Besides, I had another motivation. And yet again it involves my obsessive/competitive/compulsive nature. Take your pick and decide which for yourself, I'm done with the analysis.
It's a long story. But when I found out there was an award from Audax UK if I could complete another Audax of 200km or more this year, I was straight onto their site looking for one. And this from someone who claims to be intrinsically motivated. Complicated, I'm not opening that bag of cats.
Anyway, none of the ones that were geographically close would work from a calendrical point of view. Then I found out about "Permanents". You ride the Audax route, on your own, and prove you have done it. And it counts towards the Randonneur 1000, as long as it's properly validated. You can also start at any of the controls on the route, extending choice.
So it was that I stood outside my house just after dawn yesterday, ready to set out on the 300km ride. Because I had decided to start at the nearest control, this required a ride down to the back entrance of Sedgemoor services (northbound), and getting my Brevet card validated with a stamp and receipt.
That picture above was the last I saw of the sun for a few hours, for I was only a mile from home when the heavens opened and down came the rain. Also going down, and pretty quickly, was me, my bike, and my monumentally over-full saddle-bag.
With three spare tubes, a tool-kit, a spare base-layer, lock (why I took this I have no idea, because I was never confident enough to leave my bike out of sight, locked or otherwise), a huge lighting collection, spare battery bag for the Garmin. And food, lots of food.
The impact of all this extra weight meant I had to control the bike more than I like on the downhills (that's braking for the non-cyclists) and going up hill was a lot slower than I'd appreciate on an already-long day. Of course everything in that bag was 100% necessary. There is no back-up on an Audax, and on a Permanent you are dependent on yourself and your wits for any eventuality. And your mobile phone and debit card of course.
As you would expect, it was pretty quiet at that time on a Saturday. As well as the official controls, there were also three "information" controls. Random and obscure questions about specific points on the route to make sure you go up a particular hill, or to a far-flung corner, and don't take any short cuts. Who would do that? Someone without an obsessive nature probably.
Ironically, one of these Info controls was in Loxton and another halfway up Cheddar gorge.