York Easter Arrow 2011

It is unusual to find the words 'team' and 'winner' in the world of audaxing.  The competitive aspect of this event is weak.  The team captain needs to submit the estimated distance to be covered beforehand, so assuming all goes to plan, the winner can be predetermined.  The team aspect can't be faked though!

The rules, and history of the event, are here: Easter Arrow rules (do read about the 'the three elements that make up the spirit of the Flèche'!).  Teams of 3 to 5 riders start within a 24 hour riding distance from York.  The team covering the longest distance 'wins'.  An 'arrow' is cycled towards the 'bull's eye' that is York.  I was visualising the event more as a crystal formation phenomenon.  The teams being satellite crystals formed by the team members' journey towards the captain's designated start location.  All over the country the satellite crystals send out a branch towards York, when the overall crystal takes shape.  As teams arrive in York, the satellite crystals and branches disappear, until the last team arrives, and then ... the crystal is gone.

York, "a symbolic place to meet with like-minded cyclists".
Our captain Arabella was a natural. She brought the team together, did the admin work, produced an excellent route, guided us onto the correct path if there was any doubt, a gentle 'are we ready to go again?', 'let's have a warm-up stop', 'do you need a hand with that puncture', but never 'we must keep going', or 'we shouldn't stop here', or 'we need to speed up'.  No, we certainly didn't need to speed up!  With wonderful sunny weather and a tailwind, we were making good progress.  In fact we got a little ahead of ourselves and had to watch out for the '2 hour rule', or is it the '22 hour rule'?  That time coincided with a cold spell, and we were all getting the dozies.  This wasn't planned, but we did it in style, and went into a hotel.

Captain Arabella and Thing2 discussing tandems
As we set off again for the last leg, it was mostly Thing2 who lead from the front, which Arabella and I appreciated. Many thanks to Arabella and Thing2, for organising, leading, the company, creating the spirit of the Flèche.

The time in daylight was pure pleasure: lovely lanes such as below, villages such as Cavendish, buildings such as March Town Hall, cathedrals such as Lincoln, bridges such Humber, birdsong such as skylark, stops such as Tesco 24 hour ... eh, oh no.

The route was wonderful! I love cycling on those lanes.
The Easter Arrow is worth doing just for the arrival.  It was great meeting up for breakfast.  Nobody is in a rush to get home. And CrinklyLion's cake-fest was amazing!  I suggested I would only take half a slice so that everyone can have a bit. 'No', she said, 'I have four more cakes, and cupcakes, in my pannier!'.   Having such a generous cake sharing person around, certainly helped the ambience!

Cake and cupcakes at the Punchbowl York
Other thoughts:
  • Making my way to Arabella's house from the station in Ipswich, battling against a wave of Norwich supporters, high on a 5-1 win, trying to catch the last train.
  • Arabella pointing out a Sleaford landmark although I was in denial about having gone through Sleaford on the north leg of LEL  Sleaford on the way south had been more memorable because of the hail!
  • Taking nearly all of the photos 'on the move'.
  • I pushed 'DNS' thoughts out of my mind all the way to 8AM Friday morning.  Any inclines caused my heart rate to rocket, but fortunately, the route was flatter than 'De Polders'.  On Sunday, my cold continued where it left off at 8AM Friday morning.  
  • Loads of yellow rape seed fields
  • Met up with friends after the Arrow, and cycled past the Minster on Sunday.  The sound of the bells was great.
Photos are on the slideshow till the next ride or here: Clicky


  1. Wow... wat een superverslag...zelfs je computer knowledge is erin verweven. Heerlijk om het te lezen en te herlezen. Proficiat met je prestatie en met de beschrijving ervan.
    Meim en peip xxx xxx

  2. Peip vindt het zo verrassend rijk is aan poëtische gedachten en lyrische uitdrukkingen. De stijl overtreft in grote mate deze van de krantenrapporten.

  3. Platter dan de Polders???Da's dan eigenlijk bijna heel de tijd lichtjes bergaf of zo???
    De meest relaxte 400 ooit denk ik, alhoewel, door de week en' t verkeer geraken voor de start met de nodige kriebels in de benen, is toch wel "part of the kick"!
    Volgend jaar opnieuw, zelfde team?
    groetjes xxx