Cycle 206km/7h29 (inc. 7 min stopped), brisk, HR 133(165) ascent 1730m
Ashton Keynes -> Calne…58.1km (28.9km/h) HR135(165) asc. 471m
Calne -> Amesbury………52.0km (28.7km/h) HR130(160) asc. 536m
Amesbury -> Calne………62.8km (26.8km/h) HR133(157) asc. 509m
Calne -> Ashton Keynes..33.5km (27.7km/h) HR133(153) asc. 192m
A breezy, hilly day out. No recumbents, and very few on fixed gear, tending to indicate the slightly hillier nature of this route. There were a few mail-order sportif riders, decked out in all the latest team-replica kit and sitting astride some shiny carbon fibre bikes from Trek, Felt, etc. (some still had the Wiggle stickers on). There was one guy on a Pinarello Prince, wearing full Caisse d’Epargne kit, a Valverde wannabe, FFS! My plan was for an easier, steadier ride than the last audax, leave me something in the tank for later in the week.
We set out at a fairly easy pace, a good mix of audax regulars and the sportif crowd. It quickly split up over the climbs through Broad Hinton and Hackpen Hill, and I found myself fourth on the road, with three deteremined riders up ahead. I was sticking to my plan though, and quite happy to let them plough on ahead. There was a larger group some way behind me. The three ahead never got very far away, and when I caught sight of them on the straights they were clearly struggling into the wind along the A4 main-road bash to Calne from Marlborough.
I “bounced” quickly through the Calne control, and left ahead of the three. The large sportif group were just turning into the car park as I was pedalling away, and apart from a few more groups I crossed paths with on the way back out of Calne, that was the last I saw of any other riders on this event. I took the next, tailwind, section to Amesbury pretty steady, expecting to be caught up again, but it never happened. There are some sharp climbs out this way, but I was getting blown up them, so that was OK. I only started to catch the wind as the route crossed the military ranges north of Amesbury.
Another quick turnaround at the Friar Tuck Café and I was soon back out to fight the wind to Calne, back up over the Wiltshire plains. This leg was tough, but I stuck to a steady heart rate and ignored how slowly I was going. When the route turned north, through the delightful villages of Steeple Ashton, Great Hinton and Keevil, I was picking up a tailwind again in places, and the last leg back from Calne was very straightforward, just one nasty kick up Callow Hill.
Another good ride, and although not much slower than 2 weeks ago, my HRM shows I was working about 10% less hard, average 133 as opposed to 143 last time. The routesheet was a bit dodgy in places – signs were missing that should’ve been there and there when the sheet said they weren’t, and one distance of a turning was about 1km out, but I got round OK. I saw plenty of other riders out and about on this fine day.