My audax career hasn't been particularly illustrious since then. We DNF'd the Dartmoor Devil in October and then the Shaftesbury Spring 200 in March (as temperatures remained wintry until April). Since then, I've spent time in the audax community helping out on various rides, but haven't actually managed to complete one myself. The prospect of finishing the audax season without a single point to my name seemed unacceptable, so I was happy to register myself along with Alberto to try again to enjoy the Poor Student Perm, this time hopefully in slightly better weather.
|Early morning mist heading out of Oxford|
He was coming off of a double header of the Dean 300, having bivvied in a field nearby the night before! Only in the audax world could a random service station be a bustling meeting place!
After a brief chat we were off again on our way to Chipping Norton. It was a lovely, misty morning and I was really enjoying being on the road bike, which I really haven't spent much time on this year. We were making pretty good time, and enjoyed a quick snack from a french bakery in Chipping Norton. The owner warned that rain was coming--he could tell because his bread was very soft--and sure enough just a few minutes after departing we starte getting some light rain. Fortunately it didn't last long; we didn't have to put on our waterproofs.
We made it to Malmesbury at around 2:30 and decided to have a proper rest in a cafe there. We had courgette soup and a hot drink, which really hit the spot. It wasn't cold out, but it was too chilly to stop for very long without adding extra layers - so it was nice to sit inside.
My legs had started to feel tired just as we approached Malmesbury, but after a rest they had pretty much recovered their full strength. We headed off on the final stretch still with a good amount of daylight left and still in good spirits. What a change from last time.
|Snack break as the light starts to fade|
This had the effect of making me look forward to the finish, but at the same time I was not unhappy. I did not experience an emotional low at any point during the ride, something which is common for me on rides where I push myself a bit out of my comfort zone. I ended the ride feeling very spent, like I had worked hard, but I hadn't suffered. It's been a long time since I've hit that perfect balance and it felt great.