02 October 2011

Ride report: The NewUppertea Audax 200, Stages 1 and 2

"Time is miles" - quote from the Upperton control stamp

Our Audax ride started at 8 am from somewhere near Guildford, in the southwest of London. We had to have breakfast, cycle to Waterloo, catch an early train, cycle to the start and register for the ride. So alarm went off at 5:15 am but could only open my eyes at 5:35 am. By 6:20 am we were already out of the house and about to descend down to Waterloo...and then I realised that I had a flat tyre! Rushed back into the house and within 5 min I had a new tube in and pumped up to 110 psi. Apparently the valve could not hold up for much longer and realesed all the air overnight...

With all this we missed our train. Not a big deal on a normal ride, but it meant that we would be late for the start. The clock was ticking. And therefore the miles were ticking (see quote above!). We would be cycling behind schedule and also we would not be able to enjoy the atmosphere at the start, with tea and biscuits. Oh well. Got to Guildford and cycle up to Newlands Corner, met some people cycling in the opposite direction, met Dave & Richard (the organisers), got our brevet cards and without delay went back down to Guildford for stage 1. We will see Dave later at the Upperton control. Richard, not that we knew, would be waiting for us much later back at Newlands Corner for the final control. We started the ride at 8:25 am.

Stage 1: Newlands Corner - Three Mile Cross (46 km)
After a gentle downhill we were on relatively busy roads (not at this time of the morning though) heading northwest of Guildford, via Jacobs Well, Pirbright, Frimley Green, Yately & Eversley, Spencers Wood and finally Three Mile Cross. The route was mostly flat and urban, as it approached Reading towards the end. The temperatures were very comfortable and we were riding on summer clothing all the way. At some point we got passed by two other audaxers, who we will meet again at the first control. We managed to average >25 km/h and the stage took us less than 2 h, which is probably the fastest we've ever ridden in quite a while! We made it to the control with more than half an hour to spare which, considering our late start, was not bad at all! Met a few others that were leaving and as proof of passage we got two juices at the gas station, put our receipts in our pockets, and off we went on to stage 2. It seemed that were were the last ones already.

Smiley Lucy after >25 km/h average, at the Three Mile Cross control

Stage 2: Three Mile Cross to Sutton Scotney (45 km)
The temperatures were going up by now, it was 20 degrees or more, very unusual for this time of the year, when it should be more like 10. Left the control and happily rode another 45 km. This time we soon entered the beautiful English countryside, with pretty much traffic-free roads. After reaching Silchester, we rode along an old
Roman wall, after which we got to Ramsdell. The roads were very flat so far. We went past Ramsdell, Ibworth, Deane and Steventon, to then ride along a very long section of country lanes that went gently uphill (the old A303 we belive!). We made a diversion from the original route to avoid busy roads, making a few more km than necessary, in exchange for some nice views and quiet lanes. At this point we felt ready for another break, so we pushed on to the second control. It really helps spliting these kind of rides into various stages, so that you have short goals to meet to keep yourself motivated. After about 2 h of riding (>23 km/h) we got to the second control in yet another gas station. We met the same riders again, which must have got there about 20-30 min before us. I chatted about bikes (duh!) and specifically about audax bikes (duh!) as am thinking on getting/building one. I got excited about long audaxes as we spoke to the veterans. One of them had even ridden the Paris-Brest-Paris back in 2003! Definetely something I am aiming for (in 2015!)...

Lucy battling the rolling hills

Applying sunscreen at the Sutton Scotney control, not a very scenic stop

It had been very easy going so far, decent average of >24 km/h and very little stopping. We even had more than 1 h to spare at the second control, we had our hopes up, felt pretty good and got a little relaxed. 90 km and another ~125 km to go. An "El Supremo" feed in between after stage 3. The rest from now on was not that easy...

Ride report from stages 3 and 4 coming soon!

No comments:

Post a Comment