The Malmesbury Mash 200km Audax

The Malmesbury Mash was my second Calendar** Audax of the year. It is a 125mile/200km Audax starting at Cardiff Gate and taking the main roads through Newport and out to Chepstow, before riding over Hawkesbury Moor to Malmesbury, and then returning to Cardiff via Slimbridge. The route and elevation ride are shown below:

mmash_route

I was up at 05:15 to get ready and have some breakfast before driving to Cardiff Gate for a 07:00 start. I arrived at about 06:30 and spent the next 20minutes getting dressed and making sure my bike was ready for the days ride.

At 07:00 we were off, there was about 50-60 of us doing the ride, most of whom I would not see for the rest of the day. The ride out to Chepstow and over the Severn Bridge was relatively quick and uneventful, with no real hills to speak of. Once over the bridge we continued eastwards towards Malmesbury. It was still quite flat when we hit Hawkesbury Moor with the ride up to Somerset Mount at 43 miles/69km being the first big test of the day with gradients of between 8 and 10% for the final kilometer of the climb. By this time the mist had come down so there was no view to be appreciated when we got to the top. Once at the top of the climb it was downhill all the way into Malmesbury. By the time I reached Malmesbury at 55miles/89km I was on an average of 16mph. Amanda’s Cafe provided some very fine bacon, eggs, toast and tea before setting off north east to Slimbridge. On leaving Malmesbury it was uphill for the next 12miles/18km although at a gentle but relentless gradient of between 1 and 3%. On reaching the peak of that climb there was an immediate and exhilirating 2.5mile/4km twisty downhill stretch reaching speeds of up to 40mph and gradients of 15%, before a steady final few miles out to Slimbridge and a pub stop for a cider and some crisps. I was still doing well by this point averaging 15mph with 77miles/125km completed. Only 50 fairly flattish miles back to my car now. Thats when my legs decided to start complaining and the next 25miles/40km back to Chepstow were painful and not pleasant. Maybe it was the cider, maybe a lack of food, I don’t know! In Chepstow there was a quick stop to take on some “fuel” with a Pasty and a bottle of Coke, and I was on my way again feeling much better and Imade good progress back to Newport and then on to cardiff. I completed the 125mile/200km ride at an average of 14.5mph, arriving back at 16:45.

mmash_stats

All in all a good day out on the bike which I was very pleased with. I did come away from the ride with some lessons learnt 1) knowing that if I am to go further I need to get more miles in between Audaxes, 2) probably best not to drink cider while on a ride and 3) that I need to lose some weight !!!

 

Cycling Goals 2017

There is only one cycle ride that matters this year, it starts on Sunday 30th July in London and over the period of 116hours and 40minutes goes 700km north to Edingburgh and then 700km back to the start in London, everything else is just a warm up / training for this one event.    lel2017_route

London-Edinburgh-London (LEL2017) , the 8th edition of this event, is run under the Audax UK flag and is held once every four years and is a noncompetitive endurance cycling event. LEL2017 is the largest yet with 1500 entrants from 55 different countries. There is a time limit of 116 hours and 40 minutes which includes all food and sleep stops. The food and sleeping facilities are arranged at a number of mandatory “Controls” along the route, an advisory route which navigates through the “Controls” is provided and generally followed by the vast majority of entrants. The controls are at St Ives, Spalding, Louth, Pocklington, Thirsk, Barnard Castle, Brampton, Moffat, Edinburgh, Innerleithen, Eskdalemuir, Brampton, Barnard Castle, Thirsk, Pocklington, Louth, Spalding, St Ives and Great Easton.

LEL has been described as a contender for hardest cycling event in the United kingdom, however it is most certainly a tough sleep deprived ride known to make (one or two) grown men cry, hallucinate (are thise sheep or white lines on the road?) and wonder why on earth did I think this was a good idea. The elevation is, apparently, not too bad with only one major hill, though you do climb it going north and then on the return leg as well. The north bound elevation profile is shown below, Southbound retraces much the same route.

lel2017_elevation

All I need to do now is a bit of training, set my bike up, get to the start line fit & well and I am good to go. BUT i’ll cover those another day 🙂