It is the years of audax experience that told me to consider the options calmly. I had allowed myself 45 minutes fettling time, so I was still going to arrive with the organiser present at the start. Getting hold of the brevet card is all that needed to be done.
45 was reduced to 15, and I was off. Soon, in the wonderful misty landscape with the sun trying to come through.
All that mist has a golden lining! I was lantern rouge. No doubt about it. As a novice audaxer, I thought being the lantern rouge was a bad thing - it signalled failure to me. Words like 'bad thing' and 'failure' do not exist in the audax language. Being the lantern rouge is something to aim for! And now, I had given it to myself on a plate. Congratulations!
First control, Stow. Ahh, fabulous. It had already been wonderful with scenery and skylarks. And it was going to get even better when the sun comes through!
I sat on the pavement eating breakfast with a milkshake. I noticed how red my shins were. Strange. A cyclist arrives. It's Lycra Man! I was so pleased to see him. My second reaction was lantern rouge related.
I pointed out my red shins. How can you get burnt in the fog and with the sun behind you?
Lycra Man can set quite a pace. And me on my racing bike, managed to keep up with him. Soon we were in the next control and caught up with other riders, Bez, Julian, Pete.... I have the last of my lantern rouge thoughts.
The Dean is the most fantastic ride. If you had visitors and wanted to show off the country side, you could drive them around the route. I struggled to visualise that though. The thought of sitting in a car for 300km put me off. Cycling 300km is ok, but driving it seems like a marathon. Odd, no?
|Stephen under Blackpool Bridge|
On two occasions, I tried to take pictures of birds. On both occasions, a car drove past at the right time to scare off the birds. Aaaargghh!! Cars!! Those things that get me to and from an audax ... While I was in angry mood, I brooded on a phrase that is being used more and more: 'raw honey'. Makes me so angry!! Honey is honey. It is only because the commercially accepted norm is to sell heat treated honey, that they have to add a word to indicate it has not been heat treated. They never called it 'heat treated honey' did they. And what's the opposite of raw? Cooked? You don't get cooked honey, why would they use the word raw? It's honey extracted from the comb with nothing added, nothing taken away, nothing done to it. I do agree, that it is the best. A type of 'Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé' type of campaign would be appropriate. Freshly extracted honey is the very best. So if you know a local beekeeper, ask them when they might be extracting next (they will not tell you an exact date!), and ask if you may buy a couple of jars - pay them generously, it's worth it. That freshly extracted honey flavour, smell and texture, last around 10-20 days I'd say, depending of the time of the year and locality.
|Forest of Dean|
- fancied ice cream in Chepstow
- no problems climbing upto Somerset Monument
- being on my racing bike reminded me why I bought an audax friendly bike
- seeing the tandem and waving at Chris. Sorry to have missed fboab.
- cold feet first and last thing
- seeing Jason leaving Stow in opposite direction
Photos are on the slideshow till the next ride or here: Clicky
Also nice photos by fboab: fboab's pictures