There are many challenges to be tempted by when riding Audax. However, a lot of them involve riding for a very long way and for a very long time. At present I do not find it fun to be out for more than about 12 hours, so I am limited to 200km rides or less.
I have found that one challenge I can maintain and use to keep up my cycling motivation is AAARTY. (Audax Altitude Award Round The Year). This involves riding a minimum of 50km with at least 750m of elevation every month. I have ridden a hilly ride every month since June 2013 so this was my 36th consecutive month!
Occasionally I will ride a hilly Calendar Event like the Dorset Coast 200km in April 2016 which attracted 2.75 AAA points with a total climb of 2850 metres. But usually I ride a 100km DIY with over 1500m of elevation. Living in the West of West Dorset it is not difficult to plan hilly enough rides from my back yard.
For Audax DIY planning purposes Burton Bradstock to Shillingstone is a very convenient 51km with 1015m of elevation. The return trip makes for a very neat 102km with only the one intermediary control necessary. Perfect.
The second week in May the weather warmed up nicely and I set off to meet my cycling buddy Jo ready for a hilly 100km.
Setting out from home – nice jersey!
The Dartmoor Devil is a 111km bicycle ride which reaches parts of Dartmoor other events do not reach. It is organised by CTC Devon. The event is an Audax ‘gold grimpeur’ Calendar Event. This means that the ride is worth 2 AAA points.
The Dartmoor Devil 2015 is ‘the 23rd Thrash’ and took place on Sunday 25th October. Unexpectedly for the time of year, the weather was dry, warm(ish), sunny with light winds. Most undevil like.
The moment of finishing the ironman is the culmination of a years training. That was my main goal for the year and our lives had been geared up to achieve that goal.
So what’s next? The perceived wisdom seems to be that six weeks rest are in order before a return to gentle training. Well that was never going to happen!
In order to avoid post ironman depression syndrome (PIDS – yes really!) I had a few things lined up in advance so the coming months in the diary were not empty!
The first week after the ironman I rested – apart from some gentle pool swimming. I was very hungry and despite being tired I had to get up at about 03.30 to make porridge and toast as my rumbling tummy was keeping me awake.
The second week was spent in the Lake District on a planned holiday. Time to reconnect with my family and my inner – non-triathlete. Hill walking wasn’t a problem and we enjoyed some long walks in the hills around Keswick.
Walking in the Lakes
I entered the Challenge Weymouth last September but I didn’t tell very many people. There is a lot of stuff that can go wrong when you start to train an ageing body to do stuff it used to do.
I started running again. I went out with Egdon Heath Harriers on Club nights and did a few low key races.
Running the Weymouth 10 back in October 2014
I had to face the reality that I was now running at a much slower speed than I was a few years ago. I still find this difficult to accept and will keep working at it – even to hold the status quo.
The event that I have been training for all year is almost here. On Sunday 13th September I will take part in Challenge Weymouth Long Course Triathlon.
This is an ironman distance triathlon comprising a 3.8 kilometre sea swim in Weymouth Bay followed by a 180km bike ride (with 1880m of elevation – hills that is!) and then a full 42.2 km marathon run. The clock doesn’t stop during all of this, so quick changing between each element is necessary. Food and drink is taken on the move.
The whole event must be completed inside 16 hours with the swim taking less than 2:15 hours and the swim and bike 10:30 hours. I am the oldest woman on the start list. In Triathlon your age is taken as of 31st December so as I am 60 in November I am in the 60 – 64 category. There are no other women in the category and there is just one woman in the 55-59 category.
Throughout the year I have taken part in several running races and one standard triathlon.
Competing in the Bristol Harbourside Triathlon
I have kept up my Audax AAARTY with a hilly ride each month.
I haven’t posted for a long time. This is not because I have been idle and inactive. Far from it.
My focus for this year is the Challenge Weymouth long distance triathlon – Ironman distance – which is in September. The distances involved are 3.8 kilometres swimming in the sea followed without a break to180 kilometres cycling and then direct to 42.2 kilometres running. This is a big challenge for me and I’m not sure if I will manage to complete it. However I have been training with this event in mind since October 2014.
Long winter run on the Dorset Coast Path. the picture is on Thorncombe Beacon
Audax ride on my winter bike
This event is long standing in the Audax Calendar and is organised by Ian Hennessey. Ian varies the route from year to year. This year he also varied the date, moving it about 6 weeks later in the year to try to avoid floods on the levels and frost on the roads. Last year’s February date encountered both.
The control at Honiton
This ride is purely for fun. There are no points to be had for distance or elevation and the ride does not count towards qualification for any other event (PBP). The field seemed to be predominately made up of folk on road bikes – sans mudguards and luggage – and almost everyone was wearing a helmet. There were even 5 women riding!
Mainly carbon bikes for this event
April 5th 2015 – Easter Sunday – promised to be dry, frost free with light winds and even some sunshine. It had been a drier than average winter and there had been very little flooding on the levels, so Ian had no restrictions on the route and no last minute modifications to make.