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  • Witham Westerly: April 13, 2008

Author Topic: Witham Westerly  (Read 6989 times)


  • L sp MOON. 1st R sp MARS . At X SO sp STARS
Re: Witham Westerly
« Reply #25 on: April 10, 2008, 11:03:36 am »
I think I have got the first part of 200 in gps format - but the instructions for 2nd half are incredibly difficult to work out - particularly with no distances on any instruction.

I thought that the Stevenage ride had a very poor route sheet - but these are as bad .
I was an accountant until I discovered Audax !!


  • Playing with a big steamy thing
Re: Witham Westerly
« Reply #26 on: April 10, 2008, 11:10:19 am »
If I am honest, and it is probably not in the spirit of Audax, I have put the controls ( Actual and info ) in, and , within reason, let Mapsource work out the route.  It comes out at 152 KMS ( published is 156 )so it must be there or there abouts.

It is the worst route sheet I have ever tried to interpret in my short association with Audax !

Re: Witham Westerly
« Reply #27 on: April 10, 2008, 11:12:08 am »
I had that trouble last year trying to trace the route on the map.

In reality the route sheet for last year's 200 was fantastic and really easy to follow on the ground (other than one small error, but it was obvious as the road number was the same and it was just a typo of A instead of B, or the other way around).

I'd be happy to turn up, enter on the line, then ride that ride with no navigation other than the routesheet.

Re: Witham Westerly
« Reply #28 on: April 10, 2008, 11:40:55 am »
The 100 must be simpler - I didn't have much of a problem when transposing to GPS; I use Mapsource in conjunction with Google Earth (mostly for checking which way right-of-way at junctions is oriented) and

The most difficult part of this ride for me will be getting up at 2am on Sunday morning :(


  • Playing with a big steamy thing
Re: Witham Westerly
« Reply #29 on: April 10, 2008, 12:02:45 pm »
Well what a twonk I am, guess what I just found!!

Dam !


  • L sp MOON. 1st R sp MARS . At X SO sp STARS
Re: Witham Westerly
« Reply #30 on: April 11, 2008, 11:55:04 am »
The 150 is last years - check that 2008 is the same.

Sadly no 200 there tho
I was an accountant until I discovered Audax !!


  • Playing with a big steamy thing
Re: Witham Westerly
« Reply #31 on: April 11, 2008, 12:24:59 pm »
looks the same as this years.

Re: Witham Westerly
« Reply #32 on: April 14, 2008, 09:03:10 am »

Stupid early start for me as I turned the Witham Wander into a DIY 300.

I was out of the door at 2:30am and got the first ATM chit in Swaffham at 3am. From there,  it was straight down the A1065 (didn't see one car!) through the forest to Brandon, then the B1106 through yet more forest to Bury St Edmunds just as it was getting light. The deer were out in force in the forest.

South of Bury, the landscape is much less flat - not hilly as such, but rolling. There was a thick frost, and the valleys were misty. The GPS took me to a road in Sudbury that was clearly not a road, so had to go through the town. Into the Stour valley and it was bloody freezing with thick fog and frost. The climb at Lamarsh took me out of the mist into some lovely warm sun and I stopped for a couple of honey rolls and a piece of flapjack. Also changed the GPS batteries. It was then I realised I was being watched. A group of about a dozen lambs were standing in the road looking at me - talk about surreal! It was 5am, and I wasn't about to start banging on doors to ask if they owned some lambs, so I shooed them off the road, and got on my way.

The next part of the route would overlap with the Witham routes, though I elected to head South through Coggeshall, rather than the Teys. I took a wrong turn at Gt Braxted which meant I approached the ride HQ along the A414. Wowbagger was arriving from his somewhat shorter ride to the start, and we had a relaxed start with a cuppa whilst most of the bunch got on their way.
A most pleasant ride up to Earls Colne Info, where we stopped for a snack in the sunshine before heading West to Stisted for...erm, a snack and a cuppa. Excellent homemade scones at the cafe. I noticed how much faster Wowbagger rides these days - I was able to ride pretty much at my "300" pace and we rode together nattering for much of the time.
Having said that, at some point after Terling, I did up the pace a little and decided to attack the climb out of the Chelmer valley at North Hill, so I got back to the HQ a few minutes ahead of Wowbagger; but we both turned in a sub 5 hour moving 100.

Filled my face full of cake, bikkies and rolls before saying goodbyes and hitting the road again for the ride home. The ride up to Coggeshall was a repeat of the first segment of the Witham audax, punctuated by meeting the 150 and 200 riders returning the other way. Waved to RogerT and stopped for a brief chat with fidgetbuzz who was on his last hour or so of his 200.
I ran out of luck with the weather at Coggeshall and encountered showers. Continued north - ever north to Sudbury and the booming sound of thunder ahead. The sky looked mean. I stopped at a bus shelter to don waterproofs, eat one of my cheese & marmite rolls I'd been karting about all day, and turn on lights.
Got underway again, and immediately into heavy rain and hail. Then big hail - marble sized, that really hurt. I considered stopping again, but the hail stopped and instead the rain stepped up a gear. Passers by pointed and laughed at the lunatic cyclist pedaling through the monsoon. A nearby flash was followed immediately by thunder - must have been close! All through Long Melford and Shimpling, it was stair rods, but eventually a rather apologetic sun peeped through the clouds and the roads started to steam.
The downhills of the rolling landscape up to Bury served to dry me out, but I was starting to tire on the climbs. Rolled into Bury St Edmunds in early evening sun, and controlled at a BP garage. Necked a pint of milk and a Mars Bar. Headed north back into Thetford Forest.

