Author Topic: ACME Grand 1000km 28 June 2018  (Read 25028 times)

Re: ACME Grand 1000km 28 June 2018
« Reply #325 on: July 02, 2018, 06:56:55 pm »
That was one classic event, and certainly a journey that will linger in the mind for a very long time.

Looking back, I managed 5 hours of sleep over the 3 nights, had 3 McDonalds meals, 1 garden centre cafe breakfast and 1 pub stop for lemonade and bidon refilling. Otherwise all stops were convenience stores or similar. Although I maintained a buffer throughout, it never felt like there was quite enough time for a more relaxed stop.

In some ways the weather made things a little taxing, with the heat and the headwind on the return journey, but it also helped. There was no messing with wet weather arrangements, nor cold weather clothing beyond donning a long sleeve jersey at night.

Our group morphed a little through the ride, occasionally growing in number, occasionally reducing. It was good to get to the finish with Grey Sheep and Andrew (whose forum name escapes me right now), and to have the company of carlosfandango, wilkyboy, alotronic, and Ricky along the way. Possibly one or two others, but hey that was a taxing ride and I have the right to forget some details!

One huge thank you to Tomsk for thinking up and making the event come to fruition. When I first saw the details I knew I was in, but was expecting a less arduous route than this turned out to be. All the better for it, in my view.

As well as putting on such a great route, we were also treated to that memorable tea stop on the Black Mountain (where was the beer for the riders though? ;-) and a rousing reception on finishing the ride. A heartfelt thank you also goes out to jiberjaber, huggy, soupy and soupy's brother for their assistance and photography, and also to Phil and Alex for doing their bit too. Oh, and Josh and wife (?) for cheering us on as we wound our way through Essex on the outwards leg.

Re: ACME Grand 1000km 28 June 2018
« Reply #326 on: July 02, 2018, 09:13:21 pm »
(where was the beer for the riders though? ;-)

I'll budget for riders' beer next time :D cider for the gluten free, someone will want Pimms, you see how it starts... ;D

Re: ACME Grand 1000km 28 June 2018
« Reply #327 on: July 03, 2018, 01:00:08 pm »
It's a couple of days later and I'm still re-introducing myself to the real world.   This is a little odd after a ride that only took 3/4 days, but a bit like post PBP come down.   All I can say is what a wonderful adventure that stretched me in a whole lot of ways that my brisk pace and longer stops may have belied.   Rather than a full write up, which I'm not great at here's a list of a few memories :-

- Setting off a little late and leapfrogging small groups through Essex and Cambs.
- Being hot by St Neots but the staff in Café Nero filling my bottles with iced water.
- Crossing the Cotswolds with a gentle tailwind and seeing a stunning sunset to the West just before dropping to Tewkesbury.
- Moonlit lumpy ride to Chepstow and walking a couple of hills in the Forest of Dean.
- A couple of proper goat tracks around Pontypridd and rush hour traffic heading into Barry.
- A stunning mountain loop around the Brecon Beacons and making it up the Black Mountain on my 70" gear to be greeted by the ACME crew.
- Hot and tetchy ride into Barry to my first hotel stop and being talked down my family who assured me I had plenty of time in hand and to feed, rehydrate and sleep.
- A cracking Day 3 in fresh clothing with a cool start (views down to the Severn Estuary after the Forest of Dean) and a hot afternoon, topped off by a great evening run, after a McDonalds (more iced water in the bottles) dinner, with Bob Johnson and into St Neots.
- A very relaxed sleep in the St Neots Premier inn knowing the ride was in the bag. and telling the receptionist that the ride was not for charity.
- A final 5hr run into Witham catching a few riders around Buntingford to be met by the ACME team in the pub.
- Completing my 22nd Super Randonneur in 26 years of AUK membership and getting another shiny medal.
- A massive Wetherspoons Veggie Fry Up sat in the shade in the beer garden.

I managed to avoid sunburn, fuelled and hydrated OK.   My contact points are all OK apart from my hands which are very sore from tugging on the bars up the hills and bracing myself on the descents.   I haven't slept this well for a long time and have a massive appetite.

