Author Topic: The Cambridge Pork Pie 200 + EXTRA + Spring Dash 100 — Sat 16 March 2019 — PBP Q  (Read 10800 times)

So I want to start this with a breif point of order. I entered the Cambridge Spring Dash 100 but would like to point out the following  ;D:
1) It wasn't Spring. It was definitely Winter.
2) It wasn't a Dash, more of a trudge into 30 mph winds
3) It wasn't even a 100 clocking in at 110
4) If I'm really nitpicking it doesn't even start in Cambridge (although in fairness it does go through Cambridge, twice)

However joking aside it was a great day out in challenging conditions, started off by enjoying the pre-ride refreshments. Got away near the front of the group and made good progress through Cambridge and the Shelfords. It started snowing early on but nothing too bad and initially the wind didn't seem too bad. Once the ride turned onto the back roads, not only didn't it get lumpier but in one or 2 places there was slushy ice on the roads. This meant that careful descending was needed on the early hills so no free speed there, also one or 2 blasts of crosswinds pushed the bike around so needed to be real careful there.  After 1 hour 45 arrived got to the first control. This worked excellently with coffee and cake already laid out. The lady behind the bar said just help yourself and then pay letting me know what you've had. This meant being able to use the facilities, have a coffee and a piece of cake and being back on the road in just 15 minutes. :thumbsup:

Back on the road, and now for the hardest section of the day. The wind had really picked up now and it took over 2 hours to go 26 miles to the next stop. It was a real slog. At one point the ride turned onto the B1039 and I was tempted to stay on there until Saffron Walden. I think this would have added on a small amount of distance but it would have avoided the steepest climb of the day. But sticking to the route turned left and up towards Littlebury Green, the climb made steeper by the headwind, at points only just about doing 5mph. At Saffron Walden I was tempted to stop at the bike shop but pushed on wanting this section to end. At points the wind was so strong that I would be going downhill at 13 mph whilst pedalling. The combination of cold and too much coffee made me spend the last 40 minutes really needing to go to the loo and made the going seem even slower. Still got to the pub, had some chips and coffee and back on the road for the last bit.

The time inside and off the bike (about 40 minutes) made me feel the cold for the first time on the ride and as the first few miles were still into the wind I thought about popping on an extra layer. However soon it was a left hand turn towards West Wickham and finally a tailwind. This meant relatively quick going back to Cambridge although by the time I got to the Balsham Descent it was more of a crosswind than tailwind so the bike felt twitchy on the downhill. On the route cars had been very good but through Fulbourn it was closs pass after closs pass so I knew I nearly back. Once back in Cambridge any quick progress was broken by having traffic lights every 200 yards, and nearly every set was red. When I went past the station I must admit I was tempted to turn down, call it a day and not worry about the validation. However only another 4 miles so I pushed on enjoying the game of will they won't they cross with the pedestrians.

And then that was it, the finish line in just over 6 hours. Not only that but for the first and no doubt last time I was near the pointy end of the finishers. This meant I could have the lovely Butternut squash soup without any delay. Thank you for the amazing food once again Mrs W. And thank you for putting on the event Nick, it was an interesting day out. To those who did the 200, well you have my upmost respect for taking on such an effort. :thumbsup:

wilkyboy

  • "nick" by any other name
    • 16-inch wheels
... Thank you for the amazing food once again Mrs W. And thank you for putting on the event Nick, it was an interesting day out.  ...

"Interesting day out" is possibly an understatement  ;)

A good write-up, I enjoyed that — and I'm glad you enjoyed yourself!  :thumbsup:
RRTY #6 done; #7 aborted and restarted.

Tomsk

  • Fueled by cake since 1957
    • tomsk.co.uk
Coldest day on the bike for some years, but I managed to stay as warm and comfortable as possible in the circumstances. Cake overload at the Tally Ho and the arrivee helped morale and legs :thumbsup:  And the soup, most definitely a soup kinda day.

Some help from the wind on the way home, but more snow blasting across, the further south I went. Decided to take the long way round on the airport roads at the end as my nice laney route from Newport was getting icy and white. 139 miles all told. Pretty full-value 200, but lots of quality down-time too.

Thanks again to the Famille Wilky for all the food, hard work... :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

wilkyboy

  • "nick" by any other name
    • 16-inch wheels
Coldest day on the bike for some years ...

