Tag Archives: #audaxuk

Rapha Festive 500 2014 – Numbers within Numbers

Rapha Festive 500 2014This year’s Festive 500 unintentionally acquired a theme – numbers.  Like a Russian doll within 29,000 would sit 500 and within this 8 would sit and within this 4 would sit.

The journey to the two biggest numbers, 29,000 and 500 would be accomplished by working through to number 8 which would lead to 4.  Here’s how things unfolded.

Day 1

The day started quietly with a ride to work on near deserted roads.  I was let off early as ’it twas the night before Christmas’.  With time on one hand and a bike on the other, the lanes beckoned. From Fulham I shimmied along old father Thames, then through to Syon Park.  Then there was the endless grey of Southall and Hillingdon, temporarily broken up by a short stretch along the Grand Union canal.

Finally into the lovely lanes of Buckinghamshire as twilight arrived.  Not as many houses decorated with festive lights as in Essex on the weekend, but enough to make the night bright and warm.  A small chunk of local suburbia and then I was at the door to the bikeroom.  102km

Darkness

Day 2

Christmas Day and a brilliantly sunny day waited, so time for a festive spin.  Scotti (MTB) was taken out of the bikeroom for his second Festive 500 ride.  Rack bag with inbuilt co-pilot was attached and the Garmin set in motion.  We headed for one of my favourite local loops, which contained ample skog and leaf chutney for Scotti to enjoy himself plus some super lanes.

The sunshine had brought out lots of folk walking, some of which shared season’s greetings.  The roads were as quiet as a mouse, which was rather nice.  I spotted three topless Noddy cars despite temperatures being somewhat nippy.  The count of fellow bike riders was seriously sadly no more than the Noddy cars. 72km

The Picture House, Bricket Wood

Day 3

This wasn’t just Boxing Day, but provided 62km could be ridden the number 29,000 would appear.  The day dawned cold and grey.  I dug ZoeC out of the bikeroom and off we went, with the co-pilot in winter cycling coat in the rack bag.  I zigzagged through my local lanes, pinging in and out of three counties (Middlesex, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire).  Unfortunately, the weather forecast was right and bang on schedule it began to rain.

The Co-pilot

A watchful eye was kept on the Garmin for 62km to turn up. This happened just at the Croxley Green prime sign.  The biggest number of the numbers within numbers had been reached.

Despite the rain, stopping for a commemorative photo was a must.  With only 12km to go until reaching home and with the 29,000 captured, the trundle home was really quite jolly despite the rain becoming heavier. 80km

year total, 29,000km

Day 4

A short errandonneuring ride with Scotti and the Gecko trailer.  Quite cold, but towing a fully loaded trailer of groceries up hill home kept me warm.  As that well known supermarket says ‘every little helps’. 14km

Eranndoneur

Day 5

The quite cold of Day 4 was blasted into old news by the super cold day of Day 5.  By 3pm the roads had defrosted enough to venture a-wheel.  Using some well-known former commuting routes, a swift two and a half hour ride was put in.  Thoughts of Pat Kenny, AUKs late great super mileater creeping out into the dark of the night to come by some illicit miles came into my head as I zoomed through the darkness.  Did normal people go out for night time bike rides I asked myself?  Answer still pending.  51km

Christmas cyclingDays 6 and 7

For these days I was back to the commute.  So just bog standard days.  However, I wasn’t to know that Day 6 would up the ante on super cold and that Day 7 would lift the bar higher.  Frost masqueraded as micro snow and some Big Apple ice dancing was performed in tandem with Scotti.  Thankfully we remained up-right.   128km

Christmas pudding for the head

Day 8

The cold of the final morning of the Festive 500 hit an all-time high, er low of -2C.  The roads were seriously quiet which translated into super icy as there weren’t enough cars to chase away the ice and frost.  Work were being kindly and I was able to leave early.  The icing on the cake was that the weather had changed its mind and had decided not to be cold.  Without hesitation I headed the long way home to enjoy the extra free time a-wheel.  Before reaching home the number 500 was past and then added to.  92km

Fulham Bridge

And the numbers as that old C&W song goes;

  • 29,000   is the number of kms that I have ridden this year
  • 500   is the number of kms that you need to ride to complete a Festive 500
  • 8 i  s the number of riding days for the Festive 500
  • 4   this is now the number of Festive 500s that I have completed

It’s been a rather splendid Rapha Festive 500.

Photos on Flickr

A Mileating Start to 2015 – Steve starts chasing Tommy

Number 1 - One Tear Time TrialI’ve known Steve Abraham for so long now, I can’t really remember a time when his antics both on and off the bike haven’t been a part of my life.  Riding a November 600 with Steve and Ian Hennessey particularly stands out.   Steve’s ability to cover lots of miles, usually on brevets, and to eat large quantities of food is legendary within the Audax UK community.  Steve is putting both of these extra-special talents to take on Tommy Godwin’s long-standing year mileage record of 75,065 miles, set in 1939.

Being an audaxer used to riding his bike at odd hours of the night and not wanting to waste a minute of the 365 days he has to accumulate more miles than Tommy did, Steve started turning the pedals of his Raleigh bicycle at 00:01 on 1st January 2015.

Dream Machine - Mean Machine

After spending the night a-wheel, Steve rocked up at 10am to ride his club’s New Year’s Day 10 mile time trial.  Well, every little helps!  Donning a number befitting the winner of the Tour de France, Steve sped (relatively speaking, with 116 miles in his legs) down the North Bucks Road Club course.  Playing with a rather evil headwind and sleepy tiredness, Steve returned to the time keeper half an hour later.  After speaking to the men from the telly, it was time to get pedalling again.  As Nev Chanin used to say, time is miles.

And he's off

Steve departed with a small peloton of AUKs in the direction of Bicester.  One of these being Drew Buck, well-known super-AUK for his exploits on various crazy machines around Paris Brest Paris.   Bunch banter was good with Drew telling us various stories, including the PBP where he and Steve shared a triplet bicycle with Nigel Winter as their middleman.  The persistent headwind was a bit pesky and the appearance of hedges and houses to slow the wind down was much appreciated.

Steve & Drew - Two AUK ledgens

After a night feasting on flapjack, the hunger gods tapped Steve on the shoulder and it was time to head to a source of food.  Cue an early visit to Bicester on top of the one planned at 3pm for a mega feed before heading back to Milton Keynes.  Steve’s encyclopaedic knowledge of food emporiums was deployed and a baby KFC was chosen.  Standing in the queue, Steve enjoyed a brief moment of normal life.  Once replete with chicken (sans tea or coffee, as the machine wasn’t working), it was time for Steve to ride in circles until his next scheduled rendezvous with Bicester’s eateries.   I swung in the opposite direction to meet up with the Bike Butler and then home.

No coffee, no tea - got to be Pepsi then

Score on the One Year Time Trial door for 01/01/2015: 222 miles (358km in new money) – mine was considerably less.