23 Jan - The Willy Warmer 200 - Saturday update

Less than 2 months since the last big ride and you feel like a novice again. But after about 130km into the ride, it begins to comes back to you what it is about.

I found the first half quite hard. Maybe because I was cycling on my own? Maybe because the first half is quite hilly for a flat ride? Maybe because my bike and I had a couple of niggles playing on our minds? My right knee was a bit sore. And the mudguard of the rear wheel was rubbing. After spending a good part of Friday evening putting on 'winter tyres' and adjusting the mudguards to perfection, I was quite annoyed to hear the 'not enough' clearance noises. At the Pangbourne control, MattC came to the rescue and lent me his pliers so I could adjust them again. Hummers helpfully pointed out, that I probably knocked the mudguards whilst putting my bike in the car. True, and if I had taken up kcass' offer of cycling to the start ...

I took a good break at the Tutti Pole in Hungerford. The young waiter had hints of a cute young Prince Harry look-a-like. Batteries were re-charged and I was settling into the rhythm. Noises were gone, knee wasn't so bad after all. I had stints of riding with people which was great. At the last Winnersh control - which I remember vividly from last year because it was sooo cold - I took another break. Hummers and Phil suggested that a threesome would be the way to spend the last dark section. "I would be in safe hands!" And off we went. Bez joined us too. We hadn't discussed reasons for doing PBP for too long (!), before a mechanical stopped us in our tracks. "You better carry on with Bez" said Hummers - so much for being in safe hands!

Some time after that my GPS stopped. I was so disappointed, because it was the first ride where everything was working as I wanted, it was brilliant. If I had stopped and played around with switching off and on, it probably would have been OK. But being with Bez and his GPS, we finished off the ride together. I tried to take a short cut through 'the car park', only I got the wrong car park way before Chalfont village. Ooops, "after you Bez"!

There were quite a few punctures, blow outs, wheel problems, other mechanicals, GPS failures, muddled routesheets and off-route instances on this ride. Not surprising in the conditions, but it seems the hiccups weren't well distributed and a couple of people got more than a fair share (Bigsybabie and damerell)

Other photos are on the slideshow till the next ride or here: Clicky

23 Jan - The Willy Warmer 200 - Friday update

The weather forecast isn't looking too bad for tomorrow:

I've decided that I don't mind winter weather any more. Because I've put winter tyres on the bike now. And as far as I am concerned, it can be winter for the next six months, because after all the effort putting them on, I'm not going to hurry to take them off! No, of course I don't really mean that ...

Really looking forward to the ride. A good turn out is expected. There will be a few known regulars like richforrest, hummers, pete, kevin and El Salvatore!

23 Jan - The Willy Warmer 200

Lets try again to do a 200 in January. All the snow and ice has gone now - that is at least here in west London. It was a lovely and mild day today. Would have been perfect for cycling. I enjoyed my commute to work and am wishing for such a day on Saturday.

I cleaned my audax bike yesterday. Later in the week, I'll put new outer tyres on, and new brake pads. The routesheet has arrived and I have downloaded the route onto the GPS. And so I am getting geared up to launch into the new audax season.

Last year's Willy Warmer took me 11 hours. I am not going to try and beat that. Instead, this time, I'm going to take the opportunity to take photos. I'd still like to get around in 12 hours, then I could be home by 8:30PM. Of course, we also have to bear in mind the current road conditions which no doubt would slow us down. I reckon I am a bit fitter than this time last year, despite not doing the Poor Student. The Poor Student brevet card arrived today - so that is a ride I can do any time before end of February. I am eyeing up the weekend of 6/7th for that, but am going to play it by ear; see what develops on the YACF forum.

This is the route: Route. Starting in Chalfont St Peter, to Pangbourne, Hungerford, Kingsclere and back to Chalfont St Peter (anti-clockwise).

Here is the elevation profile, taken from bikely.com

You can also expect some tweets again: Twitter

9 Jan - The Poor Student 200

Its looking good for this weekend. Its looking good for tobogganing down the downs. Its looking good for photographing snowy scenes. But its not looking good for cycling 200km in snowy lanes. One by one, riders were posting on YACF, their intent to be a DNS (did not start) for the Poor Student. The commute back home was enough for me yesterday, and that was in the light, main roads and flat.

The last post was by the organiser, saying that he's no longer riding either. I doubt anybody will now start the ride. If they do, will they finish in time? There might be a way, and that is to change the route within audax rules. But then that wouldn't be the Poor Student anymore.