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, the 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.
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
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
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 !!