16th October 2017 / Comments (1)

Post Tour Divide – A survivors guide

Audax the post Tour Divide answer

It’s been a long while since I’ve blogged, but having recently finished The London-Edinburgh-London Audax I thought it was time to recount on what I’ve been up to and how my cycling habits have changed.

Turn back the clock a year or so and I’d just about got over my Tour Divide comedown, re-acclimatised with normality, had a thousand photos and crazy stories to tell and… nothing. I tried typing up my ideas but had trouble motivating myself and recounting the whole experience just made me long to be out there doing it all again.

Tour Divide, Antelope Wells

How can any cycling event ever compete with the feeling of the Tour Divide?

Simply put, the Tour Divide was simply fantastic, nothing to worry about apart from getting on my bike and riding as far as I could each day and therein lies the rub… arriving back in Suffolk to traipse the same old trails when you’ve been riding a fresh century each day is a bit of a disappointment.

Still, there was the Winter XC Series to look forwards too, right? Really, 4 hours of lapping the same 4-5 miles of forest. No thanks.

Looking through the calendar of local events in the area didn’t inspire me either, after several years of doing the same old ‘race round a country estate or commercial forest for 24 hours’ MTB endurance thing, I’ve grown totally bored of it.

So, how do I get motivated to do some longer rides, see new places and reignite that spark? Turn to skinnier tyres!

I started to look into the secretive world of the Audax. The appeal was obvious, long rides, cheap entry fees and no doing short laps over and over…

audax brevet card

The all important Brevet card

My Pinnacle Arkose by now has transformed from a reluctant purchase into the bike I enjoy riding most. I don’t feel like I’m ruining it like I do my “nice” road bike and it makes my Salsa Fargo very sluggish. Paired with two wheelsets, one with WTB Nano 40cs and the other with Panracer Gravel King 32c slicks, it’s 90% as good as anything you’ll need here in Suffolk.

And with a pair of Crudracer Mk3 mudguards fitted I pressed the Arkose into service in January at my first ever Audax, The New Year QE2 100k starting from Swaffham in Norfolk.

For those unfamiliar with Audax events the long of short of it is that you ride a set route within a predifined time limit and use a Brevet card to record evidence that you have visited a series of controls. What could be better, a bike ride where you collect stickers!?

Langham Dome

Langham Dome, a resored WW2 Anti-Aircraft gunner training site

Since then I’ve ridden the Norfolk Special 200, the National 400 and the biggie, London-Edinburgh-London a 1440k ride with a 117 hr limit, that deserves a blog all of its own…

Last modified: 16th October 2017

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John Gould   🚲🇪🇺 Recent comment authors
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John Gould   🚲🇪🇺
John Gould   🚲🇪🇺

A sort of cyclo treasure hunt. Now if only we could come up with a gravel version. Hmm.

Would there be any interest?