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Arrivée

Number 125 Summer 2014

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


HEADING IN HERE

Simon Neatham, Mille Cymru 1000 2

ArrivĂŠe Summer 2014 No. 125

www.audax.uk.net


editorial

Summer 2014 Our magazine is back to 68 pages. Many thanks to all contributors for responding to my request in the last issue for more copy, I was nearly overwhelmed with articles and photos, some of which will be sent to Peter for our autumn issue. So, if your article or photos have not made it for this issue, it will be in the next one. I was hoping for more copy from AUK's flagship Mille Cymru 1000 riders to share their adventures – let's hope some articles are being prepared for the next magazine, along with a few from the remaining longdistance events in the calendar. WCW anyone? ■ On p.6 we have official announcements regarding changes to Arrivée and notices for our Annual Reunion Weekend and AGM, to be held for the first time in Staffordshire. A booking form is printed on the back of the address form with this magazine. ■ We have some new vacancies for club directors on p.7 – please give these your attention and consider whether you have the necessary skills to join the team.

Contents Official News........................................................................................  4 Green and Yellow Fields 300..................................................  8 The Silk Run 100..............................................................................  10 Mendip Transmitter .....................................................................  11 Ten Years a Slave ...........................................................................   12 Correspondence.............................................................................   17 Chevy Chase ......................................................................................  18 Oasts and Coasts 300 ...............................................................   20 South Gloucester 100................................................................   24 Audaxery..............................................................................................   24 York Arrow...........................................................................................  25 A Wee Break Doon Sooth ......................................................  26 Glastonbury 100 miler ..............................................................   31 Eureka Audax ......................................................................................32 My First 100 ........................................................................................  33 Commuted Fitness.......................................................................   36 We Were All Great in Our Time..........................................  40 Yellowbelly 200...............................................................................   42 Chippenham Flapjack 100........................................................44 South Gloucestershire 100....................................................   45 Reflections from a New Organiser ................................  46 The Warwickshire Wanderer ..............................................  48 Rising from the Ashes ..............................................................   50 Mille Cymru.........................................................................................  53 How it all Began ............................................................................   56 Coast and Back Audax .............................................................   56 Postcards from the Road ........................................................  57 3D 300 .............................................................................................   58 Route des Grande Alpes Challenge..............................  60 AUK Calendar...................................................................................   63 Front cover: Martin Lucas riding Mille Cymru 1000. Four cover photos by Christian Lewis Photography www.christianlewisphotography.co.uk Mob: 07956 555053 Next edition of Arrivée is in October. Please send your copy to Peter (address on right) by September 19th

PLEASE MENTION ARRIVEE WHEN REPLYING TO OUR ADVERTISERS

■ I'm still looking for an editor for future summer editions of Arrivée, a chance for someone to try their hand in the publishing world and to add your personal touch to the magazine. ■ On p.17, Sheila and Secretary Paul have responded to allay fears of members about the future of our magazine, and Sheila explains why the Handbook is no more. ■ More members are taking advantage of uploading articles and images to our cloud-based server for editors to download, and Danial is researching the change from MediaFire to Dropbox. Until this happens, please follow the instructions below for uploading, but please, inform the current editor what you've uploaded and ensure your name is included with any articles. Likewise, name your Jpgs with the name of the event, descriptions like DSCF407 is not helpful. I must admit, I much prefer to have articles and images emailed directly to me rather than sifting though dozens of files in the cloud. 1. Go to AUK website. 2. Log in as a member 3. Go to Arrivée Magazine 4. Go to Upload Photos 5. Drag and drop photo and/or article files from your file manager 6. Type your name and any useful info (event, time, place, names) in the Description box 7. Use the link to check your files have uploaded 8. Email the relevant editor to notify that there is something new in MediaFire. Keep your wheels turning.

Tim

Arrivée is the free magazine of Audax United Kingdom – the long distance cyclists’ association which represents the Randonneurs Mondiaux in the UK. AUK membership is open to any cyclist, regardless of club or other affiliation, who is imbued with the spirit of long-distance cycling. Full details in the AUK Handbook. HOW TO CONTACT US Membership Enquiries: Mike Wigley (AUK Membership Secretary), Higher Grange Farm, Millcroft Lane, Delph OL3 5UX. Email: mike.wigley@Audax.uk.net Membership Application Form: www.aukweb.net/memform.phb or Ian Hobbs (New Members), 26 Naseby Road, Belper DE56 0ER. Email: ian.hobbs@Audax.uk.net Membership fees: Renewal: £14 or £56 for five years. New or lapsed members £19 (inc. £5 enrolment fee) or £61 for five years. Household members: £5 or £20 for five years. No enrolment fee for new household members. Life member’s Arrivée £9 or £45 for five years. ARRIVEE Extra current Arrivée copies, where available, are £3 (UK), £4 (EEC), £5 (non-EEC). Contact Mike Wigley (address above). Mudguard stickers four for £1. AUK cloth badges £2 (includes UK post. EEC add £1. Non-EEC add £2. Contact Mike Wigley (above). Contributions – articles, info, cartoons, photos, all welcome. Please read the contributors’ advice in the Handbook. Views expressed in Arrivée are not necessarily those of the Club. Produced by AUK: editing, typesetting, layout, design by Tim Wainwright. Printed and distributed: Headley Brothers Ltd, Ashford, Kent TN24 8HH. Distribution data from AUK membership team. TO ADVERTISE Advertising Manager: Tim Wainwright, 4a Brambledown Road, Sanderstead, South Croydon, Surrey CR2 0BL. E-mail: twain@blueyonder.co.uk Rates per issue: Full page A4 £268. Half-page landscape or portrait £134. Quarter-page £67. One-sixth page £45. One-twelfth page £23. Payment in advance. Businesses must be recommended by a member. We rely on good faith and Arrivée cannot be held responsible for advertisers’ misrepresentations or failure to supply goods or services. Members’ private sales, wants and events ads: free. PUBLICATIONS MANAGERS February Editor: Sheila Simpson, 33 Hawk Green Road, Marple SK6 7HR Tel: 0161 449 9309 Fax: 0709 237 4245 E-mail: sheila@aukadia.net May and August Editor: Tim Wainwright, 4a Brambledown Road, Sanderstead, South Croydon, Surrey CR2 0BL. Tel: 020 8657 8179 E-mail: twain@blueyonder.co.uk October Editor: Peter Moir, 2 Peel Close, Ducklington, Witney, Oxfordshire OX29 7YB. Tel: 01993 704913 E-mail: peter@moir.co.uk margaret@lewismpd.plus.com Audax UK Long Distance Cyclists’ Association (Company Limited by Guarantee). Reg. Office: Timberly, South Street, Axminster, Devon EX13 5AD. To subscribe to the AUK e-mailing discussion list, send an e-mail to: audax-subscribe@yahoogroups.com Copyright © 2014 Arrivée. Our WWW site: www.audax.uk.net AUK clothing can be purchased directly on-line at: www.impsport.com and click on Audax UK in the left hand panel.

www.audax.uk.netArrivée Summer 2014 No. 125

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official news

Just a second Paul Stewart, AUK Secretary

A

GM2013 saw several Resolutions relating to AUK governance and a number of new faces on the AUK Board. It’s now six months on and whilst still very much a work in progress, a number of changes arising from AGM2013 and other initiatives are starting to work through the system. So in this column, rather than simply report ‘who said what’ at the last Board Meeting, I’d like to offer a more general update on where we are and what you can expect over the next six months.

Publicity and Communications

The current edition of the AUK handbook will be the last so relevant content is being transferred to the Audax website (aukweb.net). Peter Lewis (Recorder) has processed the sections relating to award winners and the ‘hall of fame’ and I’ll do the same for the AUK regulations. In due course we expect this material will migrate to the new magazine style website (audax. uk) being progressed by Danial Webb (Publicity Secretary). Danial has been working with the company that produced the LEL website to develop a ‘website template’ for the new website, early drafts of which have been circulated to the Board, and with Sheila Simpson (Publications Secretary) has assembled a crack team of website editors. Whilst the website is being developed the team are collecting material for publication. They are especially interested in short articles of, say, 500 words with accompanying photos, so if you would like to publicise an event, an epic ride or anything of general interest, this is your chance. Don’t neglect Arrivée though – regular journalists and photographers might look at producing two versions, one for the web and a longer piece for Arrivée (or vice versa?). For more information, contact publicity@aukweb.net. Danial has also been progressing the branding project. New AUK Banners can be seen at events and designs for new AUK jerseys and gilets have been published through Facebook and YACF. Danial has also helped implement a website for the ‘Mille Cymru’ – 1000km in Wales – organised by John Hamilton (Events Secretary), all part of the strategy of using major events to raise the profile of Audax. The website looks pretty fab – see for yourself at www.millecymru.com

Events and Validations

Organisationally, this is a quiet time of year for the events team though the Validation Secretaries (Sue Gatehouse and Keith Harrison) are busy, as is the Brevet Card Secretary (Tony Greenwood), as this is prime time for calendar events. The Validation Secretaries have reported a significant rise in the number of Brevets validated for non-AUK members, a trend complemented by a steady rise in AUK membership. This is both good news – evidence of a rising awareness of Audax events – and a challenge, as we need to bring these new Randonneurs on to become seasoned AUKs. The downside of this ‘rising profile’ is the experience of some organisers who have reported groups of riders entering events as cheap ‘training rides’, generally racing round and not stopping at info controls, which is rather not what Audax is all about. This is associated with higher DNS & DNF rates and rides with limited spaces filling up faster than expected, meaning later entrants are turned away, perhaps unnecessarily so. Audax events being oversubscribed is a relatively new phenomena and this will take time to adjust to. In the meantime the question has been asked, ‘Should organisers should be able to prioritize entries from AUK members, local club members, etc.?’. At first glance it looks like a simple solution but how would it work in practice, and to what extent would it be effective? AUK regulations state that ‘AUK Events are open to all cyclists’, and entries are generally accepted on a ‘first come, first served’, so is there any place for prioritizing entries? We’d appreciate your views on this and other matters through the AUK forum (see below). 4

Arrivée Summer 2014 No. 125

Systems

Nigel Hall resigned as an AUK Director and Systems Manager in May this year. Nigel made a great contribution in dealing with technical and operational problems affecting the AUK website (aukweb.net) and we thank him for his support. As noted, Danial is leading the new website project, and Francis Cooke has stepped up to look after aukweb.net. Francis will progress some long outstanding minor website enhancements and generally see us through the fast approaching(!) Audax UK ‘season end’, but it is expected any new services will be delivered through the new website. Where we do need some help is on general server support, and for that we would like to recruit a Server Guru or two. For more information please contact Francis Cooke (francis@aukadia.net) or Chris Crossland (AUK Chair).

Secretary

The 2014 Annual Reunion and AGM will be on Saturday 15th November at Yarnfield Park (www.yarnfieldpark.com), training and conference centre near Stone, Staffordshire. The CTC were there last year and those who attended enthused about the venue and especially the catering, so those riding up can look forward to being well fed. The usual accommodation packages will be available; see the booking form with this copy of Arrivée for details. Further information will be available through the AUK website and forum in due course. On the subject of the Trophies and other awards presented at the Reunion Dinner, we are struggling to make arrangements for the storage and transport of the various cups and shields which fill the AUK trophy cabinet. Investigations to-date suggest that arranging for external storage and transport would be inordinately expensive, so if you can provide this service for AUK please get in touch, contacting Paul Stewart, Secretary. An alternative solution we are exploring is to replace the cups and shields with other Trophies which can be ordered pre-engraved for Award winners to take home and keep. This approach would: eliminate much of the logistical difficulties presented by the current cups and trophies; be cost-effective; provide Awardees with a more substantial memento of what is often a lifetime sporting achievement; provide some flexibility in the awards presented, to emphasise ‘achievement’, and, where appropriate, recognise multiple worthy candidates, as currently ‘there can be only one’. We’d be interested to hear your opinions on this and other matters through the much anticipated AUK forum (forum.audax.co.uk) which went live at the start of May. The forum was implemented to support discussion between Board and Members regarding policy and strategy issues, review of resolutions to be presented to AGM and so on, but it’s not all fun stuff. If you have questions regarding AUK operations, events and other activities, or simply want to discuss your latest adventure or acquisition, the AUK forum is there for you. Access is restricted to AUK members who post under their given name (no pseudonyms); to sign in, use your regular Audax UK userid and password. The also much anticipated Resolution for Postal Voting was progressed at an EGM held on Wednesday 22nd May. The Notice to Members announcing the EGM was included in the Spring edition of Arrivée, which unfortunately was delivered later than scheduled and meant many members did not receive due notice. This didn’t prevent the EGM proceeding as planned but it was regretted. AUK has been here before, of course, and the lessons learned are to avoid relying on the mail out of Arrivée for time-critical material, and for Notices to Members to be published online at the earliest opportunity. Thanks are offered to those who did attend the EGM at which the Resolution was passed unanimously. Consequently, all members will be able to register their vote for resolutions and elections at AUK General Meetings whether they attend or not. For our first foray into the world of Postal Voting we have asked Electoral Reform Services, the operational arm of the Electoral Reform Society, to www.audax.uk.net


official news provide support for AGM2014. ERS will establish a voting website for online members and post out ballot papers to other members. See the Notice to Members in this Arrivée and the AGM2014 board on the AUK forum for further details. In the meantime AUK members are encouraged to register an email address and/or verify their register email address through the Members’ section of the AUK website. A further change arising from AGM2013 is that AGM Resolutions will be published for review and amendment. The overall schedule is: • 1st August – Submission deadline for draft resolutions for review • 1st September – Review period for draft resolutions ends • 1st October – Submission deadline for nominations for AUK director positions • 25th October – Postal voting commences • 12th November – Postal voting ends • 15th November – Annual General Meeting 2014 The date for Director nominations reflects the traditional deadline specified in Article 14 of the AUK Articles of Association. This conflicts with Article 7.6 as amended at AGM20vv13. Relevant amendments will be progressed for AGM2014 to resolve this and various other issues arising, including moving the schedule for submitting and revising resolutions from August to September. This will condense and align the overall schedule around the traditional ‘cut-off’ date of 1st October which fits with the lead up to the AGM in November. Another matter relating to the nomination of Directors is the impact of the amendment to Article 9 also passed at AGM2013. This broke the connection between director posts and the fixed list of ‘jobs’ in the Articles which reflected the traditional ‘club committee’ structure in place at the time AUK was incorporated as a Limited Company by Guarantee. In contrast the amended Article 9 offers no guidance on the make up of the Board beyond requiring a Chair, Secretary and Finance Director. It neither prohibits nor empowers any particular course of action, which means the Board might be comprised almost entirely of directors with no operational interests and responsibilities, and the Board might define its own constitution to include particular interests and responsibilities, and to include non-portfolio directors. What is recognized is that AUK members expect the Board structure to be defined appropriately, and that particular responsibilities are also appropriately defined, all in accordance with AUK policy and strategy. If you are interested in standing for an AUK Director Post or supporting AUK operations in a delegate role, please contact either myself or Chris Crossland, AUK Chair for details. Otherwise please keep an eye on the AUK website and forum for further announcements. All the best,  Paul

Dropbox is a commonly used file-sharing service, which you use both as a web-based service and a desktop application. All of the team’s files and folders are stored on Dropbox’s servers, which you can access via their website. You can download, edit, upload and delete files and folders, for others to use (or not) later. Dropbox also works as a desktop application. It’s incredibly discreet, placing little more than a folder on your system. In this folder sits a copy of everything that Dropbox holds on its server. This copy will be identical for everyone on the team. When you upload, edit or delete a file, the server automatically updates both itself and everyone else’s folder. This way, everyone always has the most up-to-date folders.

The problem with file sharing

You may have already spotted the problem with this system. Arrivée generates a huge volume of word and images through member submissions. If everyone kept an offline copy of the folder, it would soon grow so big as to take up all the space on your device. To prevent this, we can specify which folders sit on the remote server alone, and which will automatically update onto team members’ devices. This way, you’ll still be able to see everything on the file system, and download anything that you need and want. However, only the most recent and relevant folders will automatically upload to your device, giving you access to them whether online or offline. However, to make this work, we need a system to determine: • • • •

How to organise material How to archive material Organising material on Dropbox (How do you do this currently?) Giving your file or folder a title (What we decide here will depend on what we decide about how to file stuff.) • Tagging files or folders (What we decide here will depend on what we decide about how to file stuff.)

Tagging images

It’s important that we tag the images that we receive. This helps users search for images, as well as making our images appear higher in relevant search engine searches. It also helps us to find images that may sit in one of many files. Tags can be one word or more, though it’s probably best not to use more than two or three words. Debate: Should we tag photos of people with their names? Doing this is likely to have privacy implications, as these images would then show in search engine listings when searching using that person’s name.

Tagging images with a Mac

Audax UK publications team

Managing files on Dropbox Background

The publications team has taken on the considerable task of filling the front-facing parts of the new Audax UK website with news, stories and galleries of images, in addition to producing Arrivée quarterly. To do this it has recruited a team of assistant editors who will be primarily responsible for the website. A larger, dispersed team of editors, producing content for media with different deadlines, will require a new way of receiving sharing and archiving articles and images. This document outlines a potential way for the team to work.

File sharing

As the team is widely dispersed geographically, and because Audax UK lacks the infrastructure to manage a remote server, it makes sense to use a cloud computing/file sharing service. After weighing up the advantages of various providers, I recommend to use Dropbox for our work.

Open ‘Finder’ and click on the image you wish to tag. Click ‘Edit Tags’ at the top of the Finder box. Type in your tag, followed by a comma and a space. Click away from the dialogue when you’ve finished to confirm the tags. The tagging dialogue box contains a list of your most recent tags, which should make tagging a list of images much faster.

Tagging images with a PC TBA

Folders for Arrivée

To save time, duplicating files and folders in Arrivée folders. However make sure that you adhere to the following rules. This will minimise duplication and make sure that our other files contain everything that we’d like to store. Copy, rather than move, any files or folders that you want to use for Arrivée into the relevant folder. Make sure that you leave the original in place! After you’ve finished, delete any unused images, graphics or copy from the Arrivée folder. This will minimise folder size.

Folders for website archive

This ought not to be necessary. If you want to create a folder to work from, then create a temporary folder and copy over any files that you’d like to use. After you’ve finished, delete the folder. We’ll take an archive of the website routinely, which will make archiving much more straightforward.

www.audax.uk.netArrivée Summer 2014 No. 125

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official news

Changes to Arrivée You may have noticed that we’ve made a few changes to Arrivée this edition, including a new logo for Audax UK. These aren’t the only changes we’re going to be making over the next few months, so I thought I’d tell you a bit about what we’re up and why we’re doing it. When I took over as publicity officer for Audax UK last year, one of my priorities was to give the club’s image a makeover. Audax UK has been commissioning designers for small pieces of work for quite some time now, but this piecemeal approach meant that the work produced lacked consistency. So we decided to start again from scratch, producing an initial set of design concepts that we could then apply to everything we needed. This way we’d get a much more consistent look for the club. It would cost a little more, but give us far greater value for money in the long term. We started by revamping the logo. The previous incarnation of Sheila the eagle, although only with us for a couple of years, proved rather difficult to work with. It didn’t look at its best in only one colour and the words wrapped underneath the logo were hard to replicate. So we decided to give it a bit of a facelift. Now it’s a much sleeker bird that looks good whatever colour you make it. Separating the words from the eagle also makes logo much more flexible. We decided early on that we wanted to move away from using the colours in the Union Jack. Red, white and blue would be a popular choice, but perhaps too safe and inflexible. Instead we drew on our own heritage, and as well as keeping the eagle we decided to use the seven colours that indicate distance on brevet cards. Together with a series of patterns that our designer created for us and a brand new logo font (it’s DIN, if you’re interested), the result is a set of colours, logos, patterns and fonts that we are applying across everything that we produce. We’ve started by designing some new jerseys and gilets, which we hope to have for sale soon. We’ve also applied the designs to new banners, badges and medals, as well as the Arrivée front cover. You’ll also see the designs on our new website once it goes live. Eventually you’ll also see these designs on revamped brevet cards. And to help organisers, we’re producing leaflet and poster templates that you can use to create publicity material for your event. If you want to use the new logo, we’re more than happy to supply you the files you need. Simply email publicity@aukweb.net. There are a few rules about how you can use the logo, but nothing too onerous. I hope you like the new logo and artwork. Audax UK is an amazing organisation, with some of the best cycling events in the country. I hope that this goes some way in making it look as smart as it deserves to.

Danial Webb

Organisers News Paris-Brest-Paris 2015 – Qualifying Events Update

2015 may seem some way off yet but with it being PBP year you’ll need to be thinking about qualifying events soon, to meet ACP’s deadlines for BRM events. The qualifying periods for the various distances are now confirmed as follows: 200km 300km 400km 600km

1st Jan to 10th May 28th March to 24th May 18th April to 7th June 8th May to 21st June

During these periods all events of the relevant distance will need to be run to BRM standard. If you don’t normally organise BRM events the main difference this means is that you’ll need to have your events ready for publication by 30th September at the latest – this deadline is set by ACP. Please try to get your events in as early as you can. There’s likely to be competition for dates, particularly at the longer distances (400 and 600km) and the Events Team will be paying extra attention to scheduling to ensure clashes between events are avoided. More information on PBP 2015 is available on the ACP website – see the presentation at http://www.audax-club-parisien.com/download/ PLAQUETTE-GB.pdf

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Arrivée Summer 2014 No. 125

Notice to members Annual Reunion Weekend and AGM 2014 The 2014 Annual Reunion and AGM Weekend will be held on 14-16th November 2014 at Yarnfield Park Training and Conference Centre, Stone, Staffordshire ST15 0NL. The annual general meeting of Audax UK Long Distance Cyclists Association Ltd will be held at 2pm on the afternoon of Saturday 15th November. A booking form for accommodation and attendance at the Annual Reunion Weekend and Dinner is included in the summer edition of Arrivée, and through the AUK Website and forum.

Notice to members Schedule for Nominations for Directorships Articles 7.6 states that director nominations should follow the same schedule and procedure as for resolutions, ie, with a submission date of 1st August, whilst Articles 14.3 and 14.4 state that director nominations should be submitted by 1st October. For AGM2014 the schedule described in Article 14.3 will be observed, ie, director nominations to be submitted by 1st October 2014. For further information regarding Director posts for election at AGM 2014 please contact Paul Stewart, AUK Secretary or Chris Crossland, AUK Chair or see the notices section of the AUK website.

Notice to members Arrangements for Postal Voting for AGM2014 This notice summarises the arrangements for postal voting for the AGM 2014. Changes to the AUK Articles of Association arising from resolutions at the 2013 Annual General Meeting held on 16th November 2013 and an Extraordinary General Meeting held on 22nd May 2014 introduced provision for Postal Voting, allowing members to register their vote for AGM resolutions and director elections by post. Details of resolutions and nominations for election included in the meeting Agenda will be published to a private voting website provided by Electoral Reform Services (ERS). Personalised sign-on details and instructions on how to register votes via the voting website will be distributed to the member’s email address as registered with AUK on 1st October. Members who have not provided an email address will receive a printed copy of the resolutions and nominations for election together with sign-on details for the voting website and a voting ballot paper which may be returned by post. On receipt of these materials, members may register their votes via the voting website directly or by returning the completed ballot paper to ERS using the pre-paid envelope provided as appropriate. The emails and ballot papers will be despatched no later than 25th October 2014 and voting will cease at 5pm on November 12th, whereon ERS will collate the votes and deliver the results to the AUK Officer appointed to manage voting at the AGM. To prepare for online voting, AUK members are encouraged to register an email address and/or verify their registered email address as appropriate through the Members section of the AUK website. For further information see the Notices section of the AUK website.

www.audax.uk.net


official news

Wanted

Events Team Delegate Jackie Popland will be retiring from the Events Team at the end of the year, so the Events Team are looking for a Regional Events Team Delegate for SE England. Responsibilities of the post include:

8am- 200k. A cracking roller coaster ride down to the coast and back. Showcasing the best of what the Principality has to offer: stunning scenery, lakes, lanes, rivers and hills and best of all the last 20k is all downhill.

• P  rocessing applications for new, upgrading and returning event organisers • Validation of event routes to ensure integrity of event distances • Liaising with event organisers to manage the registration and publication of events in the AUK Calendar of Events If you’re interested please contact the Events Secretary at undulates@ hotmail.co.uk

8.30am- 130k. A truncated version of the above but still with the same lovely lanes, hills, rivers and lakes and the welcome 20k swoop downhill to the finish.

Wanted

AUK Finance Director and Treasurer Linda Johnston, the AUK Treasurer is standing down at AGM2014 after 3 years in post and so we are looking for a new Finance Director and/or Treasurer designate to help develop new accounting and ecommerce processes and generally look after ‘the books’. We’d like to progress this asap to we can be ready for the new financial year, so if you have accounting and/or book-keeping skills we’d love to hear from you! For more information please contact Paul Stewart, secretary@aukweb.net or Chris Crossland, chair@aukweb.net

Wanted

Server Administrator Following a reorganisation of the support arrangements for the AUK website, we'd like to recruit a server guru or two to help look after our hosted server, so if LAMP means more to you than Ever Ready Nite Rider, please contact: Francis Cooke (francis@aukadia.net) or Chris Crossland (AUK Chair) for further details.

Wanted

Arrivée Editor for Summer Edition After many years, Tim Wainwright would like to hand the editorship of the summer Arrivée to a new editor. The position involves complete production from start to finish of the magazine, so a good knowledge of desk-top publishing using Adobe InDesign (or QuarkXpress) plus PhotoShop would be essential, though help can be given to get you started. Software will be supplied by AUK. Responsibilities of the post include: • Preparation and collation of articles and adverts for publishing • Preparation of digital images from members • Laying out the text and images into a page makeup program • Uploading press-ready files to our printer's website For more information, contact either Sheila Simpson sheila@aukadia.net or Tim Wainwright twain@blueyonder.co.uk

9am- 60k. Designed as an introduction to Audaxing but with a character all of its own this lovely scenic route takes you around Llyn Tegid into Bala and back to Corwen via winding lanes and some not too demanding hills.

All rides departing from the Manor Craft Centre in Corwen on Saturday 18th October 2014. For more information and an entry form go to http:// www.aukweb.net/events/

The David Lewis Trophy The David Lewis trophy is to be awarded annually to the Audax UK member achieving the best distance in the Mersey Roads 24-hour Time Trial. Dave rode at least four 24-hour TTs, his best distance being 411 miles. He encouraged numerous Cardiff Byways clubmates and fellow AUK members to ‘have a go’ at 24 and 12-hour time trials. In 2006 the Cardiff Byways Road Club won the National RTTC 24hour team prize thanks to Dave’s motivation. That AUK now recognises 24-hour mileages can be translated into AUK ‘points’ is thanks to Dave’s suggestion. The trophy will be engraved with the winner’s name and distance and presented at the annual AUK AGM and Dinner. The winner keeps the trophy.

Anne Learmonth

www.audax.uk.netArrivée Summer 2014 No. 125

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randonnee

Green and Yellow Fields 300 Phil Whitehurst If you are reading this, then I have a completed a SR series. No ordinary SR, a Super Randonneur series of Arrivée articles. It started last summer with Severn Across 400, then the KSW 600, then LEL 1400, then my RRTY’s 200s, and now finally a 300 article.

I

find a 300km audax creates two impressions on me. The first is that physically, it feels like an extended 200km audax. The second, mentally, is that it is a 400km audax that falls short. Why the latter? Well there’s something about riding through the night, that feels special, a rite of long distance cycling passage, a 400km audax gives you that. A 300km ride gives you a small taste of that, as there is usually an early start so you lack sleep, riding throughout the day, and some riding after sunset, unless you are really fast. But it then stops, you’ve finished, after that brief flirting with the night, the Arrivée arrives. You are not sated with your fix of riding through the night. So last year, during my LEL build up, I skipped a 300 and jumped straight from my 200 to a 400. I felt the 400 would teach me more of what I needed to know. This year deciding to do another SR, I started to look for a 300. I found the Green and Yellow Fields 300, and it tackled my reservations about the distance. You see, it started at midnight, after a curry; you ride through the night, and it allowed an afternoon or early evening finish. Every bit of advice I’ve read about audax says to ensure you are well rested before the event. I’ve yet to manage that, I’m just not very good at going to bed early. This time was to be no exception. So it was that 10pm on Friday; I left the house to drive round to Manningtree, not feeling particularly full of energy. I wondered how I’d stay awake. Tomsk the organiser had given advice about suitable parking near the start. I’d put one of the streets in the sat nav, and that took me straight past the Mogul, as I arrived around 11:15pm. This was the venue for curry before the start. There were many bikes outside, and I felt I’d missed out on an essential element. Next time I do the event, curry it will be. Parking spot was perfect. By time I’d put leg and arm warmers on, bike shoes, got bike off rack, and cycled round to the Mogul, the others were setting off to the official start at the

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station. I chatted a while with a fellow rider, whom would be riding his first 300. A good choice, it turns out, if riding through the night doesn’t worry you. It was a fine turnout that gathered at the station, Steve Rowley amongst others was there. It’s always nice to meet the real people behind the online forums and Facebook profiles. We chatted awhile, and some potholes near the start were mentioned by Tomsk. The start felt special, meeting at a railway station at midnight, to go for a long ride. The absurdity of it all, one big private joke we were all in on. We started, which involved bunny hoping a small bit of tarmac being resurfaced overnight. Right and right again at roundabouts, before a final right took us into the lanes. I was riding on the front, when Dmitry went past on the right turn. We were entering the potholed hilly back lane, and I overtook Dmitry again on the first downhill. I commute year round and have got used to descending pot holed roads in the dark winter months, how bad can it be? Not bad at all, and I was able to keep a good speed with no one in front to hide the imperfections in the road. Dmitry latched onto my wheel at this point. For the next hour he sat there, neither going past, nor coming alongside. I was mildly irritated by this, if you’re going to ride together, either share the front, or ride side by side chatting. So I stopped pedalling and urged him to come alongside. He didn’t quite get what I was saying, so then rode off ahead faster than I intended. We parted company on the road for now. Turns out he’d been terrified of those dark pot holed and hilly lanes and so followed me because I was tackling them with confidence. I wouldn’t find this out till later. The night was clear, the stars were out, and spotting constellations became my focus. Dmitry’s rear light disappeared in the distance, occasionally catching a glimpse as it blinked up ahead on a straight section. Eventually I found myself with neither lights ahead, nor lights behind. I expected to be caught on the road, but it never happened. I’m not very good at riding in groups anyway, I love the conversation, but my pacing never seems to match. So I settled into a good rhythm, and listened to odd owl hoot, the birds rustling in the trees, the silent sounds of night. Night time is meditative, long distance cycling in meditative. Put the two

‘I was ­mildly irritated by this, if you’re ­going to ride ­together, either share the front, or ride side by side chatting. So I stopped pedalling.’

together, and you enter a world both beyond and within yourself. A world, nay a universe of connectedness and awareness. I don’t have the words to express the feeling; for those that have ridden through the night, perhaps to the coast or on a long audax, it is something special, to be experienced and savoured. So it was that I continued in this blissful state, a journey alone, but not alone, into the night. I’ve been putting in hilly rides to prepare for Mille Cymru. I practice hills via pushing big gears, small gears, in saddle and out. I decided to push big gears through the ride, and stayed in the large ring, getting out of the saddle to climb hills without slowing too much. After a while of riding alone, I began to doubt I was going the right way round the route. You see, with a GPS, it would be easy to follow a circular track the wrong way. Fortunately my GPS puts arrows on the direction of travel, and a more careful glance confirmed I was going the right way. The route headed north, and I passed through Long Melford. I pass through here on the Start of Summertime 200 www.audax.uk.net


randonnee audax ride from Stevenage. There’s a bench I’ve always stopped on, for a snack, when on the other audax. Being dark, and colder, I just gazed at the bench as I ghosted through the village. Barton Mills, the first control came up, as I joined the A11 dual carriageway, fortunately quiet at that time of night. I saw Dmitry’s bike outside the first service, but no Dmitry. This meant he was inside, so I stopped there, instead of the second recommended place. Inside there was hot chocolate and I had a chicken sandwich whilst leaning on the hot bakery. We chatted a while, ate and drank, and got some warmth back in us. As the others arrived in a large group, including Tomsk; Dmitry and I headed off. Dmitry left a minute or so ahead of me and steady pulled away for an age. We were on the straight road that runs past Lakenheath [Airforce ed] Base to Brandon, so I could clearly see him. I got a real sense of the scale of Lakenheath Base just from this straight road, it went on for ever. End, eventually it did, at Brandon, where you turn left. I could no longer see Dmitry’s lights and was once again alone in the night. Signs for Swaffham and Bury St Edmunds dominated. Swaffham has lovely forestry (you cycle through) if you like walking or mountain biking. On through the night I pedalled. The roads were straight and long. The navigation easy, with only the odd glance at GPS when a junction came up.

‘Here I disturbed a hare and deer quietly nibbling some grass on the verge.’

Below: Allen O'Leary Photo by Wilky Boy

At Castle Acre the first signs of the coming morning, with a slight green in the sky. Up through another sleeping village; under the arch, right and left and right, and back into the lanes. Here I disturbed a hare and deer quietly nibbling some grass on the verge. Like apparitions they bounded into the still dark yellow fields, and were lost to the night. I watched the green turn yellow then orange as the sun climbed the hills towards the horizon. My stargazing turned to watching the changing light, willing the sun onwards and upwards. I watched the horizontal rays begin to filter through the woods. Finally it cleared the trees on the horizon, and it was as though I was renewed, the tiredness of a night with no sleep but a memory dissipating with the evaporation of morning dew. Renewed; I carried on, arriving at Burnham Deepdale, the 153km control, not long after. Now, sunrise was 5:37am, and the café didn’t open till 7.00am. Yes, you’ve guessed it; I was far too early for the control. I never thought I’d find myself in this predicament. I’m usually mid-pack, and I didn’t think I’d trouble the timings. But this is a fast 300, and I’d been able to big ring it most of the time through the night. Tomsk had a fall-back in the notes for this. Take a selfie of you with your bike, in front of the village sign, with your camera. This is what I did. I’d really been looking forward to breakfast. I deliberately have the GPS set to map only with no distance to time indicators on it. So I had no real idea I wouldn’t be having breakfast at Burnham Deepdale. I rode on a while before finding a wooden bus shelter on the left. I made myself comfortable, and ate some pork pies and jelly babies, plus more water for breakfast. Not the breakfast I’d been thinking about, but it did the job. At the roundabout where you turn right past Fakenham there’s a garage. I went there for a hot chocolate. I saw a familiar bike outside, and indeed Dmitry was inside. We chatted a while, whilst taking on more calories and drinks. He set off slightly ahead of me once again. I arrived at the 215km control, Waitrose in Wymondham, and once again saw Dmitry’s bike outside. Locked bike up, and straight to the café, and I saw Dmitry at a table just getting up. I thought he was about to go, but no, he’d been too pooped to eat anything when he’d got there. To be honest we’d both been running on fumes, on the last leg, without that breakfast. We queued together, in the café. I saw the perfect pick-me-up. I ordered a coke, a hot chocolate with marshmallows, plus porridge with honey. After eating; we sat and chatted a while, to let the food do its work. A couple of other riders turned up, and put their stuff on our table, the first

we’d seen since the Barton Mills control. We left whilst they were still queuing. A main group, including Tomsk turned up as I was unlocking my bike. Somehow I lost Dmitry again on the next leg. So I was surprised, when standing outside a village shop at 264km with a coke and some crisps, to see him riding up. He asked if I’d wait for him, as he’d made a bit of a navigational mistake when ahead of me, was feeling tired, and was worried about doing it again. I said yes, we’d both been solo, other than meeting at controls, up to this point. Turns out, in conversation, we’d been riding about 6-7 minutes apart for the whole ride. We should have stuck together from the start. The wind had been relentless, southbound since Burnham Deepdale. Dmitry talked about the relentless wind a lot, and it’d taken its toll on him. Now was a perfect opportunity to share the workload, but he looked tired. So I’d stayed on front, other than when riding side by side on the quieter roads. Despite being mildly irritated by this arrangement at the start, under these different circumstances, I didn’t mind. At Needham Market we spotted the Seasons café just after the turn left onto the High Street. They had comfy sofas facing each other, chai, chocolate brownie (for me) and red cake (for Dmitry). We lingered a while at that last stop. Friendly service, and nice atmosphere, and bike rack outside. I’ll be back. We set off on the final leg. Hills began to appear again, long draggy ones, nothing steep. I haven’t mentioned the key feature of the Green and Yellow Fields, and the clue is in the title. There were vibrant yellows and greens everywhere you looked. The nature of the Suffolk and Norfolk lanes meant often the rape seed yellow flowers were at head height, and their scent drifted across and tickled the senses. In the final few km we entered the back lanes once more, and they qualified on many counts being twisty, narrow, and steep, with gravel in places. We passed a lovely bluebell wood on the left, stunning. Before long we turned right and onto the 2km downhill to Manningtree Station. It was very fast, and I had to brake as I gained on the cars ahead. I loved that finish. Being an x-rated event, means you use commercial controls to get a receipt at every point, with no volunteer-managed controls with cake. This meant obtaining a receipt at the finish. I asked Dmitry if he had time for a pint, he did. So off into town we went, and settled on the Crown. Yes you’ve guessed it; the final receipt was obtained by buying a round of drinks. Since Dmitry also needed a receipt, he bought a second round. What a great finish to a great event. N

www.audax.uk.netArrivée Summer 2014 No. 125

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randonnee

The Silk Run 100k Another step towards the Randonneur 500 award Tim Harrison

I am now in my fifth season of Audax membership and it is true that my results to date are pretty sparse. So far I have completed 9 x 100k and 2 x 150k events and each and every one has been a struggle – no stories of battling against physical or mechanical problems, just my own mental weakness fighting against whether there might be a small risk of a little rain or whether it might be slightly too breezy, perhaps too cold or worse still too hot. Almost anything can provide me with a suitable excuse not to do an event or regrettably retire part way through – regrettably because it gives me a reason to beat myself up for my shortcomings.

