Poor Student audax

Cycle 221km. inc. Poor Student Audax (~205km) __ HR148(169). total climb 1630m

10km cycle to start
201km: 7h44 (inc. 13 min stopped). climb 1585m
10km home

Woken by heavy rain in the night, but it’d cleared up by the time my alarm went at 6:30am and heading out the door soon after 7:10am to ride to Peartree Park & ride, it wasn’t looking too bad (if a little windy). Had some “fun” playing with my Garmin eTrex GPS, but eventually managed to get it up and running and navigating the route I’d planned on it. Collected my brevet card and shared a bit of banter with Andy Watt, who I’d house-shared with many years ago and was undergoing complex negotiations with his other half regarding PBP ;-), and Nik Windle. It was difficult to make out familiar faces in the dark though.

I got a bit of a flyer of a start, bang on 8am, but the main bunches of riders were not far behind. When my eTrex decided it needed new batteries (a bit of a theme with it lately) at the junction at the bottom of St Giles opposite Boswells, I stopped to change them and witnessed all but two riders missing out the Catte Street loop and heading straight for the Botley road. I doubled back though Cornmarket and caught a large bunch waiting at the lights by the station. After that it was a case of leapfrogging the bunches ahead until I caught the leading trio at Appleton. As I passed them I was sure they’d latch onto my wheel in the stiff headwind, but they didn’t bother and I was on my own for the rest of the ride.

Around Highworth, I caught sight of a bunch of white jacketed riders over my shoulder; I carried on (probably a bit too hard given recent form), and leaving Malmesbury I crossed paths with them; Anton Blackie shouted out a Hello! Shortly after that, my eTrex gave up and nothing  I could do would restart it – grey screen of death. It became a useless lump on my handlebars, but I know this route OK and had the routesheet in my back pocket.

The weather slowly improved into and out of Cirencester, and although there wasn’t much evidence of the following wind I was expecting, many of the roads around here had been properly resurfaced after last winter’s heavy frosts. I was glad I’d fitted a 34 inner ring last night –  a certain lack of strength on my part made twirling 34×25 up the steep hills of Compton Abdale and Salperton slightly easier to bear. (I was surprised by a lump or two of ice at the entrance to Salperton Park – it was definitely colder this high up.)

I dropped into Chipping Campden happy to know I didn’t  have too far to go to the finish, as I was feeling a quite tired. Just a nasty climb on the way to Morton in Marsh to get over. It was nice to pick up  bit of a tailwind through Leafield and Long Hanborough before getting my last receipt at Peartree services, rolling home in the daylight via Beeline Bikes to buy some more chain lube (my chain had started to sound like a box of mice over the last few hours and I’d run out of GT85 at home).

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