Even putting the bins out at the other side of the car park at arrivée was an expedition worthy of the Arctic!  How you all got around the full events, well ... I hope your hands have warmed up by now  ;)

Definitely a soup kinda day — I think we got through twice as much soup and four times as much T.E.A. per person as usual!  Fortunately we had plenty :)

It was great to see you Tom, and I'm glad you got home okay  :thumbsup:
RRTY #6 done; #7 aborted and restarted.

Tomsk

  • Fueled by cake since 1957
    • tomsk.co.uk
It was great to see you Tom, and I'm glad you got home okay  :thumbsup:

Glad I didn't ECE the Pork Pie, though  ;D

New to yacf, and new to write-ups, but here goes...!

I awoke to the sight of a light dusting of snow in the garden; spring conspicuous by its absence. With forecasts of further snow and ice, I was apprehensive about embarking on the Cambridge Pork Pie. However, it hadn’t been cancelled; it is the calendar event nearest to my house; and my mileage this year so far had been minimal.  With the TAW and the TCR both looming on the horizon, I was keen to start getting some big distances covered in preparation for the summer ahead. 

I caught the interview with Nick on the radio while making final preparations to my kit.  Talk of the inclement weather, and recommendations for the control’s pies and cheese stuck in my mind.

Leaving home later than planned, I rode to Girton, without factoring in the headwind.  Arriving at 8:00, I caught the end of the briefing at the village hall, with around 30 other intrepid souls.  Soon after, I went back outside to discover my bike strewn on the tarmac, toppled by a gust.  A brake lever was scuffed and twisted - only superficial damage, but not the best start.  I fixed and faffed while most others began to depart.  Donning my earphones, I cued-up a series podcasts to see me through the duration of the ride. My aim for the day was to ride solo, while trying to maintain an low/aerobic heart rate.  This was intended as a means to gauge my current level of fitness after a winter of dormancy. Staring at a LCD and obsessing over a heart rate, in my mind, defeats the social nature of a calendar event. Going with the flow, meeting and chatting to others, and taking in the sights and sounds along the way is my preferred approach. But, I had slightly different intentions for the day ahead.

Heading out via familiar territory, along the silky smooth guided busway with a tailwind made for a pleasant first hour.  In the lanes beyond St Ives, I began to notice the strength of the wind. Buffeted by crosswinds at every break in the hedgerow. These winds were supplemented with frequent snow showers - delivering a haze of tiny, abrasive flakes in a sideways trajectory, exfoliating any exposed bits of skin. For once, I was suitably attired, and I was feeling comfortable despite the conditions.

I reached Oundle after about 2 hours - its Georgian architecture and limestone buildings reminiscent of a miniature Bath.  An hour later came the magnificent sight of Welland Viaduct, with its countless (82) arches spanning the view ahead.  This was followed by a sharp climb, and a cautious descent - heeding the warning given during the briefing about the mud and ice at its base.  Despite the sub-zero conditions, this was the only sketchy section of road I encountered throughout the day.

Between Whissendine and Melton Mowbray, the road was single track with the infrequent squeeze of an oncoming car.  During one such encounter, as I pulled over onto a jagged verge, I heard and felt a awkward thunk from my back wheel, but this was not followed by the hiss of rapidly escaping air. I’d got away with it, or so I’d thought, until about 1km later the bike went mushy. I came to a halt, and set about the repair. I was travelling light: a small multi-tool, tyre levers, a spare tube, a stash of patches, two pairs of nitrile gloves, and three CO2 cartridges.  A few minutes into the repair, I began to become aware of just how cold it was.  A well rehearsed routine was becoming a struggle.  The lightweight, foldable tyre was flailing in the wind and refused to resemble a circle, while the slightly inflated inner tube was doing its own wild dance.  The longer that this continued, the colder and less dexterous my hands became, and I was beginning to doubt my ability to complete the task in hand. Eventually, I managed to reunite the unwieldy trinity (tyre, tube, and rim), and was grateful for the ease and immediacy of the CO2 inflator.  Back on the road, I reached Melton Mowbray around 10 minutes later, and looked for the nearest bike shop to buy a spare tube, preempting similar grief on the return leg.

The lure of town’s cafes was strong, but I resisted their charms.  Comfort is relative. Although it was cold, I wasn’t uncomfortable, and I didn’t desire the type of re-calibration which would inevitably occur when stepping out of a warm cafe to return to a baltic bike.  So I treated myself to a cereal bar in the foyer of Melton Mowbray’s Halfords, and set-off back to Cambridge.

Out of the town, the route quickly returned to quiet country lanes, with lots of short climbs and expansive views of rolling countryside. Dark clouds loomed ominously in the distance, and it was only a matter of time before I encountered the next wave of icy exfoliant.  The wind was relentless throughout, with branch-strewn roads becoming a recurring sight.

