Sunday, 16 March 2014

The Steam Ride 200

I was steaming at the end of this ride!  It was very hot, and all day I was wearing the layers I would need after sunset.   But no one complained , we're all on the same train.

What a great theme for a ride: the Steam Ride.   The route touches  on all the steam train venues in the south east: Ruislip, Quainton, Didcot,  Cholsey and Southall.

The Steam Ride 200

Toy and steam trains at Quainton
I dread it and love it at the same time, when I haven't done a 200 for a while.  All was going well till the first control at Quainton.  I was slow, but having fun taking pictures, enjoying the pre-spring country side.  Daffodils are out, and the trees are just about to pop their buds.  Happy days, it's all coming back to me, I do still love cycling.

I must visit Waddeson Manor and grounds

Then the dreaded happened.  My GPS shut down and rebooted with nothing to show.   Back to the olden days with paper route sheet, which, thankfully, I always bring with me as backup.  I rigged up the folded papers with elastic bands, which, thankfully, I always bring with me in a you-never-know-way.

I tried not to worry ahead of the dark section when reading route sheets and navigation becomes more challenging.   I find it challenging enough without darkness, but there is always silver lining.   For example, although I was on the right way to Wallingford on the Hithercroft Road, I started to doubt and retraced.  I went the Church Road way instead.  This takes you over part of the North Wessex Downs.  I was treated to a great 360 view!  I'd recommend Tim to detour that way for the next edition.  There was a local cyclist taking a breather ... or smoking a cigarette.  I stopped for directions.  'Nice view, he?', he said.  'Oh yes, beautiful, it's worth the climb', I replied.  He then gave me directions consistent with going the wrong way.

The guys wouldn't have realised it, but the group of riders in the photo below, gave me great support.  They were upbeat, having fun, very friendly.  Seeing them at controls and on the road on and off boosted my spirits every time.

A big thank you to Michael for riding with me from Chinnor onwards.  I would have got lost ending up back in Oxford if it hadn't been for him.  We arrived back at headquarters just in time for the BRM cut off, which added to the steam effect once inside 'The Water's Edge' pub.

Many thanks to Tim and team of volunteers for setting up this day of steam rides.

Photos are here: MyPhotos

Other thoughts:
  • Cleaning my bike on the Saturday, the chain looked like a scarecrow
  • Brilliant to have another local audax
  • Spotted Chequers this time
  • Controller hats and whistles were a nice touch
  • Big field of riders on multiple events
  • Red kites flying high and low
Thank you to all controllers!


Anonymous said...

Weer eens een super write up van je belevenissen: concreet en kernachtig.
Ook prachtige foto's... maar geen Bengske te zien:(
Meim en Peip xxx xxx

Anonymous said...

Excellent verslag! Je had idd pech met je gps! Gelukkig had je hulpvaardige bikers en ben je veilig thuisgekomen! Well done again! nu aftellen naar 3 mei...x Kris