Congratulations to everyone that finished and thanks to all involved with organising.   I underestimated the ride a little so it's probably one of my favourite achievements since starting these rides all those years ago.

*EDIT - and being called a Monster by Wilkyboy on FB.

Rob

Re: ACME Grand 1000km 28 June 2018
« Reply #328 on: July 03, 2018, 01:08:16 pm »
^^^ I was wondering who the fixed rider was - well done that man! I am  impressed/amazed you stayed comfortable enough on a Dolan Aluminium track frame...

Re: ACME Grand 1000km 28 June 2018
« Reply #329 on: July 03, 2018, 01:15:17 pm »
^^^ I was wondering who the fixed rider was - well done that man! I am  impressed/amazed you stayed comfortable enough on a Dolan Aluminium track frame...

It's the FXE rather than the Precursa.   The geometry is quite relaxed and it's comfy on the long ones.   Will be my PBP bike.

Re: ACME Grand 1000km 28 June 2018
« Reply #330 on: July 04, 2018, 01:10:57 pm »
As a relative newcomer to the ‘art and craft of Audax’ this was a tough ride for me and a steep learning curve regarding the reality of an X-rated event. Yes, it can be quite lonely out there on the road and (if you’re a Londoner) the countryside at night can be much more scary than Brixton!

Now I have been back at work for 2.5 days and the dust has settled in my brain, I have just recorded some hi-lights (and low-lights) below:

•   An excellent and confident day of cycling with our four strong Dulwich Paragon (DP) team to Tewkesbury. A great route, exceptional weather and a beautiful sun-set
•   Leaving the Travelodge in Tewkesbury on day two and avoiding the lumps of The Forest of Dean via the A48. It is a good route however the Highways Agency regularly hi-light the 42 road traffic casualties this year (I am not sure about the number of deaths)
•   The Welsh Valleys in intense sunlight at 32C, the decent into Pontypridd and ‘dining’ at Greggs in Tonypandy in the Rhondda Valley
•   Over the mountain to Llandovery and then leaving The Co-Op in Llandovery as the last DP team member still pedalling
•   A complete surprise at sunset to find Tom and his jovial team on the top of The Black Mountain, and being served tea and home-made Welsh cakes – all very welcome
•   A huge relief on finding Burger King in Neath still open at mid-night, and being the only customer
•   Helping the night-manager at the Bridgend Premier Inn to get a mouse out of the reception area, because it was frightening some lady customers. Finally I managed to persuade the mouse to exit via the electric doors!
•   The Celsa Steel Work in Cardiff, the tethered ponies blocking the road and a very unwelcome headwind
•   The A48 from Chepstow going north this time, then seeing Stratford-upon-Avon amongst the trees in the distance…..a Shakespearean moment there
•   Having a nap below an oak tree (behind a hedge, to avoid being woken) before climbing Edge Hill in Warwickshire. There is something remarkably English about having a one hour sleep under an oak tree somewhere in Warwickshire; this is about as close as one can ever get to being a character from a Thomas Hardy novel – perhaps Gabrielle Oak?
•   Feeling like a complete outsider on Saturday night in the McDonalds in Towcester……..asking myself ‘what am I doing here?’
•   A night-ride to the Premier Inn in St. Neots, followed by a very deep sleep
•   Meeting Paul Whitehead and Phil B at Sainsbury’s in Buntingford and having an audax chat with them, great to speak to cyclists who are used to cycling further than 50k. I thought Paul was on the ride but then realised he had a DSLR around his neck!
•   Cycling through Essex on Sunday morning, it looked like Tuscany and the temperature was now 34C/93F
•   Overtaking a group of Sunday cyclists on an ‘Essex hill’……ironic really
•   The welcome I received at Witham as I walked into the Wetherspoons garden, including Rich from the DP team

Most of all I wanted to give my enormous thanks to the Acme team for their continued encouragement, and especially to Tom for all his work on planning, organising and documenting this epic ride.

Many audax routes are forgettable; however this one will live on in my memory for a long time, and therefore I have no need or desire to repeat the experience!

