Sunday, 11 August 2013

We just walk on by

So now I understand what all the fuss is about!

For the first time ever I have entered the mysterious world of Audax. Actually it's not that mysterious at all really, just a bit different to what I have been used to with organised rides. In a number of respects. Friendlier for sure. And more relaxed and informal. But don't tell people it's not as serious, for there is a whole other world of competitiveness and rules and leagues going on, the like of which I have yet to fathom.

The audax in question was the Three Towers Audax, starting from North Petherton village hall. So as James, Trevor, Martyn and I were all riding, it made sense to meet up at Martyn's work to be sure of some parking and facilities.

Despite some very heavy overnight rain, and a nagging blustery wind from the north-west, it was a pleasant enough morning, and the four of us duly went in and paid our £8. Yes, that's not a typo. For that you get everything you want/need with the possible exception of mechanical support. You get a route card, but you also get a whole heap of friendly people to help you out if you are not sure, and we picked up Paul from Wedmore who did a sterling job on that front.

But really, do you need a signed route? Mechanical support is nice to have I guess, but I know of few people that have ever needed it. Timing? As Martyn says, I have a Garmin and a bike computer, and anyway, with a mass start at 9AM, they time you anyway. With a watch. And a pen.

The route itself was named after the three towers it passes: Burrowbridge, King Alfred's and Glastonbury. It was fairly flat and with the odd lump and bump, and of course the vicious little kick up past King Alfred's Tower. I was probably the slowest in the group today, Trevor is so strong and I can't believe how good Ed has become this year, powering up the climbs and cruising effortlessly on the flat.

A few knowing souls had this device on their bars so they could follow the route card.

For the tech-savvy generation who may not have seen one before, it's called a clipboard.

A nice reception of tea and cakes awaiting us in Ditcheat village hall (one of the controls) and this was replicated at the finish, as well as baked beans on toast, which is possibly the best recovery food ever!

The route also includes our ride to and from Martyn's factory, and you can see that for the second week in a row, I wasn't hanging about. Hanging on, yes, I'll grant you, to Trevor's slipstream mainly, but I did do the odd turn on the front, and pleasingly was asked to slow down at one point. You have to take you achievements where you can, these things don't happen that often in that company.

Elsewhere this week, Junior and I have been Gromit-hunting, a sport that is sweeping through large swathes of the Bristol population this Summer. Yesterday we knocked off 36 to take out total to date to 42, which means we have 38 to go. We started pretty early on Saturday morning and by 10AM there was a huge queue to get into Harvey Nicholls to see their sculpture. It was almost as vicious as the bloke at the top of the Peyresourde.

By lunchtime there were hordes of families swarming all over the Gromits so Junior and I retired for the day to re-group in a week or so. But here is my favourite to date:

This is for someone who needs to hold onto her dreams. She knows who she is, play it loud and annoy everyone!

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