Hopey New Year is a 104km audax with 1.75AAA points. I was on my own for this one and was off on time and heading south. The first 30 or so miles flew by and by the halfway point I was averaging 17.3mph. It was really very pleasant, and I even had a fox running along the road in front of me for a short distance. And then we left Ashbourne, climbed the big hill out and turned north west directly into a tremendous blocking headwind.
At that point my speed dropped to around 6mph going uphill, and on the flat it was barely above 9mph, grinding away in the small ring! At one point I was pedalling hard downhill and managing 15mph. The Windy Ridge Cafe (aptly name) couldn’t come kick enough for some welcome food and respite from the wind. Each rider coming in was looking almost shell-shocked, but I took the opportunity to chat with audax stalwarts from Saddleworth Clarion and Derby Mercury.
Leaving the cafe it was a short push until a 90° turn made making headway easier but now meant there was a vicious sidewind. At one point on a descent I thought I’d lost it as the wind started an oscillation in my front wheel that genuinely scared the living daylights out of me.
About 13 miles out from the finish there was a massive bang and my rear wheel instantly deflated. Fantastic. When I got the wheel off I was pretty concerned as the tyre had a half inch split in it. I changed the tube and put a couple of patches inside and outside the tyre.
The final 13 miles was nerve-wracking, wondering if the tyre would split further. This is the second Schwalbe Ultremo DD that’s done this to me and I suspect that the Speedracer mudguards I use rub slightly and then punctures actually tear the tyre. Regardless, the mudguards are now off (apologies to anyone riding behind me) and I’ll be changing to a different brand of tyre.
About a quarter of a mile from the end the tyre started to go down but I limped to the finish and realised my legs were absolutely battered. All good miles in the legs!
Ride stats : 66 miles in 4hrs 50m @ 13.7mph average. 5,664ft of ascent and 3,675kcals used. Ft/Mile climb ratio = 85.8