Barring Mechanicals - Andy Allsopp

There are a few SPOILERS in here! This means, if you are going to read the book, you might not want to read this post.

Don't know why it has taken me so long to pick up Andy's book. I guess LELers are not used to it. You scan the forums and the net for ride reports, because there are always a few goodn's there somewhere. You scan youtube for Damon Peacocks videos, because audaxers know that is what he does. But a book! A book about LEL? No!

So here I am a year later, trying to put LEL 2009 to bed, because the talk is now about PBP 2011. Oh, but what indulgence. I am so pleased I unwittingly had one last LEL treasure to read and thus able re-live LEL.

And I don't know either, why I find so much in this book so funny!

For example, the maps. In particular, the map for LEL Day 2 - Monday. How can a map be funny? Its just a line drawing of a section of England between Thorne and Alston. It is funny because it is so simple! No contours, no shading, no indication of anything happening at all, just a line between Thorne and Alston. And then ... near Alston, a tiny little triangle: Yad Moss! Ha!

Another moment where I was laughing out loud and crying at the same time was in the 'Sanctuary' chapter. Andy describes the Tuesday situation: "The field is wrecked. 20 people have stopped. 33 are missing." Everyone is in survival mode by the time they get to the control. And I could completely identify with Deniece's reaction to the offer of a warm bed: "How far is your house?" Why is that so funny?

"At The Start Line" photo shows Andy with the LongHairedScouser. Hilarious! Just two riders! What is going on? Where is everybody? Then you find out that Andy had left his cycling shoes at home, so had a delayed start whilst his wife went back home to fetch them. Then less than 10 miles in, he has a serious mechanical issue that he would nurse all the way around LEL. You'd think it could only get easier for him after that, but of course it doesn't. Here come Yad Moss and the storm.

What an incredible journey Andy had. He had registered a month earlier than me, in November 2008. By January 2009 I had cycled a 200km audax with 2000m climbing. Andy was happy to finish a 30 mile ride at that time. By May I had completed an audax SR (upto 600km rides), whilst Andy seemed chuffed with his 'five rides over 100 miles', none of which were audaxes.

So how come, with all the adversity Andy had, he still finished 2.5 hours quicker than me?!*!!

Now that is not funny!

A few more thoughts:
  • we were both on a FNRttC in March 2009 in preparation for LEL - Andy's first I think
  • while I was very impressed with the LEL cakes (there were 9 left when I was in Traquair), Andy mentioned 'a LEL cake'
  • Andy's detailed descriptions are very impressive 'down past the mining museum my wife has a bookmark from'
  • most favourite line: "we stand in the rain because we can't remember to go inside!"
  • the journey and the writing style gets you hooked from start to finish
  • the way Andy describes the moment where you hand in your brevet card at the end is also one of my favourites
Very well done, Andy!

FNRttC March 2009
Andy with recumbent

1 comment:

  1. Als ik je "korte" inhoud van het boek lees, kan ik me weer goed voorstellen wat een lastige maar toch plezante LEL fietstocht het was.
    Krijg goesting om het ook eens te lezen! Heb wel nog geen Ipad om het boek te bestellen....
    Meim en Peip xxx xxx