Audax: Mille Pennines 1000km pt. 2

“You’re a cruel man” I said to Andy on the second night. “I’ve been called worse” he replied.

After the third day I was calling Andy every name under the 30 degree sun. It really took me by surprise.

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Day Three

It was a day of two halves. The first 100kms flew by as we rode as a group that included Magnus, John and the three Bristol riders (all five had ridden together the whole way). We picked up a few others as we trundled along through the relatively flat section past Castle Bolton towards Richmond, probably the prettiest town on the route.

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Audax: Mille Pennines 1000km pt. 1

What is the Mille Pennines?

It’s 1000kms. It’s got a monstrous 13,500 metres of climbing. It’s got a time limit of 75 hours. It’s in the North of England where the weather is generally terrible. It takes in pretty much every national park between Yorkshire and Scotland, including the Lake District and the North York Moors. And it’s 1000kms with 13,500 metres of leg busting, stupidly steep at times climbing.

And it was probably the most amazing thing I’ve ever done.

Andy Coreless (the organiser) has a reputation for putting on some pretty bloody tough audaxes, and this one appears to be in a league of it’s own. Having spoken to a fair few riders who DNF last year, I knew it was a serious undertaking, and lots of riders I spoke to during the event said it was harder than any other on the calendar (I’m sure I’ll get some flak for that but I’m just repeating what I heard), so I knew it was going to be something special.

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Attempted 300km in the Peak District

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It was really, really hot. 30 degrees, very exposed and with a lot of climbing, I had to call it quits after riding my slowest 100 miles ever. 175 kms (108 miles) in total but with 3396m of climbing.

The punctures at the beginning of the day and the tyre change after having to wait for the bike shop to open, all meant that my head had gone before I had got going. Still, a brilliant ride which took in Chatsworth, Holme Moss (didn’t realise until the top), Snake Pass and lots of other climbs. I will be back to finish the whole thing, maybe later on in the year when it gets a bit cooler.

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I now understand Paris-Roubaix a little more!

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https://www.strava.com/activities/1044460044

 

600km: A Pair of Kirtons

It was a lovely morning to start proceedings with the mist lifting off the tarmac. Mike saw us off with a “you might as well start then” and we rode out. A chap who I’d already picked out as probably quite quick was off the front straight away and I didn’t even try to follow. So I was second from the front and was focused on maintaining a very steady effort both going up and coming down. Before long my focus turned to taking photos as the landscape began to change; the route snaked through the industrial North before the moors came in to sight, blacked out against the morning sun, bringing Tolkien’s misty mountains to mind.

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300km: The Three Hundreds

It was all going so well…

I really enjoy riding through London early on Sunday mornings. I always feel very disconnected with the 6am world as everyone else is making their way home from nights out, and I’m heading out on a long ride. A 5am start, however, is different story, the roads are packed with mini cabs, and this particular one wasn’t helped by the early morning drizzle. Ed and I had planned our route to take in as much of the South East as we could, along with plenty of climbing. I was getting the ride validated by Audax UK to work toward my SR series* and Ed has LEL* in a few months so good training for him. Anna was also joining us off the back of what sounded like a very wet 400.

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Ed had planned the route. I’d ridden a similar route to Brighton (400kms over two days) earlier in the week. It’s hilly round those parts. We went a new way up Toys Hill and whereas I settled into a rhythm, Ed was hanging off the back. Not suprising – at 60km, we had a petrol station stop – Ed was in dire need of a sandwich and tells us he only had fruit for breakfast! He was like a new man after that, flying up the hills and we all thank the weather man for sorting us out with some nice sunshine. Quick stop to take some photos of a castle and we’re on to Battle. I should have remembered the last time I went to Battle that it’s not a good idea putting a control there and it wasn’t. It’s horrible to cycle through. It only has busy A roads leading to town and the most aggressive, purple-faced van driver I’ve ever seen left us all shaken and wondering if this was such a good idea. Vegan lemon drizzle cake (should have had beans on toast) and we pressed on West, turning the first of the two corners on the route.

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400km: Bikepacking to Brighton over two days

200km there, 200km back. Ridden very leisurely and with lots of hills, it was nice to jump back on the bike on day two after a hard day’s riding. The highlight was breakfast in a petrol station car park before climbing Devils Dyke. No real dramas, lots of hills, some photos below.

MAP(Maps swapped round for symmetry)

Day One: Kent and the High Weald

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Day Two: East Sussex and Surrey

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Day One: https://www.strava.com/activities/977189262

Day Two: https://www.strava.com/activities/978679387