Author Topic: The Cambridge Autumnals — aka "The Cambridge Sausage Fest" — Sat 8 October 2016  (Read 5810 times)


  • It's short for, erm....Bob!
Lovely day out. Felt a little under par due to carrying a chesty cold and the drizzly start didn't help. That didn't last for long though and it turned into a lovely autumn day. Met Big Saxon at the start and had the pleasure of riding with him for a little while. Either side of that was riding on my own but never too far from others. A faerie visit early on dented progress.  Played yo-yo with the two tandem who provided some fun through the streets of Cambridge towards the end.

Nice route and very well looked after. As noted elsewhere the butternut squash soup was excellent! Thanks Nick and helpers. 🖒

My GPS says I did 5,000ft of climbing.

Strava corrected mine down to 3,700(ish)ft from about 5,500. Which is probably about right, so I reckon my GPS's barometer got a bit carried away with the weather.

Also, must second/third/fourth etc. the thanks to the organisers. A grand day out for my first BR, so much so I had the calendar out the very next morning!


  • "nick" by any other name
    • 16-inch wheels
It was a grand day out a-wheel, by all accounts  :thumbsup:

We set off 127 riders on the 200km event to Framlingham, and 38 riders on the 100km event to Thaxted and Saffron Walden.  ALL the 100km riders finished — it was the same in March on the Spring Dash 100.  However, we had a number of "real DNFs" on the 200 — five I think, including duff knees, "multimechanicals" and one inexplicable.  Nevertheless, everyone seemed to enjoy the rides  :)  :thumbsup:

The Great Framlingham Sausage Festival on the 200km event was visited in the rain and wasn't quite as exciting as pre-sold in the marketing, from what I hear.  Nevertheless, two riders did make it all the way to the castle and validated there, as well as taking part in the sausage taste-test  ;)  The Maglia Rosso gave great service and I've read several reports from riders who were effusive about the service, the atmosphere and the food  :thumbsup:  A big thank you to Tippers_Kiwi for stamping cards there, which greatly assisted throughput  :thumbsup:

On the 100 event some riders took caik in Thaxted, not realising that Bicicletta at the next control in Saffron Walden really is a nice café and worth stopping at, but by then they were caiked-out  ::-)  Two of the three tandems on the 100 event had been a bit apprehensive about how much climbing would be involved — around Cambridge area, "climbing" is a relative term.  I'd tried to include a couple of local biggies, but afterwards they reported they barely noticed them, that's how flat it is around here  :facepalm:  Many thanks to fhoot and bhoot for stamping cards at the first control, after the shop there closed down  :thumbsup:

Back at arrivée, Mrs W put on a couple of tasty soups and stews — the late arrivals on the 200km event were particularly pleased to have something hot inside them, as it cooled down a lot after about 7pm.  It was also interesting to observe the distinct change in dietary preferences as the day wore on.  And the omnipresent caik — at least it's omnipresent in my world  :smug: — was gratefully received.  Thank you Mrs WB for being Mrs WB x  :-*

And thank you to Gareth for running the desk all day — an enormous help — and to the two junior WBs for getting cars parked safely and being generally useful oddbods  :thumbsup:

In the end I don't know just how golden the trees were on the routes, but it was definitely autumnal, because one 2km stretch of lanes was reported to be littered with hedge trimmings and there was a number of riders who had to stop for a visitation.  The penultimate group back mentioned one of their number had suffered four p*nctires on his own!

Finally, I was pleased to see quite a number of riders from my Cambridge Spring Dash 100km event in March stepping up to their first 200km yesterday — and finishing successfully.  There were also a number of other first-timers who have their eye on LEL in 2017 as their big personal challenge and were just starting their campaigns  :thumbsup:

Next up: another slice of The Cambridge Pork Pie in March, date TBD.
RRTY #6 done; #7 started.  Cambridge, innit

My first and definitely not my last Cambridge Autumnal. Meeting up with some old friends meant that we chatted a lot and dawdled along while watching the impressive skyscapes that endow this part of England. The first lengthy leg (101km to control 1!) was out initially on fas roads to Newmarket where we were treateed to equinety in all its finest a-galloping and a-clip-clopping all over the place. Were they punters out to check the horses or Audax-spotters checking out the form as we climbed the hill alongside the gallops?

Our slow and steady progress (o how we lingered over Full-Engish in Bury St Edmunds!) meant that as a result of our gentle pace we were able to watch the rain showers without partaking of them (we noted with some curiosty the presence of waterproofs on some of the faster riders speeding passed us in the opposite direction)). Despite the sausage-based expectations offered at Framlington the little group I was part of headed to a very snazzy bakery/cafe with some very comfortable soft furnishings and sank our teeth into hot melted paninis and fresh cream cakes rather than feasting on bangers.

The lanes on the return leg were truly wonderful. Lots of meandering around wide-open fresh-ploughed fields and a stunning blinding (yes, full sunshine) sun-cloud display just before we reached the final wonderful control - a surprise tucked away as it is in the depths of the countryside.

