I wish I could say that this was a spin in the park, it was not (60% of the route was going uphill). The rain was continuous, and the wind was not helping and speeds greater than 20mph resulted in your eyes becoming waterlogged with the rain stinging your face with each impact. However, it was fun and the beans on toast at Monash’s café were lovely.
This was my first life (or calendar) Audax and it was a last-minute decision. Chris, the organizer thought it would be good for me to do this audax and he was right! With only one day notice of this audax, I was under pressure to re-organizing work and family commitment, which brought its own issues. Arriving at the start I had little idea what I needed to do, so I just did what everyone else was doing. Signed on and got my audax card and waited for the start, about 10minutes. I had a quick chat with a few riders and a local who asked me for my opinion about the new cycle way which was taking years to complete and causing chaos. I explained that I was not local by which time we were off. I later discovered that I missed the route briefing which was important as it helped you to find the information control at different points on the ride.
I was very happy to set off at my own pace allowing other riders to pass-by with a node and a hello. By the time I reach the first real climb (8 miles) I was riding alone, which was great as I was under no pressure to keep up with other riders on the climb. However, descending off the top of the climb I quickly caught other riders up and overtook a car which was a little slow for me. I would meet this group of three riders on and off throughout the ride.
I knew that there was going to be a lot of climbing but I did not know that the climbs were going to be so steep! The first real steep climb was a little narrow preventing the use of a zig-zag climbing strategy. I managed about half of the climb before walking to the top and the open moorlands which offered a cloudy and rainy view. Although, I did manage to catch a photo with a little blue sky.
Pushing on to Monyash Cafe (doing more climbs on the way) I was ready for my beans on toast and a cup of tea. Taking the opportunity to chat with a few more riders. It was a shortstop (35 minutes) as I was aware that I was progressing slowly. Back on the road feeling the rain against my face made me think of my caving days. Them, within a few minutes I gain a puncture in the front wheel (continental hard skin gator), I was a little surprised but hay-ho (20 minutes to change the inner tube, I must have had a little sleep as well!).
The group of three riders came past and offered assistance but I was fine, as I just needed to change the tube. A retired lady from one of the houses popped out to ask if I was okay too! This is a little different to what they would say where I live!
Telling myself that I was on the home run as the road offered little challenge, was a wicked lie. In many ways the second half the ride was more demanding than the first half of the ride. Although, the climbs where less server, except for the climb out of the Goyt Valley I was glad to reach the final information control as it was mainly downhill or flat from here. The issue was that I could not find the control, and this is why the route briefing at the start is important!
Arriving at the finish (a pub) I was knackered and there was no way I would be home in time for tea, which was the deal! I could not even bring myself to purchase a class of pop at the bar. Instead, I settled for a free egg sandwich in the car as I drove home.
Organisor: Chris Keeling-Roberts
Audax List: Audax Ride List