Re: ACME Grand 1000km 28 June 2018
« Reply #331 on: July 04, 2018, 01:20:01 pm »
Well done, Adrian. 

Oddly as I was just about to set off from Wellesbourne I saw a Dulwich jersey and waved, only to realise they were on a race bike with no luggage so probably just out for a spin.

Bit far from 'home' though ?


Rob

Re: ACME Grand 1000km 28 June 2018
« Reply #332 on: July 04, 2018, 02:14:05 pm »
Adrian is being typically modest about his audax palmares; the highlights of which includes a PBP, LEL and three BCMs.

He was though (on paper) the least experienced of the DPCC crew at the ACME Grand. But he pedalled on, keeping the flag flying, as the rest of us fell by the wayside.

Chapeau Adrian and all the other finishers!

mmmmartin

  • BPB 1/1: PBP 0/1
    • FNRttC
Re: ACME Grand 1000km 28 June 2018
« Reply #333 on: July 04, 2018, 02:20:22 pm »
Besides, it wouldn't be audacious if success were guaranteed.

Re: ACME Grand 1000km 28 June 2018
« Reply #334 on: July 04, 2018, 02:44:54 pm »
He was though (on paper) the least experienced [with only a PBP, LEL and three BCMs] of the DPCC crew at the ACME Grand. 
:o :o
FTFY
What are the 'more experienced' palmares of each of the other three?

Re: ACME Grand 1000km 28 June 2018
« Reply #335 on: July 04, 2018, 04:24:42 pm »
My reflections on the Acme Grand.

Like many of the entrants, I saw this as an opportunity to gain access to the pre registration for PBP.  As a relatively new Audaxer, having watched the ACME LEL entrants prepare for that event, I had reckoned on having achieved a 600km ride before the event.  That didn’t come to fruition so on the day, my longest preparation ride had been 470km for the Arrow.  As such, I had the same  feeling of uncertainty and trepidation as I had on my first 200km (The Horsepower 200) which had been only 15 months earlier.

The factors I had prepared for were, the bike, the weather, fluids and a schedule to ensure I was on target.  The factors I didn’t prepare too well for was sleep and feeding. 

Thanks to Wilkyboy for his superb choice of gps routes.  I chose the 19 stages as, for me, it gave the largest number of “completed” ticks, as well as a smaller risk of route issues on a Garmin.  I know many chose the 5 * 200km or the 400, 200, 400 routes for similar reasons.  Talking with the tandem riders on the Towcester return, they had used the 1000km route and had encountered the usual Garmin issue with loops that crossed, so had added some bonus miles.

The atmosphere at the start was brilliant, sunshine was always going to help, but so many people came to support as well as take part it was a great way to take your mind off the size of the task in front of you. The ACME peloton all started together, and I found myself in Buntingford before expected and feeling fine.  Next gps course loaded, and off to St Neots.  The little garden/park off the high street was a nice shaded find to eat and rest.

It is always interesting to see how the groups and individuals spread out over the rides, and how the 24 hour McDonald’s bring people back together, something that this ride gave much opportunity for.  The first of which was at Towcester, and it brought back memories of the Stacey and Gavin ride I undertook last year.  It was my first 400 and where I fell asleep after 24 hours of being awake.

The first night section was good with warmth lasting until dawn, and a full moon illuminating the fields.  The Acme peloton came back together in this section, but with a couple packing after the first day in the heat.  I remembered the Forest of Dean and the Chepstow climbs from the previous year, and the change of direction didn’t seem to make any difference to the effort needed.  Chepstow was the same and so to Caerphilly with the castle and statue to Tommy Cooper.  I clearly remembered the section between Caerphilly and Pontypridd from the previous year’s G&S ride and JibberJabbers recent G&S ride had reinforced the memory of the climbing and descending required.  At least this time in was in glorious sunshine, and not the torrential downpour of the previous time here.

A quick breakfast stop at Pontypridd and then to Barry for the first time.  By now it was very warm, and water bottles were being emptied and filled very rapidly.  I subscribe to the “two types” theory and have one bottle with additives, and one plain water.  It works for me as I find the taste of the additives off putting after a while and prefer the plain water.  Salt intake is supplemented with crisps and peanuts that also contain lots of calories.

