Yet Another Cycling Forum

General Category => Audax => Topic started by: Fixedwheelnut on 28 March, 2008, 12:21:34 am

Title: FWNuts LEL 2005 ride report
Post by: Fixedwheelnut on 28 March, 2008, 12:21:34 am
 London-Edinburgh-London  ‘Fixedwheelnut’s’ story
I set of in the 8.30am group Saturday morning from Lea Valley youth hostel  riding along with Ivo Miesen the crazy dutch guy of five languages fame it was only a few miles before we were shouting to the Italians “right, destra” to bring them back on course, some surprisingly steep hills around Broxbourne soon had me out of the saddle and surrounding people gasping “you mad ba**tard on a fixie!”.  The course soon changed to rolling hills and I was away in a rhythm at a good pace and the first control at Gamlingay community centre was soon upon us.
 I started to get a routine going early to lower the ‘Faff Factor’ get card stamped write down mileage and reset computer, wash and apply cream, eat drink and away.
 On the second stage weather improved and became much warmer but also led to swarms of kamikazie black fly, >:( no sooner had I wiped my arms and face when another cloud of the little bu**ers hit me like a handful of sand, more rolling hills saw small groups forming as riders settled to their own pace to Thurlby Church Primary School, the display of pictures by the schools children was excellent including pics of bikes, peleton, groups and a selection of international flags lets hope they carry their love of cycling into their later years. 8)
 The third stage was going well until I went of course for 10km, what are the two golden rules of Audax;
1/ Don’t follow someone else >:(
2/ Never ever forget rule number one >:( >:(
 Bu$$er, ar5e, ba115, fuming at my own stupidity I stormed off on the flat roads to Lincoln youth hostel where Rob Bullyment was awaiting to stamp our cards, feeding up here I met up with Paul Welch, Mark Brooking, Lynn Francoli and the Japanese Willsden group we all set off towards Thorne but it wasn’t long before the ‘papyrus map scrolls’ or torn out pages of my atlas came into play to querie the route,  luckily this put us back on track and we rode as a group as it got dark to Thorne rugby club, this might not sound like much but after 70km of pan flat long straight boring roads it is like an oasis in a desert, whats more the bar was still open “slight change to routine pint of real ale  :P  before bar shuts then get card stamped” nearing midnight we all opted for sleep and I grabbed 4 hours kip on the bar floor.
Total 233.33km @25.8km/h average, max 61km/h @ 191rpm


