Author Topic: The Dean  (Read 47282 times)

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: The Dean
« Reply #375 on: March 17, 2019, 08:39:23 am »
Yup. Intermediate control clocks generally run fast on rides in bad conditions.  :thumbsup:

Finish clock less so!

...
avoided the bits slightly flooded I rolled into oxford with 45mins to spare.

Never have regretted riding to the start as much as that, turning south into a slight wind to plod home was miserable!
What's the problem - 45mins is about enough time for your ride home, isn't it??
;)
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Re: The Dean
« Reply #376 on: March 17, 2019, 11:19:19 am »
Well...I consider myself a fair weather Audaxer - but it perplexes me why sometimes, we are gripped by an inclination to conquer and owe the challenge, and other times, run a mile. Monitoring the forecast over the previous few days, it was pretty obvious that the headwind was going to be uncompromising and the ensuing rain was dead-cert-guaranteed. Nine times out of ten, faced with that, I'd have pulled the duvet back over me, but for some inexplicable reason, I wanted it. Admirable or irresponsible? I wouldn't like to say.

Very difficult descents, as Frank was saying, both in the wind then in the rain - especially the rain. I was dreading the descent after Hackpen into Marlborough, even though generally, that's a pretty good surface, but wet, puddled roads at speed are nerve racking - even when you're wearing the brakes out trying to give yourself a bit more time to see what's what. Elsewhere, I can't remember the number of times I hit a pothole thinking "oh shit, that's a frame break or a double pinch flat". Trying to navigate wet sub-standard roads is never easy, and that stretch from Malmesbury to Membury was by far the most stressful for me.

Golden moment though - riding through Mitcheldean, a group of young teenagers were suddenly distracted from their Saturdy afternoon gathering, an one of the girls jumped up and exclaimed "Wow, you look really cool'. Hey, I'm really cool [shame it's such an debilitating ordeal lugging the damn thing round audax routes! ] Gotta love kids - they just love the 'look' of recumbents whereas adults tend to stare with incredulity that has the verbal back drop of something like - 'what the **** is that'. Cracks me up every time. lol

Not so cool or clever however was a subsequent Holmer Simpson moment, when realizing the north side of the bridge was justifiably closed, I couldn't see an obvious way to get onto the south side cycle path, so, overcome with an impulsive sense of panic, I just cycling down the hard shoulder of the motorway and lifted the bike over the fence at the bottom....much to the understandable disapproval of the oncoming traffic! Many horns were sounded. Not my finest minute.

There have been harder Deans, as folks up thread have been reminiscing on, but this was by far my most demanding I've ridden. Even Mel Kirkland, a season Audaxer if ever there was one, described it as 'horrendous'!

Anybody riding yesterday, who has never done PBP and is looking to ride the event this year, then yesterday's Dean, psychologically, would be a good one to have in the bank. I met one such chap, Dave from Suffolk. He was just behind me, and at 68 he's looking to do PBP for the first time this year. Fair play to him. Hope he got round ok.
Garry Broad

Re: The Dean
« Reply #377 on: March 17, 2019, 11:31:45 am »
Anybody riding yesterday, who has never done PBP and is looking to ride the event this year, then yesterday's Dean, psychologically, would be a good one to have in the bank. I met one such chap, Dave from Suffolk. He was just behind me, and at 68 he's looking to do PBP for the first time this year. Fair play to him. Hope he got round ok.

Probably David Coupe. His Strava feed suggests he made it round - but that doesn't surprise me, he's a tough one.

Re: The Dean
« Reply #378 on: March 17, 2019, 01:17:27 pm »
Well that was completed just a little faster than I'd expect to complete a 400 in the same direction, my body certainly feels like I've ridden at least a 400k! All controls reached with a few minutes to spare before finally claiming back over an hour.

A couple of cross winds just after Stow made me seriously considering DNF, mainly because I paranoid the bride would be closed. Fortunately I had the lovely company of a lady from Sheffield for large sections of the ride, sorry you decided to bail at Malmesbury.