The Brecon Beacons and Black mountain sections were stunning.  However, as much as I enjoy climbing, with the heat and lack of sleep I came close to packing on several sections.  Not the big climbs where the view from the top and the descent allow body and mind to recover, but the constant 10%ers that just sapped my legs in the heat.

The tea party on the Black Mountain was very, very welcome.  The moral boost of seeing an ACME shirt waving at me and knowing there was a rest at the top and a short ride to some sleep got me up the hill.  The Essex flag on the entrance to the car park was brilliant to see.  Many, many thanks to Tomsk, Soupy, Huggy and Jibberjabber for traveling all that way with tea and Welsh cakes and waiting all day for us. The main ACME peloton was, by now, the three of us (myself, Psyclist AND Andrew P)

Sleep finally came at Port Talbot, where I also made the mistake of turning off the Garmin.  As a consequence, it recorded distance and elevation fine, but no other details for the next 300K to Edge Hill where it had a hissy fit, locked up and threatened to loose everything.

We had a rapid ride to Barry along the A48 where Psyclist and I had planned to meet with Andrew P, but a messed up hotel booking had meant he had to bivvy rather than bed.  We eventually came back together just before the Edge Hill climb.

The daytime ride was brilliant, with. Chepstow, the Forest of Dean providing some great climbs, and the diversion after Tewksbury to Pershore and Stratford was a great idea.  I was just being lulled into a false sense of a promised “flat ride back” when we hit Edge hill.  17% was too much for me and I had to walk a hill for the first time in ages.

With the Three of us back together, moral and mental support in place to get through the next night.  I had planned to stop at the posh Audax hotel on Onley, but my brain was shot, and I missed it, and all the others.  The hallucinations were constant by now, and I was convinced Andrew was on a shopping bike with badgers running round his wheels, and they kept scaring off the seals on the sides of the road.  Shapes in hedges added to the weird experience.  I eventually opted for a park bench in St Neots.  The shop alarms and drunks not stopping me sleep.  It’s amazing how 45 minutes sleep can fix the brain.

With just two sections left, it should have been a straight forward run home, but by now bits of my body were protesting, especially the knees that hadn’t been quite right since the start.  It was a very slow run back to Witham.  Again, a moral and mental boost provided by Phil W and others taking pictures and encouraging words at Buntingford.

 So, my lessons learnt, planning that worked and that which didn’t.

Knees hurt on the last 100k, probably due to not allowing for the stack height difference between spd and sl cleats/pedals.

The choice of lightweight carbon bike over steel was, for me, the right one with all that climbing.  My Ribble Gran Fondo was comfortable for the distance, but stiff and light enough to be efficient. 

I am now a proper long distance Audaxer as I have 2½ numb fingers due to the ride, so double wrap the bars next time.

Plan for more sleep.  My brain was shot at the end, as proven by the fact I couldn’t put the receipts into numerical order.  If I can’t do a simple task like that, what else can I get wrong on the road?

Take a bivvy bag.  I was lucky it was warm and dry overnight.  A bivvy bag would had very sensible.

Better quality food next time.  Being wheat flour intolerant limited my choices (especially in McDonald’s) but I could have eaten better, plan more café stops as the best meal was the breakfast in the Chepstow Garden Centre.

The Garmin played up, as did other people’s. Next time, take two and don’t switch them off.

I ran out of electricity.  The dynamo hub will not charge a phone.  Take a proper charger for the hotel stop as the 10amp hour power pack was flat by the end of day 2.

Cycling in a group is a big help.  I had hoped to cycle with Psyclist as his rate on the Arrow was good for me.  I also learnt a lot watching him deal with his low spots.  I’m not sure what the optimal number is for a group as low spots slow the group, so at some point it must be detrimental.  But our group of three seemed to work well, thanks to both of the Andrews for sticking with me.

Thanks to Tomsk, Huggy, Jibbers & Soupy for the event and event support.  It was not just welcome, but a real enabler in helping me complete.

