Having been a bit slack lately, yes 100 mile rides don’t really cut it with us endurance nutters, I needed to give the Tripster a good long test. Everything has changed from last years big rides, with a shorter position and running shifters again I had to know if hand damage was going to be a problem. I was also on higher gears than normally used, the lights and a new Igaro USB convertor, (review later) were fitted fro the first time this year so plenty to test.
The March Madness is a cracking Audax ride out of Teweksbury taking in some Malvern hills, the Wye valley, Forest of Dean and then briefly into Wales and over the Severn Bridge. Having done this last year it would be a good comparison of form, and it starts and finishes with pub food which is always a winner.
The original plan was to ride down Friday and share a room with Carlos who was also riding, the weather meant that would have been zero fun, so a midnight pre-ride plan was hatched. Grabbing some sleep in the evening I was off at 00:10 feeling more interested in this ride than any other this year so far.
It had only just stopped raining and my decision was vindicated looking at the depth of some of the puddles encountered en-route, cold feet and a headwind ignored I was once again loving the freedom of riding in isolation overnight. With no chance of any services on the way it was a good test of lightly “tapping out” the first 90 miles to the start. A very steady 6 1/2 hours later I’m getting cold waiting for the Hop Pole pub in Teweksbury to open, stupidly I just hung around chatting getting very cold if only I had ridden around for maybe 5 miles, if only.
Tons of breakfast, a late start and the benefit of catching plenty of riders always livens up the day. Some fun with diesel spills, a glimpse of Spring sun, a fantastic breakfast in the Dean Heritage centre (will be missed) and a finishing tailwind it was all over. Today isn’t about an Audax ride report.
Carlos was about an hour behind me, 5.30pm it was still light and what was I going to do with a very wet Sunday if I accepted a lift home. It was on; ride home and do the full 24hr stretch, I was pleased with my resolve to get it done and my body was feeling great with no real hand pain. Once moving it was a great feeling I was loving this and it the Tripster was playing a really big part. This bike is such a confident ride, smashing through the damaged road surfaces with ease and coping with the late braking and hard cornering of a late night ride with ease.
Back into Northants I’m starting to realise as the 24Hr mark approaches that the 300 mile ride could have been on, no stress though I wasn’t going to bust a gut going for it. It was good to get close with a good fun day in the hills, without resorting to slogging round the fens to achieve it. 3 blooming miles short though! The total ride was 312 miles and a great confidence booster at the time.
2017 March Madness with the Food stops ignored was 14.4 mph average pace compared to 15 mph in 2016. Can’t argue with that considering the whole ride was done drafting free, and with a 6 hr warm up.
The body coped well with the excess in the main, really pleased with the lack of hand pain. One big problem surfaced though; the ball of my left foot was incredibly painful the next day, and my little toe showed frost bite like effects. I could not walk easily for 3 days. Worrying and baffling in equal measures, same shoes that have carried me for monster rides all last year, same feet, something wrong there. With just over 2 months to TransAm it’s full rest and try again I guess.