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have found the Audax on-line calendar a great help with my planning as I can add whatever I like under the heading ‘Rides you’re thinking about doing’ with the knowledge that this commits me to nothing and a simple click on the red cross will send the event back to wherever it came from. In the past 12 months I have thought mostly of 200k rides, a few 400k and one 600k (mobile access to the web site whilst enjoying macho company and too much beer). All have been carefully deleted in the reality that the next day brings. My first ever Audax was the Silk Run which sets off from Tewkesbury and is as local to me as it gets, it was my first success and I have an unexplained affection for it. It therefore sits in my planned rides waiting for me to pay and to hit the green downwards arrow. Everything is so much easier now with online entry and Paypal and I knew all was well as the ride was nestling under the heading ‘Rides you have entered’. Except of course I had actually neglected to enter the ride and paid not a penny. An email and a cheque in the post sorted things out and I trust the organiser sufficiently when he reassured me that I had not actually entered and paid for the event multiple times – although I do always seem to be short of money. A few days out the forecast was looking good, plenty of sun and no chance of rain. True to form this was the weather that the following day had, Saturday itself was a dreary dull, overcast, moist and chilly day (on top of the Cotswolds) reminiscent of every summer I have ever known. 10

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On a normal day I can be from deep sleep to out the door in 15 minutes, this includes a shower, a shave, breakfast and whatever else is necessary. On Audax days the same routine takes me over an hour and a half as I eat multiple breakfasts which have now transformed into lucky breakfasts that require the same careful weighing, stirring and cooking on each occasion – jumbo porridge oats with Manuka honey, two slices of toast smothered in thick homemade marmalade and a banana, followed by a short bout of indigestion. Exact quantities must remain my secret. I always struggle with what to wear when the weather is typical UK changeable – hot dry summer days are easy as are freezing cold winter days. It’s the ones in between that always get me, how many jerseys, windproof or waterproof, shorts or longs trousers, thin, thick or waterproof socks, short or long gloves, skull cap or not and so it goes on until my wife finally tells me I need to have left 10 minutes ago and to get on with it! I did briefly use a saddlebag but found I had so many extra things stowed away that the hills were getting harder and harder to climb not to mention that I never managed to change my entire outfit three times during a five-hour cycle ride. I think the event is called the Silk Run because one of the controls is at the Beckford Silk Mill or maybe it’s because Mark Rigby is an organiser who makes things run as smooth as silk? Certainly as we lined up at this year’s start he was experimenting with a new silky voice that required extra careful attention from the entrants. He did claim to be recovering from an illness so this may be a more likely reason for his husky tones. As ever the event was perfect, a few lumps at the beginning followed by a challenging (to me) climb up to Broadway Tower on top of the Cotswolds, riding en route through vast fields of lavender which seemed to give everyone a relaxed air as they inhaled the aroma and cycled through it – this maybe poetic licence as I suffer from hay fever and have no idea whether the scent was in the air or not. Once the tower has been reached there then follows a super fast/scary descent which requires twenty-twenty vision and excellent brakes to spot and stop for the cycle path which leads off the main road

‘On a normal day I can be from deep sleep to out the door in 15 minutes.’

onto the old road through Broadway. There isn’t a ‘Cyclist Dismount’ sign but if you don’t then the likelihood is you will end up off the bike anyway – prudence required. Broadway has more choice for coffee stops than anyone could reasonably want and it has the added bonus of starry eyed tourists wandering in the road oblivious of anyone around them – this is great for testing out various manoeuvrability skills and practising charm with the public. The hope is that they might remember later on that we seemed quite nice people despite the Lycra shorts and garish tops and not try and knock us off once they have lumbered back to their cars. I also slow down for horses and will pull over for vehicles on long narrow lanes when I feel they have suffered enough hoping that they might repay the consideration for the next few cyclists they meet. On through Dumbleton – unofficial home of the two-stroke powered garden tool. From shortly after dawn to dusk and beyond there will always be the sound of someone strimming, hedge trimming, chain-sawing, garden vacuuming, chipping, blowing and whatever else is possible. The only prerequisite is that the tool must be powered by an unsilenced two-stroke engine and if the task would take an ordinary person 10 minutes (ie, me) then it will fill a complete morning/ afternoon for a resident of Dumbleton. I do also happen to live here so may have inside information perhaps not always noticed by the transient cyclist. A bonus is a small coffee shop which if Broadway is too hectic and the Silk Mill is just that bit too far can make a welcome stop. The rest of the ride is fairly relaxing with good controls at the Silk Mill and St Peters Garden Centre near Worcester. Great rolling countryside and quiet roads where the time disappears as new acquaintances are made. I had the added

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randonnee bonus of actually being able to offer a little help to an Audaxer in a spot of mechanical trouble. This always makes me feel good especially if I manage not to make the problem any worse with my useful ideas and ham fists. For navigation I am experimenting with OsmAnd on an Huawei smartphone

with just one 200k to achieve and I have already, definitely paid for an entry into the Evesham Wheeler’s Four Leaf Clover event in August which as a now not so irregular member of the club I will feel a strong obligation to complete. Here’s to more obligations and longer distances in the future. N

but shortly after the start I reverted to the tried and tested method of following someone else, more experimentation still required. And so the Silk Run comes to an end well within the time limit and I move one step closer to my next goal the Randonneur 500 award. This leaves me

Mendip Transmitter Alan Davies I have quite a few favourite destinations in my ‘backyard’: the hills and coast of Dorset and the Isle of Wight, the escarpments of Wiltshire and Berkshire, quiet lanes of the Test Valley, the magnificent folds of the South Downs, and the gentle heaths of the New Forest all lie within a day’s pedal from home and how grateful am I for that. However, there is also another destination that gnaws at me and draws me back time and again, and that is the high, exposed, wild Mendip plateau that lays a long summer’s day ride from home. An audax ride which explored that wild landscape was always going to be tempting. That the ride was 100km, and started from Bath, a point 100km from home, in midsummer was even better, as it had the promise of a great day’s cycling.

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o it was that I set out from home at a quarter to five on a Sunday morning, with the light of the new day glowing through the cloud that was draped the gentle landscape between Romsey and Salisbury. I only saw a couple of cars on that first few miles, following one of my favourite lanes which hugs the base of a ridge of hills, gently rising and falling. After the relative bustle of Salisbury, where there were actually one or two people out getting their morning newspapers, the Wylye Valley was a blissful ride. This quiet lane runs for 17 miles between Wilton and Warminster, passing through a dozen sleepy hamlets, with expansive views of the surrounding hills. Lovely cycling country. I skipped through Warminster and Dilton Marsh and found a quiet route via Rudge. The sun was making an appearance and all was well with the world. I couldn’t avoid the A36 for half a mile but then rode to Bath using a B road which included a magnificent swoop down into Midford, and cyclepath/quiet lanes to the start of the audax at Combe Down in Bath.

I arrived just as the large field was getting ready to leave. Quite good timing as it meant I could monopolise the toast and jam which I badly needed after my early morning ride. So I set off on my own about 15 minutes after the other riders had passed. The start of this ride is a fast spin out of Bath, towards the reservoirs just north of the Mendip plateau. The reservoirs looked stunning today. We rode past both Chew Valley and Blagdon Lakes, using causeways which gave a widereaching view across the water. At one point in the lanes, I was chased up a hill by a crazy dog. I sped up the hill, fuelled by adrenaline, and out of instinct I let out a primordial roar which seemed to confuse the poor beast enough to stop chasing me. Shortly afterwards I had the good fortune to bump into an old friend who was also riding the audax, who I met on my first audax ride (Tour of the Purbecks), over 13 years ago. We rode together for the first climb up onto the Mendips, Blagdon Hill, which gains over 700ft in less than two miles. Once on top, we were treated to that wild Mendip landscape, as we crossed via Charterhouse with views that stretched to clearly see Cardiff on the other side of the Severn. There had evidently been some rain and damp roads made me take the swooping drop off the Mendips via Shipham quite cautiously. This took us to Cheddar for the half way control. The sandwiches I was carrying weren’t going to eat themselves, so I enjoyed these here, foregoing the delights of the ice cream parlour. I set off alone, and crept around the base of the hills to climb once more onto the top via the long steep rise out of Draycott. The route proper climbs the Gorge, but I must say I find it quite a busy road and a better descent than it is a climb. I emerged at the top, back on route, and crossed to Priddy, where we plummeted off the hills once more via Old Bristol Road into Wells, a very pretty town and well worth a look around. The ride back to Bath was sublime

‘At one point in the lanes, I was chased up a hill by a crazy dog.’

with sunshine and tailwind. The bit through Faulkland was particularly good and here I was passed by some Andover Wheelers who were clearly enjoying the blast back just as much as me. I rejoined my morning route via Midford and here came the highlight of the day, an eerie ride through the Two Tunnels cycle route, the first of which is over a mile long and dimly lit at regular intervals, with the benefit of the piped sound of violins! I have a tiny LED permanently attached to my helmet, which was very handy given that the tunnels were quite busy with all sorts of cyclists enjoying a chilly ride underground. I emerged somewhere in Bath, luckily armed with a street map which enabled me to head back to Combe Down via Entry Hill, which was a bit of a brute after 200km. There was a fine welcome and good catering to be back at the hall on this superbly organised event. Many of the riders had already finished and were enjoying the refreshments on offer, with the bonus of live coverage of stage two of Le Tour. So, the ride home. Back through the quiet lanes once more, the Westbury white horse shining out brightly on the horizon. I wound my way back down the Wylye Valley in the afternoon sun and only as I neared home did I have to contend with a few rain showers which I had been observing approaching me for some time. The last mile was actually a flat out sprint to avoid a soaking, and I made it home just after seven, with 190 very enjoyable miles on the clock and pleased to have done my longest ride for over a year.

Thanks are due

A big thank you to Rob and Bath CC for putting on this splendid event. If you’ve never ridden on the Mendips, I heartily recommend it for cycling. There are far-reaching views in all directions from the top, and you have a choice of gentle climbs or brutal ascents in order to get up there. It has a character all of its own. N

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ultra randonneur challenge

Ten years a slave Graeme Wylie

The author on the 20 per cent climb of The Lecht, Snow Roads 300 Photo by Martin Berry


ultra randonneur challenge Finally after many years of trying I’ve recently managed to complete my Ultra Randonneur. There have been a few ups and downs along the way. Here’s how it happened…

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first got into cycling a long way in 1981 when I rode LEJOG aged 16 with two school mates and we took three weeks to ride it over the school summer holidays. At that time I rode a Raleigh Arena six-speed bike and I subsequently rode my first 200k audax the following year. However, my fledgling audax career was interrupted by becoming a full time student and a reasonably serious part-time footballer which meant that my audax riding didn’t kick off again properly again until 2003. I’d completed another LEJOG at 100 miles a day in 2002 (this time on a Dawes Galaxy) and had got the bug again for longer distances. I’d been quite deliberate in building up to a SR and approached the whole affair with a degree of trepidation given my failure to get very far on the Twilight 600 in 2003. At that time I’d been working in London with a weekly commute from Edinburgh that limited my ability to get the miles in. By the time I got to the start line of my next 600 in 2005 I’d got a Thorn Audax and had completed a 300 the week before (the wonderful Tayside Transgression) and was scheduled to do the National 400 in Cheltenham the week after. However, in the meantime I had my first 600 to complete, the Three Firths. Mark Shannon waved us all off from the hall at Dalmeny at 9pm on Friday 1st July 2005 as we headed south. I recall Neil Henderson getting a puncture in the first half a mile and a fair sized group of riders reached Johnstonebridge in double quick time, led by Colin and Sonya Crawford on a tandem. I was propositioned by a couple of ladies walking home at first light in Dumfries (I declined) and enjoyed the climb over the Nick o’Balloch and reached the half way point in Ayr by my target of 1pm including a hurl up – or was it down – Electric Brae, the well known local optical illusion. The return back through Maybole got draggy and I started to get very tired as the early evening approached. Two guardian angels appeared near Newton Stewart in the shape of David Wells and Tommy Long and they escorted me to the sanctuary of the control at Cushatgrove (the organiser’s holiday cottage) for a big feed and a nap where Mark the organiser lied shamelessly about how fresh we all looked. I left here at first light (3am) with David and Tom and we made light work of the stretch to Johnstonebridge where a very large breakfast was consumed in the motorway services. We left together though David stopped for a roadside nap in the sunshine near Beattock. He caught

us up before Abington and soon we were on the Lang Whang heading towards the finish. This route back to Dalmeny has the advantage of having the last 15k or so almost all downhill and we were soon turning the corner to the finish where Tom and David held back to let me have the honour of finishing first of the wee group. It was now Sunday lunchtime and my maiden 600 was in the bag! My wife came out to drive me home – and it was only 10km, but I couldn’t have ridden it. I’d planned to ride the Cheltenham 400 with my brother in law who lives in Stroud but he had bailed out on me after travel was arranged but I was still keen. I travelled south by train on the day, which happened to be the day after the 7/7 attacks in London and there was a very tense atmosphere at the station in Edinburgh and on the train. At one point we were ordered to disembark at Worcester due to a threat on the line which turned out to be a hoax. Despite this I slept well and arrived at the start refreshed and ready to go. With a 10am start and a 600k event the week before I’d planned on a full value ride with a snooze at about 290k (Alveston) which I reached at about 1am on a warm balmy evening (I’m sure this was the last decent summer before 2013). I got a wee bit lost around a series of mini roundabouts in Cheltenham but finished nicely within time about 12 noon the next day. As I was among the back markers of a big field the finish HQ was quiet and my celebrations were muted to non-existent. I gathered up my stuff from the hall and managed to find a pub near the railway station where I could sit outside and enjoy a celebratory beer in the sunshine while still keeping an eye on the big screen inside where the Aussies were getting a beating in the Ashes. How times have changed! The following year, 2006 was the one where I discovered permanent events. Of my SR that year the only calendar event was The Two Firths, the shorter 400k version of Mark Shannon’s 600 which Id ridden the year before. This was memorable for the wrong reasons. Firstly I was underprepared for the cold April weather and an essential last minute route change meant no ‘indoor’ controls for the last 110k. A lovely clear day was followed by a very cold night and a spate of punctures. Firstly I stood sentry on head torch duty while Alex Pattison fixed his and then a killer pothole did for both my front and back tyre as well as removing part of my back light. It turned out that one of my spare inner tubes was at fault (as was my pump) so after ordering Alex to leave me to fix matters, I took my time to walk a mile or so to Broughton and complete a proper repair (in a bus stop) and finished lantern rouge in over 24 hours. This was my first real experience of having difficulty on an event but finding a way

‘… a killer pothole did for both my front and back tyre as well as removing part of my back light.’

to complete it, which has stood me in good stead when things go wrong. It was during a conversation with Alex on this 400 that I learned about Duncan Peet’s Port Navigation 200km event with its multitude of ferry journeys which I scoped out and subsequently resurrected as a calendar event. I was looking forward to my first PBP in 2007 and inspired by the knowledge and enthusiasm of John Connaghan I was persuaded to travel to Mallorca to complete both my 400 and 600 over four days in early May. I’d gone carbon by this stage (entry level Specialized Roubaix) and I was looking forward to the lovely weather and perfect surfaces. It didn’t quite work out that way, the 400 was beset with navigational issues and at the 250k mark a large group of us were faced with a choice of retracing significantly in order to complete the event successfully (which would mean about 450k) or to DNF. Myself, John and Rose Leith (Irish End to End record holder and all round lovely person) opted for the former on the basis that we were there to qualify and we duly finished in 25 hours. This meant that we had less than 24 hours to rest until the start of the 600. I could not envisage starting a 600 let alone complete it but being blessed with the blarney, John persuaded me to start at least (‘sure just do the first 200, it’ll be grand…’) and soon the legs were turning OK. One advantage of the earlier mishaps on the 400k event was that it formed the first two-thirds of the 600 so at least we knew the way this time back to HQ for a well earned sleep. Part of our ride was shared with a large Danish contingent who were very well organised and most congenial company. After about 30k of day two I popped a couple of spokes on my back wheel and Rose (who wasn’t riding the 600 but had joined us on day two) gallantly offered me her back wheel, literally. After some repairs and a wheel swap we were under way. Lunch in Mancor was shared with a stag party where the indoor fireworks made me tetchy and nervous in equal measure. John clearly could have gone faster but was prepared to stay with me until about 50k to go when he powered off. I dawdled over the last hill and down into Magalluf where peely wally revellers were gathering. Dinner was provided in the basement car park of a hotel which had doubled as the event HQ – weird but the bacon and noodle soup complimented the cold beer perfectly. Overall, it had been warm and pleasant but we also had our fair share of torrential rain and puddles were up to the axle at points. Over dinner John assured me that I was one of the first PBP qualifiers from the northern hemisphere no less. I’d completed my SR by 4th May, the earliest I’d ever do it and I’d ridden 1000km over four days which I felt would

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be good prep for the big one. I followed this up with the Hailsham 600 in late May where it seemed to rain all the way round and I was introduced to the delights of the World of Water, Dungeness and, er, a gazebo-in-a-lay-by control. Being reasonably close to London this was an event where I finished the event at 6pm, did a quick change and caught the train up to London. After a ride from Victoria Station to Euston I caught the sleeper home to Edinburgh and was at work the following day. Myself, John, Colin and Sonya also bagged a DIY 400 over Easter weekend, which meant that this was my first double SR year. I recall being ribbed mercilessly by John and Colin for having non-identical tyres on my bike. I went on to complete the very soggy PBP, but by then I was used to riding in the wet – I think that I got soaked on every audax I rode that year except one. The next year my 400 would be the Easter Arrow, another first for me. Team EH12 was originally scheduled to be John, myself and Colin and Sonya on the tandem. However, Sonya had to withdraw which left a bare trio who left Dalmeny on 21st March with a strong northerly wind, a forecast of overnight snow and no margin for error. The tale of the 2008 arrows has been told in detail elsewhere but we made it and were one of very few teams to finish. I think we were second in the end with 407k. John showed great skills in navigating us safely there – keeping morale up with orders to keep the speed down (very unlike him) to conserve energy and a morale boosting flask of Irish coffee in Leyburn at 3am. We were frozen by the time we got to York riding through snow overnight and slush in the morning. Our train home had been arranged weeks earlier and the time in York dragged by until we had to go home. I had some explaining to do in the pub in York when both John and Colin were asleep beside me, as the landlady thought they were drunk. By contrast one of my two 600s that year was a most enjoyable run round the Twilight 600. Again it was John and I accompanied for the majority by Alex Pattison and Dave Fawcett who were riding their own Angus-based variation. A young guy call Phil who was new to cycling joined us for a bit but he cut the ride short into a 300 after Killin. We’d managed to book the village hall in Ballachulish for sleeps and I took great pleasure in watching my three companions ride off in to the distance just south of Fort William, before gradually watching them come back into view when they realised that I had the hall key. Sleep arrangements were somewhat spartan and a spare pair of curtains being pressed into action as a makeshift blanket. I recall having a shower at the hall and using a Rapha baselayer as a towel before throwing it 14

Arrivée Summer 2014 No. 125

away (it was well past its best and on its last legs despite only being about 18 months old). Breakfast at the station café in Crianlarich lifted our spirits and we were finished in a trice. I also managed a more functional Edinburgh–Preston– Preston 600 over the August bank holiday, scored five points on the 24 and took part in the epic Snow Roads 300 which was now back on the calendar. I must have been fitter back then as my bottom gear was a 34-27 and I didn’t even think anything of it going up the Lecht’s 20 per cent. That would just about finish me off now. 2009 was similar, the Twilight again, solo this time with a sleep stop at my in-laws in Fort William around 350k, five points again on the 24 and a DIY 300 around Angus with Colin and Sonya Crawford. The highlight of this year’s cycling was a DIY 400 where a group of us rode variations on the Kingdom Come 400k event over a pleasant weekend in early May. My version involved riding the 100k from Edinburgh to Forfar to hook up with another group who had set off from Auchterarder and another who were starting from Forfar. We all rode together (that’s code for ‘riding behind Robert McCready’) until Crossgates where my version of the ride finished. I did not envy the Forfar contingent shivering their way out of the garage control at 4am. This was my first year as an organiser, and I put on four events over a long weekend based in Ballachulish which appeared to have been well received. In 2010 I decided to aim for a hyper randonneur series which was achieved ultimately via (i) a calendar event, The Cambrian which was quite easy in benign weather and my first ‘no sleep’ 600, (ii) a trip over to the Emerald Isle a week later to ride John Connaghan’s lumpy 600 using his bike with my saddle on it, (iii) an 1100 in Germany – wet wet wet – and (iv) 379 miles in the ‘24’, which remains my best ever, though that year I was only fourth best vet from my own club and missed out on contributing to my club winning the team vets trophy. No matter, I was delighted with 379 miles. I also managed to organise three events, including the introduction of a 400 ‘The Berwick and Beattock’ – a grand triangle taking in the North Sea and Solway coasts which also featured again in the calendar in 2013. I found that I quite enjoyed riding my own events solo, with the added benefit of having some flexibility to choose the date on which to ride. PBP came round again in 2011 and I offered a full series as an organiser as well as one additional ride that turned out to be a real highlight of the last ten years, the Mull of Kintyre 600. This took place in early July and wasn’t therefore a PBP qualifier but instead was designed to keep the legs turning after qualification.

Photo: Tim Wainwright

ultra randonneur challenge

Graeme at Dreux, PBP 2007

‘This was followed by the roller coaster down the east side of the Mull of Kintyre to Campbel­ town in our shiny new Audax Ecosse jerseys.’

This was the first event where I was both organiser and participant and the first time I’d ridden the long and winding road down the east side of the Mull of Kintyre (that big leg on the weather map) down to Campeltown and back. The weather could not have been better and after a 9pm start everybody enjoyed their night ride to breakfast in Tarbert. This was followed by the roller coaster down the east side of the Mull of Kintyre to Campbeltown in our shiny new Audax Ecosse jerseys. I’d procured the village hall at Dalmeny around 450k, which allowed us a decent rest. I’d agreed to stay there until everybody had left so that I could hand the key back so get an extra long lie until 4.30am. I recall feeling surprisingly good near the end, no doubt the warm weather and good night’s rest helped and I reached the finish at Inverkeithing station at 10am and it was already 20°C. I enjoyed similarly good weather for the vast majority of PBP. As in 2007, I rode large chunks of this with Neil McDade and wee bits with Colin and Sonya on the tandem (when I could catch and keep up with them). One golden memory was arriving in Villaines la Juhel on the way back at about 1,000km and being applauded by local residents who www.audax.uk.net


ultra randonneur challenge when arrangements were occasionally less than perfect (routesheet directions near Crieff spring to mind – sorry again). One disappointment that still rankles though came some months after the event. When reading the AUK handbook the following February I realised that I’d won the organisers award for 2012 but unlike other winners I wasn’t notified or given the opportunity to attend the postAGM awards presentation to collect it. It would have been nice to have been able to something tangible to recognise the efforts made by the huge team of helpers on the event but that never happened and in the intervening two years I’ve had no contact from any AUK official on the matter. All the effort and time involved in organising the 1000k had meant that I had struggled to get enough time on the bike and the weather from about early April onwards had been truly awful. This meant that I almost didn’t complete an SR in 2012 as it took me until 16th September to get a DIY 600 in the bag, this included sharing the route with the Erit Lass 200km event following a ride from Edinburgh to Penrith and back the day before. The theory was that Id manage a bit of company on the final 200 to make the miles go past quicker but other than the first 5k I didn’t see anybody until very close to the finish. Of all ten years, 2013 was the one where I found it hardest to get going and motivated. I still had three events on the calendar as an organiser, the Port Navigation 200: starting and finishing in Ballachulish, Berwick and Beattock 400 (again) and a very silly hilly 600. In the end I only rode the Port Navigation event. I grovelled round a solo version of the Snow Roads for a 300km the day before helping (eat bridies) at the calendar event and took until early June before completing a flat DIY 400 on the same weekend as my calendar 600. This included a Friday night ride of 120km then an early morning dash to set riders off on my calendar 600 where I tried to

had lined the streets. It was such a lovely expression of kindness and appreciation that I had a tear in my eye. The final 200k whizzed by in a blur of strong coffee and in the end myself and Neil finished in the middle of a pack of Italian riders much to the annoyance of my wife who wanted a photo of me alone, having lost her camera shortly after PBP in 2007 (blessing in disguise I say). I’d made my own travel arrangements unlike 2007 and this definitely made for a more enjoyable trip. Inspired by stories of John Hamilton’s wonderful inaugural Mille Cymru in 2010 I decided to organise a Scottish equivalent the following year and as a result much of the latter part of 2011 was taken up with organising the first Mille Alba which was ultimately to take place at the end of 2012. I contacted John early on to tap into his expertise and fairly quickly got Alex Pattison, Dave Husband, Lucy McTaggart as well as the everwilling Sonya Crawford lined up to look after the main controls. Lorna Fraser also put in a massive shift making a multitude of cakes each day for HQ and for this I will always be thankful (you have to ride The Three Glens 160k to properly appreciate the full range of baking skills). Putting on an event of this magnitude was a fairly significant undertaking but I kept trying to remember what an old boss of mine used to say about the secret of making a success of big projects – ‘Surround yourself with wonderful people, give them everything they ask for then leave them to get on with it’. I think we just about managed a success, despite the weather behaving badly. In the end there were almost 100 people who mucked in to help in some way or another and helpers outnumbered the finishers by almost two to one. Space doesn’t permit naming everybody personally but it’s fair to say that I was bowled over by the willingness of everybody to help out at all hours and in difficult conditions. Each and every rider was unfailingly polite and understanding too, even Year 2014 (to date)

‘Of all ten years, 2013 was the one where I found it hardest to get going and motivated.’

200

300

400

500

600

1000

1200

Points

Rides

6

2

1

1

28

10

2013

13

2

1

1

42

17

2012

5

1

2

1

27

9

2011

10

2

1

3

1

60

17

2010

10

1

3

1

52

15

2009

8

3

1

1

1

40

14

2008

11

2

1

1

2

49

17

2007

9

2

3

2

1

60

17

2006

7

1

1

1

27

10

2005

4

1

1

1

21

7

Pre 2005

7

1

1

21

9

Total

427

142

tag onto the back of the field as they set off from the start. That plan failed by Inverkeithing (5km). In the end I decided that my best chance of success was an ‘easy’ 600. I already had a week in France booked for late June to do a bit of touring so I decided to ditch the plan for a tour and instead used the time to prepare for and complete a slow DIY 600 from the southern outskirts of Paris to the Loire valley and back with at least the benefit of some lovely warm weather. I was glad I had a few days to recover afterwards and enjoyed the sights of Paris (on foot!). Having felt awful on my return to the UK, I subsequently discovered that I had actually been rather unwell over the previous few months and I immediately withdrew from the Mersey Roads 24 and spent the next few months getting better. At least it explained the fact that in 2013 I had been struggling to break a 20kph average riding speed. This year I promised myself and the family a break from organising any events and have been able to concentrate solely on riding my bike. I’ve been altogether more sprightly compared with last year and was among the early finishers in the Yorkshire Gallop 200 in early March, a new event for me and one that was most enjoyable and it was nice to finally put a face to a name in Nigel Hall. Having discovered the pleasures of being a flat-land rouleur, I followed this up with a DIY 300 from Darlington in late March, which reprised much of the Yorkshire Gallop route with some extra bits of fun thrown in, including the pleasure of riding past the front door of York Minster. A second Easter Arrow followed for my 400k, this was great fun – lovely clear, sunny conditions, rumours of a northerly tailwind and the enjoyable company of Neil McDade, Colin Crawford, Jim Mearns and Robert McCready. The ride over Yad Moss was a first for me despite being the slowest in our team; I made the wise decision to just twiddle up the hill and try to enjoy the stunning views on a lovely clear evening, arriving for a pre-booked dinner at Langdon Beck just as it was going dark and a few hundred yards behind the team. This event expunged the memory of an unsuccessful Arrow attempt the year before which ended for me with a broken rear hub after about 100km. All I had left was a 600k to complete the ten-year set. While I had York–Langholm–York in my sights I felt sufficiently keen to do a DIY 600 over the final weekend in May. I decided to head south again and managed a relatively straightforward 600 with a loop of 375km on the Saturday and 225km to finish off. I started near Darlington and much of the ride was through the Vale of York where I took advantage of the benign terrain and good weather to get round the first leg quickly enough to get four hours’ sleep before setting off on the final leg.

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ultra randonneur challenge I always find the second morning of a 600 quite intriguing, the first 10km or so are spent wondering how on earth the legs will be able to function properly but soon enough they get the message and co-operate! The heat was causing me to stop and take on fluid every hour or so and I as I rode through York I noticed that it had reached 24°C. As I pootled back north through Boroughbridge and Northallerton I felt that I had enough zip in the legs to keep a fair old pace up and counted down the final few kms to the finish where I had a quick wash and rode to the station at Darlington for the train home. I’ve taken a bit of a ribbing for picking an easy 600 on a weekend with nice weather but I don’t see anything in the rules that doesn’t let me give myself these advantages! So, it was job done by 1st June 2014 and I was delighted. The following weekend featured the Snow Roads (my sixth). Each year I’ve ridden it, the weather conditions have been different and it really does make a massive difference to the character of the ride. I scooted round in just less than 16 hours which wasn’t my quickest but was none too shabby in difficult conditions. Alex and Allison Pattison, along with their team of helpers, looked after us like royalty as ever and it really is a unique and very enjoyable weekend. It’s a true audax classic (even for us flat track bullies) and is backed up by exceptional organisation. My favourite distance is definitely 300

as the extra distance over and above a 200 can mean taking in places that are less frequently visited and my absolute favourite would probably be a toss up between The Tayside Transgression (a fantastic ride including Glen Lyon) and the Snow Roads. Of the DIY rides I’ve done, a one-way 200k trip to Rannoch Station in April 2013 is the most memorable. There aren’t too many rides that I feel that I’ve missed out on, possibly the Bryan Chapman but the Chepstow start would mean two days off work that never could be justified. I have every other qualification for the Brevet 25,000 except a 1300k event but as things stand I’ve no plans to do so. Below is a summary of all my rides during the period 2005–2014 (to date). If I add in pre-2005 rides I’m edging closer to a century of 200k events. My mind boggles when I think that Steve Abraham managed a similar points total in a single year! I’ve learned over the years that while I’m never going to be the fastest on the road, I can compensate by using every minute off the bike effectively. Refusing to waste time means that I can normally manage round most events with no concerns over time and on a good day can be surprisingly quick. I will start every ride of 200km or more with a plan in mind for where and when I’m going to stop, even if that plan has to subsequently change. I’ve tried to educate my body to ride about

‘The following weekend featured the Snow Roads (my sixth).’

80km–100km before needing a lengthy stop with a break every 50k or so after that. Beyond that I try to ensure I get the basics right, like trying to get a big feed immediately before starting an event (this often means preparing a second breakfast to eat at an event HQ), getting cash that I might need on an event the night before, ensuring I get proof of passage quickly, taking my bottles in with me when I stop and getting fed quickly. I find that supermarket cafés and fast food joints are my friend on audax events – I’m definitely not one to while away an hour eating cake and drinking tea, well not on an audax event at any rate. So, subject to validation of the York Arrow (at the time of writing), I’ll join the 135 or so riders who have completed ten SRs. I’ve ridden a huge variety of events in different parts of the UK and it’s been tremendously fulfilling. I feel very humble to be ranked alongside the riders who have completed this feat before me and I’ve been privileged to share the road with a few. I’ve found that organising and participating in audax events presents a very pleasant contradiction – riders are expected to be self-sufficient which might give the impression of a selfcentred or an arrogant sport. In my experience nothing could be further from the truth. In contrast, audax has the happy knack of attracting people who are just quietly brilliant – badass if you will – and I salute each one. Keep pedalling! N

Photo: Martin Berry

Dundee Thistle riders crossing the Cabrach on the Snow Roads 300

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correspondence Dear Editor In response to Chris Wilby’s interesting article on dynamo lights (Arrivée 124) and the possibility of power GPS receivers from them, I just wanted to mention that on the Etrex Legend and Vista models there is a setting that controls behaviour when external power is lost. In Setup > System > External Power Lost you can select Stay On. When external power is lost you will get a warning box on the screen which you have to clear, but the unit will remain on. This is just like the low battery warning that stays there to make sure you have seen it until you click OK.

I doubt if Arrivée will disappear anytime soon, though I can imagine it reducing to two or three copies a year if we don't manage to find a fourth hard-copy editor. We put a fair amount of Handbook content in the February Arrivée already and will increase this now that the Handbook itself is discontinued and Arrivée contributions are on the decrease. Note that we didn't have a Handbook from the first newsletters in 1976 until 1988 when I produced a looseleaf A6 Handbook for a couple of years. This was intended to have just a few leaves updated each year but didn't prove popular. Both Francis Cooke and Keith Matthews did a year's stint with a bound A5 Handbook that was popular so I continued in that format. Now, however, we find ourselves in the unfortunate position of having official information on the web and in the Handbook. This is risky as it can result in error – and errors there were. Peter Lewis has put a lot of work into the web info to ensure that it matches that in the 2014 hard copy Handbook. The future, it seems, is data storage on the web, with appropriate back-ups. Note that we very quickly found six editors to work on material for the up and coming web site!

Peter Robinson

Dear Editor As I am not used to writing letters to make a complaint, I feel that I need to this time. It’s about the Handbook being discontinued. This is where I come in. I am not an internet subscriber, never have been and don’t want to be, so how will I, and other AUK members who are also not on the internet, be able to know what other riders have achieved. Also, I would be interested to know how many members of AUK don’t have a computer. We all pay to be members, so please cater for everyone, not just the internet subscribers. It was a pleasure to read Graeme Holdsworth’s comments (Arrivée 124), so can my comments be discussed by the Board members and not go to this new fangled machine called internet.

Sheila

Ron Eaton

Dear Editor I share some of Graeme Holdsworth’s (Arrivée 124, Spring 2014) feelings about the ceasing of the handbook and what is being considered for the future of Arrivée, but for somewhat different reasons. I personally have no problem with the handbook or Arrivée going on-line and I accept that it saves money and possibly lessens the loads of hardworking volunteers. It also contributes to saving trees and thus is more environmentally friendly. However, I believe we should respect those, particularly older people, who don’t feel a need for a computer or at least not the internet. I am puzzled why AUK has not considered doing what other organisations I belong to have done. They have put things like magazines and newsletters online but before doing so circulated members to ask if they are happy to receive things electronically or would prefer to still receive paper copies by post. I indicated I was happy to receive them electronically, even though I feel I spend more than enough time on computers. I accepted that it saves the organisations money and contributes to saving the environment. I believe that the overwhelming majority of members of those organisations have done likewise, as I’m sure would be the case with AUK members. Obviously it would not be as big a financial saving as producing no hard copy handbooks or Arrivée’s but it would surely still be significant. You would probably have to produce a few excess handbooks for any new members joining during the year who might need hard copies, but surely that should not be a major issue. It seems relevant that one of the organisations I belong to that offers hard copies to those who prefer is a cash-strapped charity. I feel it is unfair to expect those who – often for good reasons – prefer not to ‘splash out’ on computers to suffer inconvenience. With regard the possibility of Arrivée becoming just an annual publication, while I understand the frustrations of the voluntary editors with regard the difficulties of getting members to contribute and that it makes it hard – even stressful – work (being editor of a newsletter just for my club is bad enough!), I feel it would be a shame. I can at least assure editors that I have not been disappointed with any edition of Arrivée. I find it inspirational! Ironically, while indicating above that ‘particularly older people’ don’t feel a need for a computer, it seems relevant that a recent young Arrivée contributor stated that he doesn’t have a computer, but he did contribute!

