Hi, apologies again for absence, must do better. The weather has been so bad and I havent been able to get out on the bike much until last weekend so I should have had plenty of time to write this.
Decided to do a ‘test ride’ last Saturday to see what kind of shape I was in before this weekends scheduled 70 mile Audax ride. I rode the 25 miles to Grafham Water which was fine but the 25 miles back was a different story. I was absolutely shattered by the time I got home. I doubt I could have gone another mile, let alone another 20 !! So I had no hesitation in getting an e-mail off to cancel my Audax ride.
Bike outside the cafe at Grafham Water
I have been out a couple of times since then, a 24 mile ride on Tuesday and 34 miles yesterday making a total for the week of over 100 miles. I will be attempting the Grafham ride again tomorrow with better results I hope. I just need to get the miles in my legs again. At 66 you soon lose any fitness you had managed to achieve so it is crucial to keep the legs turning. The 3 weeks or so lay off due to the weather was the culprit and I must just try and keep getting the miles in despite the weather. At least it shouldnt be so bad as it was recently.
I was feeling feeling so housebound that I went on the indoor exercise bike today for an hour. I programmed it to ‘Outdoor’ ride and according the mileage on the computer I did 35 miles in the hour and I didn’t believe that so I assumed it was Km, which I knew that it wasnt, and converted that to miles and came up with 22 miles which sounded much realistic.
However it was desperate measures as I have an Audax of 100km 2 weeks today and I really need to get some miles in. I was considering going out on the mountain bike but it was so cold out that I opted for Indoor trainer. I think it was OK.. I kept the cadence at my road rate of around 90 and was suitable sweating at the end. The I-pod helped defeat the boredom which is my usual problem with indoor exercise. I think for the next few days I’ll be using it some more though. The forecast isnt showing much signs of warming up until after the weekend at least.
Well I did it, completed my first Audax but it was tough with strong headwind most of the way out and not too much of a help on the way back. It felt that way anyway ?
I rode most of the way with a guy called Steve. ( only 44 !!! ). Seriously, he was a good companion and a great help. He has ridden London – Edinburgh – London and took four and half days with about 5 hours sleep.. now that IS crazy!! and has been riding Audax’s for years. He was able to give me some useful tips and guide lines for future use. I didnt need to have used my heavy touring bike either as some of the others were on nice lightweight bikes just like I had back at home. The various check in points on the way round needed me to fill in the names of Pubs in answer to the questions on my card at various points to prove I had got there and the cafe at the half way point had a little stamp to mark my card.
By the time of the last big climb I was flagging so I released him from his ‘duties’ and said it was OK for him to go ahead now as I was going to take my time over it. But by the time I got to the top he was only 50 meters ahead. However I then took a snack break to refuel for the final 15 miles or so. It was after that things started to get interesting !!!
Just approaching Great Missenden I got a puncture and set about repairing it, so far so good. I found the puncture and removed the spare inner tube from my bag. Only to find it was mountain bike one. So, OK, I would patch the tube and all would be well. No such luck. I only had one patch in my little box and that wasnt going to stick on was it.. so the next idea was to cut a bit of rubber out of the mountain bike tube and use that as patch but that didnt want to work either as the glue was a bit ‘iffy’ too. So i managed to get the patch on the tube after a fashion and ease into the tyre without disturbing it and held it in position. I then pumped up the tyre very hard and hoped the high pressure would seal it in place. At the same time I was hoping to find a bike shop in Gt Missenden or Amersham to get a new tube. However it doesnt seem there is a bike shop in every high street anymore. The tyre stayed up for about 3 miles and I had to stop and pump it up again. In all I had to stop another 6 times before the finish to repeat the pumping procedure.
All my fault I know, but I cant really recall ever getting a puncture out on the road before and I did look in the bag and saw a tube and assumed it was a road bike one, wrong. They do say to assume makes and ass out of u and me, I think whoever ‘they’ are, they are right. Anyway, thats a lesson learned now and I did get by anyway.
For the last few miles I was on the verge of cramping up all the time, I could feel it in my calves and there was one last long drag about 3 miles from the finish that i just about crawled over but the thought of the long downhill run to the finish kept me going and also just one more tyre pumping session required.
The verdict is that I will do another one for sure, although this season is pretty much winding up now. I have learned a few lessons and I will also up my riding mileage now to get used to the longer distances. I will also sort out my bike set ups to get something a bit lighter to push around if I am going to do more.
Its here, the eve of my first attempt at an Audax ride. All is prepared so far as I can tell.. I think I have covered every option, time will tell I guess.
The bike is ready. I am just going to use a handlebar bag with a map and instruction viewing window on the top. I have loaded it with all I should need in the way of food and spare drink.
Although it is only 100k ( just over 60 miles) it will be the longest ride I have done for quite a few years. Actually probably around 40 years, wow thats frightening!! Most of my rides since then have at most been 50 miles and more often in the 30′s and many many years with no riding at all. It will be good to have a reason and purpose to ride though. This was the whole idea of entering the event. Hopefully more to come.
I checked the weather for tomorrow in that area (Denham and the Chiltern Hills) and its supposed to be bright but a north east wind of around 20mph. I went for a 15 mile jaunt today with the bike loaded as for tomorrow just to check things and the wind was the same today as is forecast for tomorrow. Riding downhill into Olney was like riding up hill as the wind was so strong. I anticipate a head wind on the route out and a more favourable wind on the return loop. Thats the way it should be I guess. Mostly on my rides around home I always seem to get it wrong and end up with a headwind on the way home after thinking I was really fit on the way out when it was really the tail wind. Thus I am often tempted to go a bit further and realise my mistake once I turn for home.
I’m not really worried about the ride at all, despite the doubts of various family members, after all it is only 60 miles. I am really looking forward to the experience and hoping I will enjoy it enough to do some more. I’ll let you know about that after the event. Watch this space.
Been out quite a few times on the bike this week since my aborted holiday. Just as well I came home early really as I have entered a 100k (60mile) Audax ride next week. My first one so I hope all goes well.
I have been building up the miles after the holiday again as I didnt ride for nearly 2weeks and at my age (66) it doesnt take long to lose any fitness. I did a couple of 15 mile rides on consecutive days followed by a 40 mile ride on the 3rd day (Sunday). They all seemd to go pretty well and today another 30 miles in just under 2 hours and i was feeling good so fingers crossed.
I am expecting a new Felt F3 carbon fibre road frame to arrive tomorrow so will be busy getting all the bits put on that so that I can ride it at the weekend hopefully. I will be stripping parts off my Specialized bike to put on there to begin with except it should have the saddle, Seatpost, bottom bracket, headset and stem. I have ordered a new compact crankset, braze on mounted front deraillier and a tool to fit the crankset. Everything seems to need a special tool to fit it these days. Cant just get by with a set of spanners and an allen key anymore.
I will be using my winter/touring bike for the audax ride and thats all set to go I did the 40 mile ride on that the other day. I include below a few pics of my bikes..They all get used.. even the shopper bike you dont see here, when I pop down to the shops..
Specialized Road Bike
Specialized Road Bike
Claud Butler Touring /Winter Bike
Kona Mountain Bike