Posted by: audaxing | May 30, 2016

Fog and Sunshine

600km ride around Devon, Somerset and Cornwall

The day began for me at 4:05am. Getting out of bed at this time is not easy for me but I don’t like driving, parking, all that car stuff. I was riding to to start of the Kernow and SW 600 event

We set off from Exeter at 6am. It was foggy so as we went up onto the high ground near Holdsworthy there was no view except more fog

Nice view of fog

Nice view of fog

It was still foggy in Bude but it started to clear as we got to Looe. By the time we did the Fowey ferry crossing summer had arrived

On the Fowey ferry

On the Fowey ferry

Selfie

Selfie

But sadly as the day faded so the mist came back. Saint Michael’s Mount looked quite atmospheric.

Richard and St Michael's Mount

Richard and St Michael’s Mount

We left the friendly church hall in Penzance the last in the field. I suppose there were about 15 people riding. The night section is principally a fast blast along the A39 to Bude

In the mist, in the night

In the mist, in the night

The hall at Bude was nice and warm and we got a couple of hours shuteye and were off again at 6am

Sunday was a much nicer, sunny day

Sunday selfie

Sunday selfie

The road to Barnstaple was great, include a perfectly surfaced 5km downhill leading into some woods. We had a second breakfast and a coffee in Barnstaple. Bit of re-routing around a closed bridge with some help from locals and then past South Molton and onto the B3227 towards Black Cat and Wilvescombe.

The aim was to get to the motorway services in Bridgwater ( usual audax glamour locations eh? ) then back the way we came and aim for Seaton. The route to Seaton included one of my favourite roads, the Seven Mile Straight

View from the 7 mile Straight

View from the 7 mile Straight

We reached Seaton at 5pm, had a terrible sandwich then on to the finish in Exeter

no parking

no parking

I was going to ride back but Richard offered me a lift in his van – my legs were happy to accept after the 8000 metres of climbing

Great way to spend a weekend. Glad I have Monday off work though!

Posted by: audaxing | May 8, 2016

Circuit of Loch Awe

If you want mountains and scenery that’s “Awesome” then you need to ride around Loch Awe.

I was staying in the old logging village of Dalavich about 5 hours car driving from Carisle

The last 10 miles of road up to the place were pretty rough but it was metalled so at the first opportunity I got out on my road bike. I was glad that the Specialised Roubaix can deal with really rough surfaces quite well

One thing people always say about the Western Highlands is that the midges make it pretty terrible. However when I was there, first week of May it was warm enough – often sunny – but no midges

The photos below are from my ride around the Loch. The Loch is the largest fresh water loch in Scotland but the route was only 97km. It was mostly overcast and hailed on me once but at the end the sun came out and it got quite warm

If you are passing through this way use the B840 on the eastern side of the loch, it’s a much better and flatter road. There are few facilities except hotels catering for people fishing in the loch

Great place to ride about!

An Angry Sky

An Angry Sky

What happens when you see a rainbow?

What happens when you see a rainbow?

Highland Cattle

Highland Cattle

Loverly waterfall

Loverly waterfall

All the weather in one day

All the weather in one day

From the east side of Loch Awe

From the east side of Loch Awe

Mysterious castle

Mysterious castle

Dalavich from the other shore

Dalavich from the other shore

From the east side of Loch Awe

From the east side of Loch Awe

From the east side of Loch Awe

From the east side of Loch Awe

View from west side of Loch Awe

View from west side of Loch Awe

Posted by: audaxing | April 16, 2016

New old bike stuff

New old bike

First, I noticed an ad on my favourite bike forum ( yacf ) and I seem to have bought a second hand Dawes Galaxy. It’s 7 speed with bar end shifters

Dawes Galaxy

Dawes Galaxy

Dawes Galaxy

Dawes Galaxy

The only things I did to it after getting it was removing the toestraps and cleaning the braking surface on the rims

Cleaning the rims

Cleaning the rims

Old new tyres

I was also taking the ice tyres off the single speed. Little risk of snow/ice now in the SW. I fitted some “new old stock” 30mm Schwalbe CX tyres I bought a few years ago but I’d never used

Now with new tyres

Now with new tyres

Inbred Single Speed

Inbred Single Speed

Posted by: audaxing | April 10, 2016

Two rides, snow and sunshine

Last weekend, “The Valley of the Rocks” 200km in Devon. This weekend “Yr Elenydd” 300km in Wales
Lots of quality riding and more weather than you’d like!