After a little further clambering and a modest front-tyre puncture we accelerated towards the phosphorescent glow that announced the approach to a sizeable number of streets with lights that was revealed as Cambridge in all its glory as we swept in tight formation down Six-Mile Bottom and into the last hamlets before the suburbs of Cambridge gave way to the city proper. We were on fire, catching up with another group only to loose them just as swiftly as we took a wrong turn and dodged dazed students and Saturday night thrill seekers (we were truly careful not to take any of them out, honest), before catching a rear-light disappearing up Castle Hill. The train leapt forward. Where the energy was coming from we could not tell as we once again swept passed the other returning riders once again and shot right and into Girton road.

O that welcoming smile that offered a warming pumpkin soup in dulcet tones ::-), crusty roll and very welcome evening cuppa. The hall buzzing with stories of a day well spent in the saddle and the glories of Cambridgeshire's and Suffolk's finest auturmnal scenery. Just time to hug old friends and promise that we must do this all again sometime soon.

Huge thanks to volunteers and organisers for a splendid autumnal feast of a ride. For extra value I would certainly recommend cycling to and from the event if you are fortunate enough to be able to do so. The ride from Oxford is very fine and I know that the ride up from London is also a very pleasant adventure.


  • Mrs RRtY
We enjoyed the opportunity to stamp the cards at Thurlow as it gave us a chance to meet all our fellow riders (except the one I missed when I was "behind the hedge" after too many cups of tea before the start). Having set off a bit early in order to ensure we were on station at control opening, we were surprised and pleased to see two more tandems arriving - and therefore a three tandem photo opportunity.

We really enjoyed the sociable atmosphere of the 100km during and after the event. The route was great, for us mostly new roads on the way out to Thaxted and familiar friends on the way back. We had cycled past Bicicletta several times so it was good to stop and sample their lunch offerings.

As everyone has already said - super hospitality, soup, cakes and tea at Arrivee. Many thanks to Mrs W for her wonderful work.

Yellow Giant

  • Or call me Ian
As many have said, a fantastic day out, superb route, excellent controls (plus the unofficial one at Greggs in Bury St Eds) - and all worthwhile just for the soup at the arrive.  Thanks to all volunteers - and how you got the car park marshalls out of bed that early on a Saturday morning...
Horses, stoats, a few showers, quiet country lanes, rolling countryside and big skies.  Sociable riders meant there was company when you wanted it - and always good to get input and stories from the seasoned AUK veterans.
Thanks :thumbsup:
If all rides could be gentle pedalling downhill with the wind behind rather than puffing uphill with a windy behind.

What a great event, many thanks to the team over the last few weeks with route checking and the running of things on the day.  Only my third calendar event and learnt some useful things:

A. Arriving at 0800 is not a problem as short queues for Brevet, for toilets and a quick coffee/toast as everybody else sets off en masse.
B. Tagging along with a group of local athletes is beneficial when riding into a bit of a headwind and can set a good early pace but don't rely on them to follow the advisory route. 
C. Carrying a £2 spare cable for brake / derailleur can be a god send when you get a snapped rear derailleur cable at the 85km point.

Must keep an eye on the Audax calendar for the Pork pie run and will ry to encourage a few colleagues to give these a go.


  • "nick" by any other name
    • 16-inch wheels
I've posted a few photos up on the BookFace — sorry those who can't see them, I'll try to get them hosted somewhere else as well, soon.
RRTY #6 done; #7 started.  Cambridge, innit

I don't look very happy, do I ?


  • "nick" by any other name
    • 16-inch wheels
I don't look very happy, do I ?

The beard's hiding your smile, I'm sure  :)
RRTY #6 done; #7 started.  Cambridge, innit


  • "nick" by any other name
    • 16-inch wheels
A few Autumnal 200 ride reports here, combined into a single page, from CTC Cambridge riders:  :thumbsup:
RRTY #6 done; #7 started.  Cambridge, innit

I don't look very happy, do I ?
Although I just made it to the start on time, I was smiling as we set off and the enjoyment continued up until it started raining somewhere near Debenham and continued until sometime after I reached Fram. As the centre looked pretty busy, lunch was taken a la forcourt at the petrol station on Station Road.  Despite a navigation faux pas coming back through the city centre (found myself on the banks of the Cam and no bridge) and finishing in the dark, the route was actually quite pleasant.
Finished up doing 151 miles from door to door so quite pleased.
Thanks to Wilkyboy for the excellent organisation, Mrs W for the chilli veg soup and Gareth for card duties.

P. S.  Nice to see Cambridge CTC group still going strong. The descent from Balsham to Fulbourn in the gloom reminded me of riding with Cambridge CTC almost 30 years ago.


  • "nick" by any other name
    • 16-inch wheels
... we were surprised and pleased to see two more tandems arriving - and therefore a three tandem photo opportunity.

Did the photo come out okay?  Can we see it?  Please  :)
RRTY #6 done; #7 started.  Cambridge, innit


  • ... Fancy Pants \o/ ...
  • ACME S&M^2
Validated brevet arrived in the post today, thanks Nick!  :thumbsup: