A long 200k audax (210k or 133 miles), we set off at 8am and headed west. Both this ride, and it’s shorter sister ride, were fully subscribed, so there was a large group of riders. Over the first 10 miles myself and Graeme from the club made our way towards the front group, which was moving at a very rapid pace. There were groups from Manchester Wheelers and our friends from Saddleworth Clarion in or around the front too, and it stayed pretty compact until about 30-odd miles, when a small breakaway moved ahead. I managed to catch it and stayed there until the Eureka cafe, when I ordered some food and coffee whilst they checked in and then carried on. The first 43 miles had been done at an average speed of 18.8mph and on my heavy winter bike, my legs were feeling it.
Suitably refuelled I set off on my own again. It wasn’t long before I happened upon Mike, a VC167 rider, andthen quickly afterwards the Saddleworth boys. We rode together for a while until the road started heading upwards and I found myself out of the front again on my own. After a while the guys caught me and we rode onto the next control at Bangor. The other guys stopped but I continued on to the Ice Cream Farm, picking up a small group and sticking with them.
My winter bike is a Boardman CX Cross bike, with adapted mudguards and a pannier rack, running 700x35c tyres. With Avid BB5 disc brakes that are almost impossible to set up properly. It’s bloody heavy and accelerates like an oil tanker. The rattles, squeaks and scrapes frequently built up to a cacophony of noise until they miraculously disappeared. Then they’d start again. But I guess that lugging it around all winter will either kill me or build thighs like Chris Hoy!
I left Chris fighting his way through yet more cheese at the Ice Cream Farm (you’d think he’d learned his lesson by now) and pushed on. I was on my own until the finish and the strong pace early on, on a heavier and slower bike, had really taken its toll and I was struggling. The final control, a garage in Astbury, meant a short breather and some fuel, and then the last 20 miles with lights on – still a bit of a struggle. At the end I was pretty done in – more so than usual. Prior to the start, Peter Bond had told me to take it easy. Hmm, yes…
Footnote – I subsequently heard that Mike from VC167 had an off – best wishes to him and I hope all is okay.
Ride stats : 133.5 miles in 7hrs 32m at 17.7mph average. 3418ft climb, average HR 145bpm and 5844kcals used