   Four am I got up really not wanting to but needs must stuffed my face with their finest cereals, toast and pasta meals and set off along more pan flat roads and soon caught up with the Willsden bunch again who set off slightly before me, we were treated to a beautiful sunrise at Howden just south of York but by now the flat roads were revealing their discomfort and riders were all twitching around on their saddles looking forward to a hill to get off them :-X, the Howardian Hills soon obliged and a rolling set of surprisingly steep hills had us climbing up past the Obelisk this is where I began meeting Patrick Field on his ‘Ratcatcher’ recumbent much of the day I spent passing him uphill and he passed me going down, “sometimes”, he suggested I should get some footrests fitted for the downhill sections, "but that would take half the fun out of it" I replied. We were soon at Hovingham for more food and drink.
 Stage 6 had us rolling through more and occaisionally steeper hills to Eppleby but as the banter of PBP tales and previous LEL tales transpired the kilometres clicked by unnoticed and via the very picturesque ‘Wooden Bridge’ at Whorlton,   we were through and out to Langdon Beck, my nervousness about this stage was unfounded, whilst the climb was long it was a reasonable gradient and I soon found a rythym and flew along passing people on gears, much to their disgust,.
 Langdon Beck youth hostel [the highest in England] was a fantastic stop helpers practically fighting to serve you with great wit and banter such that you almost didn’t want to leave “and they did bacon sarnies” my favourite fuel second to jelly babies.
  The route sheet said it was 10.9 km to the summit of Yad Moss from here but it actually looked more like 14km before I actually started descending, the climb itself was great fun I felt really good “bacon sarnie you see” and overtook others that had left before me I stopped at the top to take pics of the view and the last Belgian rider [ Toon Tanghe] I had passed as he came up, he kindly stopped and offered to take one of me at the top aswell, when I say the top this was about 11km but as I went round the next corner the road continued upwards before I began the frenzied 12km descent into Alston I had to keep using the brakes to control my cadence to avoid melting my thighs which were feeling much tighter by now, the steep cobbled road down through Alston was very dodgy and I was glad it was dry, I didn’t have to stop at Alston having been to Langdon Beck but popped in for a quick cuppa and bowl of rice pudding and fruit before setting off alone for the stage to Canonbie I sometimes feel better alone on a fixed with rolling hills just going at my own pace, staying at a slower pace on the hills can actually be harder work, so I kept a comfortable pace and rolled into Scotland at a 25.6km/h average, here I saw Phil(Mal Volio) along with Peter Marshall and other groups including John Radford all heading South with a cheery wave.
   Canonbie was my second favourite control great support and food but rumours were abounding that if the next stage to Dalkeith and back were a stand alone ride it would be worth 3 AAA points I asked one of the helpers about the hills awaiting who just happened to be another fixie rider, “it must be a subconscious mind link”,  he agreed they are tough but more in length than steepness so we swapped fixed tips on hubs and such, then stuffed and showered I found a comfortable space on the wooden floor and had 4 hours kip.
Total 341.3km @ 23.5km/h, max 57km/h @ 179 rpm

