I love a good Audax. I tend to find myself increasingly pleased that I’m alive on this planet as the Audax day progresses. It usually begins however, with regret, thanks to an early alarm on a weekend after relentless alarms all week for work, and then some auto-pilot rolling out of bed and back in again five minutes later with a sloppy bowl of muesli and chopped banana. Fast forward a few hours and there are smiles, new acquaintances, bellies full of hot drinks and comfort food and hills to be climbed. There’s always time to say hello on an Audax, to notice the cows mooing as you pass, to stop for a selfie of your bike against the sign of the hill you’ve just climbed with your face looking pleased in the foreground.
I was introduced to Audaxing but a year ago. The Tasty Cheddar 2014 was my first attempt, but it was an aborted mission at the top of the portway after soaking wet rain, a freezing day and a puncture just for good measure. Cycling friend Steffi and I ended up in Costco under a hand dryer, posing by the cheese. Since that fateful morning I’ve completed the Jack & Grace Cotton 100k, Gospel Pass 150k and a DIY 200k to Dorchester. The rides have taken me to some beautiful places and through some delicious cafe’s with corking cakes. That’s right, not just good cakes but corking ones. Yes.
Today was no different, there was cake, and hills and cows mooing and tractors and horses to be dodged. A group of eight of us started the Tasty Cheddar 150k this morning at 9am along with another 180ish cyclists, to do a loop that would take us out away from Cheddar up the Portway away from Bristol, through Portishead, eventually Cheddar Gorge, and up and over Dundry back to Bristol. It was a lumpety bumpety ride.
|At the start|
We fuelled up at the bottom of the Gorge and then headed on up, meeting at the top. I cycled most of it alone, stopping now and again the take photos of mountain rams, obviously.
Rosie and I waited at the top for the others to join us. First the boys, who were both Gorge virgins until this moment, and suitably puffed.
One by one the rest of the group appeared, ruddy cheeked and smiling. There was a bunch of boys also doing the Audax chilling in the same spot, eating beef jerky. So we asked them to take a photo of us. And despite the slippery beef jerky fingers, got a bloody good pic of us all looking pleased as punch. The day was going well. We had managed to stay in a group, and true to SRC form, we were having lots of fun too. If only they all knew how many hills we still had to come. He he he.