Category Archives: Audax

Horsepower 200km Audax

At last a calendar event, an opportunity to meet up with like minded people and soak in all the amazing Audax stories!

We arrived in Great Dunmow with plenty of time to get our Brevet Card and have a coffee, it wasn’t long before we were seeing familiar faces and chatting with other riders we knew from Cambridge. The talk was mainly about the wind and how it would blow us out to Snetterton then would be head-on from Snetterton to Newmarket before easing up again for the last leg home!

It’s all Bananas

At 7.30 am we all gathered outside ready to go, I love the way complete strangers chat away to you like they know you, Audax riding is so friendly, after the first few kms, the group starts to spread out as we settle into our own riding pace.

Our aim was to try and get to the halfway point at Snetterton without a cafe stop, and with the tailwind, we were flying along, as we came into Lavenham the church looked very grand and always makes me think wow! By 9:20 nick was stamping our brevet card, after eating a hot cross bun I had in my pocket we set off for Snetterton.

Due to the tailwind, we made good time to Snetterton, arriving at 11.40, making it a very enjoyable ride but as we turned into Snetterton circuit we got a taste of what was to come. At Tyrell’s Restaurant, the service was quick and efficient, as we ate, we thought about the howling wind outside and watched as other riders set off into the wind.

40 mins later we ventured out into the wind, the wind so strong we could barely stand up straight. As we set off I thought once we get out of Snetterton and back onto the roads it would ease up but I was wrong! The strong head/ side winds continued all the way to Newmarket and were the most ferocious winds I have ever experienced, I learnt quickly to observe my surrounding look for gaps in the hedges and keep the bike in a low gear, it was mentally exhausting and at times out my comfort zone!

The religious experience

Just over 3 hours later we made it to Newmarket, by this time I was dreaming about a cafe stop out of the wind, so my heart sank a little as Geoff turned into the BP garage, but we soon had food and a receipt for our Brevet Card. We also found other riders here too, including Nigel and our quick stop turned into a 30 min stop as we chatted away.

As we set off again we realised much to our delight that the wind had dropped and we had less than 50 km to do, after spending most of the ride on our own it was nice to see other riders too and the time passed quickly as we played leapfrog along the way, getting a blast of Nigel’s music every now and again also lifted my spirits.

Before long it was dark and I got the chance to try my new Volt 800 light out, I had bought it as an extra light to use with my volt 400, mounting it on my handlebars so I could turn it on and off as needed, it worked really well and I felt much more confident riding in the dark, the roads were reasonably good so our speed did not slow down due to the darkness.

We had 3 choices for the final return to Great Dunmow , the main road, which could be busy, the valley road which may contain potholes , or option C which was slightly longer , originally we (or should I say Geoff) had plotted out option C but was enjoying the ride so much we decided to keep to the main road, with the others, in hindsight we wish we had taken the valley road as the main road was quite busy and we had plenty of time so think the valley road would have been more enjoyable.

Finally at 18.40 we pulled back into the St. Mary’s Centre at Great Dunmow, to be greeted with soup, rolls and tea, as usual, I felt quite “high” from such an achievement and enjoyed the banter with fellow riders, while discussing the ride, we discovered that a few others had actually been blown off their bikes by the gusts of wind, but thankfully no damage had been done.

So that’s 6 out of 12 ! and surely the good weather is now on its way, April’s ride is a 300 so that will be an interesting tale !

Cambridge Shipping Lanes 200km Audax

February the month I hate most, having done 4 x 200km Audaxes we decided we just had to fit in a February one. We decided on a permanent event, Cambridge Shipping lanes 200km then we could choose when to ride it, unfortunately, weather stopped play on our preferred date so we were left with only one option, 16th February, the day before my Valentine 10km run, not ideal but it had to be done.

Luckily for us, the weekend forecast was clear mild and maybe even sunny.

Sunrise

We left Cambridge at 7 am just as the sun was rising, something I still find awesome, we thought we would try and get to the halfway point before stopping for food.