Eight-year-old Isaac Lees and his dad at the finish of the Lutudarum 120km/1.75 AAA event from Hulme-End. Photo by John Perrin (event organiser)

Dear John and Ron Please be assured the Board is mindful of AUKs who do not have access to the Internet, so whilst the handbook will cease as a separate annual publication, details of awards and other news will be incorporated into Arrivée. A major factor behind this development is not cost but simply the availability of volunteers to produce the handbook, and the same applies to Arrivée itself. I know I speak for us all in expressing my appreciation of this great magazine, and the best way to ensure it continues is for AUK members to contact Sheila Simpson (Publications Secretary) to offer their services as an editor and/or publisher (liaising with printers to manage print and despatch, etc.). See the 'Help Wanted' ads for details.

Paul Stewart, Secretary

John Thompson

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Chevy Chase My first 200km audax experience Ben Vivian

My decision to enter the Chevy Chase audax was a late one and a good one. I had entered the shorter Burma Road as my partner’s family lives in Newcastle and was supposed to be a nice day out in some lovely countryside and an opportunity to ride on some usually closed roads across the Otterburn MOD firing ranges. As the day got closer and the weekend’s weather forecast got grimmer and grimmer, there was some backsliding and dithering from Geordieland. So I decided to try to upgrade and do the longer 200km Chevy Chase ride.

M

y upgrade was accepted and I started to get a little bit nervous. Although I was confident about the distance, this would still be my longest ride in one day. I have done many metric centuries and a couple of hundred milers in the past two years. But last summer I had failed to finish an attempt to complete the Coast-to-Coast (C2C) in one day because I couldn’t eat enough. I have always ridden bikes, but lately I have been challenging myself to ride further and for longer. The particular challenge was going to be the amount of climbing and steepness of some of those climbs, in very remote locations. I can honestly say that overall the experience on the day was an extremely positive and pleasurable one. There were

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Arrivée Summer 2014 No. 125

of course low points, and I’ll come to those in a little while, but overall I can’t say how much I got from the experience, the scenery (mostly new to me) and the camaraderie. The organisation for the event was great, not perfect but that would be unrealistic and unreasonable to expect. I would unreservedly recommend these audaxes run in Northumberland – although I was sworn not to tell people how great this area is so preserving it for the local cycling community – sorry I couldn’t help myself. I hope this doesn’t bar me from entering in the future. I believe I was well prepared, my bike was well tested although reasonably new and my body and mind were I think in the right place. I train with a group of triathletes in Leicestershire and we tend to limit Saturday morning group rides to no more than 60km. Unlike a shorter 100km or even a 160km ride, this is an extended endurance exercise. I was riding for about 10 hours and from start to finish was out for 10 minutes short of 12 hours. That’s a long time. I have ridden a lot this year, averaging around 300km per week and have covered more than 3,500km since the New Year. Most of my long rides have been alone. This riding alone for several hours is excellent experience and preparation for a 200km audax. This level of preparation was necessary as the day was a severe test, partly because of the terrain and partly because of the weather. The AAA status of Chevy Chase indicates a serious

‘I train with a group of triathletes in Leicester­ shire and we tend to limit ­Saturday morning group rides to no more than 60km.’

undertaking in terms of ascent and trust me some of the climbs were beyond me. The forecast to which I previously alluded had shown heavy rain in the morning and then again later in the day. The Met Office had it spot on and heavy rain we received – although the middle few hours of crystal clear visibility were about perfect. The roads were soaking and there was a lot standing water. I think that the forecast resulted in a number of no-shows in the morning which left only 40 hardy souls – some already soaked to the skin from their ride from home to the start near Kirkley Hall. I am not going to describe the route of the ride – as I want you to experience this place for yourself, and for most readers the place names will mean nothing. What I do want to do is share my thoughts and feelings as the day unfolded. I was slightly nervous as start time approached and I did some final checks and got ready to leave, although I slightly missed the mass start. This didn’t matter. Anyone turning up to ride a long way on one of these audax should not have any worries about not being made to feel very welcome and at ease. As I expect is the case with many of these events there will be a hard-core of locals who know each other – either from other audax or as fellow members of cycle clubs. As a single cyclist, I was made very welcome and as we all had a single purpose and many common interests, if you are prepared to join in, in my experience you will be rewarded. I will admit that I had not done enough route checking prior to the day. I had the GPX in my Garmin and a copy of the route instructions stuffed into my jersey. To start out though I tagged along with two guys who seemed to know the way. We happily chatted until their speed dropped a little and I decided to go it alone – although as I suspect is often the case our paths crossed and re-crossed during the ride. I followed another group for a while before again separating and continuing alone for a while. My long, www.audax.uk.net


randonnee solo training rides were good practice. I am happy riding alone and self-reliant. So one piece of advice I would pass on to others planning to do these longer rides: practice alone, get used to your own company and be capable of dealing with mechanicals yourself. The second piece of advice I would give is to carry back up to all things – especially if you use GPS technology. After 140km, my Garmin decided for reasons I know not why, to turn itself off and I had to restart it. The ride was saved but the disturbance to my usually calm exterior was there (I did throw a slight tantrum although no one was around to witness this spectacle). I was entering the usually closed roads of the Otterburn ranges (which only have the most basic of road signs). As I struggled on the steepest climbs of the ride and was left behind by those more used to this type of terrain, I was a little worried, I no longer trusted my GPS (it turned out to by functioning OK but I didn’t know that at the time). And I couldn’t see anyone ahead or anyone behind. I was literally all-alone. I wasn’t last on the road, but I had no other human in sight to indicate I was in the right place. So my second piece of advice: read and visualise the route beforehand, especially if you are in an unknown landscape. In fact it might be wiser to pick a route you know a little already for your first 200km audax – after all there is enough to cope with. I may be painting an alarming picture and as someone with 30-plus years’ experience of mountaineering, I was used to this feeling and coped. It presents a level of challenge you just don’t get on a Saturday club ride. So you must be prepared to be psychologically as well as physiologically challenged. That to me is part of fun and will bring me back for more 200km and probably longer audax. People advise you to eat and eat a lot during this sort of event, listen and act on that advice. I had a strange experience

at about 140km, I suddenly became vey tired, almost sleepy. It was mid-afternoon and the sun had started to shine, the scenery of Upper Coquetdale was stunning – but I was so tired. I stopped and ate and drank – even though the next café stop was only about 3km up the valley. This severe energy-level drop is unusual for me at that sort of distance. Restored, I carried on. But I think this and the next stage of the ride up and onto the ranges was the lowest point. The weather was deteriorating and rain started to fall heavily and remained for next three hours of the ride. I got to the final control at Elsdon (for the second time) and was cold and a little demoralised. Inside the café, people were warming up with hot chocolate and cake. I had about 35km to go. I had arranged to call my partner at this point to say I was OK and so she could head to the start/finish and collect me. Before making the call I was seriously contemplating baling out – I was soaking wet, starting to get cold, could see the final long climb out of Elsdon – called Winter’s Gibbet (how symbolic!) and would have been happy to wait in the warm for a lift home. But as my local bike shop owner and I now say to each other – I took a ‘dose of man-up’, called to say I was heading to the finish and to see you in about an hour and a half. As a footnote to the energy drain at 140km – I didn’t eat again other than some jelly snakes until I reached the end – and finished feeling fully of energy and riding strongly. I can’t explain this. I arrived cold but pleased to finish, I was warmly greeted in the start control, handed a cup of tea and stood by the logburner. There were a group in the warm, who I’d passed and re-passed many times during the day. Within about two minutes of getting in, my demeanour had brightened hugely. I was frustrated that I probably had not got a record of the full ride, but that paled into insignificance as I realised I had achieved what I had set out to do. A tough ride in rough weather conditions. My thanks to everyone involved in the event – my fellow riders who were all positive and kept each other going through the inevitable lows. Thanks too to the organisers for an excellent and very challenging route through stunning scenery and great group of people. What did I learn about myself? I learned that I could ride 200km – and I think that’s quite a good and satisfying thing. I learned that you need to back up your back-ups and that is a very good reason why we all carry saddlebags/barbags full of stuff. I realised that for me it is about being competitive with myself and not against others – and audax is all about this. It is all about the ride – not the time, not the kit and not the winners. And the camaraderie is first class. I’ll be back, I’m hooked and I won’t be satisfied until I’ve ridden the Brian Chapman Memorial (BCM). Competitive – moi? N

Golden Road and Standing Stones 300, the first event to be run in the Outer Hebrides. Photo by Ian Anderson (more in the next issue)

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randonnee

Oasts and Coasts 300 Alex Turner

On 26th April I took on my first 300km audax of the year. Oasts and Coasts 300. The ride pretty much circumnavigated Kent taking in a sliver of East Sussex for good measure.

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he ride was scheduled to start at 6.00am. I planned to cycle the 12 miles from home in Chatham to the start in Meopham. This was simply to bump up the total miles for the day to just over 200. With that intention I made sure to get off to bed the night before soon after 10.00pm to give me at least five hours’ sleep before getting up at 4.30am. As it goes I woke early before the alarm and was up at 4am. Shower, coffee, porridge then out the door at just gone 5am. I had prepped my bike the previous day; cleaned, drive train lubed, tyres pumped; emergency tools and puncture outfit packed in my handlebar bag along with a bit of cash. Food and hydration sorted; caffeine loaded electrolyte enhanced drink tabs and a dozen potato and spring onion frittatas. The sun was just coming up as I set off. By the time I was closing in on the start the sky had taken on a beautiful red hue. As gorgeous as the light was it gave away the weather to come which had been forecast as rainy all morning 20

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with sunshine and clouds throughout the afternoon. I arrived at Meopham Scout hut for registration about 15 minutes before the off. There was a good few others there before me. A decent spread had been laid out with plenty of bananas, chocolate, glucose sweets and other goodies to stuff our pockets with. Teas and coffees on the go and the usual shuffling about and modest chatter by the riders making their final preparations before setting out on this audacious ride. Along with others I grouped up and come 6.00am and a typically informal count down we started out on our journey. It was just 15km to the first check point at Farningham. The short distance was on account of a route change at this point from the previous year’s run and to make sure all the riders took the turn required to stay on course. Not sure how necessary the checkpoint was given the route sheets and gpx files in hand, however, if the organiser thought it wise, I with my limited experience of such things, was in no place to question their planning.

Familiar roads

This first section covered roads I was very familiar with through Longfield and South Darenth. Though I had not and never set out to lead the way I soon

Above: A familiar scene of oast houses in Kent. Photo: Tim Wainwright

‘I knew that I was riding too fast but with no one in front I’m rubbish at pacing myself.’

found myself setting a speedy pace at the front. I was more than aware of the total distance to be covered but it just felt right to ride as fast as I found myself doing at this point. I had soon ridden out of sight of all but one other rider and it was together that we arrived at the checkpoint at Farningham. We were not far ahead though because within a minute we were joined by half a dozen others that had also found a brisk initial pace suited them too. Brevet card stamped and off again. I found myself leading the way once more as we headed down through Eynesford, past Shoreham and on towards Otford. I took a wrong turn here but thankfully I recognised my mistake within a couple of hundred metres turned around and got back on track. This was not such a bad thing as it resulted in the next two riders along getting in front and prompting me to tail them and slow down a bit. I knew that I was riding too fast but with no one in front I’m rubbish at pacing myself. Lesson one: make sure there is at least one person ahead of me at the start. It was not long after this and about 25km into the ride that I felt the back tyre suddenly become rather bouncy and a lot more squashy than it should have been. I had a puncture. The rain had come down in a misty drizzle from nearly www.audax.uk.net


randonnee since we set out. I was riding on 38mm Compass Bicycles Barlow Pass ultra light tyres. Since swapping to these from the bomb proof 40mm Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tours which never punctured, and having punctured the front tyre while out riding in dry conditions a week or so before in Gloucestershire, I was conscious of their vulnerability to road shrapnel. The wet conditions and road surface were not great and the almost inevitable happened but rather sooner than I would have hoped for. I pulled over, flipped my bike, and set about making repairs. As I did the necessary all the other riders were soon passing me by in intermittent groups calling out to check I had, ‘… everything you need?’ I did and so on they all rode as I would have done in the same situation. There was not much anyone could have done to make less of the task and would only have stood around watching and making small talk so I was quite pleased really to have been left to my own devices. Mending the puncture was a simple enough job. The tyre casing is extremely supple and they have a folding bead which together as well as making them a joy to ride on also makes taking them off and putting them back on again child’s play. You can remove them almost without tyre levers. You certainly don’t need the leverage to put them back on. Although the Marathon Plus Tours never had to come off in such circumstances the weight of them, the comfort, cornering and rolling resistance are not even close to that offered by the Barlow Pass. The odd puncture now and then seems a fair compromise to me.

Leaping deer

So with the tube patched I’m soon back on the road. Although there was no need I wanted to make up for lost time. I had a narrow escape from a nasty mishap at the top of Toys Hill. A young deer leapt out into the road just a metre or two in front of me. I was riding close to 30 kph at the time and it was only good fortune that kept me from taking a tumble. A few seconds earlier and I’d have been out of it. Regardless I rode hard for the next 40km down through Hever, Hartfield, Maresfield and into Uckfield where the next control was. I had quickly caught up with the last of those that had passed me and made good ground on most of the others that were now in front. On reaching the control I decided to just nip in the café get a stamp for my brevet card and do the off. I am clear that audax events are not a race. To be honest I want to work on slowing down and taking in the scenery a bit more than I do. I guess that will come with experience but for now I was on a mission! I necked a couple of the frittatas I had stowed with me and a small chocolate bar then set out again but this time with

a couple of other riders one of whom had led the way in the Man of Kent 200km audax I had completed in March. I forget his name but I will not forget his pace. I kept up for around 15 to 25km but his and his friend’s hill climbing left me standing. I was well and truly dropped! It was time now for me to wind it back a bit and to take up a more realistic approach to completing this 300. For the rest of the way to the next stop at Battle I rode on my own and did not pass nor was I passed by any other riders. The drizzle had continued unabated hence I was fairly wet and beginning to feel a bit chilly on reaching there. This was a free control, meaning you just pick up a receipt or other such proof of passage. I passed by all the obvious stops in the town including the castle and places which were understandably popular for their historic charm and aesthetic quality. I rode right through until recognising unless I stopped at the next opportunity I would end up having to turn back. Luckily at a junction out of the town was a greasy spoon aptly called ‘My Café’. I took a break here. It felt good after 100km of hard riding through miserable weather. I got myself a bacon roll and a large coffee. I had a couple more of the frittatas then was off again after about 15 minutes off the bike. As I was just setting out I saw another rider whizzing past off down on the road I was to join. I had a feeling he was also riding the audax. I felt no compulsion to try to catch him. I was now settling down into this ride and was adopting a more sensible approach to the energy I was expending. I had slowed down. This was a good thing. Although I had eased it up I rode the next 20km or so into Rye on my own without being passed or seeing anyone in front. Soon after passing through Rye and near to Camber I saw the rider that had swooped past me at Battle. He was looking at his phone by the roadside. By this time I had settled down into a good comfortable pace and was enjoying eating up the miles. The rain had stopped and I was slowly beginning to dry out. I passed him by without much thought with my head down and on the drops as I took on the flat drag and crosswinds past Camber and to the next control at Hythe which was just past the half way mark at 154km. It was a pleasant thing then when I was joined by this unknown rider who I came to know as James. We rode together pacing each other for the rest of the way to the control. We matched each other’s speed chatting as we rode. Being the way I am and probably the way he was too, we upped it a bit because … well just because we’re blokes I guess and are like that sometimes! The thing though he was probably at least ten years younger than me and riding a carbon road bike. I was as usual on my old alloy tri-cross. Around

‘A young deer leapt out into the road just a metre or two in front of me. I was riding close to 30kph at the time and it was only good fortune that kept me from taking a tumble.’

10km from the control I really started to feel it. I had stupidly not kept eating and I had allowed my sugar levels to drop to a level where I could feel a crash coming on. I was slowly but gradually being left behind. I think it was just a combination of my stubbornness and pride mixed up with his own fatigue and graciousness that kept me with him until we finally reached the control at the Light Railway Station in Hythe. When we arrived I saw the two riders I had left Uckfield with. They were both looking in considerably better shape than I felt and were just about ready to set off again on the next leg. I on the other hand was ready to drop and delighted to be able to have a rest and fill up on food. I ordered myself a big plate of sausages, chips, beans and eggs washed down with a couple of cups of coffee. We sat together but I was not much company to be with. I knew I was not able to talk much sense at this point and was in that state of mental isolation that comes with being close to exhaustion and hypoglycemia. Not sure how James felt. I’ve a feeling he was not far from the place I was. We both filled up and recomposed ourselves. James was evidently in better shape than I though as he prepped to go as I was still gearing myself up for the second half. We bid each other well as he took to the road again and I ordered another coffee. I was, however, feeling alive again and the prospect of completing the ride seemed once again a viable prospect. It was not long later that I made my way out of the café and to my bike heading now to follow the coast 40 or so km to the next free control at Deal.

Classic Kent countryside

The fact that the miles were now counting down from the half way point and not towards it and what with being very familiar with this part of the world both these things had a very positive impact on my sense of well-being. The scenery up till this point had been classic Kent countryside and very nice for it. The outlook now was quite different but none the less equally attractive to pass

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through. The coastline past Folkestone, into Dover and then round the South Foreland Point is wonderful and a lovely contrast to that which we had passed through in getting this far. I write ‘we’ as since arriving at and leaving Hythe I had found myself back among other riders, either riding close by or not far in front or behind. As I took on the climb out of Folkestone I joined up with another James and one other rider whose name I regret I cannot now recall but who had a lot more experience than I of completing audax events and who was full of interesting conversation and information about these endeavours. It felt great to be riding with these guys whose pace was more in keeping with me enjoying the ride and not enduring it! The James on this occasion was another of the riders I had met on the Man of Kent 200km. He too had set out fast and was the second to pass me by when I had punctured way back at the 25km mark. As I recall he was also one of the front-runners at the start of the Man of Kent event too. Though it seemed there were similarities in our approach to these rides his efforts were somewhat greater than mine; on that ride and this he had ridden to the start from Westminster in London and at its conclusion back again adding I guess another 50km or thereabouts each way to the total distance. He was wearing it well and did not seem to have felt it in the same way that I knew I had. I guess though we all have our own story to tell. The ride had now become a more social occasion and I was really enjoying the company and knowing the places I was passing through. On climbing the hill out of Dover and past the castle who should come hacking past but the James I had ridden with into Hythe. Not sure how he managed to end up behind me but whatever it was I was not about to catch up with him again as he rode on by. I called out a greeting which was returned as he sped off into the distance. This would not though be the last time we would meet. Coming down into Deal the route took us along an unadopted road where the surface was unprepared, stony and full of ditches and holes. Riding on 38mm tyres for a 300km audax might not be everyone’s first choice but riding down here they certainly seemed a good choice to others now and not just me. Though cautious of the risk of puncture I was able to enjoy the stability and comfort they give on such tracks. Wheeling into Deal brought me to the first of the possible family drop-ins I could have indulged in. I have a sister who lives here and the route took us within a few hundred metres of her house. Given that I had not scrutinised the route before hand and so had not spoken with her about my passing by I chose to keep on going with James and the other rider I had been with now since 22

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Folkestone. We rode along the seafront before taking a left as the promenade came to an end and within a very short time arrived at the next free control. It was at a small corner shop where other cyclists on the ride had and were already buying their token purchases to grab the receipt for evidence of their visit. After my spend in the café at Hythe I only had a bit of small change left on me. Just enough to buy a pint of milk which I greedily consumed outside the shop. As we milled about for the next five to ten minutes who should pitch up again but the original James on his carbon machine. Enquiring what had occurred he told me that he had also sustained a puncture at some point between us seeing him in Dover and now. I rashly decided to set of with him again, however, that idea was soon quashed as when I got on my bike I noticed the rear tyre felt a bit squashy again. The guy I was riding with whose name I forgot mentioned it had looked a bit like that since Folkestone. I had in all honesty thought it felt a bit bouncy but my optimism had won out over my paranoia hence I had ignored the signs and just kept pedalling. If I had punctured again it was a very slow one but I was not convinced. I quickly sold myself the idea I’d just not pumped enough pressure into it after the repair. The verge I was on at the time was not ideal and I had hurried the job to get going again and not stay at the impromptu pit stop in the rain for any longer than needed. I should really have pumped it up harder at any of the subsequent controls but the momentum and mindset I maintained persuaded me not to bother. Silly really. Another lesson to apply next time it happens. So it was now that my pump came off again and the tyre pressure increased closer to the 75 psi specified. So it was with my two ad hoc audax companions that I set off again from Deal and off towards the first info control of the ride at Birchington about 25km away. The riding was perfect. We had a slight tailwind pushing us along and what with the increased pressure in my back tyre the going was now easy and enjoyable. We had been joined by another rider as we rode out of Deal and so now we were four. It’s at times like this when everything is humming along smoothly that the joy of cycling really jumps up and gives you a great big hug. The endorphins were flowing. I felt like I could ride for ever at this point and so it was with that feeling I continued all the way through Sandwich, Minster, the control at Birchington and onto the next stamped control in Herne Bay which marked 225km behind us and just another 75km to go. The stretch from Birchington to Herne Bay took us along the sea wall. Though the wind now cut across us from the south-west it did not dampen down my mood and the sense of

All photos by the author

randonnee

‘It’s at times like this when everything is humming along smoothly that the joy of cycling really jumps up and gives you a great big hug.’

well-being that had come over me since approaching Deal. Again my familiarity with this area and having ridden the roads between here and Medway on various iterations over the years gave me a confidence boost that I was going to crack this ride and in a respectable time to. We arrived in Herne Bay at some time shortly before 5pm putting my elapsed time so far at around 11 hours.

Slowly deflating tyre

The control at Herne Bay was in a classic sea-side café. As we pulled up who should I see tucking into a big plate of chips with his shoes off airing his feet but James again. I was enjoying these intermittent reunions and checking in on his progress. He told me that he had another unplanned stop close to Birchington to reseat his tyre which had popped off the rim. Not something I have ever experienced and not something I’d like to either especially at anything over 15kph. Before leaving, James reminded himself of the make of my tyres, seemingly interested by my waxing lyrical about their qualities as we rode together in our approach to Hythe. I’m pleased that the puncture and slowly deflating tube did not put him off considering the Barlow Pass as something worth finding out more about. They really are the best tyres I have ever ridden on and I happily recommend them. Before entering the café I nipped up to the nearest cashpoint to withdraw a bit more money so I could indulge myself with a large coffee and a caramel slice. My riding companions and the other randonneurs that were now passing through also took advantage of the extensive menu with everyone seeming to find something tasty to dig into. A quick phone call home to let my family know I was still alive and well and on course to finish between eight and nine pm. The last time we spoke was in Hythe where I may well have sounded rather depleted given the state I was in when I got there. So it was from here I set out again with the two I had ridden with since Folkestone off and on what I could begin to call the start of the end run home. www.audax.uk.net


randonnee As we made our way towards Whitstable it occurred to me that we had lost the fourth member of our small group. It turned out that he had ordered himself a Full English in Herne Bay and had only just started eating it as we rolled out. As we rode passed Tankerton and through Whitstable the second and third opportunity to call in on family presented itself. For the same reasons as I pedalled past my sister’s in Deal I carried on through with just a nod in the direction of my parents’ house and younger sister’s abode who all lived within a reasonably close distance from the route. Cycling up Whitstable High Street I started to notice that now familiar bouncy sensation from my back tyre. I did not stop straight away and continued riding with the others for a short distance. It was ironically along Joy Lane which takes the route past Seasalter and towards Faversham that I conceded I needed to stop and reinflate the tube. I pulled over and with good grace was joined by the other two. I started to pump and as I did I urged them to keep going stating my intention of catching them up. As they wheeled away the fourth member of our informal cohort joined them once more and so it was here I saw the three of them cycling off into the distance. I had really appreciated the benefit and pleasure of riding with others and did not especially want to lose the group. I pumped the tyre as hard as I could and set off at a ferocious pace to catch them. For the next 10km I sped along breathing rhythmically the Obree way which I have found works very well when pushing myself along the straights and up hills. It was a tease being able to see them all riding ahead in the distance now and then only to disappear out of sight once more with the turns and bends in the road. I kept up the pace and with about two of three km to go before the right turn towards Faversham I caught them. I felt pretty pleased with myself but now started to feel the effect of the exertion on my stamina. All of a sudden the ease of which I had ridden with since Hythe began to fade. Though I still had something left in the tank that sprint had taken its toll. Together again we skirted past Faversham into Ospringe and then a short distance later turned left into the approach which would take us on through the Kent Downs, an area of outstanding natural beauty. Through Newnham and Doddington we rode towards Hollingbourne and then the last stretch into the North Downs and the Pilgrims Way from Detling to Meopham. At this point we had just another 50km to go. Just another 50km. A distance which I would normally consider a modest ride but with 250km behind me I now gave slightly more respect. The road to Hollingbourne is a great route to follow. Even with the surface

being pretty poor in places and gravel and debris coating the middle section of it, the trail cut a flattish path through the natural contours of the Downs and through countryside and woodland that would win prizes if they were awarded. It was along this passage as I reached Ringlestone Road that I was to bid my fellow travellers the last farewell of this ride. Once more I needed to stop due to the back tyre losing pressure. I was fearful when I traversed the road at one point across the shrapnel down the middle that I may have risked a flat. It turned out I was right to be concerned. No slow puncture this time. It was going down fast and with that I called out that I needed to stop and make repairs. The tyre came off and on went my spare tube. I was now close enough to the finish to not worry about repairing the hole. It did not take long but in the time that it did I was passed by about another half-dozen or so other riders again calling out as they went to check I had everything I needed. I wonder what the reaction would have been had I not. Helpful no doubt but possibly mixed with a tinge of disapproval for setting out without the means to repair a flat. Hopefully I will never be in that position.

A fear of bonking

As I put the wheel back on and flipped the bike over I noticed I had in the time between stopping and that point developed a pounding headache and a grumbling feeling of nausea. I have put this down to the overuse of caffeineenhanced electrolyte drink tablets which I had guzzled along the way and a recent over-indulgence in glucose tablets prompted by the fear of bonking again. Back on the bike again but really beginning to feel it. My pace had slowed as a result of leaving the company of my informal team. Though there were other riders about I did not feel the connection I had established with my now familiar randonneuring buddies. I stuck with it and raced down Hollingbourne Hill completing missing the right turn past the info control and to the Pilgrims Way. I quickly turned and headed back noting the figure required and was back on route. It had now become a slog. This was a shame as I was on home turf and so close to the end. By the time I passed through Detling and Bluebell Hill I had really started to flag. I stopped off at the Shell Garage and topped up with an isotonic drink really just for the variety and the hope that this would not make my head and stomach feel worse than it did. I phoned the missus to let her know I was closing in and to ask for a pick up from the scout hut in Meopham which I estimated I would arrive at in about an hour’s time. So close but still so far was my thinking now. For the last 15km I was on autopilot. I had ridden these roads countless times

‘The trail cut a flattish path through the natural contours of the Downs and through countryside and woodland that would win prizes if they were awarded.’

before. Whilst this was in some ways a positive I was also visualising every inch I had to pedal and anticipated every known incline with a crushing sense of despair. It was now getting close to 9pm and was dark. I did not bother with following the GPS as I knew the way. What I did not realise was the way I knew did not follow the planned route. I missed a turn and followed my nose. Though it got me to the end and I still clocked up the required miles the final 5km were of my making and not that of the organisers. This was pointed out to me by another rider closing in on the finish the same time as I but with him coming from the opposite direction. I was not in a state to give any considered reply when he suggested I may have taken a short cut! Anything I might have said at that point would not have been polite! On riding up to the hall I saw my wife in the car with two of our kids in the back and was uplifted by their congratulations as I finally and thankfully ground to a halt. I staggered into the hut to register my completion and was greeted by the two I had covered much of the second half of this ride with. Congratulations were exchanged however I regret to say I was in no condition for any extended pleasantries. After handing over and having my brevet card checked and signed off I was out of there. Bike lifted up and secured on the roof of the car and then collapsed into the passenger seat and home for a shower and straight to bed. I’d done it. My second 300km ride and the first of this year. In total I covered about 306km. With the 12 miles I rode to the start in the morning the day's mileage was just over the 200 mile target I had set myself. The total elevation was around 3,178 metres. My Garmin recorded a moving time of 12 hrs 19 min. The elapsed time was 15 hrs 22 min. Average speed was 15.4 mph/ 24.7kmph. I’m pretty pleased with all that. Lot of lessons which I had learned before but failed to apply on this occasion hence my suffering at the mid-way point and the end. Pace myself better. Eat more often on the move. Do not over use caffeine. Be mindful of over-indulging in glucose tablets. Repair the tube and fit the spare. I took the next day off but the day after I rode the finish section again and covered the final 5km which I had detoured from on the day. It seemed like the decent thing for me to do. It is fitting that this post has taken me almost as long to write as the route did to ride. If you have read to the end I guess you can count yourself among the few who do in keeping with the minority of crazy cyclists that take on these long rides. The following weekend I completed a more modest 100km audax: The Hell Forest 100. That was another great ride which I thoroughly enjoyed to the end. N

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randonnee

South Gloucester 100 Ribble Blue

The organizer came up to us on the line just before the start time explaining about the day’s ride. He went into some detail that due to recent rain the lanes are very slippery at the moment and with sharp bends on some of the steep descents that have resulted in some serious accidents in the past. Added to this the wind strength is going to increase to gale force in the afternoon, making riding difficult with a risk of being blown over. He finished by saying ‘Off you go now and have a nice day’s ride’.

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ith all these thoughts in mind, I departed from Alveston School to start the 2014 South Gloucester 100. Crossing the A38 I joined the leading pack along familiar lanes through Tytherington and Wickwar to ride across Inglestone Common to the first Info control. Phone number in the telephone box was required and with about ten figures including the code this was taking quite a time with each one of us going into the box to get the information. Joined at this point by my friend Miles, who had come over from Oxford for the ride, so I’ve got some company to help with the route and the hills, although since I usually ride in Devon and that’s one of the hilliest counties, today’s ride shouldn’t be too much of a problem on that score. Up the first hill of the ride to go through Hillesley then into the Kilcott valley with it’s picturesque streams and ponds beside the lane to take your mind off what’s ahead, a very steep climb to get up to the A46 and head for the control at the Ferns café in Tetbury. As only 35k into the ride at this

point and Miles had gone on, I settled for a quick cuppa and get on my way again to cover the next 25k to the control at Daneway. Rain showers began to join me and the wind that was talked about was increasing in strength, but as it was on my back at the moment, no complaints, but after Daneway I'm going to be riding into it for the last 45k to the finish. Flat lanes through to Oaksley info control and the villages of Poole Keynes and Coates brought back memories of events up here in the past and the hill down to the Daneway Inn control reminded me that I've got to ride back up the hill afterwards. Reaching the top of the hill you felt the full force of the wind making progress along the lanes difficult as you tried to find some shelter beside hedges. One stretch of road over an open field to Hazelcote Farm was very difficult in the wind, I now feel it would of been quicker to have walk across. Down into the ‘valley where time stood still’ as the organiser had described it, at least it didn't blow down there but when you came out of the valley the wind was back with you. Particularly difficult getting along the A4058 just before Wotton-UnderEdge, but after descending down the long hill things improved with just the odd gust as you rode past gateways down into Charfield and Cromhall, the wind now being on your side. Retracing the route through Tytherington and over the A38 without any problems to arrive at the finish at the Cross Hands pub in Alveston. A nice day’s ride, I think it's the third time I've ridden it and will try and be back next year and hopefully on a day without gale force winds. N

Audaxery Allen O'Leary

1: Getting to the line The week before is filled with moments of doubt. Bike doubt. Food doubt. Doubt of basic sanity.

H

e rode 110km last weekend but is not sure if that’s enough. That extra 90km, is that an uncrossable gulf? A Sahara of pain? Or is it just another four or five hours of grind? Most of the time he’s part of the ever deepening tide of commuters sloshing in and out of town. Beyond that he started doing weekend rides last year, a couple of hours by himself in the Essex lanes, blowing out the cobwebs. Calculating … five hours is … another 216,000 pedal revolutions. Give or take. How can that be good for your knees? Actually it’s quite thrilling working out silly numbers. How many calories is 12 hours' riding at a ‘relaxed’ pace? About 3,600. So how many do you actually need to eat and when? How do you keep the dreaded bonk away? He works it out in peanut butter sandwiches. 250 cal per hit. That’s 16 peanut butter sandwiches, beyond even his ability to put them away. He looks online and updates his knowledge of nutrition and hydration and after about four hours of reading figures out that he probably needs a couple of bottles worth of energy mix and maybe half a dozen energy bars for the first few hours. The rest he can hopefully pick up on the way in convenience stores. He has no idea what ‘food at controls’ means. Banquet or buns? Eat your own food at the control? Which brings him to luggage. On YACF they say don’t put anything on your back and that makes sense but he’s used to carrying water on his back for six hour MTB epics so how hard can it be? Does he need to spend an inordinate amount of money on a Carradice canvas saddlebag? What if he discovers that he hates this style of riding, can he sell the thing on? Can he get away with strapping a dry bag onto the back of his saddle instead? This one he tries out, wasting an hour with bungees and drybags seeing if he can get anything to hang off the back of his saddle without a) 24

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banging his bum, b) banging the back wheel, c) destroying the half dozen sandwiches he is convinced that he will need to carry with him. Rattling around in the attic he finds an old carrier and puts that on his bike. Man it’s ugly. But then all the photos he’s seen of Audax riders and their bikes are full of ugly bikes and kit. Where is the finessed, aesthetic urge of the racer? Gone the same way as his youth, rapidly backwards. And he has to confess the extra pounds (no, kilos) he’s gained the 20 years since he was a racer have compromised that racer look already. Give into gravity? Fight it? Compromise? Compromise. The rack stays on. Bungee cord and dry bag will do for this first ride. Now, what to put in it? Tools, tubes, spare gloves. Spare sandwich. Spare everything. Does he need a bigger bag? No, that looks ridiculous as it is. Next, the bike. He is prone to obsessing about the bike, so he’s doing his best to just make sure everything is working OK on his trusty commuter and leave it at that. Apparently alloy frames are not ideal, but this one is a good one, he was comfy on it last weekend and it has mudguards put on for the wet London spring. Don’t obsess about the bike. He settles for cleaning it. The only thing that really worries him is the saddle. He puts a small pot of chamois cream in the now bursting dry bag. It’s not very long is it, 200km? Well it’s not as long as 300 or 400, that’s a fact. Stick with the facts, don’t obsess. He rode 110km last weekend but is not sure if that’s enough. That extra 90km, is that an uncrossable gulf? A Sahara of pain? Or is it just another four or five hours of grind? At six in the morning a few extra energy bars make their way into the now unfeasibly full dry bag. He makes a massive breakfast as quietly as he can so not to wake the family. A final nervous pee then everything into the car for the 40-minute drive to the start. The roads are empty – who else would be this crazy at this time on a Sunday morning? Vicars maybe, but then they are sipping tea and eating biscuits, job done, by midday. He has a funny feeling that at midday his job will just be beginning … N www.audax.uk.net


fleche to york

York Arrow Luke Joy-Smith (aka Lordy on YACF) 2014 was to be Audaxclubbristol’s second arrow team and my first as team captain. Old lags Mike Lane (BikeyMikey) and Paul Rainbow (Cyclofabrica) were ever present and joining the team for their first arrow was Reg Tredget (RegT) and Irmgard Tischner (Gaddi), who was also riding her first 400km, chapeau.

