Luckily There’s an audax saying I keep seeing bandied around
You’re only as good as the ride you’re on
And by that standard I was pretty crap yesterday. First mistake was not having ridden at all for 3 weeks. Second mistake was not checking the event details properly. The ride down to the start had been planned for a 9am start, we both realised on the Saturday that it was in fact 08:30. Too late to change anything, so we charged down to Leicester and arrived just in time to see the tail of the pack heading off. Decided that as we were at the back we’d hang around for a bit with a cup of tea and some biscuits.
Suitably refreshed (or so I thought) we headed off. About 10km in I was chewing tape. This wasn’t a good sign. Stopped for a couple of slices of Malt loaf and pushed on to the first control. Flapjack and a cup of tea and a push on. Feeling a bit better along the next stretch. Stopped to check the route next to RAF Luffenham when we heard a sharp crack, Mark commented “Hope that’s not your tyre”, given we were next to a RAF base I replied “Probably a firing range”. 2 metres down the road it was fairly obvious it was my rear wheel. Stripped the tube out and spotted the rather obvious huge hole. Not a problem, swap in the spare brand new tube. Some vigorous hand pumping and we were approaching a usable pressure when with a bang the new tube goes, and this time so does the sidewall of the tyre. Arse, muppet here had thought ‘it’s only a 100, why bother with the spare tyre”. Luckily we were just past the Giant store on the shore of rutland water, so Mark shot back to pick up another tyre and a couple of tubes. Just to show how friendly Audaxers are, I’d already had an inner tube and tyre donated by a passing bunch before he got back. So the 3rd mistake was to assume that moving tyres with 6k miles on them onto a new wheel was a good idea, shouldn’t be so cheap.
Got to the next control in time to hand back the tyre and tube to the donaters. Slightly more substantial feed here and then back onto it. Pretty much given up with the ECE by now as we were well behind our expected schedule and were really starting to feel the cold, 4th mistake underestimating the effect of the weather. Pootled our way back to arrivee, but didn’t stop long as we spotted the next train home was leaving in 15 minutes. So we managed to TT the 3 miles to the station, grab tickets and sprint along the platform to catch it.
Despite the fact it didn’t go to plan I actually had a really good day out on the bike. The organisation from Leicester forest CC was great, all the riders seemed to be enjoying themselves, the route was challenging but not stupidly so, and the countryside looked wonderful with the snow still on the ground, but luckily no real icy patches on the road. The new rear wheel was brilliant, though a Hope hub is certainly an encouragement to keep pedalling!!My new Sealskinz winter gloves were plenty warm, though there appears to be a knack to learn for taking them on and off easily.
So all in all not a complete failure. But it does mean I need to get another 200km ride in before the end of February. And I really need to get some mileage in before the Dean at the end of March, it’s a 300km and it’s got Hills.