I can't remember last years ride but I'll certainly remember this years. I left Cambridge half an hour after intended to get to start. I really didn't want to get up and after I'd met that challenge I really didn't want to go outside, especially on a bike. The estate roads where a mixture of hard pack and loose snow. I scooted the bike to the nearest main road, which was clear other than at the edges. I kept telling myself that if I came across a road I couldn't ride I would turn back. I never did.
Met guy who rescued my day at the Shaftesbury a few weeks ago by lending me some glue to fix a tube at the start, sorry still can't remember your name, approaching the HQ. there where about 6 others at the HQ at 8am. Five of us set off for the 200, not sure what the entry was but it was many time that. Went past the 3 that where ahead of me which included Camrider. I didn't really want to hang around because I expected some slow going later on, make hay while the sun shines and all that, figuratively speaking that is of course. I was still telling myself I would turn back at the first unrideable road. I expected that to be Beechwoods, our club hill climb which is the hill, by Cambridge standards anyway, to Fulborn, but surprisingly that was clear. The next expected problem was the lane to Dullingham and that didn't disappoint, I scooted to the brow and saw is was white for some distance so I went the long way round via Brinkley using the B1052. The rest of the stage to Stradishall whilst hard and cold into the biting easterly was reasonable incident free, all the lanes where clear other than the occasional drift. Hands hurt a bit due to cold despite double gloves but I arrived at T's cafe in good shape. They had superb apple pie and custard and real coffee here which was exactly what I needed.
The next stage to One house is reasonably short. A drift had blown across the road just after Haretest which I had to walk through.
Other than that is seemed a bit warmer with the wind less biting than the first stage. I noticed that for some inexplicable reason my brakes and gears stopped working but other than that all was good, got to One House at about 12:20. Had cake and more coffee than took a look at the bike with a view to trying to make the controls work again. It turned out evey part of it below the guards was covered in ice - spokes, forks, mechs, rack, inner chain ring that I don't us in these parts. I guess this was due due to the bizarre phenomenon of todays weather where the snow on the road had been turned to spray despite the fact that the days peak temperature was -1 degree. All that spray had frozen on to any bike surface it touched.
Frozen, note the aero forks
The next stage to Finchingfield was fast with the biting headwind converted to a tail wind. The snow, still falling appeared to drift down vertically rather than being blasted into my face. I really enjoyed this stretch, appreciating the beautiful country scape.
The snow stopped falling at Sudbury.
In Finchingfield, Bosworths was nearly empty, no cyclists or bikers in sight. The staff were really friendly and quick. I had more coffee and a splendid lump of chocolate cake. Probably not the best performance food but certainly energy. Next stage to the info control at Great Hormead was a continuation of the previous, but there the course took a righ turn up Andersons Lane. This frozen sludge across it but there was a clear line that meant it was not too much of a problem but the road had snow right across it above this. I did consider continuing to Hare Street then blasting up B1368 but decided to stick to the lanes. The new direction was north east to the wind became the enemy again. Added to that my juice bottle was running out and the water bottle had frozen, although I had planty of food on me. Running out of drink meant my energy went down and the cold started to get to me again. It was about 4 o'clock and the temperature was dropping back to -2 from the afternoon high of -1 as well. The lanes around Anstey are the narrowest on the event so there were quite a few occasions where the drifts, although reasonably short were right across the road so concentration was need.
Not before time I was on the 1386 with a clear road to Newton and thence to Wittlesford finish control at 5:50pm. When I arrived there was a finisher from the 100km group, one of only 3. I also learned that 3 of the 200km group had abandoned at One House. There was one rider still on the road,t he guy from the Shaftesbury event. He had left the others with a view to finishing, due in at about 9. I hope he finished Ok.
All in all a good day, especially considering the outlook at the start. It wasn't the coldest or the most uncomfortable ride I've done int the last few years.
150 miles door to door, average temperature about -1.5, 200k time 9.5 hours.
Thanks to Terry for his organisation, it is a shame more riders couldn't benefit from it.