugge and then down in a south-easterly direction across Belgium and into France. The route would take David through Reims and Dijon to meet the Rhone at Givors. “This would avoid the nightmare of cycling through Lyon,” he says. “Cyclists are recommended to take the train for this part of the Rhone Way!” Beyond Lyon, his route would take him along the River Rhone to Avignon and Beaucaire, where it would veer south west to meet the Mediterranean at La Grande Motte. “Rather than continue directly from here to my friend’s house at Montmaurin, some 70km south west of Toulouse, the plan was to ride to Tarasconsur-Arriege to satisfy a long-held ambition to ride the Tour de France climb – the Plateau De Beille,” he says. The trip was planned to start on 9 June and finish on 29 June – some 2,000km in 21 days. The route was broadly sketched out using maps, and all accommodation was arranged in advance. Daily stages were estimated at between 120k and 70k depending on terrain and available accommodation. “Having all accommodation booked in this way gives a real stimulus to completing each day’s ride,” says David. “Not everyone’s cup of tea but it suits me.”
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 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 1600m AAA1.5 [2300m] £6.00 f l p r t nm 100 15-25kph BlackSheep CC firstname.lastname@example.org ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, c/o Maggs Day Centre, Deansway, Worcestershire WR1 2JD 110 01 Dec Tewkesbury Once more unto … Agincourt 09:00 Sat BP 1150m £5.00 c p t nm 100 12-30kph BlackSheep CC email@example.com ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, c/o Maggs Day Centre, Deansway, Worcestershire WR1 2JD 100 01 Dec Witham, Essex The Stansted Airport Express 10:00 Sat BP 650m £4.00 X M T 12.5-30kph Audax Club Mid-Essex firstname.lastname@example.org Thomas Deakins, 31 The Causeway, Great Dunmow Essex CM6 2AA 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 email@example.com Terry Lister, 4 Abbey Walk, Great Missenden, Bucks HP16 0AY 200 08 Dec Frenchay, Bristol George’s Delightful Abbeys and Roads 07:00 Sat BR 206km 2500m £10.50 YH F G NM P R T (5/12) 15-30kph Audax Club Bristol firstname.lastname@example.org Will Pomeroy, 5 Chaplin Rd, Bristol BS5 0JT 160 08 Dec Frenchay, Bristol George’s Delightful Roads 07:45 Sat BP 162km 1650m £10.00 YH F G NM P R T (5/12) 12.5-25kph Audax Club Bristol email@example.com Will Pomeroy, 5 Chaplin Rd, Bristol BS5 0JT 100 08 Dec Frenchay, Bristol Abbeys and Minor Roads 08:30 Sat BP 103km 1000m £6.50 YH G NM P R T (5/12) 12.5-25kph Audax Club Bristol firstname.lastname@example.org Will Pomeroy, 5 Chaplin Rd, Bristol BS5 0JT
200 23 Dec Bredbury, Stockport Winter Solstice 08:30 Sun BR 202km 1300m £5.00 P R T 15-30kph Peak Audax CTC PeakAudax@hotmail.co.uk ROA 10000 Mike Wigley, Higher Grange Farm Millcroft Lane, Delph OL3 5UX 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 email@example.com Will Pomeroy, 5 Chaplin Rd, Bristol BS5 0JT 100 05 Jan Bradwell, nr Hope, Peak District Hopey New Year 09:00 Sat BP 104km 1850m AAA1.75 £6.00 YH C P R T 100 10-30kph David Darricott 01433 621 531 firstname.lastname@example.org David Darricott, 9 Gore Lane, Bradwell, Hope Valley, Derbyshire S33 9HT 200 05 Jan Oxford The Poor Student 08:00 Sat BR 205km 1800m £6.00 (200) YH P X 15-30kph Pat Hurt 07887 87 61 62 email@example.com Pat Hurt, 10 Newbury Road, Lambourn RG17 7LL
200 26 Jan Cardiff Gate Dr. Foster’s Winter Warmer 07:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 1800m £6.00 YH L P R T 15-30kph Cardiff Byways CC firstname.lastname@example.org ROA 5000 Richard Evans, 73 Conway Road, Cardiff CF11 9NW 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 200 27 Jan Cheadle, Stockport Newport 08:00 Sun BRM [PBP] 201km 1200m £7.00 P, R, T 15-30kph Peak Audax CTC PeakAudax@hotmail.co.uk ROA 10000 Mike Wigley, Higher Grange Farm, Millcroft Lane, Delph OL3 5UX 150 27 Jan Cheadle, Stockport Radway 08:30 Sun BP 153km 780m £6.50 P, R, T 15-30kph Peak Audax CTC PeakAudax@hotmail.co.uk ROA 10000 Mike Wigley, Higher Grange Farm, Millcroft Lane, Delph OL3 5UX 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 email@example.com ROA 10000 Tom Fox, 180 Nottingham Road, Alfreton, Derbyshire DE55 7FP
100 06 Jan Kings Worthy, Winchester Watership Down 09:30 Sun BP 105km 1250m £6.00 L F P R T M 150 14-28kph Winchester CTC firstname.lastname@example.org ROA 5000 Sue Coles, 7 Ruffield Close, Winchester SO22 5JL
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 email@example.com Peter Lewis, 82 Pine Road, Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh SO53 1JT