Monday D-day

 Alone again I set off in the dark at a steady pace so as not to make any mistakes with the route and I was soon on the B709 valley road towards Eskdalmuir site of a small Tibetan monastery, the hills were spectacular and around every corner they just seemed to get bigger, the only dodgy thing here was the large Logging Lorries that stormed through the narrow road hitting verges and skipping around the tight bends , they reminded me of that old black & white movie ‘Hell Driver’s’.  I met up with Bob McDowall and Mark Heffer who I know along here and we arrived in the early hours at Ettrick village hall, a small village in the middle of nowhere this proved to be the more surreal of controls, for as I piled biscuits onto my plate the chap behind the table said ;
[Scottish accent] “Nooooh, yer cannae have them biskits, their na’e my biskits” [Scottish accent],
 me;”Can you not give him the money when he comes back”?
[Scottish accent] “NNOOOOHH!! Their na’e my biskits I canna’e take the money for them” [Scottish accent]
me; “OK then I’ll have a bacon roll please”
[Scottish accent] “Ahh, nooh the chefs asleep” [Scottish accent]
 So I took what he could sell me and sat down and enjoyed it but this carried on and everyone who came in was heading for the biscuits eventually he covered them up.
This became the phrase of the ride and at every control from there on if we saw someone pick up biscuits there was a chorus of “NOOOHH!! Yer canna’e have them their na’e my biskits” ;)
 From here the lower false flats out of Innerleithen proved hard work into a headwind and only served to make the next steeper part all the harder, we had our first light drizzly rain here and kept stopping to cape on and off and on and off in the end I opted for the boil in a bag look and left it on,  this climb  seemed to go on and on for several miles and had me alternating my climbing style to ease the back ache I was getting this eased as did the hills up to Dalkeith at Edinburgh.
Half way 11 am
 Dalkeith Rugby Club proved to be an anti-climax to look at but still well controlled with good food and energy drinks glad to be halfway I felt more relaxed and at ease with the ride, as I eat my pudding Mark and Bob strolled in so again we left together, as my jelly baby stash was getting low I opted to stop at a garage and stock up and have a chocolate mars drink whilst they rolled on, after the return blast along the A7 I returned to the steep long Moorfoot hills and rolled past Bob and Mark, the loose sheep on the road kept everyones speed down on the descents so even with my controlled braking nobody passed me, on the next climb I passed Mark Brooking and Lynn Francoli on their way to Edinburgh and a few others the camararderie of cheery waves lifting our spirits on route.
 The Ettrick control appeared much more normal in the afternoon and the beautiful Sue behind the counter happily sold us anything on the table, when Mark Heffer strolled in he was smitten and Sue became the topic of conversation for many a mile South. ;)
  Heading from here back to Canonbie the climbs appeared much harder and steeper and soon had me tacking from side to side on the road “were they steeper or was it the miles in my legs?” well I wasn’t walking so just kept plugging away.
  Back to Canonbie for tea and Rissotto  and anything else I could stuff my face with without being sick. :P
 Stage 11 from here to Alston proved to be the hardest for me, the hills as we reached the Pennines were steeper South than North but just rideable ,   the sun had set by the time we entered Alston and the temperature had dropped considerably, we all opted to continue to Langdon Beck and climb with warmed up legs rather than struggle over in the morning, so it was as we hit the cobbled wall of Alston, determined “or is that stubborn” I had to try and ride it I got half way up as far as the ‘Albion’ pub and could see the end of the cobbles but came to a halt and couldn’t budge the pedals so unclipped before falling and walked the next 50 yards until it levelled out , unknown to me Mark and Bob had got off at the bottom so I didn’t feel too bad.
  We sat on a wall and stuffed an energy bar each into our faces before commencing the climb, this was the highest altitude but lowest point in the ride for me I was cold and tired climbing a steep long hill in pitch black hugging the white line in the middle of the road to avoid the drop off the edge, thankfully the sheep were asleep but a flurry of nocturnal rodents and rabbits were darting back and forth more of a problem on the descent than the climb which lasted forever in the dark, the rabbits in particular had a sucidal tendency to run to the pool of light in front of your wheel a bit like dolphins at the hull of a ship, the descent was just as bad if not worse as I felt so cold to be shaking and braking hard as the white line veered off in a different direction, so long was this descent I began to wonder if I had passed the hostel already but convinced myself they would mark it well and so they had eventually a red flashing LED light marked the entrance 11.55pm I had sanctuary,
 Inside and warm, Heather and her band of merry helpers swarmed around providing soup, pasta, chilli con-carne on jacket spuds, excellent stuff to warm up a cold randonneur “but not ideal for atmospherics in a hostel bedroom”  ;D ;) .
Once Bob and Mark turned up and we had all fed it was bed for three hours. Some of us snored slept more than others, "sorry lads". :-[
Total 327.56km @ 20.3km/h max 59km/h @184rpm


  Nobody really wanted to get up it was so cold but “a mans gotta do what a mans gotta do” so grub up again and out to the cold as I got on my bike I realise my front tyre is flat so a quick tube change and we are off joined by Phil Magnus who is soon ahead again, 5 miles up the road I feel the front going squidgy again this time it proves to be a previously dodgy repair “oops only myself to blame for that”, repaired again we follow the rolling roads to Barnard Castle and arrive back at Eppleby village hall to see a large pile of bin bags where Mark throws his bike on the pile and falls next to it, cue a bunch of Belgians and Italians and myself taking his picture, inside the familiar face of Roger Philo was there to greet us and stamp our cards, inside we caught up with Phil Magnus again and a guy called Karl who knows Felix from C+ forum and had been told to look out for me   Karl had left home midnight Friday night to ride 100 miles to the start at London only having breakfast and a catnap before starting off that’s dedication for you.
 Between here and the next stop Hovingham we met up with the Italian group again still going strong but often the wrong way, at Hovingham I felt tired again and opted for a short sleep and let Bob and Mark roll on as we would only ride at different pace over the Howardian hills anyway, 30 minutes sleep and I felt like a new man  and flew up and down past the Castle Howard Obelisk and not long into the flat stuff caught up with my compatriots again along with a Welshman Gwyn Roberts we all worked together into the wind towards Thorne here the discussion of PBP food comparisons came up and Mark retold how he was given a plate of veg and rice with a piece of chicken on top, he explained to the guy he was vegetarian could he do a veggie meal, he replied “Oui” and took the piece of chicken off the top  ;D
Mark then added he didn’t eat anything with a face on it so I added “Oh dear Sue in Ettrick will be disappointed”  ;D it was constant banter like this that kept us all in good spirits and the ride began to feel more like a tour than randonne`. ;D
  The flat bit into Thorne had taken its toll on all of us and I opted for the prevention is better than cure method after slapping on my cream I put on my clean shorts with the other two pairs on top and adjusted my saddle slightly down this worked a treat and although at times uncomfortable I was never in pain.
  The next stage into Lincoln at night was very hard going and just seemed to take much longer than it should have but get there we did just at midnight here we all had a good feed and slept 6 hours although my shower water ran cold just as I had soaped up not the ideal time for a cold shower but I just made it as quick as possible. “Brrrr"
Total 286.8km @ 23.3km/h, max 59km/h @ 181 rpm

