No. 1 – The first 100 Km ride

So – I did my first 100Km ride! It was not my longest – I figured I did 110-120 last year but that was my first under the AUDAX Randonneur rules, which stated that I had to finish my ride by a certain time. It took me some 5.5 hours and an average speed of about 17Km/h, so I was well in the comfort zone (must be faster than 15Km/h).

It went really well – all considered. I took Friday off work to relax and prepare. I did not relax much 🙁 The saddle bag I bought was too big – I had to move the seating post to accommodate it and then the front bag arrived, to be mounted on the handlebars. It costs a lot, but I thought that it would be a perfect platform for my map and cue sheet. It was – but there was no space left for the lights!

I figured that I MUST have lights – it could be even in the rules for all I know. So I needed to find some other method of putting on the lights. No shop I called had anything useful, except Halford, that claimed that they have a light with a stretching band that could fit my enormous head tube. I drove there and it seemed to be doing the job. I bought one and brought it home. To my utter dismay – it wouldn’t fit. I pulled and I pushed – nothing. As I am pretty strong I gave it yet another mighty tug – I broke the elastic band. Great!

Finally I mounted it very loosely on the front bag itself, using some built-in loop. It wasn’t very steady nor very useful – but I hoped it would pass the ‘regulation test’ – if indeed there was one!

At the end – there was no mandatory light requirement – and I managed to lose the whole damn thing in a fast ride down a bumpy road. I heard something falling off, but I could not see anything although I inspected the road closely by foot. I discovered the loss only upon returning home.

I got up really early so that i can get there ahead of time by a large margin. I was quite concerned that my application did not arrive on time. I now know that it was probably due to the wrong postage (highly confusing new Royal Mail regulations!) so I needed to register ‘on the spot’. I also didn’t have a clue about the route. Luckily, I discovered that if i remove the front wheel of the bike I can fit it into the car without a problem. That saved me the need for mounting the special bike carrier, which was a great relief!

The organiser, Chris, emailed me with pretty good directions to the starting line. I was NEARLY there when I lost my route and had to retrace my steps several times before arriving. What would I do without my beloved Nuvi!

With 45 minutes to spare, I registered and had enough time to panic over the obscure instruction in the aptly named ‘cue sheet’. I also managed to get everyone LOL when I commented to Chris that ‘this is my first time – so please be gentle with me’…

The ride itself was mostly uneventful. It was not too cold but my feet, who got wet on the grass, were pretty well chilled. I thought I have taken my overshoes with me, and I was fantasising that i will put them on after I warm up in the Caffe (half way planned stop), only to find that I did leave them in the car, as it ‘really will not be necessary’. I rode alone for the majority of the time, but did manage to strike a conversation with ‘Ken’ from Malrow (?). The whole thing went quite well, and I am planning to do it again in two weeks time in preparation for the lengthier 150 and 200. Obviously, with longer rides there is a real possibility of riding in the dark, with the associated potential confusion as well as increased hazard from passing vehicles. I am now doing an in-depth research on bike lighting systems. There is really quite a lot of material, as this seems to be a highly discussed topic among long range cyclists. Trouble is, what seems to be the best system (Dynohub + led lights), is unsurprisingly the most expensive. Well, we’ll see…

My certificate:

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