100 12 Jan Kelvedon, Essex The Kelvedon Oyster 10:00 Sat BP 109km £5.00 X M T G 12-30kph Audax Club Mid-Essex firstname.lastname@example.org Graeme Provan, 1 Firs Road West Mersea, Colchester CO5 8JS
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 email@example.com Peter Lewis, 82 Pine Road, Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh SO53 1JT
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 firstname.lastname@example.org ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, c/o Maggs Day Centre, Deansway, Worcestershire WR1 2JD
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 email@example.com ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, c/o Maggs Day Centre, Deansway, Worcestershire WR1 2JD
200 12 Jan Warmley, Bristol Chalke and Cheese 07:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 210km 2450m £7.50 YH G P R T (100) (03/6) 15-30kph Audax Club Bristol firstname.lastname@example.org Will Pomeroy, 5 Chaplin Rd, Bristol BS5 0JT
100 02 Feb Witham Knights Templar Compasses 10:00 Sat BP 105km 800m £4.50 X G T P 12-25kph Audax Club Mid-Essex email@example.com Grant Huggins, 76 Bryony Close, Witham, Essex CM8 2XF
200 19 Jan Aberystwyth Taith Mynydd Canolbarth Cymru 07:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 212km 2900m AAA3 [2950m] £4.50 G L P T S 15-30kph Ystwyth CC 07771 812900 firstname.lastname@example.org Andy Cox, Aberdauddwr, Aberffrwd, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion SY23 3ND 200 19 Jan Chalfont St Peter The Willy Warmer 08:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 209km £8.00 L P R T 75 G 15-30kph Willesden CC email@example.com Paul Stewart, 25 Devonshire Gardens, Chiswick, London W4 3TN 200 20 Jan St Marys Community Centre, Cockerton, Darlington Yorkshire Grit 08:00 Sun BRM [PBP] 1000m £5.00 G L P R T 15-30kph Updated VC 167 07760669623 firstname.lastname@example.org Dean Clementson, 10 Redmire Close, Darlington DL1 2ER
150 03 Feb Ashton Keynes, Cirencester Windrush Winter Warm Down 150 08:00 Sun BP 155km 1450m £5.00 L F P R T 15-30kph Corinium CC 01285 659 515 email@example.com ROA 5000 Peter Holden, 39 Querns Lane, Cirencester GL7 1RL 100 03 Feb Ashton Keynes, Cirencester Windrush Winter Warm-up 100 09:00 Sun BP 108km 700m £5.00 L F P R T 14-25kph Corinium CC 01285 659 515 firstname.lastname@example.org ROA 5000 Peter Holden, 39 Querns Lane, Cirencester GL7 1RL 200 09 Feb Aberystwyth The Towy & Ystwyth Explorer 07:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 217km 2750m AAA2.5 [2500m] £4.50 G L P T S 15-30kph Ystwyth CC 07771 812900 email@example.com Andy Cox, Aberdauddwr, Aberffrwd, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion SY23 3ND 100 09 Feb Dial Post, RH13 8NS Worthing Winter Warmer 09:00 Sat BP 105km 1130m [1050m] £5.00 FPRT 15-30kph Updated Worthing Excelsior Joan Lennon, 17 Highland Croft, Steyning, West Sussex BN44 3RF
100 10 Feb Leicester Rutland and Beyond 08:30 Sun BP 102km 1290m £4.00 F L P R S T (125) 1230kph Leic. Forest CC firstname.lastname@example.org ROA 2000 Kim Suffolk, 73 Colby Road, Thurmaston, Leicester LE4 8LG 200 10 Feb The Wonder Cafe, Uxbridge The Winter Boat Ride 08:00 Sun BRM [PBP] 210km 1900m £6.00 XG 15-30kph Updated Audax Club DuBois 07974 670931 paudax@gmail. com Paul Stewart, 25 Devonshire Gardens, Chiswick, London W4 3TN 200 16 Feb Cardiff Gate Malmesbury Mash 07:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 1000m £3.00 YH L P R T 15-30kph CTC Cymru email@example.com Ritchie Tout, Sunnyside Cottage, Mynyddbach Monmouthshire NP16 6RT 200 16 Feb Rochdale North-West Passage 08:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 2200m £7.00 R T 15-30kph West Pennine RC ROA 5000 Noel Healey, 95 Shore Mount, Littleborough, Lancs OL15 8EW 120 16 Feb Rochdale Mini-North-West Passage 09:00 Sat BP 1450m £7.00 r t 15-30kph West Pennine RC ROA 5000 Noel Healey, 95 Shore Mount, Littleborough, Lancs OL15 8EW 100 17 Feb Henham, S of Saffron Walden Victoria C. C. – Brazier’s Run 09:00 Sun BP 104km 700m £10.00 A(1) L P R S T 15-30kph Victoria CC firstname.lastname@example.org ROA 3000 Kieron Yates, 25 Grasdene Road, London SE18 2AS 50