O

ur route was a relatively flat 435km via Worcester, Alcester, Atherstone, Loughborough, Newark, Selby with our 22hr control

in Knaresborough. It was the same route we rode in 2013, but we hoped would be warmer! We left Filton at 9am with Rob Baird (Bairdy), taking on the role as official club photographer and ensuring none of us bolted it. A straight first 70km up the A38, we stopped at the Royal Hop Pole, Tewkesbury for brekkie and met The Blacksheeps, who had just commenced their own epic ride and had already ridden 0.9 miles that morning before considering a return home! Much of the early part of the route will be familiar to those who ride the Heart of England and we had to seize on the

'… a drunk pub leaver shouted at us "What are you doing out on your bikes you stupid ***** ". '

photo opportunity when riding through the village of Arrow. Everything was going to plan until we reached Markfield, at which point a mixture of gradual climbing and overheating meant that we needed an unplanned break at a garage (with sitdown café inside), to simply take stock. This was to prove to be the team’s only dip. Regardless, we never thought that we'd reach Loughborough in daylight and achieving that we knew we were comfortably up on our time. The section towards Newark along the A46 released Paul's inner time-trialling skills, but there were noticeable pockets of zero degree temperatures. Our Costa café in Newark was reached just in time before it closed and leaving at 11.00pm we were set up for the night and our long night drag through Retford and Thorne to Selby. Along this part of the route in 2013 at 3am when riding through snow in sub-zero temperatures, a drunk pub leaver shouted at us ‘what are you doing out on your bikes you stupid *****’ – it was a comment we could disagree with. Fortunately, this year it was a quieter route and we rapidly overtook a disintegrating VC167 team en-route. Selby was to be our second of three McDonald stops during the arrow, and sadly the manager remembered us from last year – what does this say about us? Leaving Selby ready for sunrise, we rode through Tadcaster and Wetherby on to Knaresborough well in time for 22hrs. From here on it was a straight rode to York and our arrivée at the Punchbowl. Fortunately, we made good time before the beer garden turned into a bikefest. In summary, we had no mechanicals and perhaps next year could aim to ride >450km. We also hope next year to have two teams from ACBristol, one of which will be fixed only. Anyway, that's next year and lots can happen before then.

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A Wee Break Doon Sooth Mark Hagger

Raid complete at Hendaye

Decision time

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have been doing audax rides when available nearby for more years than I can count, but usually only 200k or sometimes 300k. I was also rapidly approaching three score and ten, an age at which I assumed that life would go downhill so fast that I could not envisage a second shottie. So in October 2012, Dave and I decided to go on a test ride to see if we were up to riding LEL. Our test was a favourite route that I had cycled before, from Aberdeen to Ardnamurchan Point and back, ie, a

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coast to coast ride, but in four c.200km day stages. At Ballater, Dave cricked his back whilst fixing a new gear cable, after which he struggled on, honking up the hill, resulting in his rear wheel spokes collapsing. So both bike and body failed the test on the first day. I rode on solo, and completed the four day 800km ride. But I felt so exhausted that I concluded that 1400km non stop was not feasible. Come Christmas, I took a bundle of old audax magazines to read on the train and read half a dozen accounts of the last LEL, ridden by 250 cyclists, and cycled in the most appalling weather. It was so

‘So both bike and body failed the test on the first day.’

exciting that I decided to go for it. On 5th January I was on the internet at 2am to pay my £219 , and the die was cast.

Prep: training

The only strategy was to do miles and more miles. I joined the Deeside Thistle Wednesday ride whenever possible. Bill's group usually rode up to Ballater for coffee and back, 80k and a fine sociable lot, though in the winter it was often enough just me and one other. For Helen and Dick, it was a nice easy friendly ride; for me it was a fast ride that pushed my pace, often to my limit. Moreover I www.audax.uk.net


HEADING randonnees IN HERE

Training en France

So in May after some late preparation I set off on the train for France. An illjudged decision to use some bargain Lidl panniers, which survived only 25km to Stonehaven and a train ride, meant a rapid search for replacements whilst overnighting with my daughter Mhairi in London. Then off to Paris next day, where it was raining lightly as I paused for a photocall at Notre Dame and headed for a pre-booked hotel on the southern outskirts. Next day I set off early, via the Moulin Café, whence the first Tour de France started 100 years ago. My initial target was a [UAF] perm audax to the Tourmalet classic Pyrenean mountain pass. The 900km route was a delight, following minor roads through quiet changing countryside. The weather was equally varied with rather too much wet for my liking: I always think of France in terms of summer heat, and this was not. But the usual mix of castles, markets in quiet rural squares, lakes and rivers ensued. After one rather expensive hotel on a wet evening, I camped at excellent campsites, and bought food in supermarkets or ate in restaurants or

from pizza vans. On the seventh day, I arrived in Bagneres de Bigorre at the foot of the Tourmalet and awaited a break in the showers next morning for the final climb to the pass. Half way up the 2,115m climb, some light rain started, and at 1400m the rain turned to snow. When I reached the ski resort of La Mongie, the snow was quite heavy, and the road closed, because the deep snow had not yet been cleared from the road to the summit 3km further on. So time for a coffee, to stamp the card, and to descend below the snowline. Mission one achieved. Next was to ride to the Med to join a group to cycle the Raid Pyrénéen. Valley roads now, but not so easy: the second day I spent in the company of a Dutch long-distance cyclist at a campsite, which we were advised not to leave for 24 hours due to red alert for storm. It rained heavily for 24 hours, so we were happy to enjoy the facilities, including some cabins provided gratis, washing machine and restaurant. On to the Med next day over still damp roads and flooded rivers, with rather less time before my next rendezvous. However, the weather picked up, and I was at Cerbère with a day to spare to recuperate, wash clothes and prepare bike for its next ordeal. I joined a small group of eight cyclists, organised and supported by Marmotte. The goal was to complete the Pyrenean Raid in four days, rather than the usual five. The other six were on fancy bikes weighing about the same as my toolkit, all younger and no doubt fitter. So I rapidly formed the rearguard with Bryan (‘the old man and the Irishman’ – well Bryan was an Edinburgher, and myself...). A little slower up the hills, and a little longer in the cafés, but we wound our way to the finish on the Atlantic at Cerbère in the only serious rain storm of the four days. Another medal and certificate! And still no mechanicals! 720km, 18 cols, 11,000m of climb in 84 hours. So off at a more leisurely pace to join Susie in Avignon and Aix for ten days of R&R in what at last became hot weather. My route took me via Albi where I spent a rewarding afternoon in the Episcopal Palace, now an art gallery with a fine collection not only of ToulouseLautrecs, but also many Impressionists and Picassos. Then I cycled through the Cevennes, my favourite hills in France, and via the Pont du Gard aqueduct to Avignon, where I met Susie. Well, accessing Avignon by bike was not so easy, but that is another story. Back home at end June, I pedalled a few more miles including a long weekend trip to Inverness with a small CTC group. On one return from my Cairn a Mounth circuit, the right gear shifter came off in my hand. A hasty internet search discerned this was a manufacturing fault,

‘The other six were on fancy bikes weighing about the same as my toolkit, all younger and no doubt fitter.’

and a replacement arrived after a bit of shuffling. I prepped the bike once again, and at the end of July I was off on the train again to London to register for LEL. Actually the journey was not so simple. I drove to Susie’s near Arbroath to be near the station the following morning. During the night, I realised that I had left my cycling specs at home. So up at six to drive an hour back home again to get them. Anyway soon on the train for a long day down to the smoke. Then to find Loughton, not too difficult, particularly given the number of cyclists around the start; and then to find the Travelodge, half an hour away; Garmin sent me up the slip road to the M25 at one point, and I had forgotten my route also included a footpath and a level crossing – must print off a map of these difficult locations!

LEL at last

I had chosen a 7.30 start from Loughton, so was up and out of the Travelodge at 6.30 after a large instant porridge. The cycle path had glass that I had seen the previous night, so walked round it. Arrived at Loughton, and after a coffee, found that I had only 10 minutes to go. I asked advice of maintenance helper re front wheel noise, and he suggested adjusting the clip-on mudguards! So went to the start pen and then we were off. Held a good pace, and groups kept shuffling around as we went through Essex rural suburban villages and low rolling landscape. Chatted to a variety of folk from different places, and eventually

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acquired valuable experience in group riding skills, following a wheel with a 5cm gap between without any wobble, and I made sure that I shared the front too. I tried to ride my hilly circuit once a week as well, though in reality it turned out to be more like once a month. I found pretexts for doing extra miles – I cycled three times to Mossat to ascertain about angora kilt socks, to order specials in red, and finally to collect them, each visit involving a hilly circuit of 150 km. At Easter I hatched a plan to ride down the provisional LEL route from Edinburgh in three 200km day rides, to reach Peterborough; with a two day return from York; and a visit to my mother in between. So following an art gallery visit and talk the previous day with Susie, Dave and I were waved off from the Dreghorn Travelodge in a snowstorm one Easter morning. We had a lovely ride over the hills south of Edinburgh all white with snow, and on rural roads there was sometimes no black in view at all. We arrived at Alston rather late, having stopped for food in a pub before, and slept well, before heading over Yad Moss the next morning, struggling later over the short sharp Howardian hills at the end of the day, and having trouble sorting our pre-booked hotel under the Humber Bridge. The third day was easier with flatter ground through the fens, and we reached suburban Peterborough in time to find the only food within reach was chez McDonalds! Dave was back to Stonehaven the next day by train, whilst I went on to Birmingham by train and cycled from there to Shrewsbury to visit my mother.

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randonnees Left: Mark and Dave, Edinburgh, Easter

‘So after the dreamy villages and lumpy hills of Essex, we went on into flatter fenland.’

Left: Setting off in the rain from Reveil Matin café in Paris reached the first control at St Ives [99km]. We established the control rhythm of card stamp, queue for food & drink – four cups of juice and a coffee, two plates of pasta or baked potato – eat and chat, loo, fill water bottles and off again, repeated at intervals of about 80-100km. The plan said 30-minute stops, but I am sure that it was usually nearer 45 or 50 minutes. 28

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Who were these mad cyclists then? The statistics show that there were 998 riders who actually started, coming from 33 different countries, with 43 per cent from the UK. Mainly men, only six per cent of starters were women. They were of all ages, and travelled at speeds ranging from 21.7kph to 12 kph. Eighty per cent of starters finished within the

permitted time. They used all sorts of bikes: apart from the ICF approved triangulated frames of conventional bikes, there were tandems, trikes, Moultons, velomobiles, recumbents, Elliptigos [walking bikes], old bikes. Nobody tried to ride an ordinary [penny farthing] but all other types were there. Some carried panniers, others just a wee tool bag. A minority of riders were supported, though vehicles were not allowed at the controls. Many were individual riders, though there were some groups or teams, and many friends. So after the dreamy villages and lumpy hills of Essex, we went on into flatter fenland, alongside dykes with swans, all very photogenic. Weather good with following wind, so good time – which means that sleep time was being banked. By now I was riding with Andreas, Nicky and Pat, representing Germany, England and USA. Until Humber Bridge where Pat had a puncture, so I helped him and the other two went on to Pocklington [333km]. The control was very busy and the sleeping had 300 places, with many other bodies lying around on and under tables, etc, and beds were rationed to three hours apiece: this was the honeypot first rest. I was feeling good, and had a plan to avoid the Howardian Hills, so I went on by myself through the lanes in the dark. Unfortunately my route took a short cut, not adequately researched, to avoid a three-mile loop in the road, and this short cut turned from single track road to untarred lane to two wet tractor ruts. Whilst my dynohub gave good light whilst moving, I dared not stop and lose vision. Happily the route turned back to tar, and I was soon on the run in to Thirsk [398km]. After food and shower, I lay for ages on the mattress (blanket, ear plugs and wake up call supplied) unable to get to sleep, and probably only slept for two hours max. So off next morning to ride through the low hills of north Yorkshire, and into the Pennines. I was riding with Pat again, and we enjoyed the hillier country, passing through the control at Barnard Castle [464km]. Over Yad Moss, a good climb with a fine fast descent on the other side, and a stop in Alston in the sunshine for excellent local ice cream from a van by the market cross on the steep cobbled descent. After Brampton [546km] and some flat miles across towards Carlisle, we turned north and cycled on the main road parallel to the adjacent M74 motorway. Quiet from traffic, but with a coarse surface, groups of a dozen riders formed to force speed on a scenically undramatic stretch. Somewhere along here a rider pointed out that my front light was hanging off! Broken lamp bracket – my first mechanical, and quite a worrying one too, since it was vital to have a good www.audax.uk.net


HEADING randonnees IN HERE night riding capability. However since I could ride in a group along this stretch, and would reach Moffat for rest soon, it seemed less urgent at the present, and a zip-tie repair was an adequate temporary measure. On arrival at Moffat [620km], I sought help for the light, and was soon offered a back up lamp by volunteer Philip. I then went in search of food, and found to my surprise that I was being served by Heather from my local CTC group. Then I requested a special quiet corner for sleep, since I was beginning to feel the lack thereof, and slept for almost five hours. Refreshed, I found a bowl of porridge and also the Irish/American Pat with whom I had been riding off an on through the past days. We set off up the hill from Moffat to the Devil’s Beef Tub, with the cloud clearing to reveal a magnificent view at the summit. I waited there for Pat to catch up, since his legs were not working well that morning, and we rode on along the road to Edinburgh, with fine views over the sparsely populated Tweedsmuir hills, passing Drumelzier – the name of a fine Scottish Country Dance – but few other habitations. By midday we were nearing Edinburgh, following a seemingly circuitous route around Bonnybrigg to eventually come out on the edge of the hills looking down on the capital. Soon we descended in full sunshine to Gracemount School [701km] for lunch, and a repair to my broken lamp bracket with bent wire and some zip-ties – thanks. Back up the hill and over the Moorfoots, seeming more benign in sunshine and without the Easter white blanket. Though a short shower revealed that I had allowed my waterproof to slip away at Edinburgh. Down through Innerleithen, familiar because I had accompanied my son for downhill racing years before. Onto what was voted by an international audience the best section of the whole route, between Ettrrick and Eskdalemuir [793km]: bonnie hills, good road surface, gentle climbs and fine weather. Around here I had cycled with skilled young tandemists, Cathy and Ashley, and recall descending at high speed on their tail down several long descents, with good views of the road, a wary eye out for errant sheep and 100 per cent concentration. Only to find that some of the French cyclists with whom I had been chatting on the way up were also on my wheel. After Eskdalemuir, I bid farewell to Pat, who was now feeling strong enough to slip through controls in order to ride over Yad Moss to Barnard Castle that day, whereas I preferred to take a break at Brampton. A first serious dose of rain on the flat roads between Longtown and Brampton, and I found myself in a trio pulling a bunch of about 15 riders along on roads that were a continuous puddle,

as darkness fell. I heard the touch of wheels at one point and reflected briefly that a crash would bring the whole bunch down. Anyway we pulled out all the stops and rode into the Brampton control [931km] safely, and the three of us celebrated with a handshake – a LatinAmerican, an Anglo-Scot and a Dutch rider, ranging from 30 to 70 years in age. After some sleep, it was off again toward the most imposing hill of the route, Yad Moss [598m], which was soon overcome. In Teesdale I acquired a bin-bag, the classic solution to raingear, from a helpful newsagent. After Barnard Castle, I set off down the main A66, and soon found myself towing a small group of CTC cyclists along the sacrificial lane, and after West Layton worked with a group of young triathletes from around Aldershot who were better matched. It must have been somewhere around here that I met up with a group of Yorkshire lads, two of whom were also Mark, and I recall coming out of Pocklington with them and just managing to hold their pace. They were familiar with the roads and were determined on a more direct route south of the Humber bridge. Just before crossing the Humber, I sorted my bin-bag, which worked well under a gilet, and kept me warm as well as dry in the now persistent rain. After a wee pause to agree route somewhere in the middle of nowhere, we pulled along together on minor roads in the dark, and I found my stamina was holding up well and eventually reached Market Rasen [1150km]. Wet clothes were lined out on chairs, so I added mine and found some rest. No porridge for breakfast, just some tasteless and dusty muesli, but a drier morning on the road, and I found two friends from several days prior, Andreas and Nicky. The former was concerned by a Di2 electronic gearchange which had failed in the rain, and he was now riding single speed. So we worked together and headed into fenland, where we discovered a howling headwind to keep us company. At one point Andreas got lost, having stopped to take photos of a picturesque castle and missed a turn. We waited for him, and since his Garmin had also failed, he stayed closely together thereafter, and we tried to work a tight echelon to save energy into the wind. By St Ives [1296km] we knew we had LEL in the bag, and the scene at the penultimate control at Great Easton [1373km] was one of celebration: even a lack of concern for the remaining 41km to go. For us it was soon getting dark, the hills were lumpy, and navigation was difficult with gps not working properly. So we worked with others who were moving at a slightly steadier pace, and eventually arrived at the Loughton finish at 23.35, having completed the 1,419km audax in about 4½ days: an

Top: Depart from Notre Dame, Paris Below: Tourmalet at second attempt

‘… and since his Garmin had also failed…’

overall average speed of 12.6 kph. To a roadie that is incredibly slow, but then roadies do not ride 1,400km in one go. So celebrations with various people that we had met on the road, food, tea. Then after surveying the showers, loos and sleeping options at Loughton, I set off on a curious ride across north London, looking for the Travelodge that I had already paid for near Enfield, a bizarre journey through empty streets with only a guesstimate of direction, and the usual problem of trying to find the hotel, and then of persuading the night clerk to let me in at 3am for a few hours’ sleep. Riding to King’s Cross station in the morning I felt on quite a high, and chatted to other envious cyclists on the road about the experience. Then the long train journey back to Scotland. And then the question arose of what

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randonnees next? My plans all led up to LEL. I felt at a bit of a loss. Maybe if a 69-year-old can do LEL, a 71-year-old can do PBP? Well in the interim, a RRTY to keep the legs going round in circles, and we will see how the wind blows later. There followed a flurry of emails from people I had met, exchange of photos, a great sense of achievement, and a pile of medals that I did not know what to do with. But above all memories of a fantastic and serendipity experience.

Andreas, Nicky and Mark, LEL 2013

Afterword, after-ride

In July 2014 I returned along the LEL route following a visit to Yorkshire for the Tour de France. I made my way to Barnard Castle over some of the Tour route and then through Langthwaite, carrying lightweight camping gear and without support cars, and then headed along familiar roads to Middleton in Teesdale, where I found a fine campsite and had a beer and some food in the village, and thanked the newsagent who had given me a lifesaving bin bag on LEL to replace my lost waterproof. Next day I visited High Force, before crossing Yad Moss in light rain – a new perspective. I had seen it in both snow and sun the previous year – noting a new road surface on the southern side. Coffee and scone in Alston in the steep cobbled square. Then that easy ride to Brampton, and the flat, fast stretch to Longtown recalling the fast run leading a bunch in the rain on the southward LEL. Busy lorries for a mile and then I headed up the ‘down’ route via Langholm, in order to avoid that long stretch to Moffat alongside the A74. I camped at the Samye Ling monastery, a not entirely positive experience, with the ‘camping field’ knee high in dockins and nettles and in consequence also midges. Then a fast run in sunshine to Edinburgh over the delightful Ettrick and Moorfoot hills, with only a brief pause at Innerleithen for coffee and straight into the fair city on a quiet A7, all downhill it seemed. A sentimental journey, at a more relaxed pace and full of pleasure. And a big thank you to all who made LEL such fun – organisers and volunteers and riders. See you on the road.

‘… and thanked the newsagent who had given me a lifesaving bin bag on LEL to replace my lost waterproof.’

LEL 2013

The bike

Photo: Tim Wainwright

Spa Audax Ti Ultegra rear hub and Son Delux dynohub, 25mm Gatorskins. Sram Rival 10sp drive train, 48/34 x 11-32 with Campag chain. Brooks Swift Ti saddle. Carradice Audax bag. Clip-on mudguards. Toolkit. Garmin 800 driven via concealed rectifier from dynohub. No pxxxxres, no mechanical problems, apart from Garmin going bonkers on day four. N Mark, LEL 2013, near Innerleithen 30

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HEADING randonnee IN HERE

Glastonbury 100 miler Steven Medlock

A

fter weeks of winter storms and torrential rain it seemed very unlikely that this event would go ahead as it crosses the Somerset levels several times and seeing the state that they were in daily on the news it didn’t seem possible for the event to run on its usual route. Thankfully rather than cancel the event, organiser Ian Hennessey hastily rewrote the route sheet to avoid the worst of the flooding. When the day came for the event it was the best day of the year to date, clear blue skies and not a breath of wind. The only downside was that the temperature in Honiton at 8:30am was –2°C. Never the less 51 riders set off, initially climbing into the Blackdown Hills along the A30/A303 for 12k to get nicely warmed up. Once off the main road it became very evident that the side roads hadn’t been gritted. The riders were soon having to walk up and down the steep lanes as all the rainfall run-off had turned the lanes to ice. Once through this section and back onto bigger roads thawed out by the

sunshine we pressed on to the first control in North Curry where volunteers running the community café always put on a good spread for the riders. Leaving the control we took the first of the diversions along a ridge to Langport. Crossing the River Parret as we entered the town it was clear that recent flooding had taken place as all the businesses and houses in the main street had sandbagged doors. We pushed onto High Ham and passed through the village and descended down onto the flooded levels, the water here was only inches away from flooding right across the road, in fact in one dip in the road it had. As you rode along with water on both sides of you stretching into the distance, despite the misery it had caused some of the local residents you couldn’t but notice the beauty of all the reflected blue sky and surrounding hills in the mirror-like flood waters. Once this section of flood waters was crossed we carried on to Wedmore and Cheddar for an info control. From this point it was get yourself to Glastonbury; most retraced their route to Wedmore and turned left for Glastonbury

for a well earned café stop for lunch. Fed and watered, we set off south on the A39 avoiding another section of the flooded levels before climbing back up to High Ham. Back on the original route, we followed the outward route back towards Langport. Crossing the busy A303 we started the climb back up into the Blackdown Hills and pushed on to the finish at Honiton. Yet another great ride, impressive to see the flood waters and well done to Ian Hennessey to make sure the event went ahead. I’ll be looking forward to getting back on the original route next year as there won’t be quite as much climbing. N

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‘The riders were soon having to walk up and down the steep lanes as all the rainfall run-off had turned the lanes to ice.’

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Eureka Audax/C&NW CTC rides Stableyard control, Bangor-on-Dee

All photos by the author

Leaving Eureka café at start of 200

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his is the second year of running these rides. A number of changes were made based on the experience of the first rides in 2013 – not least routing everyone over Saltney Bridge (closed in April 2013) rather than through the centre of Chester. The weather forecast at the start of the week was very poor but gradually improved day by day. So on Saturday we were blessed with good, dry weather and a stiff east wind which blew the 200k riders home from the last control at High Legh.

Eureka Excursion 215k

This ride was 230k long in 2013 to accommodate the 'Powers That Be' at Audax Towers to ensure that the route covered a straight line minimum of 200km between controls. However, changes were allowed after reviewing the first event which resulted in a superior route, travelling to High Legh rather than Wilmslow and the Manchester conurbation at the northern end. This ride is to be run to the strict BRM (Brevet de Randonneur Mondiax) rules in 2015 which allows a maximum time limit of 13h 20min and enables the route to be

Two Mills Tour 113k

We had a bumper entry of 53 riders for this event so were forced to make three riders 'reserves' as we had a 50-rider entry limit. This limit is due to our restricted car parking availability and concerns as to the numbers we could process through Eureka Café in 30 minutes. (We hope to improve on this in 2015.) There was a last minute problem arranging the Bangor-on-Dee control at the post office so we are very grateful to Kathy at the Stableyard Hotel for laying on tea, biscuits and a control at very short notice. Fifty-one riders started this event of which 17 were registered as C&NW CTC. 53 finished as this number includes two riders who opted over from the 215k ride. There was a congestion problem for Tour and the 215k riders at Tillys Café in Bunbury as the early 215k riders merged

with the 113k riders. The overcrowding was compounded by the fact that a staff member of Tillys let them down at the last moment. To avoid this problem and also the difficulty of arranging a control at Bangor on Dee, the Tour is no more and is to become the 135km 'Tea in Prospect' for next year. The new ride visits the Prospect Tea Rooms above the Panorama and then returns via Ruabon to Bunbury. This routing ensures virtually no overlap of this and the 215km rides.

Two Mills Twirl 68k

Twelve riders entered of which eight were registered as C&NW CTC. All 12 finished in good time. Thanks are due to John Ferguson for his assistance with the car parking and Andy Whitgreave for handing out the brevet cards. Special thanks are due to Anne and Holly Peek and the staff at the Eureka Café for putting in a shift from 07:00 to 21:00 to serve food, drink and cheerfulness to all our riders from start to finish. Event is on again for Saturday April 25 2015. Look forward to seeing you there. N

David Matthews

Miles Barrington-Ward and Derek Gibbings in the Kilcott Valley

Photos: Geoff Sharpe

South Gloucester 100 first control

used as 200k qualification for the 1200km PBP in August (300k, 400k and 600k also needed!). Thirty riders started this event of which six were registered as C&NW CTC. 28 riders finished the full distance; two riders opted for the 100k ride at Bunbury. All finished well within the time limit.

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isle of man diy

Caroline Helks

I

was introduced into cycling at a late age … 46 to be exact, I’m now 53, and it came out of love … not for the bike but for a new man in my life. What has this to do with Audax you may well ask? But this is my story of how I became interested in more than just MTB and road cycling (with the regulation café stops en route) After a few years of being in the minority of women riding their bikes, I began to advertise for like-minded ladies who wanted to be part of the cycling world but not necessarily riding with the men, and it was from this advert a few years later I was to meet a very dear friend called Mary-Jane Watson … or Manx Cat Albert to you. I was intrigued by her passion for long rides with her panniers and bags, as she rode everywhere on our island, climbing our various hills, without a second thought. It was whilst thinking about my retirement from nursing next year, about what I could do to pass the day with, that I began to look ahead for something to do (other than housework, cooking cleaning) which can be done at any time, that I was drawn to seek out Mary-Jane and ask the big question … how do you plan for an audax? For some time now, each Sunday has been spent road riding with a small group of friends, but with no real plan, other than which café or how many coffee stops would we have. That made me decide and consider the route options, which must include up (and we have plenty of up) that my first lesson in audax planning began. This was not easy, as I haven’t read a map properly since I left school and when I have read one it was the wrong way round, but under the guidance and expert supervision of Manx Cat, my first audax, which was a 50k was born. I can still recall the laughter after leaving her house after planning this ride, which was affectionately called An Udderly Hilly 50k, my nickname being Madmanxcow, as she reviewed my route and the hills that I had planned for us. I did plan an Udder one too (get it?). This was 50k. So this was how I came to then move on the 100k (Cat Cow and Gina) which is my longest audax/road ride to date. It was agreed that we would meet in Laxey. Manx Cat lives a few miles away from me and gets extra height points for her 'climb' to get to me! So onwards

and upwards towards Ramsey, diverting through a beautiful village called Maughold. It was here we had arranged to meet another fellow cyclist, Gina, whom we are trying to encourage into the realms of audax too. As we rode and chatted, we soon realised that there was a planned 100k Sportive on the same day, and there was every possibility we would get caught up with this … and we did. Much to my embarrassment, I was to be overtaken, whilst casually riding up Bride hill, with the shout of 'up up up' by my husband (Karma would be had later on) and it was.

Above: Manx Cat bike and bags … nothing left to chance

Left: Wood carving in Sulby Valley

Next we had a planned coffee and powdering-of-the-nose stop at Ballaugh. At this point we were about half way into our ride. There is a lovely valley called Sulby on this ride which leads to a favourite hill of Manx Cat’s called Tholty Will, and no audax ride would be complete without these hills, would it? It was along this valley that a photo shoot was required and as Manx Cat is usually a solo rider, it was especially important to get her and Gina both in the picture. Onwards and upwards to the top, which is a steady climb, taking us up to the highest point on our island. It was here we met a very enthusiastic young man, all clad in his fashionable lycra, on a road bike looking for a road to ride up our one and only mountain called Snaefell, which you can only do by electric tram!

All photos by the author

My first 100k

A brief moment on the TT circuit (for those of you who don’t know, there is a motorcycle race that takes part on ordinary roads on the Isle of Man) which are closed for racing. The next stop we would have was St Johns (Tynwald Hill at St John’s is the traditional ancient meeting place of the Manx parliamentary assembly, dating back at least to the late first millennium AD) for lunch and well-earned it was too. Off we go after being fed and watered, to complete the last of our ride, which could only mean one thing … more hills. This part of the ride was beginning to get me excited, as I was feeling very good and strong in my legs, which I had been worried about as I am not as used to this long distance riding, and I wasn’t far from the home stretch now. Manx Cat has a route to end her ride on which she loves, which means it ends with a downhill to home for her, so Gina and I agreed we would follow her for part of this, which involved a steady climb, as the legs were still feeling good. We bid Manx Cat farewell at her turn off downhill, and continued on the road to Lonan, which leads back to where I began. Back to my home town of Laxey, which is famous for its water wheel – the Great Laxey Wheel is the largest surviving working wheel of its kind in the world. Designed by the Victorian engineer Robert Casement, the wheel was built in 1854 to pump water from Glen Mooar, part of the Great Laxey Mines industrial complex) and where I bid farewell to Gina, as I climbed the last climb up the hill to home. Now do you remember the Karma I mentioned earlier? Well my husband was sat at home, feeling rather tired and with weary legs, where I on the other hand was feeling … fantastic!! Was I pleased or what? N

Right: Manx Cat and Gina

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snOw roads 300 Mike Milne

Unnamed

Unnamed

Riders shortly after the start

Mary Morgan

Alf Chamings

Martin Lawson


photos by martin berry Phil Tomlinson

Russell Carson

Ian Gilbert

Kate Russell

Phil Jurczyk and George Berwick (combined age 140 years)

Gavin Yates, Kate Russell, Ken Thompson

Brian Spoul, Gavin Yates, Ken Thompson

Martin Peggie


commuting

Commuted fitness Kevin Presland

W

ay back in the mid90s my place of work relocated to Exeter, simultaneously we settled in the small town of Bovey Tracey. For those unfamiliar with the geography of the south-west, the consequence was a 16-mile direct route with a 300m ridge of hills in the way! My cycle commuting was sporadic for many years tending to be concentrated in the summer months, but recently has increased to become a significant proportion of my cycling routine, largely driven by the setting of an attainable target of riding at least once a week. Last year I managed 66 commutes, thereby accruing almost 4,000km, which represents just over a third of my annual total. A seasonal story of the ride follows, but mine is no doubt a tame tale of turning of the cranks, and other greater stories to inspire are sure to be out there and waiting to be told. In Devon we are blessed with even more roads than hills, so we can enjoy an enviable choice, albeit involving some uncompromising ups and downs. With opportunity begging I have adopted different outward and return routes. Those chosen are mostly resulting from a gradient thing, with consequent time and distance implications for the avoidance of an increasingly hard climb on the return ride. The outward route is the ‘power’ ride with its five hills, the return being the ‘cadence’ route with a gently descending river valley providing an additional five miles in just 10 additional minutes to the morning ride. As with audaxing, the commuting ride offers spectacular scenery, inevitable sections of mundane pedalling, but without the joys of discovering new scenery, nor riding with like-minded folk. There are, however, dramas that occur and even occasional company that provide memorable experiences. Repetition encourages the observation of the evolution of the seasons through the delightful and varied scenery. Also, perhaps inevitably, it leads to performance checking, even more so than the audax, where achieving target time can become as important at the experience itself.

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Stats

Outward Return Distance 25.7km 33km Altitude gain 508m 460m Target time 1h10 1h20 Record time 1h04 1h11 Record speed 15.3mph 17.7mph

Setting sun from Longdown

Outward route

Perched on a Bovey Tracey hillside that is so well known to riders of The Dartmoor Devil, I start the day with an invariably chilling swoop through the town. Temperature is hard to gauge as it is always warmer at the house than the ensuing three miles, and on occasions by a critical few degrees – more of that to follow. The flat mile out of town, the rise over Chudleigh Heath and on to the crossing of the River Teign is a great three-mile cadence builder, and heading due east provides for some dramatic sunrises at each end of the winter. This prelude comes to an abrupt end, as with a swing to the right the road pitches up to the 1-in-7 graded wall in to Chudleigh – this climb out of the colder lowlands is a chance for the heart to pump warmth to the chilly extremities. After the town the road follows a river valley alongside the shadow of the Haldon ridge, providing another flat section and with the drama of early spring and autumn sun bouncing along the wooded ridge way up on the right. It has been main roads all the way thus far, but I swing in to the lanes just before my road joins the A38 dual carriageway. A little altitude is lost dropping through the wooded hillside to the humpback bridge, a moment to enjoy the sights and smells of autumnal fall before reaching the Forestery Commission plantations. Echoing from above is the roar of commuter traffic on the hillside dual carriageway, meanwhile I savour my quiet lane. I am unlikely to see more than one or two cars as I proceed up this, the big climb of the morning. Repeated conquests has resulted in my breaking it down in to a number of defined sections:

Exeter canal path

All photos by the author

It’s not flat; it’s not close – so why not commute it on the bike?

‘…with a swing to the right the road pitches up to the 1-in7 graded wall in to Chudleigh.’

Below: Profiles for route outwards and return

gradient directly ahead, when the road is damp the rear wheel spins doing nothing to help in forward propulsion; • false summits, two remarkably similar views ahead catch the uninitiated twice in to thinking that they are nearing the top, however this is the section that enables views back across the grandiose Whiteway House, the Hennock Hills and Dartmoor. On dark winter mornings this provides the first clue of the wider weather conditions. In late summer and autumn the pheasants will cackle and flap as I disturb their morning rituals; • final straight, the gradient relents after 1.5km of arduous contour crunching and I emerge to an open glade with wall of rampant rhododendrons to my left that breakout as the earlier bluebells wean. It is here that deerspotting is most likely, and then as the gradient ramps again to the summit, the Equinox sun rises, cutting across the now young trees to warm the soul. It is conjecture as to the location of the summit, for there is a short dip to a

• around the bends past the Whiteway House gates and farm, often gravel, and memory of the dog that would lay across the entrance and watch me pass. Water flows here always require walking when frosty; • the steep and straight section, no views apart from that of the increasing www.audax.uk.net


commuting wonderful left hander and another burst of energy to reach the ridge after some 2.8km of ascent. In my earliest rides to Exeter the forest to the left had been cleared and I was able to enjoy views across to Dartmoor, now it is dense woodland, creating complete enclosure to my road. A check of the computer is ritual at the crossing of this highpoint, then zip up for a fast and furious descent. As well as enjoying the thrill of the descent, I love a fine view. Through the gaps in the trees I grab snatched views of the Exe flowing out of its estuary at Exmouth, and in the winter there are many red morning skies and rising orb to add drama. The 1-in-5 descent of the upper section rapidly raises the speed through the shallow bends, down across a slightly worrying crossroads, then out of the woodland for open views toward the next ridge, and the rather more carefree plummet to the valley floor at Clapham. Carefree that is with the exception of the ducks and carefully disguised jarring pothole in the hamlet. No sooner than across the stream, and the road pitches up for a 1-in-7 rise over the next ridge, relatively short at just 45m of ascent, then a technical section of descent to Shillingford St George, another location that I have enjoyed winter sunrises, just clipping the top of the adjacent ridge from whence the wheels had just rolled. The bottom of the next descent is the frost hollow of the ride, it can be the only icy location of the whole journey, and care is needed as more than once the wheels have slid in heart-stopping manner. Just one more ridge and Exeter is revealed. Autumn mists sometimes providing a grey sea through which spires and chimneys penetrate, then the plummet in to its chill and in to the frantic bustle of the rush-hour traffic. Downhill through a 20 zone, then off right in to the trading estate, over a couple of roundabouts, then the relief of the cycle paths. Memories of a time when water was king, first crossing the canal, then the river and finally the leat, along which I follow. Tip: Every morning I see the same old chap with his dog, I always slow, and offer a cheery good morning, although a gruff sort of fellow, he now returns the greeting, well worth the effort. Cycle crossing of arterial route, then a cycle path along a valley park, and finally up the preserved country lane rat run to the traffic of the business estate complete with our hill-top office.

The return route

From the office car park is a gate on to the Exeter network of cycle paths. This first section feels really urban, swooping down under a dual carriageway

alongside and over another dual carriageway, which is followed beside queuing traffic to a roundabout, toucan crossing, then alongside more queuing traffic to next toucan crossing, then against the flow with blinding oncoming car lights on a narrow cycle path over the river, and then with some relief, turning to the tranquillity of the tow path. Consequently, it is level, popular and potentially fast, but can require courage and care in carefully calculated proportions. First there is the blinding oncoming lights of cyclists that for some reason feel the need for their mega lumen main beam, then there are the dog walkers, and slower cyclists to pass on the twists and turns. Given proximity to canal, embankment, trees and fences there are limited escape strategies, hence the importance of computations on maintaining pace against avoiding incident. A short overlap with the outward route through the trading estate, then off to a country lane past riding stables, fields of horses and a fair spattering of potholes. Too good to last, the first T-junction reintroduces traffic, the second demarks the start of the return climb of Haldon, going by the name of Longdown. There is nothing to provide cheer in the lower section, climbing at 1-in-7 gradient, under the A30 dual carriageway bridge, with traffic for company getting increasingly threatening with the narrowing of the road. At the equinox I avoid this route and take an alternative slower, messy lane because the sun sets directly along the line of sight making cyclists seem remarkably vulnerable to the homeward bound commuters. After the double bends the road settles in to a gentle gradient with fine views across the rolling Haldon foothills and of the Perridge Estate, beneath which is the tunnel of the defunct rail route, now held determinedly private – but one option in the reckoning for the new main line to the south-west. With the low summer sun cutting across the grassy slopes it is the perfect straight for stray thoughts before the gradient rears all the way to the village and sight of the ‘pass’. Once reached, fine views at the summit stretch as far as Higher Willays, the highest point on Dartmoor. Looking due west, this is a target to reach before sunset, or if not, to at least to see the fiery remnants. It has been earned, and is a very fine descent to be enjoyed, especially on a hot summer's evening to savour the cooling shaded air on the lengthy gradient, however to get the best out of the bends at the valley floor requires pushing the pedals all the way. The Sowton Water valley floor then bumps up and down, but offers an attainable few miles at +20mph, great under the breaking buds on the spring trees, on

Morning over Whiteway

Daybreak over the Exe

‘The 1-in-5 descent of the upper section rapidly raises the speed through the shallow bends.’

past some very fine country homes, but is terminated sharply by the T-junction with the Teign Valley. Of all the seasons it is spring that this river valley road offers maximum reward – first are the daffodils standing to line on the river banks, and filling a riverside meadow reminiscent of fresh Alpine meadows just after snow melt, then before the daffodil heads dip, to the right the white of the wild garlic, first the aroma, then the enlivening of the usual dark canopied hillsides. Although in a valley, the road does not follow the floor, but instead provides with numerous ups and downs, then toward the end of the road, it is defined by the 1-in-7 lump, like a heavy gate to push open, and at the summit the noise and bustle of the A38 commuters come into view. A quick swoop then I am in the mix, joining the tailend of the commuters' homeward dash. Just three miles left, and retracing the outward route, a little more traffic in an evening, but getting quieter the closer to home that I get, until finally in Bovey for the main street and up the final gradient of the day.

Detours

On occasions, perhaps when the moon is aligned with a fictitious Pole Tor, I awake at unearthly hour, arise, and depart before the civilised world emerges. This provides opportunity for a circuitous route due north to Whiddon Down which I therefore share with white van society. After 12 miles I reach the high point, and with great views head for the rising sun on the high cadence old A30, arriving in Exeter with 32 miles in the bag. This route does not work so well as a home detour due to prolonged climbing into prevailing wind direction, so more likely to follow the Exe side roads and trails toward Dawlish, and then a plethora of options to cross ’Little’ Haldon. Also there are the mad-cap one offs,

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commuting

Some are more memorable than others, but cycling is full of those little events that translate to great story telling, so from the commuting repertoire, here are just a few: Keep your hair on: A typical spring morning, grey, so no distraction of the sunrise on the rapid descent off Haldon. Ahead to the right hand side of the road, a movement in the verge attracted my attention, and bursting from the hedgerow came a pheasant. Despite the desperate flapping it was clear that my head and rising bird were on a collision course despite maximised action of pads on the rims. All this had taken but a second, so in the next instant I took to ducking flat on to the handlebars as the bird bashed in to the top of my helmet. Thankful not to be spitting feathers I sat up into a speed wobble as a result of my violently fast ‘press-up’, meanwhile presumably the bird was experiencing its own in-flight wobble. Alas I did not have the balance to check if it cleared the hedge, or whether it had unwittingly taken to aeronautic somersaults. Padding: with 2013 came a cold January, lest anyone had forgotten. With my weekly cycle commuting target in mind, I was determined not to let a bit of cold impact on the ambition. This meant careful review of road moisture and temperature to select the day to cycle. Typically the colder was generally better in this respect, and I enjoyed some chilly rides, the most extreme being a morning of –7°C. I have never cycled with so many layers on, and apart from that initial cold shock, warmed to a pleasant crossing of Haldon, the bitter descent, however, stretched the skin on my face semingly to its elastic limit. On foot: Most mornings I was pretty successful at judging ice risk before departure, however, on one memorable occasion I got this spectacularly wrong. It was above freezing at home, the frost to the sides of the road at the bottom of Bovey should have provided a warning for me to heed, but since I was on my way I really did not want to abandon, for that is bad karma. On past the icy side roads, hmm, then forgotten through the relative warmth of Chudleigh. The turn on to Haldon raised a rear wheel spin, and directed attentions once more to the wisdom of abandoning – not a chance! Conditions seemed to improve so I persevered, and all was good on 38

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commute, an outward journey shared by the few riders of the legendary ‘Crackpot 1000’ audax that ran at the turn of the century. I am not, however, the only one to do this journey. I am humbled by the efforts of Liz Dyson who has ridden every day from Hennock, thereby having an additional climb to conquer; of Mark Wilson who rides at least three times a week; and George Vosper who joins my route at Chudleigh once a week having ventured from Ivybridge, a total distance of 54km. But what of others, no points are attained, and no cards stamped, however, there are surely tales to share, madcap commuting escapades of impossible distances, and tribulations faced?

Why?

So if the answer posed does not leap out of the printed page, it is the joy of watching the seasons change, the evolving landscape of my commute, it is the fitness gained, and the stolen hours of freedom gained from the captivity of the car. N

Dave 'El Supremo' Hudson and John Scaife, Devil's Punchbowl 100

Photo: Mike Stoaling

Events

the climb with the exception of the normal icy flows. It was on the sharp bend between the summits that I first discovered quite how problematic the frost that morning was going to be as the wheels twitched and I headed for the verge on the wrong side in order to stay upright, and was saved by the gravel lay-by! A Landrover slewed past and spun its wheels up the hill, no way was it cycleable, so I rode up the rough track alongside, and when that ran out took to the grass verge. Alas this only continued a short distance and I was soon on foot. The usual fast descent took an eternity, so slippery it was that I had to walk in the verge to avoid falls. Where trees hung over the road the frost was held at bay and I would return gingerly to the saddle, but most of the journey was a frustrating stroll/slide. In Exeter the grass verges provided riding potential, and I eventually arrived in work over one hour late with possibly a little more wisdom. Strangers in the gloom: It is surprising how many others tackle this same or similar route, and always exchange a few words. One particular dark morning I caught an Exeter-bound woman, and we chatted for a fair while before we realised through all our winter disguise that we actually knew one another. I followed her route to Exeter, but was less impressed by the weight of traffic and hazards on her chosen way, and alas we did not see the reward of the albino deer that she would regularly spot – perhaps our chatter kept it at bay. And then quite recently, another new face, who it turns out has cycled three times a week for seven years from Chudleigh, so sharing 10 miles on the same route as me. Chatting, I discover by some remarkable coincidence that we work in neighbouring offices, and we share cycle storage facilities – how we had not met to date goodness only knows! Ejection saddle: Many mechanicals are recoverable situations, however, on the one occasion that I attempted the ride on fixed wheel, with pedals flailing at 25mph, suddenly all became a bit swishy as my seatpost wobbled and sheared off. Fortunately I was just two miles from home, easy I thought. Wrong. I lashed the jettisoned saddle and bag to the rack, and stood on the pedals for this short distance. Uphill was fine, the descent, however, caused searing muscle pain, and by the time I had completed those two miles the leg muscles were in spasm and even walking hurt. Jam: There is not much resilience on Devon’s roads, so when a main route blocks, everything comes to a standstill. On such days there is such reward in cycling, especially when holdups are so significant that my cycle commute saves time! Remarkably this is an experience that has occurred several times. So that is the story of a Devon

Mille Cymru 1000

Photo: Christian Lewis Photography

for example late last autumn I diverted north to Cullompton to collect the heavy bag of Dartmoor Devil badges, thereby putting in a 60-mile homebound ride. On another occasion on a fine summer's evening, I swung north-west bound to Winkleigh, a snack before the setting sun, and lights on well before home with 75 miles behind me.

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reflections from yesteryear

We were all great in our time Jeremy Hastings (aka Zonc)

R

eflecting on rides and times passed I feel the echoes of a past seem simpler and straightforward. Please note, dear reader, that quite probably you will, like me, be thinking of a bucolic view of riding 30 years ago. In all honesty you are probably correct. That being said I have still eschewed computers on bicycles and Garmins. I am not technically a Luddite although I do prefer lower tech solutions; anyway, back to the story … Way back then entry for events was done without electrical devices. Save for the late night (light bulbs) filling in of a form and sending it off to an organiser. Some, as it was such a small world, would just expect you turn up and have a brevet card awaiting (not technically adhering to the rules but there were much fewer of us and oft-times a wee nod and a shake would determine entry to the next event! There were way fewer of us, more stories shared and disasters managed to be widely shared through Arrivée. Maybe, just maybe, the clouds were even darker back then and there was certainly less motorised traffic! A thousand acts of desecration Hundreds more continue When y’know that you are all creation You’re gonna fight ’em with all that’s in you On my first ‘big’ ride, when I was a young and gullible trikie, a slightly older and

much wiser man rode alongside me as we left the start near Windsor and voiced: ‘Just remember, trikies never pack.’ and with that he headed off. I did not see him again till Prees Heath. ‘You’re doing well lad.’ I have continued to ‘do well’ in my view, and continue to ride trikes for nigh on 30 years since then. Oh and … Jim Hopper is still a hero of mine! Us younger guns got into trouble, did crazy rides and generally had a good time. One year (1987) I did 22,347 miles. I did not have a car and rode to almost all the events. Those that were too far were often train-assisted. There were guards vans and it was British Rail. We had woollen shirts and shorts and some folks used OS maps and others used Bartholomews. I was brought up on OS for hill walking and climbing but used Bartholomews for cycle touring and audax. Alas, all my Bartholomews maps ended up in a box in a friend’s attic … and I went travelling … and he sold his house. The maps remain, I like to think, tucked away in the darkness till this day, yet to be found. Maybe the box will be discovered with scrawls in pencil, of good bivvi spots, drum up spots, five-star bus shelters and youth hostels! I remember time gone by When peace and hope and dreams were high We followed inner visions and touched the sky Now we who still believe, won’t let them die Our dreams were bigger than our hopes back then. AUK was small, very small and we all pretty much knew everybody.

Puncture on Frodsham 400 – Keith Jones, Dave Painter, Mercx Millington et al

Zonc – Windsor-Chester-Windsor 600 86 or 87

All photos by the author

The rebel cry of desolation To which we used to hearken Echoes now in isolation As the skies in fury darken

‘The kit and limitation of clothing and nutrition led us to be inventive.’

There were super hard riders such as Ray Haswell, the Boons, the Crisps, Simon Doughty, Les Lowe, Jim Hopper, Steve Nicholas, Fliss Beard, Barry Parslow and, of course the one and only McNasty! Us mere mortals were encouraged by folks such as DP and Mick Latimer, Pete Gifford and on the sly, a certain Mr Longstaff. Upon the back of these giants, a self-selected band of banshee trikies emerged: Nik Peregrine, Nick Stead, Andy Dade, Bob Merrill, Ian Sheen and myself. We are now older and some alas, taken to the great velodrome in the sky. Our stories still remain. We were young, free and totally irresponsible – nothing much has changed, save for time, which like all things, has aged us all. Waters dammed to overflowing Like tears brimming over in our eyes Sometimes it’s so hard to keep on going When promises turn to lies The events were just as hard back then. The kit and limitation of clothing and nutrition led us to be inventive. We ran on baked beans on toast and Mars bars filling our saddlebags. Jersey pockets would hang below one’s saddle, laden with foil-wrapped cakes, jam pieces and my favourite, peanut butter sandwiches.

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reflections from yesteryear We rode together impassioned by the romance of the road and dragged along by the power of the Crisp or Boon tandems. Controls were often folk’s houses – a memorable one was the final farout Bwlch control on the Brevet Cymru run by Caroline and Mike Roberts. The tea so welcome especially as we then headed towards Usk on a cold and starry night. Then there were the crazy things such as riding across France to Grenoble to do the Brevet Randonnée des Alpes. And then ride back. Because we could, and we did. Returning to work was never quite what one expected – how do you explain hours of riding upon riding to those who thought that riding a bike was for those who could not afford a car. Go ahead, give in to confusion And put aside your ideals too Soon you’ll see only illusion Don’t care who’s hurt, as long as it’s not you Sometimes it seemed to take for ever to reach the dawn and I was glad to be able to rely on real woollen clothing despite the jersey’s aforementioned shapelessness when wet as well as shorts chaffing beyond belief – I was glad to discover ‘Boots pink healing ointment’. It is funny to me now how we have drawerfuls of Lycra which, in my humble opinion, only keeps one warm when chugging along at some rate, however, in the chamois department it is so much more comfortable! Another time I found myself cutting up a ‘space blanket’ and then preceded to tuck it down my ‘Bean Bag’ ribbed tights in order to save some heat. I was very cold and, no, it did not work – just caused an annoying crumpling and crunching sound till dawn when I became compos mentis enough with the rising of the sun to stop and pull it out – there, I am definitely sounding like an old git now. Sometimes a bunch of us will get together and reminisce about real chamois – I remember once a certain PBP where grown men (and some not so grown up) were screaming as they peeled off shorts at return controls mid-Brittany! So much for the good old days! Synthetic chamois/pads are so much better now. Those who were able to partake in such madness and create fables awheel that are manifold. I am proud to have witnessed such raconteuring randonneur hardmen along the route as Tracy Horsman, Mark Brooking and Jon Jennings (another who is no longer with us). I remember time gone by When peace and hope and dreams were high We followed inner visions and touched the sky Now we who still believe, won’t let them die Audax has provided inordinate pleasure,

friends and bucketloads of stories that would make the Brothers Grimm proud. These are best considered on rare gettogethers and passing randonneurs at special occasions often fuelled by good food and a dram or two! We were young and hopeful and dreamed large and attempted crazy things that nowadays folks would call epic adventures and expect to raise huge money as sponsored events. Audax allowed us to do and to ride because for the mere fact they were there. A true spirit of endurance and adventure.

We followed inner visions and touched the sky Now we who still believe, won’t let them die Thank you to the founders of AUK, you have given us the opportunity to be legends in our own lunchtimes and still we have many stories to tell. N Dave Pountney and McNasty

Sometimes a leader emerges And is followed for awhile Doesn’t matter what he encourages As long as he’s got style Organisers are leaders, leading us to having a book of stories and eventually a life full of experiences. Ken Almond, Jean Luxton, Nev Chanin, Mick Latimer, Keith Mathews, Jim Hopper amongst others who inspired me with their calm ‘get on’ with it style of doing things. One person in particular stands out though – DP Dave Pountney, who gave a huge amount of time and inspiration to younger riders including me, as well as a load of others, to love the journey and get the miles in purely for the sake and pleasure of turning the pedals.

Fliss and Dave Beard

Young ones conceived in a passion Of directions we thought enlightened Grown-up, they follow the mood in fashion But beneath their bravado, you know they’re frightened We would often chew off more than we could swallow. The list of events, although generous, were fairly spread throughout the season and required some considerable travelling – either on one’s machine or aided by British Rail, no need for booking back then. Ofttimes, organisers challenged us beyond belief: rain, snow, wind and exhaustion on the route (Elenith, Exmoor Grimpeur, Dorset Coast and Hard Boiled, Fords Populaire, PBP, BRA, Dieppe Raid, St Lo, Randonnée des Alpes Maritimes, Trafalgar–Trafalgar – as they still do now, no doubt. Perhaps we were more audacious and fearless – less technology and much better telephone boxes (great places for catching the zzzzzzs allowed this to happen. Maybe because we were young (and foolish), a solid group of 20-somethings who really enjoyed extreme riding and exploring new landscapes for the sake of turning the pedals and feeling the wind in our hair – and beards (especially de rigueur for trikies).

Neville Holgate – Yorkshire Dales 200 c. '85

Start of Frodsham 400 1984

I remember time gone by When peace and hope and dreams were high

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randonnee

Yellowbelly 200 Bryan Colbourne

In 2013 I had my 80th birthday and thought I should do something special to mark it. When I was 60 I did my first SR series but that is probably not a reasonable option now. As I haven’t ridden any randonnées for several years 200k seemed enough of a challenge. I wasn’t sure if it would be successful. My mileage is down this year, mainly because riding on snow and ice is something I no longer do. Whether you think this is wimpish or sensible I don’t know, but as they get older, our bodies don’t bounce the way they used to.

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or my first ride the Yellowbelly Tour looked good. This was a new event in 2013 which started about 20 miles from home and was also mainly flat. So that’s two advantages. With my entry I sent a warning that I’d almost certainly be the last finisher and probably well behind everyone else. Which turned out to be half true. The weather forecast for the day was excellent, it just needed to be accurate. It was. Almost total sunshine, warm and a moderate wind, What a great change from the day before which featured a dangerously strong north wind and rain in large quantities. Getting up at 5am was a shock, but with the lovely weather not too traumatic. Arrived at Carlton le Moorland and after driving round the village a bit found the village hall and parked. While preparing our bikes the riders in the car park were shown a cheap bum cream. It was just the same as the usual ones except there was no perfume of any sort we were told. Anybody who wants to try it should visit their farm supply shop and ask for a pot of udder cream. That’s what the man said anyway. It’s not something I use, but the information may be handy for some. First problem arose now. When preparing the bike I found that my water bottle was still at home, Not good news on a hot day for someone who sweats well. When the ride started it confirmed my suspicions that I would be last. The other auks disappeared into the distance except for one chap who was going about my pace. We rode together until about 11 miles in I had a puncture. He checked that I had the necessary kit and I told him to carry on. No point in two

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people losing time. The flat of course was in the back tyre, but at least the cause (a small flint) was easy to find. So, back on the bike and continue to Ancaster and search for somewhere to buy water. The village shop had recently shut which meant a detour to a garage for a bottle of spring water. That’s another 10 or 15 minutes wasted. The first info control at Ropsley (36k) and I was pleased to find that despite the delays there was still half an hour in hand. Now it became necessary to watch the route sheet closely. I was out of known territory and the route looked fiendishly complex, going off-route looked very easy, almost inevitable. I was wrong there, one of the few randonnées where I haven’t gone wrong. A bit further on, in Humby, lives a rail enthusiast: a small front garden held a set of crossing gates and three large signal gantries. Must have a tolerant wife. Maybe that’s sexist, but most train anoraks are blokes. Progress seemed pretty good up to then and I had to remind myself there is a long way yet, don’t go too fast. At the next info my ball pen ran out so it was necessary to remember the answer as far as the next control. To be fair it was a very old AUK pen from a long ago randonnée! The control in Heckington (64k) needed a timed receipt, so a pencil and two Kit Kats sorted that out. I had decided before the start not to spend much time in cafés, for obvious reasons. By this time my water had all gone, so the bottle was refilled in the shop and after a quick Kit Kat energy boost I was on my way. Not for long though, just up the road was a restored windmill which made me stop. The unusual thing about this one was in having eight sails. I can’t recall having seen an eight-sail mill before. This was open to visitors but a mill tour had to be left for another day, a quick look from the roadside was all I the time I could spare. Leaving Heckington I found why the ride had seemed easy. Yes you’ve guessed, the wind had been helping. Not now though. The route now went through fen country, almost flat, and wide open. What had seemed a light wind earlier was definitely stronger out in the wide open spaces. There were hedges, but not very many, so I was struggling. The speed was down to 11mph, and less where there was a bit of gradient. At North Kyme the route

‘Anybody who wants to try it should visit their farm supply shop and ask for a pot of udder cream.'

used the main road to Skegness and other coast resorts. Being Bank Holiday Saturday you can imagine the traffic. It wasn’t threatening or dangerous, just incessantly noisy. The organiser, Richard Parker, said it was very difficult to avoid that road. He is absolutely right, it would mean a completely different route to do so. There were only 13k on this road, it just felt like more at the speed I was travelling. Pass Tattershall Castle, which looked interesting, and into Coningsby. This was another timed receipt control. Time for a bit of food. A large bacon cob and some tea did the job. I ate outside and heard a plane overhead: it was someone getting a bit of airtime in one of the single-seaters from the RAF Memorial Flight which is based nearby. My sight had got rather blurred so I couldn’t identify it. The engine didn’t sound like a Merlin though, so probably neither a Spitfire or Hurricane, maybe a Mustang. The ride continued in the general direction of Skeggy but on lanes again. A little way out of the town and I did hear the sound of Merlins, it was the Lancaster flying past at low level, having just taken off, followed shortly by the Spitfire and Hurricane. On the way to make people’s day at some function no doubt. Soon afterwards there was a strange sound behind. It was a steam lorry which soon passed me. I can’t remember when I last saw one of those. They were in use during the Second World War when petrol was in very short supply. Not many readers will recall that though. At the next T-junction were three steam traction engines parked on the verge outside a pub. Definitely thirsty work driving them. The next bit of vintage interest were some ancient tractors trundling along. That’s several things I have never met on a randonnée before – a steam rally in the area over the Bank Holiday. Continued through lanes, mainly against the wind to the next control at Friskney. There the not very difficult task was to identify to which Saints the church was dedicated . Then it was time to fill the bottle again (if you think I need lots of water you are spot on). A chap was working in his garden so I asked if he could fill my bottle with cold water. ‘I can do better than that,’ he said and marched off to return with two bottles of Buxton Water straight out of the fridge. There are some very kind people about. www.audax.uk.net


randonnee Now the route changed direction and the wind was helping. From this point to Burgh le Marsh was easy and fast, then to Horncastle it was even more help so some time was picked up, and I had an hour in hand there. The intention here was to have some tea and sticky cakes but I couldn’t see an open café and wasn’t going to waste time hunting round a strange town. Sticky cakes were easy, from a bakers nearby but the tea was very weak. Just more water. The exit from Horncastle said ‘leave square on the right past bike shop’. I couldn’t see a bike shop. After enquiring I found it had recently closed. Very inconsiderate of people to shut their shop without telling Audax organisers. The wind was still behind me so more time was picked up to the control at Bardney. The next instruction made me wonder a bit, ‘Turn right on cycle path to Five Mile Bridge then left across fields’. Didn’t sound like a normal audax route (although what’s normal?). It was OK though, the cycle path was a good tarmac track on the river bank. The River Witham on one side and a large fen drain the other. It was a very pleasant few miles. The bit across fields was a road, narrow and potholed, but a road nonetheless. While I was checking the Tony Davis, Mille Cymru 1000 Photo: Christian Lewis Photography

info control at Five Mile Bridge a teenager turned up on a bike and asked a nearby dog walker if he could borrow a mobile phone. His sister had wrecked a tyre and he wanted to call the rescue service (aka Mum). The big surprise was a young person not having a mobile, I thought they could be separated only by surgery. There were a couple of other surprising things on this ride. One was the absence of wildlife. Most of the route was on quiet rural lanes but I saw only four birds, a pheasant, a little egret and two others whose names have dropped out of the memory banks. And there was not a single mammal, not even any roadkill carcases. Along the cycle path by the Witham, which was a nature reserve a lot of birds could be heard singing singing but couldn’t be seen as they were all in the bushes and trees. The other surprise was the lack of wind turbines, there were just two. I would have thought that flat, windy and not very scenic countryside would be ideal for them. The last section was on more quiet lanes in pleasant evening sunshine to end an enjoyable ride in good weather. The finish was reached in a reasonable time (for an old fogey). I wouldn’t have been very impressed with the time a few decades earlier though, but I’d achieved

‘Very incon­ siderate of people to shut their shop with­ out tell­ ing Audax organisers.’

what I wanted. Back in the village hall was one other rider so I wasn’t too far behind. Also there were very nice cakes baked by Richard’s wife and some welcome tea. I wasn’t feeling hungry so they very kindly gave me some cake to take home. The ride was done on an old Holdsworth frame in 531 Pro tubing. This was given to me a few years ago by a friend and then built up with some more modern bits. The gears are 24-speed Sora with a very low bottom gear. That wasn’t needed this time though. You may be wondering why he named the event ‘Yellowbelly’. Well, it originated in the days of the Redcoats, probably in the 18th or 19th centuries. Men of the Lincolnshire Regiment wore yellow waistcoats under their red topcoats (must have been very hot). Since then the soldier’s nickname of yellowbelly has spread to mean anyone from Lincolnshire. It was a good event, if Richard runs it again, I can recommend it.

Who is the oldest auk to ride a 200?

Finally just out of interest (and vanity) does anyone know the oldest person to ride a 200? The prime suspect must be Jack Eason. N

Tony Greenwood, Mille Cymru 1000 Photo: Christian Lewis Photography


brevet populaire

Chippenham Flapjack 100 Tim Wadsworth

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ogether with my 16-year-old son I joined my local cycling club, Malmesbury Clarion CC and through the Saturday club rides, we built up our fitness and eventually reached a point where we felt strong enough to tackle an AUK event. When I saw that our near-neighbours, Chippenham Wheelers were hosting the Flapjack 102km ride in February, we decided to take the plunge. This was a bit of a late call on our part and so our entries were posted close to the deadline. We needn’t have worried though, as we received confirmation of our entry and course directions by return of post. I was immediately struck by the minimal cost of just £6, plus £2.50 for AUK non-members. Included in the price were refreshments at four controls. This represented unbelievable value for money as anyone who has ever entered a flashy sportive will know. Chippenham Wheelers justifiably advertise the ride as the one where you put on more weight than you lose. Our club secretary, a veteran of the Flapjack, suggested that I laminated the cue sheet and then cut it into four. (A hole punched through the top and a short cable tie completed the handy guide.) We arrived at the Bath Road car park, Chippenham in good time for the 9am start and found that there was already a small queue of riders waiting to collect their brevet cards. It’s probably just as well if I confess now that I hadn’t fully grasped the concept of an Information Control. For some inexplicable reason I’d assumed there’d be someone at the side of the road who was going to bowl us a lowballer to test our knowledge of the route. Bikes reassembled after the relatively short drive from home and last minute adjustments made, we joined the growing throng of riders waiting under cover. If the weather forecasters were correct, rain and strong winds gusting up to 23mph lay ahead. As we set off, we were treated to a light shower of rain, but with fresh legs and a tailwind pushing us up through the High Street it was all water off a duck’s (cyclist’s) back. 44

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Having left Chippenham, we headed into the open countryside and mounted an early assault of the steep hill out of East Tytherton up towards Bremhill. According to my routesheet the first Information Control was at the top of the hill and yet there was no sign of the mysterious quiz-master standing on the grass verge. Struggling to make some sense of the situation, we rode into Lyneham via Spirthill. It was then a relatively short hop from one side of the Dauntsey Vale to the other and our first control of the day at the Brinkworth Village Hall. Nervously waiting in line with my brevet card, I realised that the Information Control question was actually printed on the card. Help! In as casual a manner as I could muster, I asked the person in front if they had recorded the last three digits of the farm’s telephone number, whilst attempting to imply that I already knew the answer, but was just checking that they did too. Phew, that was a close one. Brevet cards stamped it was time for a hot drink and a slice of the legendary flapjack, which certainly didn’t disappoint. We then headed further north through Minety and Somerford Keynes before turning westwards to Kemble for our beans on toast in the Kemble Village Hall. Here, a slick production line, which would have been the envy of the not-toodistant Honda car plant, was in operation. The hall was busy when we arrived and I anticipated a long wait for our servings, but after just a couple of minutes our numbers were called and we were presented with two slices of toast topped with a generous helping of baked beans. I made short work of mine. A slice of banana loaf and a cup of tea rounded off the feast.

‘Even cycling downhill it was difficult to pick up any real pace.’

Below: Riders waiting at the start of the Chippenham Flapjack 100

adding an extra three miles, but we were able to rejoin the course without too much fuss, providing a stiff ascent doesn’t qualify as a fuss. The fast road between Westonbirt and Sherston allowed riders to get back up into their top gears and although we were now heading south, the wind had managed to change direction and was again doing its best to stifle our progress. A welcome cup of tea was waiting at the Sherston Village Hall together with a selection of cake. All of the halls had a warm, homely feel about them and a certain amount of self-discipline was called for to saddle up and not dwell for too long. We made our way back to Chippenham through Grittleton and Castle Combe, but there was something of a sting in the tail with the hill out of Ford up towards Biddestone. The ride ended at the Scout Hall in Derriards Lane, Chippenham. The general consensus over the soup, rolls, hot drinks and cake being served was that there’d been no easy miles out on the course. I decided to finish the day off as I’d begun with another slice of flapjack before riding the short distance back to the starting point. Apart from the first shower it had otherwise remained dry and the sun had shone for long periods. The ride had been a fantastic introduction to the world of AUK events. Without wishing to sound like an over-enthusiastic Mr Toad who has just discovered a new hobby, once home we wasted no time in joining AUK on-line.  N

Dreaded headwind

I’d had a dose of the next section the week before on our club reliability ride and so already knew how challenging the long pull from Kemble up to Cherington can be when you’re being battered by the wind. It was very much a case of déjà vu as my speed soon dropped to single figures. Even cycling downhill it was difficult to pick up any real pace. At Cherrington, navigating without the aid of a GPS, we went off-piste when I somehow managed to convince myself that a bend in the road was in fact a T junction. This took us down into Avening,

Photo by the author

Audax cycling had always been something of a mystery to me and so when I started riding again after a break of around 30 years, I was keen to unravel the secrets of the craft.

www.audax.uk.net


brevet populaire

South Gloucestershire 100 Tim Wadsworth Bikes and cycling equipment loaded in the back of my car the evening before, me and my son set off in good time. My first navigational challenge was deciding the best way to reach the start at Alveston, just south of Thornbury. With 10th May falling over the weekend of the Badminton Horse Trials, where long queues often form on the arterial routes, I was keen to avoid any holdups.

Thank goodness for careful drivers! Drama over, I remounted and made a quick rolling mechanical assessment. Apart from my bottom two gears, which were slipping and grinding, the bike looked to be in good shape. Rather than trying to make some ill-fated adjustments, I decided to be grateful for those I still had left and to press on. I keep reading that modern day bikes are overgeared, but if I had to surrender some, it definitely wouldn’t be the bottom two.

hrowing caution to the wind, we opted to travel via the M4 and M5 following the directions thoughtfully provided. We spent the last few miles of our queue-free journey behind an immaculate Morris Traveller, the driver of which, I somehow knew had to be connected with the event. Admittedly, I fully expected him to produce an equally well presented steel bike, but I wasn’t completely wrong, as resplendent in his Union Jack top hat he later started us off. Underway and with a strong tailwind, it made good sense to take full advantage, as we would inevitably be pegged back later, but our being unfamiliar with the roads was causing some hesitancy in our cycling. As we reached the far side of Inglestone Common disaster struck when I allowed my rear wheel to drift too close to the grass verge. The resulting skid on the slippery mud sent me crashing to the ground. Sprawled across the tarmac, pinned under my Reynolds 520 chromoly frame, I heard the sound of a following car braking to a halt. Bracing myself for the impact, I was relieved to see that he’d swerved to his right to avoid a collision.

Bleeding profusely

Left: Start of the South Gloucester 100 at Marlwood School, Alveston Right: Daneway Inn control, Sapperton

All photos by the author

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Of less importance, but still worthy of a mention, was my right leg which was bleeding profusely and making grown men wince. My leather-palmed cycling mitts made a poor job of stemming the flow, but they did rapidly change colour. I made a mental note to shove over the kitchen sink in my saddle bag to make room for a comprehensive first aid kit before my next ride. As for my arm, which judging by the holes that had appeared in my rain jacket and jersey, had taken some punishment, I decided to ignore unless any significant amount of blood soaked through. Arriving at Leighterton meant that we were now well and truly on our home turf. In confident mood we arrived at the first control of the day, Café 53 in the High Street at Tetbury, which was doing a roaring trade. I took the opportunity to clean up my leg and we left promising ourselves we’d have something to eat and drink at the next control. Leaving Tetbury there was a heavy shower, but by the time we reached Oaksey, not that many miles further on, we were basking in glorious sunshine. Turning north towards Coates we were buffeted by a strong crosswind. Riding sandwiched between fields of oilseed

‘The resulting skid on the slippery mud sent me crashing to the ground.’

rape we enjoyed the pleasant views, if not the onset of a bout of hay fever. We found the Daneway Inn at Sapperton, our next control, nestling at the bottom of a fairly steep hill. Descending, I was concerned to see other riders coming up the incline towards us. My fear that we’d somehow taken a wrong turning was soon laid to rest when I realised that the public house was a down and up, and that postrefreshments, we’d have to tackle the climb too. The Daneway Inn was a real gem. The public bar was as rustic as they come. The well-trodden floorboards were ideally suited to walkers and cleat-wearing cyclists. The only thing missing was the yokel with a good line in yarns, but I dare say you’ll find him at the bar most evenings if you care to call. Fortified by a cheese and onion bap washed down with a pot of tea, we attacked the ascent and headed back to Alveston. Unfortunately someone at Ride HQ had forgotten to switch off the wind machine and we were immediately battered by a very unforgiving headwind. Over the more exposed sections it sometimes felt as though we were being blown to a standstill. Temporary sanctuary from the wind came when we reached the penultimate control at the Hunters Hall Inn. With the last section beckoning we wasted no time in getting off. Passing the golf course before the exhilarating drop down to Wotton under Edge, I noticed a stray golf ball at the side of the road and hurried to get clear of the danger zone. The remaining run-in to the Cross Hands public house and the end of our pub crawl had a few ups and downs. In total we’d climbed just over 4,000 feet without any stand-out killer climbs.  N

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organising events

Reflections from a new organiser John Thompson Some new organisers recently wrote about their experiences so I thought I would too and say something of how I became hooked on AUK events.

I

’m not the fanatical rider that many of you are and retirement from work hasn’t so far changed that. For Calendar events where there is the option of a 200 or 160, I usually go for the 160. It is after all 100 miles, which I regard as adequate. That said, my ‘initiation’ into AUK events was a 400. Straight in at the deep end, especially as it was not on my native relatively gentle terrain of East Anglia but through Devon and Cornwall, being organised by the Kernow CC and based at Truro. Also, as it was my first attempt at such a distance and my first experience of all-night riding, not being sure what to expect I rode with two loaded panniers. I read Phil Whitehurst’s account of his preparation for LEL and him being told that 400 is the toughest distance. If so, then I don’t think mine was any mean ‘initiation’. Especially so, considering I combined the event with a week’s touring holiday riding cross-country home to Oulton Broad. I had an easy day on the Monday riding to Tintagel hostel, but all the other days were at least 70 miles, including over 90 miles on the final day home from Saffron Walden, and, as in the event, with laden panniers. I was well pleased to achieve my target of getting inside 24 hours. Everything about that first experience was great: first overnight ride, the satisfaction of achievement, the smell of bacon frying in the control somewhere on the Devon coast early on a sunny morning after a long ride. The most important point, however, was the friendly atmosphere. I made a lot of new friends. Oh yes, the other first experience was feeling I could happily down a pint at 6am! I should not exaggerate as I was only thinking of a shandy but none the less!

