For the uninitiated completing rides of 200, 300 400 and 600km in one Audax year is recognised by being listed in the results as a Super Randonneur or an SR. Last weekend Jim, Syd and I set out to try to claim our places on that list. Along the way a number of other SRs came our way.
I don’t know why but before epics like this I always have Sleepless Rest the night before, a bit like a kid going on holiday, anxious to get going and not trusting the alarm clock. I think I saw every hour between midnight and 4 when I had to get up. For breakfast the Shreddies were Raided. Jim and Syd arrived 4.45and we were away for the 6am start.
At Poynton the crowd of 80+ other Silly Riders assembled and were duly sent on their way. At this point, my mate Pete decided to fill his water bottle so in true style were last on the road again. One day I will Start Rapidly! The first leg took us through Bredbury Hyde to Greenfield. Here we had to climb Saddleworth Ramp over the moors to Holmfirth. Then on to Askern for breakfast.
Next it was on towards the Humber, crossing it northwards at Boothferry Bridge whilst aiming for the Brough Control. As is his desire Jim often set the pace the Strong Rouleur that he is. Fortunately not so strong as to break his chain or wreck his gears this time. Sustenance Required at Morrison’s and so a meal break was taken. Here, one of our number appeared to have the need to address a Sore Rse with Sudacream Relief. From Brough it was a twisty route to the Humber Bridge and then the Gainsborough control. This opening 200k was wind assisted at best and a cross wind at worst. Which meant progress was good.
We made Boston ( Lincolnshire, not USA – I know 600k is a long way but it isn’t that far!) just as it was nearing dark and were ahead of my eta at the 350k control. Sadly, between Boston and Colsterworth, our own SR was involved in a touch of wheels and made his entry for Serious Recognition in the wobbly wheel competition. Bikes and the Shaken Riders were a little battered but all continued after a delay. At the control Jim decided to Seriously Rough it and sleep under the stars. I believe he Shivered Rapidly whilst the Softer Riders, Syd Pete and I opted for a luxury 3 hours in a Travelodge. Jim will have say how the rest of his trip went as we didn’t see him again.
Syd and I had to put up with a Snoring Racket during our Short Repose . We managed some shut eye before our Shocking Reveille, at 5am Sunday. We crawled out of bed to the luxury breakfast of Saddlebag Remains. In my case, a delightful mix of tuna and sweetcorn, Mars bar and banana washed down with coffee. Then we mounted up for the westerly leg to the control at Donnington, via Melton Mowbray, Kegworth. Here I hit my bad patch. I was struggling, having to make my legs move and my head was not in switched off mood so the time dragged. This misery was compounded by the lack of porridge at the services. Once decisions are made with a scrambled, tired brain, it isn’t easy to adjust to changes. I had to settle for pancakes and depressingly small they were.
On the leg over to Stone I seemed to Summon Reserves of strength and perked up, despite the horrendously rolling countryside and continuing westerly breeze, with its Strength Rising. This section took its toll on Syd and by Stone he was feeling rough and decided that enough was enough. No shame in that, he had taken a seriously, hard knock in the night. He was helped to find the train times and station as Pete and I trundled on to Prees Heath.
The wind continued to batter against us but we managed to gain sometime so we could take a break at the garage. With 70k to go we were at last going to get some assistance from the wind. Our speed reached the dizzy heights of 20kph, netting us 20 mins for each hour. We had a brief stop at Middlewich before the final stretch to Poynton. Mission accomplished with 1hour 50 mins to spare.
I was left with the SR Tingle ( some of may remember the ad) of satisfaction at completing this. Having now done 4 SRs I think enough T shirts have been bought.