Monday 4 April 2016

The 3Down 300

It's a good audax when it's sunny enough to treat yourself to an ice cream.  It's an even better audax when you have the time to treat yourself to an ice cream.  And it gets even better when the ice cream you choose is locally made: New Forest Ice Cream.  That was a very nice treat!

It was a tough ride though! I found it physically and mentally much tougher than the hillier Dean 300 a couple of weeks ago. The headwind on the way down to the New Forest sapped energy and morale.  And on the way back it rained for a good few hours.

Still, on a day when you have local ice cream, you see your first Great Grey Shrike, can admire the huge Bozedown Alpaca Farm and enjoy the picturesque Test Valley, you can be happy that you're out and about.

I was in good company also with James and Roger.

Having a break with James and Roger
We helped each other along.  Great team work!  I loved the way Roger shouted out the instructions.  At first they gave me a fright.  Imagine you're in zone doing a 5 miles stretch, mesmerised by the rhythm of the pedal revolutions and soothed by the sound of rain coming off our wheels.  And then you hear this  shout coming from the back.  I thought something bad had happened like he'd forgotten his brevet card in Fordingbridge or he had just run over a stoat. But no, they were very helpful 'left at T and immediately right' instructions shouted out at the top of his voice.

I took a couple of pictures of the New Forest and noted how it's not new and in places looks nothing like a forest.  Wiki tells us that 'Nova Foresta' was recorded in the Domesday book in 1086, and the reasons why it was called 'new'.

The New Forest
There is a great variety of animals you see there: the ponies, donkeys, black pigs, Highland cattle, and other cattle I don't know the breed name of (Galloway?).  The sun was still out then and I loved the cattle's colours of brown, sandy, copper, red, black, grey all blending into a lovely scheme.

The most bizarre moment was when I saw a bucket in a tree.

Bucket in a tree
Thanks to Ian and team for organising.

Photos are here: MyPhotos

Other thoughts:
  • Finishing at 1:15 AM
  • Very nice welcome back at HQ where soup and bacon rolls were presented.  Thank you!
  • During the dark section, a deer crossing the road right in front of us
  • Hearing owls


Kris said...

It's a huge achievement to ride a 300 kms in early spring time.Very well done.Nice report , very detailed!I love the photo's .You are a fantastic bike rider and a wonderful blogwriter!xxx

Unknown said...

It was pretty cold and wet down in Dorset for the coast.
But at least it was only 200km. :-)

Anonymous said...

Interesting write up as always ! Thank you for sharing the photos !
Well one Swarmie :) XXX XXX
Oma & Opa XXX XXX