Saturday 16 February 2013

Snowdrop Express 120k audax (Feb 2013)

The weekend saw me complete the Snowdrop Express 120k audax. This was an amazing audax and was the first audax event I ever entered and completed back in 2010. Since 2010 I have attempted to cycle this event each year. Over the years this ride has become somewhat of a tradition and my good friend Ron has always cycled it with me plus Clive (Doc), Andy (Tractor) and Simon (Si) - 3 guys who completed LEJOG with me back in 2009. Numerous others have joined us on this jaunt but they have not been as consistent as the aforementioned folk.

This time around I hooked up with Ron (as usual) plus Aid, Andy Genders and Phil Brown (my cousin, and members of my religious group). The start had been moved this year because the cafe that normally hosts this event had gone bust. Instead we started at Whitlenge Gardens which was a nice cosy cafe equally as good as the previous start control. With minutes to spare before the official start, the 'boys' - Doc (plus his friend Michiel), Tractor and Si rocked up. Perfect! 
We all cycled the first 20k together as a big group which was nice. The weather was quite chilly initially with a mist/fog in the air. Was great to catch up with the boys - the last time I had seen them was last year on this very same event. Our interactions were brief but nice all the same. After 20k I stopped for a leak and suggested the group carry on. Not long after getting back on my bike my rear tyre punctured. Menace. I had forgotten to take a pump with me, but no bother I had gas. I replaced tube and tyre and started to chase the group. My bike looked like it had a new face lift as the new fitted tyre was blue.
The chase was pretty much a solo affair. I would count cyclists as I caught them and flew past and then with less than 1k to go I hunted down my group and rolled into the first control with them. The group that is, minus Doc, Tractor and Si. As tradition has it, Doc always takes a short cut before first control and Tractor and Si like to speed on. These boys weren't seen again - I hope they all made it safely back.

The first control was at Stables Tea Rooms in Upton. Nice toast and jam was devoured here and washed down with a cup of tea. A female cyclist had found Ron's cash and credit card in the middle of the road and kindly returned it to him.

It had really warmed up when we left the control in Upton and even the sun was shining. This section was relatively short at about 40k. My headspace was occupied with my wife and daughter and I pointed out to Aid where I proposed to my dear wife, as we passed very close to this point on route. We reached the control, Raphaels Cafe in Evesham, in time for lunch. Talking of time, check out my latest gadget - a StemCaptain, just perfect for keeping time!
At this control I ate my audax staple diet - beans on toast plus egg. This was washed down with a can of Pepsi. Aid got me a Snickers bar for good measure too!

I cycled most of the final stage whilst chatting with Aid and it felt a bit 'de-ja vu' like, then I realised why - we were cycling the same roads we did on our last audax together. Better yet, we passed Flying Horse Lane - the road we missed on our last trip. Hopefully if we cycle the Lechlade-on-Thames audax again we'll have it nailed! About 15k from the finish, a cyclist called out 'Tim'. This cyclist was Trevor - the son-in-law of my retired work chum Trevor (same name, I know it gets confusing) and brother-in-law of my friend Sam. How awesomely bizarre. Spoke and cycled alongside Trevor for sometime and it was only then that I realised he was a keen cyclist! Trevor also informed that he had been following my blog for the past 18 months! Crazy, but how cool is that?! Trevor was cycling with his friend Jamie who proved to be an interesting guy. Jamie and Trevor both like to cycle audax events and it would be great if our paths were to cross sometime in the future - Jamie even has a place on LEL. With all these mad happenings I nearly forgot to record that Aid and I cycled up Pig Hill with relative ease and swiftly reached the arrivee with Jamie and Trevor (pictured below). 
The Snowdrop Express was a really good ride and I hope to complete it again next year. Hopefully all the guys mentioned today will be cycling it again too. Maybe next year will be better yet, especially if Finbar and Chris Hodge (who had hoped to take part) rock up too! Poor Finbar was suffering with bust ribs and Chris, well, you'll just have to change your daughters birthday! You guys were missed and you both missed a great ride!

Completed my desired distance for the week and now my yearly total stands at 573 miles.


  1. Yes we made it safely - had lunch with Tractor & Simes before they sped off back to the car - as the local bobby was threatening to ticket all the cars parked by the station (as instructed by the organiser!)
    Another nice ride - shame a few of the roads closed due to high water. See you next year!! We covered 63 miles (nice little shortcut!!)

  2. Hi Tim,
    Great to meet you and Aid yesterday, what a small world! I noticed you did the Lechlade permanent, got the card for that one and will do it next time I get a passout! Seems like a good ride, nice to see some local rides. Hope to see you on the road again soon!
    Are you Dooblood on YACF? I'm the imaginative Jamiem

  3. Nice one Clive!

    Great to meet you to Jamie. The Lechlade perm is a very good ride indeed. Relatively flat and beautiful scenery. I plan to ride that one again. Yup, I'm Dooblood on YACF.

    Am sure WHEEL all meet again!

  4. Hi Tim, great to see you and share the miles yeterday. Was a great end to a classic day, annijinsky to meet up with old friends and new. Thanks for the mention on the blog and will continue to follow you on your travels! Will also keep you posted on any rides we have coming up! Again congratulations to you both on the birth of baby Lunar. Until our tracks cross again. Trev

  5. Thanks Trev :) Look forward to pedaling with you again somewhere in time!

  6. Hi Tim, a great ride and read as ever, a special thanks to the lady who found my credit card and cash! Her name is " Imy" I think that must be short for Imogen?

  7. Nice one Ron and yeah a big shout out to Imy (Imogen)! 'They're a good bunch these cycling folk'


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