Archive for March, 2011
Sunday saw me in Stevenage for the Start of the Summertime 210km Audax. I was slightly nervous, the longest ride to date in 2011 a mere 60 miles compared with the day’s total of 131. It may have been the nerves but leaving the start I seemed to be going quite fast and by the time we had reached Walkern I was with a leading group of four. This made me decidedly nervous, it certainly wasn’t what I had planned.
The Stevenage CTC organised summertime rides are basically East/West trips, the 210km was a figure of eight with Lavenham, Suffolk as the furthest point and Thaxted as the centre of the 8. Unusually the wind, although relatively light was from the South East. This meant there was a distinct advantage to staying with a group. We quickly lost the 4th rider and three of us turned up at the first control in Reed 3 minutes after the early limit. From there it was on to Thaxted with all three of us more of less sharing the pace. However for the final 20 miles to Lavenham I was unable to contribute, basically it was down to gritting my teeth, concentrating on the wheel in front and hanging on. By the outskirts of Lavenham I was hanging on as if on elastic – gradually losing distance on the flat and then catching up on the gradients.
Bruce and Ian weren’t hanging around, so I said goodbye – grateful for the slipstreaming, but equally grateful to accept that the return would be at a more leisurely pace. After a sandwich, coffee and cake at Lavenham Guildhall, it was time to get back on and start navigating for myself. The sun was out, the wind was behind me and I thought if I set off at a leisurely pace a group would catch me and I could tag on. In the event I was well to Hertfordshire before a group formed and so I had a relatively quiet trip back, only enlivened by nearly losing control because of gravel on the road near Furneux Pelham – despite it being well into a long day I still had sufficient wits about me to let go the brakes and regain my balance.
Finally back in Stevenage, with 131 miles done at 16.5mph on average I was feeling pretty good – until I tried to straighten my back to get off the bike. Time to step up the stretching routine!
An excellent day out – full marks to Stevenage CTC for meticulous organisation and a routesheet which was absolutely accurate and simple to follow