On both rides I was on my Specialized Roubaix with a 30-40-50 x 12-30, Michelin Endurance 25mm and a Luxo hub powered light

Valley of the Rocks

This ride goes via the Blackdown Hills and Exmoor to the striking “Valley of the Rocks” above Lynton on the North Devon Coast. The return to Honiton is via South Molton and Crediton
Left home at 6:45am. rode to the start at Honiton. Lower back playing up all the way round. Weather looked “threatening” especially when on the top of Exmoor. Did not manage to climb the feared Lynmouth to Lynton without walking. By later on as we got to the North Devon coast the sun came out. Worked with a small group against the head wind as we went south again. Finished with a time of almost 13h but this was better than last year. Rode home, back before 11pm

Winsford Hill

Winsford Hill on the way to the Valley of the Rocks

Yr Elenydd

This ride goes to Shobdon Airfield,Builth Wells, Tregaron via a mountain, back to Rhydader via another mountain road and returning to Shropshire over the Long Myndd
Left work the night before on a train. Camped over night in the field next to the start at Upton Magma near Shrewsbury. It rained overnight but was clear in the morning. Set off with the 3rd group. Made a steady pace to Shobdon. Great coffee at Shobdon. Steady again to Builth. Another great coffee. Snow on the start of the mountain road before the checkpoint at Abergwesyn but bizarrely it then cleared to show blue sky over the Devils Staircase

snow on the mountain road near Abergwesyn

snow on the mountain road near Abergwesyn

Blue sky over the Devils StaircaseBlue sky over the Devils Staircase

Blue sky over the Devils Staircase

Richard peaks the Devil's Staircase

Richard peaks the Devil’s Staircase

To end the mountain road to Tregaron there is a marvellous descent which had been resurfaced. I didn’t take it at max speed as the road was damp but : most exhilarating.
Just before reaching the control at Tregaron bowls club the skies dumped down a lot of hail

A lot of hail

A lot of hail


Fortunately the hail didn’t stick to the road and we carried on back to Rhyader via another sun lit mountain road! It was so warm I took my heavy commuting coat off for the first time that day!
Had a bad patch on the final hills getting back to Shrewsbury and finally finished just after midnight. Much slower than last year
Overnight in the tent it was very cold. The tent was already covered in droplets of ice when I went to sleep.
The morning after
.

Posted by: audaxing | March 27, 2016

Fettling before the Valley of the Rocks

Yikes! It’s the “Valley of the Rocks” 200km next weekend. My bike needs to be in first class condition for it but I’ve been riding it all winter. So some TLC is required

  • tighten up the lockring on the cassette
  • rear wheel off

    rear wheel off

  • fit new brake blocks front and rear
  • New Brake Blocks

    New Brake Blocks

  • new chain
  • New Chain

    New Chain

  • finally got around to cutting down the steerer
  • fresh grease in the headset
  • fitted a star fangled washer instead of the some what flaky Hope Hed Doctor
  • Posted by: audaxing | February 21, 2016

    Mad March test ride

    It’s not March but we were mad to ride this route

    The route starts in Exeter and then visits the south coast and then the north coast.
    At the south coast it was blowing a gale but otherwise ok. The sky looked evil ( but loverly ) however

    Threatening Sky

    Threatening Sky

    As we went north it rained on and off and the wind got stronger. There was a bit of road on the A396 near Cove that was closed as it was falling in the river. Before we attempted to get past the road closed barriers and see if it was passable we found a great little bus shelter

    Bus Shelter

    Bus Shelter

    We got past the road works and then into the worst weather of the whole trip. As we gained height onto Exmoor the temperature dropped, the rain thickened up and wind blustered. It was kind of pretty in the wet though. Richard reckoned that I over did it pushing too hard here but I always up the speed to get out of the rain.

    After peaking at Wheddon X and doing a careful descent down to Dunster we stopped at Blue Anchor. The rain had stopped and after eating too much it was off again, with a tail wind.

    The combination of my lack of fitness and too much fried food made the section from Blue Anchor back to near where I live somewhat taxing. Getting back to Exeter was in the face of a strong wind. It had dropped from gale force, fortunely

    After that all we had to do was crawl home again.

    About 250km on the clock but it felt like double

    Posted by: audaxing | January 17, 2016

    tubeless update

    Using the Kool Stop Tyre Mate bead jack on the last bit of tyre

    Using the Kool Stop Tyre Mate bead jack on the last bit of tyre

    I’ve been running tubeless tyres now on the Ridley for 1400km. Yesterday, near the end of a 200km ride the rear tyre went down. I reinflated it with a co2 cartridge and it was fine for the rest of the ride. A lot easier than changing a tyre. Punctures aren’t good but this shows that tubeless+sealant works for me

    Ridley Aeron

    Ridley

    Here’s my previous article about Going tubeless

    Posted by: audaxing | January 17, 2016

    Wells the cold way

    Icey

    Richard came round about 7:30 and we set off. It was predawn light. It was the coldest I’ve felt this winter. The sun came up at Tiverton and it started to slowly warm a little. As the back lanes would be treacherous we stuck to the main road up to Bampton. Notable sights: a large dead deer

    Cold

    It was so cold that I managed to wear my down gilet, a winter weight windproof jacket and two base layers all day. And I never felt over warm. Next bit was Bampton -> Wiveliscombe -> Taunton. Not much to report other than the cafe at Wiveliscombe was actually open

    Parky

    After Taunton, down the A361 to Glastonbury. By the time we got to the levels there had been enough sun that there was no ice on the road at all. There was some flooding but it was in fields not the road. Dead fox in Taunton

    Thawing out

    When we got to Wells about 1pm we felt like proper lunch. Last time we had a quick pasty but I guess the extra calories burned by the cold had to be replaced.

    Evening arrives

    Then it was back again via Chard and lots of villages with Sandstone houses

    Richard on the A30

    Richard on the A30


    Loverly Sunset

    Loverly Sunset


    Last bit was climbing out of Yarcombe to the main road. The main road was busier than expected. Richard got home via super secret back lanes and paths. To finish the 200km I had to go home via a bit of a detour to Collumpton but adding on a few km was ok, I was warmed up. Except for my toes.

    Another good day out, the sun, lack of rain and gales and company made it good.

    Posted by: audaxing | January 11, 2016

    Super C Rackbag

    This rack top bag sits at the back of the bike, it’s water proof and rugged

    Carradice Super C Rackbag on the bike

    Carradice Super C Rackbag on the bike

    plastic buckles

    plastic buckles

    Opening and shutting is is with large plastic buckles that can be used with heavy gloves on. These buckles are similar to cycle helmet strap buckles

    velco to attach to rack

    velco to attach to rack


    To hold the bag firmly in place there are four velcro straps, one at each corner. These seem to work well, don’t come undone with weight or vibration

    The inside of a Carradice Super C rackbag

    The inside


    Internally there is a pull cord and liner around the top. All Carradice bags are finished by hand in a factory in Lancashire and this one was made by Kelly, as you can see on the label!

    Covered in Hail

    Covered in Hail


    In the real world of rides in the rain (and hail) this British made bike luggage copes fine with all weather

    Posted by: audaxing | January 1, 2016

    New Years Day 100 miler

    I do usually try and do 100 miles on New Years day. Usually it is cold but this year the weather was everything else but cold.

    Leaving at 7:30

    Leaving at 7:30

    There wasn’t really a sunrise as such the sky just went slightly red in the east and it got lighter. First thing I did was climb the Blackdown Hills so I was nicely warmed up. It didn’t start raining until I got to Crewkerne and then it just tipped it down all day. Also the wind picked up from “stiff breeze” to “yikes”
    At Honiton I wasn’t going to stop but decided that half an hour drinking coffee and eating a sausage baps might not stop the rain but it might ease a bit as it couldn’t get any heavier
    There were plenty of flooded roads

    Flooding on the old A30

    Flooding on the old A30

    I only had to divert my route in one place due to impassable road though

    I got drenched a couple of times by drivers coming the other way and hitting floods

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