Monday 14 April 2014

Dorset Coast 200

Last week was pretty amazing on the adventure front. Not only did I cycle a single-speed jolly and run my 5k Studley triangle route, I also completed the Dorset Coast 200k audax. How awesome.

My Dorset Coast adventure started with a trip to Windsor to meet up with my buddy Chris. From Windsor we headed to a quay in Dorset. The 'night before' our epic adventure was to be spent on 'La Mystique', a speed boat belonging to Chris's mother. This was my second stop on said boat and it really was quite a bizarre experience. Is not everyday you look out of your bedroom window (or port hole) and see 'things' moving up and down and left and right. Nor does one normally wake to the sound of a creaking rope.
GPX track log of the actual route cycled
Our adventure proper, started from the Parish Hall in Wareham Quay. A big bunch of cyclist's had gathered here ready to start this classic audax event - now in it's 37th year. (This was the first time Chris and I had entered). 
'Found' this cheeky taken snap on someone else's blog -
Hospitality was amazing from the start - here we were 'looked after' by means of a free drink. This event was real value for money - entry was only £12. At 7.45 a.m. we were let loose and headed towards Sandbanks. This short section was super zoomy and everyone appeared to be racing the largely formed peleton along. Within no time we had reached the Sandbanks ferry and looked forward to our mini cruise, which was included in the entry fee.
A ferry load of cyclists...
...including Mr Hodge!
Once off the ferry we cycled quiet roads that passed many beaches. One such beach was the infamous Studland beach - a nudist beach no less! Was that hot that even I peeled off a layer here. Cycling these beautiful coastal roads was great and my head was filled with thoughts of past holidays.
Lovely coastal roads
Layered up, but these layers soon came off
Our pace was initially very fast on these lovely roads but it wasn't long before we started to encounter some climbs. We had to climb up towards Corfe Castle and had Steeple hill and the climb to Daggers Gate after passing said castle.
Time for a little YMCA dance before the beautiful Corfe Castle. Ha!
This ride was turning out to be truly awesome. The sun was shining bright, the skies were blue, the roads were quiet, the company was sound and the views were spectacular. My bike was running smooth (despite the buckled front wheel) and Chris was real pleased to be back on his DIY build (despite the random creaking). Only slight menace was that one road was closed because the MOD were firing shots. No real bother, we just cycled a few different roads and joined set route a little further along. The run into the control was nice as it skirted alongside the beach and sea of Weymouth. Was only sat here on deck chairs with SJ and Lunar just last year. 
Stolen pic from old bat's blog
The Criterion Cafe was used for control purposes and we were given a free drink again. As is out style, we purchased beans, egg and toast here for fuelling purposes! The stop was also used to remove even more layers, boy - it was a proper summers day today!

Stage 3 was entitled the 'Roller coaster to Devon'. This section was super hilly - the event didn't have 2.75 AAA points awarded for nothing. Chris and I were both on relatively good form and no hill was too menace to be fair. Chris said he actually enjoyed climbing some of the tougher hills. The hills only went as high as the summit and then the descents were butt clenching zoomy affairs - awesome!
Hilliness profile of the Dorset Coast 200 (2.75 AAA)
Perhaps the toughest climb took up and past Abbotsbury Swannery. Not totally sure what this swannery was exactly, but a big 'Lord of the Rings' type building sat on top of a big hill. With much puffing and panting we climbed up to and away from said building in glorious weather.
Can you spot the building? Looked way bigger in real life!
Greatly undulating roads took us all the way to Axminster. As tough as some of the hills were, I kept expecting to tackle tougher ones but they just didn't appear. The killer hill did not exist. Axminster County Primary School was our control. At the control we were given free sarnies, drink, cake and soup. I ate a sausage and pickle sandwich, had a cup of tea (and much water), sponge cake and tomato soup. Made use of the water closet here too! The controller was slightly bonkers and was acting the strict teacher role and demanding we ate more cake or face detention.
A random feed stop
Stage 4 started up a big hill but again nothing we couldn't handle (despite being full of food). Both Chris and I were expecting a tough, tough hill, but again it never appeared. The route sheet said 'follow tortuous route' but this didn't mean 'hilly' as we first thought it might. We think the whole torture thing was probably attributed to the The Keep we passed or the crazy speed bumps near control perhaps? The control here, the Top o' Town Cafe was nasty. Shame really as everything else was perfect (perhaps this was the torture element?). Chris had a wet soggy KitKat and I had a soggy sausage roll. Let's not dwell on this and move on ...
Chris and The Keep
The final stage was a relatively flat stretch that took us back to the Quay in Wareham. We cycled this in a leisurely style just enjoying and making the most of our day. I stopped for a comfort break in the aptly named 'Tincleton', though Piddlington would have been equally suitable. We made it to the arrivee in good time. We had cycled 208k and climbed just under 3,000 metres in about 11 and a half hours. What a great adventure and definitely one of my favourite audax's to date. 
A new medal for the collection
Cycled a total of 238k this week. Total distance cycled this year now stands at 2,173k.
Ran 5.1k this week. Total distance ran this year is now 90.3k.


  1. Nice blog think I rode with you guys between Weymouth and Abbotsbury I was the guy on the Genesis.

  2. Cheers Freester, yeah I remember you - hope you had a great ride too!


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