As to the Severn Crossing, if I ever arrive to find it is closed due to weather I DEFINITELY wouldn't want to argue about it, very pleased the South side was open, the thought of crashing into the cabling (which I was hugging) was quite appealing compared to being blown towards the railing ;D

Jonah

  • Audax Club Hackney
Re: The Dean
« Reply #379 on: March 17, 2019, 02:44:12 pm »
AUDAX!

Re: The Dean
« Reply #380 on: March 17, 2019, 05:18:18 pm »

<waves at Jon - nice to meet you this morning, hope you get round oK!>

Fun fact - if you use the "JonBuoy Manouevre" i.e. collect the Bampton info on the way to Stow (instead of the "correct" order), Google gives the route as exactly 300km!
n.b. this assumes a Peartree finish - if you finish in central Oxford you'll be underdistance  :o

Good to meet you too.  I did indeed get round - finishing in a somewhat battered state at about 11pm.

I didn't bother with that particular cunning plan as it seemed a bit anti-social.  I did however take the track through Foxholes rather than the loop via Bruern Abbey and Kingham station.  It was an interesting variation but the surface has deteriorated significantly since the StreetView vehicle went down there and the extra mud I collected probably lost me more than the five minutes I saved.

I also did a Larringtonesque manouevre as I don't trust myself to remain sensible descending Sudeley Hill.  Getting down off the tops early also seemed like a good idea as fighting the gusty crosswind was mentally and physically hard work.  This cost me loads of time but that was because I was lured into Gotherington Post Office by their bacon roll and a coffee sign.

I followed the advertised route for the rest of the ride and found it pretty tough.  Whilst the bridge was windy it wasn't particularly gusty and it was easy to spot and anticipate the upwind obstructions.   The proper rain arrived at about 6pm but it did allow me to test my new jacket  :thumbsup:  There was some kind of embedded squall line which made it pretty unpleasant for a couple of minutes on the climb after Ramsbury but other than that the main concern was whacking a pothole disguised as yet another puddle.

Re: The Dean
« Reply #381 on: March 17, 2019, 07:13:43 pm »
Loads of toads crossing the road near marlborough. Hope nobody ran any over.
It is what it is. It's not what it's not, so it must be what it is.

Re: The Dean
« Reply #382 on: March 18, 2019, 01:11:06 am »
That was rather eventful - two punctures, including one 8 km from the finish when I was racing to meet the cut off. I finished at about 1:59 am and of course the cash machine refused to print a receipt, which then of course required rousing the garage attendant and picking from the items behind the counter to get a receipt ASAP. Hopefully the audax gods will be kind!

I also got one of the straps on my waterproof pannier cover ripped off and got trapped behind the cassette and was briefly riding Di2  fixed gear! Which was fine for climbing but dropped the chain immediately trying to descend. For a while I thought it was fatal, but lots of poking with cold wet fingers unwrapped it.

Some time after Marlborough my feet were so cold I decided to pack and got so far as finding a train from Hungerford - it was only my fear of GWR bike reservation arguments that forced me to turn left up the hill to Membury instead.

Yup. Intermediate control clocks generally run fast on rides in bad conditions.

The control closing times were based on the minimum distance, which is 12.5 km different from the route sheet at Malmesbury (i.e. the best part of an hour). Of course on a BRM, more generous intermediate control times can leave you snookered on the final leg.

Re: The Dean
« Reply #383 on: March 18, 2019, 06:17:58 am »
Thanks to Justin for organising and to several of you for company and friendliness: especially the man with the cape who has prompted me to explore the "light" feature on my Garmin watch, the woman who flew passed me with encouragement at least twice and liked my pink socks, the recumbent guy who also experienced almost going backwards on one section from Stow to Newent, and the 2-3 year audaxer (like me) who spoke of the virtues of volunteering to be a controller.  Anyone else see the guy with a backpack walking his bike across the Severn Bridge in the opposite direction to us?  He was barely able to hold onto it, and when I passed him it was flailing around like an out of control umbrella.  The Dean  was firmly type 2 fun - so in retrospect what a great day out. Best wishes to all.

