100 km Audax DIY through West and North Dorset

Bat daughter Kathryn

Bat daughter Kathryn

Audax United Kingdom is the internationally recognised long-distance cycling association in the UK. The end of the Audax points collecting year is fast approaching at the end of September, so to try and get my years total to 3000km I am cramming in a few extra rides. In the absence of any local Calendar ride today I did a 100km DIY event. DIY events are permanent events where you plan both the route and the date of the ride.

This basically involves:-

  • Submitting a completed entry form.
  • Purchasing a brevet card to record your ride.
  • Telling the DIY organiser when and where you wish to ride.
  • Doing the ride and obtaining suitable proof of having done so.
  • Sending the completed brevet to the organiser.

This was a DIY by GPS so I recorded the ride on my Garmin Edge 800 (which thankfully behaved itself) and then I send the record of the track to the Audax South West DIY organiser Tony Hull for verification.

The qualifying distance of 100km is  calculated using the minimum on road distance from the start to the finish going via all the intermediate control points. This is simple if you use Google Maps set to ‘walking’. You don’t actually have to ride the shortest distance between your checkpoints. You can choose any route you like, as long as you pass through the checkpoints. However, the shortest distance must be used when declaring the distance of the ride.

So having had my route verified as being 112 km, measured by Google Maps set to walking, we were good to go.  Three of us set off on a cool and misty morning from the South Dorset Coast. Myself, Steve my regular cycling buddy and Kathryn my daughter who, although is extremely fit from other sports, is new to cycling and has only had her bike a few weeks.  We headed off up Spyway Road to the top of Eggardon Hill for starters.

The mist hanging in the valleys was very atmospheric as we started our descent to Maiden Newton.

Eggardon in the early morning

Eggardon in the early morning

The route continued through Cattistock and Frome St Quentin before crossing the A37 and heading for Chetnole.  This is quite a small lane with the usual Dorset undulations. There had been some overnight rain and on one nasty, steep descent which was wet and gravelly – probably with a spill of diesel thrown in – poor Kathryn took a nasty fall.

CRASH!!

CRASH!!

Fortunately the injuries turned out to be nothing worse than bruises and grazes but she was quite shaken up.  Her new bike was unscathed.  Showing great stoicism, Kath decided to continue – rejecting the option of returning by train from Yetminster.  We had a break to straighten the brakes out on her bike

Luckily only minor adjustments needed after Kath's crash

Luckily only minor adjustments needed after Kath’s crash

and then continued to Sturminster Newton which was our half way cafe stop.

The weather turned out nice with a lovely sunshine and blue skies as we headed through Oakford Fitzpaine on Sustrans route 41 and up Bulbarrow Hill which is a 274 metre (899 feet) lump of the Dorset Downs. The hill overlooks the Blackmore Vale, and it gave us magnificent, though slightly hazy, views of Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire and Devon.

Bulbarrow

Bulbarrow

The descent to Melcombe Bingham helped restore Kathryn’s confidence and we enjoyed the mainly downhill ride to Puddletown.

Kath on her lovely bike

Kath on her lovely bike

We continued to Dorchester and enjoyed a fine cup of tea at the Top ‘O’ Town cafe,

Bloodied but unbowed, Top 'O' Town cafe in Dorchester

Bloodied but unbowed, Top ‘O’ Town cafe in Dorchester

before riding over the Hardy Monument

Kath and Steve at Hardy's Monument

Kath and Steve at Hardy’s Monument

and down the beautiful Bride Valley to complete our ride at Burton Bradstock.

Burton (Hive) Beach

Burton (Hive) Beach

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