17 Feb Henham, S of Saffron Walden Victoria CC – Brazier’s Run 09:00 Sun BP 450m £9.00 A(1) L P R S T 10-25kph Victoria CC email@example.com ROA 3000 Kieron Yates, 25 Grasdene Road, London SE18 2AS 100 17 Feb Old Town Hall, Musselburgh Musselburgh RCC Tour of East Lothian 09:30 Sun BP 106km 1350m £10.00 L P R T NM G 12.5-30kph Musselburgh RCC Alistair Mackintosh, 5 Durham Road South, Edinburgh EH15 3PD 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 firstname.lastname@example.org ROA 5000 Tom Jackson, 19 Denesway, Meopham, Kent DA13 0EA 200 23 Feb Aylesbury,Buckinghamshire, HP21 7QX Chiltern Grit 200 08:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 214km 1650m £10.00 A G P X R T (100) 15-30kph Aylesbury CC 07941 404613 email@example.com (please enter online) 110 23 Feb Aylesbury, HP21 7QX Chiltern Grit 100 09:00 Sat BP 113km 754m £10.00 A G P X R T (100) 15-30kph Aylesbury CC firstname.lastname@example.org (please enter online) 200 23 Feb Aztec West Business Park, BS32 4TD Efengyl (Gospel) 200 07:30 Sat BRM [PBP] 204km 2300m AAA2 £6.00 x g p 15-30kph Audax Club Bristol email@example.com Entry on line only
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 120 23 Feb Whitlenge, Hartlebury, S of Kidderminster Sunrise Express 08:30 Sat BP 121km 1050m £8.50 P R T F 130 15-30kph Beacon Roads Cycling Club Phil Richards, Forge House Farm, Cooksey Green, Upton Warren, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire B61 9EP 120 23 Feb Whitlenge, Hartlebury, S of Kidderminster Snowdrop Express 09:00 Sat BP 1050m £8.50 P R T F 130 15-30kph Beacon Roads Cycling Club Phil Richards, Forge House Farm, Cooksey Green, Upton Warren, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire B61 9EP 100 24 Feb Corscombe, near Beaminster The Primrose Path 09:00 Sun BP 102km 1850m AAA1.75 £8.00 F L P R T 55 12.5-25kph Arthur Vince firstname.lastname@example.org Arthur Vince, 3 Back Lane, East Coker, Yeovil Somerset BA22 9JN 200 24 Feb Lower Whitley, Nr Warrington NEW Mere Two Hundred 08:00 Sun BRM [PBP] 205km 1450m £7.50 P R T 100 1530kph North Cheshire Clarion email@example.com Neil Shand, 12 Chapel Close, Comberbach, Northwich CW9 6BA
100 09 Mar Churchend,Dunmow, Essex The Horsepower 100km 09:00 Sat BP 102km 900m £10.00 X A C L P R T G M 12.5-30kph Audax Club Mid-Essex firstname.lastname@example.org Thomas Deakins, 31 The Causeway, Great Dunmow, Essex CM6 2AA 200 09 Mar Grazeley, S of Reading The Kennet Valley Run 08:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 207km 1700m £8.75 F G L P R T 15-30kph Updated Reading CTC Titus Halliwell, 9 Epping Close, Reading, Berkshire RG1 7YD 100 09 Mar Grazeley, S of Reading The Kennet Valley 100 09:00 Sat BP 900m £8.75 L P R T 12-30kph Updated Reading CTC Titus Halliwell, 9 Epping Close, Reading, Berkshire RG1 7YD 200 09 Mar Whitchuch, Bristol Wells, Mells & Broader! 07:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 203km 2800m AAA2.75 [2750m] £7.50 YH G NM P R T (3/3) 15-30kph Audax Club Bristol email@example.com Will Pomeroy, 5 Chaplin Rd, Bristol BS5 0JT 100 09 Mar Whitchuch, Bristol Wells, Mells & Old Rail Trail 09:00 Sat BP 103km 1600m AAA1.5 £6.50 YH G NM P R T (100) (6/3) 12.5-25kph Audax Club Bristol firstname.lastname@example.org Will Pomeroy, 5 Chaplin Rd, Bristol BS5 0JT
160 24 Feb Lower Whitley, Nr Warrington NEW Mere Century 08:30 Sun BP 165km 1100m £7.50 P R T 60 15-30kph North Cheshire Clarion email@example.com Neil Shand, 12 Chapel Close, Comberbach, Northwich CW9 6BA
200 10 Mar Exeter Mad March, A river too far 08:00 Sun BRM [PBP] 2800m AAA2.75 £7.00 YH F P R T X 14.3-30kph Exeter Whs firstname.lastname@example.org Sarah Britton, 17 Copse Close Lane, Cranbrook EX5 7AP
200 02 Mar Alfreton Roses to Wrags 08:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 212km 1400m £6.00 F P R T 150 1530kph Alfreton CTC email@example.com Stephen Ogden, The Firs, 170 Nuncargate Road, Kirkby In Ashfield NG17 9EA
100 10 Mar Exeter Mad March Exeter Excursion 09:00 Sun BP 1150m £6.00 YH F P R T 12-25kph Exeter Whs 07443 471140 firstname.lastname@example.org Sarah Britton, 17 Copse Close Lane, Cranbrook, Devon EX5 7AP
150 02 Mar Chepstow Castle Car park The Gospel Pass 07:30 Sat BP AAA2.25 £6.00 X P GMTR 15-30kph Chepstow Cycling Club 01291 626836 Jennifer Goslin, 46 Bridge Street, Chepstow, Monmouthshire NP16 5EY 200 02 Mar Tewkesbury Mr Pickwick’s March Madness 07:30 Sat BRM [PBP] 209km 2600m AAA2 [1700m] £6.00 C G NM P R T 15-30kph BlackSheep CC email@example.com ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, c/o Maggs Day Centre, Deansway, Worcestershire WR1 2JD 100 09 Mar Alfreton Three Fields 09:00 Sat BP 104km 1100m £5.00 L P R T 100 12-30kph Alfreton CTC Ian Hobbs, 26 Naseby Road, Openwoodgate, Belper DE56 0ER 200 09 Mar Churchend,Dunmow, Essex The Horsepower 200 07:30 Sat BRM [PBP] 1450m £10.00 X A C L P R T G M 15-30kph Audax Club Mid-Essex firstname.lastname@example.org Thomas Deakins, 31 The Causeway, Great Dunmow, Essex CM6 2AA
100 10 Mar Otford, Sevenoaks Kent Invicta Grimpeur 100 09:30 Sun BP 1800m AAA1.75 £8.00 F L P R T 12-25kph West Kent CTC email@example.com Patrick Mcmaster, 207 Colyer Road, Northfleet, Kent DA11 8AT 50
