You need dedication to get up at 5-30am, pick your buddy and his bike up, and drive 120 miles to an audax to the south of Birmingham on a very wet Saturday morning. Myself, Anthony, Andrew and Andy did just that and arrived at the HQ at 8-30am ready to sign on. I really like audaxes. You meet real cyclists. They don’t have the latest bling bikes or clothing, they look like they’ve been riding longer than they’ve been walking, and they just get on with it and ride. Which after all, is what cycling is all about.
There are two rides following the same route – one clockwise and the other anti-clockwise. The Sunrise sets off first and we were on the anti-clockwise Snowdrop. Because there isn’t much climbing it bunched up a bit as we started off and we were forced to put a bit of pace on to get clear of the group. Unfortunately we got dragged back into it as Andrew was struggling up the hills with a problematic rear derailleur. Closer inspection suggested it was mis-adjusted or even slightly bent, but Andrew soldiered on after trying to fettle it in true audax style.
At this point we’d been lucky with the rain (i.e. very little of it). The cafe’s were perfectly spaced at 27 miles and 50 miles so we could refuel at each. You do see lots of riders squirting gels down like there’s no tomorrow. Completely and totally unnecessary (and expensive!) if you have stops around the 25 mile mark, but you don’t half read some nonsense written about them.
Outside the second cafe we did see an unusual Flying Gate bike today which was very nice indeed. The ride itself was pretty good. Not windy, not too hilly and I imagine in the summer some beautiful countryside. However, as we neared the end disaster struck when faced with a short, sharp hill Andrew’s front mech completely mangled itself somehow.
Removing it we thought he could continue with just the rear gears. Unfortunately it had bent the rear mech somehow and the bike was unrideable. We were only 4 miles or so from the finish so Andrew started walking and we rode back, with Andy picking up the car to go and fetch him.
Bacon sandwich at the end and then a 2 hour drive home. Like I said, dedication!
Ride stats : 76.7 miles in 5 hrs 1 m @ 15.3mph average. 4500kcals energy and average HR of 134bpm