Posted by: audaxing | September 14, 2019

Can’t find that tyre I wanted…

Posted by: audaxing | September 7, 2019

Carbon Fibre Repair

Carbon Fibre problem

A couple of weeks before PBP I didn’t like a creak from the bottom bracket on my best bike, a 2016 Genesis Datum. I bought all the kit for changing the pressfit bottom bracket

However, when I took it apart I discovered that hiding behind the chainring was a fairly large hole in the carbon fibre. This was probably the reason for the creak. I immediately switched to prepping my spare bike – I rode PBP on the Specialized Roubaix instead

Why it happened

Probably some chain damage when the chain fell off on the frame side. Also the bolts on the inner chain ring were loose and it’s likely these made contact with the frame

Carbon Fibre fix

Once I had recovered from PBP I set about doing the carbon fibre repair. I already had epoxy putty and a basic carbon fibre repair kit. After doing a bit of research I also got some heat shink tape, a heat gun and a can of clear coat varnish

As the pictures below show the process I went through was

Fill the holes with epoxy putty, allow 24h to set

Sand down the epoxy putty and also remove paint near the hole

Mask off the area around the repair with electical tape and cling film

Clean with rubbing alcohol

Apply the 2 part hardener, wait for it to cure

Apply one layer of carbon fibre fabric

More 2 part hardener and another layer of carbon fibre fabric

Cover repair area with heat shink tape

Use heat gun on heat shrink tape

Wait 24h

Remove heat shrink tape

Sand down sharp points and irregularities

Mask repair area again

Clean with rubbing alcohol

Apply 3 layers of clear coat at 15 minute intervals

Wait 24h

Remove masking

stick on piece of old tin can with Sugru to protect area where damage occurred

Posted by: audaxing | August 5, 2019

PBP packing list

The stuff I’m taking.  It looks like lots here in a list but once I am out riding it seems like nothing


Ortlieb Ultimate 4 size large on a Klickfix
Carradice Super C 23 litre saddlebag on a QR bag support
Super C

Decoration and the light




sleeping bag, Rab Module 100, Down fill, very lightsleep
blow up mat, Alpkit Numosleep
spare inner tubetools/spares
multitool + pliers + glovestools/spares
tyre levers + small sparestools/spares
tyre boottools/spares
CO2 + pumptools/spares
patch kittools/spares
8x l carnitine, 8x ALAnutrition
snacks ie tracker bars x6nutrition
3x tubes of Hi5 zeronutrition
toothbrushpersonal care/hygiene
shaving kitpersonal care/hygiene
glasses case + 4x contactspersonal care/hygiene
USB battery pack 
100mg caffeine chewing gumnutrition
Ultrasun sunblockpersonal care/hygiene
m5 nuts and boltstools/spares


sunglasseswith switchable lenses
2x shortsaim to switch clothes at Brest
1x ss shirt 
3x socks 
base layer “smelly helly” 
arm warmers 
leg warmers 
2x mitts 
gore shake dry coat 
small compression bag (vacuum type for clothes) 
Gore Windstopper overshoes 
Posted by: audaxing | August 4, 2019

Tools and spares for PBP

I carry the following tools

Topeak Alien RX16, for chaintool, allen keys, knife, screwdriver, spoke keys,
Topeak Alien RX16 Multitool
Two steel tyre levers
A small Screwdriver
A small pair of point nosed pliers with a cutter
A pump
CO2 inflator
Nitrile gloves

And these spares

m5 nuts and bolts
tyre boot
An inner tube
A spare cable barrel adjuster
Self adhesive tube patches
Cable ties
“powerlink” chain links
Chain ring bolt
Spare gear cable

Posted by: audaxing | August 3, 2019

PBP Sleeping top ten tips

Here are ten top tips:

1) Although you can’t “bank” extra sleep you can ensure before an event you have no sleep “debt”.  So get early nights in the days before the event

2) Some research shows that 1.5 hours of sleep in a bed is the minimum needed for REM and real actual sleep.  Personally, I feel about 2 hours is good.  I would aim to have a mini 3 hours “in hand” ahead of the time the control closes to eat and sleep and eat again and then get going.

3) Sleep in a bed is “worth more” than sleep on a garage forecourt/haystack/phone box.  So 30 minutes in a real bed beats an hour shivering on a bench.

4) Some people have a “low” point for sleep in the afternoon.  This would not normally affect you, but if you didn’t have enough sleep the night before…On PBP 2011 I took a nap for 15m at 3pm, worked great.


5) Caffeine and other stimulants work better if you lay off them beforehand.  About a week seems to be the minimum period for caffeine.   Caffeine is not an alternative to sleep 

Proplus time

Le Kreisker bar, Poullaouen
Le Kreisker bar, Poullaouen, stupid o’clock.  They have coffee!

