Sunday 19 May 2019

Mad Goose / Menace Mechanical / Oxduro 18 (in 2019)

Cycling the Oxduro18 (in 2019)
 Crazy, mad and nuts cycling over the past week. Lots to shout and blog about. Oh the joys!
First crazy event was the 2nd 2019 Stage of the Mad Goose Chase courtesy of purity brewery. SJ (can you believe it?) and I cycled from our home along country lanes to reach the brewery on a perfect summer like evening. This was SJ's first ride in ages on her 'new' bike. I think she was a little cautious  initially. Once at the tap house we had a celebratory pint. Session IPA was my drink of choice. We chatted amongst ourselves and then with other cycling folk and had a nice evening. My burger was amazing. As if things couldn't getter better they did - the chap serving the burgers gave me an extra burger free and said I could have 2 pints 'on him, free'. I love Purity brewery. SJ's cycling improved big time on the way home and she raced me up the hills. How nuts!

Second adventure was with Roger and his tandem. This was largely a day of mis-hap. First bit of menace struck as I cycled my own bike on route to Rogers. Yup, the pixie pest visited and flattened my tyre. Once tube was replaced, I started off again heading for Roger's and then the heaves opened and a deer ran out in front of me (luckily for us both, he wasn't hit).

Things didn't improve much once Roger and I were cycling his tandem. About 5 minutes into our ride we had cycled down a bridleway when I started to hear a concerning noise. Looking behind me I saw what initially looked like a rear mech being dragged behind. On closer inspection it was a disc brake calliper. We decided to get this fixed, so aborted our initial plans and headed for Northfield Cycles. Bike shop soon replaced the missing bolts and secured same with some wax solution to keep in place.

Misfortune appeared once more as Roger and I took a right (which should have been a left) and we ended up 'off the beaten track'. It rained a little more too. No worries, we eventually ended up at Priory Cafe and had the largest breakfast imaginable. All is well that ends well. Sure enough, the remainder of this adventure was all good and I cycled back to Rogers and then home with no further mis-hap mechanical menace.

'Eleven' outside the Radcliffe Camera
Third adventure was mighty fine. This saw me complete the OxDURO event (see The Racing Collective) which is described as a self-supported no frills road-gravel ride considered to be a gentle gateway into the national XDURO trials. I cycled this 'Doo style' (un-officially) as am attending 2 birthday parties on the 8th June 2019 when the official event is being held. I also cycled the 2018 route as opposed to the 2019 route as this had not as yet been published. My bike of choice was 'Eleven', my x-trail bike which I had fitted with 37mm tyres. I cycled from Pear Tree services in Oxford to the Radcliffe Camera which was the official start.
OxDURO 18 (in 2019) 'Doo style'
The whole route (with my added distance to and from the services) was just short of 150k. In total there was 9 off-road sections, totalling about 50k. It felt like half my time was off-road. (The 'real' event is a race ran in XDURO format - that is 5 timed segments of gravel and road. The idea is that the non-timed segments provide time for socialising. The cyclist with the lowest aggregate time over the segments wins. Oh, and wins 'nothing' for those that are interested).
Despite being advertised as a 'no frills' ride it had frills and spills aplenty! So much different terrain and spectacular views was the frills. My spill came not long after cycling up Uffington Hill (and past the Uffington White Horse). I was cycling a chalk track (pictured above) and moved 'lanes' to let a passing mtb'er past when suddenly I went head over heels. How embarrassing, I had just passed a group of like 15 school kids and wham, bang, had gone down. Everyone was asking if I was OK and some said they had first aid kits. Even the mtb'er retrieved my water bottles and placed them back in the cage. When I stood up, I looked like a ghost - I was covered in chalk all over and my bike was too. My bike suffered a nasty scratch on the top tube and the brake lever was bent in. I had road rash (covered in chalk) but was otherwise OK. I sped off ASAP and tried to hide my embarrassment.
Chalky menace
So many ups and downs. Frills and spills. My average speed was 19.3km/h but I reached a maximum speed of 71.6 km/h. 
A scenic stop point
So many different surfaces - chalk, mud, gravel and road. I would tend to have a quick break every 30k just to have a stretch and a bite to eat.
A folly
At often points in the ride there was something nice to see. Nice views (though a bit misty today). Passed lots of lovely looking churches and many folly's like the one above.
Most tracks were great and relatively easy to follow. Am pleased to report that the whole route was cycleable with no hike-a-bike sections. I rate this ride a lot and prefer it to the CotsDURO. 
The odd track was not so great and proved harder to follow. The track pictured above was a menace - it was overgrown and littered with stingers. Thankfully this track was not too long and towards the end of the ride. 
The end of the official route finished at Isis Farmhouse. Not a farmhouse at all but a pub. Rewarded myself with a nice pint of cider for completing the ride. Aces. A further 8k or so took me back to my car.

Some say bad luck comes in 3's. I'm not superstitious and think this blog post demonstrates misfortune can come in clusters greater than 3. Also, 3 can be rather wonderful just like my adventures recounted here!

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