This week saw me complete the Banbury Cross 200 audax for the second time. This was a special audax for me, in that it was my first event for the 2013 season and more importantly because it was my 20th 200k event (and my 46th audax to date).
Like the first time I cycled the event, I chose the anti-clockwise route (believing it to be the easier option) and I chose Broadway as my start and finish control. The weather wasn't brilliant and drizzle was present throughout most of the day. Initially it was foggy too. The first stage to Cheltenham was no real bother, especially once Cleeve Hill was beaten.
Stage 2 was largely as I remembered it - a big hill for starters followed by a lengthy mostly descending road. The photo below was taken not long after climbing Lilleybrook Hill. I took the picture just because I considered the building interesting.
Am not really sure what this structure was - maybe a buss stop? I think I cycled past this same feature when I rode the alternate route on the Cotswold Corker. Continued my journey passing through Cirencester and Latton. Then, just like last time, I encountered problems. The route sheet stated 'TR $ Waterpark Storage. Over (A419) Bridge'. I have still to find the sign indicating 'Waterpark Storage'. Last time I just continued straight on. This time I took a right and thought I was on the right track as I cycled over a A419 bridge. Silly me, this wasn't right at all and soon I was momentarily lost. This added about 8k to my overall distance. On the flip-side, I entered Cricklade from a different direction and was able to take the photo below. Doesn't it look nice?!
The next stage led to Witney, or more importantly lunch! I stopped at the self same cafe as last time. This time I opted for a smaller breakfast (for the sake of just £1, I wished I hadn't). Suitably refreshed I headed out again.
Leaving Witney, I headed for Bicester. I was quite uncomfortable really, my saddle felt harder than usual (maybe because I had not been on my road bike for a while). As the road crossed over a river, canal and rail line, I was suitably distracted. Before long I was in Bicester.
The Bicester to Banbury section was memorable on 2 counts. As stated earlier, my poor back side was suffering. With this in mind, the voices in my head were telling me to stop at the next buss shelter and apply bum creme to my butt. How pleased I was to see this shed like buss shelter, only to turn into disappointment as when I entered said shelter it was occupied by folk. The second bit of menace was when a passing toe-rag threw a sub-way drink at me as he sped past in his car. This drink missile caught me on the side of my leg (could have been worse) and I felt a little sting for a while. Oh, the joys of long distance cycling! Still, I reached the fair lady and all was good.
The final leg to Broadway proved interesting too. Lovely roads that required little in terms of navigation. Speedy ascents at times and little pulls at others. Other than the miserable weather, lighting was my only issue. It was now dark and misty. My Ay-Up lights mounted on my helmet had failed (didn't re-charge battery) but luckily I was equipped with my new bar mounted Lezyne light and I had a Petzle light mounted on my helmet too. The Lezyne light was great at illuminating the road (and obviously could be seen by passing traffic) and the Petzle light was great for reading my route sheet. However, with my Ay-Up lights missing it was hard to read passing sign posts (luckily this was an easy to navigate section). My rear lights were great. I had fitted a 'spoke lit' light to my rear spokes and it worked real well - looked light a bright fire spright was following me, real impressed. Before so long I reached the arrivee in Broadway and completed this audax. Better yet, I can now claim by Brevet 4000 award!
Cycled a distance of 208k in about 11 hours.
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