Sam Weller’s day trip to Wochma 200km

20140204-194725.jpgWho Sam Weller is and why Wochma (a town in Estonia) is beyond me, but for my first and certainly not my last double century of the year, it was a corker of a ride.

Given the extreme weather of late and a forecast for lashing rain and howling winds on Saturday and lovely calm dry weather on Sunday, our 200km Audax was scheduled for Saturday – as one would expect.

Turning up to an Audax without mudguards is a bit like getting to work without your trousers – most definitely frowned upon. Peering down at the wheel attachments on the bike revealed a lack of eyelets for mudguards and the clip on ones I own didn’t fit. A last minute dash around Google pinned down a pair of Bontrager blades I could attach with duck-tape, zip ties and the use of the skewers. Bonus.

And a bonus it was given the weather and the amount of topsoil washed onto the roads – “Audaxlocross” more like it. Sadly for Liam, one of our party of three, who turned up mudguardless, made it four hours into the ride before the cold and wet eroded his cheerful demeanour. Looking at the mud strip up his back was licence to complain.

20140204-194809.jpgRiding east from Tewkesbury took us past much of what we would see all day: fields of water, roads of mud. My Garmin routing went Pete-Tong, so I conceded to following blindly with no sense of achieving the true Audax status of navigating off a sheet of paper or knowing where the check-points were. I was happy to just tuck in out the wind.

And wind there was. With my only fully-working set of wheels being a little too deep-sectioned for the wind, it was a day spent wresting with the handlebars and being blown across the Severn Bridge with one leg out – proper Belgian style – to keep me upright on the bike and road-side of the railings.

20140204-194756.jpgOnce over the Severn Bridge we were literally blown all the way home and rolled into the pub a good 10.5 hours after starting. As an opening deposit for 2014, it’s not a bad start. I’m recovered, I’m not sure the bike has – this weather is certainly taking it’s toll.

Thanks to Max and Liam for getting me round and Mark for organising a great ride. At £4.50 you can’t go wrong with an Audax.


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