The Anfractuous 200 - Update

Thank you to Manotea, the ride's organiser, for enriching my vocabulary today.

First there is 'anfractuous': full of twists and turns, tortuous. Just a shame that the definition didn't trigger any memories of this being a hard ride.

Then there was 'scoggy' or 'skoggy': in his safety chat, Manotea mentioned a 'scoggy' section, where we should all take care. When asked what it meant, he answered we'd know when we came to it. I believe the word to be a Manotea-ism, to be included into the Oxford dictionary some time not soon.

One of the info controls about the number of dormer windows, also got me thinking I've been misusing the word all this time. But no, I was OK there. Sorry, I can't reveal anymore on this, its the audax etiquette not to 'reveal' info controls ... an etiquette controlled by MattC.

May I add my own Els-ism here? I don't think there is such a word as 'concibel'. I see it as the unit of concentration. If you bundled all the concentration required to complete an audax, you'd get to quite an amount: for packing, for getting to the start, for following the route sheet, for reconciling with the GPS, for cycling in groups, for avoiding potholes, for red lights, for car drivers, for talking... You'd think all this is done on auto-pilot, some of it is, but one moment of distraction, and there you have it. Lost! Where did I get lost? How is it possible! With a perfect routesheet, backed up with a perfect GPS, how is it possible to get lost? Its when you cycle at concibel level 0.

And thank you also to Manotea, for recommending the baked beans at the Waterfront Cafe. I was enjoying that so much, I was thinking of the elimination round of Masterchef. I was hearing Michel Roux' voice: A plate, very well presented. Three pieces of toast uniformly cut into triangles and having the right thickness. Spread evenly with butter which is melting over the perfectly toasted bread. The beans, very tasty with a hint of pepper. This is a dish I would be happy to serve in my restaurant. And then comes Greg Wallace: Salt! Salt, my friend! It doesn't have enough salt ... but I'd happily eat the lot. Only on audaxes can baked beans taste so good!

Breakfast stop

It was very nice to sit outside by the river, for breakfast. It was a very warm day. I was in shorts and short sleeves for most of the day. Just a shame the sun didn't break through. There was a 'scoggy' mist hanging over the countryside all day.

This didn't stop the red kites from appearing though. They were wonderful, and so many of them. The RSPB site will tell you that they have a "mew-like “weoo-weoo-weoo” call which is rapidly repeated". To me they sound like a sheepdog trial with multiple competitions going on at the same time. It was particularly nice to hear them again on the return back into the Chilterns.

Another moment I liked was climbing what happened to be the steepest hill of the day. Male and female pheasants scattered left, right and ahead amongst the lovely woodland. It will now be in my memory as Pheasants Hill, although, Pheasants Hill proper was another mile and a bit away. Tried to look up the climb on Google Maps, but I don't think even the googmobile got up it. Try and Google Colstrope Lane.

The Stanley Spencer Gallery on the corner by the Cookham info control reminded me that I must visit one day.

So here is my reminder for next year: This is a hilly ride. The autumn sunshine can make it absolutely wonderful (2009), scoggy mist, a little less so (2010). However, the woodlands, the Chilterns, the Lambourne, Wantage, Pangbourne area are fantastic to cycle through. Just remember, it is not 'not entirely flat' as stated on the audax site, it is one hill after the other. If I'm exaggerating, its so that by 2011 I at least remember that it is indeed 'anfractuous'.

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


  1. Het was weer eens zo plezant je origineel verslag te lezen. Zonder een woordenboek kan je de manotea en els vocabulaire begrijpen: de betekenis kan je afleiden uit de context.
    Misschien eens samenwerken om een paperback te publiceren met specifieke woorden eigen aan de anfractuous fietsritten!!
    Meim en Peip xxx xxx

  2. Zoveel klimmen, 200km en allemaal in 1 dag : chapeau!
    En dan nog surplus kilometers voor de ommetoerkes wanneer je verdwaald was.
    Dat is ook jargon: surplacen is plafonneren in de bergen.xx

  3. Er was precies een zinneke verdwenen, alleen de é bleef staan in mijn comment.
    Ik wou zeggen dat zolang je niet surplast in de bergen, dat het oké is.En dan moest ik nog surplacen uitleggen.sorry wè:)
    Tot binnenkort voor meer details van de rit in The Red House!