22 Jan 16
Mark reports on a long, tough, cold ride...
Well what can I say..
If it wasn't for the fact that I agreed to take Sam and his friend Matt and share the cost of diesel to Chalfont St Peter, I might have chickened out because of the weather. But I thought I'd see what all the fuss was about - can't be that hard surely? How wrong I was!
The morning started promptly at 8am with freezing weather and the prospect of ice on the road. We took it easy and cautiously but soon began to get confident as it warmed up a little and we knew we were riding on good A and B roads that had been gritted. At the first control at 35 miles we had a nice café stop and a welcome hot drink and food. We then pushed on to the next control at 65 miles. By now the cold had started to bite and it was very hard work not only to cycle but to try to keep warm, even with all the layers of clothes we had.
I had planned to be at least 100 miles into the 133 mile ride by 4pm, leaving only 30ish miles left. But by 4pm we were only at 80ish miles leaving around 50 to go. Knowing that I was at least 15/20 miles behind where I wanted be and knowing that it would soon be dark I started to worry about how long my batteries would last. That turned out to be the least of our worries as, about 25 miles from the finish, the heavens opened up - NO not rain but the white fluffy stuff SNOW!!
Despite all that the elements threw at us we finished safe and sound and without any mechanicals, falls or mishaps - but just after the cut-off time. If there is one thing I have learnt about winter audaxes, they are very, very hard work and a lot slower then summer rides!
Well done to every one who finished the Audax and for Sam and his friend Matt for sticking together and pushing each other along.