Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Over and Over Again

3? years ago, Over and Over the Trent was my third serious Audax Ride, and at 113km my longest ride to date.

This year, it was Mrs H's 100km Audax for the year, having warmed up with the 50km of the Welland Wonder a few weeks ago.

The start point for the ride is Darley Abbey in the middle of Derby, a rather quaint old part of the city, which is surprisingly picturesque given its proximity to the centre. Being semi-organised we arrived in time to occupy just about the last parking space in the small car park by the village hall, and rolled out with 4 other members of Tamworth CC (which is about 50% of the total membership) across the river Derwent and into the lumpy bits north of the City.

True to form within 2 miles we were virtually last and tootling along up the hills at our own pace. At least we didn't repeat my navigational error of last time and add on 3 miles and an extra hill on this occasion.

Once we left the built-up area it was immediately noticeable that it was windy. Very windy. Exactly the same, in fact, as it was last time I rode this event. On that occasion we were down to 9kmh on the flat at one point, the wind was so strong. This time was little better with the wind (and soil from the fields) in our faces until well after the lunch stop. Everyone coped well with the hills on offer, without even the threat of having to get off, and it was noticeable that although I am far from being as fit as I would like, I bear no resemblance to the guy who struggled round this course last time.

Once the turn was reached, and the wind at our backs, fun commenced with the hammer being dropped for optimal slipstreaming. After about 3 miles of this we slowed to let other people catch back up, with Mrs H professing to be a little disappointed at having to slow down. Methinks all this training could be creating a monster. The sort that will rip my legs off at some point in the future.

Once through the tiny lanes north of Burton, and sampling the coffee aromas downwind of the Nestle factory, we put our heads down to try to get back before we were rained on. We failed, but we at least under cover for the worst of it.

Once we got back to the start, our elapsed time was 6 hours 10 minutes. Faster than last years 100km ride, on a course with more climbing, on a windier day. A good performance.

Despite 'only' doing 110km on the day, my legs 'persuaded' me not to get up in the rain the following day to pursue Rourkies Cat & Fiddle Challenge. Wuss!

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