Sunday 23 February 2014

Snowdrops not Wet drops!

Started this week off with a run. SJ and I ran the reverse Studley triangle route on a drizzly night. SJ kept a good pace throughout and ran the whole route which was great considering that it was only her third run since giving birth to Lunar Pops.

Tuesday was a great day out too. Ron and I cycled Mr Pickwick's March Madness - a 200k event organised by Mark Rigby. A blog about said ride has already been published (so those riding the calendar event can have a preview to their days adventure), you can find the blog entry here:

Last week, I blogged about my Rapha Festive 500 roundel. Well, this week I also got the T-shirt to prove my achievement. Check me! Ha!
Showing off, mostly
As with a lot of Rapha related merchandise, it came with a groovy card inside with a kinda motivational message printed on it. We all know miles tell stories - read about it here! We all know I'm crazy. Do I really have to prove it - well, read on….
The weekend saw me complete the Snowdrop Express 120k audax. This was an event organised by Beacon RCC that started and finished in Hartlebury. I have now cycled this event many times - the ride was special to me because it was the first audax event that I ever entered and completed. Each and every time I have rode this event, it has not been without incident. This ride was no exception.

Lin drove me to the start (Hartlebury) where we met up with a whole bunch of my mates. Those present were (Me, Lin), Ron, Andy Genders, Phil, Red, John Mitchel, Andy Tolley, Jamie and Trev. Finbar (SJ's ex boss) was also present, though we never saw each other. Lou Rigby, Becky Burns, Aid, Chris, Jimmy Po'cock, Jane (my sister) and Chris Hodge were all DNSers. Lou, Becky and Jane could all be excused on grounds of ill health. Chris was in Malaga, so I guess he has excuse enough too. Aid and Jimmy were the 'Southern Fairy's' and rumour has it they were afraid of being 'chicked'! Si, Andy and Clive the Dr were also absent for various reasons and missed out on a great day. For those of us that were present, we all assembled at the start line for 9 o'clock and then we were off…
'Team Doo' at the start
The group soon disbanded and smaller groups formed. We were 11 of a whole bunch more cycling this event. As far as I know, I was the only guy on a single-speed bike. Weather was fantastic - a bright sunny day that lasted the whole event. Prior to the event, Andy Tolley thought we might have to dub the event - 'The Wet drop'. Relatively flat roads took us swiftly to the first control in Upton on Severn.
Doo and Lin at the Upton Control
This first control was great. Not only great for the tea and cake it offered, but great because Mark Rigby was the controller here. Not only did Mark stamp my brevet card, he returned my 'other' brevet card from Tuesday's 200k event too. Better yet, Mr Pickwick's March Madness event scored 1.75 AAA points, a whole .25 points more than I thought. How cool! The Snowdrop Express scored no AAA points (no points at all in fact) and the hilliness profile is demonstrated below.
Hilliness profile of the Snowdrop Express
I left the Upton control as part of a smaller group as some were still eating, drinking and socialising. What I remembered most about this section was some lovely flat and descending roads that enabled folk to get a bit of a speed on. At times my pedal arms could spin no faster because I had 'topped out', even so, I did not miss having a geared bike. When I was about 3k from the control, I span my legs as quick as I could because I knew SJ my wife and daughter Lunar (plus my mum, dad and sister Jane) would be waiting at the control. How blessed I was to have such an awesome family. Thankfully, the pedestrian bridge in Evesham was open today and I made it to the control in good time. As I parked my bike up, my family were all looking at me through the cafe window - how cool!
Lunar kitted out in her cycling gear
Was awesome entering the cafe and meeting and greeting my folks. Lunar was especially awesome and gorgeous - she was wearing a cycling shirt identical to mine. Lunar turned most peoples heads! Had my audax staple diet here - beans and egg on toast. Following shortly after me, the rest of 'my group' all rocked up, all except Lin. I figured Lin was only about 10 minutes behind, but time passed and no Lin. After my friends had eaten they all left but I figured I would wait for Lin. I waited about a further 30 minutes and then, thankfully, Lin rocked up. Lin had GPX issues and had ended up cycling to Worcester! Poor Lin but at least she was in good spirits and had cycled her target training distance. I left the control here and started a solo cycle to the finish.
The last stage was great and I very much enjoyed trying to catch folk up (and overtake them). I passed 2 cyclists almost straight away and passed a few more shortly after climbing a real tough hill (tough without gears anyhow). One of the guys I passed was Red! Red had a 'mechanical' where his rear mech had gone AWOL. I stopped with Red a short while as he converted his bike into a single-speed - the way forward! I didn't wait for Red to complete his task and carried on with my chasing game. With less than 20k to go, I caught Andy Genders and Phil. This pair were caught just before Pig Hill. I though Pig Hill was going to be a real 'pig' of a hill, but actually it wasn't as bad as I was reckoning. I whizzed up this hill, passing a guy walking his machine. The hill just after the Lenches was much tougher in my opinion. After Pig Hill it was only a short stretch till I reached the arrivee - woo hoo, job done!
John looked like he was in a lot of pain at the finish. Ron and the Meekon had a great day out
Brevet card stamped. Awarded with a sausage sarnie and cup of tea. A quick catch up with some of the lads and time to go home. Wow, what an eventful ride! The route GPX track is presented below.
Snowdrop Express Audax, 120k
Ran a total of 5k this week and cycled a total of 330k. Am pleased to have now cycled over a 1,000k this calendar year - 1,164k to date. Am hoping to continue to mix up my running and cycling.

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