Thursday, 20 June 2013

Mad March Excursion Audax - 3rd March

We gathered at one of those modern out of town pubs with a psydo character early in the morning. It was cool, but dry and there were hundreds of us. The appointed time came and lined up down the side of the raod, all pointing down hill beside the dual carriageway.

The appointed time came and we headed off towards the roundabout. I had positioned myself at the back but quickly moved forward, surprised at the intial lack of speed as we progressed up a rise out of the city. I couldn't decide if they were worried about being at the front, cold, or worried about the distance. Whatever, they didn't appear interested and a small group formed at the front quickly after crossing the new cycle bridge over the M5.

We passed the airport and climbed up over woodbury, faster riders caught and passed us and I moved up an on with them.

The first stop was lovely. Food undercover in a barn. Great choices to. I went for toast and a piece of cake. The feed station filling I pushed on, dodging the frozen puddles on the road we had been warned of, and climbed up onto the Blackdowns. There is a disused airfield here, in my experince airfield are always windy, and this one proved the rule. Fortunatly we had formed a small group of five and I happily sat behind a far stronger (an older) rider who pushed into the wind as we climbed gently across the flat expsoed airfield.

We stopped to regroup at the next turn, one chap had had his tool bag drop from his bike, and then we descended through to Uffcume and Coldharbour Mill. First group in, but no I don't want chicken curry. Two of the group decisde to eat their sandwiches but I lose them amongst riders coming in. I eat and drink, and off again. I have no idea where I am and set off to see if I can catch the others, but to no avail. It is a nice gradual descent toward Exeter, where one of the group catch me, but there is no way I can hold onto his pace. There is a kick back up towards Exeter and as I fail to produce much power I am passed by two riders I think are in front of me. I should have had the same in my sandwiches clearly, but I manage to stay with them, principally as they have no idea of the route, so keep waiting for me.

We drop back to the pub, and sign in. I ask how many have finished in front of us, expecting 10 or so, to find that we are in the first four back.

So in summary:

The pub HQ is not ideal for me, and there is only pub bought drinks and food at the end, in contrast to the great first stop.

The route has some good quite roads and has a couple of challenging hills.

Overall I would give this audax 4 out of 5

My gpx file is available at

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