Apart from another short sharp shower, the weather settled down again, and I rolled into Brandon just as it was getting dusky. My lights were still on from the earlier rain, so I didn't need to stop and "night up". Took the laney route (Weeting, Foulden, Cockley Cley) to Swaffham as the A1065 can be busy on a Sunday evening. Final control in Swaffham exactly 18 hours after the start; 366km on the computer.

I was tired now, and just wanted to get home, so braved the A47 from the Norwich Road roundabout to Necton; quicker by far than the back roads, but unpleasant with buses and trucks whistling past your ear. When I got home, I had just enough energy left to hoover up a plate of Beans on Cheese & Ham toastie, then straight to bed.

Lovely day Randoneering. Thanks to the organisers for the nosh and happy HQ atmosphere.


  • Playing with a big steamy thing
Re: Witham Westerly
« Reply #33 on: April 14, 2008, 09:10:23 am »
A brief RR.

Arrived at the start in good time and was welcomed with free tea and Jam tarts !  I would guess there where about 50 or 60 on the 150 and we got away spot on time in bright sunshine but a chilly light wind.  An uneventfull ride to the first control at the specialities tea room where I met Fidgett Buzz ( who was doing the 200 ) for the first time.  We chatted briefly then he did his normal "punch and go" and went.

Next control was at Wallys Cafe , also used on the Mildenhall rides.  Unfortunately the control was inside the cafe and there was a substantial queue for the food counter, resulting in long delays getting my brevet stamped.  Sat in the sunshine and consumed Marmite sarnies followed by some delicious apricot flapjack from Ely Farmers Market.

The next section was marked by large dark clouds forming on the horizon which soon delivered their promised soaking.  First time my Goretex jacket had been used "in anger" and it proved to be up to the challenge.

Last control was at the Mill Race nurseries which had a pleasnt Tea rooms where more comestibles where consumed.  Set out on the last 30Kms section, saw Chris S heading back to Necton on his DIY 300, sadly couldn't stop because of traffic.

Got back to the Arivee at about 16.45 to Find Fidgett Buzz also finishing from his 200.  I felt very humble at that point !!

An excellent 150 with enough lumps to keep it interesting without being seriously hard work.  Apart from the rain, a lovely day out.


  • L sp MOON. 1st R sp MARS . At X SO sp STARS
Re: Witham Westerly
« Reply #34 on: April 14, 2008, 11:19:52 am »
Off we go at 8.00 - lovely morning start - crisp but sunny, breeze seemed helpful as well.
 Ron, Paul ( neither from this parish AFAIK)and myself trundled off . At Stisted met Roger T - and we briefly wondered how much overdistance Chris on his 300 was going to be.
Punch and go - meant that I joined up with the Sudbury Wheelers Brian and Alan -Mick from Kings Lynn too + 1 more- not parish members AFAIK. Quick now to Wallys - including the cunning ploy of down the bypass - so that we took 5 minutes out of a fast moving 150 group - who then had to get their grub behind us -- Good move Brian.
Wallys disappointing - no beans on toast - nowhere to sit down. Control was manned by Plodding Pedro. Quick apple crumble - and as Alan and the unknown guy were stronger than me - i set off in front expecting to get caught. Weather good enough to take top layer off.
Trundled on to the Hintlesham info - stopped to put top layer back on. Then on a fairly exposed bit - the rain starts and the hail came bouncing down -- stings on a bald head! Passed by one or two people - but not the 200 ers - as apparently I am first at the garden centre - and nearly get my card rejected as I claim the info control answer was 2 - (on the 150 was it 7 1/2??)  --but  finally sorted that I am on 200.
Grab a brief breather and bite - and as I get ready to leave - Brian and crew arrive - but they are stopping for ice cream I am told - so again I set off - now there are plenty of 150's around - so I settle down to a steady pace -- the unknown guy from our blast to Wallys goes past and is out of sight in seconds ( wish i was younger and stronger).
With about 25kms to go - damn me there is Chris coming towards me - we stop and chat for a couple of minutes - I send him on his way with best wishes for the weather.

Finish in a total time of 8 hours 50 - and grab a bite of a very good spread - talk to Roger T again.

Good day - contrasts of weather make it interesting - route and countryside great.
Not happy about Wallys - and I would like route sheet to have some distances on it.
I was an accountant until I discovered Audax !!

Re: Witham Westerly
« Reply #35 on: April 14, 2008, 11:26:56 am »
Hello everyone I missed you.