Tom’s ride notes were a big help with the planning.

Thanks to friends and family for all the support through Facebook and WhatsApp. Those messages ready do help you through the journey.

After the ride the legs were fine, but I had lower back pain due to tight hamstrings.  Next time some stretching of these at each stop will hopefully help.

Hats off to everyone that took part if you completed or not.  It was a proper “Big Adventure” regardless of how many miles were completed.




Proving ambition is undone by ability since 1958...


mmmmartin

  • BPB 1/1: PBP 0/1
    • FNRttC
Re: ACME Grand 1000km 28 June 2018
« Reply #336 on: July 04, 2018, 05:24:35 pm »
Tom’s ride notes were a big help with the planning............
....It was a proper “Big Adventure” regardless of how many miles were completed.
Yes, I'd forgotten how helpful Tom was. Those notes were really useful in my planning.
And yes, it was An Awfully Big Adventure, wasn't it? Even a third of it felt like that.
Besides, it wouldn't be audacious if success were guaranteed.

jiberjaber

  • ... Fancy Pants \o/ ...
  • ACME S&M^2
Re: ACME Grand 1000km 28 June 2018
« Reply #337 on: July 04, 2018, 05:38:47 pm »
My reflections on the Acme Grand.
....................
Hats off to everyone that took part if you completed or not.  It was a proper “Big Adventure” regardless of how many miles were completed.

 :thumbsup:

Here's your receipt action...

_DSC2795.jpg by Jason Burns, on Flickr
Regards,

Jason

Re: ACME Grand 1000km 28 June 2018
« Reply #338 on: July 04, 2018, 05:58:16 pm »
•   Meeting Paul Whitehead and Phil B at Sainsbury’s in Buntingford and having an audax chat with them, great to speak to cyclists who are used to cycling further than 50k. I thought Paul was on the ride but then realised he had a DSLR around his neck!

Phil Whitehurst and Alex Brown, so you were close!  Another rider thought I was on the ride as well. With my bike in the alley way with a rack bag on the back I can see that mistake might be made.  Though one or two of you were in mental distress by Buntingford. I did the West Highlands 1000 a month before, though I did look at the ACME Grande 1000 when looking at the choices. The former provided more new cycling territory for me, the overall climbing and AAA figures are virtually the same as the Grande

mmmmartin

  • BPB 1/1: PBP 0/1
    • FNRttC
Re: ACME Grand 1000km 28 June 2018
« Reply #339 on: July 04, 2018, 06:35:38 pm »
True. But Acme Grand = no midges. Which is worth a lot....
Besides, it wouldn't be audacious if success were guaranteed.

Re: ACME Grand 1000km 28 June 2018
« Reply #340 on: July 04, 2018, 06:54:33 pm »
I had hoped to cycle with Psyclist as his rate on the Arrow was good for me.  I also learnt a lot watching him deal with his low spots. 

Not sure what I do any different. Just keep going until the next food stop, when everything comes good again for a while.

I'm keen to try lucazade on a ride again. I filled one bottle up with the stuff at Wellesbourne, and had all the energy in the world through to Towcester. Only downside was it put me off sweet things for the rest of the ride.

Re: ACME Grand 1000km 28 June 2018
« Reply #341 on: July 04, 2018, 07:35:03 pm »
True. But Acme Grand = no midges. Which is worth a lot....

I seem to have an awful lot of insect bites.   Not sure what they were but something had fun.

Re: ACME Grand 1000km 28 June 2018
« Reply #342 on: July 05, 2018, 11:31:32 am »
Dear All

After a few days recovery I can say that I am not nearly near recovered! This taxed me more than any other 1000k including the crackpot. The route was so easily underestimated. The biggies you could account for, but it was the myriad of 'smaller' ones that really got to me in the end - edge hill of course was walked - never mind the legs,  my back couldn't take any more - mind 42 16 was optimistic at this stage. The most memorable moment for me which I would like to forget and will always be called from now on 'That Road In Neath' was the climb out of the town, frying in over 30c totally cooking me into a meltdown - as in I had to just get off,  pour all my water over me and lie in the shade to sleep for 30 mins sopping wet.

