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RCC Audax Bulletin 16, 6th October 2017

Forthcoming Events - Upper Thames 200 4th November 2017
This is a LOCAL 200km event, departing from and returning to Cholsey, between Streatley and Wallingford. It's a great route, with a fast run home on the Oxfordshire plain from Brize Norton, through the Hanney's and Steventon. It's very well organised, with good cafe stops, and excellent catering at the depart and arrivee. See http://www.aukweb.net/events/detail/17-602/ You have a month until the last entry deadline. It would be nice to have an RCC peleton to drag me along ride with.

Ride Reports
Flatlands 600km - 9th September - David Browning
I've been doing a bare minimum of riding since PBP2015, the idea being to wind down my fitness before starting up again for Hamburg-Berlin-Cologne 2018. So a late season 600 was always going to be a bit of a struggle.

Northwards went mostly to plan. The wind appeared to be easterly, so more a side- than tailwind, but quite helpful on the Spalding to Boston section. I yo-yoed in front of and behind several riders as pace and control stop times varied. Nutrition was less than perfect, and I had to resort to on-the-go food from my saddlebag more than planned. I intended to have breakfast at the Red Lodge cafe control, but was too impatient to wait, so continued to the Whittlesey Wetherspoons. I intended to get a dessert later at the Boston Wetherpoons but again my impatience got the better of me and so I settled for a drink. There were a couple of torrential downpours before and after Boston, where I had to shelter until the rain had eased. By the time I reached Kirton-in-Lindsey I'd run out of saddlebag food and had to both eat and replenish stocks at the Spar shop.

Heading out again, I soon caught up with a rider I'd met in the Spar courtyard. His GPS captive battery had expired and he was trying to navigate by routesheet and headtorch. He asked if he could follow me to take advantage of my GPS navigation. His name was Richard, came from Torquay, and was on his first 600. We made good progress to Goole where we controlled and ate at McDonalds. I said I intended to head South immediately after eating to reach Gainsborough at least before sleeping. Richard was quite happy with this and accompanied me. In 2014 I'd had to sleep al-fresco in a village before Lincoln, but this time the ground was wet and it was likely to rain, so Gainsborough would offer more sheltered "accommodation". After reaching the town we controlled at a service station and then slept for a couple of hours under the entrance canopy of the B&Q further down the road.

It now seemed that I'd have Richard as a riding partner for the remaining hours of darkness. I didn't mind this but was aware that the further we rode together the more a bond I'd feel and increasingly obliged to accompany him without knowing much about his audaxing capabilities. It turned out that my anxiety was unfounded and we became useful allies when it came to navigating around a closed road section after shortly after Lincoln and into the fenland headwind. The road was closed due to a car vs. pedestrian collision and the police officer manning the barrier was able to give us a alternative route. Richard was able to remember the description and we made our way slowly back to the prescribed route; I would certainly have taken a wrong turn if riding alone. We controlled at the Sleaford Post Office ATM at 7:15 and went in search of food, deciding to wait until the Wetherpoons opened at 8, where we dined on a large breakfast with several other riders.

After Sleaford we started to take turns on the front into the wind, and collected another rider, Jonathan Greenway of Norwich CC. It soon became apparent that Jonathan was going through a very bad patch, so Richard and I just said to hook on and let us ride on the front. It became clear that we'd finish as a threesome and Jonathan recovered sufficiently to take turns on the front. When one stopped we all stopped, confident in the knowledge that we'd make it in time, which we did with 2.5 hours to spare.

I find every calendar event brings a different set of experiences. This was a first for me, being forced into the role of the old-hand, experienced audaxer calming the nerves of companions and gently guiding the ship to its destination. The organiser reported 54 successful finishers and 21 DNFs, so I believe our small gruppetto had helped us get through. It was certainly rewarding to reach the arrivee having been part of a shared endeavour.

Points Championship
Steve Ferry has won the RCC Audax points competition for the 2017 season with a total of 38 points, double the total of nearest rival David Browning. It's very well deserved because, in addition to doing the distance, Steve has tackled the more challenging rides this year. Peter Corfe completes the trio of more active audaxers in third with 17 points. Note that our top 6 actually includes two testers and a crosser. The final table is at
http://www.aukweb.net/results/archive/2017/listclub/?Club=Reading+CC

Worthy of mention are Ian Macro's efforts. Although not a member of Audax UK he gained 5 points from a 200km and 300km. There's nothing preventing any club member from competing in the points championship; you just have to provide evidence of completion of an event. You'd be at a disadvantage to AUK members because they can pick up points on permanent and DIY rides, whereas you'd be restricted to calendar events (which include Easter Arrows, hint).

RCC Audax Bulletin 15, 4th September 2017

Points Championship
With just less than a month to the end of the AUK season, Steve Ferry looks to have an unassailable lead in the competition. It's now all about who will claim the other podium places.

I'm very pleased to report that Peter Corfe has returned to post his first points since March. He's even extended the gap between his second and the third placed by a point. However only five points separate him from Saulius in fifth position, so a quick end-of-season 600 could wipe that lead out.

James Churchard has leapt into the gap between Peter and the next-placed rider, with 14 points for a single ride. He completed the 1400km LEL (London-Edinburgh-London) for the second time this year, demonstrating that he has endurance to match his speed. This year's edition wasn't entirely dry and had a very nasty headwind on the return leg.

I'm just off to prepare my bike for a quick end-of-season 600...