Tuesday, 3 May 2011

The Severn Across 400

I had been looking forward to the halfway stop at Chepstow.  For the last 40km, I had been dreaming about pancakes.  Initially, just pancakes.  A bit later, pancakes with banana.  10km later, pancakes with banana, drizzled with runny honey.  Another 10km later, sun inspired, I was adding a scoop of vanilla ice cream ...  When I went into Aslan's cafe, I decided not to even look at the menu, and order what I had been craving.  This was going to be heaven, and keep me going for the next 100km and more!

Oh what a let down.  The idea of pancakes had already emerged on the Easter Arrow, when, at the Wetherspoon's in Sleaford, they had 'run out'.  How can you run out of pancakes?  At Aslan's, they didn't have the 'pancake machine'.

Once you master Delia's three minute boiled egg, pancakes must be the easiest to make, no? What you need is eggs, flour, milk, butter, a pan and 5 minutes.  You'll never run out again, with or without machine.

Still, Aslan's do wonderful breakfasts.

Pip and Mark on the 'Ultimate'

It was great to see Greenbank and Des on the road again.  Also to re-acquaint with SwissHat and JohnW.

There were many yacf names, many familiar faces and many Willesden riders taking part.  The event certainly is a good advert for the Willesden Cycling Club and Chris Beynon.  I learnt that the Willesden SR is only organised in PBP years.

These 400s are not easy.  I thought I'd be OK. After all, I had just done a 400, without too much trouble, the week before. I had reminded myself what it was about: the Dean 300 with a FNRttC added.  I knew it would be a bit hillier and there would be a headwind on the way back.  But oh my!  Those last 60km were tough on the mind.  I was pleased to have company on and off for the last 40km or so. The thought of a 600 in Wales, in a couple of week's time, is being pushed into the back of my mind.  In reality, I am scared.  PBP is something in the distant future, I don't need to think about that yet! Gulp!!

Wonderful though. I've said it before, the Cotswolds, Gloucester, the Forest of Dean, Marlborough, Wilthsire ... is lovely, lovely cycling country.  The sun was out.  It was a summery day with cow parsley in flower all along the road verges, hawthorn, rape seed fields you could smell from a distance away ....

Rape seed fields. What a waste!  Imagine if you were to put beehives all around and amongst the fields.  How much honey could you collect nationally?  I know rape seed honey is not the tastiest, but it is a sugar resource!  How many tonnes of nectar are untapped?  There may be a few hives around, but I didn't see any from the road.

The thoughts you have when cycling long distances in the dark, on your own, are thoughts you would never have otherwise.  For example, I was thinking how wonderful it would be for Kate and Wills to experience an audax.  Audaxers wouldn't encourage them to use the Boris Tandem for sure.  But we could set up a Royal Audax called 'The A to B 400' - Anglesey to Buckingham Palace.  Or 'The B to B 1200' - Buckingham Palace to Balmoral.  I bet Kate never thought of this drawback of being in the Royal Family.

Other thoughts:
  • The Brevet Cymru 400 being ridden on the same day, attended by the Faccombe 4
  • Climbing Yat Rock and Somerset Monument hill and enjoying it (I know!!)
  • Cross wind on Severn Bridge.  Thought my cold had come back, only my left nostril was being blown and held shut all the way across (ha!)
  • Thinking about the people new to 400s, I knew what they were going through, or were going to go through. Well done!
  • Making pancakes as soon as I got home!
Highlight of the weekend? Only after looking back at photos, discovering this detail at the Blenheim Tea Rooms:

Other photos are on the slideshow till the next ride, or here: Clicky


Anonymous said...

Misschien kan je in het vervolg de Severn across veranderen in de "pancake route"..don't worry: we hebben de bananen, de honing en de roomijs al in huis. Alleen nog de pannekoeken bakken voor zaterdag.
Je hebt het goed volgehouden,alhoewel de laatste loodjes wegen altijd het zwaarst.
Proficiat met je volharding en met het mooie verslag.
Meim en Peip xxx xxx

Anonymous said...

Great photos, Els. I saw many of the scenes that you have captured, but there are others still that I did not notice - the Lodge at Mythe Bridge is a lovely photograph, for example. I always enjoy your photographs because they are an excellent reminder for me, and also a brilliant resource with which to illustrate my daft cycling habit with friends and colleagues.
Lycra Man

Swarm_Catcher said...

Thanks for your comment, Lycra Man. Pleased you enjoy the photos and thanks for letting me know. It encourages me to keep doing it (cycling, blogging, photos, ...).

Anonymous said...

Ik vind de photos harstikke leuk. Was het een fiets tocht of een eets kompetitie? :)

Good Luck on the BCM

Kris said...

Ik vond de tekst ook weer megacool en keitof!Ha!
De foto van de hond zal veel mensen op ideetjes brengen, vermoed ik..eerlijk gezegd , dacht ik eerst dat het een zwarte stier was.
Maar ja, daarvoor moet je BMB doen he(Barcelona-Madrid-Barcelona) Doei! xxx

Anonymous said...

Eens een grote proficiat vanaf de ipad2
Mei en peip www