Wednesday final leg

  We awoke to a lovely day and after numerous bowls of porridge set of in bright but cool sunshine as we moved South it got warmer and de-layered I stopped for a hedge stop and set off to catch them up and found myself struggling into a headwind as I turned left towards Caythorpe a tractor overtook me and I just thought “that will do lovely” and sprinted up to its slip stream and sat there at 38 km/h dragging me back up to my mates shame he wasn’t going to Lea Valley ;) On this section here is where we left the flat stuff and were back in rolling hills where I saw Phil Chadwick[Mal Volio] and Peter Marshall going towards their finish at Thorne, ahead of me by time as they were closer to Thorne than I was to London, soon at Thurlby school here I met more of those heading North such as John Radcliffe,  gingerly sitting down after suffering the Southern flatlands sudocream shorts abounded down here.
It reminded me of the old 'Colgate' toothpaste advert quote 'the ring of confidence' seeing this ring of white around the padding on riders shorts, "the ring of comfort" it could be a new ad for 'Sudocream'  ;D
   I phoned my youngest sister  from here who does distance healing and she said she would work on energy, bums and knees, sceptically I said "yeah ok then".
 We all set off together again into black skies  and were happy about being nearly home but the rain started, fine at first and progressively heavier, settling into my pace I left Bob and Mark picking up geared riders as I went to Gamlingay our last control on the road.  I left here with Peter Turnbull who had actually ridden 100 miles extra going off course poor lad and we set a good pace on our home stretch the steeper hills around Broxbourne soon had me on my own again, was this good feeling euphoria of nearly finishing or my sisters good work “who cares I was going well",  soaking wet but feeling good I grouped up with several other riders in the final miles using my pidgeon French to help them navigate the final stretch and we all made it in at 7.20pm. to a round of applause .
  Our own forums big Gavin Gilbert came up and shook my hand, the euphoria of finishing made it slip my mind of being soaking wet and I hereby apologise for the cold soggy handshake as all the water ran out of my track mitts., I chatted for a while and sought out the showers and dry clothes, then food and a few beers, Bob and Mark finished together and we all ate, eventually Peter turned up after getting lost again but still in good time.
Total 230.5km @ 21.7km/h, max 61km/h @191 rpm
 A great ride in great company and terrific support from the helpers at all controls, and a big thanks to the organisers for coping with a logistical nightmare.
Cheers Steve

Total ride 1419.49km that includes my off route bits
Total time taken ; 106h 50m
Ride time 61h 58m = average riding speed 22.9km/h @ 70 rpm = approx 260260 turns of the pedals.
Sleep time 17h 30m
That leaves the remaining 27 hours faffing and eating and cleaning etc

 LEL pictures here (