Audax DIY by GPS attempt 1

As I want to do an Super Randoneur (SR) series this year (that’s a 200km, 300km,400km and 600km ride) but thanks to PBP all the 600km calendar events happen to fall when I’m otherwise engaged I’ve accepted that i’d have to do the 600 as a DIY or permanent. And if I was going to do a DIY then doing it by GPS would make life easier as I wouldn’t have to plan the route to make sure that I pass places that can provide a receipt at certains times/distances.

So I thought it might be a good idea to have a test run that didn’t really matter before heading off for 40hours only to get back and find out I’d cocked the process up somehow.

First mistake I did was to keep thinking about the route I wanted to ride, rather than just the points it had to pass through to make it over distance (I was aiming for 150km). And the next was relying on google maps for the shortest distances, think I’ll have to invest in a cheap copy of Autoroute, as that’s what my local DIY organiser uses.

The eventual list I submitted was Nottingham, Trowell, rawson green, cromford, youlgreave, monyash, castleton, edensor, darley moor, Annesley, Nottinham which gave 165km. Rich pointed out that this could have been submitted as nottingham, trowell, castleton, darley moor, annesley, nottingham, which would been less to work out. Like I said, think about the end points, not the route. Putting my points into google maps and a bit of dragging, gave me this:

hilly hathersage diy 165km audax profile
hilly hathersage diy 165km audax profile

Which gave a total climb of ~2200m of climbing.

Set off about half 8ish on Good Friday morning hoping for good weather and light traffic. The first section out to Belper was mostly quiet main roads with a few short sharp hills thrown in. Things got a bit livelier in Belper with a pretty rough set of cobbles:

belper cobblestones
belper cobblestones

Things started getting a bit more rural and steeper from here on in. The day was really starting to warm up, though traffic was still nice and light. and the surfaces were pretty decent. Pulled onto the main drag down to Cromford to get an arsey impatient overtake from a Volvo driver, who’s bumper I stuck to all the way down. The first main downhill of the day, pretty straight and only a couple of large corners. Got to Cromford where I’d planned to have coffee and breakfast but there didn’t seem to be many places open, so I had some Soreen washed down down with Sainsbury’s finest budget isotonic drink.

Started the climb up Via Gellia and then turned right for the grind up to Bonsall. Stopped twice to ‘admire the view’ on the main drag up to the town, which is an improvement over previous attempts. Riding over the tops in the sunshine was absolutely glorious. The next decent descent went down past Robin Hoods stride. Then a fun twisty drop into Alport, though a bit tight and loose to really let go. Stopped at the cafe in Monyash for fried egg cob, tea and a can of coke.

Legs really didn’t feel like working after the stop on the road to Taddington. Even stopped at one point to check that I didn’t have a flat tyre or binding brakes, no such luck, just lacklustre performance. Crossing the A6 took a bit of a time, and just after had the only argument with the route. Seems google and garmin seem to think that the Limestone Way was suitable for a road bike. Luckily there was a nearby alternative, and it was a good one. Probably the best descent of the day from Blackwell down to Millers Dale. Great surface and a couple of good smooth hairpins thrown in as well. Unfortunately there then appeared the next bit of uphill:

This one ended up needing a little more than just admiring the view and 24″ gear was engaged for a bit. Which was handy as some of the green lane bikers started coming down and it was easier to jump sideways. Once at the top the road stuck to nice quite lanes over the tops before dropping suddenly down to Castleton. Very long downhill, started to get worried about over heating brakes at some points. Especially as there weren’t many points where I felt safe to just let it go. And towards the bottom there was lots of gravel all over place so I was stuck in the narrow tyre cleaned sections.

Grabbed some extra water and fluids at castleton and then jumped on for another A road bash to Hathersage. Not a bad bash, there was a reasonably wide cyclish lane and I seemed to get plenty of room from drivers. Then a rolling B road to Grindleford and dive off into lanes to Baslow. Up the hill past Chatsworth, thankfully the traffic was fairly light with just a small queue for the hump back bride. Got into Beeley and turned left up the hill, after a couple of hundred metres I suddenly realised just how tired my legs were, and deciding that getting round was worth more than geting extra climbing points I turned round and shot back to the A6 and along to Two Dales. The climb up to Darley Moor is signed as a 20% (1 in 5), and it’s certainly steep. With a little bit of swearing and pushing I got to the point where it ‘flattens’ out to 15%. Unfortunately I started working out timings, and I could get back in time to complete the route as an Audax, but not in time to be ready to head out on time to a friends birthday. So decided that admitting defeat was the honourable thing to do I headed back down the hill and into Matlock where I managed to jump straight onto a train for Nottingham. Still, that gave 2010m of climbing in 129km. which would have give AAA points if I’d have used that as the whole course.

So a good day out on the bike, but no audax points. Hopefully I’ll get to have another go in a couple of weeks when I don’t have any other engagements to worry about.

2 comments on “Audax DIY by GPS attempt 1Add yours →

  1. Bad luck with the ride. I’m thinking of a GPS for tracking perms. Don’t want anything fancy – my cycle partner has bells and whistles GPS – but things needs to be OK for 600’s. What GPS have you got?

  2. i’ve got the fancy cycle one with bells and whistles, the Garmin Edge 800 :). The battery is a lot smaller than other units, I’ve got a cheap and cheerful AA battery unit from ebay that I use to top the unit up on the move. So far the longest it’s done is a 300km, though I’ve got a overnight 400 in a fortnight so it’ll be interesting to see how it copes with being on backlight for >8 hours. It seems to do 200km events (so about 10-12 hours at my pace) without topping up though.

    If you don’t want fancy mapping or routing then things seem to get pretty cheap, and as you can use the ‘walking’ models you start to get AA batteries that you can swap out en-route.

    Hopefully I’ll get a chance to give the route another go soon, real life keeps getting in the way :).

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