10 Mar Otford, Sevenoaks Kent Invicta Hilly 50 10:00 Sun BP 945m AAA1 £7.00 F L P R T NM 12-25kph West Kent CTC firstname.lastname@example.org Patrick Mcmaster, 207 Colyer Road, Northfleet, Kent DA11 8AT 200 10 Mar Winsford, Cheshire Scouting Mam Tor 08:00 Sun BRM [PBP] 207km 2570m AAA2.25 [2150m] £8.00 P R T 15-30kph Peak Audax CTC email@example.com Phil Scott, 59 Hawkshead Way, Winsford, Cheshire CW7 2SY 160 10 Mar Winsford, Cheshire Edale Run 08:30 Sun BP 167km 2370m AAA2.25 [2150m] £8.00 P R T 15-30kph Peak Audax CTC firstname.lastname@example.org Phil Scott, 59 Hawkshead Way, Winsford, Cheshire CW7 2SY 200 16 Mar Andoversford, Nr Cheltenham Cheltenham New Flyer 08:00 Sat BRM [PBP] £6.00 GLPRT 15-30kph Cheltenham CTC email@example.com ROA 10000 Stephen Poulton, Leckhampton Lodge, 23 Moorend Park Road, Leckhampton, Cheltenham, Glos GL53 0LA www.aukweb.net
AUK CALENDAR 150 16 Mar Andoversford, Nr Cheltenham Cider with Rosie 150 08:30 Sat BP 151km £5.00 GPRT 12.5-30kph Cheltenham CTC firstname.lastname@example.org ROA 10000 Stephen Poulton, Leckhampton Lodge, 23 Moorend Park Road, Leckhampton, Cheltenham, Glos GL53 0LA 100 16 Mar Andoversford, Nr Cheltenham Character Coln 09:00 Sat BP £5.00 GPRT 15-30kph Cheltenham CTC email@example.com ROA 10000 Stephen Poulton, Leckhampton Lodge, 23 Moorend Park Road, Leckhampton, Cheltenham, Glos GL53 0LA 300 16 Mar Bushley, Nr Tewkesbury A Rough Diamond 06:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 301km 2500m [3450m] £8.00 C F G L NM P R T Z 250 15-30kph BlackSheep CC firstname.lastname@example.org ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, c/o Maggs Day Centre, Deansway, Worcestershire WR1 2JD
200 31 Mar Cranbrook, Devon Up and down like a yo-yo 08:00 Sun BRM [PBP] 3100m AAA3 £7.00 G T 15-30kph Exeter Whs email@example.com Sarah Britton, 17 Copse Close Lane, Cranbrook, Devon EX5 7AP
100 23 Mar Aldbrough St John, nr Darlington Ripon Canter 10:00 Sat BP 850m £5.00 X L P R T 12-25kph VC 167 01325 374 112 firstname.lastname@example.org Nigel Hall, Finkle Croft, Aldbrough St John, Nr. Richmond DL11 7TD
200 31 Mar Halifax The Red Rose Ride 08:00 Sun BRM [PBP] 2550m AAA1.5 [1500m] £6.00 L P R T 15-30kph Calderdale CTC email@example.com Dave Dodwell, 32 Parkside Avenue, Queensbury, Bradford BD13 2HQ
100 23 Mar Bamford, Derbyshire Occasionally Hilly 09:00 Sat BP 109km 2100m AAA2 £8.00 P, R, T, G, F 12.5-30kph Common Lane Occasionals 07805100988 firstname.lastname@example.org ROA 2000 Oliver Wright, Townhead Farm, 345 Baslow Road, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S17 4AD
31 Mar Hampers Green Community C, Petworth, W Sussex The Petworth Start of Summer Time 50 09:30 Sun BP 730m £5.00 F P T (40) 10-30kph ABAUDAX email@example.com Anton Brown, 19 Northlands Avenue, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16 3RT
100 23 Mar Copdock, Nr. Ipswich The Copdock Circuit – Spring in South Suffolk 09:00 Sat BP 750m £6.50 L P R T M 12-30kph Suffolk CTC firstname.lastname@example.org Dennis Kell, 9 Pheasant Rise Copdock Ipswich Suffolk IP8 3LF
100 31 Mar Minehead Exmoor Spring 09:30 Sun BP 1750m AAA1.75 £5.00 L P R T 100 12.5-25kph Minehead CC Richard Miles, 1 Lower Park, Minehead, Somerset TA24 8AX
100 16 Mar Duffus Hall, Duffus Moray Moray Meanderings 10:00 Sat BP 834m £7.00 CXGLPRTS 15-30kph Elgin CC Mark Houliston, Invererne, 3 Gordonstoun Road, Duffus, Moray IV30 5WE
200 23 Mar Village Hotel, Coryton, NW Cardiff Making Hay 07:30 Sat BRM [PBP] 206km 2000m [2500m] £9.00 YH FG L P R T 15-30kph Cardiff Byways 02920 341768 evansrichardd@ googlemail.com ROA 5000 Richard Evans, 73 Conway Road, Cardiff CF11 9NW
200 16 Mar Girton, Cambridge The Cambridge Pork Pie 08:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 214km 1700m £10.00 YH A C G L P R T S 15-30kph Cambridge Audax email@example.com Nick Wilkinson, 42 Dodford Lane, Girton, Cambridge CB3 0QE
200 24 Mar Golden Green,Tonbridge Man of Kent – 10th Anniversary Audax 08:00 Sun BRM [PBP] 203km 1505m [1425m] £8.00 F L P R T (120) 15-30kph David Winslade firstname.lastname@example.org David Winslade, 3 Albany Close, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 2EY
110 16 Mar Girton, Cambridge The Cambridge Spring Dash 09:00 Sat BP 111km 850m £10.00 YH A C G L P R T S 12.5-30kph Cambridge Audax email@example.com Nick Wilkinson, 42 Dodford Lane, Girton, Cambridge CB3 0QE
300 30 Mar Aberystwyth Meirionydd & More 06:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 318km 4200m AAA4.25 £4.50 G L P T S X 15-30kph Ystwyth CC 07771 812900 firstname.lastname@example.org Andy Cox, Aberdauddwr, Aberffrwd, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion SY23 3ND