The heat was relentless, but you could cool down with a drenching, however the wind was quite persistent in a very grinding down kind of way and there is nothing you can do about that other than adjust your head to 500k of headwind - not that it even dropped at night.

The positive side of this heat and dryness, was that it made sleeping very easy. If ever there was a time to experiment with a different approach then this was the time to do it, or another way of putting it is I had no organisation to book any rooms anywhere! My approach was simple - am i tired? no then ride. Am i tired ? yes then sleep. This involved just getting off the bike and lying down on a roll mat and sleeping wherever i was, like in the middle of Neath or a lovely verge in the middle of the night. All I needed was a lightweight down jacket at night on a roll mat and that was it. I doubt things will get that easy again for a while or without a huge amount of luck. The result was a lot less faff time that any other 1000k but a much slower ride speed. As it turns out faff time trumps riding time in making your overall time longer, so despite grinding way more slowly than other rides where I had fuller sleeps and riding 'faster'.

The route was great with some fantastic highlights, but some did come at a cost. The mountain tops and climbs were spectacular, but riding through some of the valleys to get there was hair raising at times. 30mph speed limit my arse. I kept on thinking that they must have a 6th sense to drive so fast on narrow busy roads. As it turns out they dont. I saw the results of 2 crashes in one hour. First involved 'just' ambulances and police with a pedestrian smashed into, and the other even more serious involving an idiot driving his car into a lorry head on with roads closed and fire engines cutting out etc. I know I was tired at the time but it just emotionally drains you to see the trivial attitude to operating 2 ton machines outside of their safety margins. I can imagine what work colleagues attitude would be if I were to use a nail gun with the same level of carelessness, but it is perfectly ok in  car.

If/when there is a next one I will be riding with luck. A couple of thoughts/observations to be dismissed at leisure so dont take any too seriously:
- x rated so all controls were commercial, and 19 in all. I think If i add up what I spent (not a complaint at all) and the cost of accommodation (if I had not been too lazy to actually do) I reckon that Tomsk could charge quite a chunk of cash if there were a few stops on the way. Dont know costs and realities so NOT an expectation and I know it would involve lots of work, but £100+ entry would still see me better off.
- Charging more might make the DNS rate a bit lower - but I guess also maybe entries lower too
 - This event still makes it the best value ride i have done in a while any which way.
 - The very nature of the event was that it was x rated this - was one of its premier features - sort yourself out mentality.
 - Sun cream sun cream sun cream sun cream. Boy it works good. How do I know? Because I covered myself in it and was not burnt  apart from 2 areas that are suffering - my lips where i have a lovely UV induced cold sore (UV lip balm from now on) and on my arse - I managed to get a small rip in my shorts on day 1 about an inch squre that I did not think about until a few days after when I  could feel a real burn to look in the mirror to see a lovely bright welt where the tear was!

A bit of a ramble, but thanks to Tomsk and ACME. Great to follow other peoples routes even through some areas you know - you seem to appreciate then in a different light some how.

All the best


Re: ACME Grand 1000km 28 June 2018
« Reply #343 on: July 05, 2018, 08:52:55 pm »
Good to get feedback, all useful food for thought.

Just waiting on one more postal return and I can upload the data to AUKweb.

Re: ACME Grand 1000km 28 June 2018
« Reply #344 on: July 10, 2018, 06:46:59 pm »
Still waiting for that card to come in the post, be a day or so before results get uploaded... ::-)

Re: ACME Grand 1000km 28 June 2018
« Reply #345 on: July 11, 2018, 09:28:13 pm »
Still got tingles in the smaller 2 fingers of both hands.

Rest of me is OK, which is a good job as I’m back to time trials for the next 2 weekends.

Re: ACME Grand 1000km 28 June 2018
« Reply #346 on: July 14, 2018, 07:06:14 pm »
Brevets all in, results uploaded, just the final paperwork to do and post with the cards, by Monday.

[Loads of points coming your way...!]