Posted by: audaxing | May 31, 2011

Scott of the A5


Poor weather, poor preparation and lack of experience will often stop riders on long distance events. The key on non competitive long distance rides is to stay comfortable and keep the pedals turning. On the slightly more difficult ones being able to power up hills and keep up a good rate is helpful too.

But sometimes someone overcomes odds that are stacked against them.

I met Scott at The Bryn Tyrch Inn in Capel Curig on the Irish Mail 400km event. I had stopped because my main light had failed and I was feeling a little bit cold from the rain that had started lashing down again. I attached my spare light to the bike- a high powered old Dinotte 5W and found an extra base layer in my bag and then went to order a coffee. When the friendly and efficient bar staff had delivered a great pot of coffee they said “hey, there’s another bike rider here too”.

He came over and sat with me and ordered a coffee too.
It was Scott. Thankfully, Scott’s lights were working fine. He was also cold but amazingly had no clothing other than a windproof top and shorts. The same clothing as shown in the photo above. He had stopped at the hotel to try and get a bin liner to keep the worst of the weather off.
By contrast, I had a Goretex coat and windproof leg warmers. I’d just put on a extra base layer.
Given that it was only 10pm, we had both been riding in gale force winds all day, the weather was worsening and the coldest part of the night was to come, I was surprised at his lack of kit.
He explained that he’d done the “Brevet Cymru” 400km a few weeks before and made it round that with no extra clothing. I countered that the “Brevet Cymru” this year had been surprisingly clement and we were now in the mountains of North Wales not the central parts of Wales that the other ride crossed. I did try and gently advise him that perhaps finding a place to stay and sitting out the night might be the safest option.

I left first into the night. After 1/2 a mile I stopped again to add more clothing- a buff. The rest of the ride panned out pretty much as expected. It rained a lot. The headwind wasn’t so bad at the lower altitudes. At the control, after another 80km, I stopped for the best part of an hour eating pasta and changing my socks. Scott didn’t turn up and I hoped he was ok. When I left the control it actually stopped raining, which was welcome.

I got to the end in a pretty poor state ( my right Achilles felt pretty bad ) and had a couple of hours sleep. When I woke up and looked for a cup of tea, Scott was there at the finish!

He had finished in time, without a coat across a mountain range in a storm

I don’t recommend riding any event with this lack of preparation and equipment but you have to say “Chapeau” to Scott.

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