Sunday 17 February 2013

The Poor Student 200 Perm

The Poor Student 200 is a favourite ride of mine.  An audax I've done the most often.  It starts in Oxford, goes south west to Malmesbury, then north through Cirencester where the huge yew hedge is, to Chipping Camden in the Cotswolds, and back to Oxford (Map).  Beautiful and varied country side.  Look at the photo below, I almost want to take up horse riding.

You see the mist hanging around?  It was foggy pretty much the whole day.  There were just a couple of hours in the morning when the sun broke through.  Unless I cycled out of it?  I don't mind, you get different perspectives of the scenery and buildings.

Fog at 6PM
Had a comedy moment in one of the petrol stations I stopped at.  There was a grumpy women at the till, the only till, so I had no choice.  I had already spotted her, and she had given me the look as I entered the shop.  It wasn't a look you might get in art galleries.  Still, I got to pay for the few items I had gathered.  Then the dreaded happened.  In slow motion, she reached for a carrier bag.  I didn't want a bag, I didn't need a bag, I didn't ask for a bag, she didn't ask if I wanted a bag, the bag was going to end up in the bin.  My instinct told me to go with it, rather than deal with the grump-stare.  But my audax instinct kicked in also.  My cartoon clock appeared, where willy wonkas (or Oompa Loompas) have to make huge efforts to move the little hand by one second.  The more the second is wasted, the harder it is for them to move the hand.  Mrs Grump had got hold of a carrier bag, but rather than hand it to me, as I expected her to do in a grumpy way, she had a moment of customer service overkill, and wanted to open the bag for me.  Only she didn't manage it!  Poor willy wonkas, they were exhausted.  10 seconds probably, it took.  At least it was warm inside, you might say, but I still chose to eat outside.

Outside, I happily observed the petrol station dynamics.  Then a car broke down, 'can't get it into gear' the man said.  Phone calls, discussions with other drivers, 'sorry mate's, hazards lights ...

Just then I realised I hadn't asked for a receipt.  Darn!  I'll have to go back into grump vibe city.  True enough, she was in top form by then: 'That man has broken down on my forecourt and he hasn't even had the decency to come and tell me.'   I managed to suppress my giggles.

Saw quite a few cyclists on the road, racers, mountain bikers, road cyclists.  All very friendly and cheery.  It was a wonderful day.  I was very pleased with how this first 200 of the year went.  I feel I'm 'back on the road'.

Photos are here: MyPhotos

Other thoughts:
  • thanks to Pat for administering this perm event
  • thanks for the tweets I received
  • missed opportunity to bump into Nuncio2 on a Malmesbury Mash (which I think was the David Lewis ride?)
  • next week is Paul Stewart's Ditchling Devil 200 perm
  • I had made Paul Hollywood's Chelsea buns for this ride.  I like making these, and they are perfect for a winter's ride, with dates, raisins, apricots and cranberries


Doo said...

ha ha I like the characters one meets on an audax

Unknown said...

Yes, good turnout for the M'bury Mash, with minute's silence for Dave before the ride and his widow Anne joining us for the middle 100k from the bridge. My comedy moment came at Malmesbury itself. The appointed cafe was full so we had to 'co-op receipt it', and neck down sandwiches and pasties in the stone market cross thing (like a medieval bandstand). There were a few of us in there with bikes propped against the walls. A little girl walked through with her dad: "Look Daddy, it's a bike shed".

First calendar event since last June for me so it too felt like 'back on the road'. I was a bit apprehensive beforehand, but enjoyed it.

Nice buns Els. Must give give them a try.

Anonymous said...

Wat een prestatie in de mist en zonder kniepijn!
De foto's zijn prachtig: doet ons denken aan Sifs herfstlandschap.
Veel sukses met de volgende 200!!!

Meim en Peip xxx xxx

Kris said...

A bun without de dates please? Usualy I am not that difficult!Lookig out to my first 100km + BTOBN in May!(Brussels to Ostend By Night)