Sunday 10 July 2011

Mr Pickwick's Tour of the Cotswolds (304k audax) - Take 2!

Ahhh, is only about 40 days to the PBP now! I have now been sent my frame number, which is 5361. Anyone who wishes to follow my machine live can do so by clicking onto the PBP website.
Fund raising for 'Tim's Well', is going great too. Deb, a Canadian friend who constructed my web page, had the great idea of putting details of my ride on her Facebook page and some kind Canadians have already donated $420. Big thanks to everybody who has sponsored me already, especially to my cycling buddy SN for such a generous donation - I hope your legs are feeling fine after your epic adventure!. To those that haven't checked out the web page that Deb constructed, please follow this link: On the fund raising side of things, a big shout out is due to my sister Jane. Jane managed to walk/run/hobble 85 miles in just less than 24 hours! I agree with her Dr and think she's an 'idiot'. Poor Jane ended up with DVT symptoms, a heparin injection and lots of cash for Happy's School. Nice one Jane, well done! Next time, ride a bike! Check out Jane's story here:

Began this week with an off road adventure with Ron and Sarah M. My mountain bike was not in action, but thankfully John V let me use his Saracen steed. Had been a while since I used a mountain bike with spd type pedals and yup, you got it, I fell off. Only fell off once mind you, it was unfortunate that I landed on a thistle bush. Have named the hill I was attempting to climb 'Thistle fall Hill'. A second take at this hill didn't result in a fall, but I was unable to conquer the hill (maybe on my own bike....?!). Gave John's bike quite a beating and got it dirty too as we took our machines over the bridge of destiny, through the woods of doom and past the fence of truth, to name but a few obstacles. Washed John's bike down and promptly returned it, many thanks John.

SJ and I were a little upset to hear that Chris PT was ill and that our PT session had been cancelled. Not to worry we told ourselves and created our own killer session. We started out by completing 5 reps of sit-ups, SJ maxing out on 80 in her final set (41 for me). This was followed by 10 press-ups (girly style). We then ran, a longer than usual run, which was the extended Studley triangle run. On our return home, dripping with sweat, we completed another 10 press-ups (girly style). After this we held a plank (55 seconds for me and 1 min 25 secs for SJ). I completed this session by digging out my skipping rope and performing a 100 skips. Following this session, the temptation of chocolate became too much and I devoured several of the chocs SJ had been brought by a thankful patient.

On Wednesday SJ and I played badminton for the first time in ages. SJ was on form big time. I hate to admit but she kicked my butt. It hurts me to publish the results, but SJ beat me 4-2. As SJ pointed out, she's beating me at everything lately and is wondering if she'd show me up on a bike too! We still haven't checked out a tandem yet... Oh, and on the subject of a bike for SJ, well, I think I've found one, as the picture below shows. This was my brothers bike, I have re-claimed it and want to do it up for SJ.
Went for my second run of the week on Thursday. This run took me around Worcester race course. At the middle section of this run, I ran up and down the stadium stairs 5 times which was a real killer. At the start and finish of this run I also performed 10 girly style press-ups. Later that day I used my rollers, feeling a little guilty that I had not used them last week. My heart rate monitor indicated that I must be getting fitter - 2 weeks ago I cycled 20 miles in heart zone 3 at an average speed of 25.3mph, this week I cycled the same distance at a higher average speed of 26.2 mph and in heart zone 2. This means that my heart was working less hard to push my legs around faster. I still felt some guilt that I cycled this session in heart rate zone 2 as I usually force myself to cycle at a higher intensity.

Friday was a rest day.

Saturday saw me complete my 23rd audax. This audax was Mr Pickwick's Tour of the Cotswolds which was a 304k cycling event starting from Tewkesbury. This was the second time that I rode this event - it was my first 300k event last year. The route crosses the Evesham Vale and then heads into Warwickshire. Following that the Cotswolds are transversed from North to South. Finally the route returns to Tewkesbury running across the Cotswolds from South Gloucestershire.
The ride started at 6 a.m, from Ashchurch railway station. It was a different start location to last year. About 30 riders started this event, a few of whom I knew from previous events. Initially I cycled along with a Londoner called Alan, until we neared PinvinInkberrow, I called Ron, who planned to meet me in Studley and pedal a few miles with me (him not being 'allowed' to do the full event). Ron aka 'the Phantom' met me just past the Green Dragon pub. It was nice to catch up with Ron and we steadily rode all the way to the first control at Warwick Services. Last year I had a Burger King meal here, and this year I had the same!
Stage 2 took us from Warwick Services to Chipping Norton. Things were going great until we reached Wormleighton then we had route sheet menace.The instruction said R/L stg X sp Fenny Compton. This was open to interpretation and we ended up doing an additional 9 miles just trying to interpret this instruction. Back on route we were happy and knew we would be fed at the next control. Just before the control was reached, the heaves opened. If we hadn't have added those additional miles we would have reached the control dry. The control was the Old Mill Cafe in Chipping Norton. A big (expensive) feast was devoured here. We had beans on toast, a mug of tea and cake. The Phantom left me here and headed home. Big thanks to the Phantom for leading me out this far.
Stage 3 was ridden as a completely solo affair (and so were all the other stages from here on). This was the shortest stage and the wettest too. The rain beat down hard and the clouds were black in colour. The control was a Tesco garage in Cirencester. At this control I ate a banana that I took with me. I did not take any gels on this audax, instead I took 8 slices of malt loaf, some fruit and miniature chocolates that SJ was given from one of her patients. This food stuff was great and I rate it over gels and the likes.

Stage 4 was a relatively fast stage. This stage passed through Brinkworth, which is apparently the longest village. This stage was hot too, the rain had stopped and the sun came out to dry me up. Reached the control at Leigh de la Mere with no major problems. This time last year, I was really hallucinating and felt spent out when I reached this far. I ate a salmon sandwich and crisps at this control. Mary H was met here too and we had quite a chat - this was her first 300k event.
The final stage proved a little more difficult. There was a big hill to conquer in Birdlip. This climb was rewarded with a super fast descent, a 1:6 hill that stretched for ages. However, because the roads were so wet I had my brakes on for pretty much the whole duration of the descent. It was lovely to see the sun set, the skies had a purple haze for a while. This was when the next problem arose. Even though I had lights, it was hard to read the route sheet in the dark. By hook or by crook, I reached the arivee and felt pretty good. The arivee was at Mark Rigby's, the event organiser's home. Mark pointed out that I had now completed a Black Sheep Super Randonneur Series (in that I have completed a 200, 300, 400 and 600k Black Sheep event in the same season). Sweet.

Cycled 199.73 miles during audax event, at an average speed of 14.7 mph and a maximum speed of 38.2 mph.

Weekly totals: Ran for 1 hour and 16 mins; Cycled 237 miles.


  1. awesome stuff Doo!
    Makes my efforts look pathetic!
    90 miles today has done me in...How do you go twice as far??
    RESPECT mate!

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