Stephen

Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk


Re: The Dean
« Reply #384 on: March 18, 2019, 09:41:54 am »
I'd aimed to leave home at 3am, knowing I'd be riding into that SW wind almost all the way, but I faffed, and left at 3:30, knowing I'd have to avg around 14mph to get to the start for 6. The wind put paid to my plan of riding easy all day as I had a power test to do at the gym Monday, and needed to be fresh. There was a time when I thought I'd arrive with ten minutes to spare, but I was dreaming. I reached the A4 roundabout at six, and was saddened on exiting it to see a sea of cyclists heading the other way. At least there were others late setting off. no time to eat my brekky (a choccy spread sarnie, although I'd had a couple of shortbreads on the go).

At 6:10 I set off, alone, but thankful I wasn't into the wind. I got overtaken by a few faster (and I hope younger) cyclists. I remember the rain started again after 5km, but stopped before I saw the first puncture victim at 10km. Oh no, the "P" thought was in my head, but at least I was carrying a new spare tyre and three (I had two punctures on my last 200) inners. The first test was the climb in Finstock, and I thought back to the time Ian and I drew to a halt in the snow on it. I had a long wait for a GWR train at a crossing, and coulda eaten my sarnie (the tandem/recumbent couple broke out the flapjacks). I was caught by an older man (on a lighter looking bike with fewer supplies though) I'd met on the dean and other rides before. I wanted to call him Ricki Goode, but I knew it wasn't him. It was nice to have someone to chat to, and I remarked how different this section we were on to Stow looked so different in the daytime, as I'm on it at night when I ride to and from Tewkesbury. I lagged just behind him as I caught that sudden gust of sidewind at the junction just below the climb into Stow. Hot choc and a few bites of my sarnie was enough there, as I was dreaming of a café or 'spoons stop. A wait for the loo and taking off the overtrousers that had done a grand job and I was gone (on my own again).

There was some hard climbing (short steep and long drags) which I'd been expecting, and took it easy. I was glad to put Cleeve and Winchcombe hills behind me. Another blast at a crosswinds caught me out slightly, but the worst was the headwind on the open B4211 as the route turned towards Newent. Does anyone else remember the ripped plastic sheeting on the field of agricultural frames, blowing frantically? I headed straight for the Good News café in Newent, thinking a stop there would be quicker than 'spoons in Chepstow (and I wanted a sit down and hot food right now!). Standing in the queue was the first time I'd looked at the control times. I got my receipt showing 12 mins in hand. The server said food would be 10-15 mins. I shared a table with another Audaxer, and hopefully didn't worry her when I said there was a long hill out of Newent, and I had it in my head we might be climbing Yat Rock (another Audax). It was gone 12:30 and still no food. I was confident we'd make up time on the next section, as the Forest of Dean would shelter us. The Beans on toast arrived, and I ate faster than I would normally. We both went outside but she said not to wait. I think it was 1pm now (40 mins after control closing).

I felt good on this section to Stow (and the little climb out of Newent got confused with another). I stopped to take a few pics en route (have forgotten how to put them on here). The Parish of Little Dean was a picture. Lots of ups and downs and beautiful scenery until the exposed high up sections before the drop into Chepstow. I looked at my watch whilst waiting at the lights on the old bridge and my heart sank seeing I was just out of time. I thought I'd been riding so well (must stop taking pics). Straight to Tesco where I was told the atm was rcptless. the older chap from earlier was there (milk again?). I got a yazoo then looked for batteries (the four pairs I brought weren't lasting). 17 mins out of time, although the Brevet said 139km and I was on 146 or something. No time to waste, so off to Malmesbury.

Up the hill, to the very top this time (for a change, and a better view of the bridge). I'd used the right side cycle path two weeks ago, so knew about going under it. I've had to lean into the wind before on it, but that was harder, and my upper arms ached after. Now I wished I was on the Rough Diamond (not done it yet), as that route follows the estuary towards Gloucester. I can't remember when it started raining again, but it meant the Somerset monument climb was wet, and I was hoping I wouldn't get wheel slip whilst out of the saddle. I was cold and upper body wet by Malmesbury (my Gore jacket might need to retire), and sheltered with others near the co-op (rcpt 11mins in hand). I drank and ate more of my sarnie (still regularly eating shortbread on the bike).

Set off alone again but kept meeting and chatting to others. I was chatting to someone when the rider in front said something like "I know that dulcet voice, is that Ritchie?". I rode alongside, recognising the chap, and remembered he was another Ian. We chatted awhile, even up the climbs. Found the Marlborough info control (after I'd got it into my head it was in Rockley), and went on alone to Membury, as I was longing to be inside, and change some clothing. No hot food at the garage there, and that was all my taste buds felt like, so I just had a mocha, a sit down with others, and put my spare base layer on (took a while peeling off and putting on wet clothes). The loo hand dryer was useful.

Set off alone again, but again I found people to chat to on those dark, remote looking roads. I was amazed at the sight of the church in Buckland, all lit up, and so I took a pic with the flash on (didn't come out well though). Someone caught me at the Bampton info, and we rode together. On my previous three Deans I'd ridden back through Oxford, but the A40 cycle path sounded interesting. I was ahead of him and just behind two others in Eynsham, when I decided to go straight on at a roundabout to get onto the A40 earlier. They all went right. The so called cyclepath was more like a footpath the council had decided to put shared user signs on. I saw the others at the lights, and they were heading to get onto the outward route. I almost got on their wheels when I heard my front tyre flatten whilst coming off the cycle path. only around 6km from the finish! After I swapped tyre and inner my dynamo wouldn't come back on. A quick wire jiggle and it was sorted, but when I rode on I knew my rear tyre felt softer. I joined the queue outside the garage (I'd hoped Starbucks would be open 24hrs now), held up by Ian asking the cashier to look for toothpaste  ::-) I got my rcpt with 47 mins to spare. Ian did ask if I had everything before we said 'bye (I'd commented on the rear tyre).

I left looking forward to no headwind home (if I had a tailwind, I was too tired to notice). I was going slower than I'd have liked (tyre pressures and trying to do it as a recovery ride), and I was cold again. My rear inner gave up at Ambroseden, and I stopped under a streetlight to change it, getting the guilty flint out aswell. After pumping up, I was shocked to see it go down again. The replacement had a patch, but I'd checked it before bringing it. On checking, the hiss was coming from the patch, so onto my third and last patched inner. I always used to carry two unpatched ones, but now I have loadsa patched ones in the garage, not getting used. The last one stayed inflated, and so I set off again, having lost maybe 30 mins. I counted down the villages until Winslow (9 miles from home), where I felt I could just walk the rest of the way if I had another puncture (I was carrying a repair kit though), or wake up my wife with an early morning call and ask her to drive out with another bike. No more mishaps though, and I arrived home, shivering, after 4:30am. I was still shivering when I awoke in the bath an hour later!

I think whatever the weather, the Dean is a challenge, and this one felt like the hardest Audax ever.



Bikes are for riding, not cleaning!

Re: The Dean
« Reply #385 on: March 18, 2019, 02:42:33 pm »
Thanks Justin for organising and giving us all the opportunity for an "interesting day out ". I had ridden the Dean once before a few years ago with the Sloth who was then childless and in training for a fast, PBP, 53 hours and the National 24 hours TT ( 450 miles) . He hauled me round the whole ride in dry , windless conditions , not allowing me inside a single cafe for a proper sit down. Result was we finished just as it was getting dark but with me absolutely shattered-truly  in pieces.  I was asleep in the car by the first roundabout on the A 40.