6) Other ways to stay awake include putting in an effort ( adrenalin wakes you up ) or listening to loud music on an mp3.  And of course, talking to other riders

7) If you feel like you are about to fall asleep on the bike then a 10-minute nap will stop this dangerous occurrence.  You can do this in almost any circumstances as after 10 minutes you don’t cool down (much)

8) Space blankets and/or various portable sleeping bag things are often used.  On PBP 2007 I did all my sleeping (except 10 mins on a haystack) in a silk sleeping bag liner in the cafeterias at the controls.

9) If you are hallucinating then it is usually time for an impromptu sleep break.  With me, the road markings turn into little people.  Or I see people who aren’t there reflected in puddles.

10) If you are riding with a partner and they are faffing around or eating in a cafe or repairing their bike then use the opportunity to lie down and sleep

Posted by: audaxing | August 2, 2019

Get the spare bike ready

So I decided to find out why my best bike was creaking in the BB.  I had bought a new BB and had a tub of grease ready to use.  But unfortunately, this wasn’t the problem.  I took the cranks off.  Hidden behind the rings, I saw this


In case the photo isn’t clear, there is a large area of damage to the carbon fibre.  The reason the bike has started creaking over the past few weeks is probably due to this!

Repairing this is, I am told, not such a big task.  But I only have a few weeks now until PBP.  Rather than stripping the frame, shipping it to a carbon fibre repair place or alternatively, obtaining all the things to do it myself (I think I need a heatgun and some special tape)  I have decided to switch to my spare bike

The spare bike is a 2010 Specialized Roubaix with rim brakes.  It is in a fairly good state and won’t need much doing to it.  So I got cracking


First, remove the tribars.  Tribars are allowed now on PBP but only short ones and I don’t have these on the Specialized.  Besides, I want to use a bar bag.   Next the old chain comes off, clean various things.   Check the gear cables ( they are ok ) check the brake blocks.  Replace the rear brake blocks.  Add a shiney new chain.  Remove the mudguards and fit new 28mm tyres.  Put the bar bag on.  Put the Carradice bag support on.  Swap the Luxos from the other bike.

I went for a test ride and the BB on this bike was also creaking!   Also, the new chain was slippy in the small ring – probably too long.   Back at base, I did the same as on the other bike and removed the cranks.  Fortunately, I didn’t find the same issue.  The Specialized has a kind of metal armour plate where the damage was on the other bike.   I tightened up the Hope cups on the BB to the max and took a link out of the chain.  While I was at it, I replaced the rear skewer with an Ultegra one instead of the pretty-but-useless Hope red skewer.

No creaking, nice smooth ride.  Should be ok


Posted by: audaxing | May 20, 2019

Bcm 2019

Posted by: audaxing | October 10, 2018

October 600

It was dark, so I didn’t realise that it was raining until I left the house

I’d decided to attempt a 600km ride based on two loops from my home.  Also, as I am busy every other weekend this month it had to be on the weekend of the 6th/7th

It was a simple plan.  Ride 300km based on Ian H’s Blackdown and Levels 300 , sleep in my own bed then the next day ride my old event Marlborough with lights

I had tried to do this once before, 3 years ago.  On that occasion, I had not been riding much previously and day one was too much for my backside.  So I stayed in bed.  That’s the trouble with sleeping at home, it’s very easy to stay in the warm bed.

The first 50km didn’t go terribly well.  Firstly, I was half awake and it was dark.  So I did not notice that I’d skipped an early control point.  I had to back track – not far – but that added on an unnecessary 5km.  Did I mention it was raining?  My boots filled up with water and I had that squelching feeling in my socks

When I sat in the café near Lyme Regis – the excellent Rousdon Village Bakery – I watched the rain bouncing off the ground and decided to have another coffee.  I changed my socks and eventually had to continue.  The rain did ease off from heavy to light

The next bit of the route through Dorset, I’ve ridden many times.  It’s part of a 100km loop from my house.  Eventually, I get to the point where I could turn back to my house (left, via Ilminster) or carry on for the rest of this (right).  I take the red pill.

I tried to take a photo at this point but I couldn’t get the touch screen phone to unlock with wet fingers and rain dripping off my hat

I was now heading due north into a brisk headwind on the Somerset levels.  There is a belief – I’ve heard it expressed down the pub – that the levels, as they are flattish represent an easy place to cycle.  The problem with it is that the headwind is relentless

Usually, on this route, I would hope to gain time, get ahead of schedule, raise my average speed when crossing the levels.  Not today!

