Saturday, 6 February 2010

Amazing Audax

Today was awesome. An amazing audax. Fantastic.

Early start to the day, with Ron kindly picking me up at 7.30 a.m to get to start of audax event in Hartlebury. In my haste to get everything ready on time, I forgot my glasses (but no major worries, I had remembered my bike). On route to start we saw a pig (Ron says it was a boar), the victim of road kill.

The Head Quarters (HQ) at Hartlebury was great. It was tucked away at the end of an industrial estate and 100's of bikes (well 150 to be exact, 50 did not turn up) filled the parking lot. We quickly got equipped with our shoes, bandana's and helmets and then paid a visit to the cafe. In the cafe we collected our 'bevet' cards (the cards that required stamping as proof of entry during our audax) and drank tea. I met up with 3 guys from the LEJOG event last year, namely - Clive the struck off Dr, Andy Pacemaker and Nice Guy Si - and introuduced them all to Rocket Ron.

The first leg took us from Hartlebury to Upton. This was a good ride and we all stayed together. It was interesting to see and chat with a whole bunch of fellow riders. Such a diverse population of cyclists - some young, some old, some on a single speed, some with a triple chain ring and 1 guy even had the same bike as me (go Team Focus!). Most folk were friendly and had other challenges planned in the year ahead. After 46 k we stopped at the Bridge House Tea Rooms for tea and cake - delicious. At this stop, and each subsequent stop we got our bevet cards stamped.

The second 31 k leg was fun too and took us from Upton to Evesham. The five of us here became a 2-2-1 formation with Ron and I reaching the destination first, followed by Andy and Si and sometime later Clive. Clive had taken a 'short cut' which added a few k's to his distance. Ron had trouble with his gears and his mud-guards but this didn't seem to bother him too much as he was real pleased that a photographer had taken solo shots of him (at this point Ron had 'stopped to sort himself out' and was the rider at the very back of the bunch). It was nice cycling familiar roads and the stop at Raphaels cafe was nice as it was next to the river. Ron took a picture of all us fellow LEJOGers here.
The final 46 k leg took us from Evesham back to the start at Hartlebury. We started off as a group of five, but soon into the ride Clive and Si took it a little more leisurely. There were no major hills really, and I felt really on form. Granted there were some 'undualtions' and a few short, sharp and steep climbs, but nothing like Cobley Hill! I raced along the inclines of this last section, feeling great, and strangely pleased that most others were starting to complain of feeling tired. Andy (bless him) commented ''you danced up them hills''. Ron, Andy and I all finished together and were treated to free tea, cake and beans on toast at the finish! We had our bevet cards stamped for the final time (not only do they stamp them, they write on the time taken too). Am not sure if we get these bevet cards back as they are reclaimed and checked before they send our medals out. About 50 minutes later, Clive and Si rocked up, looking a bit worse for wear. I think they took another one of Clive's 'short cuts'...

The day finished with the sharing of stories and the drinking of tea. An awesome audax and a great day out. Big thanks to Ron, Andy, Clive and Si. Shame John couldn't make it, am sure he would have loved it too.

Cycled a distance of 77.74 miles, with an average speed of 15.3 mph and a max speed of 32.2 mph.

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