300 16 Mar Oxford, Peartree Services The Dean 06:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 3450m AAA2.25 [2200m] £6.50 X G P 15-30kph Audax Club Hackney 07932 672 561 email@example.com Justin Jones, 39 Harringay Road, Harringay, London N15 3JB
200 30 Mar Carlton le Moorland or, Norton Disney Bomber County 07:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 208km 950m £7.00 C,G, T 15-30kph Audax Club Lincolnshire firstname.lastname@example.org Richard Parker, 28 High Street, Carlton Le Moorland, Lincoln, Lincolnshire LN5 9HT
200 16 Mar Duffus Hall, Duffus Elgin Monster Munch 08:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 1700m £10.00 CXGLPRTS 15-30kph Elgin CC Mark Houliston, Invererne, 3 Gordonstoun Road, Duffus, Moray IV30 5WE
200 16 Mar Selkirk Scottish Borders Randonnee 08:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 204km 2168m £10.00 F G P R T 15-30kph Scottish Borders Randonneur 01750 20838 Russell Carson, 21 Ladylands Terrace, Selkirk, TD7 4BB
200 23 Mar Aldbrough St John, nr Darlington Yorkshire Gallop 08:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 1450m £5.00 X P R T 14.3-30kph VC 167 01325 374 112 email@example.com Nigel Hall, Finkle Croft, Aldbrough St John, Nr. Richmond DL11 7TD
200 30 Mar Galashiels Moffat Toffee 08:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 204km 2500m [2300m] £10.00 LPRTSG 15-30kph Scottish Borders Randonneur firstname.lastname@example.org ROA 25000 Lucy Mctaggart, 30 Victoria Street, Galashiels, Scottish Borders TD1 1HL
140 16 Mar Selkirk Scottish Borders Populaire 08:00 Sat BP 145km £10.00 F G P R T 12-30kph Scottish Borders Randonneur 01750 20838 Russell Carson, 21 Ladylands Terrace, Selkirk TD7 4BB
100 30 Mar Galashiels Springtime Ride of the Valkyries 10:00 Sat BP 106km 1500m £9.00 LPRTSG 12-30kph Audax Ecosse email@example.com ROA 25000 Lucy Mctaggart, 30 Victoria Street, Galashiels Scottish Borders TD1 1HL
200 17 Mar Surbiton Gently Bentley 08:00 Sun BRM [PBP] 1650m £9.50 G L P R T (100) (1/3) 15-30kph Updated Kingston Wheelers firstname.lastname@example.org Daniel Smith, 95 Regents Court, Sopwith Way, Kingston Upon Thames KT2 5AQ
200 31 Mar Clitheroe, Lancashire Delightful Dales 200 08:00 Sun BRM [PBP] 205km 3150m AAA3.25 [3600m] £6.60 L P R T X 15-30kph Burnley CC email@example.com Andy Corless, 31 Castlerigg Drive, Ightenhill, Burnley, Lancashire BB12 8AT
31 Mar Minehead Exmoor Spring 50 10:00 Sun BP 1150m AAA1.25 £5.00 YH L P R T 10-20kph Minehead CC Richard Miles, 1 Lower Park, Minehead, Somerset TA24 8AX 200 31 Mar Ponteland Up on the Roof Extension 08:00 Sun BRM [PBP] 202km 2145m £8.50 FGPRT (80) 15-30kph Tyneside Vagabonds 07875224229 firstname.lastname@example.org Please enter online 160 31 Mar Ponteland Up on the Roof 08:00 Sun BP 161km 1866m £8.50 FGPRT 14.3-30kph Tyneside Vagabonds 07875224229 email@example.com Please enter online 100 31 Mar Ponteland Winter’s Gibbet 08:30 Sun BP 1050m £8.50 GPRT 12.5-25kph Tyneside Vagabonds 07875224229 firstname.lastname@example.org Please enter online 200 31 Mar Pound Street Car Park, Petworth, W Sussex The Petworth Start of Summer Time 200 07:30 Sun BRM [PBP] 202km 2006m £10.00 F P T R 1530kph Updated Anton Brown email@example.com Anton Brown, 19 Northlands Avenue, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16 3RT 100 31 Mar Pound Street Car Park, Petworth, W Sussex The Petworth Start of Summer Time 100 08:00 Sun BP 103km 1350m £10.00 F P T R (100) 15-30kph Anton Brown firstname.lastname@example.org Anton Brown, 19 Northlands Avenue, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16 3RT 200 31 Mar Waters Edge (Rear), Ruislip, HA4 7YP Steam Ride: London-Oxford-London (LOL) The Ghan 08:15 Sun BRM [PBP] 1550m £9.50 L P R T YH 15-30kph Change of Date Audax Club Hackney email@example.com Tim Sollesse, 59 Lynwood Rd, Ealing, London W5 1JG 110 31 Mar Waters Edge (Rear), Ruislip, HA4 7YP Steam Ride: Quainton Express 08:30 Sun BP 117km 1050m £7.50 L P R T YH 12.5-25kph Change of Date AC Hackney firstname.lastname@example.org Tim Sollesse, 59 Lynwood Rd, Ealing, London W5 1JG
300 06 Apr Bushley, Nr Tewkesbury Helfa Cymraeg Benjamin Allen ar. 05:30 Sat BRM [PBP] 308km 3500m £8.00 100, C,F,L,P,R,T,S,NM. 15-25kph BlackSheep CC email@example.com ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, c/o Maggs Day Centre, Deansway, Worcestershire WR1 2JD 300 06 Apr Chalfont St Peter, Bucks, SL9 9QX 3Down London – New Forest 06:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 309km 2653m [3100m] £20.00 YHGLPRT(140) 15-30kph Updated Willesden CC firstname.lastname@example.org Ian Oliver, 68 St Dunstans Avenue, London W3 6QJ 300 06 Apr Duffus, Elgin The Turra Coo 06:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 308km 2750m £10.00 CXGLPRTS 15-30kph Elgin CC Mark Houliston, Invererne, 3 Gordonstoun Road, Duffus, Moray IV30 5WE 300 06 Apr Easton, Bristol Bill’s Easton Connection 06:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 305km 4950m AAA5 £12.00 YH G L P R T (24/3) 15-30kph Audax Club Bristol email@example.com Will Pomeroy, 5 Chaplin Rd, Bristol BS5 0JT 200 06 Apr Haynes Road, Leicester Another Slice of Rutland 08:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 2100m £6.00 L P R T G 70 15-30kph Leicester Forest CC Steve Orchard, 28 Hidcote Road, Oadby, Leicester LE2 5PE 50
06 Apr Village Hall, Long Melford Mini Upper Stour 09:30 Sat BP 339m £5.00 G L P R T 4/4 12-30kph CC Sudbury firstname.lastname@example.org Jane Watson, 8 Combs Lane, Stowmarket IP14 2DA 200 07 Apr Greenwich The Shark 07:30 Sun BRM [PBP] 202km 3200m AAA3.25 £8.00 F G R (05/04) 15-30kph Audax Club Hackney email@example.com Ivan Cornell, 13 Maidenstone Hill, London SE10 8SY 200 07 Apr Hallbankgate, nr Brampton Eden Valley 200 08:30 Sun BRM [PBP] 204km 1943m £8.50 GPRT 15-30kph Tyneside Vagabonds 07875224229 firstname.lastname@example.org Please enter online 160 07 Apr Hallbankgate, nr Brampton Eden Valley 160 09:00 Sun BP 162km 1492m £8.00 GPRT 14.3-30kph Tyneside Vagabonds 07875224229 email@example.com Please enter online 100 07 Apr Hallbankgate, nr Brampton Eden Valley 100 10:00 Sun BP 102km 905m £8.00 GPRT 12.5-25kph Tyneside Vagabonds 07875224229 firstname.lastname@example.org Please enter online 200 07 Apr Long Ashton, Bristol Barry’s Bristol Ball Buster 07:30 Sun BRM [PBP] 215km 2300m £7.00 F L P R T G NM (200) 15-30kph Las Vegas Inst of Sport email@example.com Marcus Mumford, Upper Haselor Farm, Haselor Lane, Hinton-on-the-green, Evesham, Worcestershire WR11 2QZ 110 07 Apr Long Ashton, Bristol Barry’s Bristol Bash 09:30 Sun BP 116km 1300m £7.00 F L P R T G NM (275) 12.5-30kph Las Vegas Inst of Sport firstname.lastname@example.org Marcus Mumford, Upper Haselor Farm, Haselor Lane, Hinton-on-the-green, Evesham, Worcestershire WR11 2QZ
200 07 Apr Poynton, S of Stockport Chirk 08:00 Sun BRM [PBP] £6.00 F P 15-30kph Peak Audax CTC email@example.com Darryl Nolan, 5 Grasmere Road, Royton, Oldham OL2 6SR
14 Apr Falmouth A Bunny Hop 10:00 Sun BP 750m £6.50 F G L P R T 10-25kph Falmouth Whs firstname.lastname@example.org Philip Conroy, 5 Fairfield Road, Falmouth TR11 2DN
400 13 Apr Aberystwyth It’s A Kind of Teifi Traveller 09:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 414km 6650m AAA6.75 £8.00 G L P T S X 15-30kph Ystwyth CC email@example.com Andy Cox, Aberdauddwr, Aberffrwd, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion SY23 3ND
110 14 Apr Mytholmroyd Spring into the Dales 09:00 Sun BP 115km 2350m AAA2.25 £5.00 L P R T YH 12-24kph Calderdale CTC firstname.lastname@example.org ROA 25000 Chris Crossland, 14 Stanley Street West, Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire HX6 1EF
300 13 Apr Alfreton Everybody Rides to Skeggy! 06:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 302km 1600m £7.00 L R P T X 100 15-30kph Alfreton CTC email@example.com ROA 10000 Tom Fox, 180 Nottingham Road, Alfreton, Derbyshire DE55 7FP
100 13 Apr Churchend, Dunmow, Essex The Woodman 10:00 Sat BP 850m £9.00 C G L M P R T 12.5-25kph Audax Club Mid-Essex firstname.lastname@example.org Thomas Deakins, 31 The Causeway, Great Dunmow, Essex CM6 2AA
14 Apr Mytholmroyd Leap into the Aire 10:00 Sun BP 1250m AAA1.25 £4.50 L P R T YH 8-20kph Calderdale CTC email@example.com ROA 25000 Chris Crossland, 14 Stanley Street West, Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire HX6 1EF 200 14 Apr Wareham Dorset Coast 07:45 Sun BRM [PBP] 207km 2850m AAA2.75 £12.00 G C L F R P T S M 15-30kph CC Weymouth firstname.lastname@example.org Andrew Preston, 24 Monmouth Road, Dorchester, Dorset DT1 2DG
13 Apr Churchend, Dunmow, Essex The Woodman’s Daughter 09:00 Sat BP 300m £9.00 C G L M P R T 8.3-20kph Audax Club Mid-Essex email@example.com Thomas Deakins, 31 The Causeway, Great Dunmow, Essex CM6 2AA
100 14 Apr Wareham Coastlet 09:00 Sun BP 107km 1200m £7.00 C L F R P T M 12-25kph CC Weymouth firstname.lastname@example.org Andrew Preston, 24 Monmouth Road, Dorchester, Dorset DT1 2DG
300 13 Apr Galashiels Alston and Back 06:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 2700m £15.00 PRTSG(100) 15-30kph Scottish Borders Randonneur 01896 758 181 email@example.com ROA 25000 Lucy McTaggart, 30 Victoria St., Galashiels, Scottish Borders TD1 1HL
400 19 Apr Anywhere, to York Easter Fleches to York Fri BRM £15.00 15-30kph Audax UK firstname.lastname@example.org Martin Foley, 78 Denholm Road, Musselburgh, East Lothian EH21 6TU
