LVIS audax - Barry's Big Bash 2015

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LVIS audax - Barry's Big Bash 2015

Postby ris » 30 Mar 2015 15:10

Not doing the header - it's only an audax ffs. :P

i totally failed to write up my previous proper races this year - slaughterford 9 off-road trail (mud!) and silverstone half (pacing!) - but i think yesterday's ride out deserves a few words.

i think i can safely describe this (to borrow from jack) as 'hell of the west' - it was probably the worst cycling conditions i've ever been out in for a prolonged period (occasional commutes have been rough weather, but that lasts 40-50mins, not 4 hours).

as a preamble - i was playing silly ingress game in cardiff and was in their bike team, so took what i thought was the most appropriate bike for that job - my recently refurbished airnimal joey sport, complete now with drops, 9spd (52, 11-32) and a slightly compromised mini-v brake on drop lever braking system. in cardiff this performed well- the bike is a bit 'long' but i did 5-7mi on it and it was fine. braking was sound, gears smooth running and changing, handling all good. it wasn't too windy or rainy though, just cold and overcast.

i got to bristol to stay with the in-laws, decamped the bike and kit and set a 7.30 alarm so i could meet my work colleague (andy) at 9am at the event hq - 7mi across bristol. i've done the barry's bash audax before - in 2012 with chris dearing long of this parish - and 24c early spring sun. the weather forecast for the sunday this year was hideous - 40-60mph wsw wind +gusts, heavy rain from 7am - 1pm. it was unlikely to be pleasant.

the ride over the hq was grim - a slog into the wind and rain, and on the long, steadyish descents through ashton court my brakes started slacking off. at times i was tiptoeing along as i couldn't guarantee how long it would take to stop the bike and preferred to err on the side of caution. i got the hq, registered, gotmy brevit populairre card and some coffee and hoped that andy would text me that he was bailing and i could ride back to the in-laws. i was not happy about the idea of riding 72mi in what i'd already been out in.

the bastard turned up.

we left a bit late, and it wasn't long until i was struggling on the descents again - leaving huge gaps to andy because i just wasn't convinced how well i could stop. it stopped raining for a bit and that helped, but the wind was very strong and hard to manage. we twice detoured the route for closed roads due to fallen trees, and after 90mins made it to the first cake stop for the finest spread of WI-enforced cake eating i've experienced. we took stock there and i tightened my brakes up as they had become increasingly useless as the rain returned. we'd largely had the wind at our backs or 'rear quarter', but when we'd turned into it or had it on the 'front quarter' it was very hard - more than once we'd been shunted across the road with a gust. the airnimal was at least a bit lower to the ground, but i'd have swapped all that for some proper brakes. more than once i literally run out of stopping power - fistfulls of brake lever hard up to the bars and not slowing - terrifying.

i knew the route and i knew the hills to come. the available gearing concerned me (52-32 isn't great for 15%+), but in truth i was more worried about the descents - the final one from dundry in particular. it turned out i needn't have worried. caked and coffeed up we left the WI baking frenzy and set off for the next 40km to the lunch stop. half way there we were at monument at the top of the first climb - i made it up ok - but the last leg up to the monument was south-east and the wind and rain just tore across us on the exposed hillside. sat in the middle of the lane to buy me some space i was beeped by cars - where did they want me? good chance if i was more left i'd be off into the verge any second.

we paused at the monument (and got the answer to the BP question - jeremy clarkson's bbc career), and left slightly nervously. it was about 12mi to the next stop and i think we knew that it would be bad. i didn't want to go downhill, but neither did i want to ride into or across the wind again. we pressed on and it soon got as bad as we feared - we turned a little more south and it was on our shoulders. no cover, no hedges, maybe the odd scrubby tree, and as we slogged along, blown around and sometimes to a dead stop it just felt more and more like a fight than a ride.

then, having opened up 20-30m to me as i left increasingly bigger gaps to slow into, i watched andy reach a gap in the scrubby bushes and get blown straight off the bike. he was ok, but it cemented the view that we might be a fight worth losing. a few miles later and we were on exposed moorland / golf course, stopping every few hundred metres to prevent imminent wind-enforced offs and individually coming to the same conclusion - enough was enough.

we got to the next town, worked out a plan (basically, ride to north bristol, get into my car and drop andy and his bike at the hq) and got on with it. it was another 10-12 miles, more into the wind than having it across you, but still felt like the better choice. the rain stopped and the sun even poked it's head out, but the wind never abated. back at hq we were by no means the first - the list for the 200km route was 80% dnfs or 'doing the 116km instead' - and we met a few riders turned up who had binned it at the first cake stop and slogged their way back to the start.

character building - perhaps. foolhardy - probably. fun - not really. good cake - definitely.

i made up for my feeling of frustration at having to endure 4+ hours in the worst conditions by going for an 8mi run. good, sensible chap. :lol:
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Re: LVIS audax - Barry's Big Bash 2015

Postby IanM » 30 Mar 2015 16:12

Fair play ris! Conditions on Saturday were bad enough, but Sunday (from the comfort of the car) seemed even worse. Good thing you're henched up, otherwise you'd have been blown off frequently! ;)
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Re: LVIS audax - Barry's Big Bash 2015

Postby Jack Hughes » 30 Mar 2015 16:28

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Re: LVIS audax - Barry's Big Bash 2015

Postby ris » 30 Mar 2015 16:55

IanM wrote:Fair play ris! Conditions on Saturday were bad enough, but Sunday (from the comfort of the car) seemed even worse. Good thing you're henched up, otherwise you'd have been blown off frequently! ;)


so true - i've never been so glad to had hit the creatine most of the winter.

in hindsight i have one regret - that ade and/or bop weren't there with me to share the fun. now that would have been proper laughs.
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Re: LVIS audax - Barry's Big Bash 2015

Postby Jack Hughes » 30 Mar 2015 17:28

You should have come up on Saturday :)
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Re: LVIS audax - Barry's Big Bash 2015

Postby ris » 30 Mar 2015 17:30

i know, i know... :oops:
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Re: LVIS audax - Barry's Big Bash 2015

Postby kfjatek » 31 Mar 2015 08:01

Sounds like a toughie, I'm glad I went out riding on Saturday last weekend, Sunday looked positively grim. Big kudos.

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Re: LVIS audax - Barry's Big Bash 2015

Postby Sir Jibbenstein » 03 Apr 2015 18:13

Great effort Mr Ris. Certainly doesn't sound like a great day for riding. Well done for getting as far as you did!
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Re: LVIS audax - Barry's Big Bash 2015

Postby Bopomofo » 04 Apr 2015 00:14

ris wrote:
IanM wrote:Fair play ris! Conditions on Saturday were bad enough, but Sunday (from the comfort of the car) seemed even worse. Good thing you're henched up, otherwise you'd have been blown off frequently! ;)


so true - i've never been so glad to had hit the creatine most of the winter.

in hindsight i have one regret - that ade and/or bop weren't there with me to share the fun. now that would have been proper laughs.


Great report, big guy, and well done for getting as far as you did. If you couldn't muscle your way through that I doubt anyone could.

But yes, wish I'd been there with you, and with Ade in tow. That would have been a fecking funny second chapter to the Magnifitwat story. :lol: :lol: :lol:
I had fun once. It was awful.
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Re: LVIS audax - Barry's Big Bash 2015

Postby King Sad » 04 Apr 2015 21:50

Another brave soul ... making me feel incredibly wimpish .. well done :D
It seemed like a good idea at the time :? .



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