At around 3pm Welland Viaduct came back into view, and not long after I made a quick stop in Barnwell to refill my bidon with Yazoo.  Sugar-infused-milk and cereal bars constituted my fuel of choice for this ride.  On reflection, this was probably not the best nutrition strategy, as I was on the fringes of the bonk when I finally reached Girton, shortly after 6pm.  I was greeted with the same warm welcome from Nick and Ewa as I remembered from last year.  Throughout the day, I reminded myself that no matter how bad it got, at the end of it all there would be soup, cake, tea, and conversation - and it didn’t disappoint!

Thank you Nick, Ewa, Ben for bringing this together again, and for your fantastic hospitality.



My fingers have finally defrosted so I can type great route, great hospitality and just about bearable weather!

Another write up here: https://advntr.cc/2018/03/snow-ice-and-pork-pies/

wilkyboy

  • "nick" by any other name
    • 16-inch wheels
Final organiser's report and photos here — http://www.camaudax.uk/report.

The report is a bit more detailed than I posted either here or on Facebook, and it includes the photos I posted to Facebook and I know not everyone lurks there.
RRTY #6 done; #7 aborted and restarted.

Martin

  • Give me bas relief
    • WWW
Entered the Spring Dash (I'm veggie so Pork Pies don't float my boat!); ECE'ing back to That London. Been a long time since I've been to Cambridge (4 years in fact)

shortest ECE route is the A10, don't think so; would be glad for any alternative suggestions (i used the London to Cambridge route a couple of years ago to get to Duxford, very nice)

ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Just signed up for the 100, Brexit brings my ludicrous work period forward. Yay!
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

shortest ECE route is the A10, don't think so; would be glad for any alternative suggestions (i used the London to Cambridge route a couple of years ago to get to Duxford, very nice)

If the weather is not too atrocious, I plan to ECE from Bishop's Stortford. I go up to Duxford, and then Great Shelford, Trumpington, through the centre of Cambridge and out to Girton.

Another option for you would be to follow the Dunwich Dynamo route to Finchingfield, then possibly hook up with the Cambridge Autumnal route to Girton.

wilkyboy

  • "nick" by any other name
    • 16-inch wheels
Entered the Spring Dash (I'm veggie so Pork Pies don't float my boat!); ECE'ing back to That London. Been a long time since I've been to Cambridge (4 years in fact)

shortest ECE route is the A10, don't think so; would be glad for any alternative suggestions (i used the London to Cambridge route a couple of years ago to get to Duxford, very nice)

Plenty of interesting options — definitely NOT the A10, but the old A10 — the B1368 — is a nice-enough, get-yer-head-down route into London via Ware.  Another option is the reverse of LEL stage 1, or indeed the final 1.5 stages of LEL, depending on where you want to end up.  There are other routes.  PM me if you'd like more options  :thumbsup:
RRTY #6 done; #7 aborted and restarted.

I was going to suggest LEL. Or the Straight Outta Hackney route.

Martin

  • Give me bas relief
    • WWW
Thanks both; will look at the routes. I only have to clock another 89k then I'm on a train to Saarf o' the river and back to Land of Martlets

wilkyboy

  • "nick" by any other name
    • 16-inch wheels
I was going to start a new thread, but Martin's beaten me to it, resurrecting last year's  :D

This year, The Cambridge Pork Pie is a PBP qualifier 200.  It's already pretty well represented with entries, but we've set a higher limit than usual and so there's still plenty of space — we're about two-thirds full.  The classic route is still the one — Girton, Oundle, Hills, Melton Mowbray, Stiffer Hills, The Viaduct, downhill to Oundle, flat 50km back to Girton along the fairy-lit Busway  :thumbsup:

As usual just one control in Melton Mowbray, although most riders will choose to take a break in Oundle, or Oakham, or both on the way there, and then in Oundle or Huntingdon on the way home.  I'll be checking the route on Saturday.