I had prepared myself for a rather different experience on Saturday. I rode all the way round with my fellow SWRC clubmate , Paul. We started with Richard also of SWRC but he was having a very good day and he rode away from us . The gap  was compounded when Paul started to have problems with one of his tubeless tyres before we reached Newent. Latex,  worms, latex on his bike ,did I know how comfortable tubeless tyres are ,  hissing, you can seal holes even the size of a 50p piece with these worms you know , what a  great invention tubeless tyres have been  ,  latex on his legs ,   were to be recurrning snippets of our conversation for the rest of the day , when not snatched away by the gentle breeze. Culminating in ,  feckin bloody useless things, some hours later.
Once "fixed" in Newent we made good time through the Forest of Dean -really enjoyed that bit  again-to Chepstow. The crossing across the bridge required no little concentration as others have commented , but we had prepared ourselves for walking it  and that was not necessary, so were happy enough with that.
I felt for first timers who might have been thinking that once across the Bridge , the ride was done as of course there is some serious climbing to follow. It gives you a bit of a lift to see the Somerset Monument and the two white horses on those climbs to mark one's progress but they do not help to make the climbing any easier.

We had been seeing Chris Herbert regularly at each of the controls, or when his craving for tobacco was so severe he needed a break , until we finally rode together to Malmesbury. We had promised ourselves a visit to the rather fine Summer Cafe there , where Mark from Oxford , also stopped. We must have looked fairly wretched as the waitress told us in hushed tones that she had slipped an extra pancake and surplus nutella on our portions.  We had a good chat with Chris , as we had not seen him since the Mille Pennines last summer. He was pleading fatigue. That seemed a bit strange as he is extremely strong even allowing for him smoking 80 a day , but he then explained he had ridden 117kms to the start from Wimbledon , leaving home at 1.30am. As he was riding the Gently Bentley the next day , that was enough for him and he was cycling the 8 miles to Chippenham to take the train to London. Pathetic. Youngsters nowadays........

The rain after Membury was not required to lodge the day in my cycle memories. It would have been firmly fixed without that . However, hissing, latex, worms, more latex,more worms,  more hissing ,more swearing, and finally one of those old fashioned black stretchy things that people used to put inside their tyres made an appearance, were to reappear in our day. With only about 30kms to go Paul's tyre had finally given up.  We had been riding with Mark from Membury and he said that there was a pub, the Trout, about 300 yards down the road -and he was right. Joy. At least Paul would have some light and with any luck Mark and I would have a nice warm pub. Not only was it nice and warm it was cyclist, wet , dripping, mucky cyclist, friendly. They made us hot drinks and even let Paul bring his wheel into the pub , once he had disposed of most of the l***x ,as he was fast going hypothermic outside in the rain. After explaining to disbelieving normal people what we had been doing , our welcome culminated in one couple offering to drive us back to Oxford or let us stay the night with them. An extremely generous and kind offer.
But finally, though they could not believe us turning them down, after just shy of 1.5 hours we were off and at 11.10 we joined a few others in the queue to buy a mars bar from the security locked garage shop at the finish. Oh the glamour of this audaxing lark.



Re: The Dean
« Reply #386 on: March 20, 2019, 11:48:47 am »
We quit at Newent, having arrived 7 minutes out of time. Just coudn't make any progress into the winds. Crikey that was windy. The 100k or so of cycle back to Oxford was very fast.

Re: The Dean
« Reply #387 on: March 20, 2019, 02:34:26 pm »
Duncan, you were half of the tandem couple? I called out to you as I left the side road that led to the back of the Good News cafe, not knowing if you knew about it. I really needed a rest and hot food there, even though it meant leaving Newent 40 mins after time. I was wondering if you’d abandon. A mighty tough day.
Bikes are for riding, not cleaning!

Re: The Dean
« Reply #388 on: March 20, 2019, 05:19:06 pm »
Will make a note of that one for next time as i'm typically ready for a sit down by newent. I went to Erol's courtyard cafe. Questionable clientele.  :-\
It is what it is. It's not what it's not, so it must be what it is.

