A Journey of a 1000 miles starts with a single step

Chippenham Wheelers 75k Audax Chippenham Wheelers 75k Audax

This account was written for the Chippenham Wheelers newsletter, and is reproduced here unchanged.

After my last Audax, November last year, I took steps to reduce the risk of punctures, by buying a new bike, not entirely necessary but I hoped it would work!
So, on Sunday morning I rode to the Bath Road Car Park in plenty of time for the start, a bit too early maybe, I arrived about 8:30! Then David and Reece arrived with their bikes and after introductions (I still have not met many Wheelers after 4 months) they confirmed that this was the start.
I had already signed on so I picked up my Brevet card and Frusili bar was ready to leave at 9am.
As before, everyone started together, so I could follow the bike in front which was OK, it was too soon for anyone to get lost. The weather was not too cold, windy or wet, I wore a thermal and a fleece, and the occasional rain was not heavy enough to warrant stopping and putting on my waterproof jacket. I felt that if I did that I'd end up riding the whole thing on my own again (see December newsletter).
As we passed through Heddington and Stockley, I found myself at the front of a small group. As a consequence I continued up then hill when the rest of the group stopped at Blackland near Morgans Hill. This turned out to be the only hill of any consequence on the whole route. The road to Bishops Cannings provided me with a different perspective on this area which I was more familiar with from my running. It was notable how much faster it is to cycle between two points on roads than to run although I am not fast anyway.
Heading down towards Bishops Cannings I could see a couple of cyclists about 2k in front of me and I thought I might catch them by maintaining the same sort of pace that I was riding at.
I caught up with Paul Booth at the duck ponds in Devizes, he could have been one of the cyclists I had seen. We cycled out to Potterne where we caught up with another rider just before we all turned off to Worton. Then a couple of miles later we joined Eric Fletcher, Paul Carver and Rob Horton and rode into Bratton for lunch. It looked as though we were going to arrive wet but the rain was not too heavy. Although I have lived in Whitley for 10 years this was the first time I'd been to the village where my father was born. I had not realised that it was so close.
Paul B, Rob and Paul C and I left the lunch stop, to start the second part. The pace was certainly faster than the first, even with extra care taken at the road crossings and roundabouts in the outskirts of Hilperton. After Hilperton we were on more familiar roads which made the distance pass more quickly.
The rise to Neston had turned into a hill and I found it hard work keeping up with the others. There were some more familiar bits of countryside around Neston and Westrop, then on to the finish at Sainsbury. Eric was just leaving as we arrived and turned back to sign our Brevet cards.
Hooray, a puncture-free ride, maybe I need a new bike every time I go out!
I rode back to Whitley with Eric, and Paul who was going to go back to his house in Atworth.
Postscript: Although the new bike performed well, I need to adjust the SPD's, as my knees were aching on Monday. I need to seek advice on how to adjust these.
To see the developing plans for my 3 Peaks, 2 Legs and a Bike (run of Snowdon, Scafell and Ben Nevis and cycling the 500 mile between them in 6 days) see 3 Peaks, 2 Legs and a Bike