The route was very rolling and took us through some beautiful villages including the historic Lavenham, by the time we got to Hadleigh at 11 am I was feeling quite hungry so we stopped for breakfast at Huffers, we keep trying to cut our break times down on these rides but it was still 30 mins before we were on our way again.

Another hour and a half of lane riding followed by a nice fast stretch into Shotley and we arrived at the Shipwreck pub on the peninsular, neither of us were really hungry or needing a break but it was so lovely we decided to have coffee and cake while enjoying the view. 30 mins later we were on our way home, I always love the halfway point!

We or should I say I got the first puncture as we were cycling through the Royal Hospital, a very interesting looking place which is not a hospital as the name suggests! I thought it must have military connections as once you have lived on a military base you can spot them a mile off! A lovely man came to help bringing a track pump, he also told us the history of the place, how it was now a private school, had naval connections and how originally it was where all the naval orphans were sent to live.

Looking over to Felixstowe

Once on our way again, Geoff had a close call with a cat, who refused to move out the middle of the road then a deer almost took me out, the speed they run at was quite frightening, before long the sun was setting and the night time riding started.

Still a novice at this night time riding I tend to slow down a little and take my time especially when the roads are full of potholes, But we made it to Sudbury with no major mishaps, here we had our obligatory Audax Macdonalds stop, 30 mins seems to be our standard stopping time!

Just after Great Thurlow Geoff, had a visit from the puncture fairy, he was not happy especially as it was now dark, but with a bit of patience and using the spare tyre we were soon on our way, only for him to hit a hole further down the road and puncture again! This time he really was not happy, I recalled that in the write up I had read about the route, we would soon be at Balsham and it was all downhill from there, so I tried to comfort Geoff with this news but he was having none of it.

Running bling

Once we got going again my mind fixed onto the downhill into Cambridge and I am happy to say the roads improved and it was a fabulous ride back into Cambridge,interestingly the only hassle we had from other road users was from a Double decker bus as we came into Fulborne, for some unknown reason he had his hand on his horn behind me and all the while he was passing,we thought it could have been because He thought I should be on the cycle path!

I always expected February to be the hardest month for doing a 200km Audax but the weather was very kind and now I am almost at the 6-month point of no return for an RRtY….. I just have to keep Geoff interested and at home!

Btw the Valentines 10km run was the hardest run ever, my legs just did not want to work but I got my bling !!

Epic end to 2018

Happy to say 2018 ended on a high with a 200km DIY Audax followed by a 60-mile ride with Cambridge CTC, followed by the Ely NYE 10k run.

This was far better than the start of 2018 which saw me having a fall off my bike on Black Ice, this caused me a great deal of pain and put me out of action for many months… even now I still get a niggle in my side when running!

With some care, a few painkillers and lots of determination, I still managed to do all I had planned for and more in 2018, including Cambridge half, riding in Mallorca, Walking in the Dolomites, the Lap of Anglia, run/walking 18 miles, many 200km Audaxes, a couple of 150-mile rides and an epic 300km Audax.

The most amazing thing to me is that I have achieved all this while suffering from menopausal hell !!!!

My next big goal is to get through January and February without taking any risks in the bad weather and icy conditions which are inevitable !!!!

My recorded Miles for the year are (approx)

6,340 Cycling, 465 Running,151 Walking

I have many plans for 2019 so exciting times ahead…………

 

 

Another 200km Audax

Amazing mild weather for December so today we grabbed at the chance of doing a DIY 200km Audax.

Geoff did a great route which took advantage of the tailwind, which helped blow us home, he also chose perfect roads for the night time riding.

There is something special about riding in the dark, especially when most people are still asleep it’s also beautiful to see the sunrise.

Anyway, that makes three 200km Audaxes in 3 months and now I am wondering if I can keep it up for an RRtY, if so the next one has to be in Cyprus !!

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 …….