Re: The Dean
« Reply #389 on: March 20, 2019, 05:25:42 pm »
I don’t know Erol’s, but the Good News is featured on the route and food list, and featured on this and other Audaxes. It was busy this time, so the queue and wait for food made up most of my 50 mins there. £3.10 for good beans on toast (2 slices of tasty brown).
Bikes are for riding, not cleaning!

Re: The Dean
« Reply #390 on: March 21, 2019, 12:24:55 am »
Erols pie and chips was good, quick and sufficiently calorific but the pie was a bit cold. The hot chocolate was great though.
It is what it is. It's not what it's not, so it must be what it is.

Re: The Dean
« Reply #391 on: March 27, 2019, 09:40:19 am »
Over 10 days since the ride. So most (if not all) brevets should be back with the organiser.

Any indication on the dns and dnf rate?
   Eddington  87 miles

Re: The Dean
« Reply #392 on: March 27, 2019, 12:30:02 pm »
Spoke to Justin briefly about this on Sunday, whilst we were route checking The Shark - think he's got 70ish cards back out of 90ish starters, but annoyingly a few people have sent their cards back recorded delivery which are now languishing at a distant post office and not sure when these can be collected so delaying the entire validation process.
“That slope may look insignificant, but it's going to be my destiny" - Fitzcarraldo

Re: The Dean
« Reply #393 on: March 27, 2019, 08:05:03 pm »
Recorded delivery!!!!! Blimey...

Re: The Dean
« Reply #394 on: March 27, 2019, 08:28:09 pm »
Recorded delivery!!!!! Blimey...

PBP qualifier. They want it to count.  I would certainly take more care over a postal finish if I needed it for PBP qualification.   Mostly that would involve scanning the brevet card and all the receipts but can also see why some would send recorded.

Re: The Dean
« Reply #395 on: March 27, 2019, 11:53:33 pm »
Recorded delivery!!!!! Blimey...

PBP qualifier. They want it to count.  I would certainly take more care over a postal finish if I needed it for PBP qualification.   Mostly that would involve scanning the brevet card and all the receipts but can also see why some would send recorded.
yes I did a scan, recorded doesn't help if it gets lost, or if the envelope should be damaged and lose contents in transit
   Eddington  87 miles

Re: The Dean
« Reply #396 on: March 28, 2019, 09:51:41 am »
It's also a bit pointless as all the cards then have to get sent to the validators in Orkney by regular post. As the Organiser's Handbook says:

Send your returns using normal First-class post, NOT Recorded, Registered or Special Delivery. If,
however, you have experienced difficulties with the post, please contact the Validation Secretaries
to make arrangements to use a tracked delivery service.
“That slope may look insignificant, but it's going to be my destiny" - Fitzcarraldo

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: The Dean
« Reply #397 on: March 28, 2019, 11:20:43 am »
Who sent the validators to Orkney?? And in a PBP year!
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Re: The Dean
« Reply #398 on: March 28, 2019, 11:27:58 am »
Recorded delivery!!!!! Blimey...

PBP qualifier. They want it to count.  I would certainly take more care over a postal finish if I needed it for PBP qualification.   Mostly that would involve scanning the brevet card and all the receipts but can also see why some would send recorded.

Never send important post recorded. It is not a tracked service, it is only to counter disputes when the receiver says he didn't receive it. If it doesn't get delivered because a signee is unavailable then it will go back in the postman's bag, with the potential to be forgotten and lost ( especially if he then goes on holiday). Because it is not tracked it cannot be connected to any postman. Essentially it can only ever add risk to the delivery.

Re: The Dean
« Reply #399 on: March 28, 2019, 11:32:02 am »
Sending it recorded is to make the sender feel better that it actually got delivered*.

I hand delivered mine because I am a cheapskate.

(* delivered somewhere, anyway)