My continuing interest in Audax has encouraged me to set new challenges. One challenge is Randonneur Round the Year (RRTY) which entails riding a 200k event or longer every month. In the cold, dark, winter months this becomes more of a challenge as everything is harder. Riding in the dark and the cold and the road conditions and weather are likely to be poor.
I started at Raymonds Hill in East Devon at 06:30.
Next I was in Dorset briefly
before crossing into Somerset.
After an hour and a half in the dark the sun rose over Somerset.
My route worked out well and through Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire, heading east, I spent a lot of time on quiet empty lanes.
Unusually they were clean and dry – and this bit was even flat. (there was a headwind – can’t have everything!)
The flat didn’t last long and on approaching Shaftsbury I had a clear indication that things were going upwards.
I wondered which road users the sign was aimed at? Certainly of interest to cyclists!
In Shaftsbury I made a deviation from my route to cycle up the famous Gold Hill.
Eventually I turned South and leaving Wiltshire for Hampshire.
I crossed the Avon at Fordingbridge
and entered the New Forest National Park.
I cycled along the Western edge of the New Forest.
It was unusually dry and all the fords were empty.
I continued South until I came to the sea at Christchurch. The sea was very calm but the view across to Swanage from Bournemouth was a bit grey on such a dull, overcast December day.
I cycled though the urban sprawl of Bournemouth and Poole, mainly using cycle tracks to avoid the main roads and emerged at Poole Harbour at 14:30.
As the light started to fade I was back on familiar territory and all that remained was 40 relatively easy kilometres through a calm, dry, quiet Dorset. I was in the dark again before reaching Dorchester and was pleased to reach my end control at Winterbourne St Martin just before 5pm.