Plan for 2010

The plan for 2010 is to attempt a Randonneur Round the Year (200 for 12 consecutive months) and to do another Super Randonneur series (200, 300, 400, 600).

The RRtY was my original and only plan for 2010. The SR came only because, for some bizarre reason, I want to do the Bryan Chapman 600 again. For that you need to build up by cycling a 300 and a 400. I'm on the same trajectory as the Fabulous Faccombe Four, so it can't be helped :). Then the second half of the year is when the FNRttC comes into play. One of the rides I am most looking forward to, is the FNRttC to Dieppe. The plan is stop over in Le Treport and the next day, cycle to my parent's place in Rumbeke (Belgium).

09 Jan: The Poor Student 200 - NOT DONE due to ice/snow
23 Jan: The Willy Warmer 200 - DONE
27 Feb: The Kennet Valley Run 200 - with the Faccombe Four - DONE
27 Mar: The Dean 300 - DONE
16 Apr: FNRttS - DONE
24 Apr: The Severn Across 400 - DONE
15 May: The Bryan Chapman 600 - with the Faccombe Four - DONE
28 May: FNRttC Whitstable - NOT DONE
19 June: Brussels - Paris - Brussels 600 - DONE
25 Jun: FNRttC Bognor Regis - DONE
15 Jul: FNRttC Dieppe - onto Rumbeke!! 200 DIY - DONE
12 Aug: The Severn to Wye 200 PERM - DONE
14 Aug: The Radnor Roundabout 100 - DONE
27 Aug: FNRttC Whitstable - DONE
19 Sep: The William the Conkerer - DONE
02 Oct: The Upper Tea 200 - NOT DONE - The Anfractuous 200 instead
22 Oct: FNRttC Whitstable - DONE
06 Nov: The Upper Thames - not planned but DONE
19 Nov: FNRttC Brighton - NOT DONE due to holidays

9 Jan - The Poor Student 200

Its The Poor Student time again! Saturday 9th January - first Audax of the year. Looking forward to it. I should be in better shape than last year and the route is now very familiar.

Last year's Poor Student was my very first 200 in the winter. I've done a lot of cycling since then, but it doesn't get any easier, as the South Bucks Winter Warmer 200 showed earlier this month. Long distance form and fitness seems to go very quickly.

DIY - What is it, how does it work?

"Do it yourself audaxing".

I promised to explain what a 'DIY' is, since I've been referring to a DIY in a couple of earlier posts. If you have come across this post because you are serious about doing a DIY, don't take it all to the letter, there is more to DIY than is written here, there are exceptions, there are regional variances, there have been recent changes ...

What happens normally, is that you 'enter' to ride an event which is organised by an 'organiser' and is set to run on a particular day of the 'calendar'. You get a routesheet and a brevet card.

But there is nothing stopping you creating your own route, which you can ride any day of the year. They are called DIYs.

These do it yourself rides have a few rules. The rules are written up by the Audax organisation and are available on their website, but you don't really understand the implications of those rules till you go through the whole process of a DIY and have broken the rules. And then also, you begin to realise why somebody wrote as a top tip: "Make sure that there is a shop in the village where you can get a 'proper' receipt".

A 'proper' receipt, is a receipt which has the location and the accurate date and time (I have caught myself asking for an 'audax receipt'). This will act as 'proof of passage'. Sounds easy, only you designed an interesting route which goes through a picturesque village. You've been there before, you know there is a shop. This time the till has run out of paper and the cashier on their Saturday job, doesn't know how to refill or where the spare rolls are. There you go - show stopper. Now cycle back home, the whole purpose of audaxing is cycling, so why sulk?

You see, I already wrote that you can ride a DIY any day of the year. This isn't true, you need to tell the 'organiser' (who doesn't organise anything, but is extremely essential - crucial - in this process), exactly when you are going to do this ride. They don't need much notice though! Soon, a tweet a minute before you get your starter receipt will do. For now, an email the night before suffices.

Don't start thinking you can just send an email and ride a 200km the next day. You need to have 'entered' first. Entering a DIY involves filling in an form and sending it to the 'organiser'. You need to specify something here, I don't know what it is exactly. But what the 'organiser' needs to do is verify that the shortest possible distance of the ride is going to be at least 200km. So for that, I guess, he needs to know a start point, a few middle points and an end point. You can add as many points as you like, but remember the receipt rule! Points make receipts. Points are officially referred to as 'controls'.

This shortest possible distance effect is something you don't believe until you've ridden 240km to cover 200. The organiser will use mapping tools, like, with settings like 'by bike', to find the shortest possible distance of your proposal. But you might not want to cycle through double roundabouts and main roads, so you choose an alternative route for that section. The detour miles soon add up! There is an art in designing DIY routes.

But again, you might think its all about cycling, what's wrong with cycling an extra mile or two? Its fine, as long as you have enough time to do those miles. There is a minimum speed of 14.3kph you need to adhere to. So if you are over distance by 40km, you are going to have to start thinking about your ETA a little bit more (Estimated Time of Arrival).

A DIY is also called a DIY Permanent, not to be confused with normal Permanents. Now this is advanced Audax jargon ... and I'm staying well out of it until I have at least 10 years of audaxing under my belt with 5 LELs and 15 BCMs. Don't worry mum, only joking!

Hanwell to Hanwell DIY 200 - APPROVED

My DIY card was returned today - certified that I did the event in 13 hours and 23 minutes. I am so pleased. Now I know the process, I'm likely to do a few more of these next year.

The South Bucks Winter Warmer 200 - DONE

I had a pair of devils sitting on each shoulder during early parts of this ride! Each shoulder pair would argue amongst themselves, working out what would get to me the most: "She doesn't need to do this - its not going towards an SR or anything!". From the other side: "She could be sitting at home, warm, dog on lap, writing Christmas cards." Then the cross-departmental arguments would start: "Above all, what is the point cycling in lovely country side when its dark at 4PM and you can't see anything".

My motivation had been a bit lacking, and I had promised myself beforehand that I needn't cycle in the rain yet again. To set off with those thoughts is never good. Fortunately, it didn't last long. As soon as I told the devils that I was going to get to the first control at least, they had gone.

I'm pleased I did it - as always, I never regret doing a ride. The support the riders were giving each other was extraordinary. I loved the peleton forming in Twyford. It was reminiscent of FNRttC as we were going over the weir. Before that I had a good run with Terry and his mate (Brian?). I heard Terry's mate say at some point: "There is nothing I would rather be doing". I had to agree with him - despite the devils' acrobatics earlier on.

I haven't quite got the hang of the GPS yet, but it was a great help nevertheless. Terry and his mate were expert routesheet readers. And if there was a hint of hesitation, at least I could contribute something and shout out: "Yes, its right here!". When I was on my own, I gradually relied more and more on the GPS. But I must do a short Richmond Park ride to explore the best way to use the GPS.

Another bit I liked was the approach to Bisley - home of the National Shooting Centre. You could hear the shooting from a long way away. When we cycled around the ground, I was amazed by the enormous distance the targets are set at.

Haslemere had the High Street closed off for the Christmas Market. There was quite an atmosphere there. I tried not to look or smell the lovely smells of baking, toffee, mulled wine ...



Audax receipt? No problem.

South Bucks Winter Warmer 200

Next Sunday I'll be riding the South Bucks Winter Warmer 200km Audax, starting in Great Kingshill (High Wycombe).

The weather isn't looking too bad at the moment, but I must admit that I have been talking myself out of doing the ride if its going to be icy or wet. I've had my fair share of rain on bike rides this year.