Sunday, 9 January 2011

The Poor Student 200

Being able to turn down your car windscreen wiper speed from constant to intermittent can never be as enjoyable as when you're driving to the start of an audax. Earlier I had been woken up, before the alarm went off, by the sound of torrential rain. By the time I got to Oxford it had stopped raining altogether. Against all forecasts, we didn't get another drop of rain.

I detected many patterns on this ride.

It seems no audax is complete these days without the sight of MattC, at the start and at the finish.

MattC with DaveB at the start

Then, about an hour into the ride, as has happened on several rides, from behind me, comes my BCM 2009 angel Mel. We had a good chat, talked about PBP, of course. Then, he goes off into the distance, not to be seen again, till one hour into the next ride.

And just like on the Severn Across last year, about two thirds into the ride, I link up with Ray. Another of my heros. I love his audax and PBP stories, and his sense of humour.

Talking about thirds, this ride certainly was a games of three halves! During the first leg (Oxford to Malmesbury) there was a head wind. If, as forecasted, the wind was 23km/h and I'm doing 18km/h, I should be going backwards, right? It certainly felt like it! The second leg (Malmesbury to Chipping Camden) was hilly, not too bad, I didn't have to walk, but I was already sapped from energy from the first leg. Then the last leg was cold. At Chipping Camden, Ray gave me heat pads to put into my gloves. Brilliant, it certainly helped and I'll be getting some of those for myself.

I learned from Eddy Merckx' book not to look at average speed. But on this ride, I couldn't help looking at the stats my GPS was giving. Average speed was going down, down, down. And I don't know how long my distance stayed at 185km before it clicked to 186. It seemed like hours!

I've never drunk so much fluid on a winter ride, and weighing myself in the evening I had lost 1kg.

Still, I loved the whole day. Meeting up with known riders (like Manotea, LEE, Martin, speedy Howard, RichF, ...), meeting new ones like Tim and Emily, and Nick Windle. Heard a tawny owl, and a bird I couldn't immediately identify, then settled for the sound being from a yapping dog. The outdoor pigs were a wonderful sight. They were springing about like spring lambs. The herd of muntjac deer I had to wait for was another great sight.

There are a few more pictures on the slideshow till the next ride or here: Clicky
And have a look at these magnificent photos by underseer: Clicky

Its a great ride, and if anyone wonders what it would be like in the summer, here is a picture from a July version


Anonymous said...

Again a brilliant report, that we will be reading again and again. Bravo with your achievement in spite of the strong wind.
Meim and peip xxx xxx

Anonymous said...

Grr - I wish I wrote so well!


Hummers said...

One qualifier down....


Kris said...

You discribe beautifully the hard and endless bikeride in the dark, cold, windy hills of Oxford.Poor leggs and hands!But in the end you enjoy warm feelings of friendship! well done.looking forward to the next ride and congrats on the very nice and " smiling" pictures!