At least three CTC Northampton members – Bill Simpson, John Weller and Ian Macsporran – took part in this event. Apologies if I missed spotting anyone else.
Organised by Richard Daniells on behalf of CTC Northamptonshire & Milton Keynes, it was billed as a 110-kilometre event, starting and finishing at Oundle. The route card suggested just over 117k and, in old money, I clocked up 71 miles.
The Joan Strong Centre has been the event’s HQ for some years. There’s plenty of parking in the adjacent public car park for those wimps like me who drove over to Oundle. The riders all assembled for a 9.30 a.m. start on a day of glorious weather. More than one applied sun screen.
The route is glorious, circuiting Rutland and reaching west to Knossington in Leicestershire and north to Castle Bytham in Lincolnshire. I saw Bill and John at the start but by the outskirts of Oundle they’d gone! When I got to the manned control point at Ashwell, I saw them departing as I was arriving (they must have dawdled over their coffee and cake!).
For me, as on the one or two other Audaxes I’ve taken part in, this was essentially a solo ride after the first few miles. Each rider chooses a pace he or she is comfortable with – and Richard’s route card made navigation pretty straightforward. There were unmanned control points at Cold Overton and South Witham.
If Richard had organised the glorious sunshine, he also organised and warm but stiff southerly/south-westerly headwind for the final third of the course. The refreshments at the finish were very welcome!
So many thanks to Richard – and to Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, Rutland and Lincolnshire County Councils who were kind enough to leave their roads in such a state of poor repair that my memories of the cobbled cycle lanes of eastern Germany came flooding back!
John and Bill, of course, were not the sort of wimps to travel to Oundle by car but cycled to the start and home again afterwards. I reckon that must have made a day of 130 miles. Chapeau!
My route is here.