Can’t have been that bad as I’m sat at work with no real ill effects apart from having eaten lunch, and then gone out to buy another one as well…..
Keeping an eye on the weather forecasts in the week running up to the event it had been looking like a pretty good weekend, with the only fly in the ointment being stron Easterly, which meant that what was pretty much an out and back run on an Eas-West line was going to be 50% into the wind…
Rocked up on Friday night and got a taster of the care and attention we were going to enjoy from the Organiser and his helpers over the weekend. £5 for all you can eat catering was certainly going to be a good deal.
6am start on the Saturday, looking nice and bright outside. As the ‘peleton’ wound it’s way out of Mytholmroyd we got a sudden heavy downpour, which set the standard for much of the rest of the day weatherwise. A quick busstop control and another at fast grab at Castleford bus station and we were out into open country. The tailwind certainly sped us along, and we were sat in the Boathouse Cafe in Bridlington at 158km by 12:00!
Speedy turnaround of beans on toast and we set off into the wind. Working through and off with Bob from VC167 we made good pace to Malton where we skipped the tearooms in favour of a faster turnaround at a petrol station. I couldn’t hold on to the pace so dropped back a bit and after a few miles of soft pedalling pushed on a bit harder. Another stop in Thirsk for a sit down and forecourt snack.
Rolled back through some nice rolling country roads, the toll bridge from Linton-On-Ouse was interesting with it’s wooden topping. Was quite glad not to have a car sharing with me, as the weight woulnd’t have been a problem but all I could think of was cartoon style planks launching me over the side.
Extra layers and lights went on at Castleford before an urban run back to HQ. Coming through Sowerby Bridge’s nightlife was a bit of an eye opener, and the climb out on Hollins Mill Lane was an unexpected little grimp as well. Rolled back into HQ bang on 10, having recorded my fastest ever 200km (~8h) and 300km (12:07 (yes, I did notice it coming and was sad enough to be paying attention)) so the headwind can’t have been that bad. Made the most of the available food, and gladly took the couple of beers that were offered as well. Then off to find a bit of floor for a bit of kip.
Having plenty of time in hand I decided to make the most of it. So Sunday I set off at 6:00 again into a light drizzle……
It took me about 9km to get lost as I stupidly followed the wrong pink line on the GPS unit out of Todmorden, and only realised when I saw the roadsign for Hollins Lake and thought “I’m sure that’s the last control”. Oh well, only an extra 20km and luckily the retrace to Todmorden was with the wind at my back. Largish climb up and over the watershed to Burnley and then a drop down to Whalley before things levelled out for a rolling run across above Preston. And then a bit of urban cycling through BlackPool for an info at the North Pier, where I though I ought to take at least one photo at one of the coasts visited:
Can’t say I was too sad to leave Blackpool as the driving was of a pretty low standard. But the flat coastal run to Glasson docks soon cheered me up. Felt like being closer to home in the Fens. The Lantern O’Er Lune at the docks were quick at serving up the obligatory Beans on toast and I didn’t dally there too long.
Now came the part of the ride that gives this version of the route it’s AAA points. It was also about here that my front mech decided that it didn’t enjoy shifting down onto the smaller chainring. Thankfully there wasn’t too much gratuitous steepness so the expletives as I forced my way up some of the steeper bits weren’t too loud. By now the wind was behind us and the weather had improved so we got some marvellous views off the tops. Followed by some great descents on the return to Whalley.
Retraced the route we’d taken out from Tod in the morning, and then I got to follow the route I’d mistakenly followed earlier on in the day. Grabbed a car park ticket at Hollingworth lake as the visitor centre looked shut and I didn’t fancy the pub (well, I did fancy the pub, just not queuing there). Dropped back to the valley and then started the long grind up Blackstone Edge. Nothing too horrendous on the gradient, but it was just a slog with 590km in the legs. But then we dropped onto Cragg Vale for 8km of downhill rest, and were back at HQ. Finished at 18:15, so a bit slower than saturday, but still good going for hills and tired legs.
The organisation of the event was brillant thanks to Chris and his team. The routesheet was clear and easy to use on the road, and on the sofa when I was doing the GPX tracks. Accomodation available before, during and after the event for those who needed it, so it made the logistics a lot easier as we could head up on Friday night for no extra cost. And as much food as you could eat was a great feature, certainly got my moneys worth on toast and pasta over the weekend.
So that’s a 2nd audax goal for 2012 achieved as well, as I’ve now got one of the shiny new Super Randonneur 2500 awards for doing rides of 200,300,400,600 and 1000km in one season. And as a bonus all the events have been AAA.
Hopefully the legs will recover nicely before 8th August when I’m off to the Peak District for one of Peak Audax’s Marple Grimpeurs, the Mid Peak 100 to be precise. Which hopefully I’ll ECE up to 200km.