First 200k Audax

Completed my first 200k Audax ride. This is the one that was snowed off. After doing it, I’m glad I didn’t try it in the snow and -10 temperatures after dark on bike or trike.

The garmin report comes out to just under 200k (the route was planned as 210k), but I had technical trouble with GPS just before Cirencester and had to re-start it, but didn’t think to start the timer again until it tried to switch itself off sometime after Cirencester. You can see the straight line and the time vs elapsed time. Fortunately, there’s no quicker way than straight through Cirencester, so hopefully it will be approved.

I was worryingly in pain and exhausted by Oxford, which is less than half way, but a donner kebab seemed to perk me up. By Thornbury, I was terminally and crawled the final 10-15 miles. I didn’t embarrass myself too much against a cyclist on a race bike about 2 miles from the end, so I’m happy.

I find the balance between leg and arm pain difficult to manage. If my legs are tired, I can go for a more aero pose, but then my arms hurt more and vice versa. Think I will put the bars up a little higher, so the TT bar position is more comfortable, yet still pretty effective. I didn’t use the drops much, so having them a little higher will mean I can have some more variation.

  1. Extremely well done, 200k that’s certainly some ride

  2. What’s the point in drops at all? I’d take everything off and go straight, erm, oh yes, I did.

  3. Having gone from straight to drops, the only thing I miss about straights is that I don’t have as much confidence with the drops (because I’ve only ridden them 3 years, not 20).

    I really like the 3 hand positions you get with drops. With ergo grips and bar ends, I think you’d have enough hand positions to remain comfortable, but I like being able to get more or less aerodynamic with the drop options. I’m quite careful all ride to be on the flats on steep up-hills, the hoods for gentle up hills / flats and drops for the down-hills / flats. With TT bars in the mix, I think all I’d miss is the ability go get nice and low while covering the brakes on descents.

    My problem on this ride was that for the ride distance it was just all round too low, fine for a 100k, but my old position (the bar top level with the saddle) would work better for a long slog.

    • For that distance are you really getting the benefit? You have to carry that extra TT bar weight up hill after all.
      When I had drops I preferred the hoods, that was 95% of the time with practically no time on the drops because I breathe better when I’m more upright.

      • Your race bike was super low though, you were in the same situation as me with the option of low or lower. Once I flip the stem I should have the option of high or low and use both.

        I prefer drops to flats for the breathing because you’re still well stretched out on the drops rather than scrunched up if you tried for a low position on the flats.

        Are TT bars worth it on the long ride?.. Absolutely. A way to rest the hands and gain 3mph. My only problem was my neck getting sore, but raising the TT bars will sort that to some extent, also, not going from 4 miles a day to 130! I’m not particularly set in the flats vs drops argument (if the frame is the right length for flats), but I’d put TT bars on any bike that’s not for short trips or a hill climb event. You should try them again for your commute, it’s taken me a few 100 miles to feel comfortable switching on and off them in traffic, but it’s worth it.

      • I’m pretty sure that is why I took them off, I didn’t feel safe without brake levers within my grasp. I should give your bike a try one weekend, put flat pedals on it and I’ll give it a go, in fact we can swap pedals and you can ride Bluebell for a few miles.

  1. June 25th, 2013

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