CTC National 400

This was when the event was run as the CTC National 400. I was hooked and rode the event for a further four consecutive years at Godalming, Oxford, Tunbridge Wells and Chester. The most memorable of them is Oxford. It took us over a pass – was it the road between Aberystwyth and Rhayader? [No, it was the road from Hay-on-Wye to 46

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Pandy, over Capel-y-ffin – a hairy descent with Never-Readys! editor Tim] – in my case at about 3.00am. It was organised by Ted Friend and a joke went round relating to his surname, which I’m sure is easy to work out! [Ted was a stickler for rules. My CTC section of six riders sent in our entries one day after the 14-day deadline and as ‘punishment’ Ted refused to issue our brevet cards until 15 minutes after the official start time. – editor Tim.] I stayed at Oxford hostel and woke up on the Monday morning fully clothed on top of my bunk! I don’t normally drink full cans of Coca-Cola but curiously riding through the Cotswold lanes that Monday morning I suddenly got a craving for one and stopped at a village stores. Despite being hooked, my view that once a year is enough didn’t change. I had no interest in extending to 600s and above. Different plans for cycling holidays came along and combined with time trialling ambitions I drifted away from AUK events. However, some of those different plans included the ‘End-to-End’ and ‘east– west’, that is from Lowestoft Ness Point, the most easterly point in the British Isles to Point of Ardnamurchan, on the west coast of Scotland, the most westerly point on the British mainland. My ‘End-to-End was done in nine days, which averages out at a ‘splash’ over 100 miles daily and was alone and again carrying laden panniers. It also involved a cracked frame but that’s another story! It was welded at a garage somewhere between Wigan and Preston! My ‘east–west’ was completed in seven days, making an average of just under 143km per day. I suppose you could call that a ‘pushing it’ tourist standard, but credible I think and again it was alone with – you’ve guessed it! – laden panniers. Despite having drifted away from audax riding I maintained an interest. It struck me that my ‘east–west’ would make a good ‘permanent.’ In 1999 I joined AUK to enable me to set it up. The AGM in 1999 was at Wortley Hall in south Yorkshire. I went, not because I was interested in the business of the meeting but because I thought it would be nice to have a long weekend riding on some different lanes in another area. It was on that weekend that I met two of AUK’s greatest characters, sadly no longer with us: Rocco Richardson – then chairman – and Neville Chanin. I remember how welcoming Rocco was on the Friday evening at dinner, as was Neville on the Saturday.

‘I remember how welcoming Rocco was on the Friday evening at dinner, as was Neville on the Saturday.’

To cut a long story short, I lost a lot of fitness for distance riding. I resolved to put it right by returning to AUK events. I started entering 160s and 200s and struggled for a while, sometimes not finishing, but gradually my fitness started returning. This caused me to consider riding more events even if it meant sacrificing some time trials. Realising that doing so would in any case help me for longer distance time trials I took the plunge and don’t regret it. Realising how much pleasure I was getting out of AUK rides, I thought I would like to try running an event. Now the fun really begins! I worked out general ideas for routes for a 150 and a 200 mainly in my head but with some assistance from maps. I’m not up to speed with all these on-line ways of working out routes and distances. A problem was that there didn’t seem to be anyone available reasonably locally to act as my mentor. I got some help initially from Keith Harrison, but he wasn’t in a position to approve it. Knowing Lucy McTaggart, I phoned her and she was helpful. Don Saunders of CC Breckland advised me to get a Garmin and after reading up about them I concluded that they are more reliable than ‘standard’ computers. So I thought enough of AUK to splash out about £100! I worked out the routes by riding them in stages, which involved using a number of leave days from work. I wrote the information on bits of paper. Inevitably when I came to put it together there were points I had missed. It can be difficult to make the time to continually ride a route, even if only parts of it. The irony of previously thinking I would never visit such places or use such roads by car wasn’t lost on me. Amusingly, the biggest nightmare was trying to park in the market town of Framlingham on a Saturday morning. As I expected, starting and finishing the routes at Oulton Broad would leave them both a bit short but starting somewhere a little north would resolve it. This involved a little local ride around the villages of Blundeston, Somerleyton and Lound to get the feel of which would be the best village hall – Googling has its limitations! I chose Blundeston. I measured the distance from the village hall to the point I had initially used as the start/finish. For those who know the routes it was the Flying Dutchman pub in Oulton Broad. The 150 was OK, but the 200 was still a little short. www.audax.uk.net


organising HEADING IN events HERE A map perusal indicated it shouldn’t be a problem to put right. Resolving it involved one of those ironic car journeys with the bike in the back to do a short ride through the lanes around Hollesley and Butley and I thought I’d cracked it It was around this time that Jackie Popland became the south-east events secretary so to get them on the Calendar I had to refer the routes to her. She confirmed that the 150 was fine but that the 200 still needed a bit of work relating to the extra bit I had added on. This worried me because I could not understand how I had got it wrong. It caused me concern that my route measuring generally might be ‘up the Swannee’ and that I had wrongly measured the whole route and perhaps also the 150. So another car journey to do the circuit around Hollesley and Butley. Jackie was right and I further amended the route along the lines she had suggested. I don’t mean to sound insulting to Jackie. If there had been further errors I’m sure she would have picked them up. That is how I tried to reassure myself, but it was the ‘psychology’ of it being my first attempt and it made me decide that the sooner I rode both routes in their entireties the better. I can’t overstate what a relief it was to find they were both OK. Before submitting for the Calendar I had to confirm everything with the cafés I was using as controls. They were all happy. With the events in the calendar, my computer skills being mediocre, the next hurdle was producing the route sheets. I wasn’t familiar with how to set up the correct format. I read through the organisers’ guidelines and while they illustrated the format they didn’t explain how to set it up. It prompted me to suggest that the guidelines should include an ‘idiots guide’. I desperately tried to work it out but had to give up. I was well pleased with the number of entries I received for my first event in 2011, the combined total being around 70. At the same time, however, it made me nervous. I was concerned that my route sheet not being in the correct format and rather clumsy might get commented on. Also, despite all my checking I still couldn’t help feeling nervous that it might be found that I had badly messed up with the route measuring.

An Indian Summer day

Come the day, however, it couldn’t have gone better! It was one of those ‘Indian summer’ October days and everyone commented on how lovely both routes were. (I can picture some who have ridden in the last two years laughing sardonically as both years it poured for good parts of the days. Ironically in 2012 riders finished in heavy rain and in 2013 started that way. Nevertheless they still said what lovely routes they are). It surely doesn’t get better than that for your first

attempt. I got some ‘ribbing’ about the route sheets but all in good fun. Some commented in a tone of constructive criticism that they were a bit too detailed, which I took on board. I wanted to provide some refreshments at the start and finish and for the first year it was a tricky judgement. A lady clubmate came to the start to make cups of tea. I made a nice arrangement with another clubmate, Ray Skipper, who runs a bed and breakfast, to cook beans on toast at the finish. It was good economics as what beans and bread didn’t get used Ray was able to use at his guest house. Also, a nice spin off has been that some riders have stayed at Ray’s. The misjudgement I made was also buying sandwiches and rolls. They got little take up. I didn’t waste money as I used them for lunches at work for several days, but I haven’t done it again. Anyway, at the end of the day I relaxed in my local over pints of Adnams feeling very happy due to the combination of the relief that my fears had been unfounded and being so pleased with the success of my first attempt

Correct format for routesheets

The one thing I really still had to do was to learn how to set up the correct format for route sheets. After some mentoring from Keith Harrison and some brainstorming on my PC – I have OpenOffice not Word – I got there. I have been inspired by the nice comments that have been made to me about my routes and the fact that word has got around. I have now worked out a route for a 100, so more annual leave days used for AUK and ironic car journeys, but also a nice way of spending some days now I’ve retired. Planning this one got more complicated than I expected. On my first ride of the route, my Garmin was indicating that I had got it ‘bang on’ until I got to my proposed control at Hardley Hall to discover that the tearooms were now closed. They have found it more profitable to cater for wedding receptions! It was therefore necessary to rejig the route which involved riding it a couple more times. The control is now going to be Rosie Lee’s Tea Rooms, a CTC recommended café at Loddon, where the proprietor, Caroline, is very welcoming and efficient, likes cyclists and understands our needs. She is interested in what we do. Indeed she attended the sixtieth anniversary dinner of the Godric CC – based in Bungay, Suffolk and ex-CTC director, Kevin Mayne’s original club She knows that we sometimes want a quick in and out and if so will serve quickly. She asks if you want some more water for your teapot and if you want your bottle topped up. On cold, wet days she offers a hot water bottle! You could fantasise that you are riding a super randonnaire instead of just a

‘The one thing I really still had to do was to learn how to set up the correct format for route sheets.’

100km populaire! Caroline is pleased she has been chosen for an event. Despite the frustration of finding my intended control closed, I enjoyed planning the route and riding it, which has included some lanes for the first time and several bacon sandwiches at Caroline’s! It’s also nice that the increasing popularity of my 150 and 200 rides has meant further work on route amendments to accommodate a different HQ at Carlton Colville as parking at Blundeston village hall is limited. The 200 was easy to amend, but the 150 was complicated. However, I’ve worked out a route for the 150 that goes to Orford and makes it a 160 – actually 166 kilometres. This means that it uses the same three main controls as the 200. The 200 now goes to Bawdsey, an attractive fishing village, very much like Orford. The info control is on the quay. There is a café there in addition to the three control ones if you want it! Also like Orford, Bawdsey has an interesting World War II history. The 200 is just over 5km shorter than before and the 160 is longer by about the same. That might please some but slightly disappoint others. Overall, however, I feel that both revised routes are improvements, not least because there is no longer the long ‘through the streets’ stretch through Carlton Colville and Oulton Broad. Another fun thing was thinking up an appropriate name for the rides. At first I was thinking of calling the 150 and 200, ‘The Adnams Trail.’ For those who really can’t work it out, Adnams is the local real ale brewery at Southwold - and their pubs are prominent on the routes. Some might question my logic, but I decided that riders are not likely to be using them! I decided on ‘The Silly Suffolk.’ because I think the county sometimes being called ‘silly Suffolk’ is meant as a compliment. There is also ‘sleepy Suffolk.’ I sometimes wonder if that is more appropriate but so far I’ve resisted the change. I’m calling the 100 ‘The Waveney Wander’.

Conclusion

In conclusion, organising my first AUK event was daunting at times and I was a bit nervous on the day. That’s behind me now and I find organising rewarding. To anyone dithering about becoming an organiser, I say ‘take the plunge.’ Because of my lack of knowledge of modern ways of working out routes and calculating distances, it might be obvious to some how I could have made the job easier. Be that as it may there is one basic point: you must ride every bit of your route. Finally, since I started writing this I have considered entering a 300. I decided against it thinking that I need a few more 200s in my legs, but what was it I said at the beginning?! If you are considering whether to be an organiser I hope I have been helpful and dare I say inspirational. N

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randonnee

The Warwickshire Wanderer Nigel Rees

Starts have a special combination of nervousness and excitement

We luxuriated in that rare experience of apparently certain warm sunshine as we drove up the M5 towards Meriden. This sense of well being was punctured twice before we were guided into the Bulls Head car park by a couple of very pleasant and welcoming members of the HQ team. Firstly, very congested motorway road works put us behind schedule. Secondly, we looked aghast 48

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at a Memorial obelisk in Meriden village commemorating dead cyclists – not a good potent for the route or the roads (in fact, the unfortunate cyclists had been killed on active service in World Wars, not on The Wanderer or the Cotswold Challenge). The tension eased with our very positive car parking experience, and once our pre-ride faffing was complete we threaded our way through a large and expectant throng of riders waiting to be unleashed onto the Warwickshire roads. Starts have a special magical combination of nervousness and excitement, and a very positive buzz emanated from an eclectic mix of ages, kit and bikes. Hi-viz jackets, pro team colours, Rapha, commemorative kit and AUK regalia of various vintage, as were gleaming carbon, trusty tourers, prized steel steeds, Carradice saddle bags and quite a selection of tandems. I note with alarm a Blazing Saddles jersey, and resolve to avoid cycling behind the wearer during the day. Our late arrival has the inevitable result of missing the moment riders are released from the starting stalls, despite a welcoming and unfussily efficient sign-on. We are helped on our way after

Above: Jane Rees and Mel Jones riding through Burton Dassett Country Park

the parade has gone by some wise and soothing words from another cheerful volunteer, but I love the togetherness and camaraderie of a mass start and I also like better navigators than me to be reassuringly in view. I am annoyed to have missed this simple pleasure, although Jane loves following route directions and even better is good at it.

The increasing warmth of a broadening inner smile as we begin to see and catch fellow riders We are immediately following attractive and quiet lanes, very leafy and studded with characterful properties, and Berkswell, Balsall Common and Honiley pass pleasantly by. The motorway

All photos by the author

Jon Porteous and his Heart of England CTC team organise two Calendar events in mid-May – the 108km Warwickshire Wanderer and simultaneously the 160km Cotswold Challenge. They caught our eye for several reasons. Jane and I had enjoyed The Wanderer in 2008 and 2009, the Meriden HQ isn’t far from where we live in Worcester and we are looking for some miles before a St. Malo to Nice ride in August. Jane is a regular rider in the Worcester Women on Wheels Group, part of the Breeze Network. A fellow Breezer, Mel Jones, was really keen on sampling an audax for the first time – so The Wanderer it was.

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HEADING randonnee IN HERE network is close, but you wouldn’t know it. More importantly, by now I have felt the increasing warmth of a broadening inner smile as we begin to see and catch fellow riders all of whom exchange pleasantries in another of the simple pleasures of audax riding. There is no hierarchy here. We weren’t the only ones caught up in traffic delays and small groups surge past us too. The green and undulating Warwickshire countryside and the hum of ‘chatting as you ride’ is a lovely combination, and at the occasional busy crossroads or junction a lot of considerate driving is in evidence – more than once vehicles with right of way patiently wave us across.

Some would argue that village halls are peerless for providing a comfortable haven The first refreshments control in Wellesbourne follows a nice stretch through Hampton Lucy and Charlecote. Some would argue that village halls are peerless for providing a comfortable haven for a refreshments control, I am amongst them, especially when they are complete with ‘home made stuff’ and happy, busy volunteers. Wellesbourne Church Centre is such a place, and enjoyment is radiated from enthusiastic first timers (like Mel riding with us) and understated veterans alike. There is the recurring oddity of the same fellow riders crossing our paths regularly – ‘how did they get in front/ behind? etc’. We seem to ride for quite a while past the incongruously located and heavily wooded MoD establishment at Kineton and we all anticipate Burton Dasset Country Park. I remember it is a stiff climb but a peaceful place with wonderful panoramas. I ride ahead to deploy my camera as Jane and Mel ride up to the summit. I begin to experience that perverse euphoria that always seems to accompany stiff climbs on narrow lanes when without warning my chain snaps violently and I am thankful for a strategically placed raised grass verge to topple onto.

Solutions present themselves even when the future looks bleak

What now? I have a spare chain link, but no chain tool and more critically no real knowledge of how to effect a repair. I couldn’t have selected a worse spot to have a mechanical that required help, everyone is totally focused on clawing their way up the steepest part of the ramp and even if their gaze drifted away from the handlebars would struggle to stop on the narrow, stiff ascent. Jane and Mel have joined me, we stare at my upturned Kuota, but Jane and I have learned especially on rides abroad that solutions present themselves even when the future looks bleak. A bearded rider with the quiet assurance of ‘seen this

many times before’ expertly comes to a halt alongside us. Patiently, and without fuss, our bearded saviour produces a chaintool from his arsenal of tools stashed in a second drinks bottle and restores my forlorn chain to usable status. A thoroughly nice man, whose name we later learn is Steve.

More comfort, bonhomie and the unique ambience created by tiring but happy riders

A tentative resumption dissipates once it is clear Steve’s repair is a good one, and the views from the summit plateau of the Country Park are magnificent. We descend to Bishop’s Itchington and are joined at various points by riders on the Cotswold Challenge and we are soon at another village hall, in Harbury. More comfort, bonhomie and the unique ambience created by tiring but happy riders. There is a buzz of war stories, unlimited tea and coffee, cheese and onion rolls and chocolate biscuits. It is Mel’s first taste of audax life, she is loving it. We thank Saviour Steve again, his riding mate deliberates whether he is worthy enough to be at the great man’s table. Throughout the day, the route cleverly snakes around any significant size towns, and we wonder ‘where did Leamington Spa and Kenilworth go?’. The scenic and pleasant lanes are endless, and of course in the last 15 miles feature increasing numbers of riders ‘checking things’ at the roadside. The last section through Beausale is undulating and tranquil, and near Honiley we rejoin the early miles we did this morning, this always gives me a psychological sense of completing the circle.

Above: Essential items

Below: Nigel Rees savouring beans on toast in Meriden Village Hall HQ at the finish

to achieve both it seems. Well designed routes, excellent controls, efficient but thoughtful organisation and that special quality – personal warmth. We pedal happily back to the Bull’s Head car park (having bestowed further gratitude on saviour Steve) and look forward to our next randonnée in two weeks (the excellent Silk Run from Tewkesbury). I will be buying a chain tool, Jane resolves to do more audaxes and Mel is hooked. Thank you Jon and your superb Heart of England CTC team for a memorable day. N

Well designed routes, excellent controls, efficient but thoughtful organisation and that special quality – personal warmth Meriden HQ gives us our final taste of village hall happiness for the day, and the finishing control is again friendly, welcoming and efficient. Possibly the zenith of a truly satisfying day is a full plate of beans on toast and its special invigorating qualities. I have read in the spring edition of Arrivée that more contributions are needed, so I resolve to make one. I check this out with Jon Porteous, today’s organiser, out of courtesy. Jon is quite rightly satisfied that everyone seems to have had a great day, he has had 230 riders on the road and a significant number of volunteers expertly supporting the day. Routes that he modified four years ago seem to appeal to newcomers and mileaters alike. This is the essence of the day for me. At a time when AUK is working hard to reinvent itself without losing its soul, events like the Warwickshire Wanderer and the Cotswold Challenge manage

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mille cymru 1000

Rising from the ashes Phil Whitehurst

T

he ride did not go as planned. The sheer relentless nature of the hills, long climbs that kicked and kicked; descents that were tricky and required concentration all took their toll on me. It led to a fatigue that was in my bones, in my core. At one point I’d found myself off the edge of a mountain road, floating on grass and gravel between disaster and saviour. Exhaustion, the sort that leads to physical illness was waiting to pounce. Rest and food made no difference. After a final sleep rest, and no change in my overwhelming fatigue, I made the heart wrenching decision to stop. Before the event I said Mille Cymru was an adventure. An adventure is an undertaking where the outcome is uncertain. That means that sometime the outcome is that you do not complete the undertaking. Sadly in this case for me. But I’m not one to agonise over the decisions 50

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I make. It was the right one for me; I could see the trajectory, a dangerous and serious one had I tried to continue. The question is what do you do next after you’ve made that decision? Well for me the obvious one was to help those still continuing to finish their ride. I still wanted to be involved in the event. I didn’t want to abandon it, as though it was a nightmare I wanted to wake from. First I had to be useful, and that meant rest, plenty of it. I slept a full 12 hours, without pause, back at the hall at Upton Magna; I needed it. I awoke to sunshine filtering through the windows, birds were singing, and on getting up I saw rabbits nibbling the grass. As I stood I could still feel the fatigue, lingering in the shadows. However, it was no longer my master; shutting me down, squeezing relentlessly, until all my life force was but a dirty puddle evaporating under a hot, merciless sun. Tim, another rider who had stopped, stayed at the hall that night. He was also going to stay around, but had no plans beyond that. I asked if he fancied joining me, helping out at Betwsy-Coed control that night. I’d spoken with Danial and he’d said the control would be opening from around tea time on the Sunday. Tim readily agreed, and after putting our

Above: Norbert Dietz, Michael Felber, Michael Richter and Dino Felber. Photo: Christian Lewis Photography www. christianlewis photography.co.uk

bikes in his van, we headed off in my car. I didn’t drive far. We stopped at the Little Chef on the A5, no more than six miles down the road. They had an Olympic Breakfast and we both had Olympic appetites. Nothing remained on those plates, every last ounce of energy consumed. We headed down the A5 to Capel Curig, at a slow, comfortable pace. Here we went for a gentle leg stretch through the woodland on either side of the village. We wandered through meadows, alongside a placid stream. We found

Photos: Phil Whitehurst

Back in May I submitted an article on the Green and Yellow Fields 300; Tim Wainwright asked if I’d write an article for Mille Cymru. I said I would. At the time, I was expecting to write about the experience of riding it, but instead this is my story of what happened after I stopped.

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mille cymru 1000 Curig’s Chapel, after which Capel Curig is named, and which despite passing this way for over 40 years I’d never spotted before. Unfortunately it was locked but we had a wander round the outside, and looked through the windows. We had super large wood-smoked pizzas at a café, outside in the sun. We then headed down to Little Tyfan slabs and did an easy scramble of 150ft or so. We watched a Sea King helicopter rescue a couple of climbers from the east face of Tyfan. We watched students being students on the slabs. It was rejuvenation day; my phoenix was arising from the ashes of Mille Cymru. I was being reborn; cast back into Mille Cymru under another guise, as a volunteer. The time arrived to head down to Betwsy-Coed. We knew the pub for the turning and had my bike GPS to give indication to Control16. I spotted the pub but no Mille Cymru arrows. So we parked further down the village and walked back to the pub from where we found the control. The control was in a state of organised chaos. It was 6.30pm on Sunday; three German riders had arrived almost as soon as it opened. The hot food was not yet ready, so it was multiple helpings of rice pudding and peaches for now. Hot tea and coffee came not long after. We waved the German riders off not long after 7pm. I mentioned that we hadn’t seen any arrows when we’d driven in, and Danial said a 15-year-old had put them out. So Tim and I headed out to check. Sure enough an arrow was on the wall and the left turn from the Pont-Y-Pain pub. Only problem was you would have to have a head like an owl with a 360° swivel in your neck to spot it. It was facing the wrong way. We moved the arrow to the lamppost facing the direction the riders were coming from. The arrow was designed to point right, not left. This caused the Welsh Dragon on it to be upside down, I was worried we’d get lynched by the locals. An old boy was sat on a bench watching what we were up to with interest. We survived the upside down dragon but it did cause some Chinese tourists to stop a while and take a photo of it. We thought we had time for a pint before the next riders, so Tim and I popped into the Pont-Y-Pain and sampled the beer. We sat outside, in the sunshine, opposite the junction. Mid-pint, the Viva Las Vegas boys turned up and we pointed enthusiastically left to the control. Whether they thought it was drunks on the terrace, I’m not quite sure. Not long after whilst I was opposite taking a picture of Tim outside the pub, Steve Abraham turned up, and I pointed him left. We finished our pints and returned to the control. A hot vegetarian soup broth was now available. We served this up, as

often as required. Lashings of hot tea or coffee also provided as often as needed. Not too long after the beans became available and then a corn beef hash. Tim had gone into the kitchen to help whilst I stayed front of house with Damon and the dog. The early boys fancied some beer before leaving for bed. So it was that a few headed out to the Spar to get some Welsh beers. I went out to get some more before the Spar closed at 9.55pm. The beers were going down well, so I went out a second time, to clear the Spar shelves of Welsh beer. The checkout girl did a double take, had I really drunk six bottles of beer in 15 minutes? The Viva Las Vegas boys headed back out without sleep but Steve wanted to sleep. I took him up to a spot by one of the balcony doors around 9.30pm. We only had nine spots with inflated mattresses at this point, how inadequate that would be much later. Everyone coming in wanted to rest, even if only for a few minutes or an hour. The hot tea, corn beef hash, and hot soup were going down well. Most riders wanted seconds when asked, most didn’t need prompting. A few had beans also, but they were lasting much longer. We brought out fresh soup, tea, hash; ensuring we didn’t run out of food. Coffee was not as popular with riders as they came in. The tables were filling up with tired riders in need of TLC. Rice pudding originally cold, was now requested hot, and so I took it to the kitchen to be heated by the fabulous volunteers producing the food out of sight. It was now clear that we needed to create more sleeping spots. So Danial brought more mattresses and blankets from the van out back. We had an electric inflator for the mattresses. It sounded like an industrial vacuum cleaner. I worried about waking the sleeping riders. Daniel’s dog was frightened by the noise; watching the inflating mattresses, ready to pounce. He’d try and bite the mattresses (the dog not Daniel) when I was putting the valve in, after turning off the inflator. I had to rapidly put the mattress above my head till we could distract him. I’d then find a spot and put a mattress down with a blanket. Damon’s paper map and stick it notes of the mattresses and wake up times was under onslaught. As the night moved towards midnight it became clear that it was getting increasingly cold outside. Riders were arriving tired, cold, and slightly disorientated at the hall. They’d had a long descent from Pen-Y-Pass with little chance of warming up. It was also near 0°C, at the end of June! Many were shivering and their hands were too cold to undo their jacket zips. The routine changed for these later riders. I’d taken a batch of blankets and

‘The early boys fancied some beer before leaving for bed.’

Martin Lucas and Steve Abraham enjoy a beer

placed them near the entrance. I’d take their bike, sometimes before they got through the front door. Park the bike for them. Help them with jacket zips or gloves if necessary. Then I’d wrap a blanket round them, and direct them over to Damon for Brevet card stamping. Then we’d offer them simple choices, as their brains were fried from three days of riding with little rest. Many were in a daze and didn’t know what to do, so we gently but firmly got them through it. Tea or coffee was the next simple choice after the blanket and brevet card. We didn’t let many of them hold the cups for fear they’d drop them in their tired and cold states. So we’d direct them over to a table to sit at with other riders. Then I’d bring the hot tea or coffee over and then present the hot food options as well as the warm rice pudding and fruit. We also had a strawberry flan available at this point. I’d then bring the food over. I’d then return at regular intervals to get seconds, thirds, or fourths of everything for the riders. What was needed was done. N

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By this point we’d found an extension lead and so inflated mattresses outside the back door of the hall. Then I’d rearrange chairs and tables to find a mattress-shaped space on the floor, stage, or balcony. Almost as soon as a mattress was down we had a rider ready to wearily lay their head upon it. Some were too tired to ask for a wake up calls. We’d prompt them with a suggested wake up time. Simple choices. Simple decisions. By now every rider got two blankets for their bed, so cold was it outside. Despite being tired, cold, and hungry, only a couple of riders were grumpy. One recognised they were grumpy, and was constantly apologizing. The other was too tired to realise. I thought I know exactly where they are coming from; it was water off a duck’s back to me. Every rider was asked if they needed GPS charged, and whilst they slept the electricity flowed. Mostly those GPS with internal batteries were charged. The Etrex with AA batteries were fine. Early on I’d got my iPhone charger from the car and that got used through the night as well. It was a production line of recharging, riders and device both. With everyone sleeping, and the bikes being inside, space was tight. I realized I’d have to get the bikes back out. Riders were too tired to carry bikes past other sleeping riders. They’d either tread on sleeping forms, or bash heads with wheels, or drop frames on unsuspecting bodies. Jo came in, the only female rider. She’s vegan and so the kitchen had to prepare her food especially. She remained remarkably relaxed as she had a much longer wait to eat than the others coming in. Her lips looked swollen and sore, and she hurt all over, but she was still riding, still smiling. She was keen to head back out, but her riding companions wanted 52

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to wait, to get some warmth. They said it was too cold to go back out too soon. Jo listened and so they stopped and slept a while for some respite. At 2am the first of the riders were being woken up. I’d ask them where their bike was, and whilst they had their hot tea, coffee or food, I’d get their bike out and line it up at the entrance ready to go. It was 90 per cent coffee to wake up now, where as it was mostly tea for incoming riders. Later riders were still coming in, all through the night. Increasingly cold, tired, and disorientated. We were still wrapping blankets around them (sometimes two), and space found at a table. Hot food and drinks to follow. Fresh tea, coffee, corn beef hash and soup being produced at increasingly frequent intervals from the kitchen. I ought to talk about the bikes. Some were at the back of the hall, some were stacked four deep. Some riders didn’t know where their bike was. It was like a ballet to get some back out. I’d twist and weave amongst the mattresses, bike above my head. My feet turned this way and that, my body twisted, the bikes swirling above my head through 180 or more degrees to avoid hitting anything or anyone. I was solving a giant game of Tetris with the bikes, tables, sleeping arrangements and incoming and outgoing riders. Steve Abraham’s bike chain marked me with an oil tattoo, the mark of Teethgrinder; I was more successful with the bikes after that. Some bikes were stacked four or five deep and I needed to rearrange like the Towers of Babylon to get them out. Some riders leaving looked suspiciously light. We checked on them, and found they didn’t have their panniers, bags, or jackets. We checked and made sure they left with what they’d arrived with. Tim had gone outside in

‘Despite being tired, cold, and hungry, only a couple of riders were grumpy.’

the early hours. Some riders had turned back towards Capel Curig by mistake and he had to chase a few riders down to get them going in the right direction from the control. He stayed out to ensure riders went off in the right direction. He started to look as cold as the riders when he came back in for a hot drink. Minute by minute, hour by hour we took care of rider needs – whatever that need was. We anticipated many needs before the rider knew themselves. Sometimes that need was just someone to talk too about normal things. Sometimes for someone who could think clearly to answer a seemingly difficult choice or question for them. When you’ve done these events, done these long rides, you instinctively know what state they are in, what’s needed, in what order. Mike Lane asked if there was any spare clothing to keep him warm as he headed back out in the night. I had a Primaloft gilet in my car. I lent him that. It is size XL and swamped him. He couldn’t do up the zip, so I did that. More layers and long johns and he was on his way. It kept him warm till the warmth-giving rays of the sun arrived much later. Despite the organized chaos we woke riders at the right time, we got their bikes back out, we got them hot drinks and food again before they left. We ensured no one lost anything. We didn’t lose anybody. No one dropped out. One by one they departed as the tailend still came in. The tailend had less than an hour to sleep, then less than 30 minutes, with lanterne rouge having only 10 minute’s cat nap before heading out once more. Finally, after 5am, we’d got everyone back out on the road, after the TLC through the night. We then proceeded to deflate all the mattresses, fold blankets, tidy up. We sorted out the rubbish, cleaned up in the kitchen. We’d worked solidly 12 hours without stop, all through the night. Between 6 and 6:30am I headed out with Tim back to the start at Upton Magna. It only took one hour 15 minutes along the A5. I noted the thermometer in the car read 5°C at that time, it would be much colder on the high mountain roads the riders would be on. For me, making the decision to stop was heart-wrenching, and not an easy one to make. But the decision to help at the control was not a hard one to make. If you ride these long events, then you instinctively know what a rider is going to need, when they arrive at the control. I feel that I've learnt more about the spirit of audax, in this one event, the first I have not finished, than all the events I've successfully finished. I also appreciate, much more, how hard volunteers work to keep riders going. For a night I was one of those volunteers, when I didn't expect to be. I found it immensely satisfying. www.audax.uk.net


photos by Christian Lewis Photography

Mille Cymru 1018km, 16,000m ascent Pete Turner

Long rides like this challenge both your physical condition and your mental state. In fact, I’m sure some of you think anyone riding over 1000km is, indeed, ‘mental’.

A

lthough it helps to be fit, I don’t think you have to be a brilliant athlete to be successfull ; it’s the determination to finish that is more critical. Faster riders have the chance to get more sleep as the ‘full value’ riders have to reduce the amount of sleep they take in order to stay ahead of the cut off times. Sleep deprivation can affect people in different ways but, by its very nature, can cause us to make poor decisions at critical moments. One poor decision, like not eating enough, may not cause too much of a problem straightaway but a succession of poor choices can build up and be serious enough to cause a DNF. Extremely hilly rides like the Mille Cymru are more difficult to complete successfully because the lower average speed means that even the fastest riders have one eye on the clock and the bulk of the riders are chasing the cut-off times

at controls from the beginning of the second day. I consider myself one of the faster riders but I only had 70 minutes to spare after almost 75 hours on the road. The ride itself went quite smoothly with no major alarms although this doesn’t mean I didn’t feel pretty rough at the end of day three and the start of the final leg back to Upton Magna. The worst problem came from the unexpected chill as we descended off the Llanberis Pass (Pen Y Pass) in Snowdonia. The temperature had plummeted from a balmy 23°C on the coast near Harlech to 4°C on the pass. At the top I put on every scrap of clothing I had but was still cold on the long descent down to Betws-y-Coed via Capel Curig. Later riders had it even worse, with some reporting that their Garmins showed it was below freezing later in the night. Coupled with the windchill on the long drop off the mountain, some of them were showing signs of hypothermia when they arrived at the control at Betws-y-Coed. At least I had arm and knee warmers, long-fingered gloves and a windproof/ waterproof jacket. Some riders only had shorts and mitts because they wanted to travel light and suffered more as a result. Was that the right decision?

Photos: Christian Lewis Photography www. christianlewis photography.co.uk. Mob: 07956 555053

‘The worst problem came from the unexpected chill as we descended off the Llanberis Pass.’

Some snippets of the ride that stuck in my memory

End of day 1: going over the Brecon Beacons (a military training area) at about 11:30pm, we got stopped by an army squaddie as they had prepared an ambush for a group of cadets coming across the moor on a night exercise. They had set explosive charges to simulate an attack, so for our own safety we couldn’t proceed until the exercise finished at 1am. As you can imagine this wasn’t too popular with us but as more and more cyclists arrived through the dark, they gave up and let us carry on. I think the element of surprise had been lost by then! At the start of the final day, the temperature was still a bit nippy as we set off at first light and the descent off the first climb of the day, Hafodyredwydd (485m), had me feeling cold so by the time we approached Bala at about 7am I badly needed a warming coffee. We detoured off the route to look for a café that might be open but no luck this early. However, my riding companion (Robyn T) had a brainwave and tried the door of the White Lion Hotel. Result! It was open so we ventured inside but couldn’t find anyone about. We found the kitchen and

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mille cymru 1000 William Jones and Gareth Baines

Joanne Page

Steve Ralphs

could smell the wonderful aroma of fresh coffee drifting from inside. Eventually we found someone getting the dining-room ready for their guests (not up this early!) who would be happy to get us some coffee. WooHoo! We sunk down in some comfy sofas whilst we waited to be served and watched a bit of Breakfast TV. To (mis)quote Special Agent Dale Cooper (from Twin Peaks) ‘It was a damn fine cup of coffee’. We may have lost some time by

A quick summary of the facts and figures

stopping but I really enjoyed the rest of the ride back to Upton Magna and I think I would have struggled without the boost provided by that brew. The staff at the hotel couldn’t have been more helpful and didn’t seem at all surprised by our early arrival ; must be used to audaxers’ strange ways!

The Devil's Bridge

On day three, I passed some cyclists regrouping at Devil’s Bridge at the

Distance Climbing Start Finish Day 1 270km 4252m 11.00am 12:30am Day 2 304km 4215m 6.00am 10:30pm Day 3 303km 5545m 6.00am 11:00pm Day 4 141km 1988m 4:40am 12:50pm Totals 1018km 16000m

Time taken 13.5hrs 16.5hrs 17 hrs 6hr 50min 53hr 50min

Sleep time 3 hrs 4 hrs ½ hr (too noisy N/A 7.5 hrs

Clockwise: This page: William Jones and Gareth Baines. Joanne Page. Steve Ralphs. Group shot. Facing page: John Sabine. Andy Corless. Tim Sollesse. Daryl Stickings. Photos: Christian Lewis Photography www. christianlewis photography.co.uk. Mob: 07956 555053

bottom of the climb up to Cwmystyth and the Elan Valley reservoirs. Later on, as one of them passed me, I accelerated onto his wheel and had a chat. They were a group from the Wyre Forest/Worcester area on a three-day trip to Wales. ‘Going far?’ I asked ‘Back to Worcester, about 100 miles,’ he said ‘Not bad’ I replied. ‘How about you?’ ‘Started near Shrewsbury on Friday, down to Tintern, back to Llanwrtyd Wells, then down to St. Davids on Saturday, back to Llanwrtyd Wells and now I’m on my way to Snowdonia before heading back to Shrewsbury, about 650 miles.’ ‘Oh.’ Smug? Me, Never! OK, just a bit then.  N



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photos by Christian Lewis Photography John Sabine

Andy Corless

Tim Sollesse

Daryl Stickings


audaxing

How it all began Ian Prince

I really enjoyed the retro John Nicholas story on p.36 Arrivée 124 (even if it was a space filler). I suppose JN was fundamental to me joining AUK back in 1983. However, the header to the story suggests the article came from the Bicycle Times in the 1970s. (I seem to recall ‘BT’ being the newspaper format cycle magazine at the time?) I would point out that JN does mention ‘1981’ in the article, which was either great foresight or the article is from the early 1980s. [I’d taken a rough guess at the date as the magazine did not have a strapline, though in retrospect, 1981 seems more likely to be correct. Ed.] At the time, JN was evangelically trying to spread the audax word further and liaison with Pete Murphy (editor of Bicycle Action magazine) and John Potter of John’s Bikes in Bath who organised the ‘Great British Bike Ride’ Land’s End to John O’Groats, three-week LeJoG tour subsequently saw the opportunity to influence other long distance riders. Outside CTC, organised bike tours/holidays for large groups were not what they are today and were very thin on the ground, if almost non-existent, save for the London-Brighton and a few other day rides which John Potter also had influence in.  Of course the three-week tour was too slow even for the Audax Tourist Award at this distance, but following the inaugural tour in 1982, the organisers recognised that many working people could not take

three-week holidays, so put on a trial, two-week tour alongside in 1983. This did fall within the Audax criteria on what we now would call a ‘permanent’ basis ride. JN organised brevet cards/books and the trip was accredited. At the time I did not know anything about Audax, and it was a bit of a baptism of fire, as a lot of things related back to ACP and clearly JN had sights on attracting a wider audience to the 1984 PBP. (No internet in those days!) Due to a knee injury, I didn’t go on to do the following year’s PBP, although there was much talk about ‘giving it a go’ at the time. I wrote to and subsequently spoke to JN following the ride and have been a member of AUK ever since.  (Not Audax related, but the 1983 LeJoG was the first opportunity I had to sample a new fangled invention ‘The ATB or Mountain Bike’, two of which Pete Murphy had imported from the US. (They were a Gary Fisher and a Tom Richey I think.) Pete had earlier ridden one across the Sahara with a friend and they were being brought along as ‘spares’. Across the grassy campsite somewhere in Northern Scotland it was great, on the road … a disaster, due to the knobbly tyres … how fashions change and are now turning back to traditional bikes … which we used at the time anyway, on bridleways in the Peak District). I read somewhere recently that MTBs were not invented until the late 1980s!

