My target for this audax was to ride 11 hours ride time with a total time of 13 hours including stops. With that in mind I had an idea of the pace I needed to ride at – 10 mile splits between 32 and 34 minutes – and an intermediate target of getting to the half way cafe by 12 noon after a 6am start. Anthony and Neil Shand from the club were there, as well as Chris Cullen from Saddleworth Clarion, amongst many other familiar audaxing faces.
The first stop at Helsby was Tesco. As we were leaving the junction divided into a left turn lane and a separate single lane to go straight on or turn right. We took the correct position to turn right but as the lights changed and we set off the car behind overtook us cutting the corner whilst turning right, furiously gesticulating. Anthony chased after him and the guy stopped – as I approached there was an exchange of opinions taking place. Apparently this fucking bellend thought that a) we should have been in single file and on the left (whilst turning right) and b) it’s acceptable to do overtake whilst turning right. Amazingly, he accused cyclists of being selfish before getting in his car and driving off, presumably to perform some brain surgery. I despair sometimes.
After 60 miles at Gobowen we left Anthony who was struggling a bit and headed south towards the cafe. During that section there was a mini-monsoon which lasted maybe 5 minutes but was close to flooding the road in that time – it absolutely soaked us. Proper movie rain.
Refuelled at the cafe stop and set off again – the headwind we had been riding into was still a headwind – the wind direction had switched. That’s not really fair. At this point Neil and I were riding alone, behind a guy from Derby Mercury who was really, really quick, and had decided to round the 300k up to a 500k by riding to and from the start! There’s always someone more mentalist than you.
We kept the pace pretty high and skirted the rain for the most part, avoiding getting wet until the very last stop before the end.
We finished at about 7-15pm which meant I’d missed the 13 hour total time target, but my ride time was under 11 hours so I was very happy with that. My legs are feeling it this morning.
Ride stats : 193 miles in 10hrs 52m @ 17.7mph average. 5966ft climb, average HR of 139bpm and 7896kcals energy used.