It’s been nearly a year since I last rode 200km in a day, and it seems like a lifetime ago that I completed the SR series (200, 300, 400 & 600km events) and qualified for PBP 2011. Like most cyclists, my priorities change from year to year and the chance to ride with friends on sportives and cycle tours this season has been a welcome change. But, like a moth to a flame I find myself inexorably drawn back into the world of Audax and scanning next year’s calendar….hmm, 400km with 10,000m of climbing in 24 hours, how hard can that be?
I’m back on the Audax trail this Sunday, an inocuous sounding 100km around the South Downs starting in Petworth. I’m getting lift down but will have to cycle back [...]
Our wonderful new Wiggo 3 jersey got it’s first road test this weekend at the Southern Sportive, a 155km ride through and over the South Downs. I’m not sure if I felt inspired by the athletic endeavours of our sportsmen this Summer but I certainly gave it a good go, and with over 9000 ft of climbing it needed it. The weather was perfect, too perfect in fact, so as temperature rose and energy levels started to wane I felt like I was being slowly cooked from the inside. Having gone off strongly, leading our group over the early climbs my recent lack of miles started to take it’s toll and I rather limped home, even stopping for a welcome ice cream on the way in. Still, I finished with [...]
With Ed away on his jollies these past two weeks it’s been left to me to steer the good ship Milltag. It’s been pretty hectic with plenty of custom orders arriving in time for the Summer(?!) but a real pleasure to get to know some of our customers, what a lovely bunch you all are. Anyway, the captain is back on Monday with tales from the exotic East just as I leave these rainy shores for that notorious hotspot, the French Pyrenees.
On Monday I start the Raid Pyrenean, a 720km jaunt along the entire length of the Pyrenees, starting near Biarritz on the Atlantic Coast and finishing on the port of Cerbere on the Med. Along the way we climb all the big beasts of the Pyrenees; the Aspin, Tourmalet, [...]
Ever since Bespoked when we unveiled the ‘Milltag Machine’ i’ve been itching to get out for a proper test ride, but since the heady days of that proto Summer we all know what the weather has dished up for us. I’m not totally averse to a bit of rain and have been pounding away on the training bike whilst ‘the machine’ remains hooked up on the garage wall. I decided to swap out the double chainset for the more realistic compact that I will be running to get through the Raid Pyrennean (720km, 100hours, 12,000m climbing) and managed this minor feat of mechanics apparently without too much trouble. Finally, a gap in the weather window meant I could put in a training ride a couple of weeks ago. Well, the bike [...]
It’s been a truly epic year for cycling; the most exciting TDF ever, an even more exciting Vuelta and then Cav’s win in the World Champs made 2011 a memorable one for all the right reasons. For me, Post-PBP could have been a huge anti-climax but a combination of the fantastic Autumn weather and the desire to keep some semblance of fitness has seen me complete a couple of 200km audaxes over the past couple of months. On Saturday I found myself on the start line just outside High Wycombe for the South Bucks Winter Warmer, unofficially known as The Tour of Sainsbury’s, so called because all the controls happen to be Sainsbury’s garages. The route takes you south through Eton and onwards through Surrey to the turnaround point at [...]
News from our Audax Adventurer came in last night:
“I completed Paris Brest Paris in just over 78.5 hours, arriving back at 1.50am on Thursday August 25th.
These bare facts that can’t possibly convey the highs and lows of this most epic of cycling events. I’ll post a full ride report a little late when i’ve had a little more time to reflect on the event, and there is a film in the pipeline too. For now I’m just glad I made it, relieved it’s over but mostly delighted that all the effort, training and preparation paid off. It’s time to reacquaint myself with the family now, safe in the knowledge that as far as cycling goes I’ve completely emptied the tank on the roads of Northern France.
Well done Pete, we [...]
I was searching the New Order Catalogue for a suitable title for what may be my last post before I head off for Paris. Trouble was, there were to many to choose from…Confusion, Paradise, Regret – check…Every little counts, Sooner than you think, Let’s Go, Round and Round – oh yes. I think we have a contender for our next music inspired jersey. Anyway, it’s a little over 3 weeks now to the start of PBP, too late to change anything now, not going to become a super grimpeur overnight now so best to focus on the challenge ahead and prepare mentally as best you can. It’s said that the challenge of long distance riding is only 10% physical, and 90% mental and I guess there is something [...]
