AAA Audax Challenge
Eileithyia, on the CTC forum is a great inspiration to me. She highlighted, the AAA Audax Challenge, as she tries to ride an Audax each month of the year, although most of her rides are the 200km ones.... Far too adventurous for myself.
I cannot push my tourer bike fast enough to do a 200km in the time allowed, and besides, I am totally wiped out after 100km so for now will stick at that distance. The AAA Audax Challenge is of interest to me because I can include these 100km Audax rides, but the difference is that for this Challenge, the rides must be awarded AAA points, which are only given out to rides with sufficient climbing. Each 1000m being awarded points. I think that its only rides of 1600m or more that are included in this, but please correct me if I'm wrong here.
I am not sure, if this Challenge is a new one or not, but certainly this page caught my eye. I have been learning a lot about Audax riding, again, something I found out about from the same CTC forum. Audax riding, is about setting yourself personal challenges to cycle – none of the rides are races, although you do have to complete a ride within a time parameter – the 100km rides are fairly generous with their time, allowing many rides to be completed with an average speed of 10kph.
I first started cycling 2.5 years ago, the simple commute ride to work was so exhausting, I saw stars once I arrived after the 4 miles that I was cycling twice a day to and fro. And it was a further 6 months before I was able to cycle to work without walking up all the hills. So I have come a long way in this time, slowing increasing my fitness levels.
Living on an island, with no Audax ride was again, something to address. I love Audax in the UK, but living where I do, these rides tend to become expensive due to ferry costs and B&B expenses – I tend to make a weekend of it, taking the Monday off work as holiday, so a bit of organising has to happen to ride an Audax. I contacted Audax UK (I was already a member) and Julian Dyson became my mentor and helped me though the process of sorting out a route – I must of ridden that route 100 times by now, I had to ride it, write out the junctions and signposts, together with the km between turns. Its not that easy imagining someone who does not know the roads and of course living here, I know them rather well.
Anyway, Julian visited the island last March and we cycled the route together, over the summer I tweaked the route map many times until it was finished to my expectations and sent it off for verification. It was accepted, and so a route has been established right here on the Isle of Man. Its called 'Celts, Trams and Castles' – I named it thus, to use the same letters as the CTC as it was CTC forum members who pointed me into the direction of Audax UK.
The ride has 1650m of climbing in it, and in December, I posted Steve Snook the route and hey presto, the route has now been awarded AAA points of 1.75.
According the Audax UK, I am able to use perm rides to count towards this Challenge, and so it has been set. I rode my Celts Trams and Castle ride on Boxing day, and that will count towards my first month. Today, I repeated this ride.
This picture was taken at dawn in Ramsey, with the sun reaching upwards behind the iron Pier. It was a fabulous day to cycle, amazingly no dawn chorus from the birds who are not ready for spring just yet, although I did pass some new lambs!
The ride out today very nearly did not happen! All that snow, one of the main routes of my ride takes the cyclist over the Sloc road, this crosses South Barrule (height of 313m) and since the snow the road has been closed. It only opened earlier this week. As the snow had melted flooding had occurred an in many places there is road damage, and rocks, sediment and peat stewn across my path – didn't meet a single car on it though! Weather this morning was perfect, as I didn't want to take all day to do this ride, I borrowed a car and took bike to the start, and set off at 6.15am. I completed the ride by 2pm.
Here is a picture taken on my ride today at Peel Castle, remember there are HILLS on this ride, today, I just thought perhaps some pictures of the flat calm day, taken on the flat!
The rest of Peel beach, one of my favourite beaches on the island. It was mighty cold today! My feet didn't warm up until I had cycled 50 miles! 🙂
Its odd, how a small island can have such different weather.... I set off in the dark of course, it was misty and dreek towards Ramsey, I needed lights on still at 10am due to thick sea mist in Bride, it was sunny spells and really cold in Peel, but after the Sloc, the decent into Ballabeg saw a cloudless sky for the rest of the ride and at least 3 degrees warmer!
A grand day by all accounts.