Coast and Back audax Thorndaxer

Saturday morning saw a bright and sunny start for this trip to the north Somerset coast. A late route change, the day before, was prompted by road works in Watchet. Time to see if this new route was just as good as the old. So 9am comes and the group of riders roll out of Uffculme School for a nice flat start, which is unusual for Devon. After about 2k we leave the main roads and are onto typical Devon lanes, full of grass down the middle and potholes. However, we soon cross over the M5 on a cattle bridge and have to hop off our bikes at a secret control before crossing the main Penzance to Paddington railway line. Back on our bikes we follow the Tiverton canal for a few kilometres before riding into a field alongside what could possibly be the longest ford in the UK. Not really sure if it’s a road or a river but nobody chose to try and ride it, opting for the bumpy, cowpat-covered field instead. After this excursion we were back into the lanes heading out towards Wiveliscombe and beyond through rolling country side with Exmoor on our left and the Quantocks on our right. The new route avoided the road works at Watchet and took us on a more direct route to the next control in the station at Blue Anchor on the West Somerset railway. Card stamped and is was off the platform and 50yds round the corner to the Driftwood café for an early lunch in the warm sunshine over looking the Bristol Channel and beyond to Wales. Retracing our route along the coast road we soon turned south and headed back through rolling lanes to the station at Bishop's Lydeard for our last control. From hear it was quiet lanes through Somerset skirting the edge of Wellington before following the M5 corridor back into Devon for the finish at Uffculme garden centre for more tea and cakes. A great route, hastily organised the day before the event so hats off to Roy Russell for keeping the event on and for choosing such a great back-up route.

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postcardsHEADING from the INroad HERE Left: Col du Mont Cenis, France/ Italian border

Below: Dover Beach, England

Boulogne sur Mer, France

The road to Brindisi, Italy

Cycle touring art exhibition Postcards from the road– sketches from Bristol to Brindisi by Susie Ramsay

Cafe des Artes, Semur en Auxois, France

Col de la Lebe, France

On 4 May 2013 I set off from my hometown of Bristol to cycle to Brindisi on the heel of Italy. A distance of over 3,000 kilometres from my front door to the end of the Via Appia. This trip was featured in the Autumn 2013 edition of Arrivée. Today individuals document their travels in many different ways; through photography, travel writing and blogging. As an artist and a cyclist this was an opportunity for me to create something different and to present the realities of life on the road. The trip would follow the classic route from Calais to Brindisi designed by Audax UK, plus an additional Bristol to Dover section. This mainly followed quiet rural roads whilst occasionally passing through large cities such as London, Paris and Bologna, then finally along the length of the Adriatic coast of Italy. These paintings started as an attempt to document the key moments of the trip. From the lonely, flat plains of central France, to the mountain passes of the Alps and the busy Italian piazzas. Each postcard tells a story of single moment or a particular scene that captured the essence of that day. Together the sketches tell the story of seven weeks of hills, headwinds and brutal heat. These watercolour postcards were developed from sketches completed during the trip and worked up from photographs while back in Bristol. The paintings were brought together as an exhibition of 45 6in × 4in pen and ink drawings representing 49 days of cycle touring. During November and December 2013, all 45 of these paintings were exhibited at Bristol’s community bike cafe and workshop ‘Roll for the Soul’. Featured in this article are the eight paintings that are available to purchase as postcards or limited edition prints. For more information about the trip or the exhibition please contact me through my website www. susieramsayartist.com

Urbino, Italy

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west country randonnee

3D 300

Right: Seaton sea front, a nice place to eat your chips

James Gathercole I’ve been living in darkest Essex for almost two years now and I’m starting to feel like a Triangle (the character in Edwin Abbott’s novel, Flatland, who cannot grasp the concept of the third dimension). My previous 12 years and all of my formative time in long-distance cycling, had been spent on the hills of California, so this year I decided to try at least one ride a bit further afield and attempt to get a few AAA points.

W

hile some might head for the Continent, or at least Wales, I wanted to see what was available in England and after a bit of searching the 3D 300k was recommended to me. Now 300ks/double centuries have always been my favourite distance, they offer a ride that will usually take most of the day, they can be quite challenging and while you might need to get up a little early you can be back in your bed by a reasonable time. A fun day that doesn’t eat up the entire weekend and even if longer travel is required you can make a day of it and visit a few places on the way back. The ride is rated as having a total climbing of 5,150 metres and sets out from the village of West Stafford in Dorset with controls at Axminster, Crediton, Dawlish and Seaton, along with a few information controls, where it wasn’t too difficult to find the answers; I hate info controls that have me searching around for ten minuets to find the answer. Since I hadn’t done a high climbing ride for a while I did decide to drop my Carradice bag and rack in favour of a large saddle pack, in the hope that the reduced weight would speed me up a bit. Peter Loakes, our organizer, was kind enough to lay on a pasta dinner the night before, wishing to be a good guest I provided the garlic bread. Peter had also kindly offered his garden as a campsite, however, I booked a nearby camp ground as I imagined there’d be a similar number who’d want to do a challenging ride like the 3D to what I’d see on Terrible Two, ie, 100+ I was expecting his garden to have a similar number of tents to Glastonbury. So it was with some surprise I found out that less than 20 had signed up. Naturally the BBC had forecast heavy rain, on the other hand I’ve learned that I’d generally do better sacrificing a chicken in the garden to the weather gods than pay any attention to their forecasts. However,

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it seems the thought of rain had put off a large percentage of the others and so only six of us set off, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 5am. The first 70k or so to the Axminster control was pretty easy but did contain a lovely climb that must have totalled around 1,000 ft. I have to confess to a certain amount of little boy pleasure for this poor Triangle when his belief in the third dimension is renewed by encountering something that at least tries to be a sustained climb, I’ve come across them so rarely of late that I was beginning to doubt in their existence. Once we arrived at the control we had a some great food at the small railway station café, even I had a bacon sandwich although how some of the others could carry on after a full English breakfast is beyond me, of course that might just indicate I’m a wimp!

Harsh weather conditions

However, in next section, at around 10am it did start to rain, proving that if even the BBC repeats the same weather forecast over and over, eventually they will be at least partially right and indeed the rain continued until 3pm and was actually hard enough to force me to stop and clean my glasses more than a few times. That said, harsh weather conditions are part of the advertised appeal for rides in So Cal and the Inland Empire, so I embraced the challenge and modified my outlook, happy in the knowledge that I had a raincoat in my saddlepack if required. However, this turned out to be a source of irritation in the end, as it kept getting in the way of me finding stuff and after trying to minimise the weight I was carrying, it never actually got cold enough for me to need to use it! After the third Info control we entered a series of climbs and descents through lanes that included some of the single track with grass in the middle category, indeed one had the added challenge of an orange stream of water washing down it, presumably coloured from the clay soil. I pulled into a petrol station in Crediton for my next stop, which was partially so I could clean my glasses yet again and partially to have a nice cup of coffee to feed my caffeine habit, but also to replenish my stock of batteries. As another attempt to reduce what I was carrying I’d opted to use disposable batteries in my GPS rather than my usual rechargeables, in the thought that they would last longer and I’d need less. Sadly

it would seem I picked up a duff batch as instead of the 12 to 14 hours I usually get out of rechargeables I was getting more like three hours. By the time I got to Crediton I actually need to buy more! That’ll teach me to stay green and avoid throwaway consumerism. Next was a stretch of mild down-hill and the surprising sight of a road at the top of a climb steaming from the heat. There followed a few minor undulations before I rolled into the town of Dawlish, where I had two stops, first for a muffin and then on noticing the other guys at a café, I stopped for a coffee and chat with them. Then it was on to the penultimate control at Seaton, but first I got my

Right: Waiting for the off Below: If you have to fix a flat make sure there’s a rainbow! Old church at Marshwood

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west country randonnee

A large rainbow formed

After another climb and a set of undulations I easily found one of the final info controls by a pretty old church in Marshwood; by this time a large rainbow had formed and seemed to fill half of the sky. I was able to enjoy it for a little while longer when I fixed a flat a few miles further on. However, bearing in mind the amount of rain earlier in the day, I think I can count myself lucky with just the one puncture. The last section had me using my lights and even flicking them on to high

for some of the descents. Descents in the dark didn’t slow me down much since I always make the point of having extremely good lighting, in fact if you feel poorly and see a bright light coming toward you, don’t worry and for heaven’s sake don’t go onto it, it’s probably just me passing by! The final climbing section had a few more small lanes with grass in the middle, that are so common in England, but once over the last hump, that according to my map was around the Valley of Stones nature reserve, it was all down hill to the finish and a welcome pasta meal at Peter’s house. Peter is considering holding the ride at a slightly different time next year and asked me to include his email so he can receive feed back on the optimum date, it is: pete_loakes@yahoo.com. I highly recommend this ride, most of the roads had very little traffic, plus it was beautiful and challenging without being ridiculously tiring. I got back before midnight and without the minor mechanicals, cloudbursts and if I’d cared to push a bit harder, even this Triangle could probably have knocked about an hour off that time. Give it a try, you’ll enjoy it. N

Peter Loakes fixes a flat; note he did the ride on a fixie!

Below: The Profile and the 3D 300 route through Dorset and Devon

Photo: Christian Lewis Photography

appetite up on the nice 14 per cent sustained climb of Salcombe Hill out of Sidmouth. To be fair, my main Brevet bike has pole climbing gears, so I just moved into granny and span my way up. Seaton itself seemed a nice little seaside resort and I treated myself to some chips on the seafront to refuel for the final section. Long before this the weather had cleared up and I enjoyed a warm, sunny time on the promenade, indeed even during the night section I never got cold enough to roll my arm warmers back up and the next day I found I had some odd sunburn patterns on my arms where the arm warmers had been around my wrists.

Riders on The Mille Cymru 1000

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french alps randonnee

Route des Grandes Alpes Challenge Ian B

Prologue, Geneva–Thonon-les-Bains

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e all came out to Montreux on the Lake Geneva shoreline’ begins the rock classic Smoke on the Water. Not quite Montreux for the five of us but nearby Thonon-les-Bains, having reassembled the bikes at Geneva airport. The bike boxes ditched guiltily behind some screens along with some previous cyclists’ discards. No clear route out of the airport confines but our option seems to be about right. Soon we are directed by a friendly local cyclist onto a proper cycle lane that helps us through rush-hour traffic towards the lake where Jet d’Eau was standing proud. Murmurings of The Champions amongst the peloton confirmed our age range. Glimpses of distant rugged mountains to our right tease us as we head eastwards along the lake. After 20 miles we reached the overnight bed at hotel Le Comte Rouge in Thonon. Bikes stored in the basement, a quick shower and we were off in pursuit of food. A busy looking bistro was chosen and various chicken dishes ordered. A few beers later and the food arrived with the comment ‘non poulet, c’est canard’. Oh well, when in Rome!

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Day 1 Thonon-les-bains–La Clusaz (64 mile, 7,200ft)

Friday morning and it was off to the lakeside start for the photo-shoot before we headed south for Morzine on fresh legs. Col les Gets was our introduction to days of wonderful mountain scenery. Next we approached our first real tester, Col de la Colombiere (1,613m, 5,292ft), as the temperature soared. This one kicked up steeper and steeper and the realisation finally dawned that it’s going to be a challenge rather than a holiday. The top reached in pools of sweat and a welcome break as we regrouped at the summit café, after which we had a long downhill to Le Grand Bornand, a regular depart/arrivée in Le Tour, and onwards to La Clusaz and the Best Western hotel – Alpen Roc. The bikes were unloaded in a skis storage room followed by washing of cycle wear and bodies. Some temporarily revisited holiday mode by having a swim and Jacuzzi whilst I opted for a power-nap. A few beers later we decided to go into town for eats and a Thai gaff was chosen. We were fed like kings and returned to the hotel for a nightcap or three.

Day 2 La Clusaz–Villard Dessus, Seez (62 mile, 9100ft)

Saturday morning after breakfast we were straight into the climb of Col des Aravis (1,486m, 4,875ft). The peloton were pulling away leaving me to pace a skier upwards on a roller board propelled with ski poles. Click … click … click … as he followed on the road just behind me. A hairpin and he slipped back and the clicking faded. Started to enjoy the sounds of tuneful cowbells and fantastic scenery in an area renowned for Reblochon cheese but soon the familiar clicking sounds were right behind again. After many hairpins with the same scenario the final straight to the col was eventually in sight and the click-master went for a sprint finish. I allowed to him to pull level and was relieved to see that he was obviously an Olympian. I offered him a hearty bravo and set off to rejoin the waiting peloton for photos. The views of the Aravis mountain chain were stunning and soon in the distance was Mont Blanc looking massive! Downwards to Flumet and its one-way system. We eventually picked up the climb to Col des Saisies (1,107m, 3,632ft) and then onwards to Cornet de Roseland (1,697m, 5,568ft). The Roseland climb seemed to take forever so a welcome

All photos by the author

Route des Grandes Alps is a journey from Thonon-les-Bains on the shores of Lake Geneva through the French alps to Menton on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea or vice-versa. It runs over 450 miles and takes in some 15 cols, many of which are regulars in Le Tour (Colombiere, Aravis, Iseran, Telegraphe, Galibier, Izoard). Five challenge(d) riders (aged 42–55) on a sevenday ride schedule covering between 56–70 miles/day and climbing up to 9,000ft/day, unsupported, carrying luggage. An extra day before and after the ride was allowed for getting to and from the airports, making it nine days overall. We flew Liverpool to Geneva (Easyjet) outward and from Nice to Manchester (Jet2) return. Accommodation was pre-booked along the route in 2/3 star B&B or apartments. The early September weather was fantastic – blue skies, little breeze, no rain all the way with temperatures between 28–35°C

Su at Lake Geneva – ready to trundle

‘This one kicked up steeper and steeper and the realisation finally dawned that it’s going to be a challenge rather than a holiday.’

coffee break was taken at the lake café. I attempted to take my first ever selfie (not ‘onesie’ thanks Dave) photo with the lake as the backdrop. Apart from the grimace it seemed a success. The summit was later reached and duly captured on camera and then onwards, downwards to Bourg Saint Maurice. Our venue for the night was 3km outside the neighbouring town of Seez. 3km up a wall! Sounds of mutiny rang out across the valley. We reached Auberge du Val Joli and were rewarded with great views across Bourg St Maurice and surrounding mountains. The auberge was typically French but strangely had an English feel. The car parks were full of Lotus cars that were here on a rally. Soon afterwards a rally of Fiat 500s passed by and were cheered by the Lotus owners. The Fiats responded with beeps and cheers. Great? Petrol heads on tour. We opted for the set evening meal in the hotel which was chicken surprise – duck! The duck breasts were cooked rare, very (typically French style) rare. I enjoyed mine as it was also very tender but t’others were not as impressed. As usual clothes were washed and left to dry whilst rehydration was sought in a bar next door. A reasonable night’s sleep was had in the dormitory, except for a peloton member having a nightmare about a garage? A long story.…

Day 3 Villard Dessus, Seez–Modane (68 mile, 7,800ft) Sunday morning after breakfast we prepared bikes along with a group of Brit/Dutch cyclists who offered us the use of their track pump. They had seemed disbelieving that we were about to tackle Col de L’Iseran (and more) in one go carrying luggage. It was approx. 50km from Bourg Saint Maurice to Col

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french alps HEADING randonnee IN HERE de L’Iseran (2,770m, 9,088ft) and from the start of the climb itself it was 40km hence only the one col scheduled for the day. The route climbed to the famous ski resort of Val-d-Isere where the peloton again patiently waited for me. We stopped for coffee before setting off on the last 16km upwards to Iseran. The temperature cooled and the air thinned as we climbed. The effort left me dehydrated and with a slight feeling of altitude sickness. The top was finally reached and it was not long before I was shivering and donning my cag. Photos quickly taken and off downwards towards Lanslebourg and then Modane. On the way down we stopped in a quaint square of the lovely village of Bonneval-sur-arc, the highest commune in France, for more refreshments. Further on we passed an unexpected col sign that stated ‘Col de la Madeleine’. Just how many of these are there in France? Later we reached our overnight town of Modane and searched for the hotel Le Commerce whilst also sussing out any potential eateries. It was Sunday and many places still shut for the day in France. After asking directions we find our hotel and as if by magic right next door was a pizza takeaway open until 9.00pm. Is this as good as it gets? The now ritual unloading of the bikes, washing of clothes, showering of body, etc … led to some drinks in the bar followed by magical pizza, pasta and chips next door. Morning saw the daily reloading of the bikes and ourselves for another long day in the saddle followed a decent night’s sleep.

Day 4 Modane–La Chantemerle, Nr Briançon (52 mile, 6,900ft)

Monday and this was the dreaded day of Col du Galibier. First it was a gentle downhill start to St-Michel-de-Maurienne wherein a left turn placed us on the Co du Telegraphe climb (1,566m, 5,138ft). This was tackled in a moderate way to appreciate the fantastic views and save something for Galibier. Blue skies above and the temperature reached 30⁰C as the last bit of the Telegraphe climb greeted us with large structures made of straw. This time it was a horse’s torso (a previous visit it had been a huge straw man waving at you which had seemed comical). Other structures present were of dinosaur. Another set of petrol heads were gathered at the col. So photos taken and we set off and regrouped in Valloire village for coffee and to gird loins ready for Galibier. I had by now given up on trying to eat the power bars I’d brought from home (successfully used before) as they seemed sickly sweet and were sticking in my throat and made me feel nauseous. I’d put that down to effects of altitude, dehydration and exhaustion. However, I’d developed a taste for

savoury food and so bought large bags of salted crisps which I crunched up. These became my sustenance on the move during the rest of the challenge. Crisps = lightweight + carbo + salt + fats = lovely. The climb of Col du Galibier (2,642m, 8,668ft) was brutal as there was no shade after Valloire, only barren rock with steeply ramped sections that made you sweat, if only you could. Little wonder even the professionals grumbled about this one. We passed a pro-photographer and briefly tried to look composed, before the final assault. The top itself was very busy and we queued to get pictures at the summit sign. I pondered why motorcyclists were so intent on taking pictures of summits achieved by twisting an accelerator.

Broken weld on rack

The views from Galibier were truly humbling with huge mountains in every direction as far as you could see. All too soon it was time to don the cag and set off downwards towards Col du Lauteret (2,057m, 6,749ft). Briefly we stopped below Galibier to pay homage at the Henri Desgrange memorial. The Col du Lauteret was thankfully 8km downwards from Galibier. As we stopped at Lauteret one of the peloton discovered a problem with his bag carrier rack. One of the welds had broken. Various lashings were used to ease the burden as we headed downwards to Chantemerle and the Hotel La Boule de Neige. An hour to kill before our hotel opened so we used it to quench raging thirsts at a nearby hotel bar. We returned to our gaff, booked in and unloaded the bikes and stored them safely in a downstairs room. The usual clean up took place before we reconvened for food. Options were sparse as it was Monday and out of season in such ski resorts. We settled for bolognaise/tagliatelle which seemed to hit the spot with all. Afterwards it was back to the hotel for a nightcap as we reminisced the trials thus far.

Day 5 La Chantemerle–Barcelonette (68 mile, 6,100ft)

Tuesday after breakfast and my vital crisp purchase, we headed for Briancon and the Col d’Izoard (2,360m, 7,743ft). The day seemed warmer than ever but at least there was some shade from the larch trees during the climb. The shade brought its own problems though as I’d been bombarded with flies all the way up. Attracted no doubt by the smell of semi-washed gear. No chance of rushing away now on wearied legs to shake off the flies so I trundled upwards, arms flailed like a windmill. The ever patient peloton had gathered at a café just before the final summit climb. My raised hopes of a coffee (rest) were dashed as we set off the on the final bit in pursuit of the summit.

Feeling colder than it looks

‘The climb of Col du Galibier (2,642m, 8,668ft) was brutal as there was no shade after Valloire, only barren rock.’

Col du flies

More mountain views, more photos, more bikers, more sweet stalls – hang on, sweet stalls? I’ll stick to my lovely warm savoury crisps thank you very much! We set off downwards towards Guillestre stopping briefly at the memorial to Coppi and Bobet set in a pinnacle at the roadside. After Guillestre it was a climb to Col de Vars, a mere 2,108m/6,916ft, but on wearied limbs seemed such a long, hot, arduous slog. The luggage now felt like an anchor had been thrown out behind. After the summit it was downhill to Barcelonette. As we neared Barcelonette I was puzzled by a huge yellow road sign that referred to tomorrow’s first climb (Col de la Cayolle) as ‘En Traveaux’. Needed to find out what that meant, could be important. I enquired at Le Grand Hotel, our overnight stop, only to find out that it meant ‘out of action’. The receptionist kindly checked on the internet which showed that the route was open. However we’d spoken with hotel residents who had cycled up the day before only to be turned back due to bridge repairs. Confusion raged.

Col du flies

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french alps randonnee Our original route was in jeopardy and meant that we may have needed to extend our journey and also throw in the highest pass in the Alps (Col de la Bonnette). We completed the usual hotel duties and the peloton sussed out the worst bar (ever?) in town and then afterwards the best bistro which served a favourite of mine – Tartiflette (potato, onion and lardons in a creamy cheese sauce – best with the aforementioned Reblochon). Later we mulled over our options for the unknown ‘En Traveaux’ during a few beers.

Day 6 Barcelonette–Saint Sauveur-surtinee (68 mile, 7,900ft)

Breakfasted and loaded with luggage and crisps we headed for Co de la Cayolle and found more and more ‘route barre’ signs. However, there was a glimmer of hope as it looked as though they allowed cycles through during a window between midday and 1.00pm. However it was 10.00am and we were well into the climb. Just then some cyclist headed downwards past us and shouted ‘non allez’. Hmm!! We soon met a set of road works but not the main one and we passed unnoticed. Then another rider headed downwards and stopped to show us his cuts and bruises as he tried to explain about squeezing past the ‘route barre’ on some sort of narrow plank. Hmmmm!!! Onwards to another set of road works and a motorbike squeezed downwards and scraped, literally, between a digger and a wall. A worker then closed a gate as we approached and said ‘shut!’ I groaned. Heart sunk. Time stood still … He reopened the gate and grinned … the joke was on me. Oh how we laughed!! We climbed onwards and neared the main bridge repairs where about six workers busied themselves. What now? ‘Pardon monsieur, parlez vous anglais?’ They seemed unconcerned and I feared a long wait but soon afterwards one summoned us through and watched with Gaul-like indifference as we walked our bikes gingerly across. I thanked him with English decorum (whilst inside felt like punching the air). Soon afterwards we took photos at Col de la Cayolle (2,326m, 7,631ft) having had the road almost completely to ourselves.

Regrouped in the café

We headed downwards and the peloton regrouped at a café in the small remote village of Guillaumes for drinks served up by a very pleasant local – maybe an American? Refreshed we started to saddle up as a Brit stopped us and asked where we had come from? Geneva we replied and he instantly knew what we were about. Which way now he asked? We replied Valberg. ‘Ohhh, that’s hard!’ Not what I wanted to hear at this stage of the journey. He was right, another 15km up a wall, on empty legs (1,672m, 62

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Poseurs at Col de la Cayolle

‘The hairpins are what made the Turini section so popular during the Monte Carlo rallies.’

5,486ft). As we were due to rendezvous with the caretakers of our pre-booked apartments to acquire the keys, in the remote village of Saint Sauveur-sur-tinee, it was agreed that the stronger riders went on ahead. Contact was made and the keys were acquired as well as some food before the village shop closed. As I arrived we raided the boulangerie for pizza as a stop-gap before that closed also. A joint effort ensured we ate and drank well and a relaxed evening was spent on the apartment veranda stargazing and contemplating the final effort. After a good night’s sleep and homemade breakfast we rekitted the bikes for our last day in the saddle. Crisps at the ready.

Day 7 Saint Sauveur-sur-tinee–Menton –Beausoleil (73 mile, 8,900ft) Three more cols yet to do and several more villages with some intricate route finding. After Col St-Martin (1,500m, 4,921ft) we headed for the village of Roquebilliere where we circled a ring road until finally we asked directions. Some more wrong turns were taken before we eventually got back on route. The next col was the famous Turini (1,607m, 5,272ft) which was partly treecovered and offered shade on the way up. On the way down it had dramatic, tight hairpin bends where vigilance was needed. The hairpins are what made the Turini section so popular during the Monte Carlo rallies – named ‘the night of the long knives’ due to the headlight beams cutting through the darkness as the cars negotiated the hairpin bends. We descended at pace to Sospel and picked up the road to our last climb of the challenge, Col de Castillon, a mere 706m/2,316ft height. No sign of the Med yet but it could be sensed here. We topped out and after the photoshoot took a left turn through a small cutting and there she was! The Med! You beauty! It was all down now and Menton and the sea appeared closer at every bend in the road. Through Menton town and soon we were at the Med. Arrivée! The relief was mixed with huge satisfaction at having completed the journey, endured heat exhaustion,

altitude sickness, fatigue, flies and dehydration … Was it worth it? You bet it was! All that was left was to find our beds for the night in nearby Beausoleil at the Palais Josephine. This was an impressive grand old hotel now converted into apartments and done so very well. Our chief scout headed off in pursuit of food and guided us to an Asian eat-in/ takeaway where you chose from a large selection of curries, pasta dishes and rice all displayed like in a deli. They were then blasted in a microwave oven. Quick, simple, tasty, filling and cheap. Afterwards in celebratory mood we extended our rehydration in a bar as we knew there were no mountains left to climb.

Homewards: Beausoleil–Nice Airport (17 mile, 1,100ft)–Manchester

We headed off towards the airport which started with a 50-minute climb. Then downwards to Nice and through the city traffic. Bike shops were sought to try and acquire boxes for the journey home with limited success (1). Other bikes were wrapped in either polythene sheeting or mixtures of polythene with cardboard collected locally. I covered Su with a lightweight nylon rain cover (Halfords), carried during the tour, pre-adapted to pull up over the bike and tied with tapes along the top. Having firstly removed the pedals and turned the handlebars. All bikes were accepted by the check-in desk and also the large item drop-off area, much to our relief (the airline website had specified rigid cardboard).’Only a onehour delay stood in our way homewards. The bike van met us at the airport and all the bikes and the peloton survived to fight another day.

For the record

• Bike – Surosa Audax aluminium 10kg • Gearset - Sora Triple (50/39/30 and 11 – 28) • Tyres/Wheels – Vittoria Rubino 700 x 23/Shimano RS20 • Bike rack – Axiom • Luggage – 7.5kg rolled up in 13-litre Exped Fold-dry bag plus ASDA ‘bag for life’ in case of heavy rain and for carryon aircraft hand luggage. • Cycle shoes – Shimano RT31 w/SPD • Evening footwear – Crocs • Saddlebag plus two spares tubes, multitool, disposable gloves, cable ties, string, etc. • Miscellaneous – pump, 2 x 750ml bidons, spare folding tyre, Cateye computer, Smartphone, drinks powders + gels, Altura Pocket Rocket waterproof, arm/leg warmers. N

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auk calendar

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

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

400 09 Aug Galashiels Over the Hill and Back 07:30 Sat BRM 3400m £5.00 PBX 15-30kph Updated Audax Ecosse 01896 758 181 pedaller1@sky.com ROA 10000 Lucy McTaggart, 30 Victoria St. Galashiels Scottish Borders TD1 1HL 300 09 Aug Tewkesbury A Rough Diamond 06:00 Sat BR 301km 2500m [3450m] £6.50 c f l p r t nm 100 15-25kph BlackSheep CC 01684 292 390 ybgirkram@talktalk.net ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ 600 09 Aug Windsor Windsor–Chester–Windsor 07:00 Sat BRM 5537m £20.00 A(1) F L P R T S Z (100) 15-30kph Updated LEL2013 sandk.tandem@btinternet.com ROA 10000 Keith Harrison, 11 Heather Avenue Hellesdon Norwich NR6 6LU 100 10 Aug Connor Downs, NE of Hayle The Celtic Coastal 09:30 Sun BP 104km 1350m £4.00 C L P R T 12.5-30kph Audax Kernow 60 10 Aug Connor Downs, NE of Hayle Celtic Canter 10:00 Sun BP 750m £4.00 C L P R T 8-30kph Audax Kernow Chris Rayne, 1 Reawla Lane Camborne Cornwall TR27 5HQ 150 10 Aug Dorchester Dorset Downs 150 08:30 Sun BP 2552m [2177m] £9.00 F P R T 150 15-25kph Justin Oakley 01305 266798 justinoakley@hotmail.co.uk 100 10 Aug Dorchester Dorset Downs 100 10:00 Sun BP 102km 1995m AAA1.75 [1630m] £6.00 F P R T 150 12-24kph Justin Oakley 01305 266798 justinoakley@hotmail.co.uk Justin Oakley, 6 Linden Gardens Wollaston Road Dorchester Dorset DT1 1WB 120 10 Aug North Petherton, S of Bridgwater Three Towers and Middle Earth 08:30 Sun BP 125km £8.00 F L P R T 15-30kph Bridgwater CC 100 10 Aug North Petherton, S of Bridgwater The Two Towers 09:00 Sun BP £7.00 F L P R T 15-30kph Bridgwater CC Alan Windridge, 2 Gogs Orchard Wedmore Somerset BS28 4BP 200 10 Aug Old Ma's Tattenhall, Cheshire Pistyll Packing Momma 08:00 Sun BR 209km 3400m AAA3.5 £5.00 P R 50 T L (16/09) 15-30kph Change of Date Chester & N Wales CTC dmanu@outlook.com 130 10 Aug Old Ma's Tattenhall, Cheshire Momma's Mountain Views 09:00 Sun BP 137km 2000m AAA2 £5.00 P R 50 T L (16/09) 12.5-25kph Change of Date Chester & N Wales CTC dmanu@outlook.com 50 10 Aug Old Ma's Tattenhall, Cheshire Momma's Leafy Lanes 10:00 Sun BP £5.00 P R 50 T L (16/09) 10-20kph Change of Date Chester & N Wales CTC dmanu@outlook.com ROA 5000 David Matthews, Hill View Cottage Cross Lanes Oscroft Tarvin Cheshire CH3 8NG 110 13 Aug Maidenhead Riverside to Riverside 10:00 Wed BP 118km £3.00 P R T 15-30kph Willesden CC anemograby@hotmail.com Anne Mograby, 5 Castle Farm Leigh Square Windsor Berks SL4 4PT 100 13 Aug Marple Memorial Park White Peak Grimpeur 10:00 Wed BP 103km 2310m AAA2.25 £5.00 P R T 60 (8/8) 12.5-25kph Peak Audax 01457 870421 mike@PeakAudax.co.uk ROA 10000 Mike Wigley, Higher Grange Farm Millcroft Lane Delph Oldham Saddleworth OL3 5UX 200 16 Aug Belbroughton, N Worcestershire Kidderminster Killer 08:00 Sat BR 211km 3750m AAA3.75 £7.25 F L P R S T (70) (8/8) 14.3-30kph Beacon RCC 01562731606 montgomery@beaconrcc.org.uk 120 16 Aug Belbroughton, N Worcestershire From Clee to Heaven 09:00 Sat BP 1950m AAA2 £7.25 F L P R S T (65) 13-25kph Beacon RCC 01562 731606 montgomery@beaconrcc.org.uk Philip Whiteman, 2 Drayton Terrace Drayton Belbroughton Stourbridge DY9 0BW 200 16 Aug Gladestry, W of Kington Elan and Ystwyth 08:00 Sat BR 208km 3750m AAA3.75 £5.00 YH C BD P R T 150 5/8 12.5-25kph CTC Cymru rossjeal@gladestry.com 100 16 Aug Gladestry, W of Kington Radnor Roundabout 09:00 Sat BP 104km 1826m AAA1.75 £5.00 YH C BD P R T 150 5/8 12.5-25kph CTC Cymru rossjeal@gladestry.com

53 16 Aug Gladestry, W of Kington Gladestry Trot 10:00 Sat BP £5.00 YH C BD P R T 150 5/8 10-20kph CTC Cymru rossjeal@gladestry.com 200 17 Aug Gladestry, W of Kington Tregaron Dragon 08:00 Sun BR 209km 4800m AAA4.75 £5.00 YH C BD P R T 150 5/8 12.5-25kph CTC Cymru rossjeal@gladestry.com 160 17 Aug Gladestry, W of Kington Llandovery Discovery 08:30 Sun BP 3250m AAA3.25 £5.00 YH C L P R T 150 8/16 12.5-25kph CTC Cymru rossjeal@gladestry.com 100 17 Aug Gladestry, W of Kington Gladestry Gallop 09:00 Sun BP 107km 1625m AAA1.75 £5.00 YH C BD P R T 150 5/8 12.5-25kph CTC Cymru rossjeal@gladestry.com Ross Jeal, Monymusk Meadow Vale Gladestry Kington Powys HR5 3PR 100 17 Aug Musselburgh The Crystal Run 10:00 Sun BP 1600m AAA1.5 £5.00 F L P R 12.5-25kph Audax Ecosse martinfoley@btinternet.com Martin Foley, 78 Denholm Road Musselburgh East Lothian EH21 6TU 110 17 Aug Shere, Guildford Tour of the Hills 09:50 Sun BP 115km 2300m AAA2.25 £8.00 F L P R T 225 15-30kph CTC West Surrey 01483 810028 dggray7@hotmail.com Don Gray, Greenleas Beech Lane Normandy Surrey GU3 2JH 100 20 Aug Marple West Peak Grimpeur 10:00 Wed BP 103km 2400m AAA2.5 £5.00 P R T 60 (16/8) 12.5-25kph Peak Audax davecatlow@PeakAudax.co.uk David Catlow, 9 Friars Close Rainow Macclesfield SK10 5UQ 300 23 Aug Mildenhall Cycling Rally Mildenhall Rally Roving 300 04:00 Sat BR 312km £5.00 CPT (16/08) 15-30kph Suffolk CTC 200 23 Aug Mildenhall Cycling Rally Mildenhall Rally Randonnée 08:00 Sat BR 206km £5.00 CPTS (16/8) 15-30kph Suffolk CTC 160 23 Aug Mildenhall Cycling Rally Mildenhall Rally 100 miler 08:15 Sat BP 161km £5.00 CPTS (16/8) 15-30kph Suffolk CTC 100 23 Aug Mildenhall Cycling Rally Mildenhall Rally Brevet 09:00 Sat BP 105km £5.00 CPTS (16/8) 12-30kph Suffolk CTC 50 23 Aug Mildenhall Cycling Rally Mildenhall Rally Brief Brevet 10:00 Sat BP £5.00 CPTS 16/8 10-25kph Suffolk CTC Andy Terry, The Nook Colchester Road Great Bromley Essex CO7 7TN 200 23 Aug Newtonmore Rothes Reccie 08:00 Sat BR 2347m £3 CPT 15-30kph CTC Highland 01862 871 136 biker_carroll@hotmail.com 100 23 Aug Newtonmore Grantown Gallop 10:00 Sat BP 104km 992m £2.00 C YH L P R T 10-20kph CTC Highland biker_carroll@hotmail.com ROA 10000 Steve Carroll, Creag Charrach Rockfield Tain Ross-shire IV20 1RF 400 23 Aug Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire The Old 240 05:30 Sat BRM 407km 6400m AAA6.5 £5.00 C F L P R T 15-30kph CTC West Yorkshire 01422 832 853 chris.crossland@halifaxctc.org.uk 400 23 Aug Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire Not Quite The Spurn Head 400 05:30 Sat BRM 403km 2450m £5.00 C L P R T 15-30kph CTC West Yorkshire 01422 832 853 chris.crossland@halifaxctc.org.uk ROA 25000 Chris Crossland, 14 Stanley St. West Sowerby Bridge W. Yorks HX6 1EF 100 24 Aug Droitwich Saracen Century Audax 09:00 Sun BP 106km 1600m AAA1.5 [1500m] £8 L P R T 12.5-25kph Saracen RC saracenroadclub@gmail.com Sean Barker, 16 Leahouse Road Stirchley Birmingham B30 2DD 200 24 Aug Larkhall, nr Hamilton Four Passes 08:00 Sun BR 2420m £6 T P R L 15-30kph Royal Albert CC 100 24 Aug Larkhall, nr Hamilton Glen Taggert Splash 10:00 Sun BP 106km 1130m £4 T P R L 15-30kph Royal Albert CC John Robertson, 64 Victoria Street Larkhall S Lanarkshire ML9 2BL 110 27 Aug Marple, Memorial Park, SK6 Staffs Peak Super-Grimpeur 10:00 Wed BP 2800m AAA2.75 £5 P R T (22/8) 60 10-25kph Peak Audax audax@idnet.com Peter Coates, 182 Moor Lane Woodford Stockport Cheshire SK7 1PJ 200 30 Aug Bangor, North Wales Sych it and Sea (Gwynedd Traverse) 08:00 Sat BR 210km 2850m AAA2.75 £5 L P R T 15-30kph Holyhead CC j.h.sharp@bangor.ac.uk Jasmine Sharp, 409a Crafnant Ffriddoedd Road Bangor Gwynedd LL57 2GX 160 30 Aug Dore, Sheffield Amber and Green 08:15 Sat BP 2850m AAA2.75 £5 L P R T 14.3-30kph Sheffield District CTC 0114 255 0907 bigT.ridinghigh@gmail.com

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auk calendar 100 30 Aug Dore, Sheffield An Amber Gambol 09:00 Sat BP 1550m AAA1.5 £5 L P R T 12-25kph Sheffield District CTC 0114 255 0907 bigT.ridinghigh@gmail.com Tony Gore, 8 Ladysmith Avenue Sheffield S7 1SF 100 31 Aug Kirkintilloch Ivy's Mid Scotland Meander 10:00 Sun BP 1311m £8.50 P. R. T. NM. 15-30kph Glasgow Ivy richardbarnes776@hotmail.com Richard Barnes, 14 St Columba Drive Kirkintilloch G66 3JN 100 31 Aug Merthyr Tydfil Dic Penderyn 09:00 Sun BP 1900m AAA2 £4.50 P R T 12-30kph Merthyr CC 01685 373 758 adrianmcd2010@talktalk.net ROA 2000 Adrian McDonald, 2 Brunswick St Merthyr Tydfil Mid Glam CF47 8SB 200 31 Aug Uffington, Nr Wantage Old Roads and Drove Roads 07:30 Sun BR £5.00 P R T NM 15-30kph New Event Pat Hurt iddu.audax@gmail.com Pat Hurt, 10 Newbury Road Lambourn RG17 7LL 200 06 Sep London, Ruislip Lido, Woody Bay (beach) Station Steam Ride: London-Oxford-London (LOL) The Ghan reversed 08:00 Sat BR 2078m [2128m] £12.00 L P R T YH F 15-30kph AC Hackney info@steamride.co.uk Tim Sollesse, 59 Lynwood Rd Ealing London W5 1JG 400 06 Sep Stonehaven Old Military Roads 10:30 Sat BRM 6000m AAA6 £6 X P L R T (25) 15-30kph Stephen Reed Stephen Reed, Cairnbanno 34 Dunnottar Avenue Stonehaven AB39 2JJ 200 06 Sep Tewkesbury Mr. Pickwick goes to Hay in a day 08:00 Sat BR 205km 1900m £4.00 c f l p r t nm 100 15-25kph BlackSheep CC 01684 292 390 ybgirkram@talktalk.net ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ 200 07 Sep Arnside YH Northern Dales 08:00 Sun BR 202km 3000m AAA3 £5.00 YH R S T 15-30kph VC167 julian.dyson2@baesystems.com 100 07 Sep Arnside YH Northern Dales Populaire 09:00 Sun BP 109km 1675m AAA1.75 £5.00 YH R S T 12.5-25kph VC167 julian.dyson2@baesystems.com Julian Dyson, 5 Duke Street Gleaston Ulverston Cumbria LA12 0UA 100 07 Sep Hampton Hill, SW London London Sightseer 08:30 Sun BP £5.00 C L P T NM 10-20kph Updated Hounslow & Dist. Whs 020 8287 3244 billcarnaby@blueyonder.co.uk Bill Carnaby, 225 High Street Hampton Hill Middlesex TW12 1NP 120 07 Sep Lower Whitley, nr Warrington Terry Brown's 2014 'The Wizard and the Llamas Audax' 08:30 Sun BP 767m £6.50 L P R T 15-30kph North Cheshire Clarion Matt Ellis, 1 Truro Close Woolston Warrington WA1 4LR 200 07 Sep Lymington New Forest On and Off Shore 07:15 Sun BR 202km 2150m £17.00 L P R T 100 (3/9) Ferry 15-30kph Updated W J Ward 01590 671 205 cyclingnewforest@gmail.com 150 07 Sep Lymington New Forest and Isle of Wight Century 07:15 Sun BP £17.00 L P R T 100 (30/8) Ferry 15-30kph Updated W J Ward 01590 671 205 cyclingnewforest@gmail.com 100 07 Sep Lymington New Forest and Coast 10:00 Sun BP 102km £6.00 C L P R T 100 (3/9) 10-20kph W J Ward 01590 671 205 cyclingnewforest@gmail.com ROA 10000 John Ward, 34 Avenue Road Lymington Hants SO41 9GJ 200 07 Sep Moira, W of Ashby-de-la-Zouch East Midlands Forests 200k 08:00 Sun BR 207km £5.40 C P T R YH (40) (03/9) 15-30kph CTC East Midlands 01283 223 581 hilly@hillyswad.co.uk 100 07 Sep Moira, W of Ashby-de-la-Zouch Bosworth Battlefield Sightseer 09:30 Sun BP 107km £4.50 P R T C YH (80) (28/08) 12-24kph Mercia CC 01283 223 581 hilly@hillyswad.co.uk Ian Hill, 33 Wren Close Swadlincote Derbyshire DE11 7QP 200 07 Sep Walton, Wakefield Vineyard, Windmills & Moss 200 08:00 Sun BR 2250m £5 PRTF 15-30kph Calder Clarion 01924 251488 rich.hanck@tiscali.co.uk 100 07 Sep Walton, Wakefield Vineyard & Windmills 100 10:00 Sun BP 1830m £5 PRTF 15-30kph Calder Clarion 01924 251488 rich.hanck@tiscali.co.uk Richard Hancock, 51 Manor Crescent Walton Wakefield West Yorkshire WF2 6PG 200 13 Sep Chepstow Castle Border Castles Randonnée 07:30 Sat BR 3000m AAA3 £2.00 YHXPRT(14/9) 15-30kph CTC West ROA 5000 Nik Peregrine, 46 Bridge Street Chepstow NP16 5EY 200 13 Sep Coryton, NW Cardiff Ferryside Fish Foray 07:00 Sat BR 225km £8.00 YH L R P T 50 15-30kph Cardiff Byways CC evansrichardd@googlemail.com ROA 5000 Richard Evans, 73 Conway Road Cardiff CF11 9NW

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600 13 Sep Great Dunmow The Flatlands 06:00 Sat BRM 606km £6 X A(1) CLPRTM (06/09)(50) 15-30kph Flitchbikes CC tom.deakins@btinternet.com Thomas Deakins, 31 The Causeway Great Dunmow Essex CM6 2AA 200 13 Sep Richmond, N Yorks Dales Dales Tour Plus 08:00 Sat BR 3150m AAA3.25 £6.00 C F L P R T 14.4-30kph VC167 07887628513 david.atkinson577@virgin.net 150 13 Sep Richmond, N Yorks Dave's Dales Tour 160k 08:30 Sat BP 2500m AAA2.5 £5.50 C F L P R T 12-30kph VC167 07887628513 david.atkinson577@virgin.net 100 13 Sep Richmond, N Yorks Lucia's Vale of York Meander 100k 10:00 Sat BP £5.50 C F L P R T 10-20kph VC167 078887628513 david.atkinson577@virgin.net 100 13 Sep Richmond, N Yorks Dave's Mini Dales Tour 100k 09:30 Sat BP 1900m AAA2 £5.50 C F L P R T 10-20kph VC167 07887628513 david.atkinson577@virgin.net David Atkinson, 4 Borrowby Avenue Northallerton North Yorkshire DL6 1AL 200 13 Sep Tamworth, Pretty Pigs PH Wem, we get there 08:30 Sat BR 208km 1400m £7.00 X P R 50 (31/8) 15-30kph Geoff Cleaver audaxgeoff@gmail.com 110 13 Sep Tamworth, Pretty Pigs PH Charnwood Challenge 09:00 Sat BP 111km 1094m £7.00 P R T 50 (31/8) 12.5-30kph Geoff Cleaver audaxgeoff@gmail.com 51 13 Sep Tamworth, Pretty Pigs PH National Forest 50 09:30 Sat BP 400m £6.00 P R T 50 (31/8) 10-20kph Geoff Cleaver audaxgeoff@gmail.com Geoffrey Cleaver, 43 Goodere Drive Polesworth Tamworth Staffordshire B78 1BY 110 14 Sep Kennington, nr Ashford, Kent The Crown 10:00 Sun BP 111km 1750m AAA1.75 £7 F L P R T NM 60 14-26kph Ashford Wheelers paul.britton@ashfordwheelers.org.uk Paul Britton, Glebelands Station Road Pluckley Ashford Kent TN27 0QU 110 14 Sep Ludford, NE of Lincoln Lincolnshire Wolds 09:30 Sun BP £5.00 F P R T 15-30kph Updated CTC Lincolnshire timnewbery@hotmail.com ROA 2000 Tim Newbery, 7a Linden Walk Louth LN11 9HT 200 14 Sep Musselburgh The Erit Lass 08:00 Sun BR 3000m AAA3 £7.00 F L P R T 15-30kph Audax Ecosse martinfoley@btinternet.com Martin Foley, 78 Denholm Road Musselburgh East Lothian EH21 6TU 100 20 Sep Bolsover Beast of Bolsover 09:00 Sat BP 105km 2030m AAA2 £5.00 P R T 12.5-25kph Bolsover & District CC 01246 825 351 matt.connley@talktalk.net 50 20 Sep Bolsover Mini Beast 10:00 Sat BP 934m £4.00 L P R T 10-25kph Bolsover & District CC 01246 825 351 matt.connley@talktalk.net ROA 5000 Matt Connley, 7 Eskdale Close Bolsover Chesterfield S44 6RL 200 20 Sep Henham, Saffron Walden Shaftesbury CC - Chris Negus Memorial Rides 08:00 Sat BR 216km £5.00 L P R S T 15-30kph Shaftesbury CC 170 20 Sep Henham, Saffron Walden Shaftesbury CC - Chris Negus Memorial Rides 09:00 Sat BP £5.00 L P R S T 15-30kph Shaftesbury CC 110 20 Sep Henham, Saffron Walden Shaftesbury CC - Chris Negus Memorial Rides 10:00 Sat BP 116km £5.00 L P R S T 15-30kph Shaftesbury CC 50 20 Sep Henham, Saffron Walden Shaftesbury CC - Chris Negus Memorial Rides 11:00 Sat BP £5.00 L P R S T 10-30kph Shaftesbury CC Tim Stout, 31 Eversleigh Gardens Upminster Essex RM14 1DP 160 20 Sep Husbands Bosworth Welland Wonder 160 08:00 Sat BP 1675m £5.00 LPRT 15-30kph Welland Valley CC 01858545376 110 20 Sep Husbands Bosworth Welland Wonder 100 08:30 Sat BP 116km 1350m £5.00 LPRT 12-24kph Welland Valley CC 01858545376 53 20 Sep Husbands Bosworth Welland Wonder 50 09:00 Sat BP 525m £5.00 LPRT 12-24kph Welland Valley CC 01858545376 ROA 3000 Mike Vybiral, Logan Cottage Grange Lane East Langton Market Harborough Leicestershire LE16 7TF 100 20 Sep Rodborough, Stroud Pedersen 100 10:15 Sat BP 106km 2150m AAA2.25 £5 L P R S T (60) 12.5-25kph Dursley RC 01453 762235 james.reynolds@lein-ad.com 100 20 Sep Rodborough, Stroud Budding 100 10:00 Sat BP 105km 1650m AAA1.5 £5 L P R S T (60) 12.5-25kph Dursley RC 01453 762235 james.reynolds@lein-ad.com

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auk calendar 62 20 Sep Rodborough, Stroud Awdry 60 11:00 Sat BP 1000m AAA1 £5 LPRST(60) 12.5-25kph Dursley RC 01453 762235 james.reynolds@lein-ad.com James Reynolds, Ambleside The Butts Rodborough Stroud GL5 3UG 160 21 Sep Linlithgow Three Glens Explorer 09:30 Sun BP 164km 1350m [1850m] £7.50 F L P R T 15-30kph Change of Date West Lothian Clarion neil.fraser@blueyonder.co.uk Neil Fraser, 14 Maryfield Drive Bo'ness West Lothian EH51 9DG 200 27 Sep Alfreton Straight on at Rosie's 08:00 Sat BR 1190m £6.00 L P R T 15-30kph Change of Date Alfreton CTC tomandsuefox@yahoo.co.uk ROA 5000 Tom Fox, 180 Nottingham Road Alfreton Derbyshire DE55 7FP 200 27 Sep Broken Cross, nr Macclesfield Venetian Nights 08:00 Sat BR 210km 2750m AAA2.25 [2333m] £8.00 F L P R T 14.3-25kph Peak Audax perrin_john@sky.com John Perrin, 20 Princes Way Macclesfield Cheshire SK11 8UB 100 27 Sep Coryton, NW Cardiff Trefil Travail 9::00 Sat BP 105km 2270m AAA2.25 £8.00 YH L P R T 50 12-24kph Cardiff Byways CC 02920633970 A.H.Mackay@open.ac.uk Hugh Mackay, 131 Stanwell Road Penarth CF64 3LL 200 27 Sep Droitwich Way Out West 08:00 Sat BR 217km £5.00 C P R T M 14.4-25kph Gavin Greenhow 01905 775 803 ROA 25000 Gavin Greenhow, 44 Newland Road Droitwich WR9 7AG 100 27 Sep Sonning Common, near Reading Henley Hilly Hundred 09:00 Sat BP 1660m AAA1.75 £5 FLPRT 12-30kph Reading CTC brianperry_3@hotmail.co.uk Brian Perry, 16 Rowland Close Wallingford Oxon OX10 8LA 200 28 Sep Denmead, Nr Portsmouth Wylye and Ebble Valley 07:30 Sun BR £5.50 L P R T M (19/09) 15-30kph Hampshire RC mrpaulwhitehead@yahoo.co.uk Paul Whitehead, 73 Spencer Road Emsworth Hampshire PO10 7XR 160 28 Sep Haynes Road, Leicester, LE54AR The Leicester Circle 08:00 Sun BP 166km 1500m [1525m] £5.00 L P R T NM 15-30kph Leicester Forest CC 84 28 Sep Haynes Road, Leicester, LE54AR Inner Circle 08:30 Sun BP 1100m [1200m] £5.00 L P R T NM 12.5-30kph Leicester Forest CC Mat Richardson, 18 Clumber Close Loughborough LE11 2UB 200 28 Sep Pendleton, Lancashire Last Chance Dales Dance 200 07:30 Sun BRM 3300m AAA3.25 [3000m] £5.00 L P R T 15-30kph Burnley Sportiv burnleysportiv@yahoo.com Andy Corless, 31 Castlerigg Drive Ightenhill Burnley Lancashire BB12 8AT 100 04 Oct Bristol Tasty Cheddar 09:00 Sat BP 101km 1510m AAA1 £4.00 P YH 12.5-30kph CTC West 0117 925 5217 joe.prosser@blueyonder.co.uk ROA 4000 Joe Prosser, 8 Portland Court Cumberland Close Bristol BS1 6XB 200 04 Oct Chalfont St Peter The AAAnfractuous 08:00 Sat BR 207km 2900m AAA3 £6.00 L P R T M 75 15-30kph Willesden CC paudax@gmail.com 200 04 Oct Chalfont St Peter The Less Anfractuous 08:10 Sat BR 207km 2400m £6.00 L P R T M 75 15-30kph Willesden CC paudax@gmail.com 100 04 Oct Chalfont St Peter The Nyctophobic 08:30 Sat BP 109km 1400m £6 L P R T M 75 12.5-30kph Willesden CC paudax@gmail.com Paul Stewart, 25 Devonshire Gardens Chiswick London W4 3TN 200 04 Oct Coryton, NW Cardiff Gower Getter 07:30 Sat BR 203km 2200m £8 YH L P R T 15-30kph Cardiff Byways CC glharper1973@gmail.com Georgina Harper, 68 Hazelhurst Road Llandaf North Cardiff Wales CF14 2FX 150 04 Oct Darley Abbey, Derby Over the Trent to Dance and Pray 08:30 Sat BP 152km 1041m £6.00 L P R T 30 15-30kph CTC Derby & Burton 100 04 Oct Darley Abbey, Derby Over and Over the Trent 09:15 Sat BP 109km 637m £6.00 L P R T 60 12.5-30kph CTC Derby & Burton Keith Scholey, 1 Killis Lane Kilburn Belper DE56 0LS 110 05 Oct Blaxhall, Suffolk The Suffolk Byways 09:00 Sun BP 117km 620m £5.00 YH C L P R T (120) 15-30kph Suffolk CTC suffolkcyclist@gmail.com Paul Bass, 21 Thomas Close Ixworth Bury St Edmunds IP31 2UQ 100 05 Oct Bredgar, Nr Sittingbourne Hengist's Hills 10:00 Sun BP 103km 1750m AAA1.75 £5.00 RLPT 15-30kph Tim Ford 01622 884 622 timfarmerford@btinternet.com ROA 4000 Tim Ford, Glinwood Bexon Lane Bredgar Sittingbourne ME9 8HB 200 05 Oct Galashiels Etal-u-Can 08:00 Sun BRM 204km 2379m £5.00 BPX 15-30kph

Audax Ecosse 01896 758 181 pedaller1@sky.com ROA 10000 Lucy McTaggart, 30 Victoria St. Galashiels Scottish Borders TD1 1HL 100 05 Oct Hebden Bridge Season of Mists 09:00 Sun BP 2555m AAA2.5 £4.00 L R T YH 12-24kph CTC West Yorkshire 01422 832 853 chris.crossland@halifaxctc.org.uk 50 05 Oct Hebden Bridge Mellow Fruitfulness 10:00 Sun BP 1200m AAA1.25 £3.50 L R T YH 8-20kph CTC West Yorkshire 01422 832 853 chris.crossland@halifaxctc.org.uk ROA 25000 Chris Crossland, 14 Stanley St. West Sowerby Bridge W. Yorks HX6 1EF 100 05 Oct Winchcombe, Glos Winchcombe Falling Leaves 100 09:00 Sun BP 1750m AAA1.75 £5.00 F,P,R,NM 12.5-25kph Winchcombe Cycling Club Sarah Davies, 22 Binyon Road Winchcombe Cheltenham GL54 5QY 200 11 Oct Droitwich Droitwich-Lechlade 08:00 Sat BR 215km £4.00 C P R T M 14.4-25kph Gavin Greenhow 01905 775 803 ROA 25000 Gavin Greenhow, 44 Newland Road Droitwich WR9 7AG 100 12 Oct Abergavenny Marches Grimpeur 09:00 Sun BP 1950m AAA2 £5.00 YH F P L T 12.5-25kph Abergavenny RC waville@yahoo.com Jonathan Saville, 9 Trehonddu Llanvihangel Crucorney Abergavenny Monmouthshire NP7 8DG 100 12 Oct Alfreton, NW of Nottingham Beware of the Plague 09:00 Sun BP 107km 1900m AAA2 £5.50 P R T F 12.5-25kph Alfreton CTC martynleighton@uwclub.net Martyn Leighton, 46 Ashford Rise Belper Derbyshire DE56 1TJ 200 12 Oct Congleton Rugby Club Horseshoe Pass 08:00 Sun BR 210km £5.00 P R (60) 15-30kph Congleton CC dhurst085@aol.com 170 12 Oct Congleton Rugby Club Chirk Aqueduct 08:30 Sun BP 175km £5.00 P R (60) 15-30kph Congleton CC dhurst085@aol.com Denise Hurst, 10 Firwood Road Biddulph Staffordshire ST8 7ED 100 12 Oct Hailsham, East Sussex The Winchelsea 100 09:00 Sun BP 103km 1200m [1100m] £5.00 F P 15-30kph David Hudson ROA 25000 David Hudson, 151 Middle Road Shoreham by Sea West Sussex BN43 6LG 100 12 Oct Minehead Ken's Autumn Colours 09:30 Sun BP £5.00 L P R T 60 10-20kph Minehead CC 60 12 Oct Minehead Ken's Autumn Colours 10:00 Sun BP £5.00 L P R T 60 8-20kph Minehead CC Richard Miles, 1 Lower Park Minehead Somerset TA24 8AX 100 12 Oct Wigginton, N of York Gerry's Autumn Brevet 10:00 Sun BP 101km 942m £3.00 L P R T 12-25kph CTC North Yorks 01904 795 695 gerry.boswell@hotmail.co.uk Gerry Boswell, 5 Invicta Court Acomb York YO24 3NL 100 18 Oct Chailey, East Sussex Mid Sussex Hilly 08:30 Sat BP 108km 1600m AAA1.5 £5.00 F L P R T 40 (10/10) 12.5-25kph Grimpeurs du Sud 01342 314437 malinseastg@tiscali.co.uk 100 18 Oct Chailey, East Sussex Mid Sussex Hillier 08:30 Sat BP 108km 2012m AAA2 £5.00 FPRT 15-30kph San Fairy Ann CC malinseastg@tiscali.co.uk Martin Malins, 64 Blount Avenue East Grinstead West Sussex RH19 1JW 200 18 Oct Corwen, N. Wales The Clwydian 08:00 Sat BR 212km 3200m AAA3.25 [3488m] £5.00 P R T 50 15-30kph Chester & N Wales CTC vickypayne8@hotmail.com 130 18 Oct Corwen, N. Wales The Clwyd Gate 08:30 Sat BP 138km 2250m AAA2.25 £5.00 P R T 50 12.5-25kph Chester & N Wales CTC vickypayne8@hotmail.com 60 18 Oct Corwen, N. Wales The Bala mini- Bash 09:00 Sat BP £5.00 P R T 50 12.5-25kph Chester & N Wales CTC 01745 560892 vickypayne8@hotmail.com Vicky Payne, Bryn Celyn Penyffordd Holywell Flintshire CH8 9HH 200 18 Oct Tewkesbury Mr. Pickwick's Autumnal Outing 07:30 Sat BR 206km 2350m £4.00 c l p r t nm 100 15-25kph BlackSheep CC 01684 292 390 ybgirkram@talktalk.net ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ 150 18 Oct Trowell, West of Nottingham An Autumn Day Out 08:15 Sat BP 153km 1135m £6.00p L P R T(80) 15-30kph Nottinghamshire CTC 0115 932 9978 Mark Chambers, 62 Queens Avenue Hallam Fields Ilkeston Derbys DE7 4DJ 100 19 Oct Bynea, Llanelli Wesley May Memorial Super Grimpeur 09:00 Sun BP 102km 2400m AAA2.5 [2931m] £4.50 F L P R T 30 (11/09) 10-25kph Swansea DA jb@reynoldston.com John Bastiani, The Brambles Reynoldston Swansea West Glamorgan SA3 1AA

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auk calendar 200 19 Oct Carlton Colville, Lowestoft, Suffolk The Silly Suffolk 08:00 Sun BR £5.00 FRTP 15-30kph VC Baracchi johntommo6@btinternet.com 160 19 Oct Carlton Colville,Lowestoft, Suffolk The Silly Suffolk 09:00 Sun BP £5.00 FRTP 15-30kph VC Baracchi johntommo6@btinternet.com John Thompson, 136 Dell Road Oulton Broad Lowestoft Suffolk NR33 9NT 110 25 Oct Bolsover Colourful Clumber 09:00 Sat BP 111km £5.00 L P R T (100) 12.5-30kph Bolsover & District CC 01246 825 351 matt.connley@talktalk.net ROA 5000 Matt Connley, 7 Eskdale Close Bolsover Chesterfield S44 6RL 200 25 Oct Upton Magna, E of Shrewsbury Beyond Shropshire 07:15 Sat BR 202km 2970m AAA3 £6.00 A(1) C F L P R T 15-25kph Updated CTC Shropshire undulates@hotmail.co.uk 120 25 Oct Upton Magna, E of Shrewsbury Discovering Shropshire 08:30 Sat BP 1650m AAA1.5 [1545m] £6.00 A(1) C F L P R T 100 12.5-25kph Updated CTC Shropshire undulates@hotmail.co.uk 80 25 Oct Upton Magna, E of Shrewsbury A Shropshire Lad 09:30 Sat BP 1030m £6.00 C F L P R T (50) 10-22.5kph Updated CTC Shropshire undulates@hotmail.co.uk ROA 10000 John Hamilton, 22 Oaks Crescent Wellington Telford TF1 2HF 100 26 Oct Bovey Tracey The Dartmoor Devil @ 9 09:00 Sun BP 104km 2500m AAA2.5 £8.00 F P R T 125 (23/10) 12.5-25kph CTC Devon 01626 833 749 kevin.hindstreet@btinternet.com 100 26 Oct Bovey Tracey The Dartmoor Devil @ 8 08:00 Sun BP 104km 2500m AAA2.5 £8.00 F P R T 125 (23/10) 12.5-25kph CTC Devon 01626 833 749 kevin.hindstreet@btinternet.com ROA 4000 Kevin Presland, Hind Street House Hind Street Bovey Tracey Devon TQ13 9HT 100 26 Oct Galashiels Ride of the Valkyries 10:00 Sun BP 106km 1200m [1517m] £5.00 B,P,X 12-30kph Audax Ecosse 01896 758 181 pedaller1@sky.com ROA 10000 Lucy McTaggart, 30 Victoria St. Galashiels Scottish Borders TD1 1HL 100 26 Oct Stevenage (Fairlands), SG2 0BL Emitremmus Desrever 10:00 Sun BP 1019m £7 L P R T (19/10; 360) 12.5-28kph Stevenage & N Herts CTC 01438 354 505 jim@stevenagectc.org.uk 67 26 Oct Stevenage (Fairlands), SG2 0BL Emitremmus Lite 10:30 Sun BP 643m £7 L P R T (19/10; 100) 10-20kph Stevenage & N Herts CTC 01438 354 505 jim@stevenagectc.org.uk ROA 5000 Jim Brown, 38 Brick Kiln Road Stevenage SG1 2NH 200 01 Nov Cholsey, E of Didcot Upper Thames 07:30 Sat BR 212km 1900m [1943m] £6.00 L P R T M 15-30kph Thames Valley Audax 01491 651 284 philipmdyson@btinternet.com Phil Dyson, 25 Papist Way Cholsey Wallingford Oxon OX10 9LL 200 01 Nov Coryton, NW Cardiff Transporter 200 07:00 Sat BR 202km £8.00 YH L P R T 50 15-30kph Cardiff Byways CC 02920 341768 evansrichardd@googlemail.com ROA 5000 Richard Evans, 73 Conway Road Cardiff CF11 9NW 110 08 Nov Alfreton Prison Run 09:00 Sat BP 113km 1000m £5.00 P L R 12-30kph Updated Alfreton CTC bandj.smith@sky.com Brian Smith, 10 The Crescent Clay Cross Chesterfield S45 9EH 200 08 Nov Tewkesbury Mr. Pickwick's Cymraeg Cyrch 07:00 Sat BR 209km 2200m £4.00 c p r t nm 100 15-25kph BlackSheep CC 01684 292 390 ybgirkram@talktalk.net ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ 100 09 Nov Carlton Colville, nr Lowestoft, Suffolk The Waveney Wander 09:00 Sun BP £5.00 LPRT 15-30kph VC Baracchi johntommo6@btinternet.com John Thompson, 136 Dell Road Oulton Broad Lowestoft Suffolk NR33 9NT 200 09 Nov Cheadle, Stockport Eureka! 08:00 Sun BR 210km 800m £6 .00 P R T M 60 15-30kph Peak Audax hamhort84@talktalk.net 160 09 Nov Cheadle, Stockport Cheshire Safari 08:30 Sun BP 570m £6.00 P R T M 60 12.5-25kph Peak Audax hamhort84@talktalk.net Peter Hammond, 3 Dorac Ave Heald Green Cheadle Stockport Cheshire SK8 3NZ 100 09 Nov Petworth, West Sussex The Spordax 100 08:30 Sun BP 103km 1350m £7.50 F P T 15-30kph David Hudson ROA 25000 David Hudson, 151 Middle Road Shoreham by Sea West Sussex BN43 6LG 200 14 Nov Anywhere, to AUK Annual Dinner Dinner Dart ::::: Fri BR £5 DIY 14.3-30kph Updated Audax UK 0161 449 9309 200 15 Nov AUK Annual Dinner, Yarnfield, nr Stone, Staffs After Dinner Dart ::::: Sat BR £5 DIY 14.3-30kph Updated Audax UK 0161 449 9309 ROA 25000 Sheila Simpson, 33 Hawk Green Road Hawk Green Marple SK6 7HR 100 22 Nov Swaffham Community Centre, Norfolk The Swaffham Scorpion 09:00 Sat BP £5 LPRT 15-30kph 66

Arrivée Summer 2014 No. 125

NorfolknGood sandk.tandem@btinternet.com ROA 10000 Keith Harrison, 11 Heather Avenue Hellesdon Norwich NR6 6LU 100 29 Nov Catherington, near Portsmouth Whitchurch Winter Wind-down 100 09:00 Sat BP 106km 1600m AAA1.5 £5.00 F L P R T 15-30kph Hantspol CC jondse@ntlworld.com Jonathan Ellis, 42 Wessex Road Waterlooville Hampshire PO8 0HS 200 06 Dec Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire The South of Bucks Winter Warmer 08:00 Sat BR 206km 1100m [1290m] £5.00 YH A1 L P T X 100 15-30kph Terry Lister lister4cycling@btinternet.com Terry Lister, 4 Abbey Walk Great Missenden Bucks HP16 0AY 200 06 Dec Tamworth, Pretty Pigs PH Tinsel and Lanes 08:00 Sat BR 211km 2060m £7.00 P R T 60 15-30kph Geoff Cleaver audaxgeoff@gmail.com 100 06 Dec Tamworth, Pretty Pigs PH Flowers to Furnace 09:00 Sat BP 104km 940m £7 P R T 50 12-30kph Geoff Cleaver audaxgeoff@gmail.com Geoff Cleaver, 43 Goodere Drive Polesworth Tamworth B78 1BY 200 06 Dec Tewkesbury Kings, Castles, Priests and Churches 07:00 Sat BR 202km 2550m AAA1.75 [1800m] £4.00 f l p r t nm 100 15-25kph BlackSheep CC 01684 292 390 ybgirkram@talktalk.net ROA 25000 Mark Rigby, 16 Battle Road Tewkesbury Park Tewkesbury GL20 5TZ 50 07 Dec Carharrack, Cornwall Ed's Mince Pie and Mulled Wine 50 10:00 Sun BP £3.50 F L P R T (85) 10-25kph Audax Kernow 01326 373421 angells@talktalk.net Eddie Angell, 14 Belhay Penryn Cornwall TR10 8DF 200 21 Dec Great Bromley, nr Colchester Santa Special 08:00 Sun BR 202km £5.00 L P R T 15-30kph CTC Suffolk 07922772001 Andy Terry, The Nook Colchester Road Great Bromley Essex CO7 7TN 200 03 Jan Oxford The Poor Student 08:00 Sat BRM 206km 2000m £6.00 YH P X 15-30kph Pat Hurt 07887 87 61 62 iddu.audax@gmail.com Pat Hurt, 10 Newbury Road Lambourn RG17 7LL 100 07 Feb Dial Post, West Sussex Worthing Winter Warmer 09:00 Sat BP 104km £5 FPRT 15-30kph Worthing Excelsior CC 01903 240 280 Mick Irons, 36 Phrosso Road Worthing West Sussex BN11 5SL 120 21 Feb Whitlenge, Hartlebury, S of Kidderminster Sunrise Express 08:30 Sat BP 121km £6.75 P R T 100 15-30kph Beacon Roads Cycling Clu 01562 731606 montgomery@beaconrcc.org.uk 120 21 Feb Whitlenge, Hartlebury, S of Kidderminster Snowdrop Express 09:00 Sat BP £6.75 P R T 100 15-30kph Beacon Roads Cycling Clu 01562 731606 montgomery@beaconrcc.org.uk Philip Whiteman, 2 Drayton TerraceDrayton Belbroughton Stourbridge DY9 0BW 100 14 Mar Alfreton Three Fields 09:00 Sat BP 104km 1270m £5.00 L P R T 100 12-30kph Alfreton CTC tomandsuefox@yahoo.co.uk ROA 5000 Tom Fox, 180 Nottingham Road Alfreton Derbyshire DE55 7FP 200 15 Mar London, Ruislip Lido, Woody Bay (beach) Station Steam Ride: London-Oxford-London (LOL) The Ghan 08:00 Sun BRM 2128m £12.00 L P R T YH F 15-30kph AC Hackney info@steamride.co.uk Tim Sollesse, 59 Lynwood Rd Ealing London W5 1JG 200 21 Mar Alfreton Roses to Wrags 08:00 Sat BRM 212km 1391m £6.00 F P R T 150 15-30kph Alfreton CTC tomandsuefox@yahoo.co.uk ROA 5000 Tom Fox, 180 Nottingham Road Alfreton Derbyshire DE55 7FP 200 22 Mar Golden Green,Tonbridge Man of Kent 200 08:00 Sun BRM 203km 1526m [1425m] £7.00 F L P R T (120) 15-30kph San Fairy Ann CC manofkentaudax@gmail.com David Winslade, 3 Albany Close Tonbridge Kent TN9 2EY 200 04 Apr Honiton Valley of the Rocks 200 08:00 Sat BRM 205km 3900m AAA4 £7.00 L P R T 40 15-30kph Exeter Whs ian@ukcyclist.co.uk ROA 10000 Ian Hennessey, 10 High Street Honiton EX14 1PU 100 06 Apr Kilburn, N.of Derby National Arboretum 09:00 Mon BP 103km £5 P R T 12-30kph Alfreton CTC 01773 833 593 tomandsuefox@yahoo.co.uk 300 18 Apr Alfreton Everybody Rides to Skeggy! 06:00 Sat BRM 302km 1141m £7.00 L R P T X 100 15-30kph Updated Alfreton CTC tomandsuefox@yahoo.co.uk ROA 5000 Tom Fox, 180 Nottingham Road Alfreton Derbyshire DE55 7FP 300 09 May Honiton Old Roads 300 06:00 Sat BRM 3400m £8.00 LPRT 15-30kph Exeter Whs 01404 46993 ian@ukcyclist.co.uk 600 30 May Exeter Kernow and Southwest 600 06:00 Sat BRM 8200m AAA8.25 £17.00 YH L F R Z 60 15-25kph Exeter Whs 01404 46993 ian@ukcyclist.co.uk ROA 10000 Ian Hennessey, 10 High Street Honiton EX14 1PU www.audax.uk.net


Mille Cymru 1000


Mille Cymru 1000

Arrivee 125 summer 2014  
Arrivee 125 summer 2014  

The magazine of Audax UK, the long distance cyclists' association

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