Hello world, it’s been a little while since I was last in touch. Here’s what i’ve been up to as the weeks count down to PBP. Having qualified and been issued with a frame number (no. 5652, fact fans) there’s no turning back now but motivation has been an issue. That and the glorious Summer weather we’ve been having. Anyway, I planned some mountain biking in Wales with the kids in early June but the presence of proper hills rather put them off the idea of this so we had to curtail the trip after 25km’s or so. The following weekends were taken up with family camping trips, the Bristol show and other real life responsibilities that somehow prevented me from getting on the bike for any serious milage for the [...]
Well, I did indeed survive the beast but don’t think I tamed it, more likely it tamed me. This was the hardest ride I have ever done and gives me plenty to ponder in the coming months. But, as all good ride reports should, I should start at the beginning.
Saturday morning, 4am alarm call, the usual drill except this time the starting point is Waltham Abbey in Essex rather than the now familiar Chalfont, adding the necessary 80km to the route to bring it up to and over the required distance for a PBP qualification ride. A smaller field of 50 or so this time, a determined looking bunch if ever I saw one. A ragged start at just after 6am and we were away, and I soon found myself [...]
We all love being out on our bikes – the open road, the sense of purpose, the glorious weather…wait a moment. Anyone who was out this weekend might be wondering where summer went to, seems like we’ve fast forwarded straight to late Autumn and as for that wind, God help me next week on my final qualifier if it’s anything like that for the 300 kms out to Taunton. Anyway, I made it out on Sunday and revisited much of the Silly 50 route that caused me so much trouble back in March, this time without the same anguish so a couple of thousand km’s of riding since then seems to have paid off. Next weekend it’s the Beast From The East, my final 600km PBB qualifier. Expect a ride [...]
As the world turned it’s gaze towards London and the Royal Wedding i had bigger things on my mind, my next PBP qualifier started the following morning, departing the now familiar Community Centre in Chalfont. The ride heads out through the Cotswolds and the Forest of Dean to Chepstow, then crosses the Severn Bridge before returning back via Malmesbury and along Thames Valley. A 400km ride is always a tough distance to cope with as it invariably means long hours on the bike with some amount of night riding to finish off with.
I’d decided on neither depriving the family of the car, nor waking then up at 4am clattering about getting ready so instead opted for the luxuries of the Premier Inn in High Wycombe the night before. A brief [...]
Saturday April 2nd marked the date of my second PBP qualifier, a 305km ride from Chalfont St Peter down to the New Forest and back. I was probably more anxious about this ride than any other for a while, i hadn’t been on the bike for a couple of weeks whilst it was being repaired as a result of a collision with a car on my way out to a club run. Prior to that I’d not been out since the ‘Silly 50′ ride i wrote about previously which ended rather badly and left me with more doubts than ever about riding these distances. With less than than 300kms in total for the month of March, I now had to cover that in less than 18 hours.
A 6am start meant an [...]
Welcome back, it’s been a while. The path to true cycling greatness never runs smooth as I was to discover this weekend. Since my last posting I should have been building on good early season form ready for the spring season and my next qualifiers. Alas, a mixture of circumstance and motivation meant that i’ve managed nothing more than a single training ride of 5okm and a trip to the Manchester Velodrome. I also went ski-ing for a week in Slovakia; fresh mountain air, vigorous daily excercise and leg muscle conditioning. Not a bit of it. Massive portions of heart-attack inducing food, beer and wine with every meal and general merriment means that i returned last week a few kilos over my fighting weight with heavy legs and decidedly out [...]
[ Winter landscape, stolen shamelessly from swarm_catcher ]
Saturday morning, 5.45am. The alarm goes off but i’m awake already. It’s my first audax of the season, a 200km ride from Chalfont St Peter out to Hungerford and back again. It’s dark, damp and chilly when I arrive at the start point but no sign of the ice and sleet forecast. Say hello to a couple of familiar faces from the Willesden CC, looks like there’s going to be a decent turnout and sure enough by the 7.30 start there are 75 of us ready for the off. Now, the first thing to point out is that this is not a race, but for the stronger riders there is still plenty of kudos in finishing at the head of the pack. I found [...]