160 13 Apr Galashiels Dick McTs Century Classic 09:00 Sat BP 1576m [1600m] £10.00 LPRTSG 12-30kph Audax Ecosse email@example.com ROA 25000 Lucy McTaggart, 30 Victoria St., Galashiels, Scottish Borders TD1 1HL 300 13 Apr Poole Hard boiled 300 02:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 4350m AAA4.25 [4400m] £10.00 L M (50)(30/3) 15-30kph Wessex CTC Shawn Shaw, 22 Shaftesbury Road, Denmark Gardens, Poole, Dorset BH15 2LT 300 13 Apr Poynton, S of Stockport Plains 23:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 310km 1600m £5.00 P X 15-30kph Peak Audax CTC firstname.lastname@example.org Peter Hammond, 3 Dorac Avenue, Heald Green, Cheadle, Stockport, Cheshire SK8 3NZ 300 13 Apr Raynes Park Amesbury Amble 06:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 312km 2200m £10.00 A(2) G L P R T S 15-30kph Kingston Wheelers email@example.com Richard Evans, 29 Somerset Avenue, Raynes Park, London SW20 0BJ 100 13 Apr Usk, Monmouthshire Gwent Gambol 08:00 Sat BP 101km 1200m £6.00 C F G L P R T 13-30kph Cardiff Byways firstname.lastname@example.org ROA 5000 Richard Evans, 73 Conway Road, Cardiff CF11 9NW 100 14 Apr Falmouth A Cornish 100 09:00 Sun BP 107km 1400m £6.50 F G L P R T 12-25kph Falmouth Whs email@example.com Philip Conroy, 5 Fairfield Road, Falmouth TR11 2DN
200 19 Apr Anywhere, to York Easter Trail Fri BP 201km £12.00 per team 15-30kph Audax UK firstname.lastname@example.org Martin Foley, 78 Denholm Road, Musselburgh, East Lothian EH21 6TU 300 20 Apr Cirencester Heart of England 300 06:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 307km 2900m £7.00 A(2) L P R T 100 15-30kph Corinium CC 01285 659 515 email@example.com ROA 5000 Peter Holden, 39 Querns Lane, Cirencester, Glos GL7 1RL 200 20 Apr Huntingdon Double Dutch 08:00 Sat BRM [PBP] £3.50 X 15-30kph CTC West Surrey firstname.lastname@example.org Martin Malins, Room 2L22 Lab Block, Charing Cross Hospital, Fulham Palace Road, London W12 8RF 200 20 Apr Leominster The Cambrian 07:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 210km 3500m AAA3.5 £6.00 L P R T 15-30kph Hereford & Dist. Whs email@example.com Daryl Hayter, Weir View, Breinton Common, Breinton, Hereford, Herefordshire HR4 7PR 140 20 Apr Leominster The Cambrian – Minor 08:00 Sat BP 148km 2035m AAA2 [2250m] £6.00 L P R T 12.5-30kph Hereford & Dist. Whs firstname.lastname@example.org Daryl Hayter, Weir View, Breinton Common, Breinton, Hereford, Herefordshire HR4 7PR 84
20 Apr Leominster The Cambrian - Welsh Marches 09:00 Sat BP 950m £6.00 L P R T 10-22.5kph Hereford & Dist. Whs email@example.com Daryl Hayter, Weir View, Breinton Common, Breinton, Hereford, Herefordshire HR4 7PR www.aukweb.net
AUK CALENDAR 300 20 Apr Newark Northgate Station Do Not Forget Your Dividend Card 06:30 Sat BRM [PBP] 1650m £6.00 X,G,P 15-30kph Audax Club Lincolnshire firstname.lastname@example.org Richard Parker, 28 High Street, Carlton Le Moorland, Lincoln, Lincolnshire LN5 9HT
400 26 Apr Haymarket Station, Edinburgh Auld Alliance 21:00 Fri BRM [PBP] 401km £15.00 TBC 15-25kph Audax Ecosse email@example.com Graeme Wyllie, 16 Corstorphine House Avenue, Edinburgh EH12 7AD
160 21 Apr Honiton Combwich Century 08:30 Sun BP 169km 2550m AAA2.5 £9.00 GLPRT 1430kph Exeter Whs firstname.lastname@example.org ROA 25000 Ian Hennessey, 10 High Street, Honiton EX14 1PU
400 27 Apr Alfreton Moors and Wolds 400 10:30 Sat BRM [PBP] 406km 2996m [2425m] £8.00 P R T X 15-30kph Alfreton CTC email@example.com Stephen Ogden, The Firs, 170 Nuncargate Road, Kirkby In Ashfield NG17 9EA
300 21 Apr Penzance Many Rivers to Cross 06:30 Sun BRM [PBP] 306km 4940m AAA5 £3.00 BXYHC 14.3-30kph Change of Date Audax Kernow firstname.lastname@example.org Martyn Aldis, Sundown, 25a Kersey Road, Flushing, Falmouth Cornwall TR11 5TR
400 27 Apr Coryton, NW Cardiff Buckingham Blinder 6:00 Sat BRM [PBP] £10.00 X 15-30kph Cardiff Ajax Robyn Thomas, 44 Cosmeston Street, Cardiff CF24 4LR
200 21 Apr Penzance Four Hundreds 200 08:00 Sun BRM [PBP] 207km 3760m AAA3.75 £3.00 BXYHC 15-30kph Change of Date Audax Kernow email@example.com Martyn Aldis, Sundown, 25a Kersey Road, Flushing, Falmouth Cornwall TR11 5TR 100 24 Apr Marple, near Stockport An Icecream Wensdae 10:00 Wed BP 109km 800m £6.50 P R T 30 15-30kph Peak Audax CTC firstname.lastname@example.org Chris Keeling-Roberts, 17 Lower Strines Road, Marple, Cheshire SK6 7DL 100 24 Apr Marple, near Stockport Monyash Peak 10:00 Wed BP 105km 2150m AAA2.25 £6.50 P R T 30 12.5-30kph Peak Audax CTC email@example.com Chris Keeling-Roberts, 17 Lower Strines Road, Marple, Cheshire SK6 7DL
