21 Jul 2014

Day 1, Highlands Glens and Western Isles


Started about 1120 with a ride to the ferry at Lochranza. after a very hard but pretty section down the east side of the 
Mull of Kintire. 
Endless up and downs at up to 15%. 
The ride the otherr way was flat and along the sea with views to the Paps of 
Jura. Swans in the sea. 
Fish and chips al fresco in Lochgilphead and then 60 km to 
Oban with a couple of fantastic twisty descents. Just getting dark as 
I enter Oban and my lights are not working prpoperly and 
I have no idea why.


20 Jul 2014

Highlands, Glens and Western Isles, day minus 1

Started off grey and soupy, so I stayed in, finished setting up this blog.
Then I decided to go for a ride, so used the cheap android tablet I have to plan a route with a website called ridewithgps. The website is based on google maps but the android device is too insensitive to draw properly so few strokes to move the cursor around and you end up with the route a 200 kilometres long spidery mess.  So after wasting about an hour on an unrideable route,  the weather improved and I got out on my bike along roads inland from here.
They were almost empty. Rode through Dundonald with a castle and then back along the coast. I was running out of time so I came back along a main road which is almost empty too. Turned out this emptiness is partly to do with Glasgow fairs week when everyone heads off to Spain for a holiday. 
After a quick shower it was time for my TV appearance. Simon and Nick the two guys who are shown in the photos spent sometime setting up. I was asked questions like why did I do Audaxes  not sure on that one...  we did a tour of my bicycle with the various bits explained by me. One question he didn't ask which everyone else does, is what happened to your backside on the saddle for such a long time. You can see my FAQs on the blog page about this summer's rides.
After that i joined a bunch of other riders at the pub. I completely misunderstood where to go. The pub was three minutes walk away. I cycled about a mile until I decided there can be no pub in the direction I was going. And then came home to wash and dry my clothes. I used the microwave to dry my cycling mitts and didn't realise they were nearly dry so they started burning inside the microwave.
This is a good start to the event.

19 Jul 2014

Highland, Glens, Western Isles, Day minus 2

Headed off to Scotland, managing to leave my helmet behind. Picture of me at Euston and another of the junk I am carting around Scotland before it was fully packed. Staying in a flat overlooking Ardrossan South Beach, weather and tiredness confining me to a quiet time in front of the TV

10 Jun 2014

The Rutland Weekend 300k Audax, Saturday, 21st June 2014

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It starts at Baldock Station’s Car Park, just off the A1(M). The station car park is £2 per day at weekends and all-day parking for £1 nearby. The 300K starts in time for early trains from London and Cambridge, due just before 7.00.  I'll be setting off to ride it too, as soon as those trains have arrived, but I will stash the brevets somewhere for latecomers.
Within a few hundred meters of the start, you are on quiet rural roads and with the exception of a few short, unavoidable interludes, you spend all day on roads that are very empty by the standards of those who live in the South East, and with generally better surfaces.
St Ives
The route through St Ives and on to Oundle is mainly gently rolling road, there are caffs in St Ives, with the first commercial control in Oundle. On the loop north of Oundle it gets hillier. It's very like a slightly flatter Cotswolds, but the just-as-pretty villages are not yet weekend residence only and most have a pub still. There are three hilly chunks on the northern part of the route.

The next control is by Rutland Water at Edith Weston. If you can bear the change of pace, the section round to Whitwell is a great alternative : it is tarmacked and takes you past Normanton Church, which was rebuilt at the water's edge when the reservoir was constructed, and over the dam, giving some great views. It cuts the distance by a little, but you will ride slower.It goes through Cottesmore and past Belvoir Castle, dropping down into the Vale to the large village of Bottesford. You return to the Rutland Highlands on Terrace Hill, while rated 1/10 in the book 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs, it gets an Ordnance Survey Chevron. The switchbacks continue most of the way to Oakham and then resume south of Rutland Water, making these sections quite tough

The switchbacks end on the climb after you ride under the highlight of the return journey, the Welland Viaduct, near Harringworth, which is one of the finest railway structures in the UK. Back through Oundle for the last commercial control. There is not much in the way of food options after that, so it's the place to stock up, though the route does go past a 24 hour garage in St Neots (with station nearby if you know you will miss the last train from Baldock)

This time round there will be no formal Arrivee, it will be catch me at the pub, The Orange Tree, or post the brevet off. There are other food facilities and late night takeaways in Baldock, but if you are a slow rider make sure you have some supplies for the end.

If you miss the last trains  or are too knackered to drive home, there is a Days Inn 2 miles north and a Premier Inn 5 miles south from Baldock. There is also a Travelodge a mile or so along from the Days Inn, but it involves the A1, which is potentially lethal late Saturday night on a bike.

I will be closing out entry about three days ahead of the ride (I must GET postal entries by the previous Saturday) and not taking EOLs, as the opportunities I have to do the paperwork are limited.

Enter 300K Online