There is a great truck stop cafe at the Albion pub near Shapwick and I took the opportunity to eat as much as possible.  Checked my texts.   My mate Sarah who was also riding a 200 today had packed after 60km

Still into an increasing headwind but now at least the rain had stopped.  Got to Clevedon, which was the most northerly point and then had a brief bit of tailwind as I headed south again!

Minor mechanical problem with the bike here.  The front changer cable had stretched.  It probably needs replacing soon but I adjust things and I have a big ring again for riding with the tailwind

By now it becomes apparent that my thoughts of finishing just after 10pm are optimistic.

Stop for a quick snack in Bridgwater then press on.   It’s late in the day now but at long last, the sun makes an appearance!


The next bit of the route is hilly.  There is a very long climb just outside of Bridgwater then more hills, then I’m on the B3227.  Ian H’s official route hops off the B3227 occasionally but my version does not.  The B3227 goes all the way to South Molton, which is the final control for the day.  Ian H’s route then goes directly south to Tiverton.  Whereas I go back along the B3227

Get to South Molton much too late.  I fill up my water bottle from a tap at a closed garage.   The skies have cleared and there is an astonishing number of stars up there.  It’s cold but I’ve managed to keep a dry set of gloves in reserve.  I get back home at just after 1am

Day 2 – Marlborough

The alarm goes off at 6am.  I eat breakfast and find clean cycling kit.  I am using a different bike today so I have to get all the tools etc into my other saddlebag.

Yesterday was hillier so I was using a bike with disc brakes.  Today is flatter so I have a bike with tribars

It’s cold enough for frost but I manage to get on the road by 7:30.  Today, it might be cold but I see a proper sunrise at Hemyock


I get to Langport at 9:30am.  I feel much better after a second breakfast at Kitchen at the Wharf  Today there are plenty of other cyclists about.   Although the early sun doesn’t last and it remains cold it is a much nicer day.

The traffic in Frome is insane.   It’s like people want to spend Sunday in a traffic jam in a small town.

From checking my texts today,  I discover that Richard S. is riding the same route as me but he is an hour ahead.  I was going to ride with him but was disorganised!  I spot him coming the other way, back from Marlborough.  We say hi and then press on in opposite directions

I get to Marlborough too late to have a coffee in Waitrose.  I have never got there this late before.  I am paying for yesterdays efforts.  I have to be back by 2am to beat the time limit

The route back is easy until the Mendips.  By now I am feeling sleepy even though it is not that late.  I put an effort in to stay warm and awake on the big hills.  Shepton Mallet is the next town.  It once had a nice Texaco garage that opened late.  Now it only has a shopping centre that is always shut when I’m there.

The dozies and cold are getting worse but I pass “The Apple Tree Inn” on the road to Glastonbury and stop for a coffee.  This costs me some time but I gain warmth and caffeine.  The next hour goes well.  Then I am feeling dubious again.  Another coffee at a 24h garage near Wellington, one last hill and I’m home.  It’s 1am again but I made it, in time

What did I learn?  An October 600 can be difficult.  Tough might be a better word

What went well?  Using two bikes was a good idea.  Starting day two with a clean chain is nice

What would I do differently?  Just don’t start if the weather is that bad.  Just don’t

Posted by: audaxing | July 1, 2018

Old and new lightweight camping gear

Last year when I rode 600km and slept in a hedge, I was carrying 1500g of camping gear. It was bulky and I had to use an extra large bag to carry it all

This year I am riding the same event again – the Exe-Buzzard from Exeter – but I’ve tried to get some gear that’s lighter and smaller


Last time I used an army surplus gortex bivvy bag, weight 923g and an Alpkit Airo 180 mat, weight 582g

Army surplus gortex bivvy and Alpkit Airo

Army surplus gortex bivvy and Alpkit Airo

I’ve camped out a few times with these. The mat is comfortable and the Bivvy seems to breathe well


This time I will be using a Sol Escape Lite bivvy (165g) and an Alpkit Numo (407g)

Sol Escape Bivvy and Alpkit Numo mat

Sol Escape Bivvy and Alpkit Numo mat

Apart from unpacking and repacking them in the living room, the new stuff is completely unused and untested.

As well as having a much lower total weight, as you can see from the photos the newer kit is much less bulky.   I should be able to use a normal sized bag for the event next weekend!

Posted by: audaxing | October 15, 2017

Gravel tyres try out

The new tyres are 38mm Vittoria Adventure Trail II TNT

How it went

  • The tyres were moderately difficult to fit. I had to use a bead Jack and an air bottle
  • They weighed more than advertised, over 600g
  • Only just work with the mudguards, a little bit of rubbing
  • Bike rides more sluggish – previous tyres were half the weight. But the extra air volume is good

Next:. Find some gravel

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