Ready for a winter Audax ride

200km DIY audax or not

So deciding it was time to get back to some proper audax distance decided to head out for a 200km DIY audaxyesterday. Sub plot was to ride with the gentlemen I’ll also be riding an AudaxUK East Arrow with at the end of March.

This was going to be the longest ride I’d done since July (3 coasts 600km) given my abysmal August and end of year.

The weather was never looking to be brilliant. There was snow forecast for the Friday night and the temperature wasn’t expected to make it much above 0C. But the sunday was forecasting rain and winds, so we decided we’d rather brave a bit of snow and ice…….

To keep it vaguely sane we were going to use my Nottingham – Bourne – Woodhall Spa – Lincoln – Nottingham as it’s mainly decent roads. But with a slight detour to pick up one of our number from Bingham.

So Saturday morning came around and the steed was loaded up:

Ready for a winter Audax ride
Snowy audax ahead

Roads to nottingham centre were a bit slushy, but they soon picked up on the main drags. We headed out on the A52 and settled in for a bit of a DC bash. Thought we’d cut through radcliffe for a bit of a break only to find it full of slush. All met up at Bingham (as is traditional, in front of a CoOp). Looking at the slush on the roads we decided we’d head for Grantham on the A52 and then pile down the A15 (anyone else spot the problem?). Made good progress along the A52 and got to Grantham in good time.

Took what we thought was the turning for the A15 only to find out we were heading straight for the A1. Yep, the mistake was not remembering just how far on the other side of Grantham the A15 meets the A52. A quick conflab over iphones and road atlas pages and we decided to just head down the A1 to Colsterworth. Only 6 miles, how bad could it be?

As tail end charlie it was a pretty tense 6 miles. The snow and slush meant there was no hard shoulder, and the drivers didn’t appear to be paying attention to the weather conditions. Thankfully the professionals in the big trucks were awake so we got plenty of room from them.

Happy to get off at Colsterworth and then a nice rolling ride to Bourne. Nice chat to a old chap while controlling, regaling us with stories of TTing back in the day, apparently he was capable of a 1:08 25, so definitely a step above us peformance wise. We didn’t hang about too much and headed off for Woodhall Spa

Just after the A17 crossing we hit a bad patch of road. Seemed like ages of carefully following wheel ruts and having to guess if it was just shiny or slippy. Noone went down, but there was plenty of dabbing going on. On particular puddle concealed a pothole about 6 inches deep, or so it felt as my front wheel disappeared. But the views more than made up for it. Bright blue sky with just a few clouds, and snow covered fields stretching off into the distance, and not even that cold.  A bit more worrying creaking under the wheels and we were back onto reasonably sane roads. Got to Woodhall Spa and stopped in at Little Dorrits for lunch. They were happy to tell us that the Everyone rides to Skeggy 300  (Go on, enter here) organiser had been in touch to sort out control, so that’s the breakfast stop sorted for that ride.

Now came the slightly busier road bash into Lincoln. Few head winds along here, but mainly just rolling along at a decent pace. Quick stop in Lincoln for those who weren’t DIYing by GPS to grab a reciept and then pushed on for the final leg.

The roads from Lincoln to Newark were nice and clear, no real slush and no traffic. Was good to get to try out the new Cyo properly. Works a treat for those sort of roads, wider been that my old B&M Luxos iQ which is easier on the eyes. All was going well till the drop into Newark from Coddington when my front brake started making some very funny noises and didn’t seem to be slowing me down any.  A quick stop in town showed a lot less pad left than I’d have liked, ie; I was braking metal on metal. Deciding that it’d be a stupid thing to change the last 20km with no front brake, I opted to jump on the train for Nottingham.

So I’ve still got the Audax jinx. That’s 3 out 3 for DNFs now, hopefully I’ll break this with the Rutland and Beyond next month.

But on the upside, it looks like I’ve still got some endurance left in the legs after the long lay off. 46okm for the Easter Arrows doesn’t seem to scary a target for 2 months away. And it’s boding well for getting up to full speed for London Edinburgh London at the end of July.


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