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Cotswold Corker

February 17th

Managed to find a nice caravan site in Swindon village, which was 2 miles from the start control in Bishops Cleaves Cheltenham. This is my first AAA with a total climb of 1900 meters.

I arrived at the start at 0845 and was amazed as to how popular this event was. They had to stagger the start time as over 250 cyclists had entered. I pushed off with the first 50 and stuck with a group of 6, four of which were Cheltenham CC. This was to be to my advantage. Due to the nature of the course there was a lot of ice and these guys knew where to be careful. Having gone 15km and climbed 2 of the steepest hills ever, I was beginning to wonder if I had done the right thing. We had to dismount on a number of occasions due to ice having formed across the whole road. At one hill a rider in front shouted a warning of ice and dismounted, I followed suit and walked the bike across, noticed a rider getting close to the ice and warned him. “Is it ice or water?” he asks, “both” was my reply. “I’ll take my chance, thanks”. Next thing I heard was “bugger” as his bike slid from under him. The climb up to the 3rd control took some effort. An older chap came along side me, smiled and announced, “This is why God invented the granny ring” and cycled into the sunset. My chain fell off a couple of times after the third control, lost sight of the Cheltenham guys and ended up finishing on my own.

So, not for the faint hearted these AAA. Long climbs and fast descents. Which reminds me, better check my break pads before I take the bike out again.

Category: Articles

The Old Squit – Norwich

February 10th

The Old Squit Norwich 9 Feb 

A classic 200k figure of 8. Starting at Colney and heading out to Halesworth and returning to the start control at the John Innes Centre and then off to Hempton and back to the JIC.

I bought myself a brookes special saddle a couple of weeks prior to this ride and was anticipating a sore ride as I only managed to get about 80km worth of “breaking in” done.

I met Brian Mann at the start and stayed with him for the whole route. We were both given permission by the organizer to park our motorhomes in the JIC car park on the Friday night. On numerous occasions to the first control, Brian had mentioned that the Bridge Street café did a wonderful treacle tart and custard.  Having salivated 61Km to said café with only one item of the menu on my mind I dually stood at the counter with money at the ready  “can I have the treacle tart and custard please” to my horror only to hear the reply “ sorry but we don’t have that on the menu to-day”. Ended up having some sort of apple thing with yellow stuff on top that tried to resemble custard.

The return to JIC was pleasant and so was the food. Keith and Sue together with helpers did a great job of the catering. A £1 donation was all that was requested and you could eat as much as you wanted. Having looked at the empty plates in front of me I confessed to Brian how guilty I felt and dually popped another £1 in the pot.

On the return leg from Hempton at around the 170km I turned to Brian and said “ To date I’ve yet to get a puncture on an audax”. You guessed it, not 5km up the road I had to pull over as a slow puncture had appeared. I declined Brian’s offer to change the tube and muttered to myself as I took the tyre off. So new tube in off we rode. Barely 2km later “BANG” rear tube went again. “Sounded like you had the tube pinched” said Brian. This time I let the expert Brian change the tube and completed without another blow out.

As we strolled into the JIC Brian gleefully announced to all that were in ear shot “ Guess who said he’s had no punctures on an audax and has ended up having 2 to-day” as he gesticulated towards me. Laughter ensued as I hastily made my way to the controller to get my brevet card stamped. Thanks Brian.

You will also be pleased to know there was no tenderness in the buttock scrutock area from my new saddle.  

Here are the figures from Keith-

By the Friday evening, the figures stood at 46 for the 200 and 86 for the 100.

On the day it went something like this

100km.  entries – 86, DNS – 13,  Transfers from 200 -8, People who just turned up – 14, DNF – 3, Finishers 92.

200km.  entries – 46, DNS – 4, Transfers to 100 – 8, Entry on line – 2,  DNF – 5, Finishers 31.

Financially, the event is quite profitable for Norfolk CTC.  We handed over £255.12 to them as the surplus on the day. Over the 8 years that we’ve run audax events,

monies raised for promoting cycling in Norfolk have probably been over £3000.  In addition, we gave £100 as a donation to the John Innes Society for the use of

their facilities.

Foodwise, the ingredients for the food we supplied came to £121, and we received £130 from riders on the day, pretty much up to our expectations. We try to give riders good value for money, and are happy with breaking even on food. 

Category: Articles