Yesterday morning Woodham Mortimer found itself bathed in crisp, clear sunlight. The 200 riders set off at 8 a.m., taking in some beautiful lanes. Muggins here turned up without his cycling shoes  Embarrassed and had to ride the event in desert boots cunningly camouflaged by overshoes to hide embarrassment. Fortuitous that the bike is fitted with a conventional/spd combination pedal.

The ride to Stisted was such a pleasure. At the caff in Stisted a mini reunion with Jane S serving tea and cakes, and Stefan (riding the 150 I think). Our paths had not crossed since PBP.

Onward to Wally's cafe which was heaving with riders. Hot food required along wait. Starving then, Dick Mason, Deniece and I enjoyed the undulations towards the next info control near Raydon. The weather changed abruptly to cold rain and headwind, and then changed again to sunshine.

The Garden Centre at 165kms had stopped serving hot food  sad, so as the rain came down we covered the remaining distance in a combination of cold/warm/cold warm etc.

A beautiful route close to  London. Bit disappointing not to get more hot food. 200kms is along way to ride on a flapjack, 3 bananas and a couple of pieces of cake! Very accurate routesheet. It was one of those days when it's difficult (for me) to get the clothing right.

A great day out!

Re: Witham Westerly
« Reply #36 on: April 14, 2008, 12:08:19 pm »
Not happy about Wallys

Sounds better than both times last year I visited it.

Re: Witham Westerly
« Reply #37 on: April 14, 2008, 12:32:11 pm »
Not happy about Wallys - and I would like route sheet to have some distances on it.

Just about arrival times I think.
I arrived at Wallys alone and there were only 2 others there.
So, mug of tea, apple pie and custard, bill £1.50. Good value.
Was there for all of 15 mins.
Luck of the draw I think, but I agree with you about the route sheet and its total lack of distances. In Ashen I took a right turn about 4kms too early and made a long detour.


Re: Witham Westerly
« Reply #38 on: April 14, 2008, 12:34:33 pm »
and I would like route sheet to have some distances on it.

One benefit of programming the GPS is that you have to trace out the route on a map and draw it all on (or whatever you tool you use). Once you've done that it's simple to work out and add the inter-instruction distances to the routesheet.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: Witham Westerly
« Reply #39 on: April 18, 2008, 08:45:05 am »
Comments re. Wallys are noted. I was stamping cards at Wallys and did become concerned, albeit somewhat late in the day, that some people who wanted just to get a stamp and ride on were having to wait in the food queue. Problem for me was that I'd sat myself inside the door and couldn't see outside, so I didn't realise until too late how long the queue was! Wally (now in his '70s) was absent, recovering from a major operation, so the staff were under a bit of pressure at times, particularly during the 50 minutes or so from 12.15, when everyone and his brother seemed to come through from both the 150k and the 200k at the same time as Wally's regular Sunday lunch bookings were turning up. Ed (the organiser) did tell everyone that the menu at Wallys would be limited, so hopefully not too many people were upset. But we'll have a think about how things could be improved for next time.

Re. the routesheet - if you had faith and simply followed the instructions, I believe the routesheet works. However, I have made the point to Ed that these days many people like to plot the route out on a map, or in a GPS, in advance of the ride and it's often difficult to interpret correctly a routesheet when sat at your desktop. So for next time, we'll get distance data added and see if we can get .gpx files available for those with GPS gizmos.

As a general observation, I always used to be in favour of doing my day Audax rides on a Sunday because the traffic was easier and it was most people's "day of leisure". These days however, I sense that there's little difference between Saturday and Sunday in either regard. If we were to switch the event to a Saturday, it might open up many more opportunities to get food outside of controls; village stores are open and pubs will more likely do general food rather than their set Sunday roasts. It might also ease the situation for those who chose to arrive by train? Any thoughts?

Re: Witham Westerly
« Reply #40 on: April 18, 2008, 11:52:15 am »
I'd have been more likely to have come on the ride if it was the Saturday.

I enjoyed it last year (my first Audax) but it really opened my eyes as to how little "support" there was as it seemed to be only the control points that were open.   I re-rode the same route a fortnight later and Wally's Cafe was the only place open as the teashop at the first control hadn't opened at the time I went through.  I did note a few closed village shops and post offices though where a snack might have been purchased.

Oh, and as I said above (I think), the route sheet worked fine last year.  I had one problem with trying to put it on the map beforehand, but on the ride just used the routesheet and not the pre-marked map.


  • Playing with a big steamy thing
Re: Witham Westerly
« Reply #41 on: April 18, 2008, 12:03:36 pm »
I have to agree with the comments re the route sheet.  In reality it worked very well on the road, but transfering it to Metromap was a bit of a nightmare.  In the end I found a copy of last years ride on Bikely and that worked perfectly.

From a personal point of view Sunday is better for me.

Cycling Viking

Re: Witham Westerly
« Reply #42 on: April 21, 2008, 07:42:38 pm »
This was my first event! I enjoyed it - did n't get lost so route sheet worked for me (unlike the more detailed Ruislip 100 the following Wednesday when I did get lost and turned it into a 120 - my fault though!)

Cheers to all involved - great fun !

Two points and counting might make it to 4 by December having just read the points chasers posts>