Category Archives: Audax

Four Min Mile 200km Audax

As many people will know I love Audax riding, especially long Audax rides, I read all the write-ups about the various rides and admire the riders who do the super long rides which involve night riding, I often wonder just how far I could ride !!

My longest Audax is the Mildenhall 300 km which did involve a couple of hours in the dark but apart from that I have little experience of night riding.

Just recently I have started to ride with the Cambridge CTC, rides which I really enjoy, many of these riders are experienced Audaxers so I enjoy their company the stories they have to tell and soak up all the advice they give about long distance riding.

Nigel and Yasmin were planning to ride the Four min mile audax and while Geoff was out on a ride we were invited to join them, when he mentioned it to me I grabbed at the opportunity especially as I know no other women that like to ride long distance.

After the initial excitement wore off I realized it would be a hilly ride, as we went over the Chilterns not once but twice and  many hours would be spent riding in the dark so I would need a bigger saddle bag to carry a jacket and a better rear light, while I sorted the bag out I sent Geoff out on the hunt for the rear light

So the alarm was set for 5 am on Saturday 17th November and armed with our egg sandwiches for breakfast we met Nigel and Yasmin at the train station for the 6.24 train to Stevenage.

After collecting our receipt in Stevenage we were on our way just after 7 am, the outward ride to Oxford was lovely with perfect weather for the time of year. I especially enjoyed riding through Woburn and seeing all the beautiful autumn colors, we arrived at Iffley Stadium in time for Lunch, the choice of food at the cafe was disappointing but the stadium and Roger Banister memorabilia made up for the lack of choice.  The runner in me was drawn to the running track, shame I didn’t have my running shoes but I did have a little jog !!

An hour later and we were on our way again, deciding to take a detour down Oxford high street before heading back to Stevenage via Chesham and Welwyn Garden City. Having never been to Oxford it was a very impressive High Street.

The aim was to get over the Phoenix Cycle trail near Thame before dark, as the rumor was it had some bad road surface in places. I was very happy we got over it before dark as the surface in place was horrendous with cracks so big you could have easily disappeared down one if not seen.

Onward we traveled up and down, then along another cycle track that ended with a steep slippery narrow exit, Nigel made it out but the rest of us got off and walked and that is when Geoff discovered a Puncture, by now it was quite dark, which made changing a puncture very interesting, Geoff opted to change the tyre so didn’t have to look for the offending flint/thorn, after a good 30 mins the puncture was mended, with a helping hand from Nigel who had returned after noticing we were missing.

We were happy to be on our way again heading towards Chesham, and a much enjoyed Costa coffee. then it was more climbing and more downhills, along narrow twisting lanes, which made for challenging riding in the dark, a tip from Nigel was to keep my Garmin on the elevation screen so I could see what was coming. By the time we reached Welwyn Garden City my arms were aching from gripping onto my handlebars so much. 21km left to go back to Stevenage train station, better roads made for easier night riding and we rolled into the station and collected our last receipt with 30 mins to spare.

Not the best route for night riding and maybe better the opposite way round but then we would have missed the beautiful scenery around Woburn, but definitely a great calendar event to do.

All in all a great adventure with good company and it certainly has not put me off night riding.

( Thanks to Nigel for the Photos )

Saucy Suffolk 100km Audax

I had completely overlooked this Audax ( Thanks to my friend Sue for reminding me! ) so it was a last minute entry and what a good decision it was.

It was a fresh cold morning when we left home for the later than usual start at 9.30am, with fog lying in the valleys but the sunshine was forecast for later in the day.

Arriving at Debenham nice and early we had time for a coffee and a mingle with the many other riders all out to enjoy the predicted beautiful Autumn day.

The route was a figure of 8 so any new riders to Audax could do a shorter 54km while more experienced riders could do the full 100km. Tea and cake were at the church in Debenham at the halfway point, all money going to the local school, very good cake it was too!

A great ride on a perfect Autumn day although a few too many stops for us but that’s probably because we are used to doing longer rides.

Good to be back out on Annie after my short but sweet love affair with the Pinarello in Mallorca.

Mildenhall Roving 300 Audax (the long one )

In August while Geoff was still away in Russia I suddenly thought the time is slipping away and I still have 2 rides on my Audax list that needed doing before the end of the Audax year in October.

A 300km Audax and a Hilly Audax.

I had the Mildenhall Roving 300 in mind as it was close to home, started at 5 am, which I thought would be better than a nighttime start and it was flat. As it seemed we were unlikely to get to Derbyshire for our hilly Audax I was Drawn to the Welland Wonder 160, again close to home starting from Husbands Bosworth.

So on Friday  24th August, we booked ourselves into the Barton Mills Travel Lodge, 4 miles from West Row Village Hall and the start of the Mildenhall Roving 300 Audax. We set our Alarm for 3.30am and decided to ride the 4 miles to the start. Apart from one test ride, this was my first experience of riding in the dark.

After collecting our brevet card, enjoying a cup of tea and a chat with the other 27 riders it was out into the cold and dark at 5 am to begin our journey.

The First stop was at Wally’s cafe for Breakfast an amazing 68k watching the sunrise.

After a very welcome hot drink and a bacon sandwich, we left Wallys with Alex, Richard, and Rikki and stayed with them till Halesworth at 157k, around the halfway point.

This is where Geoff made a big mistake and had a huge dinner of fish and chips along with 2 bottles of milkshake.

We spent the next few miles or so riding on our own till we caught Alex up who unfortunately had a mechanical and a broken chain, we stopped to help but even Geoff with his magic bag of spares did not have the link needed to mend the chain. very sadly we had to leave Alex to make his way back to the train station while we continued on our way.

At 197k we rode into Diss on our own, found a Costa coffee and enjoyed a nice slice of cake, which perked Geoff up nicely, then just as we were about to leave Richard and Ricci rode passed and the 4 of us continued on our way to Wymondham.

At Wymondham and 221k, my friend Jayne came to see us at the market square while we re-fueled and found the answer to the question, when was the Great fire we then set off on our way to Swaffham and home territory, by the time we reached Swaffham it was dark and with only 50k to go I started to get a real buzz as I realized we were almost finished.

After stopping at the shop, for our receipt and more refueling, the guy inside also insisted Geoff had a red bull, for an extra burst of energy, 5 of us set off in the dark towards Mildenhall.

The next 50k was some of the most awesome miles I have ever ridden, along a quiet country road, where you could hear every animal and bird sound possible, having a full moon to guide us also helped, at one point an owl appeared and flew along the road above Richard which was just an amazing sight. Then at around 10.15pm, we rode back into West row Village Hall and My First 300k ride was done !!!!

We rode back to the travel Lodge making it a 196-mile round trip, after the obligatory  Audax Macdonalds, we packed the bikes into the car and drove back to Cambridge, with me wondering if I could do a 600k !!!!!!

( Thank you to Alex for the Photo )

It’s been a while

It’s been a while since I last posted here, 4 months in fact which is far too long.

I have had lots to say but with things going on with my white blood cells, a sore shoulder and back mixed together with menopausal stuff well truthfully I often didn’t want to talk to anyone let alone write my blog

Things are looking up now, my white blood cells are behaving, my shoulder and back improving by the week and the hot flushes that I thought might kill me, seem to be under control with a magic pill from the Doctor!

During all this time I have done some wonderful things with Geoff and my friends ……

I managed to Run the Cambridge half with hardly any training and was very happy with my time

After the long cold winter months I finally got out to do my first Audax of the year with Geoff, it was, in fact, my longest ride to date 142 miles, a permanent route called the Pork Pie and very hilly might I add.

This year we did the Daffodil Dawdle as a run/walk which was amazing we covered the 18 miles in 6 hours about 2 hours quicker than when we just walk

Then I had an awesome week in Mallorca with Geoff and friends from SWNC, I had been worried I would not be able to do the planned rides which included Pug Major, due to my back, but with a few painkillers I achieved all I set out to do

Straight back from Mallorca to run the GEAR 10k an amazing event with all the ladybirds and my Norwich running friends, I was a little slower due to my back but I did it.

Then to celebrate Linda’s birthday we had Chase the Train 10km my back was quite sore for this and if I am honest I hated the first 3/4 miles on a narrow single track but when we switched over to the opposite side of the track the path widened and I enjoyed the final 5 miles but what really made this run special was the ride back to Aylsham on the tiny steam train

Another 200 km Audax enjoyed with Geoff from Long Melford, I really enjoy these longer rides.

And then just for fun, I met up with my lovely Norwich running friends at Debden winery for the wine run, 6 wine tasting stops around a 10 km mainly off road run. I would estimate we drank 30 shots of wine, after crossing the finish line you received a huge glass of wine with your medal, we then enjoyed a really fun happy afternoon with a BBQ and yes you guessed wine !!

I am still having problems with my back when I run but it is much improved, I can only hope it keeps improving so I can start training for Wissey half soon as I miss my running so much …….

My first but not last Hilly Audax

July 2015 was the first time I tried to ride my bike in Derbyshire, a 50 mile route from Buxton that totally destroyed me, mentally and physically and I vowed I would never go again.

Untitled After that,  I have avoided hills as much as possible because just the thought of them made me panic and break into a sweat.

Then I changed my bike, started getting stronger,doing longer rides including three, 200km Audaxes and The lap of Anglia, so when Geoff suggested an Audax in Derbyshire, after my initial panic I thought I have to do this because Geoff has accompanied me on the long Audaxes its only fair I accompany him on a hilly one.

So yesterday I found myself in Alfreton for the Hilly Beware of the Plague Audax around the Peak District. I wore my SWNC kit and It attracted many funny looks, many of the other riders wondering if I knew what a hill was !!!

I was told get to Eyam tea rooms and all the hills would be done, so off we set and I actually found myself enjoying the lovely scenery, amazing views, and the climbs, it felt like in no time at all we arrived at the first control point at Eyam T-rooms.Some of the other riders teased me saying you made it then !! Then proceeded to tell me that I had not seen a hill yet !!!

UntitledWe left the tea rooms with me wondering what was to come, but happily, I can say it was just more great scenery fabulous views and enjoyable riding, In fact, we were enjoying ourselves so much we forgot to stop at Monsal Head and get a photo of the viaduct !!  luckily we seemed to miss all the heavy showers just catching a little drizzle now and again.

As we headed back to Alfreton we passed the Crich Stand, Geoff suggested we go take a look but as it was at the top of a long hill I declined. We arrived back in Alfreton at 3.30 just as the heavens opened and I can honestly say it was a very enjoyable Audax.

Sadly this will most likely be the last Audax I get to do this year as Geoff will be going off on his travels again soon but I am sure next year we shall be doing more of the hilly Audaxes.

Norfolk Special Audax

No sooner was Geoff back from his travels and I had him out on a 200km Audax  strike while the iron is hot was my plan.

It was the Norfolk Special from Lound near Lowestoft, it’s quite a drive for an early start so we decided to stay over in Lowestoft.

Now we have done quite a few Audax it’s nice to see familiar faces on these rides.

I had already done one 200km Audax but this was to be Geoffs first, I knew he was perfectly capable of doing it, it’s just a matter of pacing yourself, something Geoff is not too good at. He starts off quickly trying to keep up with the fast boys then runs out of steam before the finish, whereas I go out slower and have energy at the end.

The route was described as offering a bit of everything that is nice about Norfolk – the Broads, the hillier and scenic north Norfolk, and the North Norfolk coastal village of Stiffkey and attractive market towns, finishing on gentle terrain along the flatter but still pleasant and quiet lanes of South Norfolk

As always the route did not disappoint us, we were lucky with the weather, the route had plenty of info points and 2 cafe stops, one in Wymondham where our friend Jayne lives, so we arranged to meet her there for a coffee which was nice.

Doing these rides has taught me that there is more to riding than bombing round the countryside as fast as possible which means I enjoy the more relaxed riding an Audax offers.

So another fab day out on our bikes Geoff said never again but I have other plans !!!!!!

A busy few months

While Geoff has been away touring around South Korea and Japan, I have been filling my time doing the things I love….. running, biking and walking.

First It was the LDWA Daffodil Dawdle, Gina and I have walked the Daffodil Dawdle before from Kirtling, in unforgettable conditions which included a lot of Mud, Rain and Snow, last year we gave it a miss opting to do the Flowers of Suffolk later in the year instead where Jo and Jayne joined us too. We enjoyed that walk so much that we decided to risk the Daffodil Dawdle again.This year it was from Stradbroke and luckily we were blessed with a lovely sunny day and a beautiful route. Many people run or run/walk these events and we were inspired by these people and have decided that a challenge for next year will be to run/walk the 18 miles

Easter and a 4-day break for me, I usually hate Bank Holidays when Geoff is away but thanks to Parkrun and SWNC I had a fab Easter break, filled with running biking and fun.

My Next adventure was a 200km Audax, something I have wanted to do for a while, so when the opportunity came up to join a couple of friends I jumped at the chance. It was an awesome day, starting from Seething, riding on lovely country lanes and roads, the route took us out to the Maglia Rosso cafe near Bury St Edmunds then we headed to the coast via Framingham, Saxmundham and Southwold before returning back to Seething. The miles just seemed to fly by and I returned home eager to book another 200km Audax with Geoff.

Amazingly my next big event was running Parkrun number 100, not such a big achievement when many have run 200 but for me it was huge as I was the person that was never going to do Parkrun, why would I want to set my alarm clock on a Saturday I told everyone but it took just one Parkrun and I was hooked, now I cannot imagine a weekend without a Parkrun

 

Then to top it all off there was the 10k GEAR run, I have done this run many times but had to miss it last year due to injury, so it was nice to be back running a home event with many lovely friends and Ladybirds. This year it was being run by the Asda foundation and as a runner, I can say it was very well organised with a great medal, T-shirt and goodie bag. There was also the most amazing amount of support around the route, which provided a magic atmosphere.Due to not running for 10 days and doing 250 plus miles on my bike I didn’t expect to run a good time, but my legs had other ideas, a great time of 56.53 missing out on a P/B by 10 seconds !! After the run we all went to the pub, enjoying food, drink and of course lots of chatting and it really did feel like I just about knew everyone.

Now Geoff is home for the summer and I have lots of exciting things planned for him !!!!!!

New Year QE2 100km Audax

One of my Christmas gifts from Geoff was an Audax membership, Audax rides are something I really enjoy and as Geoff prefers these to sportive’s it something we can enjoy doing together.

So with this in mind we booked our first Audax of 2017, the New year QE2 100km from Swaffham for Jan 14th , little did we know that this weekend there would be a bad weather warning !

The sprinkling of snow which arrived early on Friday 13th was followed by strong wind and low freezing temperatures. I think it was the wind that saved the day because it dried out all the roads leaving just a few icy patches to look out for.

Thankfully the strong wind  disappeared over night leaving us with a very sunny if cold day, this sun did cause a few problems though as it was very strong and low making visibility hard at times.

The route had info points at Docking, Swanton Novers and Hulver street with a control point at Nortons cafe, where the coffee and scones were as good as ever. It was the first real outing for my Hip Flask, a christmas gift from Matthew, I filled it with home made Sloe Gin which hit the spot on this cold day.

Luck was on our side and we enjoyed a great ride, only having to take real care at a few hazardous places, unfortunately on the way to Bradenham we had to help two guys who came off on ice just behind us and I believe one has a fractured hip, it could so easily have been us but that is the risk we take.

We arrived back at Swaffham community centre 5 and a half hours after setting off ,we were greeted with Home made soup ,rolls, bread pudding and tea/coffee, which we enjoyed along with many other riders.

A great start to our Audax year, many thanks to Jonathan and all the volunteers who make these events possible and I am looking forward to riding many more especially my first 200 km Audax with Julie sometime in May when the weather should hopefully be warmer.