It’s becoming something of a regular occurrence that we arrive late at audaxes, and start in last place. I won’t go into the reasons why because he knows who he is and to do so would just be churlish. Anyway, we arrived at Fairburn near Leeds late, and we started in last place. By we I mean me and Anthony. There were no clouds in the sky and the sun was out but it was still pretty cold when we set out, and there was a crisp wind blowing from north to south. And, obviously, we were heading north. It was a fairly uneventful ride through Bramham, Boston Spa and Wetherby, and into Knaresborough where we stopped at the first control – the Riverside Café. The line of bikes in the picture above was everyone else there before us (did I mention we started last) and we had very nice scrambled egg on toast and I met a retired black labrador guide dog called Raymond. And his owner, obviously. Our fame is obviously spreading as we chatted with fellow audaxers and compared battle-scars from previous rides.
We hit the first climb which would a be a mere aperitif for the main climb of the day. And then we rode past Brimham Rocks, which are strange rock formations that look like Bedrock in the Flinstones. But we just rode past and didn’t really see them unfortunately.
Through Pately Bridge we rode past a large reservoir and up to another café at How Stean Gorge. A gorge is simply a large hole in the ground geology fans. As there was another control not much further on we just had a cold drink.
Back the way we came we then had the big climbs of the day, which were pretty tough, but which were followed by a great descent into Otley and another café stop.
I wonder if there was an airshow on locally because just after the picture above was taken a WWII Halifax bomber flew over us at quite a low height – brilliant machine.
We got a bit lost down a cycle path which meant we rolled into Naburn Lock control behind a load of people we had been in front of, including 3 old chaps on some of the blingest bikes I’ve ever seen on an audax, including a Planet X and an Orbea with aero wheels! After an ice lolly we set off for the final 20 miles and I was determined to catch them up so dragged poor Anthony along at 20+mph. As we overtook the old boys they hooked onto the back and so we had a train all the way back to the HQ. Anthony tried to get them to take a turn on the front but apparently over 65’s are exempt. Fairplay to these chaps – I was giving it full gas at 21-22mph after 100 hilly miles and they stayed with us. They all shook my hand afterwards thanking me for the tow, which was a really nice touch, and I got a great workout.
If you haven’t done an audax then you should – as you can see they are great fun and every one is different!
Ride stats : 123 miles in 7hrs 54m @ 15.6mph average. 5,687ft of ascent, 6,162kcals of energy and average HR of 140 bpm