And as per the last couple of years, you will have the option of the Pork Pie Extra route.  This will be the same as last year — so few people rode in the conditions that it's still fresh, waiting for you — 10 bonus kilometres and mooore hills, plus all the stiffer hills in reverse  :demon:  Still just the one control in Melton Mowbray.  Decide on the day which route you'd like to follow and let Big Junior Wilkyboy know on the desk which you followed for Extra kudos  ;)

The Cambridge Spring Dash 100 will also be running.  This year the Dash won't be visiting the Tally Ho pub in Barkway, due to an unfortunate prior booking — the landlady was disappointed she couldn't accommodate us this year and is looking forward to trying again next year.  So there's a slight change to the first stage, which is quite nice.  Instead, we're running a village hall control in Meesden in place of the info control — Big Junior Wilkyboy and I will hoss up there after clearing the main hall and we'll serve you tea and coffee, and light nibbles, before heading back to Girton to set up for the return of the quick 100 riders.  There is still The White Horse Inn in Withersfield to look forward to for lunch, plus an optional stop at Bicicletta café con vélo midway in Saffron Walden as you pass through, both commercial  :thumbsup:

Enter The Cambridge Pork Pie 200 here;  or The Cambridge Spring Dash 100 here.

And, of course, Mrs WB will be looking after everyone again at arrivée — she's looking forward to seeing you all  :)  :thumbsup:
RRTY #6 done; #7 aborted and restarted.

Martin

  • Give me bas relief
    • WWW
Did the Oakham-Huntingdon section on a 600 many years ago; hilly by East Anglian standards but nothing to worry about. The Welland viaduct is fantastic although it doesn't get many trains these days but you may get lucky

ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Ive done the bit around Oundle/Melton mowbray before on an Ely to Leicester ride, no real long drags, but some very nasty short sharp bits from memory.
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

jiberjaber

  • ... Fancy Pants \o/ ...
  • ACME S&M^2
I'm hoping to be in for this but I have a clash of events on that weekend so trying to work out a sequence that sees me sampling some of Mrs WB's caik and also meeting the other obligations I have that weekend in Surrey.... I've not done the 100 yet - so might have a think about ECE that and a train assisted return to That London as it might offer *double* caik  :thumbsup:  (or could do the FNRT Cambs to London route which we test rode but never put on as an event)

Still a little while away yet though...
Regards,

Joergen

Martin

  • Give me bas relief
    • WWW
Wilkyboy sent me this very nice route which I'm planning to use back

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/29396512

It's 8km from Cambridge Notwork Rail to the start so you only need to go as far South as Cheshunt to make it 200  ;) and a super bargain £8.60 return from That London :thumbsup:

jiberjaber

  • ... Fancy Pants \o/ ...
  • ACME S&M^2
Wilkyboy sent me this very nice route which I'm planning to use back

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/29396512

It's 8km from Cambridge Notwork Rail to the start so you only need to go as far South as Cheshunt to make it 200  ;) and a super bargain £8.60 return from That London :thumbsup:
:thumbsup:

It's 88ish km out to Girton for me, then with the return to Cambs stn plus event dist I think I get to >200 OK it's teh faff of 25km through London at the other end which is casting a shadow at the moment.... still some more thinking to do :)
Regards,

Joergen

We might even see the return of the 2018 brevets with the 2019 ones...

(sorry Nick, couldn't resist)
Turn, turn, turn again
Turn, turn to the rain
And the wind

Wilkyboy sent me this very nice route which I'm planning to use back

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/29396512

That looks good. The road just south of the M25 through Sewardstone is horrible (fast cars and narrow), but at the time you'll be riding it that should be very quiet.

From Girton to the bit near Saffron Walden is my route also, but then I carry on down to Bishop's Stortford rather than veering west onto the more pleasant lanes.

wilkyboy

  • "nick" by any other name
    • 16-inch wheels
Okay, that's the Pork Pie route-check done  :thumbsup:  Solo with a bit of an irritating cross-headwind on the way back, and no legs  ::-)

I've tweaked the route ever-so slightly after Sawtry to take the lane from Glatton, rather than the mainroad, up the hill.  It's a nice change, albeit inconsequential in the scheme of things, as both old and new are the same distance and the same climb.

There are some major roadworks after Oundle on the return — they are installing traffic lights on the A605, which will be nice when done, but was bloody 'orrible yesterday.  No worries, I've tweaked the route to follow the shared-use path on the right-hand side, which neatly routes around the road works and beats the lights, which take an absolute age, due to the scale of the works.

The routesheet and GPS files have been updated and are available from the website here — https://www.camaudax.uk/rides/the-cambridge-pork-pie-200/2019/.

Hopefully I'll get to ride the Spring Dash as a DIY in the week sometime.  That's all on roads I ride regularly anyway, so much less problematic if I don't.

As always, email me if you have any questions.

Ride report on Strava here, if you're interested:  https://www.strava.com/activities/2188544144
RRTY #6 done; #7 aborted and restarted.

ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
 :thumbsup: I'll keep my eye out, the thought of it is the only thing keeping me sane ATM
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens