Monday, 12 August 2013

The Rutland 200km Audax

Good weather, not too hot, well not hot at all. Bright, but not breezy in fact still as a mill pond (is that a saying?) Perfect weather for a 200km/130 mile Audax. We, myself,  Fraser and Compass Keith assembled in a car park somewhere in Bedford with a small gathering of Audaxers? for the 2013 running of the Rutland Ramble. On paper the event looked a breeze, a slow old affair - well all Audaxes are aren't they! We collected our Brevet cards, had them stamped by the....whatever you call an Audax official and set off. Set off the wrong way. I like to think we looked cunning like we had a plan most cunning, but an Audax lady came after us and pointed us in the right direction, we didn't fool her with our cunning plan.
Once we'd cycled a few yards the Garmin made a little bleep to let us know it was a happy Garmin. We caught up with a pair of Audaxi and settled down with Keith and a chirpy Garmin at the helm.
This was already very agreeable. I hardly ever changed a gear and the scenery was stunning. This was a navigation heavy ride so I can't really mention all the places we rode through, but for now we were on our way to our first control (ah ha that's what an Audax official is called, a controller) at Blisworth. This was plain sailing, until Keiths tyre started to go down. We gave it a highly technical squeeze and decided to ride it out to the control. However it went down pretty soon after, and I went into a tyre and tube changing masterclass. Sorted we moved on and before long we were at our first control. The three of us were suckered into becoming life long Audaxers at this control after being offered huge Chelsea buns, bananas and water for free. Brevet cards stamped, fingers gunked up with icing we cycled off for control number two at the Wistow Rural Centre and our 100km marker.
We were warned that this part of the ride was bumpy, and boy they weren't kidding. This was relentless up and down, nothing big, but 39...53....39.....53 ring all the way. I just wanted a flat section, even a hilly section if it was long enough anything so I didn't have to keep switching from one to the other. Still the route was bloody stunning and we were getting giggly with the silliness of the bumps, the sound the Garmin kept making and our crap jokes.
Some interesting architecture earlier that day
We cycled through Naseby towards control number two continuing the up and down theme, until a jarring the cattle grid at the rural centre gave us signaled the end of section. We had a Brevet cards stamped and set off for control number three at Elton Hall. However first we had a lunch appointment at the tea rooms in Hallaton.
We were in the zone now, even my failing eyesight seemed to get better and I could read the route sheet on the hoof, soon I'd be eating.
What happened next had to be seen to be believed. A diesel patch caught Keith unaware. We didn't see what happened, but a local announcing himself  as Mr Denzel Groat said that Keith looked as if was about to go down, but somehow got his knee down hitting the tarmac with it and bounced himself up again without stopping and rode on with just a cut to the knee, it seemed unbelievable!
We saw the cream tea sign and pulled in. Coffee, pasties, salad and cake - nice. This was truly civilised cycling. The stop seemed popular with the other riders as well. I was enjoying the 'family' feel.
Purchasing Speedo's online
The route was now more varied. Keiths navigation took us alongside lakes, through Forests, up and down hills, along flood plains and sometimes just a little bit the wrong way, but right on target.
We arrived at control number three at Elton Hall at 151km. This control was unmanned so we had to make a purchase to provide a receipt to prove we had passed through. 79p packs of Tomato seeds purchased for the receipts we set off for the finish.
The final leg of the ride was the easiest to navigate, fairly flat and straight, through Bedfordshires agriculture. The sun was also out, sadly so was the wind which knocked a bit off the what had been an increasing average speed. We had a final short stop at a village store that had thoughtfully put out chairs in the sun for it's patrons. I'd been gagging for something sweet, I'd only drunk plain water and a coffee since the start, so I savoured the classic Lucozade in the sun. Keith dished out some special tablets and told us to put them in our water bottles and say nothing. Fueled by the fruit flavoured wonder tablets, we soon hit the finish. The best finish I've ever seen in a cycle event - the organisers own kitchen, what a most welcoming sight. Bikes on the drive and strangers eating your food and drinking your tea. Classic. I'm hooked.
Always worth a piccy, Frasers handbuilt

No comments: