Archive for the ‘ Randonneur 1000 ’ Category

Audax 2013 – November – Non-stop Alresford

I almost didn’t make an Audax ride for November. But I’ve managed to squeezed one in at the last moment, mainly as an excuse to test the Rivet saddle I have on load from Carradice (see picture). I couldn’t be bothered to put a new route together, so I just re-did the 100k I’ve enjoyed the most, my trip to Alresford.

I managed the whole thing without stopping for more than a minute and made a decent average speed, despite it being cold and fairly windy. http://connect.garmin.com/activity/410532246

The saddle performed well, the main thing I noticed was that the edge of the pad appeared to be on my sit bones, unless I pulled them too tight!

Rivet Diablo on bike

Next time I’ll try without a pad I think, I could have done with my “thermo” tights anyway!

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Audax 2013 – October (again) – Avebury

Planning a gentle weekend ride with an old cycling friend escalated into a 200k audax to Avebury a standing stone counterpart to Stonehenge.

Cue pictures of bikes with standing stones:

Bike & stone WP_000860

We made good time and had a nice lunch at the Red Lion pub. There were some terrifying crosswinds to contend with on descents and a really strong headwind just at the halfway point before we had lunch. Fortunately Dave took the brunt of the work at this point as I was flagging. The A4 from Avebury to Marlborough was brilliant with a tailwind, I must plan it into more routes because it’s nice and wide so no traffic trouble. This is in contrast to a completely ballsed up pass by an SUV on a blind bend. I could see the traffic coming the other way so had time to brake before they swerved into the space I had been occupying very narrowly missing Dave’s back wheel. They then failed to engage gears when trying to pull away. We kept within a 100 yards for a few minutes showing the futility.

After turning off the A4, we got hit by a short but very intense shower which was like having a hose on us. By the time I stopped and got my coat out of my bag I was soaked!

Disappointingly, suffered with saddle sores despite the radical plan of taking a spare pair of shorts and going through a cycle of padded Lycra, baggy with pad then baggy without pad. So back to the drawing board on that one as none seemed particularly preferable. My right hand also suffered a little with numbness and soreness between thumb and forefinger. I noticed however that the hood is in a slightly different position from the left hand so that could well be the cause. I also suffered psychologically because of an incredibly rattly bike. I checked over the rack bolts on the road and nothing seemed loose, but I reckon I was scaring livestock on some country lanes.

Passed out in the evening and had a long lie in, so these things are clearly still not a breeze. Much easier than my first 200 though.

Audax 2013 – October – Silchester plus

Decided to try to complete my October Audax early while the weather was still nice.

I visited Slichester again, though using more back roads: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/386701877

The speed was good, though I didn’t feel I stopped that long for lunch, but it eat up 20 minutes! Depressingly, looking back at my February ride over a similar route, I’ve gained 0.1mph after 8-9 months of commuting 100 miles a week! Oh well, at least it saves petrol. I pushed quite hard and my legs are now shattered, so it’s not for lack of effort.

This was also the first long ride for the Brooks (well, at least when not set way too low)

WP_000551 WP_000550

 

I think it might have been marginally more comfortable than the regular saddle in terms of friction, but was very hard. Not a disaster, but it’ll need more tweaking and I’ll experiment with the old saddle as well.

WP_000552The old saddle was a Selle Italia Prolink.

 

Audax 2013 – September – Alresford quest

You may notice the lack of any August Audax. It would have been nice to have the complete set, but several holidays with the children intervened and I didn’t want to mess up plans with half days away. Perhaps I’ll do two this month to make up for it…

I embarked on the CTC Cyclequest several years ago and figured that my various Audax rides would be a good way to knock off the clues. The target for this ride was Alresford in Hampshire. I think that makes it about 10 out of 402, this could take time!

The route incorporated some of the Stonehenge 200 as I remember that this took us through alot of nice scenery and seemed to avoid horrifically bumpy lanes that were the bane of my previous ride. The route was indeed excellent, but I’m surprised I didn’t go faster as I felt good all the way round and didn’t have to resort to crawl mode and the elevation gain wasn’t as much as many of the rides I’ve done. http://connect.garmin.com/activity/372078939

I did indeed make it to Alresford, found the answer (SPOILER ALERT: if you cheat and take the answer from here, you’ll never be able to live with yourself):

CQ Alresford

and got a nice picture of “Black 5” (you learn something from train obsessed children):

Black5

Audax 2013 – July – Lumpy South Down Raid

This was the most problematic 100k I’ve done this year.

I tried some “in ear” running headphones, but they were a big disappointment. While they entirely blocked out traffic noise, they seemed to let in wind noise so I still couldn’t hear radio and was oblivious to cars behind me (or round the next corner). I ditched them after 15 minutes feeling they were abit dangerous. Back to normal cheap ones as I can still hear plenty of the traffic and get enough of the radio.

The route was lumpy on the macro and the micro scale. While I didn’t mind the hills, the fact that the road surfaces were generally in a terrible state made any descending a misery as I usually had to have the brake jammed on and got a bruised hand from banging through potholes. It didn’t help that many of these descents were twisty and so shadowed by trees that I really could have done with my light! I seem to have ignored my own “don’t use country lanes apart from for a break” mantra. It also didn’t help that about 1km of my route on the South Downs was unpaved. You can see a bunch of 2.5mph walking in the middle of the speed graph.

I had forgotten to fully charge up my GPS (or backup battery) for the ride, so about 60km in it started to tell me that the battery was low. This was bad a) because I might not get the ride validated and b) because I’d be lost somewhere in Hampshire! Fortunately it hung on until I got to some bits that were easy to navigate and I could switch it off for a while between controls. This does mean that the stats don’t reflect the ridiculous amount of climbing that went on.

On the plus side, I did get to see the sea and the Isle of White:

The sea from downs

and, having not eaten any lunch beforehand, I got to eat a smoky sausage on top of Butser hill

Cycling Sausage

In conclusion, I won’t be doing that route again, or using those headphones, but I will be taking a backup battery & sausage!

 

 

Audax 2013 – June – The long one

As part of my Randonneur 1000, I had to complete a 300km ride, which is substantially further than I’ve ever been in a day before (200km, which hurt alot). After 6 months of decent cycle commuting, I thought it was now or never!

And I made it! I had decided on a fairly flat route, so as not to shock the legs too much and had a mild tailwind to ease my passage. You can see from the log: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/331602043 that I managed very good moving average (for me), but stopped rather alot. Mostly this was down to the saddle rubbing, which I am currently trying to remedy with  a Brooks (more to come on that).

I stopped for longer than strictly necessary with my brother in law and his wife (I’m not sure if that makes her my sister in law?), but I was supplied with excellent home made pesto!

Most of the route was good, with little traffic, apart from around Huntingdon. It started misty, turned drizzly, but cleared up in the afternoon, which let me capture this nice scene of the fens:

The fens

The fens

and my Audax setup:

300k setup

300k setup

Something that worked well (that you can just see in a plastic bag strapped to my TT bars) was an external battery for my Garmin GPS. I plugged it in somewhere around 150km and left it. It still had some charge left by the end. When it was plugged in the Garmin’s backlight was on, so taking far more power. I think with judicial use, I could have charged the GPS 3-4 times, which would potentially be more than 40 hours!

Back to some shorter rides now…

Audax 2013 – May – Stonehenge (kind of)

This was my second organised audax. The first was a disaster: in freezing temperatures I didn’t take my overshoes, got freezing feet and ditched.

The Stonehenge 200 (incomplete route as the GPS ran out of battery) , run in beautiful sunshine. A very different experience from a solo audax as I was with a group the whole time and as a consequence spent far less time on the time-trial bars / drops than usual.

I felt pretty good during the ride, it was only when I tried to push up a hill on the way home from the registration that I found my legs didn’t work!