200 27 Apr Debenham, Suffolk Heart of Anglia 08:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 212km £6.50 G L P R 15-30kph Suffolk CTC firstname.lastname@example.org David Coupe, 30 Wells Way, Debenham, Stowmarket, Suffolk IP14 6SL 200 27 Apr Eureka Cafe, Wirral Eureka Excursion 08:00 Sat BRM [PBP] 215km 1300m £7.50 R L P T 70 15-30kph Chester & North Wales CTC email@example.com ROA 10000 David Matthews, Hill View Cottage, Cross Lanes, Oscroft, Tarvin, Cheshire CH3 8NG
An invitation to Paris! Come and ride our 2019 BRM[PBP] series
130 27 Apr Eureka Cafe, Wirral Tea in Prospect 08:30 Sat BP 135km 1050m £7.50 L P R T 70 12.5-25kph Chester & North Wales CTC firstname.lastname@example.org ROA 10000 David Matthews, Hill View Cottage, Cross Lanes, Oscroft, Tarvin, Cheshire CH3 8NG
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.
VACANCY – WEB CONTENT MANAGER The web content editors(s) will be responsible for the content and “look” of the new AUK website. They will work closely with organisers and riders to source up-to-date members content, and with AUK board members and delegates for relevant AUK news. The site is the closing stages of development and this will be an excellent opportunity to help shape the final product. Technical Skills • General Aptitude for IT • Experience of developing maintaining Content Management Systems desirable. • HTML and simple coding desirable but not essential. • Photoshop desirable. • 1st line support to field members queries on the site Soft skills required • Good communications with riders, organisers and delegates. • Sense of design to keep the “look and feel” of the web site up to date. • Ability to get buy for their vision from all levels of the AUK Organisation. • Interest in the possibilities and opportunities provided by the latest mobiles and devices. • Planning and organisational skills to manage input from members and delegates. • The ability to work collaboratively with the chosen IT Supplier Time required A few hours per week intially. tbc. Ideally this would be a job share. Contact Rob McIvor – email: email@example.com 62
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com 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) 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.
ISSUE 143 WINTER/SPRING EDITION CONTRIBUTIONS
Please send directly to the managing editor by 15 January 2019 firstname.lastname@example.org NOTES TO CONTRIBUTORS ● Send your text in a word-processed format and your pictures as separate files (i.e. not embedded in the word document). ● Pictures must be as big as possible, anything below 1Mb is not useable ● It is essential that your photographs are captioned, preferable in a separate document, cross referenced to your images. ● INCLUDE YOUR FULL CONTACT DETAILS – including your AUK number – we cannot publish your story otherwise ● Package your entire content into a single compressed .zip file. ● If it is too large (i.e. more than 10Mb) please use WeTransfer or MailBigFile.
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AUDAX UK LONG-DISTANCE CYCLISTS’ ASSOCIATION Company No. 05920055 (England & Wales) Reg Office: Whitelands, Terling Road, Hatfield Peverel, Essex CM3 2AG © Arrivée 2019
To subscribe to an AUK email discussion list, send an email to: email@example.com Note: this group is not monitored by the AUK Board, who should be contacted directly with matters of concern.
Audax UK board and delegates Please use the “Contact Us” form on www.audax.uk wherever possible to send questions and comments directly to Audax UK Board members and delegates, stating in the subject field who your message is intended for. CHAIR AND LRM/ACP REPRESENTATIVE 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 Manager: (website development) Richard Jennings IT Refresh Project Board co-opted members: Otto Reinders Dan Smith Web Content Manager: Miranda Smith Web Content Editor Vacancy – see AUKWEB vacancies 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 contact 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)
COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR Rob McIvor 64 Belmont Road, London SE13 5BN 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: Andy Uttley (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 AND 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 SECRETARY Cathy Brown 76 Victoria St, Kirkwall KW15 1DQ RRTY AWARD SECRETARY Grant Huggins 76 Bryony Close, Witham, Essex, CM8 2XF AAA SECRETARY Ivan Cornell firstname.lastname@example.org AUK FORUM ADMINISTRATOR Martin Foley Assistants: Peter Lewis, Les Hereward (Moderators) DIRECTORS WITHOUT PORTFOLIO John Sabine 107 Victoria Way, London SE7 7NU
64 page members' magazine of Audax UK. long distance cycling association