Mr Pickwick takes flight ... and if I had a choice, I would have took off too! This was a tough, gruelling audax. Note to self - I hate cycling 50 plus miles into a head wind!
Menaces were at work prior to the event. The day before the audax, whilst readying my bike, I found that the rear brake was not working. My mechanical skills were poor and I couldn't fix said problem. A trip to Cult Cycles saved the day. They replaced the brake cables and cleaned the brake mechanism.
On the day of the event, I turned up a few minutes late and missed the mad exodus at the start. It took me a good 16 miles before I caught anybody up. This first stage was pretty fine and passed through Bidford (a familiar place to me) before reaching the control at Stratford-Upon-Avon Gliding Club Cafe. The voices in my head were calling the guy who ran this cafe an idiot, amongst other obsceneties. He was expecting 30 plus cyclists (being for-warned by the event organiser) but only had 1 can of baked beans. With no beans on offer, I ordered a sausage sandwich and a cup of tea. Payment had to be made for each item seperately - which worked out fine, because after waiting over 30 mins, my sausage never arrived and the voices told me to take flight. Maybe the guy was stressed because it was very windy and none of the gliders could take off.
After leaving the first control, I found a general stores and purchased 2 sausage rolls - which is really a sausage sandwich in a different form. This second stage took me to Turweston Aerodrome (another gliding club). The route was nice, it passed through Hampton Lucy and Wellesbourne - both places I knew quite well. It was during this stage though, that my bike computer died. This was a real menace because I couldn't count the miles travelled and had no idea how fast (slow) I was going. Oh well, not to worry - I reached the control within good time. This control was a lot better than the first. Nice folk in this cafe - who were able to provide me with the beans on toast I so wanted!
Stage 3 was horrible. Not much fun at all! All the way from the control at Turweston to the next control in Chipping Norton was battling a very strong headwind. This wind was so strong that my bike was hardly moving forward at all. Some hills were encountered too and the voices in my head were telling me to pack. At one stage, about 20 deer ran across the road in front of me. These deer were awesome, they were all different sizes, some had antlers, and beat this - one was white! These deer provided a neat distraction for a while. Reached the control, the Old Mill Cafe, in quite a state - I was exhausted and was hallucinating again (I saw a tree, I thought was a standing stone). I had a hot drink here and 2 slices of short bread before gritting my teeth and heading off again.
The final stage was horrible too. It was still windy (admittedly not so much) and now it was dark too. Peter, a fellow cyclist, lent me a rear light so I cycled with him to the finish. The hills here were frequent and required much energy but the super fast descents were a delight. Passed through Winchcombe before finally reaching the Arrivee. Yay, job done! Would I repeat this particular audax - I don't think so!
Cycled 128 miles during this audax. Have no idea what my average or max speed was but completed the event in 11 and a half hours.
Weekly Totals: Cycled 160 miles; Ran for 63 mins.
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