Sunday 1 March 2020

Snowdrop Express 2020

Snowdrop Express 2020 (Ian, Tony, Ron, Doo, Chris, Mark - Phil B took pic)
On 29 February 2020, I completed my 10th Snowdrop Express audax to date! This is one of my favourite audax events that I try to make sure I cycle each year. This event starts and finishes in Hartlebury and passes through Upton and Evesham. Pig Hill is a nice delight included in this event.

I first rode this event way back in 2010. Have now cycled it, 9 more times since then. Hmm, I might just well cycle it again.

Each year has it's own story and this year was certainly no exception. A few folk (about half the field) didn't rock up due to fear that the event may be flooded and storms might persist. A few of my friends (Jamie!) didn't make it to the start either. Anyways, on the start line alongside myself was Chris Hodge, Ron the Phantom, Ian Cross, Phil B, Tony G and Mark (who up until now I thought was Jez).
Sun shining bright (Chris and Phil)
Almost as soon as we started, it was game over for Tony. Tony's free-wheel had gone kaput. Poor Tony! (Hadn't seen Tony for ages and what a transformation - he now had the cycling bug, lost weight and was training for an event in 5 weeks time). Mark sped off but the rest of us cycled as a small peloton and it was just ace catching up with everyone. Despite the fears of some, the weather was ok - the sun broke out and it was near perfect cycling conditions. Maybe just a tad windy. Great to see Mark Rigby at the first control in Upton. Mark R stamped our brevet cards and we tucked into some nice grub. Chris H brought me a super tasty cheese and onion toastie. So warm and sunny it was that we ate outdoors! Upton had suffered with flooding over recent days though and much flooding was still to be seen. A couple of days ago the water levels rose up to the glass on the flood barriers.
Funky flood barriers
Some flooding for sure
Next stage was certainly adventurous. Our pedal at times turned into a paddle. Yup, there was much flooding in parts. As we passed cyclists in the opposing direction they would warn of flood levels which seemed to ever increase. This short section took us to Evesham where the river level was high but no major concern. Here, most of us tucked into some delicious bread and butter pudding. Tony rocked up here too - on a different bike. After fuelling, we set off, in relatively nice conditions on the last leg.
Doo going for a paddle, err, pedal
Thumbs up for Phil
Who is this dark rider? (Chris, Ron just ahead)
The last leg was the hillier than the previous 2 but no major menace. The Lenches were beautiful and that's where most the climbing occurred. We had to navigate a few more floods but nothing like those we experienced earlier. Pig Hill proved to be a pig - not because of the climb but because as we started climbing the wind turned into a headward direction and hail threw down. As soon as the summit was reached, the wind and hail stopped. How bizarre. Before you could say 'softies were those who didn't rock up', we had reached the arrivee. More food (sausage sarnie for me) and fraternising. What an epic event. Totally aces!
Snowdrop 2010
Snowdrop 2012
Snowdrop 2013
Snowdrop 2014
Snowdrop 2015 (Turned up too late for group start photo)

Snowdrop 2016
Snowdrop 2017
Snowdrop 2018
Snowdrop 2019 (L-R John, Ron, Jamie, K, Doo)

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